Over the years I have met a lot of people, some who are very rich, some who are well educated and some who are just struggling to get through life. I realized the world is a mean place and the richer the person becomes the more self involved he is (Awesome ted talk on money VS people – Link ). When it comes to startups everyone matters and everyone should be equal. Here is a place where a person is respected by his ideas and ability to deliver the idea. Here is a place of opportunity, a place of learning. Here is a place where leadership and patience matter most. Above all here is a place where many need to work as one.
We never compromised on quality for the deadline.. When we started we never knew when and if we will ever get a product that will be good enough. We made benchmarks for success first but when we did not get it bang on for the first time we worked on it until we get it right. . Each time I analyzed why we went wrong and each time I saw laziness and haste as the main two reasons for our failures. In both attempts I felt the coding team was achieving great success but the content team was being lazy. The additional re-work gave us the much needed time to get things right. We finally made the two teams into one and assigned responsibility along with accountability, which made the difference.
Leaders today need to learn more than ever before, we need to read in our free time and guide our team. I listen to all but I lead on ideas only when I feel they are right. It is essential to be open to ideas and keep note and organize the ideas coming in, you never know when an idea could click. I have been building Mychefbook for three years my failures have made me strong and I see now that they were needed to reach where I am today. The hardest part of this time was to build a team I love. I also now share a great synergy with my graphics lead, coding team and my management. Things that I have seen improve my relationships are
Reducing the site of the office and keeping things compact.
I sit in the same room
I never made them work harder than they needed to or could. Even with deadlines
First thing in the morning I do is sit with all members one at time and discuss what they are working on. I do the same in just 5 minutes at the end.
I avoid being late even though I am the boss
Avoid leaving the office earlier than needed
Don’t facebook in office. (It only gives you feeds from friends and family and other personal things which are a distraction at work)
Be a technology guy, know your gear your PC, and build a few yourselves if possible. (Good hardware will unlock better potential)
I always wanted to build a food sharing website of my own, I just loved the idea of it but I never got the support that I needed from my father. I never realized the challenges of building something so big. In 2012 a friend of mine approached me and said he had an Idea – he told me about something in short and I thought it was not too great. A few months later he came back to me and said let’s make a recipe sharing website. I decided then it was now or never and as he said he will fund the half we needed – It was a go without a second thought. I always loved the challenge of building a larger portal but little did I know about what was to come. I started to work on something as simple as adding a recipe to share and every time we tested it we found a new error. We added recipes copied from other websites and we would always find new ingredients I had never heard of and could not find in India. We started to innovate to meet a need to have a multi language ingredient entry form. With every new real life bug in usability we made space to find new ways of solving the problem just to realize 5 more problems and opportunities would open up. We pushed ourselves to write custom scripts and followed as many SEO practices as we could. As we are still a small team I can control things better which is how I want it to be until I feel it’s ready for the world. We always focused on SEO from the start, the strategy was to do everything original and not take the easy route (Which is my second point- There is no room for laziness.
We know what we need to do but we could not find the people smart enough to deliver what we were looking for so I decided to do it myself. Design evolved with every failure and I pushed to make it better every day. Suddenly after about two years of struggling and not letting Mychefbook go live we suddenly saw the pieces come into place. We decided on a single leader role and It’s great for my partner to let me do that. As we developed I also saw a need to put this into a social perspective, we realized the need for processes to stop spammers and hackers- something I think entrepreneurs overlook easily. We looked at fluidity of design and we were proud of what we were making. Mychefbook today has over 100 features that don’t exist on other websites. The small things that will play big roles in time to come. I always believed that it has to come through my own experience and so I started to grow herbs and plants in my free time. I started to learn new cuisines I explored new ideas and improved my photography. Most of these things might feel stupid to people in a work space but they don’t realize how they connect. When I learnt Japanese cooking I realized how easy and nutritious it was. When I learned Mughlai cooking I made better mutton burgers under American cuisine. I am not an artist but I pushed myself to lead innovation in design. I designed my own theory’s of design (Design is progressive) from that experience. I found lots of sense in ted talks from Margaret Gould Stewart and found sense in the principles of Steve Job. Above all I believe in myself.
People who get into tech startups for just money should never be there. Or they need to hire someone, a leader that is able to vision a product and not numbers and profits. I have worked with blind investors in life and they always had the same approach. They don’t understand the business or the product but they want monetary results first, rather than achieving the larger objective of the product. It is important to see who your investors are as they will always pull you down and hurry you up. It is important to find investors or probably not go for an investment model if you think you can take care of it yourself. Your product should always think to itself – do I solve a need to make something better.
On an ending note I found this awesome slide by Rand Frishkin @moz from #mozcon, from Eric Schmidt that hits the spot on innovation and ideas.