Start-up did not fail or pass. What next ?

” Can I become a developer again?”.  Looking 4 years earlier from today,  I have not thought of founding a start-up and was happy as employee.

  • Being involved in multiple outsourced product/platform development cycles and some of them are successful and run for years.  Being outsourced vendor, I cannot claim association with product in public.  I wanted to associate my name behind a product.
  • Being involved in social volunteering space, I explored experiments in education with school children and got satisfied from their warmth in return to my small  contributions for them. I wanted to offer underprivileged what my daughter receives .

I co-founded mobile learning start-up and founder member for skill development start-up in F & A space.   Both start-ups developed products worked to reduce digital divide among students and bridge gap between corporate and college. In addition to writing code, I played role of product evangelist and business development person.  Handling partnerships, involved to create partner relationship for mobile start-up with mobile OEMS and explore joint proposals as technology partner. Worked with a lot of NGOS and worked on the ground. I can demo product that is not in alpha stage and make people interested. I stand alone in meetings/conferences and know how to connect with industry leader. I was involved across long steps to make skill development start-up value partner of BPM companies and industry bodies.

I was emotionally attached to start-ups and that made me perform things that were assumed to be not feasible for me. At end of 4 years,  my family finance goals are not met. I decided to move forward and go back to sanity. This decision came with lot of reflections

  • Questioned my self whether I was letting down my partners. Contributing to re-position company website as service company, and preparing collateral’s lightened up.
  • Cursed myself why I did not plan well before starting. Then I realized the truth ” If I have analyzed and planned, I would have never started at the first place”.
  • Acknowledge to myself the reality that my 2 dreams are fulfilled and money was not in my dream.
  • Accepted the fact that I need money for me and my family.
  • Not sure whether it was right for me to decide my preference to be in Bangalore. Deciding to open with right opportunity.

With these reflections, I decided to perform 4 things to keep my level of confidence.

  • Do consulting and contribute to other. You get paid and your confidence does not broken. I am involved in part-time consulting with start-ups in last 2 months and earned money for home.  Feels good to earn money based on your own strength( little it might be). If you know start-up or corporate or college has problems to be solved or want to explore new opportunity, please do connect with me. Support initiative that enables students to improve their IT employ-ability  quotient and get jobs.
  • Be part of another start-up. I have been observing different problems in new areas and have blogged them.  Being open to being a co-founder or founding employee of start-up that meets my financial goals.  Thanks to start-ups reaching me to collaborate on equity to whom I have to express my inability to come on equity. For bootstrapped entrepreneurs, I am ready with  2 hour free consulting first time and followed with 1 hour free consulting per each week.
  • Meet more people, also entrepreneurs I have been meeting one new person and it is generally on Friday second half. it becomes quite lonely at this stage. People with whom you have superficial  relationship would like to stay away from you, being  worried of negative vibes they might receive from you. “When tide is low, you can see who are naked”.
  • Be employee and contribute to employer. Family is happy as they wish to live in certain times. I got my resume updated and corrected and shared with friends. I have attended few interviews. The fun part of attending interview is looking at interview as sales process ” You are selling your skills and they are selling their company. There is price that comes as salary.  you need to follow-up here too”. I look at every interactions as experiment

Here are my learning’s from my search for opportunities.

  • Be happy with support offered by entrepreneurs.  Do not expect successful entrepreneurs to support person being in an unsuccessful stage. The only thing you control is you can contribute support to people who need.
  • Once you are entrepreneur,you are not the guy with typical experience and believe me that it is not easy for other person to make decision to engage you. You have responsibility to create belief in other person of no risk to engage and arrive at a decision.
  • A person who has never been in start-up has probably experienced more successes and little or no failures. Hence he is not aware of investing best efforts without control over results.  Do not expect other person to know what it means to be in in your shoes.
  • Similar to product feedback, no one might offer feedback after exploratory discussion. Like product sales, you can follow-up if you want feedback. Be prepared to perform 3 follow-ups and beyond ignore and move forward.
  • Being fair and good to others does not earn right to expect that the world will be fair to you. Other might not  open whether there is match and take you for granted without much discussion. You can keep things open.
  • Do not get upset with people who lack respect for your time. You had opportunity to learn to respect others time. Be ready to empathize with folks who made you wait. They are teaching you to learn being patient and allow others to be happy.
  • You will get interesting inquiry whether you have specific skills. Every one know that skill becomes obsolete in limited period. Realize the ease to measure other person competency in my own skills and difficulty to identify potential of other person.
  • Recruiters are human beings. Do not fault with them when some one in organization comes late and fails to stand up to your expectations.

if you happen to be in my stage, be prepared to take opportunity meeting your  financial needs heads-on. Do not worry whether you have experience. The experience of entrepreneur enables you to jump on offer, learn on job to perform and be effective in short time. I can work on opportunities to contribute in  technology, product or business development.