Sep 30

Jeff Bezos on the 3 tenets of running a customer-centric company

Entrepreneurship, General Management Comments Off on Jeff Bezos on the 3 tenets of running a customer-centric company

Sep 10

What marathon training has taught me about life & leadership?

Entrepreneurship, Leadership Comments Off on What marathon training has taught me about life & leadership?

I started training for endurance events 7 years back with Team in Training. Over past 7 years I have done 4 marathons, 1 triathlon and more than 50 half marathons. I have learnt a lot about me, about life and about leadership over these years. Here are few key learnings

  1. Its a marathon not a sprint(think long term): Life is like a marathon so no need to stress out about something at mile 1 when you still have 25 more miles to go. When people stress about something going wrong or something being urgent, I always remind them it is a marathon not a sprint. If you have a long term perspective on things you tend to make better decisions. 

    Lot of times you see teams in perpetual state of emergency, everything needs to get done yesterday. Problem with this is you just burn out the teams. When you have long term view of things(like a marathon) you focus on achieving success in long term and building a healthy team and culture to be successful.
     

  2. One mile at a time: Running 26 miles is a daunting task but if you just focus on one mile at a time it seems much more achievable. Last year while running NYC marathon, my legs started cramping at mile 8, another 18 miles seemed impossible to run. I kept telling myself to just focus on next one mile and then the next one. It took me forever to finish the race but I finished. I knew, I can finish the race if I continue to move forward and just get the next mile done.
    Similarly in any effort you just have to focus on next mile or next task and make forward progress and you will get to the finish line.

  3. Great coaches and mentors enable you to achieve unthinkable success: When I started running in 2010, I could hardly walk a mile. I got introduced to Team in Training through a friend and since then I have worked with multiple coaches and mentors in the program. These folks give there most valuable resource to help others, their time. I would not have been able to complete my first half marathon or my latest full marathon without these coaches & mentors. They helped me through every aspect of running from how to pace myself to right shoes or nutrition. They are the reason of what I can do today. 
    This is no different in other part of life, finding and reaching out to right coaches and mentors is key to success. No one is good at everything, know what you need help with and reach out to people who are experts.
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  4. Have a mission/purpose bigger than just the task at hand: Team in training is endurance training arm of Leukemia and Lymphoma society. You train for endurance events but you are also raising money to fund cure for blood cancers. When things get tough over time, the inspiration that you are doing this not just for you but for a greater good keeps you going. When you are at mile 20 and ready to give up but you cannot because you just cannot give up on mission. That is what keeps you going…
    This is also the reason organizations built on higher purpose having passionate employees get lot more done.
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  5. Enjoy the journey with great team: Humans by nature are social animal; having a great team is key for us to be successful. We go for our long runs every Saturday morning and I never miss that practice. Just knowing there are other team members waiting for you to run is such a motivation to get up on every Saturday whether it is rainy, snowy or sunny to go out to run. You just don’t want to let your team down and you want to be there for others. Also remember you will run 26.2 miles on race day but you will be running 100s of miles before that to train and you want to be around people you would enjoy those miles because you will not get a medal for those miles. Smile
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  6. Compete against yourself not others: I am confident I will never win a marathon. I don’t try to compete with anyone else when I run marathons. I compete against myself, it is to prove to myself I can finish or I want to beat my last time but it is all about setting a goal that I will be proud off. Similarly in work life I don’t try to compete with others around me, it is all about setting goals and meeting them.
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  7. Getting to start line is the most difficult thing:  If you get to start line you will get to finish line. We all are capable of way more than what we think we are. Taking the first step and getting to the start line is the most important thing.

Image result for nyc marathon start blue coral

Nowadays I focus a lot more on getting projects/initiatives to start line and I am confident a great team will get it to the finish line by focusing on one mile at a time. Smile

Jun 07

Really awesome story had to repost. Smile Single customer interaction can change your company…

Several years ago, a single problem customer changed the fate of my company. Here’s the story.

In business, we’re often all about the numbers–occasionally to a fault. I’m not saying statistics and metrics aren’t useful tools. Sometimes, however, the success or failure of an enterprise comes down to individual interaction–say, a handshake or a phone call.

Let me give you a good example.

In 1995, I bootstrapped a tech company, Broadcast Software. We created digital audio and automation software for broadcast radio stations. After four years, we had 16 employees and customers in 40 countries.

But we were at a transition point. If companies need to grow or die, we were in need of a transfusion. We had grown beyond my ability to fund future growth out of my back pocket, and it was time to get outside capital. It also turned out to be time for the tech bubble to burst. Our potential funding sources instantly disappeared.

I was a hands-on CEO. I had written the original code and knew many of our customers personally. I had told my employees that the buck stopped with me, that I’d be willing to speak with any customer they couldn’t help or satisfy. If need be, they should even give out my personal number.

The $4 Million Complaint Call | Inc.com

Dec 06

Awesome articles on what should startups invest and not invest in. Smile  HumbledMBA has really great blog…

Timesink

Stuff we startups do that doesn’t delight users:

Office space
Launch parties
Health insurance plans
Salary negotiations
Founder equity splits
Series F stock
Office Food
Team-building activities
CRM systems
Bookkeeping
Head count
Working in SOMA
Convertible debt caps
Valuations
TechCrunch
Karma scores
ISOs
Powerpoint
Business Cards
Banks
Lawyers
Desks
1099s
Bug Trackers
Agile Processes
Advisory Boards
Hiring
Cap Tables
Payroll
Meetups
Meetings

Of course, much of this stuff still needs to get done.  At some point.  And some of it really is important to the process that eventually creates delight for users.  But none of it directly delights users.  They’re all inputs.  None of it is product.  When you build a great product, one that delights users and achieves product-market fit, you’ll have lots of time to work on all these things and optimize them to your heart’s content.  When your product is not even built yet, none of this stuff matters.  But your startup, in the pre-product phase, is basically a ticking time bomb.  The only thing that can prevent it from exploding is user delight.  User delight attracts funding, enhances morale, builds determination, earns revenue…Until you get to user delight, you’re always at risk of running out of money or, much more likely, losing a key engineer to something more interesting.  Time is your most precious resource.

Don’t. Waste. Time.

Don’t. Waste. Time. – humbledMBA

Jun 23

Aug 16

Good Article…

A Threat to Startups

Updated August 10, 2010, 12:08 PM

Brad Burnham is a partner at Union Square Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund located in New York City. This was written with Fred Wilson, also a partner at the firm.

We believe that Google and Verizon’s proposed policy principles to preserve an open Internet came out of a good faith effort to bring some clarity to the market for Internet applications and access. But we fear that this agreement is a compromise that does not serve the next great startup enterprise well.

A Threat to Startups – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Aug 16

Net neutrality has been topic of discussion especially since news about Google and Verizon deal came out. More info here. I personally think Net neutrality is super important especially for startups. Our economy runs on startup and small businesses and letting Google and Verizon decide whose data is more important on web is just wrong. It means in future Google can pay to push its content for example YouTube and no one else will be able to compete. Will try to consolidate other good articles on the topic on the blog. 

Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed.[1][2][3]

The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access.

Though the term did not enter popular use until several years later, since the early 2000s advocates of net neutrality and associated rules have raised concerns about the ability of broadband providers to use their last mile infrastructure to block Internet applications and content (e.g., websites, services, protocols), particularly those of competitors. In the US particularly, but elsewhere as well, the possibility of regulations designed to mandate the neutrality of the Internet has been subject to fierce debate.

Neutrality proponents claim that telecom companies seek to impose a tiered service model in order to control the pipeline and thereby remove competition, create artificial scarcity, and oblige subscribers to buy their otherwise uncompetitive services. Many believe net neutrality to be primarily important as a preservation of current freedoms.[4] Vinton Cerf, considered a "father of the Internet" and co-inventor of the Internet Protocol, Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web, and many others have spoken out in favor of network neutrality.

Network neutrality – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aug 05

Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch

Advancing technologies and their swift adoption are upending traditional business models. Senior executives need to think strategically about how to prepare their organizations for the challenging new environment.

AUGUST 2010 • Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and James Manyika

Source: McKinsey Global Institute

Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch article, business trends information technology, High Tech

In This Article
  • Trend 1: Distributed cocreation moves into the mainstream
    • Trend 2: Making the network the organization
      • Trend 3: Collaboration at scale
        • Trend 4: The growing ‘Internet of Things’
          • Trend 5: Experimentation and big data
            • Trend 6: Wiring for a sustainable world
              • Trend 7: Imagining anything as a service
                • Trend 8: The age of the multisided business model
                  • Trend 9: Innovating from the bottom of the pyramid
                    • Trend 10: Producing public good on the grid

                    Two-and-a-half years ago, we described eight technology-enabled business trends that were profoundly reshaping strategy across a wide swath of industries.1 We showed how the combined effects of emerging Internet technologies, increased computing power, and fast, pervasive digital communications were spawning new ways to manage talent and assets as well as new thinking about organizational structures.

                    Since then, the technology landscape has continued to evolve rapidly. Facebook, in just over two short years, has quintupled in size to a network that touches more than 500 million users. More than 4 billion people around the world now use cell phones, and for 450 million of those people the Web is a fully mobile experience. The ways information technologies are deployed are changing too, as new developments such as virtualization and cloud computing reallocate technology costs and usage patterns while creating new ways for individuals to consume goods and services and for entrepreneurs and enterprises to dream up viable business models. The dizzying pace of change has affected our original eight trends, which have continued to spread (though often at a more rapid pace than we anticipated), morph in unexpected ways, and grow in number to an even ten.2

                    Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch – McKinsey Quarterly – High Tech – Strategy & Analysis

                    May 25

                    Another amazing video. 🙂 This one is on Elevator Pitch. :) 

                    May 25

                    I was looking for something completely different and found this. It is awesome. 🙂