Interesting Reads #27 #Startups #Life #Technology

What the Seed Funding Boom Means for Raising a Series A
Over 200 micro VC’s raised $4 Billions & Seed funding is over subscribed by 2 times.  Nice list of suggestions especially go lean.   Series A is all about number, so better get ready.

How much money to raise for your startup? [Flowchart]
Interesting flow chart from Acquia founder, company behind Drupal. A simple way to ahead with seed funding.

Forget Goal Setting, Focus On Systems 
Interesting post which provides a nice summery why having a schedule is more important than goal. Why practice is more important than performance.

5 Habits That Are Destroying Your Ability to Lead
Interesting piece of advice for everyone in a leadership position.

PERSISTENCE + LOVE + HEALTH = ABUNDANCE
Another interesting post from James Altucher on being happy, productive.

dt150328

 

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Skilled waiter and his Post Graduate degree #Faces

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While indulging in some sinfully good brew at Murphy`s Brewpub, Bangalore (btw they have good Wit Beer) I encountered Abhishek, the waiter who waited on us. After making conversation with him, I discovered his intensity and knowledge of learning which intrigued me to understand him better.

Hailing from Balia, Uttar Pradesh, this 30 year old is a married man with a two year old. Abhishek speaks fluent English and can strike up a conversation about Bangalore all the way upto beer. He firmly emphasizes that he only serves beer and never drinks. Abhishek tells me that he has been working as a waiter in Bangalore for almost 6 years and holds a postgraduate degree in Hindi. He has taught in a college in the remote part of UP before moving to Bangalore.

He mentions that 26th is his last working day at Murphy`s after which he is moving back home and is fairly concerned about the summer heat this year. Although, he is so looking forward to spending quality time with his family. Abhishek is returning home to hopefully pursue his studies and some day obtain a PHD in Hindi. He dreams of securing his PHD from Banaras Hindu University and is hopeful of getting a scholarship to continue his studies.

I was inspired and happy to witness the dedication and enthusiasm of this young man. Finishing my beer, I left the pub after embracing him and wishing him good luck all the while pondering on how awesome we all can be if we wished that for ourselves. Almost immediately I realized that Abhishek is a post graduate & I just a graduate.

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Interesting Reads #26 #Startups #Life #Technology

Silicon Valley Investor Warns of Bubble at SXSW
According to Bill Gurley, current partner at Benchmark, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm, these days VC are taking too many risks, startups going with huge burn rate as one of the few reasons cited.

A Potential Warning Sign for Investors in Tech Startups
Another post citing warning over the valuation of many tech companies and how things will get bad if after going public they get less valued than being private.

Secretive Bitcoin Startup 21 Reveals Record Funds, Hints at Mass Consumer Play
This is a big news because Andreessen Horowitz, big time Bitcoin backer has invested in and Balaji Srinivasan is co-founder of the company. For those who don`t know this Balaji Srinivasan is also one of the GP at  Andreessen Horowitz [part time] I will be closely watching 21 because it has rare combination on talent & VC backing across the valley.

How to Do Research on VCs (Written by a VC)
Interesting piece of advice on NextView blog about what entrepreneurs should do before  pitching to a particular VC firm.

ARE YOU AROUND THE WRONG PEOPLE?
Another must read post from James Altucher talking about people who you are around with and how it can impact your day to day life.

mentoring

 

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That One Productive Weekend Discovery!!

weekend fun

Last weekend Archit,Krishna and I proposed to do lunch. Our plan was elementary or so we thought – an adequate south Indian meal to fill us up and spend ample amount of time talking about technology/life/etc to catch up. Plans never go in the direction you want especially on weekends is what I’ve learnt.  It so happened that for first time since I’ve moved to Bangalore, I gorged on so much food & that too a satiating north/south Indian meal in just one sitting!  I outdone myself!!! Make no mistake, I ain’t complaining, it was relishing to the core. After appeasing our ravenous appetites, we headed over to Krishna`s house and what occurs next is entertaining. Picture this, three vocally loud people singing vociferously, well actually making a lot of noise and yes I also got to know that both these guys are superb guitar players.

What did we do next? Ahh, we ended up shrill singing till decibels humans are not supposed to hit and touched notes we never knew existed in song [btw yours truly is a bathroom singer, so the experience paid off] Our genre was mainly oldies & recent hindi tracks, actually we just sang like stars. And if that was not enough, Krishna got us into warbling this last songl  “Washing Powder Nirma”  title track that we’ve grown up humming too.

Disclaimer : This is what we made:

and in no way is this to be copied or exposed without consent. If you do so, do at your own risk and don’t say we did not warn you!

If you are unfamiliar with the original track (makes me feel so old now to reference the original, can’t believe that there are so many of you who haven’t heard the original) Washing Powder Nirma – Original

I am open to compliments or criticisms you may have for us! We appreciate you taking that precious time to feedback our talent.

I personally felt good about it, why?

  1. It was so relaxing, I felt happy and we just laughed.
  2. They say, indulging in these kind of spontaneous activities increases  bonding/relationship.Bonus!
  3. For a change you just let go adultism and forget about negative thoughts that always encircles in your mind.

Irrespectively, I felt amazing!

So what next?
We have decided to meet up every week and do the same. Maybe vlog it next time and who knows we might end up having our own channel on youtube/soundcloud for you guys to enjoy!.

Startup Idea, What seriously?
Well I must confess, I beat you to it. I was kinda wondering, how cool will it be to have this sort of jam organized once in month where startup folks can join/participate. It will make one happy and for a change they will not have to worry about startup term sheet, VC funding, board meeting and the rest of that crazy stuff.

What do you people think?
I would love to hear back from you people, constructive criticism is always welcome.

Bonus!!!
We tried to re-create Delhi Belly with limited set of skills & knowledge. Here’s what we made :

Enjoy!

 

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Welcome To The Age Of Information Overflow

noise

It’s the year 2015 and now Internet is cheap, handsets are cheap, multiple platforms for information,much noise, too much information overflow right?

Yes,far too much and everyone has an opinion about everything. Everybody wants to be a singer[or is it just me?]So many mediums like buzzfeed, twitter, facebook, youtube, reddit. But first, watch this video to know what I am saying.

Overabundance, overflow and inundation of information wears you out.How do you streamline social media and feeds to your liking? How do you not miss the important stuff and cut down on misuse?

Everybody may have their way out, this is my way to avoid getting worn out from information overflow:

  1. Twitter list: It’s best to create a list with people from various categories that you want to read/learn from and intently follow.
  2. Subscribe via e-mail: There are bunch of interesting people who write amazing blogs & not only should you subscribe to them, but make time to read their posts.
  3. Pocket: With pocket, one can add a list of interesting stories that can be read offline especially when on commute.
  4. Podcast Addict: I use this software on my phone to listen to selected list of podcasts.
  5. Hacker news: For those daily updates around the tech community or new announcements and sometimes interesting shares, this is my go to.
  6. Reddit:   Reddit is great for those daily updates of all the news that is related to India.
  7. Growthhackers &  Producthunt: This is my daily dosage of story,insights related to startup, productivity, marketing.
  8. Feedly: This software gets you RSS feed across the internet and lets you categorize the feeds. The bonus feature it converts content to audio.

If I’ve missed something, please share your thoughts and tools which you use to avoid information overflow. I am sure it will be very useful to me.

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Interesting Reads #25 #Startups #Life #Technology

The Art of Evangelism
Guy Kawasaki, one of the best Evangelist in technology domain shares his recipe to be a good evangelist.

Dilbert’ creator Scott Adams illustrates why ‘goals are for losers and passion is overrated
I am big fan of Dilbert strips and Scott Adams, i loved his take on passion. I feel execution is what matters most.

The New Industry Analysts, Again
Michel Cote, a known analyst talks about how new age analysis companies and analyst are taking over old shops like Gartner. I liked every piece of it.

How to Prioritize like a Champ
Interesting post, simple to follow especially in this world of connected device & social media priority goes for a toss.

Software-Defined Storage — the Ceph Way
A nice introductory post on Ceph, the open source software widely used by many as object, block or file storage.

leadership

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Retired sailor hobbyist fishermen #faces

Krishna

Krishna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Krishna

Place: Mandvi beach, Gujarat

Occupation: Hobbyist fishermen

Krishna, a stark looking 65 year old was silently surveying the sea when I first caught sight of him at Mandvi Beach. In conversation, he tells me that he has sailed across Africa and the Gulf during his early days in the navy.He intently discusses how effortless it was back in the day to become a sailor where education and literacy never mattered to pursue a career in the navy.

As a man of the sea, he has witnessed the hardships of being a sailor. He actively agrees that technology plays a crucial role in aiding captains to avert disasters at sea by almost accurately warning sailors of uneasy circumstances that they may encounter. He narrates about one of his journeys to Mozambique where the entire crew survived on boiled potatoes for almost five whole days to endure a stormy situation.

I asked him how he spends his retirement, to which he placidly gestures at the beach as a hobbyist fishermen. Through Krishna, I learnt that fishing is illegal unless you have the license issued by the government  for which he pays Rs 300 as licence fee to fish at Mandvi beach.

He tells me he two kids, a daughter who works as a principal in a government college and a son working in Saudi Arabia which makes him content to live his life as a fisherman.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.


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I work remotely and this is my toolkit

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It has been over 1.5 yrs since i started working from home. I enjoyed everyday because i was independent & had no mandatory requirement like reaching office by 9 am, getting stuck into traffic and all.

I felt like sharing software i use everyday for collaborating with my remote team & keeping myself productive while working remotely.

Skype/Zoom.us 
Skype has been pain for us off late, we were happy with it before so now we are using zoom.us

Asana
I love Asana, it has organizing overall project much easier. You can assign project to individual member, keep list of people as watcher. It does what we were looking for.

Google Apps
For e-mail, calendar, document sharing and chat we are using google apps.

Workflowy
I do most of my daily task tracking using workflowy. It is a very simple app and helps me in prioritizing my daily work.

Selfcontrol
I use this app to control my distraction, it stops me from using social media & other listed sites by myself during my work hour.

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Interesting Reads #24 #Startups #Technology #Life

Your Body Language Speaks for You in Meetings
Body Language is an interesting way to determine a lot of information about you. It is about your gesture which comes from subconscious mind of yours. The post has interesting take how apart from your voice/confidence body language gives much more information about you to people listening to your presentation.

How Your Travels Around the Internet Expose the Way You Think
Interesting post from Wired magazine on how our overall personality is out there in public just from our browser habit. We all know how smart google is in sending us ads, this is one part of it. Should i be scared? I have no clue.

Ben Horowitz: The Struggle
Ben Horowitz, talks about his struggle, failure. It is a must read for an entrepreneur, your life will be on a roller coaster ride and every day will throw happy/crappy/sad moment. In tough times you have to be really strong not buckle down.

7 Lessons Learned From Interviewing 100+ App Developers
I am happy with the quality of post coming on Medium. The author in this post provides his advice to first time entrepreneur, what not to do when you are starting your startup.

Investors Beware: Today’s $100M+ Late-stage Private Rounds Are Very Different from an IPO
The  crazy valuation these days technology startups are getting is a big worry. I am no one to say its a bubble but 2-3 years down the line we will definitely know who are the real losers.

Dilbert on Advice

advice

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Why Start-ups?

ship

One of the perks of living in Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India, is the fact that I encounter a lot of entrepreneurs on a daily basis. Based on my rendezvous with these people, I keep asking them this one question : Why do you want to launch a startup?

Most of my friends who are steadily building careers with startups always give me some interesting answers. Based  on their replies, I have formulated my own logic of understanding their perceptions of working with a startup.

 In this post, I am going to keep my examples limited to the Indian companies only:

 Why build startups in India?

  1. It is supposed to aid in solving problems affecting us.
  2. They are built around the inherent Indian condition.
  3. They aim to work towards fitting in the product market.
  4. It is also intended to grow quickly financially.

Aim To Solve Problems Affecting Citizens:

Most startups aim to assist the public get their work done efficiently. While some are built to improve our everyday living, others are serving as an aid to out of reach citizens to enable them to get their regular work done prudently. In my discussions with many of my friends in the startup business, they unanimously agree that startups are more useful when they improve the state of affairs of the current situations.

For ex: the company,Practo, has connected doctors to patients by using a mobile app and it was the need of the hour & these guys just made it happen. At the same time, if you’re looking for a food joint to dine in town Zomato has that covered. Similarly, to book a bus ticket, redbus is the solution.

Build Around The Inherent Indian Condition:

India is a population of a billion individuals. The start ups may be successful elsewhere but in India you have to adapt to the Indian psyche. I appreciate that a company like Mcdonald’s or KFC is constricted to serving pure veg food minus the beef that is cleverly altered to suit the average Indian consumer. This kind of smart marketing is required to understand the audience.   Another example is Amazon, highly successful in the US but struggling to dominate in India due to stiff competition with FlipKart.  One more is Uber that is struggling in India to defeat OlaCabs, their Indian competitor who is gaining more brownie points with its customers over Uber.

Fit The Start-Up Product In The Market:

I get to hear this all the time, a product to fit the market. Whatsapp became an immediate hit with the audience because of the rapid smartphone adoption & its minimal 2G requirement. I can surely say, it literally killed the SMS business. While Yahoo chat had all those emoji features in 2008-09 but nobody cared about it due to a less internet penetration. It was launched ahead of its time and hence failed. Startups require accurate timing to click and succeed.  With 3G and mobile technology reaching out to most of the masses at a very rapid pace, I am sure life will be easier for any startups launching products in this era.

Growing Financially.

Its a generation that wants to make the big bucks quickly and enjoy an early retirement compared to our forefathers.This is absolutely perfect if you have a success plan. Unfortunately, most of the startup founders end up making very little because of stock dilutions.  I remember watching the YC startup school video where one of the co-founders mentioned that rather than starting your own startup, your chances of making more money is while being part of one of the top 10 employers(like google/facebook). So think about. If money is what is only driving you towards a new startup, maybe  you got it wrong.

So, there you have it. In total disclamation, I have written this post to highlight the essence of startup business in India and to guide you to understand the purpose and difficulty to launch your own. In no way am I certain that this is the fast rule to a successful venture, but atleast through the experiences of others can focus on providing frugal tips to benefit any new launch.

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