You have to be the story people share

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And not the forgotten, incomplete book that some one left mid way

We are all beginning a new chapter everyday in life. Something new is being created every day in life and you are potentially doing something unusual and worht being heard and shared every day.

And I mean that. 

All of us have the potential to be master story tellers and creators of destiny. The sad part however is very few of us are working on it

Every morning when I get up, there are multiple reasons for me to not get cracking on what is potentially the most difficult thing to do. Whether it is getting up to exercise early winter mornings or getting up and getting back to work – which I know will take time to get me the rewards I am hoping for

And there are enough and more reasons for me to ‘not do’ any of these and straight on take the simpler route –  Sleep till late, get on to do something easy and lazy ,maybe nothing at all. Take up a high paying job and getting to the more secure things. More assured realities

There is no harm in taking the secure route. After all, a man with empty stomach is only as worthwhile as Titanic with a hole crumbled by the Iceberg 😉 But that is a discussion for another day!

Being secure is about getting the fundamental right and not screwing up on the basics. And I am a firm believer of the fact that for a grand story to be told, a brilliant plot to be conjured up – there have to be some basics that are fitting all in place

While there will be times when things will work out absolutely miraculous – out of the blue – but those are for the people who hit the Bull’s Eye Spot On (More often than not without even knowing about that)

In most of our cases, let me assume there will be failures.

There will be setbacks. There will be challenges. AND. There will be enough and more compelling reasons to give up and ‘move on’. 

There will be a strong lurking motivation to find a ‘secure spot’

Even Sheldon had a strong affinity for his Spot and only His Spot!

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However, I have learnt in the past few weeks of strenuous and completely consuming urges that its the most ‘reasonable’ thing to give in to these ‘Demons of Secure Spots’

And there is very limited, if any, reason to go on with the madness of being the story you want people to share and be known for who you are and what you did. And not be forgotten for what you rather not do!

Building a startup is not very easy. It is probably one of the most consuming process to be engaged in. As I said there is enough and more reason to not do things that make life more difficult. And there is absolutely no reason for me (with a rather well-in-shape) physique to subject myself to the extreme pain of early morning exercises.

However, I also learnt that nothing in life is more satisfying than to be able to go to sleep every night knowing

Today is one more day That I controlled my destiny

Today is one more day That I was obsessed with who i want to be

Today is one more day when I faced the very basic challenges of survival in the face

Today is one more day when I stepped an inch closer to being a wee bit of an inspiration for someone

And I wish to be that inspiration for someone, for myself till the time I have the last bit of energy left in me. Because that is what I want to be known for.

I want to be known as the chapter that was once written. Not as the chapter that was meant to be written

And my learnings are not my reflections, they are rather learnings of an entrepreneur who has learnt the hard truth from multiple people (all better than I) the hard and the difficult way

So go on. If I can. So can you and much better than I

Be the story you want to share. Be the creator people want to own

Be the Chapter people want to read. 

You are meant to be. You will have to find the Hard Way amidst the challenges. Because thats what Life and Adventure is all about

gangotri

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

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Hustling is a mindset. It is your company DNA

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You don’t need ‘a hustler’ in your startup

Why you ask?

I say this because ‘hustler’ is not a role. For a successful startup — hustling up is the DNA in every role; at every level. You do not need a particular person or particular people / roles in the entire system to manage things and ‘get the work done’.

Hustling is a mindset. It is not a role.

Hustlers to a startup are what managers are to a corporate firm

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Worse yet, if they are like corporate middle managers! 😉

Scumbags. Without a point of view. Non directional. Hands off. Useless articulation. And supposedly — “capable at getting things done”.

There is a fundamental problem with one person solely responsible for getting things done in a startup. More so when it is the first few years of the startup venture when you are figuring things out and building things up. You don’t need some ‘one’ doing the hustling around for everything.

If you have a business person doing all the ad-hoc work, ‘visioning’, building relationships ‘only’ and / or motivating team members. Then I assure you its not a great startup DNA. Even when you have scaled up in your operations and your execution; its important that you build hustling in an essential mindset

Hustling is a mindset. Just as growth is a mindset.

Every one in the co founding team most importantly needs to hustle around — in everything possible.

  • Your technical co founder / coders / developers need to hustle about pushing the next feature at the earliest possible. Figure out the open source hacks as early as possible instead of reinventing the wheel everytime. If you are an engineering startup; you need coders who can think through solutions and challenges before committing timelines and delegating tasks.
  • Your designing team needs to understand your development cycle and iterate with the rest of the team at the earliest and as consistently as possible. Provide better design illustrations and be brilliant at askign questions
  • You need people to execute your marketing / branding / communications effort in the most strategic manner and using the most efficient tools. Discover and develop hacks to maximize efficiency. Build talent in the team on the go to be able to optimize efficiencies.
  • You need everyone across teams to be exceedingly willing and able to spot opportunities — for excellence, for growth, for better execution.

Hustling is about building a culture of execution excellence where your team members are always willing and proactive to figure out innovative ways of building a win-win situation.

At GetEchoed, our consistent understanding has always been that every person has something executable, something hands on to take care of. Hiring the right talent, connecting with the relevant people in the industry, investing the adequate quantum of time to develop talent and motivating is as much the job of the coder for any and all technical aspects of the startup as is the expectation from the person who does the marketing and then the person who does design. We do not have a person who is solely ‘a hustler’. Everyone is hustling in whatever they do. Each person is responsible for execution excellence in whatever they are doing.

Build a company DNA where everyone is more than responsible and accountable for excellent results. No one is responsible for getting the results done — as the sole parameter / expectation.

Gone are the days of the manager. Now is the time of the leader. A leader with inclusion. A leader who is hands on. A leader who listens. A leaders who hustles.

What have been your experience (s) around hustling for your startup / venture / company? Share your thoughts in the comments below and it will be a pleasure to exchange thoughts!

 

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

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Arpita Chakraborty, Co founder @GetEchoed

Of roadblocks, disagreements and life ahead…

Its the journey of three friends — from varied walks of life; united by the vision yet separated from their life experiences and skill sets.

What’s the vision?

Yes, three friends wanted to build something of their own that they felt could change something in the world; make lives wee bit simpler.All of them enjoyed building stuff! Hence the ‘three-mid-twenties-something’decided after few pints of beers; well ‘starting up’ would be a good start to build a billion dollar business!

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What’s the challenge?

Heterogeneity!

Easier said than done. Decisions based on beer pints are impulsive and emotional. Yet, better than being non decisive — next morning after hangover was rather settled; was the time to execute the decision

Thus, started the non glamorous and less talked about ordeals of founding a startup. Building a business is not a skill you gather working some years at a corporate organization. And the best friends need not necessarily be the best cofounders; not even closest siblings

Reason?

We believed we had completely complimentary skill sets as a team — we had a full-stack-developer, sales-and-marketing-geek and a psychology-management-consultant-product-geek. Call it ‘achievers-all-through-career’.

However, as was the heterogeneity; there were also heterogeneity in our operating styles.

Now that’s a moment of truth!

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Building a startup is all about ‘leveraging’ and cultivating ‘synergy’.In the initial years of a product, uncertainty is the only certainty one has and people are the only asset you have. And you need to learn to make peace with it. Help your co founders careen through such times…

Yes, the hoopla of a ‘great team’ is actually a reality!

We had our share of disagreements on what should the MVP do, what level of scalability should we look at, when do we seek mentoring, how much to develop, which feedback to consider and when was early-yet-not-late-enough to seek feedback; whom to hire, whether to outsource or develop in house and many more. While there were differences; there were enough and more learning we gathered through the way.

So what’s a co-founder equation really like?

  • Adapt,learn and iterate your operating style — Yes, operating styles can and need to be flexed and optimized. Two people are not similar.
  • Have complete alignment in goals — your single most never failing compass for deciding on your co founder relationship. While we were able to figure out our *alignment on goals* before writing the first code and talking to the first customer — the alignment in operating style developed over months of learning and adapting to each other
  • Understand the motivations of your co founder. Just the way an investor, a customer, a shareholder, or for that matter any stakeholder have their own motivations to get attached with your product / startup; so does your co founder. Passion does not speak the same language for every one alike
  • Define your roles extremely well and *understand* them even better. You should know where not to poke your nose and where you are completely accountable for every bit of results. You have to work at this demarcation — time and again — especially if you are a first time entrepreneur.
  • Be utterly clear about whats happening in each and every aspect of the startup. If you dont know coding, you should know why are you building your website on RoR v/s PhP. If you are a coding geek, you should know why should you leverage Pinterest v/s Facebook — in light of the nature of your product / business

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  • Take constant feedback on what are your comfort areas and what are your typical demons. Build a culture of honest and critical feedbackearly on in your startup days. Even when we were a garage team of 3 people, we made it binding on us that we shared honestly when we felt the other was not getting out of the comfort zone or was not focusing enough. (Yes, there will be times when even with all the passion and the zest, you will lack the focus!)
  • It takes efforts to nurture a productive and meaningful relationship with your cofounder. You will have harsh discussion, blames will be shifted, questions will be raised and results will be challenged. The earlier you understand boundaries of your relationships; better will you be able to work being cognizant of them.
  • Respect your co founder. There has not been any bigger learning than this in my startup journey. Every action — active listening, understanding their shortcomings and appreciating their small achievements — is a communication of celebrating the co founder relationship. Do that more often!
  • While there are operational details that have an equal share of challenges and that bring to life the intricacies of business; those are details that will be handled later. For everything else, there is always *beer pints*What has been your experience in co founding your startup? Let me know…

gangotri

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