Influence others and make your friend

Smile, love
Smile, love

Networking and influencing others are the basic necessities for any business. Without too many contacts and networking it would be almost impossible to grow your business. So are these qualities to increase network of influence learned? Here I have listed some of the best techniques used by world’s renowned leaders.

The very first thing that comes to my mind for winning somebody is Dog. You meet him everyday in your street, the moment you are within 10 feet, he starts waging his tail. If you stop and pat him, he will almost jump out of his skin to show you how much he likes you. And you know very well that behind show of affection on his part, there are no ulterior motives: he does not want to sell you any insurance nor any real estate deal. Have you ever thought that a dog the only animal that does not have to work for living? A hen has to lay eggs, a cow has to give milk. But a dog makes his living by giving you nothing but love. This is the first thing we have to learn is loving others without any strings attached.

The second most important thing is listening others and curiosity to know. When a patient visits to a psychiatrist, the most important job of psychiatrist is to listen. They are paid because of their ability to listen. Everybody wants to say. The cheapest thing you can find is the advice. However, nobody wants to listen. The american telephone company once did a survey to find out which word is used frequently and your guess is correct: its “I”, “I”, “I”. It was used 3900 times in 500 telephone conversation.

If we merely try to impress people and get people interested in us, we will never have many true, sincere friends.

The third important thing to succeed in any business is smile. An insincere grin? No that does not fool anybody. We know it is mechanical and we resent it. Here we are talking about real smile, coming from heart, a kind of smile that that will bring a good price in a market place. There is a far more information in a smile than frown.

The person who knows how to use these three characteristics i.e. love, curiosity to know others and love, are always successful in professional life and personal life.

Some of the mistakes by entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur is also a human being and prone to error. Here are couple of mistakes I have compiled from internet and are very well applicable to everybody.

Top 10 mistakes Start Up Founder do at the Funding Stage of his/her business; 1. Quickly jumps into every opportunity by not understanding that many are traps.

2. Believing all the discussion will lead to success.

3. Gets disappointed quickly at the time of early rejection.

4. Instantly abusing / blaming the investor if the discussion fails.

5. Communication gap, understanding the requirement needs to be improved.

6. Approaching irrelevant opportunity and push them to listen to their solutions.

7. Glorifying own solutions – Particularly when it is a IT based solution. Underestimating other domain or non tech space.

8. Always looking to connect instantly with the opportunity without understanding that the person on the other side also engaged with other commitments.

9. The mindset of others not understanding the importance of their solutions. Mis-interpretation, Mis-quoting of others words.

10. Needs to know the difference between the investor and middle men.

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.

Startup shutdowns in India

Startup Shutdowns In India: 8 Startups That Called It Quits In 2017

Today, there was a news that 8 startups closed their office in 2017. This is not a good news for startup industry and it must have impacted everybody associated with these startups. I wish they will again rise with a new beginning.

Last year, between January and August 2016, reportedly 29 startup shutdowns in India took place. Hyperlocal startups were the hardest hit. As compared to 2015, reported 15 startup shutdowns that were reported in media.

If you further analyze these startups and their business model, then you can find that most of these startups are some kind of copy or replica of an existing successful startup or solution. Copying another business idea is permissible as long as there is some kind of innovation added into it and market is yet to get saturation in terms of competitions. But blindly copying an existing business model will be a disastrous. In the travel space, there were some unsuccessful startups like travelgenie, travelchacha, etc. Its not that their product is bad but they simply failed to attract customer. Most of the impacted startups are in hotel bookings and aggregation, hyperlocal, niche ecommerce and foodtech.

In reality, making small changes to things that already exist and successful might lead to a local maximum but it wont help in getting into global success. FlipKart is still a Indian retail giant, with almost no global presence. You could build a best version of iPhone app to order toilet papers but iteration without a bold plan wont take it to 0 to 1. A company is the strangest place for all for an indefinite optimism i.e. why should you expect your business to succeed without a plan to make it happen? Darwinism idea of evolution maybe fine for other context but in startup, intelligent design works best.

Innovation or customization

Our future depends upon how we try to progress in our day to day life. The progress means changing every aspect of life with regard to time with some new happenings. When we talk about new happenings, we generally think of improving some existing solutions and then adding glue to make it different. That is what makes it a different  and with proven success in it. In the history, there are enterprises succeeded by copying and updating existing solution and even making the solution much better compare to original idea, this is hybrid and there is nothing wrong in it. But some time, some companies copy an existing solution and then modify it in such a way that the modified product is termed as innovative one.

Apple has changed the way we use mobile phones, though before iPhone there were Palm OS with touch screen but the actual innovation for the User happened after iPhone came to market. This is not innovation but this is customization that refines how User should use phone. There was a paradigm shift on how User should use phone using touch screen features. This came when Apple was on the verge of perform or perish. I still remember those days of attending Steve Jobs’s iPhone presentation. The same way, ebay created a market place of used items and it was instant success. These are the few instances of how consumer’s usage pattern was redefined using technology.

Its not always true that innovation starts from 0. Some time innovation comes from existing products too. Twitter is another example of customization of blog and sms, which made Users to write anything of 140 characters.

The summary is, irrespective of whether you copy an idea or invent something new, it all matters how your product/service impacts Consumer behavior and how its perceived by consumer.

Hiring for a Startup : A challenge

Hiring resources is always a challenge for recruitment team. But when you are hiring for a startup then the challenge is doubled and risky too. The very first thing for an early stage startup is to have good resources for product development. A good resource also needs too remuneration, package in addition to good facilities. However for a startup, such facilities are not available and its difficult to provide such packages to attract talented resources. But one thing that is guaranteed in start is challenging work. A startup can challenge an established enterprise in terms of innovation. Big enterprises always advocate for innovation but when it comes to actual implementation, they look for a case study or two for the idea to make sure that the idea can work. But when you are executing an idea after verifying case studies then its not innovative idea. As per wiki “Innovation can be defined simply as a “new idea, device or method”” that means its “new”. When we are talking about a “new” entity, then its quite difficult to get case studies. But big enterprises cannot work, AFAIK, on an idea which is not implemented or its not proved that this will work. But startup are completely different, they are headed by people of ex of some big enterprises where they failed to convince their higher authority to implement the idea. Then they start a startup to execute the idea, which is innovative. Coming back to my hiring strategy, its always a risk. In the beginning, I started working with freelancers. One good thing about freelancers is that they will create an impression that they can take you to the moon and its their pastime to do that. However, it reality its quite opposite. I remember, I once recruited a freelancer from Delhi to create REST apis using PHP. Though I had to throw the whole code base into dustbin due to poor quality of code but I still remember her words “If you pay for a maruti car, you cannot ask for a BMW car” that means the buggy code is fine as the payment for the work is less, but it was a good payment too. What a logic. I then started working with interns, in the beginning got some good interns from KIIT University.  These guys are really good and created a framework for my android project within 6 weeks, thats truly an achievement from a student in final semester. After interns I tried to recruit full time employees. It was a good experience. In Bangalore, there are lots of fresh engineering graduates looking for job. But all of them cannot be recruited and cannot start from day one. They need training and mentoring to be productive. I generally dont conduct interview, rather give them some assignments and based on their performance I take decision. When you know how to use google then its almost not an issue to do any assignments, thats exactly happened. Some candidates beautifully completed assignment in technology which they dont know anything. I was happy that I got some good candidates but alas. That is the experience, I have till now. But some engineering graduates are really good and I can say its luck that matters to get a good fresh engineer for your startup. That is the story.

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.