E::Scribblings

Current topics of discussion: Entrepreneurship & Product Management

No time to maintain two separate blogs!

A couple of weeks back, I had created a new blog to post articles on my learnings about Product Management, but one week into my new role and I am pretty sure I will not be able to maintain two blogs, hence merging the other blog contents into this existing one. Hopefully the auto import of the posts has been taken care by WordPress.

After all, Product Management is one of the most essential ingredients of an entrepreneur’s journey. Sounds like an interesting topic to explore for my next post ;)

 

How to get a Product Manager job – by Shreyas Doshi, PM @ Google

Wish I had seen this presentation before I started applying for the Product Manager role, but looking back I am happy I covered most of these points. The search process was extremely tough with a lot of self-introspection required along the way, but it was definitely worth the time spent in refining my career objectives.

Check out the presentation below:

Some pointers for a new Product Manager role

Although there are many more points to consider when entering a new role as Product Manager in a new job, the article here does a great job at providing key points to consider. What is important is the relationship angle that has to be dealt with in the beginning, and try not to stamp your authority too hard before you understand the sensitivity of the existing corporate structure.

Read the complete article here.

New Product Management position: Things to know

Prismatic is an amazing tool, have you tried it? I have been using it a lot recently to follow-up on relevant bits of information on my topics of interest, such as Product Management, Ecommerce, Arduino, Robotics, etc. And this tool never disappoints.

Just came across this blog post by someone called Geoffrey Anderson (who I will be following up on quite keenly now). In this post, he is talking about some of the things to take care of when starting in a new product management position in a company. This could not have come at a better time for me given my situation. I certainly look to write a lot more in the future regarding my personal experiences, but for now, you can find his post here:

Starting a new Product Management Position

Here, he has just skimmed the surface as I am pretty sure, there is a lot more going on underneath. I look forward to him writing more on this, and will follow-up with more such awesome content on this blog.

Cheers!

Start-up ecosystem in India

Google Wallet loses money on EVERY transaction

Recently came across this article that exposes the facts behind Google’s economics as involved in the wallet play. With iOS6 introducing the Passbook, it is pretty clear where these technology firms want to go, but is the path that clear? As mentioned in the article, unless you are big enough to take a significant financial hit in order to hopefully capitalise on something bigger (Yes, data game is bigger than wallet game!), it could be really difficult to even survive among these competitors.

Since I have been involved in this space now, I have observed many companies pivoting towards turning people’s mobile phones into wallets, either through NFC (which would still need quite some time for mass adoption, and to be honest, the world now might have moved beyond the problem it is trying to face) or other technological means. The good thing is that nobody has the answer yet so leaves the door open for increased positive competition, while the bad thing is that big-reward-games like these sometimes ignore the advantage of collaboration to make lives easier for consumers. Well again, the dilemma is whether you wanna be a larger piece of a smaller pie or a smaller piece of a larger pie. Different companies are attacking this problem from varied angles, and I really hope they can work out something for everyone’s favour eventually – to solve a real problem rather than create problems and suggest a solution.

In any case, here is the link to the article: Google Wallet is losing money on EVERY transaction.

Dave McClure’s inspiring blog post

Found an inspiring blog post from Dave McClure (of 500Startups fame) today:  late bloomer, not a loser. (I hope) | Dave McClure.

Thank you Dave for proving that there is in never an ‘expiry date’ for living life to one’s potential!

Why any time is a good time to start a business

Brilliant infographic to demonstrate how any day/time/minute of your life could be suitable for being your own boss and starting your business. I will probably write a more detailed article on this subject at some point of time, either here or on indiaentrepreneurs.co. Until then, enjoy this light-hearted-yet-deeply-meaningful post.

http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/224161

PS: The one on ‘Just Broke up’ is the funniest according to me.

Do what you love doing (Amazing Video!)

Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) just kicks ass in this particular video: http://bit.ly/O3eB4C.

Although filmed way back in 2008, I just found this and HAD to share it. Quite inspiring for someone who might be waiting “for the right moment” to get his/her ass off the ground and get rolling.

Personally, I just changed my blog theme today to try to improve the reader experience (nothing major, but hey small steps lead to bigger changes right?!). With this, I hope to update my blog more often, while trying to find a new way to continue the ‘Today’s Hot Read’ section.

Once again, I highly recommend watching the video. Could be worth more than 15 minutes of your time otherwise spent watching ‘LOST’ or something.

THR – 04 Aug 2012

Headline: Startup Equity for Employees

Category: Startup

Summary: One of the best reads for understanding in-depth about how much stock options and equity mean to early employees in a startup. I feel this is one area that makes a huge difference when discussing compensations with founders when considering job opportunities. It is important for any new employee to understand the potential upsides and downsides of details regarding early shares, such as vesting period, restricted stocks, preferred shares, etc. And, how to negotiate based on this understanding!

Key Takeaway: This has been a great article to improve my understanding in this topic, not only as an employee, but also as a founder, who will potentially have to deal with numerous such issues while raising investment as well as hiring.

Linkhttp://www.payne.org/index.php/Startup_Equity_For_Employees#Salary_vs_Equity

THR – 31 July 2012

Headline:  ‘If You Don’t Do Politics, You Shouldn’t Be CEO’

Category: Management

Summary: The video lasts for 02:22, just watch it.

Key Takeaway: In an organisation of any size, it is not only the idea or passion that holds key to the success of that company, but one of the most important parameters is about managing people, shareholders, employees, and what not. There is nothing innovative or imaginative about these so-called boring functions, but it is important to keep them in mind when trying to scale up a business when there are larger number of stakeholders involved. I personally know few people who have handed the reigns of the company to someone who is more capable ‘politically’ in taking the business forward to greater heights.

Link (to Video): http://www.inc.com/tim-rice/samuel-bacharach-cornell-labor-professor-if-you-dont-do-politics-you-shouldnt-be-ceo.html

 

THR – 30 July 2012

Sorry for missing out on the news yesterday. The fact is that I am still trying to find a good way to share this series, since the format is not exactly what I have in mind (should I design something on my own? Thinking!). Anyways, for the time being, I will continue in the same manner :)

Headline: The Paradox Of VC Seed Investing

Category: VCs and Investments, Startups

Summary: Brian Singerman (@briansin), one of the partners of Founders Fund, is writing a series of articles to try and explain the VC world in more detail for the benefit of entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts. In this particular article, he talks about why it may not be the best thing for large VCs to fund startups at the seed/angel stage, in terms of deal economics and future benefits for all parties involved. Go ahead, read the whole article if you are interested in this further…

Key Takeaway: I have been quite involved in researching on VCs and Investors for the startup I am currently working at, so I have more practical experience of how these guys work. However, this article and the rest in the series will hopefully help me understand things from a more balanced perspective of an entrepreneur as well as an investor.

Linkhttp://techcrunch.com/2012/07/29/the-paradox-of-vc-seed-investing/

THR – 28 July 2012

Headline:  Startup Marketing: Tactical Tips From The Trenches

Category: Startup, Marketing, Entrepreneurship

Summary: Practical advice from Dharmesh Shah of OnStartups on getting a startup up and running with good tips on in-bound marketing.

Key Takeaway: Great tips for a lifetime. Will keep re-visiting it for every venture I get into.

Link: http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/9008/Startup-Marketing-Tactical-Tips-From-The-Trenches.aspx

World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2012

Fast Company today released the list of the 50 most innovative companies in the world. While most of them are obvious, I was personally very happy to see two Indian companies in the list, since I have been hearing a lot about how Indian firms are too service-oriented to come up with some innovative ideas. Well, I can name quite a few from the top of my head, but it is good to see a couple being appreciated in the global market.

RedBus has proven how a tried-and-tested universal model has to be customised to a very large extent for a different market; really proud of the company’s achievements considering they are a relatively small team.

I am actually more excited for Narayana Hrudalaya Hospitals to be named in the list, since it is not something that generates a lot of attention from the ubiqutous tech media in today’s world. They have brought about a lot of product/service innovation among the masses, and deserve to be there!

Check out the full list here:

The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2012 | Fast Company.

Clay Shirky’s video on TED.com: Why SOPA is a bad idea

A TED video by Clay Shirky explaining some consequential effects of the SOPA/PIPA bills proposed by the Congress.

Clay Shirky: Why SOPA is a bad idea | Video on TED.com.

I completely agree with the fact that this is not only for the US, and is not going to stop here. This is only the beginning of a long-term revolution for online digital media all over the world.

When things don’t go as expected in a startup…Learnings from that!

Dave Gallant outlines 7 lessons he learned from a failed startup. Dave Gallant: 7 Lessons I’ve Learned from a Failed Startup.

Points 2 and 3 are possibly few of the most important ones, largely because of the impact they have on the present as well as future of a startup. Currently working in a tech startup with both co-founders from a non-tech background, I can almost vouch for point number 3 at any cost – having a great technical lead person as one of the starting members (at least) can do wonders for you as a tech startup!

 

Some interesting articles on start-up experience

Found some interesting articles written on people’s start-up experieces:

StartupDigest | The best information about the tech startup world.

Relevant Start-up learnings from BlackoutSOPA

The recent blackout campaigns against SOPA/PIPA have been largely been impacted by BlackoutSOPA (http://www.blackoutsopa.org/). One of the co-founders, Hunter Walk has written a very nice article on the success of the campaign: http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/23/blackoutsopa-how-87000-people-taught-us-about-the-future-of-online-activism/

Here, he compares the campaign to a startup, and hence has very relevant learnings for a startup. I have tried and highlighted some of them below (the words in italics are from the article to support my points):

1. Importance of creating evangelists out of users, in helping propogate the message on a wider scale, and helping users be a part of the journey – make them feel an intergal part of the initial success

Referral tracking. We generated a http://www.blackoutsopa.org/<your twitter user name> link which turned our users into evangelists. Top referrers were celebrated publicly and every user was able to see the Twitter names of the people they had converted. Made it much more personal.

2. Identify top influencing members in certain communities, and get them on board faster

Top Community Members (by Followers): Although we stressed that everyone mattered – whether you had one follower or 1 million – getting a Top Members list up on the site was crucial. It displayed social proof and also gave the media an easy reference point to cite which influencers were on board.

3.  Importance of being agile internally to react to situations faster, and acting proactively to understand what users would want next.

  • My co-creator Greg is high-performance coding machine. And we divided & conquered perfectly.
  • We have enough experience with social software to design and prioritize quickly

4. Identifying tech-savvy users could be relatively easy, and help us get traction initially, but it is important to reach out to non-tech influencers early on and make it an easy path for them to use our services.

  • Should have lined up some non-tech influencers earlier and let them be champions of their segments
  • Could have coordinated early adopters to unleash a second wave of conversions (eg “on Friday we’d appreciate if you’d tweet the following message some time btw 10am and noon PT”)

 

SOPA is obviouisly a very wide campaign with millions of people with ten million opinions, but some learnings could be relevant.

Startups: Importance to learn from failures!

33 Major Fail Tales From Startups That Died.

Some useful points for Startup Branding

A good read on how to build a brand for a Startup. From a personal experience point of view, I think there are 2 key elements from the article:

1. Brand is about building an overall emotional response for the users – this starts right from the colour to the icon to the cartoon character used (sorry, cannot remember the technical name for it!)

2. Very important to invest in a good designer – mind it, I do not mean an expensive design firm, but a decent designer with good artistic skills

Startup Branding: A Practical Guide for Entrepreneurs.

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