5 Challenges to Win Before You Turn 25

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7 Commandments of Being Awesome

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” title=”7 Commandments of Being Awesome”>7 Commandments of Being Awesome

You are Awesome at whatever you do

Inspired by the maginificence, here is a compilation of 7 ways to be Awesome and let the world know you are.

#1 – Avoid Self pity

#2 – Ask a Question

#3 – Hypothesize

#4 – Talk about YOU

#5 – Minimize possessions

#6 – Don’t confuse life with life situation

#7 – Leave a legacy

5 mistakes you ignore while bootstrapping your venture

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Web-based startups tend to lose focus from these obvious facts that might hurt the venture in the longer-run… 

Shunning the so-called socially accepted method of living a routined lifestyle & embarking on the entrepreneurial journey is a commendable feat to achieve. If you are one of those lucky lot of the populace who get an opportunity to experience what no school or college can teach you, trust me you’re having a ball of your life. While you learn & experiment with all your creativity, learnings & efforts, few aspects need to be kept into stride while starting your venture. Let’s jump to few of them from my personal experience:

1.Not spending an extra hour on your ‘core value proposition’

Most important of all the aspects. Do not try to get lost in the embezzlement of ‘features’ you would like to build for your product. Rather, hold yourself for a while & try to close the loop for the core offering you are providing. We tend to close this gap by adding a ‘feature’ which most of the times comes out as a sloppy implementation. A well-defined boundary of the ‘core idea’ has the potential of adding numerous successful additions over it.Write down your vision on a piece of paper(in one meaningful, short sentence) & ask yourselves if the present execution(planned or implemented)will suffice.

2. Throwing/disrespecting what you have built

This is an entrepreneur’s curse. You might stumble across a better design, a cool feature, swanky template or anything that would require you to re-build the base to put this new baby in place. That is a mistake we make quite often. As a rule of the thumb, you must try to ‘adjust’ these new bullets(only if you must) into the old arsenal. Once you have enough feedback to change your past implementation, you can work from scratch to put your latest findings in place. Else, give a miss to all those temptations to play with your present structure. Go till the end of the world to make your past efforts work.

3. Not spending enough time online for Open-source plug-ins

I guess building plug-ins in major pain-point area where the product development team is at logger-heads with the biz team. While the expected turnaround time is crunched, all of us want brilliant results with vision. Thinking pragmatically, it really becomes a nightmare for your product development team to deliver at the expected level. While being in sync with your technical team is a must, keep nudging them(politely!) to look for open-source plug-ins to ease the pain. Date-pickerTwitter bootstrap hover drop-down, dropzone(for file upload),favico(fav icon animation), alertify(beautiful alerts), etc. are just few of the examples of awesomeness open-source provides. I would like to quote Abraham Lincoln, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.”

4. Facebook is not the ultimate marketing channel

God help you if your marketing strategy is built around getting more ‘Likes’ on your FB page! Having a clearly defined target-audience is a pre-requisite before investing yourself into Social Media Marketing. If you are a content-heavy platform, rush to Quora & make yourself visible there. If you are doing anything related to interests, hobbies, lifestyles, etc. pay some attention to Google+ groups. LinkedIn will get you some really ‘precious’ connections & attention if you are into professional services. To sum it up, DO NOT PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET.

5. Ignore the importance of ‘talking’ to your co-founder/s

You started because of him/her. Accept this. The sooner you will, the better are your chances your success. Sit with partner to know the obstacles he/she has faced during the day. Appreciate where an amazing result has been delivered. Try to understand the technology, marketing skills, design philosophy,etc. even if it sounds gibberish to you. The results will make you proud in the longer run. Though this point is a bit on personal front, many ignore it and fall into the pit of fractured mutual trust.

I hope this would help you guys to clear off some sludge off your brain. I would be more that happy to hear your story.

You can witness all these points into action at http://www.getechoed.com.

Share your story of the mistakes you committed. Share your learnings. All ears this side 🙂

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This post is written by Kumar Dipanshu, Co founder at GetEchoed. He handles product design, being the creative think tank and being resolute about his opinions! He loves poetry and mountains. Tweet to discuss anything with him @kdipanshu

 

Getting the hang of it all – The lean way!

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What does it mean to attend a #StartUpBootCamp?

Yes, that’s the question we always had and we felt will remain a Pandora’s box till the end of the 2 and a half days that we were to spend on an otherwise-smeared-in-work-yet-lovely November weekend.

Au Contraire!

Reverse just happened. And we are floored with the brilliant outcomes the bootcamp gave to the community of startups that attended the event. I am talking about the 60-hour Lean Startup Bootcamp  organized by 91springboard in Delhi from 8 – 10 November, 2013. And this post is a culmination of the experiences we had; the learning we gathered, the relationships we are honored to build and the laughter we shared.

Being based out of Delhi and not the so-called startup bay of India; it’s always difficult to relish the benefits of a bustling community of likeminded doers. Couple it up when you are working on your own venture where you are hard at work to figure out what’s brilliant and what’s terrible! The Lean Startup Bootcamp was the first of its kind in many aspects that we had never really witnessed coming to life in the startup community – least of all – in the rather scattered community of Delhi based startups.

Structure or lack of it. The beauty of the bootcamp was engrained in the entire structure / pseudo structure of the camp. Yes, there was a very loose structure to the entire 2 and half days. As compared to the mundane reality of attending series of lectures from biggies; the bootcamp was about ‘your challenges’ and ‘their solutions’; not ‘how-i-achieved-what-starters-like-you-only-dream-of-today’ lectures from biggies. Few sessions – interspersed at the right intervals – all hanging around the challenges of starting up and the hacks / pro tips on applying lean startup philosophy for ‘your business’ were enlightening. The big demon of market sizing (Yes, we call it that at GetEchoed Team coz we understood heck of it before we attended the event) delivered in a crisp talk on ‘Competitor Analysis and Market Sizing’ (Amit Lakhotia, GM – Payments at Paytm) ; that crazy thing called web hosting : hands-on talk on ‘Lean Prototyping using cloud’ (Amit Sharma, Solution Architect – Amazon Web Services); the obvious hassle of being design challenged in your venture and how to sort it out – brilliantly brought to life on the talk – ‘Design for the Lean Startup’ (Kshitish Purohit, Founder – Paperkite); and finally the hacks of lean prototyping tools to ensure you don’t run out of resources – delivered in ‘Lean Prototyping tools’ (Rohit Agarwal, Founder – Framebench)were all explained.

Most part of the camp; teams were left to discover their challenges; brainstorm in their groups; encouraged to go-out and talk to their customers seeking inputs on the most pressing challenges / riskiest assumptions made in their business models and so on. It was all about being lean – not by the books but by action!

We were all there. The camp had an aggregation of college students contemplating on the journey of starting up; seasoned folks who understand the dynamics; failures and sweet successes of handling ventures as well as early starters like us – the team of GetEchoed; having recently begun the journey. All questions that otherwise seem too business-oriented or too technical to handle for those lacking the know-how; were explained and addressed in the simplest yet sophisticated forms. Better yet, all the sessions were close to life.

It was not a hackathon. And that was brilliant. We spent most parts of the day interacting with different teams and discussing each other’s challenges. This may seem like the yet-again-another-non-geeky-thing to do.  Nope, it wasn’t. It was fun. Sheer fun! Why so, if you ask. Because that’s where a lot of learning happened, relationships were formed and all the startups team were able to develop relationships at their own pace and benefit of their mutual experiences and leverage experiences. We understood challenges in scaling up location specific business when setting up in a new location, transforming modus operandi from people intensive to process intensive; communicating with customers who don’t understand your offerings and how to communicate with them.

And it was about brilliant hosts. The organizers of the event went the last mile in every aspect. Anand Vemuri and Apurv Agarwal – are two phenomenal folks helping fostering the culture of fearless entrprenurship in the Delhi / NCR region in their amazing ways. They never made any of us realize that we were meeting them for the first time and all of us were lacking expertise in some areas or the other. Basking in our small achievements and struggling in our crazy ways; they were around till the wee and the early hours ensuring all kinds of support; most critical product and business inputs were provided to all the startups in the most entrepreneur-friendly way. GetEchoed team received some of the most critical inputs and some very affirming good words from the 91springboard team over the bootcamp. And yes, not to mention the happiness of sharing round table networking over dinners and tea breaks! Yes, they do happen innocuously and are facilitated by these folks in the most subtle manners.

The brilliant experience and the fair treatment meted out to all of us is articulated hence. I encourage of you startup fellas to definitely take a break from the daily imperatives of your startup. As impending and critical as they are; your learning from interacting with heterogeneous group of startup folks; incubatee startups and the amazing folks at the 91springboard will definitely be worth hours of team brainstorming and much beyond.

Say cheers to starting up. Cheers to lean camps and cheers to Delhi!

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This post is written by Arpita Chakraborty, straight from her laptop – sharing learnings and experiences of working across startups for years now. She is a social media geek and loves to question things at GetEchoed. Tweet to her about anything @arpitaambition

Define your opportunities – they come in all sizes

Beginning to act on long procrastinated goals are difficult and we understand that. We don’t learn with just theories. We learn by experience. At GetEchoed; with this post – we shall feature spotlight on one GetEchoed Stud – every week – where we will bring real life experiences of people. People similar to you and I; who have dreamt and struggled, Struggled, failed and won them over with time.

Let’s begin with one experience at a time!

If you ever thought what you should do about your undying thirst for learning new things, let me say – it’s a very desirable question to find an answer for!

Meet Varun Jain – quizzing enthusiast and a budding entrepreneur. His journey of overcoming challenges in actualizing his passion is a story of finding solutions to problems where one has little control – and inspiring in own ways.

Always keen to learn; Varun had little affinity for the traditional academic discourse. Born and brought up in Delhi and educated in a not-so-elite-school of the capital; brushing his quizzing skills was indeed a luxury for him; that took its own time and cost. Facing challenges in striving balance between his pursuits for knowledge AND completing prescribed syllabus in time; Varun had realized early on following dreams does not come as an easy give away.

In India, where back in the early millennium, the country was struggling with challenges in the base order of Maslow’s need hierarchy; smooth dissemination of knowledge was a privilege of the few. Lack of a nurturing environment; brushed the intellectual curiosity under the carpet of regular knowledge gathering. Amidst all of this, attending the-then only annual quizzing event of the nation would often leave him in awe of the probable opportunities available to folks who had accessibility to knowledge.  The challenge of a nascent quizzing ecosystem and a heavily academic pedagogy of Indian education system; pursuing a journey of intellectual curiosity had their own ramifications on pursuing the goals.

Varun grew up to be an engineer by profession; working for a global management consulting firm. While life may seem sorted for most – there is only so much fulfillment for the intellectual craving in a to allow going beyond scratching the surface of knowledge. Disillusioned by his day job and an undying passion for giving meaning to helping intellectual curiosity; he came to terms that one has to figure out solutions oneself. Learning begins within.

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If not a full time quizzer / quiz master himself, he saw the problem of not having platforms to hone quizzing skills; he realized the opportunity to build a platform where intellectual minds could sharpen their skills without putting too much at stake and have fun on the go. He gave a new dimension to ‘quizzing the right way’ with Quizot – ending the long lasting dearth of user friendly and accessible platform for ever keen learning enthusiasts.

Among the zillion challenges, most imminent was to build a website – each line of code at a time – to make a platform that brought the experience of flirting with knowledge, on-the-feet thinking and intelligence to life

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Ask him the mantra for keeping on the focus; Varun believes fighting your own demons and getting back to square zero gives the strength to start from the basics to get cracking on anything new. Learning to teach oneself is the most important thing for people who are learning new things. Then begins the journey of patience and perseverance through failures and challenges. It begins with the understanding that its “OK” to struggle with new things. Patience is the virtue and giving up is not an option. Delaying self-gratification and making the right choices is most important in keeping the focus right.

Working on passion – cracking one goal at a time – is what makes Varun Jain – an inspiration for being a GetEchoed Stud. Varun believes that had a platform like GetEchoed existed a decade before in India; he would have used to bring his goals to life; learning from doers who have been there, done that.

His success mantra – begin with things and be comfortable with struggling in the beginning. That’s the only way to learn – make yourself learn to learn

Follow him on Quora and check out his goals on GetEchoed – to discover how he works on his passion – cracking one goal at a time.

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That’s how GetEchoed Studs roll their lives out! Join the caravan of DOERS at GetEchoed

Have a story! Reach out to us and we will love to talk about your awesomeness. We know you are amazing. Bring it on!

 

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This post is written by Arpita Chakraborty, straight from her laptop – sharing learnings and experiences of working across startups for years now. She is a social media geek and loves to question things at GetEchoed. Tweet to her about anything @arpitaambition

Price of that extra hour…

You know it is well past six, then you look towards your boss’s cabin & you see him sitting there. Your heart instantly declares a strike against your mind about sticking any longer in office. You pack your bag & leave for the day.

Next morning you find yourself part of a light-hearted discussion with your colleagues where your boss makes an indirect comment about non-seriousness of employees who leave office ‘on time’. It is quite normal for you to take that into your stride. From that day on, you diligently stick your ass on the seat till your boss feels you are ‘serious’ enough about the job. Gradually, you get into the habit of replying to official emails during odd hours, as weird as 3 A.M! Well, that is definitely being prudent enough for the ‘kind-of-growth’ you are aspiring.

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I do not have a single issue in accepting the fact that I might not be an expert of working conditions outside India, but the above stated points are a cumulative result of talking to more that 1,000 young MNC professionals across cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Banglore, Pune, Mumbai, Hyderabad & Chennai.

If given a chance, I would like to arrange a national debate on the interpretation of the word ‘growth’. Is it moving from i20 to Fabia ? Or is it getting a hike of straight 175% on your present salary? This question is purely subjective but what is objective is the price you pay for all of this! Staying up late in the office is a completely voluntary decision, & if you find that the impetus is EXTERNAL, you must think on the path to catch it on the other side of the road.

If it is about your bread & butter, earn enough to just have ‘bread & butter’. There always exists a job in this world that would grant youthat much. What lies ahead & what should matter to you — are you getting enough time to follow your PASSION?

Not everyone under the sun is lucky enough to fall in love with their work. Some eventually give in because they have wasted long enough to think about an alternative, others keep struggling to achieve‘happiness’ till eternity.

But do you fall under any of these categories?

If no, make use of time to follow what you love doing, even if it is doing nothing! It is like a relation that matures only with time & with sustained efforts you discover the real ‘you’. Do not be disappointed if you end up having nothing; that ‘nothing’ is only mass-stupidity to cover up the uniqueness of an individual. Trust me, you will discover some precious gems!

Get back to reading your favorite Batman comics, or taking your bike to unexplored places of the city, or joining knitting classes in the vicinity. From the point I see it, you might end up starting your online comics rental, or starting a viral travel blog or launching a winter-ware range! Else you become famous enough to carry a reputation in the like-minded community. None of them seems bad to me as you would have cherished every moment of walking up to that point. And that for sure matters more than owning up a 3BHK flat in suburbs or a swanky car(of course on EMI!).

I can literally go on for (p)ages on this, but my motive is to just give you a ‘push’ for yourself. You will always find people who will enjoy walking with you, that is far better than amassing a lavishness of herd-mentality crowd. So for now, close this browser(not without sharing it with one you care for!) & get back to what your heart says. The first step is always small, what matters is that you started!

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This post is written by Kumar Dipanshu, Co founder at GetEchoed. He handles product design, being the creative think tank and being resolute about his opinions! He loves poetry and mountains. Tweet to discuss anything with him @kdipanshu