Interesting Reads #31 #Startups #Technology #Life

Money is a Rotten Motivator for Startup Founders
Interesting post with great example showing why MONEY should not be the motivator for entrepreneurship.

The Rise of the Twitter Mafia 
Another interesting post from CBinsights how startups scene is spreading with lot of new startups coming out from Ex-Twitter folks like Medium/Stripe to name a few.

Lessons I Learned from Co-Founding a Tech Startup
Interesting read for every technology g33k who wants to get into startup journey, the post covers excellent piece of advice.

Why India’s e-commerce boom will look nothing like China’s
Interesting post covering all the challenges Indian e-commerce giants might face as they look for growth.

We Are All Venture Capitalists Now
Interesting post with great analogy of overall VC ecosystem.

The Paradox of VC Value-Add
Another interesting post Brad Feld, go read it & see how much value VC really adds apart from writing cheques.

technical

 

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On Substandard Marketing

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Lately, I’ve been receiving a lot of mails related to PMP training & other skill development for freshers. So I found a reason to write a post considering my inbox is spamming with this content. I wonder, if I am the only one getting these kind of mails/promotional campaigns via the email medium or targeted ads on social media? If so, why and how effective are these kind of campaigns for someone like me?

Here is my take on how this can be done but in a much better way:

Age Group : First of all know your audience. These campaigns/mails should be targeted on the basis of age groups and background checks if you will. For ex, I am unmarried and have no blasted  interest of buying baby diapers with a 30% discount!!! What a waste of my time and theirs!

Demography: If your product suits a particular demographic or area then plainly focus on that rather than mass advertising, Pushing irrelevant ads/campaigns of a product available/to be purchased in the United States is not going to capture my interest, leave alone market it.

Punchline: Why can’t emails have smarter subject lines? If I open an email or click on my timeline to navigate to the product page, I am expecting instant answers to advertising. I mean, it should clearly tell me what the offer is in less than 5 seconds of navigation..

Wrong Channels: Not that I’m complaining knowing fully well how much money circulates in advertising, but the logic is simple. Placing ad campaigns on wrong mediums is a waste of money. For instance, not everyone in India is on twitter so who cares what is available there?

Overdoing: I am least interested in receiving or viewing the same ad’s on every site I visit in a day either as a popup or as a banner, ridiculous! It will only make me dislike the product ever more. Its like being on twitter and 5 times a day promoting the same book every time, I simply cannot take it and chose to mute you.

I know some marketing agency or brands are taking care of their marketing and advertising on social media but the road ahead is a long one and the efforts are not good enough. We go to do better.

 

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Interesting Reads #30 #Startups #Technology #Life

Poor People Of India To Zuckerberg: We Don’t Need Your Economic Racism

Net Neutrality movement has taken off in India & we don`t want ISP/Telco or intenet.org to tell us what/how we should use the internet. Mahesh Murthy writes exclusively on the intentions behind internet.org & Telcos like Airltel’s Zero plan

LESSONS FROM A FAILED YC PITCH WITH PAUL GRAHAM

Interesting post about keen.io & the pitch Kyle [One of the co-founder] made to Paul Graham. Paul is asking all the questions how keen is competing with others like mixpanel. One lesson: “Keep it simple, tell precisely what you are building”

Coaches vs Cheerleaders

Interesting analogy on founders & how they should be.

Unicorns vs. Horses

VC funding is not everything, one of the rare post about how Snyder family owned business worth half a billion. They focussed more on the food, employee instead expansion.

Mark Zuckerberg Can’t Have It Both Ways on Net Neutrality

Mark Zuckerberg can say anything he likes but we all know the concept of internet.org was nothing bus a closed garden. The movement to gain more and more facebook user & making fun of net neutrality.

Persistence + Love + Health = Abundance

Another thoughtful post from James Altucher where he talks about love/health & persistence. If you are not following him, definitely you are missing on something.

mehh

 

 

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Interesting Reads #29 #Startups #Technology #Life

Should you teach Python or R for data science?
Interesting blog post with prospective why Python is gaining momentum in data scientist & focus is shifting from R.

Minimum Viable Personality
Another interesting post from Fred Wilson on how to position your product with interesting considerations and how communication about it makes more importance that just marketing.

Why We Pass Quickly On Things
Brad Feld, a managing director at Foundry Group talks about how they decide on funding. All it takes a email to decide Yes or No & less than 60 sec time.  They have a vision when they are investing. I would strongly request an investor to subscribe to his blogs & especially read this post.

The Benefits of Being A Total Zero 
James Altacher in this post talks about what we can learn from others and how we are always gaining -1, 0, +1 on basis of our actions.

 To Raise Productivity, Let More Employees Work from Home
I am happy someone else thinks similar like me, working from home is great. It increases productivity & saves $$ for companies.

dt150416

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Notes from Chris Sacca/Jason This week in startup conversation.

Chris Sacca is considered as one of the best Unicorn hunters[In my observation :) ]. In Investors term “Unicorn” means companies which are disruptive and have redefined the way we are using technology besides billion $$ evaluation. He has invested in over 40 companies almost every other top companies that you know or are aware of! He is currently perched on multi billion $$ funds and is busy identifying his next unicon. Some of his notable investments include Twitter, Photobucket, Instagram, Kickstarter among several others that you can aptly find on Angel List  Thanks to @jason for inviting him to his weekly show where we the audience got to learn more about Chris and his ideologies.

 You can watch the series here( note: grab a cup of coffee or beer as it is a long clip and yes Chris and Jason interactively chatted for over 2 hours)

I on the other hand, have made small notes of Chris conversation with Jason.Take a look!

  1. Firstly he says, “Respect everyone” and we all agree.
  2. Chris accurately mentions that money comes & goes, it is limited.
  3. He believes in building relationships that lasts long.
  4. Don`t be afraid to put your opinion out there, loud and clear for all to hear!
  5. You don`t have to be afraid of losing your job as you will always find a better one if you are willing to try harder.
  6. Whenever you have an idea, find someone to implement it for you
  7. He says there is too much money circulation in the market. As a result, the quality of startups emerging has increasingly deteriorated.
  8. Believe in entrepreneurs who have the zeal and passion to accomplish.
  9. He jokes that beer is good and acts as an idea propeller drawing people to open up and discuss freely. I could not have agreed better, as even in my case I have made some good friends over a pint of beer.
  10. You don’t need big college degrees or diplomas to be successful in life. I think he is referring to being just smart in the mind.
  11. To garner experiences, you may have to work at smaller companies/places to learn and get some valuable experience.
  12. Take risks calculatively but don’t ever be scared of failure.
  13. He quips that we often take ourselves too seriously and that is a result of our depreciations.

A valuable talk and interaction that has thrown some light on how to advance with startups. I agree a hundred percent with his thoughts and hope you agree!

 

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Notes from RubyConf India

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It’s been super hectic this April with extensive traveling and tons of craziness. I was in Goa the second time this year to attend the Rubyconf. This is an annual event where Rubyist developers and upstream contributors meet from across India. The event featured keynotes & talks from core Ruby developers who came from abroad to present at the conference. I enjoyed the event and it was a delightful experience for me.

My primary role was to represent The New Stack , as the immediate media sponsors for the event held in Goa this year. At the Rubyconf meet, I interacted with many newcomers, made few friends and improved my knowledge on Ruby to a greater extent. Like always, Gautam, Ponappa, Ajey and Satish did a tremendous job in organizing the event and making it a definite success. I’m proud to reveal that this was the first event which had functional WIFI setup.

As usual, I’ve made note of the details after attending sessions at Rubyconf. Here are my views:

  • It seems vital to keep testing and tests mainly outside the core codebase.
  • I became aware about functional programming and how modularizing code into small chunks can actually make life so much easier.
  • It was pointed out that 80% of the time newer developers spend time reading code written by others.
  • It was very interesting to know more about codeclimate use case of Ruby.
  • Rails has given all the power and added buzz for Ruby to go mainstream.
  • Rails needs to be made faster and I am sure newer releases will focus on same.
  • One highlight was an interesting talk/demo where the speaker demonstrated writing Ruby programming in one’s mother tongue.
  • The entire initial devops movement has Ruby as one key programming language.
  • Most people use Ruby for quicker development and not just for performance.
  • Ruby has many frameworks and is indeed a large ecosystem that is being utilised at many places even in a  mission critical environment.
  • It was hearty to note that the organizers provided scholarship to many students that included free stay/travel to attend this event. Honestly, this is a perfect way to foster the overall ecosystem.

A lot of interesting things were shared among speakers that increased and improved my knowledge of the language and its importance. I hope this continues yearly especially for all who want to benefit from Ruby and are aspiring to learn and code in Ruby. Lastly, in true Goa style,the event ended on a high by an organised beach side party with Karaoke that had everyone thoroughly enjoying the event.

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On Co-founders: Some Advice

 co-founders

In truth I have not made any exit or built anything for which I have raised $$$ from VC. From my exposure and past experiences I have learnt a ton. Yes, I was involved in few start-ups in which most failed and a few I chose to exit due to personal constraints.Yet, start-ups never bore me. I keep encountering and hearing about start-ups, product, team and ideas almost daily. So in view of my experiences with start-ups, I definitely felt like sharing a piece of my learning right here in this blog post.

I would say this is just my advice and opinions on those building teams or looking for co-founders.

Motivation: If your co – founder is not motivated as much as you are then the chances of product failing is high. This could result in you ending up in some sort of depression that could turn the relationship sour.

Expectation: You need to set expectations at the very beginning to avoid future conflicts related to dedication and time allotment towards projects.

Trust: One of the pullers which can make or break everything is the matter of trust. If you don’t have trust on your co-founders ability you are setting yourself up for doom.

Complimenting: Its not always true but mostly advisable to have co-founders with complementing attitudes. If I have to build a start-up I will go find some IT fire power that can compliment my work and is willing to go that extra mile with me.

Empathy: James Altucher, my idol and inspiration whom I consider as my life mentor always talks about empathy. You have to put yourself in his/her shoes at times. This will make you realize what the other person is going through. At times you might get angry or even frustrated and want to out but if you are empathetic and trust your other half(co-founder) you will succeed.

The following are pointers to consider in the establishment of business with co-founders. There may be more to this, but my experience has taught me to find co-founders that motivate, exceed expectations, are trustworthy and have empathy towards others.

 

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On Design of your product

blog

We are in the age of attention deficiency with so many products being built on the same domain. The primary thing that keeps customers glued is the overall design and I can bluntly accept that design can make or break your product.

With mobile devices getting cheaper by the day and most users speedily connecting to the internet via mobile, it is extremely challenging and thus very important for a brand to provide a seamless and/or intuitive design interface that appeals to the masses. After all product design is the main interface for any product to make it in the market.

The Bad Features Of Product Design:

  1. Multi-clicks: It can be quite cumbersome and as a customer I am least interested in navigating via a portal to read/buy something.
  2. Excessive text: If you have built a portal catering to research information, I would prefer an infographic rather than say a descriptive of two thousand textual content.
  3. Hideous Colors: Brightening the product to appeal to the eye needs to be subtle and inviting,I wont be returning to consider you portal/product if the color combinations start to affect my vision.
  4. Dancing fonts: Building your product with ugly fonts & non-uniform sizing over an uneven platform is distracting and unattractive.
  5. Floating banners: I am keenly interested in the product and the visibility of the same, so these floating banners just creates unnecessary distractions.

 

My Experiment Results

  1. My dad says “I use whatsapp because its very simple interface”
  2. My 8 yr old orders from flipkart in 3 clicks[COD]
  3. My friend says “I use ola apps and not Taxi4Sure as its way easy to use”
  4. I say , “I use Medium not LinkedIn for blog because one is simple & other is ugly”


I suggest to get a designer or outsource the work to a firm who are capable of building your product design fixing “the bad features of your product design.”

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Interesting Reads #28 #Startups #Life #Technology

Buttercoin is shutting down
Another Bitcoin exchange goes down. Past few months this has been a common tread, i am not sure how long we will be leaving with the Bitcoin hype & how many more years it will take to go mainstream.

The Beginner’s Guide to Cap-Table Dilution
One of the most informative post i have read so far which talks about how & what founders get to keep in every round of funding.

The Tyranny of the Minimum Viable Product
Interesting post on current state of product market fit & the rise of untested/buggy products. The post provides great suggestions & good read for every entrepreneur.

The Rise of the ‘Unicorns’
Interesting inforgraphics from NYtimes, i was particularly interested to know about Pinterest business model. I get a feeling its valuation has more to do with rounds of funding. Most of the companies in the list has value over billion $$ & are in category of unicorns on the serious note we are all still waiting to see +ve revenue growth coming from these unicorns.

Microsoft: An Open Source Windows Is ‘Definitely Possible’
My observation is : Office revenue is displaces because of google drive & other services hence it is offered free on various platform. Android and emergence of growing mobile adoption is killing OS business for microsoft. Now to keep Azure going they need to make people use it & that will happen once MSFT goes with its Open Source version.

 

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7 Effective Ways To Manage Consultants

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Consultants are the elite of your project management. While you’re short on middle term  project demands and find inadequate skills that need reinstatements, the best option is to screen and hire a potential consultant who can bridge the gap of shortcomings among the team.Onboarding a consultant essentially revolves around saving money and fulfilling inadequate skills. I have been managing over 4-6 consultants till date and for me the challenge is not in finding the expertise or screening candidates, it has to do more with managing and integrating these consultants to work efficiently. In this post, I would like to share some noteworthy thoughts that might help those in similar shoes.

1. Management: Rightfully, managing a consultant is no cake walk. I would say I am very lucky to have the current bunch of talented folks working with me that has made my life is so much easier. Managing the individual is quite cumbersome and can involve a lot of back and forth communication  that seems necessary but consumes so much time and energy. Nonetheless, it has to be done to run a smooth relationship to set the right kind of expectations and make sure you are well understood.

2. Schedule/release cycle/milestone: It is important to have a release cycle kept well in place. Explicitly discussing the milestones and following well chartered plans is crucial. It requires follow up via email or other mediums that can be extremely helpful.

3. Endorse a task manager: A good task manager is the key to successful project management, infact I would promptly concur it makes life easier. We are using Asana and are extremely happy with it.

4. Testing: It is important to allot ample time for testing the code and feature development. Testing is the crux of the project and if this is incompetent the project suffers. The consultant has limited time to ensure satisfying test results and although they do their level best I would encourage an extra pair of eyes to approve testing.

5. Toolkit with the agreement: It is deftly advisable to get a list of tools to be utilized all installed on the consultants mobile/laptop once hired on board. This helps in solving issues with communications and discussion management simple and eventually making overall communications more seamless.

6. Meetup: Sometimes, when distances places your consultants away, it is important to plan meetups and socializing events to meet in person. This activity of meeting with the consultant in person regularly improves cordial relationships and encourages productivity. It serves as a bond to get to know each other and plan for future project milestones.

7. Respect is mutual: Respecting each other’s space and time and valuing one another is frugal. It is vital to understand each other and important to set expectations that both are working on the same ultimate goal.

Well-chosen and well-utilized consultants can make the difference between a project’s success and failure. The onus lies on you to utilize the consultant resources judiciously.

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