transparent

a big part of the reason why a founder takes a decision in a particular way is the access to different pieces of information she has. this can range from financials to impact on other orgs, people, other feature requests in queue, how doing X be perceived by users, etc. if you’d like everyone in the company to take the same decision that you’d have taken (if you were in that situation), then it’s only logical that you should provide the same set of information to everyone. of course, there are going to be things that are extremely sensitive which can’t be … Continue reading transparent

college

what to do when you’re in college if you’re looking to start a company eventually? imo, college is the greatest invention to help start companies, more than it’s actual purpose of education. the amount of stuff I learnt from peers far outweighed the traditional classes. it’s the perfect environment for you to not worry about failure and most importantly finding your co-founder. here are some things I wish I had done: b-plan contests: these are mostly not worth anything except for the prize money. don’t spend your time in writing that 16-page business plan. spend your time in actually building stuff there are always going … Continue reading college

SaaS pricing

Here are some of the parameters I found to be essential when pricing a SaaS product. Scale When one of your customers’ doubles in size, does revenue from that customer also double? or at least 1.5x? If revenue is not proportional to the growth curve of your customers, the pricing is incorrect. Habit Is your product becoming a part of daily routine for your customers, at least to a certain section of people? This is important because once it becomes a habit, you don’t have to worry about churn much (the only exception being your product deteriorates in quality) because … Continue reading SaaS pricing

Great ideas come from inexperience

History says it. The disruption in automobile industry wasn’t from Ford, the disruption in travel & renting industry wasn’t from the CEO of Hilton, the disruption in phone industry wasn’t from Nokia or Motorola and so on.. Being inexperienced in something gives you the liberty to question anything. There are no rules. One of India’s famous directors, Mani Ratnam once told about a shot in his film. He never went to a film school and didn’t receive any formal training from any director. In one of his movies, he had asked the cameraman to tilt the camera and put it in … Continue reading Great ideas come from inexperience

Hiring lessons Part 3 – Annoyance

I’ve hired a lot of people, let go some of them, a few of them went to Facebook & Google and a couple to start their own companies. In all these ups & downs, the one strong quality I’ve noticed with people whom I enjoy working (and who are really damn good) is… annoyance. In a positive outlook, it may be called obsession but the feeling expressed to show your obsession is usually annoyance at something wrong/missing. There are so many variables in a startup that it’s not possible to control everything. An easy solution can be to just give … Continue reading Hiring lessons Part 3 – Annoyance

Hiring lessons – Part 2

A startup’s first two hires. Once you raise money, the default action is usually to hire more programmers to build fast and experiment more. Unfortunately things won’t move in the pace you expected it to. A lot of things fall into your plate – setting up insurance, payroll, a small kitchen, visiting the bank for a company credit card, buying computer peripherals & accessories for employees, decorating office space & many more. This leaves very little time to think about product & hiring and hence slowness sets in. The first hire to make is an office manager. It might seem steep to … Continue reading Hiring lessons – Part 2

Hiring lessons – Part 1

I’ve made a ton of mistakes in hiring people and wanted to write down the lessons I’ve learnt till now.  I’m not sure how many parts this post would have, here’s the first one anyway. Speed vs hire Why does a company having 5x more programmers than you, move slowly or at the same pace as you? Apart from the overhead to manage more people, it’s the failure to maintain a high hiring bar that’s causing the slowness. I made this mistake. It’s a very rationale thing for anyone to ensure that the hiring bar is kept high. But why do … Continue reading Hiring lessons – Part 1

Advisor’s probability

  Advisors help a company fasten it’s growth. You ask advice on a burning issue in your startup (there are usually more than one) and if you’ve good advisors, you come back enlightened. Some companies setup exclusive advisory boards. Incubators/accelerators and VC’s also are advisors. Probability What I realized recently which might sound obvious looking back, is every advisor only gives you a probability of their advice working well. And that probability is based on the environment they are in, the startups they watch, the founders they interact with and the company they have previously built. This means, PG’s advice would … Continue reading Advisor’s probability

Startup idea’s worth

How do you judge whether it’s worthy enough to pursue a startup idea? Talk to a hundred potential users. If an overwhelming majority of users say  something similar to ‘It’s almost impossible to get this done but will be absolutely incredible if it exists‘, quit your job and start working on it.

Immigration

Enough has been said about the war for talent in the valley. It’s definitely hard to hire good engineers and it’s just ending up in a zero sum game where Google tries to poach from Facebook, Facebook from Twitter, Twitter from … and so on. And then there are a few engineers in these companies who’d like to work for a startup mostly because they’d want to do one in the near future. In fact, someone built a site for that. It’s getting increasingly easy for good hackers to start companies. Startups are becoming almost risk-free because even if you … Continue reading Immigration