Sunday, September 29, 2013

Car Pooling As a Startup Idea - Doesnt Make Sense to Me!

Recently I attended a demo session at in50Hrs in Thoughtworks Office Pune. In50hrs is India's premier Idea to prototype Platform. You can read more about it here :

They arrange events across india where, group of entrepreneurs/wannabes try to build a product from Idea to Proto in 50 hrs. Its Interesting Concept and event.

One group demo'ed Car pooling Mobile application where a person who is interested in car pooling can search for cars using GPS. They even integrated Voice search to make it funky.
It was nicely done thing! Great work by people involved in it!

But Somehow, I see Carpooling as overhyped concept.

I read many articles in business newspaper about Car pooling applications in the past. I talked with few of entrepreneurs who are chasing this crazy Idea, but was not satisfied with their answers.

Who, Why, For What need this thing?

- Lets think from Car owners perspective,
   Why does anybody buys car in  India?
   - It provides Big Social Status
   - It provides means to Long, Private Family Travel.
  -  It will assist you in shopping when you do heavy grocery shopping
  -  They can reach to office on time and in good condition, without breaking finely pressed clothes.

He might not have big concern in saving money by car pooling.

Would he be looking for sponsoring his fuel expenses using Car Pooling? None of Car pooling folks talk or present ideas to Car Owner promising them Free Fuel.

Car pooling may attribute to few cents saving his fuel cost at behest of him playing driver's role.

If He is Socially responsible, He would love to help people waiting on the roads.

But overall OptIn from Car Owners in large scale looks distant possibility. Car pooling with Friends is okay but with unknowns, I doubt.

2) From Car Poolers perspective :
    - They want comfortable, AC travel
    - They dont want to chase Auto's
    - They want to travel by Buses, Wait for it
    - Many can not afford buying Car and Car Parking.
    - Many can afford buying a car but cannot afford fuel for daily travel.

Safe, Secure, Reliable Transport is Need of Hour, But Car pooling alone cant be an answer.

Instead of Investing in Carpooling by creating certain Websites or Mobile Apps.
We need much bigger, Heavy investment in Improving Bus Transportation and Bus Routing Mechanisms. We need Macro solutions to our Transportation problem and not micro solution which will serve to fewer audience. People should not hate bus travels. They are, at end of day, human beings only.

In cities like Mumbai, Hyderabad, People do travel with Buses comfortably. They have multi-tier of buses as per classes. People who can pay higher, will get more comfort. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Copy/Paste Is Easy? Not Really!

Can anyone who uses Computers can live without Copy/Paste ( Ctrl-C & Ctrl-V)?

Ctrl, C & V buttons takes away lots of loads from all the keyboard buttons and make your keyboards live longer.

These three buttons would have saved billion years of typing efforts of billion users all over the world.

So Why this post?
In one of our product which uses HTML/JS, we want to have a button to let person copy the content of some div and paste it on some other window.

But there are not JS/HTML provided way to do this. Only browser takes care of this is Unfortunately the most cursed browser, IE.

 I dont know why rest of the browsers have ignored this functionality.

 It is not that you cannot implement it, there is savior in ZeroClipboard which helps you implement copy paste in any browser. But it uses flash/swf the adobe solution. I fear if it will work at all on tablets as most of the phones/tablets havent given programmatic facility to copy paste.

It works perfectly with ZeroClipBoards, We created small demo to test this lib.

If browsers provide such a functionality in built, It will save a atleast a million horse power of energy of people who are using mouse or long press to select, copy and paste some content.

I dont know how is doing it but I guess they must be using flash support to enable on button copy paste.

Adding Twitter Follow Button on Blogger

Today I was trying to add Twitter followup button on Blogger. Somehow I got tricked in to thing that I can only add Extra widget through URL only. While Twitter provides Javascript for adding Followup button.  I wasted around  ~30 minutes on this. I noticed that there is much simpler option to add Twitter followup button on Your blogger.

I am giving here step by step process to add followup button on your blogger and save your precious 30 minutes.

Part 1:

1) Log In to Twitter:

2) Create Button Script on Twitter

3) Copy Twitter JS

Part 2:

1) Log in to

2) Go to Layout

3) Click on Add Widget

4) You will see following Popup

5) Scroll Down, You will need to select HTML/Javascript option

6)  Configure HTML/Javascript

7)  Add Title as Twitter, Copy paste JS script from Part 1 in to content box.

8) Save the JS
9) On Template Page, Save the Arrangement.

10) You will see Twitter followup button on RIght Sidebar

Monday, September 16, 2013

Task Management using Check List - Can it be Improved?

How do you manage your tasks?

The most popular way of doing task management is Lists.
One fine day, You sit on your desk and sees that there are lots of things in your mind which you think need to be worked upon.

What you do?
If you have a notebook. You will list down all the tasks in your notebook. You mark up the priority and tick each you task as a tiger in you efficiently finishes each of tasks.

   Now come the Computers, Workplace where your tasks are not your tasks, Tasks has other stake holders, they need to know what you are doing, when you are doing, it help your bosses to measure you, it helps your co-workers to manage their own tasks.

  You will find many popular tools which uses HTML Select boxes for Task Management lists.  You can do it online on Gmail, on Macbook. Some websites like Asana has created fullblown product based on Task List Management.

I use Confluence for my Product Managment and Use Confluence provided Task lists for Managing various To Dos.

It looks this :

I see its incomplete. It doesnt cater some important need to task management.
Current way of things, As it uses paradigm from HTML world - Checkbox, you can have only two states. Checked or UnChecked.

Checked - Task Done
UnChecked - Task Not Done

Now there is Time dimension which is most important in any task Management, is missing here.

In above list, If I starts working ing Hiring recruitment consultant, I cant mark it as anything to indicate that I am working on it.

Current Workaround for me is to add #tags  at end or start of Task description but it doesnt suffice.

I need to have some way to mark checkbox with intermediate steps.

Somebody like Asana who is betting whole thing on checkbox way of task management can do something about it. Or even company like apple who believe in making things intuitive, they have started with providing inbuilt solution with Checkboxes. They can definitely bring some minimalistic innovation.

It would be difficult but not impossible for Asana. As Asana is an SAAS solution, it uses in existing Checkbox tag of HTML. They can use different Images or lobby for new Checkbox with HTML Standards group.

Hope someBudding entreprenuer takes honour in disrupting this tiny but vary effective, existing Task management solution.

My Experience : How to Give a Elevator Pitch?

I am first time entrepreneur so dont go by my word, but here is my experience.

In Month of June'13, I visited Dubai for Mobile Apps conference. There I got a chance to interact with various dubai based Startup Accelerators. Event organizers also gave us opportunity to give elevator Pitch.

My Co-founder Gold and I took this opportunity to deliver our First Elevator Pitch in front of audience. It was small gathering with Reps from Accelerators playing role of investors. 

Gold has prepared small pitch, It contained lots of industry stats for Mobile Usage. We started with it, I explained about what we are doing as protos.

We got following feedback from Investors abour Elevator pitch.
  1.  Self Intro - We missed it completely.
  2. Explain Problem - We didn't pin down on direct problems
  3. Explain the solution - We directly jumped on Solution Aspects
  4. Leave other things for Q&A - 

Overall we got good feedback about our Ideas, They liked our Idea.

Now Here is details about Whats is Elevator Pitch?  I jotted down a document to understand more about elevator pitch when I heard about it first time in Oct 2012. 

Disclaimer: I have picked following thing from the internet. I have tweaked it a bit.

What is an "Elevator Pitch"?
It's small, concise and effective pitch about your business, you give to anyone whom you meet in elevator.

An "Elevator Pitch" is a concise, carefully planned, and well-practiced description about your company that your mother should be able to understand in the time it would take to ride up an elevator.

What an "Elevator Pitch" is not
It is not a "sales pitch."  Don't get caught up in using the entire pitch to tell the Investor how great your product or service is.  The Investor is "buying" the business, not the product.  Tell him/her how you will run the business.

How to Create An Elevator Pitch?
You will need to answer following questions to create pitch.

1) What is your product or service?

Briefly describe what it is you sell.  Do not go into excruciating detail.  
2) Who is your market?What industry is it?
How large of a market do they represent?
3) What is your revenue model?how do you expect to make money?  
  Briefly discuss who you are selling the product or service to.
4) Who is behind the company?
  "Bet on the jockey, not the horse" is a familiar saying among Investors. Tell them a little about you and your team's background and achievements. If you have a strong advisory board, tell them who they are and what they have accomplished
5) Who is your competition?
Don't have any?  Think again.  Briefly discuss who they are and what they have accomplished.  Successful competition is an advantage-they are proof your business model and/or concept work.
6) What is your competitive advantage?
Simply being in an industry with successful competitors is not enough. You need to effectively communicate how your company is different and why you have an advantage over the competition.  A better distribution channel?  Key partners?  Proprietary technology?

What your "Elevator Pitch" must contain:
A "hook" Open your pitch by getting the Investor's attention with a "hook."  A statement or question that piques their interest to want to hear more.
About 150-225 words Your pitch should go no longer than 60 seconds.
Passion Investors expect energy and dedication from entrepreneurs.
A request At the end of your pitch, you must ask for something.  Do you want their business card, to schedule a full presentation, to ask for a referral?  

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Product Startups - Hiring Challenges

 I have spent around 4 years in running a startup, Screen-Magic. We are now ~20 people Technology Startup.

Whats different in Hiring for Product Companies in Comparison to Software Services companies?

   You don't hire only Software developers. Currently My Dev team attributes 30% of total employees. I guess in services, around 80% would be Developers.

In software Services, your majority hiring is of Software engineeers. While in Product Companies, you need to have mix of guys from Sales, Marketing, Designer, Techies, Ops guys, vendor Managment & procurement.

So there is very much possibility that founders don't have experience of each of departments.

Problem Statement: 

Suppose I want to hire for some position X, say - Product Manager.  I have created this position considering some Business importance it have. As I am entrepreneur and its my first venture, I have certain background i.e. either I am from Tech background or from BizDev/Sales Background.  I can create the JD by reading or referring various job posted across the internet. I will get various applications if I posted openings at various places like Naukri, LinkedIn or on Company Blog.

Startups don't afford to hire full time HR and Full Time and Experienced HRs are not available to Startups. As Startups have small sized companies, founders play role of HR initialy.

What are the Issues:
1) How to shortlist matching Candidates? Sometime resumes dont depict correct picture.
2) How to define interview Process.
3) How to judge person for his competence.
4) What Questions are correct questions?

Present Case Scenarios:
Recruitment Companies can work with Startup founders to help them recruiting. They can ease Search and Shortlisting Ops. But Actual Recruiting Process is quite long. It just doesn't stop there.

Whats Missing?Recruitment companies don't have people who have done actual Hiring for themselves. For Example they don't have successful product Managers as Hiring Managers for Hiring PM, who can draft questions and judge actual experience of Candidate. Create Real life situations for candidates during hiring process.

Its Multi-dimensional problems to solve, Medication which may effective for Person A may not be Person B. But Still comparing with Pharma guys giving Medicine to Patient on his knowledge, can not be compared with Doctor's knowledge. 

But External Experts say from Google may judge candidates differently so Startups may need to keep somethings in mind.

Have you seen a famous Movie "Moneyball" starring Brad pit?

Lets with Billy Bean Quote from Moneyball :

The problem we're trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there's fifty feet of crap, and then there's us. It's an unfair game. And now we've been gutted. We're like organ donors for the rich. Boston's taken our kidneys, Yankees have taken our heart. And you guys just sit around talking the same old "good body" nonsense like we're selling jeans. Like we're looking for Fabio. We've got to think differently. We are the last dog at the bowl. You see what happens to the runt of the litter? He dies. 

It has analogy to Startup world, Startups are poor team, they have less money to spend. They need to spend it carefully for a person who is bang on money, Person who may not be best in the Market, May be rejected by Best of the Companies, But bang on Value for Your Company.

Problems are many in hiring, But There is no Silver bullet!