Life, Change & Startup Service

For many of us, life happens in the background while we strive to live through our dreams of achievement and accumulation. For some of us, there is a pause in our lives and we suddenly start observing our life and living it.

I have been on this journey of observation the past couple of years. But recently, there was a major shift. As I’ve been watching my actions and simplifying my thoughts. In October 2014, along with Amit, I found myself at an startup event that was no less than ‘magic’.

Startup service for me was like a dream-reality sequence, unable to decipher what was real and what was a dream. But, philosophically I knew both were as valid as they come. The weekend was about ideas no doubt, but the spirit of cooperative participation and the intention to ‘give’ dominated. Each person who participated in the process was there for a reason, all with a personal journey story to share. Happiness, humility, love, gratitude, empathy, positivity, productivity, giving & accepting – all people at this 3 day event were about these things. Amidst all the love teams worked on their ideas with care, to convert them into actionable concepts / products.

There were folks with who the idea originated, there were other folks who were supporting them as a team, there were some other folks who were there as mentors. In all, everyone was happy to help each other with the goal of building something that could help each other by the end of the weekend. All of us worked on ideas ranging from Activity Kits for kids, workshops on mindful food preparations, education framework for kids, participative art installation activities, to products made of sustainable material like sugarcane fibre, and many more.  The people there were special with their own uniqueness and it was sheer joy to see each of them adding to the energy of that place.

All of them touched my life and something inside has changed forever. This was the first time I’ve been introduced to a concept like Service Space. Personally, with Morpheus Gang’s shift of focus from being a commercial accelerator to a community of entrepreneurs who participate by giving first. Interacting with folks of Service Space and first hand witnessing people living the ‘giftivism’ way of life; has reinforced my confidence in the path we have chosen at Morpheus Gang.

The event in itself was surreal, for me as i mentioned earlier. But the final few hours of the event were extra-ordinarily magical from what I perceived. It was endless exchange of energies, creating more and many more hugs. I am sure, it gave everyone an eternal hangover of love, like it did to me. And, my journey back home from Ahmedabad to Chandigarh via Delhi is what I call “my journey of realisations”! (More on that later!)

Here are some relevant links to know more about Startup Service:; Moved By Love:

Here’s a gem by Kanti Patel, that sums up the spirit of life!


Living Consciously

The more i travel, interact with people; the more i notice. Notice that we are all just breathing, eating, talking, doing, reacting – as if working of a script; a script of deeply ingrained propagandism, as it were.

The way we talk, walk, look. What we wear, eat, do. Where we go for a holiday even. Somehow mostly, almost every act of ours as a human race seems to be happening rather unconsciously. Off late, i’ve been stopping to ask questions to people around me. Quoting two examples:

We were visiting a friends place, he is almost like family to us. The conversation over green tea was kids (they have twins 3.5years  and i have a daughter 5 years). Suddenly, I heard him say things i’d never imagined he’d every. He’s been this big brother hero who had intelligent answers for everything. He was talking about how others in his family think that the kids should be at par with anyone else. He had quickly distanced himself from the issue and was now passing the blame of decisions to his partner and others in the family. Then there were talks of how cruel the school was, how incompetent the teachers were, etc. Which I agree to – I mean, tests and home work for 3.5 year olds, with questions like “Name 5 surface transport vehicles”. Ya well. So, somewhere in between, i could not hold it and asked them the question, that was obvious to me – “Why? As educated folks, who could question and bring about change, why are you doing this to your kids?” The answer i heard, though not explicit was – We want it that way, as this is the safe path to tread. It’s okay that our kids creativity or flair to uniqueness is being squashed; but peace is maintained at home!  Here, its beyond even asking them to think consciously. its almost suicide. Specially when people have the capacity of conscious living; but compartmentalise to do the most socially acceptable thing in a few matters.

In another incident, I met two good friends recently, who were all set to go to a lunch party. I was in a park with my daughter, they were stopping by to say a quick ‘hi’. They called and ask me to wait for them by the wayside, as they were not comfortable getting off the car. Why? They were not dressed suitable for a park and would mind if people took a second look or raised their eye-brows. During my conversation with them,  i asked a questions that seemed very obvious to me – Why wear something that you’re not comfortable with? Of course, there are arguments and counter arguments to this – every occasion has to be dealt with in a different manner, so the question is not valid. Its unfair that i am judging them, so on. All fair. And i am not judging anyone. I am only accounting an incident to bring about a larger point. A learning i’ve been experiencing.

For me, many things are simple and straight. This is so because of the recent exercise i’ve been doing. The exercise of conscious questioning. As part of this, if i were to go someplace, i’d question the need to dress “appropriately”. Now, the question is “what is appropriate” “who decided it to be that way” “why isnt this better than that” “what is better anyway”. All these questions are important for me, coz if i dont ask them, i’ll be acting through my deeply ingrained conditioning that tells me – for some occasions dress in a certain fashion even if it means you are uncomfortable deep inside. Or because, there is this fear of not belonging or whatever else. And hence, doing this for years will make us seem comfortable; but deep inside that may not be true at all.

It’s been rather interesting to note the things i’d been doing without much thought. This conscious questioning process has pushed me to understand myself at a different level. Perhaps, brought me nearer to my true self.

I wish many of us tried to live life the Conscious way. Questioning simple things that we do; be it our personal decisions of dating someone, marrying, smoking, not-smoking, our concepts of having fun, Facebook usage OR what’s the real reason i am doing this job over the other, why do i eat this and not that; and so on!

We all claim to be the educated, affluent, civilised folks in this world. But many-a-times our actions are of the lowest degrees of human kind. The media these days is filled with incidents of such sorts. We are quick to openly dis-associate ourselves from such acts and spew criticisms. Criticise the people who exhibit such behaviour, question their upbringing, their culture, so on.

If only we all stopped to think. Exercised Conscious thought. We’d all understand that we are as much responsible for such acts as are those in the act themselves. We are a part of that unconscious or contaminated conscious that propels such behaviour. We are a part of that problem. No point distancing and being dual about it.

What if we all stopped a moment to look at nature, appreciated its beauty, thanked it? Respected everything around it. By respect, i do not mean referring to people as Sir’s and Madam’s. But truly, deep within felt one with each other and felt the gratitude for their existence. What if we could stop compartmentalising and being selfish and accepted everything as part of us? Much of what we do, think and are will change. I know. I have experienced it.

“You may say 
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one”

For this, all it takes is for each of us to stop living in this reactionary mode and start living consciously!


Good exists. You gotto believe in it!

Early December, 2013 I spent 4 days in Mumbai. As part of what i do, i travel regularly to Delhi-Mumbai-Bangalore. So, this was nothing special, but one of the regular visits before i’d head off to Auroville to end the year on a silent note.

A bit of a background: I’ve been kinda compulsive all my life and paranoid to making sure i have all my things intact. I’ve grown up with folks telling me i am carefree, careless, i don’t pay attention to things and maybe that (till sometime back) had rubbed so deeply off on me that i was nearing paranoia in making sure i was careful with things. And so, i’d check if i had my bags around a 100 times. Constantly touched my pocket to see if my wallet was around. Touched my ears to check if my earrings were intact and so on!

Over time, i had made patterns in my mind and mapped that with specific actions to ensure that i had secured all things i had with me when i moved from a place to another. For example, when i got into a cab from the airport the sequence was to put my wallet in my backpack > slip the phone in my pocket > place my rucksack on the seat beside me > pass my less used hand into the sling of my backpack and lug onto it, while i took my ride!

In the recent months, i’ve been in the process of deconstruction and reconstruction of myself. In that i’ve managed to let go of my paranoia, break the pattern and sequence, and be more free flowing; not worrying about losing things or even thinking that i am capable of losing things. I’d thought i had successfully overcome this old pattern and moved to being more light headed. But this was not tested.

Now: This time when i got my pre-paid taxi slip to board at the Mumbai airport, i was on a phone call. I boarded the taxi as i spoke on the phone. This was an evening flight and i was looking forward to going home to Andheri and spending a quite evening bonding with my sister-in-law, who i had not spent too much time with in the recent past. Work would resume the following day.

The taxi ride was interesting, as the driver and i spoke of many topics ranging from the monorail and metro projects to school fees and Salman Khan. I was dropped off at my destination. I thanked the man and disappeared into my apartment complex. This was around 6:30pm.

At home, post some catching up, Shweta (my sister-in-law) and i decided we’ll watch a movie at the theatre nearby post a quick “chaat” stop. Advantages of living in Lokhandwala, Andheri is that you can literally walk down to watch a movie! So by around 8pm we decided to leave, i stopped to pick my wallet up. And lo! there was no wallet.

Under normal circumstance, paranoia would have taken over. I’d have panicked. All hell would have broken lose.

But this time, i was super calm. I told Shweta – If i have to get it back i will. Then i quickly tracked my memory back to where i could have left it. It was in the taxi. By now, Shweta was a little unsettled. She started to look up for numbers to call, online. I told her, the taxi driver was a good guy. Maybe he has not realised yet, that i have left my wallet in his car. Or he has not got a chance to get in touch with us. I’ll get it back. Incase, there was someone else who boarded the taxi and decided to keep it and not hand it over to the driver, then it was not for me to get it!

Shweta, who knows me for a decade now, was unsettled looking at my calm nature – which was very unlike me. She managed to call the airport and get the taxi service complaints number. (I had handed over even the acknowledgement slip to taxi driver and i did not have the booking ID either)

I told Shweta, lets go watch the movie and if no one comes back with it by end of day, we’ll check with the airport taxi guys in the morning. But Shweta was adamant that we ride to the airport to check, so i followed her instructions!

We drove to the airport, checked with the taxi folks. They said, the taxi driver had not encashed for the day and they’d with hold his payment and contact us when he came by.

Meanwhile, I had called home and folks were concerned. I’d talked to Sameer to courier me my alternate Photo ID, as i was flying to Chennai three days later. Infact, my only concern was that. If i did not get my wallet back, what would i do for an ID to travel. Nothing else concerned me. Not the money in the wallet, nor the bank cards. So, Sameer, the smart guy he is gave me a suggestion – I went to the airlines counter at Departures, asked them if a photocopy of the ID would work as i had lost my wallet. They said yes. I went and spoke to the security head and he confirmed positive, under the given circumstance. Now that my flying out of Mumbai was covered. I dragged Shweta to have Chaat at the airport. We hung out there for a bit, missing the movie and drove back to Andheri to meet other friends.

Just as we reached home, my phone rang. The Taxi Complaints Manager was calling to tell me that the cab driver was infront of him with my wallet. I smiled as my faith/ belief was confirmed. I told the Manager to take some money off my wallet and hand it over to the driver as my token of thanks and gratitude, as he may not be waiting for me till i got to the airport. Also requested the Manger that if my wallet did not have that money to pay from him pocket and i’d pay him back when i met him.

We then drove back to the airport at night, picked the wallet up. Thanked the Manager and drove back home. While all this was happening. Not once did i panic. I saw that i had really changed and this tested it out.

Incidentally, i had a lot of money in my wallet that day; which is very unlike me, but was incidental that I had withdrawn a significantly large amount for something and that did not get used. All that money was intact.

In other times, i’d have felt bad, cursed myself for being careless, run and re-run the episode in my mind to figuring out how it could have been avoided if i had paid more attention to one specific action, so on! Wasting a lot of energy. Spreading a lot of negative energy. So on!

This time, nothing of that sort happened. It was all peaceful and good prevailed.

Amidst all this, one big thing that i learnt is that – it’s okay to lose. it’s okay to slip on a few things. I also for once was reminded of all the times that i have been opinionated about Sameer misplacing his things or losing his ATM cards (which btw is a joke now at TMHQ!) I realised how i’d feel bad about it and spread negative energy around me. It taught me – such things happen to all, when its meant to happen. So just go with the flow. Let go. But have faith. Have the belief that there are good people all around you. Think Good & Good prevails!

Superzoom. Tread Slow.

I’ve been away, far from the madding world (so to say) most of December 2013. I started my December first week in a series of meetings in Chandigarh and Bombay, amidst loosing and getting back my wallet in a cab in Bombay. (More on this later). I then headed out to Auroville (City of Dawn), an experimental township 20 mins North of Pondicherry.

I spent the first week at Auroville attending a workshop on Sustainability titled “Exploring a Sustainable Future” – a finely designed workshop that gave me an insight into the various happenings at Auroville, which we tag as Sustainable Projects; but which are indeed the “only way” to do somethings! This week, i had Amit Puri (The guy who gets things done at The Morpheus) attend the workshop with me. I think the workshop had the power to provide the impetus to make a Shift.

I then spent the weekend with my childhood friend Reshma, who i think was not convinced with the recent changes i have undergone as a person. I am sure, she still thinks I have lost it and is also perhaps saying silent prayers for me 🙂 (Is that right Resh?!)

For two and a half weeks after that I had Sameer, Abhishek (@gargolgy) and Sanaa comeby and we spent a lot of time with each other. I was initially supposed to leave Auroville around the 26th December, as two friends from my school were here in Bangalore, getting married. These two people, mean much to me and i love them a lot. But, I just could not get myself to get out of Auroville. The place has some magical energies that makes someone like me just stay there!

So, what did i do for over two weeks at Auroville? Nothing, actually. Just hung out with Abhishek, Sameer and Sanaa. Let a lot of random thoughts come and haunt my mind. Killed those thoughts, resolved a lot of conflicts within through those thoughts. Concentrated at the MatriMandir (It is a Physics marvel, actually), hung out at Cafes, ate at organic farms, and did some other things which may sound random, but were meaningful to me.

All my life, i have been “busy” doing something or the other. Which was nothing but keeping the mind busy, doing something intellectual, proving to myself that i can be super productive. For the first time in my life of 37 Summers, i spent quality time emptying my mind. Learning to de-clutter. Learning to slower my thoughts and focus on my innerself. Silence myself, figuratively speaking. I’d been reading some and interacting with a master – learning these concepts of silencing the mind, slowing the thoughts to focus on things that need to be worked on. But, had never taken time off to practice it to such lengths.

Auroville also provides that set-up where one can pretty quick go into the mode of concentration and deep focus – provided one is keen on silencing the thoughts and have the determination to do so. If not, a noisy mind is no good anywhere!

As i come back to the city today. To a noisy Bangalore, where i’ll spend the next 2 weeks. I know that somethings in me have moved. I have this strong conviction that it is important to Tread Slow – in thoughts. To understand the real reasons thoughts occur, stay with them for a while to recognise where they are coming from – are they a result of our deep, unknown conditioning or are they what would have have occurred naturally – something that was meant to be. And once this slow down begins to occur; then it becomes easy to superzoom. Superzoom is very important to achieve excellence in whatever we do, which intellectually speaking, we all think we have achieved. But only a clear, naturally inclined state of being can experience superzoom! The state of ability where one can quickly go into the depth of a subject and think through specifics like a master to invoke results of excellence. Steve Jobs had the ability of some such, to give an example. Examples simplify concepts sometimes. One other person was Ayrton Senna.

So, my Mantra as i come back to my calling / Karma, as it were is “Slow Down & Superzoom”!

Sexual Choices!

I’ve been cut away from the external world for over a week now. Comfortable, calm and focussed in Auroville. Post a sustainability workshop, which was rather life-changing; i had a school friend visit me over the weekend that passed by. Amidst many conversations, she mentioned that the Supreme Court had overturned a lower court ruling on Gay / Same Sex Marriages. This now means that if you are in a relationship with another person of the same gender then, you are a criminal.

This got me thinking. In India, the Khajuraho Temples suggest same sex relationships. Which indicate that in India our forefathers were progressive and let people be, without enforcing choices. But now, such matters are more a political agenda then anything else.

I think for years, people in India with the same gender preferences have not come out in the open to declare their choices, but have been left to themselves mostly. This is because of our cultural construct, where two girls or boys hanging out with each other, living with each other meant – safe, they are friends and the thing to do!

Contrarily, if a girl and boy chose to hang out with each other, stay with each other, share a room or even had coffee together – the world around thought something was wrong. A relationship between a boy and a girl was always perceived and still is, a sin / wrong doing (somehow we cannot ever see them as just friends!). As a society we are incapable of looking at the purity of a relationship between folks of opposite genders. There always has to be a sexual connotation to it.

So, if what’s meant to be “straight” has been scorned for ages. And what is meant to be “gay” promoted. How come now, we as a culture have issues with gay relationships?

As we flock mindlessly, following the others’ backs

Reacting to agendas and manufactured alters

We slowly move away from our natural selves

Losing our purposes as humans, more devilish we become!


Emotional dependencies with products you like

(Narrative tone)

All of us are consumers of innumerable products online and offline, every day of our lives. As humans, we naturally associate ourselves with these products and attach emotions to them. I am sure each of us have a certain usage pattern of the products we consume. All of these products evoke a certain emotion in us. Thus creating dependencies. I have been thinking about the dependencies we create for ourselves while using these products or otherwise. I have also been wondering about the impact these products have on us to change our behaviour patterns.

There have been many products that have impacted my life. I have over-indulged in some of them. Some have been sheer conveniences in my life.

When i had to fly with my infant child the first time ever, i was particular about flying a certain airline, as i trusted them. I thought they cared. It was their offering and the way they conducted themselves that made me have that dependency that my infant will fly safe with them!

I feel wanted, special and cared for when i hold an apple product in my hand or interact with one. It’s the sheer design and finess that its products exude that makes me trust it. The belief is that irrespective, the brand cares & will have built something special for my benefit. I am a blind apple products user for ages now.

For a long time i wore a certain Nike sandals which were near to bearfoot stuff you get these days, but the most comfortable pair of footwear anyone could wear. I have not found sandals that suit me as much till date. But slip into unhappiness even till date when i remember that product and dislike the fact that they dont make them anymore! Sigh.

Google Apps is another product that i am dependent on. Love the convenience that it offers for startups. Simple, yet life changing additions. It is more like people building these features were watching my expressions and experiences to tailor made simple additions for me. Be it the undo sent mail feature or the did you mean Sean instead of Shaun feature.

Twitter of course is a huge emotional punch bag for many of us, including me. Its a one way broadcast many a times for me to vent my anger, frustrations, etc. besides that other informative things it offers and i give back.

Inboxwhiz is a browser plugin for google mail that helps me stay in control emotionally. I am an compulsive email checker. More like, who the hell will mail me earth shattering information at 3 am? I am compulsive! So inboxwhiz helps me here. Its like a floodgate. I can determine when i’d like inboxwhiz to push mails to my inbox. Till such time it’ll withhold my mails from reaching my inbox. Initially, i was an emotional wreck almost, but now i am getting used to the fact that inboxwhiz holds my mails to show them to me thrice a day.

I have been testing a to-do app code named ‘Tyler’. Its stupid simple to use and i have figured out that any thing i need to do, if i tell tyler he’ll get it done! Thats more like blind faith. Thats a huge dependency i have, as i have begun to believe that Tyler App is the best way to handle to-dos and act on them.

Now, as i indulge in all these products happily. There is one thought that shakes me off my skin – what if they decide to shut shop? Wrap up? Change it completely? What if? (I have goosebumps typing this line out, imagine if they actually said – thanks for being a great user, but its bye-bye time!)
More recently we have seen a few good products bite the dust. TunglePosterous, Summly and Google Reader. Imagine, if facebook sent you that bye-bye mail? What’ll happen to all those people who you think you are in touch with coz they are on facebook? What’ll people who use it 12 times a day on their phones do? It’ll be chaos, mayhem almost!

Though I am emotionally charged and anxious as i write about this. It intrigues me to know the impact such incidents have on the user’s mind, emotions, behaviour? I am assuming its like waking up one day to realize that the imaginary friend you played with most of your childhood was not there any more. Happens when you grow-up suddenly! It’s like how the narrator realized that Tyler Durden was his imagination in Fight Club. I am sure, its like losing a close friend, a relative or a pet.

Living in a voraciously consumerist society, we are breeding many abnormalities through the products we build for all of us to consume. I am sure we are getting more and more emotionally dependent on gadgets, web products and other physical products that give us the emotional satisfaction whilst we use them.  As, it will break our hearts, make us more insecure, push us to depression and perhaps product separation rehabilitation – who knows?

So, have you had a product heartbreak yet? What’s it like? OR do you think i am over-reacting? Your thoughts would be great to have as inputs.

Some vows!

Some promises i’d like to make as time moves towards the next day, the next year (its exciting, the unknown, the new – its always positive, isnt it?)

In 2013, I am not going to tolerate ill-treatment, disrespect of any sorts. I am going to make an effort towards making myself, my home, the people i love and the people i know more “aware”. I will exercise the powers i have as the most mature / intelligent race on this earth. I will strive towards making my house, workplace and other places i interact at clean of any vice or bad. I will raise my voice against injustice of all sorts or any lie; and stand by the truth, even if i be alone. I will try my very best to help make this world a better place to live in for me, the people i love, the society i belong to and my family. I will do all of this by starting with myself – bringing about a change in my mindset that will question typecasts, will debate right & wrong, and make an informed decision for the better!

I wish, everyone i know make a similar pledge to bring about a change, to make their lives better, to live intelligently and not as animals – carried away by glitz, material pleasures. I wish that we all get together as a community, leaving behind our egos & minor differences to make the much required difference to our immediate lives, to live a better life & create a world that’s as fresh as a new born perceives it – pure.

I’m going that path, are you?

Lessons of life!

So, i was talking to my dad the other day about philosophy and related things when he narrated this story to me. Trying to reproduce it as near to the original as possible, but considering its me, i have surely added my own dramatic flavor to it.

PS: My dad is a theatrical guy too 🙂

 The story goes…

“Long time ago, when my dad was just entering his twenties. He’d taken a few weeks off to visit Haridwar. Those were the days when he was this young active debater, well-read philosopher, someone who always won an argument.

While at Haridwar, he’d fill his bag with biscuits and some necessities at dawn, pick a direction into the forest and walk to return back to his base by evening.

One such day, while on his way, there was a sudden thunder & hail storm. He looked around to see a door, walked in to find shelter in front of an “ashram-like place”. As he stood there waiting for the rain to subside, a mid-aged charismatic man walked out to talk to dad. He was a sage.

The man spoke fluent English, was charming and well-learned. He invited dad inside his “kuteer” for some black tea and boiled potatoes. A few minutes into the conversation, my dad was talking to him about the philosophers of this world, the philosophies he believes in, whats right and wrong, etc. The man, just listened on.

After about 90 mins of what was almost a one-way communication, with my dad rigorously trying to prove his philosophical & spiritual prowess, the rain had subsided. So, my dad stepped up to take his leave, thanked the man for his company & food. The man walked my dad to the door to see him off.

When dad turned around to leave, he called out to him and asked, “I’d like to say something, will you listen?”

Dad said, “Yes, most definitely”

The man said, “I am really  happy that at such an young age you are well read, versatile with many great philosophers and their works & have achieved quite a lot!”

“But”, he said “Don’t you think instead of following various philosophies and thoughts of others, it’d be best if you imbibed all of them to make a philosophy of your own?”

My dad stood there staring at the wise-man, who very quickly walked in and locked the door.”

Dad narrated this story to me and said, I learnt a very important less of my life that day. And truly, that’s the most important gift my dad has given me – this essence of life that i took on early in my life.

“Understand, question, debate and know various things, phenomenon and philosophies in your life, but never blindly follow any. You always have to make one that you believe in and is best for you!”

Calculated vs. Natural (or lets call it sub-conscious)


Watched Barfi! today. Shruti’s narrative, towards the end, describes the way most of us live our lives. Last scene: When Jhilmil gets onto the bed with Barfi, Shruti talks about how she always wished to live her life with her true love and die with him. That’s when she contrasts her life with Jhilmli’s and says, “Jhilmil did not calculate and fall in love with Barfi, instead it happened naturally and she went with the flow.” (Unlike her, whose calculations were the reason she found Jhilmil in the position she could have easily been in)

Sameer and I have been discussing this topic internally for many months now – about living life the ‘sub-conscious’ way. Both of us have lived life that way (mostly) thus far. It’s essentially trying to live life in its pure form, free and instinctive.

Though one could argue, in the movie, that both Barfi and Jhilmil were handicapped & hence it did not matter how they lived their lives. I’d say, there is so much we could learn, if we wanted to, from people around us who may seem handicapped / limited / incapable. The sensitivities are what matter, which completely capable and normal people would lack easily!

So, coming back to our analysis of the sub-conscious living: Pondering about this, we also went about analyzing why some entrepreneurs do well whilst some others don’t; considering all of them have the same resources, opportunities and capabilities. That’s when we realized that the ones who do really well are the ones who live a sub-conscious life. These are the ones who do not overtly plan, or make mental calculations to figuring out – if i work on this idea, i’ll get funded over the other idea; OR i’ll do a Post grad in X school as it’ll fetch me a 10 figure salary; OR i’ll talk to this person over the other in a conference as he’s a speaker/ seems influential and the other is not, etc.

These are people who simply strongly believe in what they are doing and go about executing it in small chunks, making decisions of yea or nay as they come by small crossroads. Sometimes the yea’s work sometimes they don’t, when they don’t they quickly move to another decision. All of this happens pretty naturally – it just flows.

Now, the argument may swing towards – that’s a really wrong way of doing things. You’ll be running in circles if you just go by your instinct picking yea’s or nay’s. True that. But, if the initial decision making is so strong and one has internalized their decision of working towards an idea for the right reasons, then naturally or lets say sub-consciously they will make the correct decisions.

It’s all about the belief! If the belief is strong, then there is a definite quick tuning that happens in the mind which will help in making the right decision. This becomes a way of life. This, is what we call the sub-conscious way of life.

Of course, this is a very top level explanation of the sub-conscious concept, but i thought it apt to describe briefly after i watched Barfi! today. Coz life’s beautiful and happy when one lives an un-calculated life. Believe in something and go after it in a very pure/true way!

Can you?



Product Companies must focus on building their products and not run services!

This is one of the posts i wrote for Money control’s SME Mentor section! View Original Post. 

I have been interacting with many startup founding teams. Some of who have been building their product and are running a services outfit along side. Their point-of-view is that the services arm of their company will fund the product part of their venture.

Now, I am not against the idea of running a services company. I also buy the logic of startups bootstrapping & doing small-time consulting gigs or taking up short term projects to earn some revenues. Though, what bothers me is, product startups getting sucked into the services rut.

Let me list a few scenarios that I have come across to bring forth my point:

1. Two people come together to build a web-product. They brainstorm the vision for their product company. Figure out what they want to build initially and realize that they need some working capital to build a team, do marketing, etc. Also, they find out, what they have saved for this venture will not be enough to do all the above. The result – they decide on taking up services as a part-time effort. But eventually, the pressures of external commitment & delivery take major focus. Finally, product is sidelined & they continue to live-up to the services commitment.

2. Two people come together to build a web-product. They figure out what the initial plan of action should be. They realize they need more working capital, one guy opts to running the services part of the venture. The other guy begins to build the product. Eventually, the guy doing the services feels more important as he’s bringing the money in. The Product guy has a different point-of-view. The result: Either things fall apart and they part ways or the product guy is forced to shut shop and join the services part of the venture.

3. Two people come together to build a web-product. They calculate the amount of money they have for this venture. They work backwards to figuring out what they can achieve with the resources they have. They plan on building a minimum viable product and get as much usage as possible before they run out of money. They also plan on reaching out to friends and family to raise more money, once their product is launched, as they do not want to distract themselves right now. As Plan B, they will take on freelance projects for a few hours, if need be to make some money.

All the above scenarios are what I have come across during my interactions with startups. My advice to them is always: Focus is very important for a startup. Any distraction that has a tendency of slowing down your progress or distracting you from achieving what you want to do or are passionate about is best avoided.

Running a services arm is the most obvious thing to do, as it suddenly makes you profitable. But this path needs to be taken carefully. There is a danger of getting sucked into what you don’t want to do.

Scenario 3 is what I advocate. I have seen startups tread this path and have managed to either start making revenues from their product or have managed to infuse some money from friends and family based on version 1 of the product. Now, the choice is for you to make!