6 Tweets About Adulthood, Obama, Startup, Changing World, India

In order to be regular at publishing on my blog, I’m testing this new things.

Every weekend, I’ll publish 6 tweets here. The objective of this activity is to push myself writing thoughtful pieces under 140 characters. Here we goes with the first 6.

 

Fireside Chat with Sanjeev Bikhchandani of Naukri.com — #TiECon Lahore

“Waqas don’t lose money on sales. E-commerce is more about commerce and less about ‘E’ thing.”

This is the first thing I learned yesterday from Sanjeev Bikhchandani, while he handed over me his business card. He is founder of naukri.com a company he founded in March 1997, now he serves as the founder and executive vice chairman of InfoEdge India, a traded Internet company valued at $700 Million.

I and Sidra, were especially interested in his story of building a company from scratch. And we learned quite a lot.

Today he was talking to young (& some old) entrepreneurs, at an event by TiECon Lahore. This was actually a conversation between Sanjeev and Monis Rehaman (CEO of Rozee.pk). The conversation was very interesting and thoughtful, that is what you expect when two leaders of recruitment portal sit together. Sanjeev shares his experiences and lessons to entrepreneurs distilled from his experience of building naukri.com and other startups where he advises and invest.

See the points below, I am just putting them in bullets:

  • The best way to build a company is: find an unsolved problem and build a business around it. That is the best way.
  • Don’t start startup just for the sake of big valuations to raise maximum funding. It’ll lead you to nothing, instead focus on building a pure business first.
  • Great companies are built out of competitions.
  • For the first 6 months of naukri.com I hadn’t any computer. I was doing a job at 5k and a computer was priced at 100k those days, so I was using this computer of my friend. And he would let me use it from 10pm till 4am.
  • I was fortunate to have customer insight of the business I was starting, so it was a big advantage at then. If you get to have a customer insight, then you don’t have to spend lot of time and energy on market research.
  • Avail the opportunity to max. Example: I had data of the HR managers of 100s of companies, so we built a mailing list and started writing them why naukri.com is right channel for them. It worked!
  • Know the value of money, spend it wisely in business. We rejected an investor who was encouraging us to spend all his investment in advertising, and that too within 6 months. So we instead, found out someone who had approach like us and accepted their investment.
  • I learned how hard it was to raise the revenue through Internet, in early days.
  • When the company was expending, we hired really good guys. Things didn’t end there, I accept the reality that I shouldn’t be the only one to make all decision, as I was doing for past few years. We gave this new talent the decision power and supported within company. This all lead to progress.
  • I approached to a guy who could build a software for us, it was his first time to make such a software to integrate with our site, and I had no money to pay him. So instead of spending time on raising money, I shared equity with him. It worked very well.
  •  I was approaching to the right kind of people at right time. Like, when I needed a programmer: I did not go for any big name or someone working at large company. They wouldn’t work for me at that time, so I went to people who were working from home office. They did the job.
  • Along side, I am engaged in building a first of its kind university in India, which is focused on Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and it offers students a 4 year baccalaureate program and lets students choose their final subjects after two years of study.
  • Entrepreneur is about making choices and then working hard to make your dreams come true, if I would been doing the first job I did. I couldn’t afford the kind of education for my daughter, what I’m providing now.
  • I make milestones for myself. In 5 years, I’ll be at that stage of business and life, and in next 5 I’ll be somewhere better, and so on. That’s how I see it all.

Wow! Thank you Sanjeev and Monis, that was quite a learning + inspiring session. Fellow participants, if I missed anything, please include that in comments below.

Personal Note for my blog readers: This post might come as a surprise. I’m doing fine and HOMETOWN is making remarkable achievements. I’ll be making my remarks later this week. 🙂 Thank you.

You Are Either Problem Solver, Or Not Entrepreneur At All

First time entrepreneurs or young one like me, or most of us often ask this question to themselves, and people we meet around.

In the picture above is ‘Sharo‘ who for the first time is going to start her company.

And when she puts her questions before people who claim to have good experience in business. They answer it like this.

Or worse, here she is again:

Everyone is answering entirely from his/her own experience.

In this picture, she wants to learn what possible challenges, opportunities, and environment she will encounter on the road of entrepreneurship. Or in other words what advice you have for someone who’s thinking to cross the wall.

For answers, she goes to Tom, Ravi and David, all three of them have some experience in their fields.

Their answers are: TREES, MOUNTAINS and WATER.

Which means, Tom thinks she should learn how to survive in forests.

While Ravi believes, she must learn mountain climbing and how to survive in extreme hot and cold temprature.

And David recommends to focus on swimming and boating, which can help her to cross streams and rivers on her way.

What you think? What should she learn? Three of these skills, or every possible thing she can learn?

Here is what I think.

As a human or more specifically as an entrepreneur, we never know what challenges we shall have behind the wall of our comfortzone. And successful people have this one habit, they go behind the wall with a problem solving mindset and face everything on the way.

They do not assume specific environment, conditions, or challenges. Though each of them is jack of some trades, and master of one or two.

But this is their mindset which matters the most.

Today, I briefly talked with my team that, do not assume that all the challenges and opportunties will be the same as we percieve them now. Things are changing all the time, so does the challenges and opportunities which it brings.

Just make sure, you’ve allingned yourself well with the changes and you have this confidence that you shall solve every problem which would come between you and your destination.

Got it! Have problem solving mind? Oh WOW!

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.