Why This Rush? Finding oasis in the frenzy to build momentum

During 4th of July weekend, we had planned an excursion on Saturday starting from Golden Gate Bridge to ocean beach with #GSFGlobal startup founders and EiRs. I offered to be the guide for the trip, taking responsibility for giving GSF team a good time and great views of the pacific & the east bay coast. My son and wife had alternate lunch plans so they were to join us mid-way. As it happened, while the tour party was mid-way, my family got lost in SF traffic madness and had to wait for long to get uber. I told them to meet us at our last stop, the ocean beach as I couldn’t keep the team waiting for them…we had to move on to stay on time.

I knew that my wife expected me to wait for them. She asked me why I couldn’t wait a bit even on my off day. Her exact words were “Why this rush?” And this question “Why This Rush”  bothered me all night. And then the daybreak came, and I started to write. And here is my attempt to answer this eternal question.

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I am a startup founder. I have to set-up a fast pace for my organization and I have to hustle to build momentum. Most startups under-estimate the value of momentum and lose out. Momentum builds excitement in the organization. Momentum excites consumers and investors alike. Everyone wants to be with a team or a brand or an organization on the move.

Startup founders have to embody this hustle; they have to create a sense of urgency to get things done. I have met many founders in my life and I have found that the most successful founders are restless; they are a force of nature. They work hard and have boundless energy, but even more importantly they find ways to channelize this nervous energy into a forward momentum for their organization.

While momentum matters, this obsessive pursuit can lead to burnouts and conflicts such as the one I witnessed. So how does one achieve momentum and calm at the same time? Can one be two personalities at the same time….an energetic leader at work and a restful soul at home? Inevitably as one is building a startup, one is working day and night even when one is with his/her family, at family lunches, while watching movies with the dear one, or even when one is just relaxing on Saturday afternoon with kids…a founder’s mind is pre-occupied in his startup. Have you experienced this “founder frenzy” yet?

This founder frenzy sometimes creates conflicts. These conflicts if not managed or rightly understood could create hurt and result in painful outcomes. As important as building a startup is to us restless founders, family matters the most. While some of us would brush aside these conflicts as inevitable, I think we could also find a great source of strength in the family. If channelized in the right way, family could be the oasis of mental and physical replenishment in a tough and long journey.

And for me this replenishment came on the Sunday morning as we watched together one of the greatest tennis matches (Wimbledon final 2014) of all time. Since all of us are avid tennis fans, it was a great shared experience. Joy of watching tennis at its best erased all the tensions of previous day. That was my oasis.

So go ahead and find your oasis, even while you hustle to build momentum for your startup.

(cross-posted on YourStory)

Going Global: Delivering 10x Customer Delight

This is the second post in my “Going Global” series for emerging world startups.  The previous article “Go global faster: Building billion dollar tech enterprise from India” can be  read on yourstory.com

Having recently interacted with fair bits of startups building global technology products, one theme that has consistently emerged is that while Indian startups are solving deep problems applicable to customers across the world, the product experience leaves a lot to be desired. In order to succeed amongst world-class competition, we need to do better and I would like to call this building for “10X wow factor”. Continue reading

A friend in need …

In the last 6 months, after graduating from GSF, Flinto has shipped its uber-cool monthly discovery kit to thousands of customers in hundreds of cities, not just in India, but also to Singapore and Malaysia.  In a subscription startup such as Flintobox, it’s very important to keep fabulous products coming out month after month; it’s a key part of customer delight.  Relocating our base to Chennai was the best and the most challenging part of this journey.

While the reduced costs and local network boosted our operational efficiency, we made a grave mistake with the timing of the relocation. But for GSF network, I can’t imagine if Flinto would’ve made a smooth landing in Chennai.  Let me tell you how. Continue reading

Go global faster: Building billion dollar tech from India

This article originally appeared on YourStory

The traditional view on expanding a business with potential in international markets is to first build and capture the local market. This works in large developed markets like the US with deep local customer base, for example, the Enterprise and B2B technology sector. This concept also worked when distributing products globally was a challenge; it was a tough task establishing and managing a distributed workforce in each location.

Billion-Dollar-Tech

However, this thinking doesn’t hold anymore and if a technology product has to succeed globally, especially out of the developing world, it needs to think global from day one for the following reasons: Continue reading

Don’t confuse Marketing Ideas with a Go-To-Market Strategy

A young energetic team goes to an investor, presents their little big idea, talks about the pain point that exists, their ingenious solution, the revenue model, the great market opportunity and their well-accomplished and motivated team. And the marketing plan of course. They speak of the ways in which they will capture the multi-billion-dollar market, the small things and the large things they will do to
acquire customers. The investor prompts – “So when and how do you plan to do each of these activities”. A moment’s silence, and then comes the knockout punch – “You have confused your marketing ideas for your go-to-market strategy”. Continue reading

What is it that we’re after?

PosterGully recently got accepted in the highly successful GSF accelerator program last week. People have been congratulating and people have been envious… never mind.

You ask me, once shiny, well-mannered blue eyed boy now grinding away my life building the most sustainable merchandise platform for the world and I’ll tell you I’ve been chasing something else. Recently, one of my senior contacts, head of sales at a multinational got sacked after missing a quarterly target. Couldn’t figure out why his voice seemed smelt defeat when I spoke to him thereafter. With all those years of great experience with a ‘Great’ company, he could do something again, perhaps make it bigger, better now. When I met one of our suppliers the very same afternoon, that kind of guy who’ll sit in a corner on a creaky chair with pyjamas on, he said narrating his own startup troubles, ‘you know what chap, it was never easy, never is; but its hardened me to the extent that I don’t fear life anymore’. Continue reading

Changing Your Life In Seven Weeks – The GSF Accelerator

It’s nearly six months since we finished the GSF Accelerator but I remember our first meeting with Rajesh Sahwney like it was yesterday.

He sat us down and excitedly drew the fundamentals of the GSF programme on his table.  The who’s who of mentors that you met five times a week, training on all aspects of running a business, a dedicated Entrepreneur In Residence (EIR) to support your start-up, and finally pitching to 400 investors at the GSF conference.  He finished with:  “Basically, the idea is that in the next seven weeks we will change your life.”

Looking back six months on – GSF delivered.  Continue reading

Transitioning from Startup failure. What Next?

I recently gave a talk at Failcon India a one-day conference for technology entrepreneurs, investors, developers and designers to study their own and others’ failures and prepare for success. I wanted to focus on the next steps during and after your startup failure. Its something that rarely gets talked about while I know a lot of first time entrepreneur obsesses over this sometime.

Continue reading

How Does a Geeky Programmer Turned ‘Budding Entrepreneur’ Think?

First of all let me set things straight. Having been a programmer for what seems to be forever, I have a deep passion for coding and building things. Also I am a firm believer of the philosophy “Show things happening even before you talk about them”. So naturally, like you, I held contempt for the terms like Business Strategy, Customer Acquisition, Product Management and Roadmap, Marketing and Publicity and so on. Continue reading

One week of SilverPush @ GSF Accelerator

SilverPush has been very fortunate to be selected for the first batch of the GSF Accelerator in Delhi (how we got selected is a story for another day). What Rajesh Sawhney has set up is truly amazing for startups like SilverPush. Besides being an incredibly energetic, yet calm individual, Rajesh motivates us, without criticizing us for our mistakes and often lack of direction at this early stage. He has carefully selected talented Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs), and together, they are revolutionizing India’s startup ecosystem. The way they have implemented the accelerator program will go a long way in producing more global companies from India. Continue reading