Speed, Relevancy, and Money — 3 Things Every New Startup Should Keep

It takes courage to try anything new, including and especially a ‘startup.’ And more risks and fears are added, when you’re from a small town of Pakistan. I am doing this, and I am learning important things along the way. This post talk about today’s learning.

Truth is: When you work at a (new) startup, you work on many things, and it feels like you’re doing everything possible (to make it). Because you and your team is all passionate about the company.

But the bigger truth is, that you’re probably doing many things some/many of them are actually not helping your startup at all. It can be anything, from creating unrelated content, to connecting with worthless people. Reading Mashable to going to a bad VC, and anything in between.

So how should everyone in startup do the work, which is good and worth executing.

I have realised, here are three factors which should be added to each action in a new startup. You can use them as a filter, or as a measuring tool.

  1. Speed
  2. Relevancy
  3. Money
(in no particular order)

1. SPEED

In early days of any startup, SPEED is your friend.

It is extremely important to make sure that what you and your team is doing is right. And you learn this by doing, learning and changing fast. This is mainly because world is changing fast, and startup should always be faster than the already existing solutions.

SPEED in actions help you

  • reach to the result faster.
  • quit the wrong actions early.
  • stay ahead of your competitors
  • waste less time.
  • waste less resources.
  • learn and achieve many things, which you’ll know.

2. RELEVANCY

Once I asked to Robert Scoble, “How likely my a Pakistani startup can be funded from Valley?”

He replied, “World is very noisy, it is difficult to attract.”

We entrepreneurs are distract to many irrelevant news, apps, gadgets, meetups and Facebook friends.

Stay relevant, do relevant, meet with relevant

But there is so much relevant to a new startup, every problem looks to us like an opportunity. We want to convert every person into our customer. We want to go to every event when it is relevant.

Calm down, take a deep breath and glass of water.

Do what is most relevant out of possible doing.

If you’re not sure what is more relevant, then ask to someone who knows (may be CEO, co-founder, mentor, or to an entrepreneur who tried the same thing).

And even if he can not help. Then read the SPEED part again, you’ll know it yourself.

3. MONEY

Money is needed to build and run your startup.

Money is what you want to make. And if money is not your priority, but getting bigger success. Even then you need 1$ Billion to buy Instagram.

As I wrote earlier.

..every action generates a re-action, so get something valuable (money) from your first action (work), which you can you use in re-action (life) practically sometime.

Everything we do (at startup) costs money, so make sure you’re saving and making money.

Conclusion:

Considering a new hire? OR marketing campaign? OR opening a new office? Or quieting your startup?

Your action should be controlled by:

  1. Shall it take me to my goal faster then rest? (SPEED)
  2. Is it the most relevant task I should be doing right now? (RELEVANCY)
  3. Shall it bring me money in any term? ($)

You’re ready to go.

Hometown Note

At Hometown office, we have a small white board where any team member says something.

This is what’s written for today:

  1. Work together as a team.
  2. Stay focused on your one thing.
  3. Our goal is to create customers ‘believers.’
  4. Make mental note(s) everyday.

Image

Set for Shipping

Just now when I was coming out of my washroom, I saw an ant moving on the sink. At first it did not look like an ant at all. I thought it is anyother comparatively bigger insect. But when I got closer, it was an ant holding a piece of food bigger then itself. I think we become what we carry.

We can carry anything, a camera, a hope, some anger, business idea, a flower, thoughts of revenge, a regret or anything out there. Some time you can even carry an idea which could connect 850 million people. In short, everyone of us is set to ship something.

I often whisper: “A lot gets changed, and it’ll be changed more by time.”

Lately I have been in lot of changes, mostly positives.

Now on this blog I want to talk about what I am doing, rather than what I or you should be trying becoming.

As some of you know, I am trying building a startup. A real business where I have to convince people to buy my product (mostly shoes). In fact I am learning how to make physical products from scratch. And how to ship when it is hard.

Now I am realising this more than ever that why someone like ‘Sheeda Dabay Wala’ (Sheeda box maker) is smarter than guys with an MBA from a leading business school.

Entrepreneurship is fun, but at the same time, probably the most sensitive fun one could ever have. For example, yesterday someone stole my motor bike from the parking. This bike was gifted by my brother to help me in my business. And now it is with me no more, but then no matter what, let’s keep shipping.

Let’s keep shipping for what we set overselves.

In coming days and months, I shall write how I am building the business and what is important which I am learning, relearning or unlearning.

My focus will be more on the business and workable side of the world rather than just preaching how to be a better human. Better human is important, but one can help more people if you have the idea of getting something physical out of that.

In short I am all set now. The site name is changed from ‘Waqas A Day’ in to Waqas Ali.

And yes, now we have a tagline/message:  “Set for Shipping.”

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What Makes Anyone A Hero (story)

This Monday afternoon, I was walking back from a bank where I had some work. On my way back, there were few cars parked on the service road (frontage road) when I heard the sound of breaking glass.

It was a guy, who broke the door glass of a parked car to get the laptop + bag out. While his friend was on motorcycle ready to leave any second. When the guy near car saw me turning back, he signaled me to go back. But I kept advancing carefully.

The guy felt nervous, left the laptop bag in the car, and escaped on the bike with his friend.

Now I had no idea, where is the car owner. As there were couple of big buildings around and he could be in any of them. I thought to wait and guard his valuable bag and other stuff in the car. Actually I was afraid those guys can come back to take the bag. I waited for 30 min till the owner came.

When I was waiting, the idea of stealing came into my mind too. One of the major reasons was, I badly want and need a laptop.

I have no laptop of my own, this one which I am using now is of my friend Sidra and she is so nice to give it to me. But yes she needs it back too.

It was not just the thought of stealing came into my mind. Then I said to myself, “This laptop is very valuable to the owner as well, and he needs it to work on it too. So honestly return this property back to whoever is the owner.”

It is so nice now to think about what I decided, I felt like a hero after this. In fact some of my friends said this too. But believe me, it is ain’t so easy. And at the same time, it ain’t so difficult.

Later that evening, I got many good words from my friend and a very encouraging phone call from mom. That is the best reward.

Here is the response to my Facebook status update:

Click on the screenshot to friend me on Facebook.

Let’s close it, so what makes us a hero.

1. I and you are always surrounded with the thoughts of being selfish and taking share of someone’ else. What matter is the patience, believing that earned is always better than the given.

2. If someone asks me, who is the most special person in the world. I would say that is me. Everyday I go against myself, to go with myself.

I am a hero!

Did you know you are a hero too?

 

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Coming Back!

Lately offline work has been hard on me.

Sometimes I am taking 2o minutes to write a short email, in hope it’ll save receiver’s time and they would reply right away. But they do not.

Writing a post is difficult. Not writing is even worse, especially when it is very important to you and to your loved ones.

In short, I am getting back to blogging from Monday. This is all what I can say for now.

Waqas is Twenty Four!

Sorry it is been weeks since I have written a post (or may be that’s a good thing).

It is my birthday. I am 24 now.

Each year my birthday realizes me many things. I look into past and future. Prepare myself to be a better person, tried to do the same last year. I failed. I succeeded sometimes too.

It is great. It is all great where I find myself now.

I am not really sure how to say, but let’s keep it simple:

Thank you for being with. I am thankful I am still alive. And universe is giving me an opportunity to work on wonderful projects like leading Hometown Shoes.

I have learned:

“A lot gets changed, and it’ll be changed more by time.”

I am so glad to initiate few changes, and I hope this year it’ll be changed more.

HUG .. ✿•*¨`*•.¸(¯`w´¯)¸.•´*¨`*•✿

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Pakistan blocks sites which contains word ‘Shoes’ in the URL

Like me, if you live on Internet and Pakistan, strong are the chances you’re already familiar with the Authority of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). We know PTA from their active involvement in our SMS, Watching us online, and yes banning Facebook and other websites in general.

Most recently over 1,000 porn sites were blocked by internet service providers (ISP), directed by PTA. It was also stated by a source, “They are adding to the list on a daily basis.”

Here is where I and PTA get face-to-face, my problem is not like they have blocked my favorite porn site. History is history, we all share it. Instead they added my innocent site in the list too, and it is blocked today.

My website (http://hometownshoes.com/) is about selling shoe, not even close to porn. But who knows, when the ‘athletes foot’ is banned. May be they found a link between shoesathletes foot>something unethical, but I don’t know about.

This is what I see, when I open my website

When you visit the link in Pakistan, it reads: “THE SITE IS RESTRICTED” and site name appears as PTCL. So I instantly called to PTCL helpline inquiring them the problem my website is facing. But after a 13 min long wait, their busy CSR told that it is blocked from PTA and PTCL has nothing to do with it.

While writing this post, too much to my surprise, I find I am not alone. In fact, PTA has blocked all sites in Pakistan which contain the word ‘shoes’ in its URL and first of it took place one Nov 01, 2011. Now somebody please explain me what is wrong with sites containing shoes.com in its address. That is totally ridiculous.

From its website, PTA claims ‘‘To promote and protect the interests of users of telecommunication services in Pakistan.” But instead from my experience PTA is causing loss to my business and now I’m insecure about running my website in Pakistan. How sad..!

Any ways, I visited PTA website assuming for some help, but in vain. No one answered my call from any of their contact numbers. More, I wrote an email, hoping that they would solve my problem at an earliest when they see my complain message.

This is not at all childish or minor mistake. PTA has the responsibility to make our life easier on web and telecommunication in general. But such continuous stupid mistakes are making it worse for people like me. I am angry and sad at the same time.

PTA is keeping to over use its authority. Shall we stop them?