Tuesday, March 20, 2018

"Prioritization is the Foundational Skill for Startup Founders"

In the inaugural edition of its Podcast series, Accel India's Enterprise Technology focused partner Shekhar Kirani provides interesting insights on the patterns & dynamics he has observed among both successful (including, of course, Freshworks) and failed startup founding teams.

Especially interesting is Shekhar's emphasis on the discernment that founders need to have on what to focus on and when (~minute 25.51 in the audio).
Everyday there will be 100s of things you want to do. (Startup CEOs/Founders) need to prioritize which of the problems they need to solve This Quarter, This Month, Today and Now.
Also, to break a large problem into smaller problems and set up experimentation to validate whether it is a problem worth solving and/or how to go about it.
Other highlights:
  • Importance of "Learn-ability" for founders" (~23.15 minutes)
  • Why "Story Telling" is a key attribute that a Startup CEO should have (to attract employees, investors and customers) 


Link to Audio: Here via SoundCloud

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Quick Link: Talk by Amy Chang of Accompany

Interesting Stanford E-Comer talk by Ex-Googler Amy Chang who has cofounded Accompany which is leveraging AI to take on LinkedIn.

Highlights: Making Time to Network (while in college) and at work (including why she prefers in  person meeting over coffee and walks over conferences, etc - which is part of the Q&A at the end of the talk), Pushing One's Comfort Zone and thoughts on Hiring and Women Executives.

Quick Link: Who will bell the AI cat?

Interesting Stanford E-Corner talk. titled "Making Technology Less Manipulative" by Tristan Harris,  Founder of Time Well Spent, an NGO that aims to prevent technology from hijacking us.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The 10 Commandments of Startup Success

Tim Ferriss has a great compilation from the "Masters of Scale" podcast titled "The 10 Commandments of Startup Success with Reid Hoffman". Here are the commandments themselves (along with the audio time stamps) including some quotes and extracts from the audio that I found especially interesting (in italics).

1: Expect rejection. [09:14]

2: Hire like your life depends on it. It does. [19:26]

“A combination of Persistence and Curiosity (what you care about) is a great indicator of future success of a knowledge worker” - Eric Schmidt

“For sales, we hire Olympian and football players, because it indicates the level of discipline they have developed at an early age.” - Eric Schmidt

“Are your people self confident enough to have people stronger than them around them. You should never hire someone to work for you who you would not like to work for (in an alternate universe”)” -  Mark Zuckerberg 

3: In order to scale, you have to do things that don’t scale. [25:37]

4: Raise more money than you think you need — potentially a lot more. [36:18]

"Take the money whenever and wherever it becomes available. You never know when funding might become unavailable." -Reid Hoffman

5: Release your products early enough that they can still embarrass you. Imperfect is perfect. [44:45]

6: Decide. Decide. Decide. [1:00:16]

The fighter pilot who has the faster OODA loop wins. The other one dies.” - Silicon Valley saying (OODA = Military origin decision cycle of Observe, Orient, Decide and Act.).

Commandment 7: Be prepared to both make and break plans. [1:03:13]

“Figure out what your systems are going to be later (when you become a larger company) and do it now” - Sheryl Sandberg. (She provides the “not so silly” example of how there was resentment among employees when Facebook - since it had become large so quickly - had to take back its practice of celebrating everyone’s birthday.)

8: Don’t tell your employees how to innovate. [1:07:21]

9: To create a winning company culture, make sure every employee owns it. [01:12:32]

Netflix compares themselves to sport teams (which is about performance) and not family (since the latter implies unconditional love).

10: Have grit and stick with your hero’s journey. [1:23:22]

11: Pay it forward. Use the momentum of your own success to move the success of others. [1:26:03]

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

How to Avoid the Time Sinks called Meetings

A great episode of Seeking Wisdom points out why and how any company that is serious about productivity, should minimize its number of meetings. If at all, these Necessary Evils need to happen, the accompanying blog post provides some "guardrails". Extracts:

  • Please try to minimize the number of meetings we have. Try hard to get it done without a meeting.
  • When you do have a meeting please keep them small and focused on a clear agenda. Unless the meeting is a 1:1 there should be clear questions we are trying to answer during the meeting.
  • No Sidebars — please don’t have side conversations during a meeting.
  • No Laptops / Phones. Unless you’re presenting please leave your laptop/phone behind.
  • Participate or excuse yourself — if you’re not adding value or could spend your time better please politely excuse yourself from the meeting. One exception, all-hands meetings.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Martin Reeves: How to build a business that lasts 100 years

In this TED Talk, Martin Reeves offers an inter-disciplinary approach on how entrepreneurs can build long lasting companies with ideas from Biology.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sattvik Mishra: Experimenting with content

In this Ink Talk, Sattvik Mishra, Scoop Whoop shares his lessons and the thinking that drives stories at ScoopWhoop.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Best Video on Blockchain (Maybe)

In a TED video, Don Tapscott (@dtapscott) lucidly explains Blockchain, the technology underlying Bitcoin and how it can be used in other areas including securing land ownership rights, cheaper remittances, protect private data and make self enforcing contracts for music and financial instruments. The talk includes how Blockchain overcomes the problem of "Double Spend Problem" faced in the Internet of Information in order to create an Internet of Value.



Thursday, June 2, 2016

Off Topic: How exactly does corruption money find its way to Swiss Banks & NY Apartments?

NPR's Planet Money has a fascinating account of how the son of Taiwan's (now former) President routed bribery money from suitcases full of cash to a Swiss Bank and from there (via 3 layers of shell companies) used it to buy an high-end apartment in New York.