Book Review: Connect the Dots

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  • Loved the book.
  • If you are a wantrepreneur (person who is permanently dreaming about being an entrepreneur), this is a book you should read.
  • Talks about a dozen or so start-up stories. And the variety is amazing.
  • The book is in the form of informal interviews with the entrepreneurs.
  • Most of these are folks who broke away from tradition. Son of a government employee turning into a wildlife photographer, or the son of a business man growing brocolli and iceberg lettuce in India, or the person whose passion it was to making cheese in India.
  • Some stories are those of grit – like the Dosa Plaza story. Some are of the kismat/Junoon type. There are some stories of breaking away of monotony. There is of course, the famous story of Veta (the English training institute) starting from a thatched roof for rent.
  • The tantra tshirt story, the Haathi Chaap (recycled paper from Elephant dung) story – fascinating reads.
  • The exotic story of an economics professor in an university wanting to get into the hotel industry, where he worked 3 hours every night (after teaching the whole day) — Oriental cuisines, which owns several mall food courts and fine dining restaurants across India.
  • Read the book in my Kindle paperwhite. Gave me the edge to skip chapters that I was not too much into (there are a couple of stories about folks who made it big in the theatre industry).
  • Overall good read. Written in a very engaging style. Lots and lots of research.
  • Kudos to the author – Rashmi Bansal.

 

What if Apple bought Tesla

tesla

Nice article on TNW hypothesizing what if Apple bought Tesla. There are several similarities. Steve Jobs did want to build a car and take on Detroit (he had made that comment to a NYT reported before he died). Tesla is loaded with elegant technology. Elon Musk dreams big – really big – kind of like Jobs. Tesla sells only through its own stores. And well, Apple very well has the cash to buy the car company. There is one more nice point made in the article – if this does happen, there is a risk to Tim Cook – a good chance that the investors might want to replace Cook with Musk!

Read the full article here. [link]

(image src: flickr)

Start-up city

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This is a time when there is a tussle between the residents of SFO and the tech workers, the so-called gentrification of the city, and the google buses problem etc. The start-ups are struggling to keep a balance between keeping their knowledge workers close at bay vs keeping the cities in which they are located happy.

FastCo has a great “imaginative” article on how this could be handled if the tech giants took matters into their own hands. What if they built apartments for their own workers in what is now their parking lots.

Makes some sense. But could introduce a variety of other problems. Read the full article here. [link]

Right after the acquisition …

I was reading this great article from an ex-Flickr employee on how Tumblr (and its employees) should ride the acquisition wave. In specific, I think some of these points are awesome, immaterial of the current scenario (Tumblr + Y!). These are applicable in almost all big company buys smaller company scenarios. I am reproducing the four points below with some of my observations that I went through during the one acquisition I went through and a few which I have closely seen happen.

Don’t pretend it’s not happening or that it doesn’t matter.

Totally nailed it. It matters. You need to soak it in. You need to absorb in some of the acquiring company’s culture. Make new friends. Get some folks with whom you can gut-check processes. Most importantly, make friends with the non-tech crowd at the bigger company – HR, Finance, Facilities. You will soon realize you would need their help. And help is so much easier to get if you are on their side.

Don’t forget you’re awesome.

You got acquired because the parent company felt that either your technology is awesome, or your talent is awesome. Either ways, you are important to them. Acknowledge that. Dont succumb to giving up everything. A good merger/acquisition is a layer-by-layer mixing of what is best for the joined entity. Do not give up silly little traditions when you were smaller. At the same time, embrace larger cultural practices from the bigger company.

Plan for the Bear Hug.

I think the original article nails this one beautifully. In the initial stages, everyone will jump in and give you ideas. Embrace this togetherness, but have a point-contact for traiging these requests. Else you will get in to a rat hole.

Think bigger.

Now you can. You can think beyond the local market. You can think beyond the handful of customers you have now. You can think beyond restraining marketing budgets. You can ask for help in designing UI. You can ask for data. You can do so much more if you start thinking bigger.

Know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Now this is one thing, that I have seen happening right in front. After the acquisition happens, there are a certain set of things that happen either due to standardization (example in the article is moving to a common data center, which happens everywhere now), or something that resulted from you thinking bigger. Some things might seem easier when doing it on a larger scale, but along with, comes a ton of headache. Localization, internationalization, local laws, patent disclosures. And I fully agree with the advise in the article about – “Dont be afraid to get a gut-check from someone in the parent company.” These headaches have a thing for magically appearing only  mid way through the project.

Read the original article here.

Fitiquette

Read about this site on techcrunch. They just launched during their recent Disrupt event. I think its a great idea. There have been web sites where you can see digital mannequins donning clothes. But this site takes it one step further. It lets you customize the mannequin with your measurements. And then add on clothes. This is the one thing that was missing in online shopping sites so far. Folks who have a fit body do not need to worry about ordering from online sites. They typically would know their sizes (small, medium, large), or by their shirt sizes (39, 40, 42..), or trouser hip sizes (29,30,…). But for the larger majority of us, who are not *ahem* quite the perfect ‘mannequin’, we would like to know how a medium size from a certain brand and a certain fits me. Does it fall too short? Does it have too long sleeves? Does it make me look too short? Most of us have these reservations. And hence we like to go stores and try them on inside the mirrored trial rooms.

If it is what I read what it is, fitiquette solves this problem 100%. Lets you don clothes on a customized mannequin, and lets you view the mannequin in different angles, and pretty much do a virtual trial room experience.

Nice. Hope these guys make it big. Great going. After quite a while, I am seeing a startup solving a real world problem.

[fitiquette]