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.