What is your management style ?

Someone asked me a question about my management style. Let me give a disclose that I have not been very good at it and this is the most difficult task that a founder has to encounter.

Management Style

While I am not pro at it, I thought of asking this question from myself for days and came up with following

Ideal management style is a style in which people don’t have to be managed

Now it goes more about the culture where everyone can think themselves accountable. I am lucky to attend lecture by Brad Hams and the way he explained the subject was great.While I recommend his book a lot, I would rephrase his book title as following

Create a culture of accountability, purpose & profitability & eliminate the entitlement feeling.

 

Any one who can master this won’t have to adapt to any culture.

 

Management Style

2016-03-06T15:46:33+00:00November 5th, 2015|

Millennial – Generation of two decades

Everyday, we come across the term “Millenials” or “Generation Y”. Companies/Startups are overusing this term to define their customer base. From just the sound of  it, image    portrayed in mind of a Millenial is a teenager who is snap chatting on his new iPhone with music played on his flashy expensive branded headphones.

However, it’s not quite right.

Kid Snapchatting

Any person born between 1980 – 2000 counts towards Millennial. As of today, it’s the generation aged between 15-35. That’s a difference of two decades.

Millenials

I am personally unable to identify anything that is equally appealing to people between 15-35. This  is the most exciting age bracket &  statistics show that people have already experienced 70% of their AHA moments before the age of 35. Once you cross 35, it gets difficult to change your personality, habits or behaviours.This is the reason why it is lucrative to attract this age bracket while one is learning new things and adapting to new habits.Few of the interesting characteristics are

  • Early adopters – They are OK with being the guinea pig
  • Social – They share their lives publically and not much of a private person
  • Adventure – They take more risk and are not in rush to settle down  
  • Informed – They are probably the most informed generation based on the content they consume

These all characteristics make them ideal customers for a new product that might or might not work, however, remember, they range from a high school kid to a mid-level manager, so it’s a broad market size. In US alone, there are expected to be 80 million millennials. If brands are able to capture their minds before 35, chances of upselling them for rest of their life becomes bright.

Millennial generation

 

I am part of Millennial & you?

2016-03-06T15:46:54+00:00October 27th, 2015|

How to make quick pivotal decisions

 

We have to make trivial decisions on regular basis. Some of those decisions create a deadlock which have impact on other things we do. Everyone advises to go with the instincts and gut feeling but the solutions are so close that it becomes challenging to figure out what do we actually want. As human nature, we like to delay it as much as possible as long as it doesn’t impact the outcome.

When I am in such situation, I use tossing the coin technique. I take out the coin without looking at which side it is tossed with and the moment it’s in the air, I know what I want. I take back the coin without looking at result since I have discovered what decision I am more inclined towards. 

Coin flip decision

Whenever confused between two options, just toss the coin in the air & the moment it’s in the air, you know what do want to do

As soon as the coin gets in the air, it activates the time machine that forces you to figure out your top priorities and based on that, you quickly analyze which option would serve those priorities better. There is absolutely no guarantee that the selection would be right however it will tell you what you want

2016-03-06T15:47:17+00:00October 19th, 2015|

Love vs Lust

Once in a while, we get attracted to different things including cause, person or a vision. It is difficult to differentiate between lust and love at first because they both have the same passion and sentiments. With the passage of time, it becomes difficult to keep the same sentiments over an extended period of time. We all are humans and sentiments make or break us. We have to invest resources such as time, money and emotions for a better future but mostly we are unsure if this is the right use of our time. No one can predict the future accurately however it is fairly easy to assess the present.

Love increases with time and lust decreases with time

This is a good parameter to measure if it’s love or lust. If you are more excited about your product on daily basis then you are heading in the right direction and if it’s the other way around, it’s time to rethink if this is what you want to do in your life. There are rough patches in everything, but during rough patches it should bring you closer to the things you love rather than creating distances.

In tough times, you want to be with your loved one and far from lust

It’s never a good move to follow lust but love. You have to be passionate about what you do, else with the passage of time, you will get drained. If you are getting drained, you are not in due to the passion for some other reason.It’s fine as long as you know that!

 

2016-03-06T15:48:12+00:00September 27th, 2015|

Increasing profits under limited resources

TL;DR decreasing expenses by even slight margin can increase profits exponentially as opposed to increasing price.

 

At times it gets very expensive or hard to grow due to multiple restrictions. Example could be running a hotel which has limited number of rooms. There are 2 very obvious ways to increase profits

#1 Increase the revenues

#2 Decrease expenses

Mostly people will prefer to go with #1 to grown profits. #1 looks like an easy option where you just increase the rents by 5% and boom, you have grown by 5% but we ignore that there are extra cost associated with this increase & wont result into 5% growth.

Now consider #2, where if you are able to decrease the expenses by just 1% of the total revenue, profits will grow by 10%.

*  Supposing gross margins = 10%

2016-03-06T15:47:39+00:00September 24th, 2015|

Don’t look at the wrong Score Card to define Growth

It is easy to be trapped into the illusion of growth by looking at the wrong score card. Growing burn rate doesn’t correlate to customers. While spending money is easy, getting it is far difficult.

Here is a simple formula to calculate growth

CCA – Cost of customer acquisition = X

LTV – Life time value of customer = Y

COG – Cost of delivering value to customer over Y period = Z*

Here are the two goals to achieve growth

#1 Make this happen   Y > X + Z

#2 Increase the delta in above equation, either by increasing the LTV or decreasing the CCA and/or COG. 

If #2 is increasing then you are growing, if not then you are throwing away the money

*For simplicity and understanding X, Y & Z are considered constant here while in real life they are not.

2016-03-06T15:47:47+00:00September 13th, 2015|

What investor is looking for ?

When investors are evaluating a pitch, here is the order of how investors get interested.

1 – Is this a big problem  ( Opportunity )

2 – Is this the right solution/approach ( Solution )

3 – Is this the right team ( Execution )

It is hard to excite them on a bad idea or a small opportunity, even though the team is amazing and have an excellent way to solve a problem.

 

When it comes to investing, the order changes

1 – Is this the right team ( Execution )

2 – Is this a big problem  ( Opportunity )

3- Is this the right solution/approach ( Solution )

It is almost impossible for an investor to invest in a bad team, even though the idea is brilliant & the solution is great.

2016-03-06T15:48:03+00:00April 13th, 2015|

Innovate or Sell first ?

We innovate to solve a problem in a better way in a way that it is lucrative for your customer to change their habits & start using your product

Without innovation, it is hard to distinguish yourself once you launch a product due to lack of incentive.

Common belief is that a product need to be 10x better than the existing alternative. Now this 10X term is somewhat exaggeration but to explain how better a product should be, because it is very hard to quantify alternative solutions. There should be a difference of day & night and compel the user to say Waoo.

Innovation & selling go together, however, the order in which they come differentiate if it’s a research or startup.

In Startup, you sell first by finding the problem & then innovative on how to solve the problem efficiently. Risk in this approach is that, you might not be able to innovate an efficient way.

In Research, you innovate first because you think there is a better way to do something, and then try to find the customers who have the problem. Here the risk is if it is a commercially viable product or not.

Now it is up to an individual to choose  what is the biggest risk for him, fail to innovate after discovering the problem or fail to sell after innovating!

I will choose innovation risk over selling risk unless I innovate on how to manufacture water based engine.

2016-03-06T15:48:52+00:00March 22nd, 2015|

Don’t Mix Email & Telephone Calls

TL;DR

Use Verbal/Written communication appropriately. Have a purpose for every communication and based on that choose the appropriate medium.

Thoughts :

Communication is one of the most important aspect of our everyday life. We communicate to understand, assist, or help each other.

Here is a random order, in which I think we started communication

– Hand Signals

– Drawing the hand signals

– Drawing and sending those hand signals

– Invented some sounds to replace the hand signals

– Standardized these sounds

– Converted these sounds into symbols / characters

– Improved on these characters and standardized these sounds

– Language was invented

So now we have two forms of communication

Vocal & written ( I am excluding Body language here )

For Distant people, we invented Postal Mail ( Email/Fax)  & Telephone to communicate efficiently. Both of them have different purposes to communicate. Usually, I have came across when they are not used at the right time, which causes problems. I often find hard to balance between both of them as well, since we tend to use the easiest tool at that point of time. Such as we will call and leave a voicemail, when we know that the person will not be available on desk. We will draft an email in a tone that the other person feels bad. In addition, we also might call the person and poorly communicate a deal to give our self-benefit of doubt.

All of these are wrong practices and should be avoided. I have not yet mastered this and constantly try to improve based on feedback and results. Just make sure, the purpose of communication have been achieved.

 

 

2016-03-06T15:48:59+00:00March 11th, 2015|

60 Minutes Sprint to achieve Inbox Zero

I get a lot of emails/tweets and other messages per day which are not urgent nor important, however they take away my momentum and attention. They constantly feel like something I am obliged to read or respond resulting in low productivity. PG have an excellent lecture on it. It’s like a to-do list that is created by others for you.

It’s however rude not to respond to emails. I respond to every email that is sent to me even if it was a marketing pitch as long as it is written specifically for me and not generic mass mail. 

With passage of time these emails start to clog up your email and haunt your productivity unless you just ignore them, which I do not recommend because there is always an opportunity to learn more. 

I came up with a 60 minutes sprint twice a week, which helped in achieving efficiency, which I am sharing below

  • Open up the mails there not urgent nor important and could be responded in less than180 seconds.
  • If you are left with some time, I would may be respond to emails that are not urgent but may be of some importance. 
  • Do this while standing 
  • Keep your phone away during the practice
  • No music  or any other app should be open

I wont spend more than 2 hours per week on this exercise and I star/label the emails that are unanswered. I answer them whenever I get time which could be a month even 🙂

 

2016-03-06T15:49:07+00:00February 28th, 2015|