Introducing AroundStartups

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I am sure you all those who follow me on various social media platforms would be aware about AroundStartups. All I wanted is to have a platform to meet & interview people from India’s startup ecosystem. These are the hardworking folks inside their organization, portfolio and overall community & always willing to help, support, mentor. The timeline page has information about upcoming guests to the podcast.

Over time there will also be some post with data driven analysis around various trends on different matrix from India’s startup ecosystem. These data will be open source & stay on Github & anyone can reuse it.

These are my friends, mentors helped me in making this possible.

  1. Alex, my boss at The New Stack has been very helpful in pushing me to podcasting world & encourage me to do this.
  2. Prashant, the wordpress developer & a smart human.
  3. Jugal, for helping me with the artwork, graphics, logo and helping with selecting background music score.
  4. Abhishek for helping with audio editing, mixing & mastering.
  5. Krishnan another very good friend, mentor of mine for connecting me to Jitesh.
  6. Ajey Gore , Sidu & Niranjan for his pep talk on one particular evening & asking me to just start it.
  7. Kamal Ravikant & James Altucher my life mentors.
  8. Last not the least to my very first guests  Brij, Sameer, Sanjay, Shandhya, Nikhil. It would have been difficult to start this without their time & faith in me.

Since it has just stated, I am not going to be perfect so all your suggestions & feedbacks will be incredible help to me which you can do via Twitter, Facebook or atul@aroundstartups.com  The podcast is hosted on SoundCloud & also available on iTunes.  

Random Thoughts: On first time founders

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One advantage of living in Bangalore, Silicon Valley of India  is that you are surrounded by entrepreneurs as well as investors be it a microbrewery, cafe or restaurant.

Walk to DYU Cafe at Kormangala or Starbucks koramangala/Indiranagar or youngistaan indiranagar, you will see the action where a team is pitching to an investor or a team is working on building next million $$ startup.

I am an extrovert and like interacting, talking to people around me as a result i made small note on the matrix which can make or break your startup.

  • Team
  • Product market fit
  • Business model
  • Product pricing
  • Funding
  • Burn rate
  • Advisors

If you are a First Time Founder which 3 are the most import matrix for you?

The title has “first time founder” in it because you are most vulnerable to failure [unlike the experienced entrepreneurs ], which is not a bad thing. Its good to fail fast & move on.

random thoughts: Respect

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I moved all the way from one of the remote part of India to Capital city. I really feel blessed that my mom made the decision to kick me out of her jurisdiction  to a new independent hostel life.

My first encounter was with A.N. Singh, my physical education teacher and hostel warden. He is one of the reason why I am fit so far. I still remember every morning 6 am call followed  by exercise and  7-10 km walk/run.

I got my first job, I met  Shorav Sir, he helped me, kicked my ass and mentored me.

Its been 7 years since I have been working and over this tenure  I have encountered various managers, heads but these two were the one who left maximum impact on me. I consider myself blessed that I met them. I will keep respecting them throughout my life for what I am right now.

What about you? Have you made a similar list?

Random Thoughts: On starting Up

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One advantage of living in Bangalore is everyone around you is working on startup ideas. You visit a coffee shop or a microbrewery you will find folks talking in length & at times even pitching product ideas to investors for funding. 

I keeping asking myself these questions whenever i think about starting up.

1. Is this the thing i am fully motivated in doing & spending next 7-8 years?

2. Is this thing going to solve some real world problem?

3. Am I or my parents going to use this as soon as its out?

4. Can i keep it bootstrapped & start making revenue as soon as product is out?

I will be more than happy to know what excites you day & night about your startup. 

India in 69 pictures

We celebrated 69 years of Indian independence yesterday. Like all the bloggers, artists, media houses and social media friends, I wanted to post a tribute to India on this blog. Here are 69 pictures of food, temples, people, palaces and more; taken by me or my friends [Johnshon, Shiva, Krish or Deepan] while traveling across this beautiful country. The pictures are linked to their respective Wikipedia pages for more information.

Note: All these images are under Creative Commons ShareAlike License.

 

1. Autowala on street of Bangalore.

autowala in bangalore

2. Bull Temple Bangalorebull temple

3. Flower Market in Vajay Nagar, Bangalore

flower market vijay ngr

4. Old Banyan Tree, Bangaloreold banyan tree blr

5. Ghee roast Dosaghee roast

6. Filter Coffee

filter coffee

7.  Ethunagaram on banks of Godawari.

ethunagaram

8. Charminar, Hyderabadchar minar hyd

9. Ramappa Shiva Temple

ramappa

10. Backwater, making of salt on Chennai-Pondicherry highway

backwater for making salt on chennai pondy way

11. Mysore Palace during Durga Puja. mysore palace

12. Poondi reservoir near Chennai

panni reservoir

13. Sakleshpur, Karnataka

Sakleshpur

14. Paddy plantation near Chennai

paddy plantation

15. Priest with morning prayer at Madurai Meenakshi temple.

priest with morning prayer meenakshi temple16. Shiva Temple, Thanjavur

shiva temple tenjavur

17. Stairs to Khammam fort 

khammam fort

18. Jama Masjid, Old Delhi

jama masjid delhi

19. Late night street fooding, Old Delhi with my friend Ashish.

late night food hunt purani delhi

20. Sunrise somewhere on Noida Expressway.

noida expressway

21. Rishikesh, bank of river Ganges.

risikesh

22. Banke Bihari temple, Vrindavan

mathura

23. Young priest at Sani dev temple in Vrindavan

young priest in vrindavan

24.  Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Patna

mahatma gandhi setu

25. Fish Rice with thick mustard gravy, common cuisine in Bihar & West Bengal .

fish rice

26. Hookah

hookah somewhere in noida

27. Punaura Dham, Sitamarhi.

punaura pond

28. Chhath Puja

chatt puja

29. Chura Bhuja

chura bhuja

30. Litti

litti

31. Lonavla

lonawala

32. Mumbai Pune Expressway

mum pune hightway

33. Ajanta Caves

ajanta caves

34. Sculpture at Ellora caves.

ellora caves

35. On way to Kaas Plateau 

on way to khass platue

36. Valley of flowers, Kaas Plateau

valley of flowers

37. Bun and Sabzi, Goa.bun and sabzi in goa

38. Quite sunrise at Mandrem Beach, Goa

quite sunrise at mandre beach goa

39. Prawn & some fries.

fresh prawns & fry in goa

40. Church Square, Goa

goa church

41. Autowala on streets of Mumbai with funky lights.

autowala

42. Paani Poori on streets of Mumbai

paani puri43. Dal Lake, Srinagar

dal lake

44.  Mughal Garden, Srinagar

mughal garden sringr

45. Elders having chit-chat at Leh main market. elders on leh main amrket

46. Pangon Lake, Ladakh

bird flying over pangong lake

47.  Jodhpur Fortjodhpur fort

49. Temple on way to Jaisalmer Fort 

jaisalmer fort

50. Rasmalai

rasmalai

51. Matka Kulfi

kulfi

52. Ghevar

IMG_20150125_152343

53. Deserted hawelis  in Phalodi 

locked haweli phalodi

54. Brahma temple, Pushkar 

pushkar

55. Authorized bhang shop in Jaisalmer

bhag shop at jaisalmer

56. Kachori

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57. Malpua

malpua

58. An evening at Thar desert, Jaisalmer

jaiselmer desrt

58. Morning breakfast, Bhuj

poori sabzi at katch

 

59. An evening at Mandvi beachmandvi beach

60. It just rained somewhere on way to Anand

on way to anand

61. An evening at Rann of Katch

eveining at rann of katch

62. Wooden Ship getting repaired at Mandvi

shio being repaired at mndvi

63. Street market in Dimapur, Nagaland.

market, dimapur

64.  Peren District, Nagalandparen city

65. On way to Mokokchung, Nagaland
mcung66. On way to Gurudongmar Lake, Sikkim

guru dogmar lek

67. Water streams after hour long rain on way to Lachen, Sikkim

on way to lachen sikkim

68. Flags with Buddhist chants flying high on street of Gangtok.

flgs with chats flying over city gangtok

69. Local drink made of wheat, maize & it tastes good in one of the local food shop in Gangtok.

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Notes from OpenStack India Day

I know this post should have been published a bit earlier, but I have been sick for few days and therefore this delay!

Last week we fervently celebrated  Openstack India Day. It was the fourth one in the past 3 years. I am very happy the way the OpenStack project has taken over and particularly the OpenStack India community. This would not have been possible without the effort and dedication of our organizers, Sajid, Kavit, Himanshu, Kiran and other local members.

Sridhar with his SDN/Neutron session.
Sridhar with his SDN/Neutron session.

These are some interesting observations from my side about the overall event:

  1. The system integrators in Indian subcontinent are taking OpenStack project seriously. I had the opportunity to meet the representatives from Wipro, Infosys [they were also our sponsors] and TCS. They have a dedicated team of 20+ people working in house on various components of the project.  
  2. For the first time we had multiple track sessions in a one-day event and it was indeed a great success. The conference room was packed with over 300 people, mostly with developers background.
  3. Representatives from the Openstack Foundation were also present at the event. I enjoyed the gregarious presence of and keynote from Mark Collier, COO Openstack Foundation.
  4. Some of the college attendees relayed very interesting questions. I am glad that they are actively taking part in the event and preparing to build a career around it.
  5. Learnt that some of the e-commerce & media firms are trying Openstack on their workloads.
  6. We added an extra job board, because most of them are hiring.
  7. Last not the least, I am extremely happy to see Salman, representative of Aptira organizing the workshop. I met him two years back in his college during an OpenStack workshop, and today he is a OpenStack expert !

I would hope the momentum remains the same and we get to celebrate many more OpenStack India day events.

kavit
Mark/Kiran/Kavit & rest, after event dinner.

My problem with Twitter feeds of Indian VC’s & Investors.

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India is turning into a startups hub with the amount of fund flowing in from US/Japan/China and other countries.  Some of the startups got an early exit making VCs & founders rich.  Anyways, this post is not about funding scene in India. It is all about these investors and VC’s who are glorifying portfolios in twitter timelines.

The Problem with this

  1. Thumping new funding round for portfolio is no guarantee for portfolio turning into Unicorn.
  2. Your tweets put other founders in portfolio under some kind of pressure who are in raising boat and as a result instead of building business all they think about is raising round.
  3. You turn into a RT/Tweeting exercise portfolio instead of sharing your wisdom with the followers who are looking up to you for useful suggestions and advices.
  4. Some of these same founders whom you have been glorifying get egotistical and even start playing hardball with you as you are no more a majority stakeholder in it. So you basically gave an ego boost to them. We keep hearing such stories on regular basis.
  5. VCs job is to mentor, teach and inspire. It’s not making portfolio fund announcements or press releases. Do you similarly tweet when one of the founders leave your portfolio company or one of your company dies?

My Suggestion

  1. Keep a separate twitter feed which is meant for catering portfolio related announcements.
  2. Ask all your followers to visit that feed for all kinds of PR, funding, merger, announcement deals for your portfolio.
  3. We are looking forward to learn from you and your timeline. You are supposed to inspire us, share your thoughts, not portfolio announcements.