Quick decision making and task management

Quick decision making and Project Management

This is my first venture. I was  a techie, transitioned to tech manager, tech architect, technologist throughout my career. And when I first thought of the idea of a startup, the very first thing that came to my mind was to develop a technology driven product to simplify some of the complex tasks. As part of the job, we use various tools from productivity to project management. Same with sales and marketing, they use different tools for collaboration, tracking, task management etc. The main problem is that there are no common integration point to synchronize information or activities among these tools. Platforms like slack took the advantage of it by providing a simple chat interface for collaboration, with plugins supporting various tools. However, still it did not solve the problem of ontime decision making when multiple stakeholders are part of a task. Imagine you are part of a task that needs to connect with customer, chat and take a decision. And all the message exchange with your customer will be archived part of the task for any audit in future. There will be a summary extractor to show summary of the discussion on the fly. This can be done not only in chat but also for voice based or video based collaboration. And what you get for such type of collaboration

– Firstly peace of mind, as the decision you have taken is already archived and you dont need to explain again and again for any adverse situations.

– Then, you saved resources of chain of calls to take a decision

– Thirdly you saved time

– Lastly, your customer loved it, as s/he does not need to respond multiple times

The main purpose of any task automation tools are to aid in quick decision making by automating some complex processes. Then dynamic/real time report and audit of archived data.

Are there any tools in the market that provides such features?

To summup

If you want to make a profit in the business of sales marketing, you need to get organized to manage tasks from end to end. And there is no better way to that than using software, the choice of right software will make it or break it.

Ads and impact on consumer

Ads And Public

Companies spent huge amount of resources to showcase products in audio visual ads, and the more creative the ads are, the more audience it will have. All the audiences might not be the consumer but it definitely impacts publicity of the product. However, some time too much ads also irritate public and in return public switch of the device or move to other channels to get rid of such ads. Recently I have observed how ads are perceived by public, here is my experience

During rush hour, most of the FM radio channels in Bangalore put more ads and less songs. But there is a new FM mirchi 95, which has very less ads and I generally don’t change the channel while listening. I am sure the value of such ads would be more compare to the other FM channels. Radio mirchi would selectively put ads with higher value to get more revenue and it makes sense to public too. This is called win-win for both, fm and public. However, in some other channels, its like playing music in ads and some time I switch off my car audio system because its so irritating. In this case, the relative value of the ads would be much lesser irrespective of how much creative these ads are. But with competition and publicity, the two topmost priority, companies tend to pay for ads.

And then some times, ads are so factual that I wish to have a central authority to monitor the ads. E.g. there was a fairness cream ad and your skin color with be fairer within 2 weeks. This also reminded me a movie(Traffic Signal), a dark skinned kid saved all his money and bought a fairness cream based on the ad. After 15 days, no change in skin color and the kid got so much angry, that he tried to throw stones to a nearby hoarding with this cream. Quite funny though.

But some time, ads are quite realistic too and shows the important features of the product. Irrespective of how the ads are perceived by public, the companies will keep on spending more and more on this.

Recruitment: A risk

Though this is not the first time I had been into recruitment of resources but this time I am recruiting for my startup. The risk doubles when you recruit for a startup because we lack in remuneration, facilities but only thing that is guaranteed is challenging work. If a person passionate about the work, the project then definitely he would be interested to join. Unfortunately finding such resources is not easy at all and a wrong choice or two will derail the whole project, efforts and noble intention behind startup. And then there is google, which tries to be master of everything, you just need to know how to search intelligently. Here is one answer from a candidate, who has less experience in python but s/he has good confidence

I consider myself as an intermediate in Python knowledge but I am very comfortable with it as long as I can access google.
Thank you
Look at her confidence, I decided to give her a chance. But this is not the solution to knowledge, experience, capability or learning. Searching google and getting your job done will work as long as you understand the problem and you know how to write programs in any language to solve it. But blindly using search will not yield any result. It will give short term solution to get recruited but in long run, you will be thrown away unless you learn and show your capability.
Its my nature to not to give more importance in face to face interview, rather I give a task and ask the candidate to solve it within stipulated period. I expect honesty on solving, though completion of task is not the priority, rather I look at the approach of the solution. But honesty is very expensive and some time its not available so cheaply. I had such experience where I waited 8 months for two resources to be productive, gave lots of chances to show result. Finally, there is a limit to it. And I had to take tough decision, though it was not easy. In a startup if you are recruiting then please focus on problem solving in front of you and face to face interview. Otherwise you have to suffer a lot.

Rome was not built in a single day but everyday

Raise The Bar

I attended a seminar organized by successgyan at hotel Vivanta by Taj, MG Road, Bangalore. It was well attended by leaders across domains and age groups. Though I generally don’t pen any blog about any seminars or conclaves but this seminar has its own proposition and it gives an insight of how to look everything from a different perspective. One of the important phrase we generally say for any task is “Rome was not built in a single day” that indicates any beautiful creation cannot be completed overnight and it takes time. And this phrase was beautifully modified with “Rome was not built in a single day but everyday”, that adds positivity and inspiration with proposition of slow and steady behind every successful creation. The success of any individual is driven by the continuous improvement in every front be it finding new opportunities, learning new skills and steadiness in execution.  The moment we stopped increasing our area of influence then we stopped our growth, its a continuous process of learning that brings more opportunity in different ways. However, we are now so much stressed in our work, we simply forget to brush up our skills, improving our abilities and learning new technologies. This impacts not only our development but also the environment in which we work. This is also same with enterprises too. I always compare between FlipKart and Amazon. Both these companies started with retail market and however Amazon increased its portfolio into Cloud Computing, Tablet, etc but FlipKart failed to diversify its business. Continuously FlipKarts market valuation is going down and down. Same thing happened with Nokia too. These are few lessons for everybody to keep on expanding their area of influence in different ways and then only you can succeed.

The Secret to Funding: How Many Customers You Need Before Contacting VCs

Getting funding is the first milestone of any startups and some succeed in early stages and some struggle to get funded. Irrespective of whether a startup is funded or not, everybody tries to attract investors and invest in their Ventures. On the otherhand,  “Investor” is someone putting money into something in hopes of getting more than that back in the future. That’s what investors do in hedge funds, on Wall Street, and in investing in companies. Investors are not banks, they aren’t credit cards, they expect a future greater return than is possible today, by investing in what’s being done.

So what do customers (and by that I presume you mean people paying for what you’re doing – customers give you money – revenue), what do customers have to do with INVESTORS’ potential return on investment?

Very little in and of itself.

Don’t misunderstand that point, without customers and revenue you very likely don’t have anything (though we know from Twitter and Medium that’s not accurate) BUT just customers and revenue are meaningless to an actual investor – go get a loan and you can pay it back from revenues.

So what do customers help investors today understand about your business?

  1. Depending on how you acquired them, that you know what you’re doing and that people want it
  2. That there is a market for it, and depending on how you found that market, how competitive it is, and what it cost to acquire those customers, that there is an opportunity
  3. That the company has a more clearly measurable way to establish a value (multiple of revenue; that multiple being dependent on what you’re doing)

Source : the secrets of funding

his is wherein your startup is actually validated, are you accomplishing the things that actually matter, evident in some customers proving that?  Customers are merely evidence of your validation, not the validation itself and how many you need depends on all of your shortcomings as an investment opportunity.  Shortcomings in areas such as:

  • Do you have an experienced team in place capable of building a bigger business?
  • Are there many competitors in the market, competitors that will arrest your growth at some point, or make it very difficult to achieve the size (value) they’d need?
  • Is there brand, IP, or other risk in what you’re doing?
  • Are those genuinely acquired customers or friends, family, and referrals?
  • Have you shown that you can reduce the cost of acquisition and improve the performance of the business?
  • Is the business scalable, how much so, or the likes of which is just measured growth? (Sales oriented and service based businesses generally aren’t scalable)

Funding is the result of such shortcomings being overcome by points of validation (growth, attention, revenue, etc.) sufficiently to substantiate an opportunity.  How much of that do you need?  It depends.

Why collaboration is rewarding

Collaboration is everything
Collaboration is everything

Almost all of the recent books, blogs, and papers supporting innovation highlight the importance of collaboration. Why? For many years, the sole inventor was told that people working together can lead to groupthink–too much consensus and convergent thinking.

I came across an article Why Collaboration Is Essential to Entrepreneurship. This is not only applicable for entrepreneurs rather for everybody in this competitive world. With increasing hustle bustle in city, managing our work is most important thing with respect to our surroundings.  While going to office, we are not sure if any sudden traffic jam happens, we don’t know what is the quality of new paying guest accommodation service, the quality of momo near to our house is good but we have no idea, we are not sure the specific fish is available in the sunday marker which is 10kms from my home etc etc. How can we engage ourself to manage such difficulties, can we ask govt to provide us information, can we ask service providers to contact us about the stock, can we insist traffic cop to intimate us about sudden traffic jam??? No, this can not be possible. So what is the solution? Collaboration. In collaboration, there is an increase in the understanding of diverse perspectives with the development of higher-level thinking as one of the important results. The coordinated efforts of many can accomplish more than the efforts of one or a few separately, that means its the power of “we” much more that power of an individual.  Recent modernization and evolution of technology had made this a new world digitally.  We are in a better position now technologically to share information with friends, relatives than never before. That means, its technology that makes us collaborate with others for  successful out come. If any traffic jam occurs in our way, we immediately share with friends, any important happenings etc can be shared in realtime that makes us more dependent on each other and the return is rewarding. Time for more collaboration.