Have I “Moved on with life” from mother’s loss?

On mother’s day,I started to think about  a missing piece in my life. My mother died when I was 12. I lived with her between age of 8 to 12 and memories are fading with passage of 27 years. On her death, I did not realize what it means to be without her. I have heard that I did not cry on her death. Till I was in school. I used to talk of the neat green envrionment of burial ground.

The older I  grow, I remember and also realize the absence of my mother. May I have not bereaved for her death makes me less capable to handle emotions when I feel down.  I am still carrying the bereavement rooted in childhood, which has left emotional scars. I feel that my life would be “much better” if my mother was for more years.

When I look back, few people including educators can recognize signs of loneliness, isolation and depression in grieving children. Children fear that they would break from other loved ones too and want to experience that there is some continuity in their lives. and that they are cared about. They look at relationships in terms of what people do for and with them and whether they are made to feel safe in their world.

Support groups that help grieving adults are less effective in terms of children as children need attention and people who encourage them to talk about their feelings. When you are adult, you have the benefit of being with people who have been been through it. When my mother died, I didn’t know anyone who’d lost a parent and that made me feel alone. I could never relate with adult who shared losing his mother.

On becoming adults, their wife & children might underestimate phenomena of losing parent in childhood. Not easy to empathize when one did not experience the chronic pain. The person is better understood by persons who lost parent in childhood.

From 12 years, I started to fell that I was not a kid anymore and need to be more resilient, responsible and independent. This was result of work performed by me in my school years in diverse areas of banking, equity shares, finance portfolio and non-profit work. My wife reports a childish behavior at times and I am dependent and not responsible at home. Do I long that some one takes care of me like a kid? – a contradiction. Have I  “Moved on with life”?

During entepreneurship, a friend spend mostly for his family and did not spend on himself and  His mother purchased dress for him during festivals. When his mother know of his worried of failing to pay salary to employees, she offered to break her fixed deposit to see whether pain can be dissolved. This incident made me feel absence of mother who puts trust and faith, even when things go wrong for her child. Also unfair to expect unconditional motherly support from wife with children. Have I  “Moved on with life”?.

My mother’s sister got jobs and moved on with their life and I lived with my my father. My father worked hard and travelled. I came to empty home for a year with a limited support of few days visit by my grandpa. It was lonely and abandoned. Today I continue to come home late and sit in living hall eat alone my food and rarely realize that there is no family meal at home. a contradiction. Why continue to feel lonely and abandoned with wife and 2 children?. Have I  “Moved on with life”?

Experienced eating at uncle’ place, giving money. Quickly realized of being a burden to them. confirmed not getting quality food. This lead to me having food in hotels 3 times a day and mostly alone. Not sure of next meal, I ate more(like camel). Though life had changed. I visit hotel/restaurants with family, introducing them. Though I am fine to eat outside, I long to eat home food. a contradiction. Have I  “Moved on with life”?

At times, my father would cook and that means more work for me, perform cleaning utensils, cutting vegetables and so on. a contradiction. Today I keep myself away from kitchen and look for food to be served and do not offer suggestion of what to prepare or help in kitchen. Why I have become like this? Have I  “Moved on with life”?

My father believed that he can take care of the boy. He had dreamt of living a life similar to Rama(with one wife) and was more grieving his wife’s death. In school days, I experienced more a proffessional touch due to my father and there was no experience of personal touch.  I treat all people I know as friends and expect personal touch on default until I realize that it is wong place. I consider them still as friends and support them in their needs the best possible and invest time in building relationships. Not knowing how to separate my public, business and private life is a challenge for me.  Have I  “Moved on with life”?

Losing a parent at a young age make the child feel helpless and even ‘different’ from the others…there is a lot going on in the kids mind and these things have a major effect on them. They give raise to contradicting straits that makes them more emotional

  • Reallize of becoming more emotional undergoing major life transitions or witness a major life transitions on television. At the same time, you can relate more with other’s transition like getting married, having a baby, death and separation and offer help.
  • You want to get close to person and become close to person and then suddenly avoid being close to minimize being hurt again by another loss. You need space and time to become close and on being close, you do not disengage soon.
  • You fear loss and avoids everyday situations that trigger feelings of loss. Though you have ability to be more empathetic, your fear leads anger and emotions, with sense of loss in relationships. While you are more hesitant to form relationships, you handle relationships safe, aware that you actions can lead to losing relationships.

Having written this and being adult today, I wish that I can move on with life keeping aside my mother loss after grievance.

EAST INDIA COMPANY IN TODAY’S CONTEXT – PART 3

When we move to start of IT landscape in late 80s and 90s, India had a lot of hardware companies. Wipro and HCL Tech started as hardware companies in 1990s and were struggling to create PCs and printers. The government did not provide any special support to these companies.

Here comes globalization. The foreign companies called MNCs arrived to sell their PCs and printers. MNCs partnered with Indian companies to assemble products locally. Assembling  MNC products was more profitable to Indian companies rather than doing R&D and also manufacture of their own products. MNC products provided more money on short term and this was earned with less effort.

MNC hardware products took over the market. To reduce transportation cost, they manufactured hardware in South East Asian countries and shipped products to India. This caused competition for remaining Indian manufacturers and they started gradually moving away from creating their own hardware.

At this time, a new opportunity called developing software promising more money with less labour problems, less man power and less infrastructure and the Indian companies moving to software. Now all hardware market was left open for MNCs with little or no competition. The companies developing software also became customers for MNC hardware.

Indians with expertise in English Mathematics, (trained by British, as explained earlier) qualified as good clerks were suited to develop software/write code and mainly in repetitive tasks. To handle the challenge for MNCs in communication, some Indians st travelled abroad for short term assignments and Indians started to migrate for new opportunities to USA.

India has state owned telephones and communication channels was primitive. India created CDOT to start telecom revolution, leading to more phone usage in India and enabled doing business simpler across cities. The upgrades in telecom industry enabled foreign MNCs to sell more of their hardware products to telecom industry and existing business.

Like rail road transport, came the advent of internet, leveraging the telephone line. Indians with less skills of English and Mathematics were good and cheaper to perform repetitive tasks using phone and internet. Solving communication challenge gave rise to BPO industry. Again glorified clerks who earned better salaries took risk to start BPO outfits to employ clerks in large numbers. Once the company had good number of clerks, the company was sold to foreign MNCs on validation based on head count.

Indian software industry earned money to create products and solutions for MNCs. They got 100% tax exemption for export oriented software. Doing software for abroad was more lucrative than developing software for India. Some of the founders made a lot of money and became wealthy. Few companies came in to market that created products like Tally and faced a tough environment to acquire talent.  Why would Indians join Indian product company with uncertainity, rather than joining Indian software service companies, travel abroad  and make more money?

Whether products or services, companies from both order enabled purchase of PCS, phones and laptops. Clients of the software products had to purchase hardware to install software. These hardware products were primarily manufactured by foreign MNCs and helped them to earn good money from Indians. On one side, MNCs  got more software work done by Indians at lower cost compared to their country. On other hand, Indian purchased their products at higher price and made their business strong.

Thanks to English knowledge of Indians who were computer savvy, MNCs sold hardware products with only support in English. No one asked for support for Indian languages and Indians learnt spending monet to use software available only in English. Be aware, MNCs supported all European languages for hardware and software sold in European economies and had no pressure to provide similar offering to Indians, though population of some Indian states is larger than European countries.

Some Indians started to build websites and web applications for Indians and computerize the Indian government process and local processes. MNCs entered government arena and offered software close to free cost  as freebie when organization purchased their hardware. This provided a tough competition to Indians software companies and some of them decided to develop software only for the MNCs.

The software came along the hardware was also available only in English. See a divide and conquer strategy working underneath the economy. To use software, Indians with knowledge of good English and programming and became software clerks or BPO clerks. I call them software clerks (also called software engineers). These guys were trained to be expert in specific area and not to develop the entire product or solution.

The design of product or solution was done by MNCs in their own country and the execution of repetitive steps was done in India. This looks exactly like their ancestors in 1800a and 1900s. By paying these software clerks more salary, they created a habit that is difficult to change or revolt against when you realize its pitfalls and want to have your own startup.

See till now, they leverage the English and maths talent in Indians. The phone lines did not provide them the communication infrastructure to scale. Here comes the internet that introduced new business jargons of websites and web applications. These could be deployed at one place and used across globe. It gave them one command centre and power to control the globe from center.

Indians did not use the same to control the globe. They helped the MNCS to control the world and doing so helped them to influence Indians and capture Indian market. This started with advent of new MNC companies like Yahoo, Cisco and Hotmail. The services that was needed by common man in west was needed by rich man in India and people who could afford. Over time poor man was made to use the same too.

On one side, companies provided free access of their services to Indian population. On other side, they setup their own offices and developed web applications at cheaper cost. The burst of internet enabled companies like Cisco, Alcatel and Lucent to sell more hardware to India. They continued to have one challenge, most of Indians did not have access to internet.

EAST INDIA COMPANY IN TODAY’S CONTEXT – PART 2

In last 400 years, every country has grown from being under-developed developing economy to developed economy with expansion and success of its manufacturing sector. The higher capability in manufacturing leads to higher productivity and this productivity tends to grow faster than agriculture and services.

Has India failed to learn from our own mistakes. Are we focused to make things work for individuals and families and not for India. Looking at our history, the curse of East India Company continues after 60 years of independence.

Let me walk through some history. In 1700s, East India Company came to India with textile products. To start, few European employees wanted to establish and own territory in India and established small posts in Bombay, Calcutta & Madras.

At that time, India was known for its rich expertise in manufacturing textiles. Foreigners bought & carried Indian textile products to their countries from India. The products were hand-made in India and the product business in India was based on local economy.

While India had better skilled artisans, Indian products were hand-made(not machine driven). With absence of trains/ motor transport, the products catered primarily to local economy. On other hand, East India Company produced more clothes leveraging the machine power and also had the know-how to develop rail-roads (or trains) to transport the goods to distant places. This advantage helped East India Company  to leverage its influence on trade and India became colony of England. One can see the importance of districution network(e-commerce and payment gateways) and transportation(e-commerce) 

People from England came to handle company operations in India. They became sick or became home sick and wanted to return in short duration. Some looted the wealth from India and carried back as personal money, causing jealousy and confusion  of higher-ups. There was more attrition among British staff in Inda, leading to decision to employ more Indian in jobs related to execution.

Scaling of the company brought even more challenges to be managed. The first was the need for officials to communicate in different Indian languages. In those days, it took 2 months was need to travel by ship from England to India.

Remembers that there were no computers those days. On absence of computers, one can see need to remember things and also need for the skill to memorize. In addiiton some of these people were required to be faithful followers, not slaves and neither masters. They need education Indians as executors and not thinkers/creators.

To have dependable Indians to follow their orders even in absence, they started schools to teach Indians English and maths and develop their skill to memorize better.

  • Indian people were trained in English to translate and communicate for Britishers.
  • Accounting system and tax recording systems was introduced in English to ensure that records can be maintained in leave of absence of British by Indians and can be audited by British on arrival.
  • Bank recording system was introduced to collect taxes and kept it safeguarded from these education Indians too.
  • To make sure that  these Indians working for them were loyal, they were paid slaary more than the earnings of artisans and craftsmen, as they were important for British offical to inflience and create better gains for the officials and the company.

Person with good English, maths and good memory qualified to become clerks, a new class. East India officials fear the risk of Indians in execution to revolt when they start they start thinking.  Hence policy of divide and rule seems to be introduced to ensure that Indians in execution are more concerned about caste and other factors leading to Indians not to think and revolt. Indians were encouraged and supported to to improve their own community to become enforcer of divide and conquer technique.

East India Company in Today’s Context – Part 1

I read article Chinese manufacturers up their game to conform to Indian standards. When the Indian government announced that only products with Indian certification standards would be favoured, Chinese started to register products under the scheme.  This is hidden message I read.

China players manufacture both high end products and low end products. They developed high end products used in USA  leveraging the latest innovation and follow matured processes following higher quality. China manufacturers understand that high end products cannot be sold in India at high prices due to affordability level of Indians. On learning the manufacturing process for high end products, Chinese manufacturers gain capability to manufacture items that can be sold at lower price adhering to less process maturity. Indians are offered these products at lower cost including low end products and high end products like computer, mobile and their accessories.

Today, a majority of electronic products purchased in India are made in China and not made in India. For years, Chinese flooded Indian market with cheap below radar products.  Chinese made goods are going for upgrades now.  More than 60% of the products registered with Bureau of Indian standards are “Made in China”. This indicates that Chinese have started to focus more to mature their processes to meet Indian standards.

Today Chinese have gained better understanding of the consumer pattern, preferences and their affordability of Indians. When Indians demand for standardized products, Chinese are geared to upgrade the products to suit to us.

Indian mobile manufacturers like Micromax have arrived and there is pride that local brand is now competing with brands like Samsung and HTC, the Micromax devices are made in China and not made in India. Good they have created the brand. They are sold in India have a good service support center network in India. Micromax like Indian players outsource customization of mobile operating system to Indian software setups and developed the marketing, sales and support network.

  • On thinking that Indian company have developed customization, support, marketing and sales network, I am reminded that  infrastructure is created to sell Chinese products and enabled to develop “Made in China” brand.
  • On thinking that Indian company developed for our own self instead of Western (USA and Europe) device manufacturers. Similar to Western folks manufacturing in China, we also manufacture in China, I am reminded that Western folks owned the patents and Indians do not own patent or the manufacturing capability.
  • The mobile operating systems and browsers are innovated in USA. There has been no progress done by Indian manufacturer in this area.
  • On thinking that Indian companies have developed ability to customize phones for Indian languages. This progress comes from softeware setups. The mobile keyboards in Indian languages are less in number and there is English domination.

Already Indian hardware imports are increasing and soon or by 2010, the intrinsic value of Indian hardware imports would surpass the Indian software exports.  If Chinese setup software shops in India (already they have), they gain ability to perform customizations for India.

If a Chinese company (listed in USA) purchases a company like Micromax, they gain access to support, marketing and sales network and they have their own manufacturing capability.  Do Chinese need any more red carpet welcome to flood high end mobile products in to India?

Here comes Xiaomi. They make high end mobiles in China and they leverage e-commerce market (flipkart) to perform sales and marketing to reach Indian population and use the lowest price as attraction factor. An artificial demand was created jointly by limiting the available inventory and also extensive marketing through all Indian media channels like newspapers and TV.  Now there is easy approach demonstrated to develop the sales and marketing network (cheaper than one created by Micromax) at lower cost and shorter time.

Indians are encourage to spend more with so called innovations in e-payment and e-commerce. Credit cards invite us to avoid feeling the pain of paying, and to forget how much money we actually have. Cash invites us to consciously feel how much we spend.Lot of Indians exchange their mobile phones once in every 2 to 3 years. Today mobile phones fail to work properly after 3 years, a trend different from earlier devices and one if forced to change. My TV and DVD player are more than 7 years old.  My CD-player, refrigerator and washing machine are close to 10 years old.  Why are we Indian spending more money on devices that are not made in India?

For me, the trade is definitely in favour of China and not India. In the future, instead of waging war against India, China would cut down the supplies to India and create constraints. Be ready when India does not manufacture its own goods and be dependent on other countries for products.

Today Indian who prefers to purchase a mobile that is “Made in India” cannot buy one. The choices are to live without mobile device or purchase “Made in China” device. Chinese are safeguarding their job, salary and also may be pension in future.

Customer Service : New Delhi Masala Puri Center

Some weekend, I visit chat center on road side behind my house in Bangalore neighbourhood. I am impressed with running of the center and observed them closely.  Two persons run the stall, who are happy and contented with the small stall and are known for being customer friendly.

I admire the Customer Care that makes every customer get feeling of being given special care.  When the center is over-crowded in evening hours, there is no increase in man power and there is neither 404 error. Every customer arrival is acknowledged and shared between them. The buyer is informed of  previous customers waiting and  they might have to wait for their turn.

Accompanying children are provided with a small puri to make child and their parents happy. Few customers complains that stall is busy as people use waiting time to discuss and it is nice to observe that strangers converse, that happens rarely  in today’s busy world. Regular customers understand time taken to make specific items and order items based on the time available to wait and queue at that moment.  No one in years complains that the stall is slow, only the crowd has increased.

Transparency:  I admire the transparency nature of the stall. Makes you feel that there is no cheating and there is transparency.  Look at the price list  below listing all items available for customer and against items, prices are displayed for view by the customer across hours.
Price List

Time Based Offers The stall provides the customer with time based offers (time of the day). In discount hours, all items are made available at lower cost.  The stall started to have time based differential pricing based on the college  located closer to the stall and students visit between 2:30 pm to 5 pm. The prices were offered lower to make items affordable for students to attract more foot-falls. The deal for college students has been extended to any customer as this time was off- peak hours, lean and only few customers come in this time and tricky to ask whether they are college student or not.

Packaging Cost Packaging comes at additional cost. These guys really are conscious of the environment and use paper plates over steel or china plates and reuse plates. Last year, the parcel option was offered with no extra charge. Stall owners noticed unrest from people who eat at stall on the road-side waiting for another big parcel order to be completed. Packaging cost brings fairness in treatment of people who take away as parcel and who eat food item there. Customers (like me) bring container from home and are not charged for packaging.
Personalization for every customer Every make of food item is customized. There is freebie of a dry puri (called sukka) for most of the customers. Customers can choose to prepare chat items blend or spicy and add or not add some ingredients.  Based on multiple customer interest, the stall introduces new variant of chat items.
Payment options. The stall offers multiple payment options of cash and sudexo passes. If you did not have the right denominations of money, you are excused and asked to pay later. The business works based on trust and customer service.
Offer2Offer1

Understand customer behaviour. Some of chats are branded as Delhi chats and Bombay style chats based on people preference over years. Do remember that they have not heard the term analytics? They are open to  introduce new chat styles  based on customer inputs.

Special Offers  In addition to discount hours, the stall offers weekly subscription offer to attract regular customers.  Separate offer targeting  women to vist the stall and my wife talks of respect and treatment equal to men. Special combo offers  are available to encourage customer to order multiple items. The offers are mentioned in detail for its applicability( ex: applies to  parcel or not). 

Respect Customers by offering best quality of food items In addition to prepare food with the right taste, these guys do one level above.  For customers coming at  closing time of the stall, they have challenge that some ingredients are not present. If customer continues with ordering items, the item is prepared and offered free. Customers should get value for the price they pay.

Understanding customer patterns, they plan their holidays on long weekends. Customers are informed and customers feel that stall owners are human beings and need a break. If the stall is not there, customers comes & check the next day and might skip eating that day.

I observe that New Delhi Masala Puri Center has increased prices and customers still come in large numbers. To handle crowd and lean times, they offer food item at two prices. When prices are high, more crowd continues to come due to their focus on customer service. On  enquiring of competition from new stalls opened nearby the response is ” Every one has a right to earn and live, both us and others”.  Great words and positive attitude from 2 people doing business standing  for close to  8 hours every day.

Wish e-commerce and e-food web-sites are more focused on customer and customer satisfaction in addition to lower price and aggressive marketing .

Reinvention after a startup.

In lean start-up one performs quick experiments, measures the outcome to ascertain whether value is created for customers to pay for the product. If customers do not see value, pivot your idea and plan for next action. After 3.5 years, I decided to move forward and the answer to What next? was not an easy one. “You dig the well before you are thirsty.”  I have not digged a well and here is how I kept my spirtits up and alive kicking.  This blog is for any unfortunate souls like me.

For the first time, I experienced not being engineer or MBA and feeling the absence of strong alumni network support.  There are inclubators and accelerators to welcome developers and professionals to arrive at startups. There is less support available to support startup guys who do not succeed. Seen this experience multiple times earlier for other enterpreneurs and experienced same now too.

Posted message as “Looking for new opporunity” in LinkedIn, and did not result to much leads or enquiries. Recruiters connect with you as connection and no communiucation even if you follow. I do not know why they connect at first place. One observation is that more than 500 people have applied a single job positions on LinkedIn. How will the recruiter or hiring manager get time to review that large number of candidate profiles?. The only way and best way seem to be reference.

Wrote to VCs who connected with startups to explore. Less engagement from startup teams even after showing interest. May be need of money pushes them back.  Wrote to firms CEOs who connected with their recruitment teams. Most of recruitment heads failed to connect or engage even after follow-ups(dropped to some offices in person). One established startup reached me for whom my startup experience was relevant. After discussion and understanding the field know-how from me, I was promised to be called back. No response, they do not return calls and no response to follow-up emails.

Two Delhi startups and Chennai startup asked me for willigness to relocate. The founders made sure that a phone call was made to understand me better. May be I should have relocated.  Missed. Sorry guys

Choose area of expertise to contribute to others. Do not ask for opportunity to earn money, ask for areas to contribute. Identify areas to  contribute and earn money. Ask for references. Do not be in idea mode or wait mode. Perform actions.

  • When some employees want to find next job, I connected them with other firms and startups. that lead to references to follow-up for potential engagement.
  • Your partners may want to continue using the existing start-up legal entity. Get equity papers in place and contribute to their plans(if needed) and create positive energy.
  • My startup technology focus started from depth to breadth and remained in breadth. My technical depth has become shallow with rapid technology changes, and employers need resources with depth for execution. Kept reading to bridge gap .
  • Found a hidden gap with friends who worked as employees else where. Some are busy in their own life to respond. I took initiative to reach them and talk of my need.
  • Friends want to help and are un-clear of how to help. Some engaged to keep me positive. Some reviewed my resume & some with tips on latest technical trends. .
  • Enterpreneurs seem to keep distance post my decision. While I was working hard to keep myself positive, may be they want to safeguard from negative energy. Fair enough. Be crisp and specific. They want elevator pitch of what you want to do.

Searching for consulting lead me to startups in search of product-market fit. There was a need of my know-how and shared my learnings in their startup context . Contributed using consulting free hours leading to engagement discussions. Some learnings from consulting are.

  • Identify skill areas that you can work & start looking for work in this area. I choose technology and product. I could take instructions from others. and open to explore. The start-up experience has equipped me to start from scratch & learn on the job.
  • When asked to support in areas not preferred by me, I did not start with “No”. Went ahead and put my effort to learn how to perform. Be positive that other person knows your interest and still asked to perform and you are paid for the effort.
  • After learning and performing un-interested for few days, I did not want to continue. Shared the mismatch of work to my goals, perceived positive.
  • Some assignments started with assumption. On execution, I found that assumption was wrong and that I do not have capability to perform them. I called them off.

Additional things I performed to make myself positive

  1. Get resume ready : I got my resume reviewed by multiple people to make it apt.  Blog readers can reach me for a free resume review.
  2. Meditation : mediated for 10 minutes without fail most of the days.  This helped me to remove fear that used to stop action.
  3. Volunteer at a non-profit. Though no pay, there is feeling of being worth when you get to help others and expands your network.  It also helps me to keep busy and maintain good company.  Some discussion  results in to leads for consulting.
  4. Take consulting job or an “interim” job.  With more mobile and cloud developers, I positioned myself in requirements engineering to retain confidence, keep my soft skills fresh and had money come to my bank.
  5. Allocate time for physical excercise. This helped me to keep my frustrations away.

Failed to  

  1. Have a daily task routine to keep me  productive. When you accomplish major tasks around the same time each day, you get a sense of  structure in your day.
  2. Be more disciplined to search job every day. I could have better planned & organized with alloted daily hour to search for jobs,email hiring mgrs & follow-ups.
  3. Try to hang with successful people. I tried to reach industry enterprenur forums. for guidance and help. There was no help forthcoming. Seems all of them were for people interested in enterprenurship or successful enterprenurs.

Things I wish I knew prior to my startup journey.

As part of my consulting, I meet entrepreneurs with start-up or want to start-up. I spend 2 hours as part of my business initiation, to understand the person and maturity of the product idea. While I ask them to explore some of the below, only few are ready to invest time & efforts to plan their journey. Here is a reminder “Plans are necessary evil. You plan with the understanding all plans might not work.”.

Prior to my start-up, I did not know them and learnt at end of first product and second product experience. In 2011, I started as a techie experienced with team, technology and customers. I became entrepreneur coming from a family with no entrepreneurial background. Hence here is a blog to remind individuals planning their own start-ups.

Let me start with my biggest miss, not able to explain situation, I did lousy job to get buy-in of my wife and this haunted me through my start-up journey.

Get Buy-in from my family:  You need to have buy-in of your dear family mainly your wife. Start talking about the start-up idea, both the success and failure scenario. Write down their questions and try to answer them. Do not ignore ones which you do not have answer. For questions without answer, go and get answers and share with them. Do not expect them to be convinced with answers, still take best efforts possible.

After accepting a start-up mode, they have fear to run family without consistent income.

  • Most of them are hesitant to bring the topic so that you are not upset. Take initiative to bring topic in open and look at alternatives and challenges. You need to prepare them more than yourself for the start-up journey.
  • Some might share that another person has pointed out these challenges. If they are important to your dear ones, talk to them also. Not talking to them makes your dear one question your intent more.

Remember it is your idea and no one believes in your idea more than you do. Do not expect them to understand your idea and validate the same. If they fear in your start-up journey, it pulls you down emotionally and you need to do this to self protect from emotional pull downs across start-up journey.(any way they will be)

You need to perform above, before you quit your job. I did few of them after quitting my job and my wife lost some trust in me and betted on my word to bring money home every month to run family(failed few times). She was great to believe me even after my behaviour and lucky to be with her even today.

In consulting, I have met one entepreneur with his wife,open for harsh questions about their ideas another young unmarried guy at their home and takes money from his mother for my consulting charges. This is way one should be.

One could follow lean start-up idea for your start-up to develop product. That is great. If you are not aware or have less time to understand, please do not start with “Quit your job. Start writing code for your product”. You have product idea and perform the following. Reach me for any help.

Write Value Proposition message for product idea: To start, fill the below format for each of your product idea and use this in talks with others to describe product idea. For a platform idea with more than one customer type, fill this once for each customer type. When you discover new things, update the same to make it more complete.

  • For << this type of customer>>, Who << has this type of problem>>
  • We offer<< this solution>>
  • Which is <<different in this way>> From <<other competitors>>

Leverage KISS philosophy (simple and stupid) to complete them. Do not use buzzwords and make words as simple as possible. For green-field idea, find a set of firms with business that is closer to your idea to be termed as competitor to start with.

Fill Business Model Canvas: The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model. Today firms like strategyzer train how to fill business model canvas

Business Canvas has questions to helps person to structure product idea in the quest to search for new business model.

  • You need not have answers to all questions. You know what you know and what you do not know. Few more may be of type what you do not know that “you do not know”.
  • In search for answers, you get to network, some might become co-founder or moon-light employee or customers.
  • Business model canvas serves as baseline to form a mental minset of product idea.
  • Be prepared to hear that your idea is lousy and is not needed. Listen to them and write them. Do not argue with them.

Application UI Design : In your techie experience, you worked with UI experts or has less work experience with UI experts. or have worked with UI experts as manager. Lot of us feel that we do not have UI skills. We cannot afford to hire UI skills.

If you agree and acknolwedge the need for design for your product, you can do something to make your application not look worse(some thing ok).  if you are manager, you might have UI skills to discover or can learn UI skills to lead.

  • Attend online courses(some free) that talk about UI design practices Please attend them and get familar with concepts.
  • Do research on innovative websites and applications. Use trial version and take snapshots for features that you want in your application. Share them with your developer and ask for the effort to develop them. Any UI developer will feel motivated to come with more ideas. Try and experiment some of them.
  • Do not say to your developer that you have no idea about design. Talk to some of your friends or contacts who might work as UI designer in larger corporate. Go and ask for feedback to them and they will give criitcal ones. Water down harsh part of feedback and share cool part with your developers.

Web-site Design : Do not benchmark first website with corproate site. You need some thing simple with focus on what customer would perceive on coming to website. When there are multiple customers, choose one customer segment and the home page targets this customer segment.  You display value proposition and Call to Action for this customer in the home page.

  • Efforts required for design layout of website is different from the developer effort required to program the website.
  • There is additional effort to come with content(images, text) for website. As techie, one understand design and developer efforts, and under-estimates content effort.
  • Better for content writer and UI designer to sit next to each other focused (say for 36 hours) and complete the website.  when you do not sit next to each other, the website gets delayed for long time.
  • Do not expect the website to be one-time affair. You might have to update website multiple times. Design to perform minor updates without designer.
  • Some websites talk about the company, product features and team. These are good for internal pages in the website. when end user likes value proposition in home page, interest comes to know who is behind product and what are the features.

Build your network:  As employee of corporate, one can attend special interest groups and share your idea. I was part of cloud camp and also part of android and amazon meetup groups. Being early member in some of these groups created network with entrepreneurs who I am in touch even today.

When you perform action in area and also hear to speaker talk of the challenge in area for action, you understand better speaker and can ask questions. Recommend entrepreneurs to

  • Be part of TIE, try to participate iSpirit session. Attend meetings in Microsoft accelerator. Some might ask small token money for networking sessions and it is really worth to pay or even have a membership.
  • Attend meetings , open to meet people who want to start-up may be in your area or different area. Some may be entrepreneurs. Do not attend all meetings. Plan some time every week to attend meetings to identify the right community for your idea.
  • Free industry sessions of India Product Leadership helped me to learn concepts like value proposition, business model canvas, and digital marketing.
  • Blogs of close.io explained that my sales challenges due to my ignorance.
  • YourStory helps to search for competitor or be aware of other startups in your space.

Gain domain experience:  For techies, please reach people to get exposure to domain and get your value proposition validated by domain experts you might connect through your friendship circles. Some of contacts would describe of similar start-ups. Now you can look at their website and compare with your plans.

Some of them can become prospects for your product idea. If one of them likes your product idea, their competitor might also be a prospect to sell your product.

Learn sell process and what it means to sell.  In my start-up, we started with product idea in green field area. Today I know Greenfield area expects that we introduce product concept to customer and sell product. Being techie those days, I considered creating product in Greenfield was cool and did not questioned our sales capability to sell product even in areas with competitors.

If your employer provides you pre-sales opportunity, please do that even if you have to spend additional time. Sales is not account management with existing customers. As a techie, you may have limited or no sales capability. Sales exposure in a large company would help you learn customer development process.

Be prepared to tailor the same for your start-up. You would have no experience to make direct calls to customer by phone or walk to their office. You can learn sales being aware of customer development process and open to learn for mistakes and ability to be resilient to handle rejections.

Explore external consulting opportunity: If you have niche skills, go ahead and perform consulting opportunities. Better do this when you are in job over weekend or in night. Look these opportunities to validate your problem and solution and not for making money. Collect money given as it might validate some of your thoughts without actual risk.

In 2011, I failed to leverage consulting with cloud skills after joining my start-up and know of folks who leveraged their Big Data skills and have start-up in that space today. I still remember a great friend running a cloud company asked to experiment my ideas offering me infrastructure

Remember all interactions might lead to creation of new networks and relationships. You have opportunity to articulate and sell your skills. Both are needed to sell your product. Please allot limited hours for consulting and be aware that you are doing to get prepared for your product and not to become consultant /Service Company.