How not to recruit for your startup

Recently someone got in touch with me on angellist and it turned out to be quite the dramatic conversation. As usual, it started out with the email stating that the company is interested in a chat. They seemed like an interesting startup and decided to connect and see where it goes. Then the weirdness started; names have been blacked out to protect identities.

initial_email

I was also recently introduced to x.ai, an awesome virtual assistant that schedules meetings over email. I decided to cc my virtual assistant on my reply to schedule a time for a call on my calendar.

my_first_reply

This is when things got interesting. The CEO + CTO ( yeah, that was the person’s title) replied back to me with this:

ceo_cto_reply

yep,
 

Fuck this bot. Arun, not a good call to have a virtual assistant schedule a job interview for you. Poor judgment.

At first, I was a little taken aback; then it became funny and I ended up having a good laugh over it. I gave it some thought and replied with this:

my_final_reply

So, coming to the point of this reactionary blog post, here is a list of dos/donts when you are trying to recruit for your startup. This is mostly common sense, but based on my interaction above, someone has to say it.

* Be civil. I dont believe this has to be said. Be especially civil on any permanent communication.

* Leave your ego at home. You are not trying to prove your superiority here, you are trying to build what is possibly going to be a long term relationship.

* Always keep up your company’s culture. You are always acting as a representative of your culture, it is every employee’s job to represent the culture of the startup. Its the big Chief’s job to set the culture and evolve it.

* Be open to new things.

 

Building multiple buildings from a map inside maya

Tools needed:

Adobe Photoshop
Autodesk Maya
Google Maps
Google Earth

What we will be making

We will learn to build a whole city block from ground up inside Maya. There are no textures involved in this tutorial, I ll do another tutorial later for texturing the buildings. This tutorial is especially for the benefit of 3D artists who need to get a lot of buildings or shapes designed in a small time. Here is a screenshot of the final product for this tutorial.

 

Waiting line games at the apple store???

Waiting in line at the Apple store's Genius bar. (W14th st, NYC)

I am dropping off my mac for its 2nd repair in 6 months at the apple store on W14th in NYC and sitting here, I wonder how thousands of people waiting to do the same can be engaged. Disney comes up with innovative games and shows for people waiting on line, why cant every store do the same? After all wouldn’t it change how people feel about their experience at the store. Keep in mind that most of these people are here because they have a problem with their product.

I think every store out there should be thinking about how to keep their customers engaged while waiting in line, be it to check out or check in. It could be as simple as a trivia game on screen to as complex as a social interaction based game. I was discussing waiting line games with my friend Ashwin and he threw out an idea for a mobile app that would ask you if you like the person in front of you or immediately behind you and people would be able to see what other people say about them! Think about it, you could meet and laugh with totally random people!

We also talked about a trivia based game where people had to keep moving on to the next screen every time they answer a question! This could take a completely social experience where a bunch of people try to answer the question along with you. At the end of the day, if we keep people engaged, they wont even notice the time flying past them.

But it all comes down to how much the company would invest in keeping their customers on the waiting line happy.

Arun

 

The “American” Diwali

My cousin posted this on facebook, just couldnt resist posting it here!!!!

A young Indian in the US was asked by his mother to explain the significance of “Diwali” to his younger brother, this is how he went about it…

” So, like this dude had, like, a big cool kingdom and people liked him.

But, like, his step-mom, or something, was kind of a bitch, and she forced her husband to, like, send this cool-dude, he was Ram, to some national forest or something….

Since he was going, for like, something like more than 10 years or so…. he decided to get his wife and his bro

along…. you know…so that they could all chill out together. But Dude, the forest was reeeeal scary shit… really man…they had monkeys and devils and shit like that. But this dude, Ram, kicked with darts and

bows and arrows… so it was fine.

But then some bad gangsta boys, some jerk called Ravan, picks up his babe (Sita) and lures her away to his hood. And boy, was our man, and also his bro, Laxman, pissed… all the gods were with him… So anyways, you

don’t mess with gods. So, Ram, and his bro get an army of monkeys…

Dude, don’t ask me how they trained the damn monkeys… just go along with me, ok…

So, Ram, Lax and their monkeys whip this gangsta’s ass in his own hood…. Anyways, by this time, their time’s up in the forest… and anyways… it gets kinda boring, you know… no TV or malls or shit like that. So, they decided to hitch a ride back home… and when the people

realize that our dude, his bro and the wife are back home… they thought, well, you know, at least they deserve something nice… and they didn’t have any discos or clubs in those days… so they couldn’t take them

out for a drink, so they, like, decided to smoke and shit… and since they also had some lamps, they lit the lamps also…so it was pretty cooool… you know with all those fireworks…. Really, they even had some local band play along with the fireworks… and you know, what, dude, that was the very first, no kidding.., that was the very first

music-synchronized fireworks…. you know, like the 4th of July stuff, but just, more cooler and stuff, you know. And, so dude, that was how, like, this festival started.”

The mother fainted

 

Tips to the new Entrepreneurs

There will be this one time in life where you get this brilliant idea, a business plan forms in your mind and you have a huge bright bulb glowing above your head. That is your “WOW” moment. Some people are gifted with a lot of these moments and some people are not gifted with them at all. What matters the most is not getting the idea but how well you execute it. Now that’s a Bummer, ain’t it?

I had a lot of those moments and I ve leart a great deal from executing them and not executing them. I have a feeling people need to understand the mistakes that are done commonly even though making an error is the best way to learn. So here are some pointers.

1. The IDEA

This is the most important of all. It defines what you want to do. You need to be clear on what you want to do. You can’t sell cars when you want to be selling spaceships.

2. The Market

You need to understand who your target audience. Not just who they are, but what they do and what they like and dislike. You cant sell chicken to a vegan, if you do – well you ve got great marketing skills. Which brings us to…

3. Marketing

This is not something you learn. This is an instinct. A right word at the right tome can make you a million dollars. You need to do your homework before you set out to market your idea or product. You shouldn’t have a problem if you the two things above right. You ll still require one other thing…

4. Pricing

This is one place you need to be clear about. You need to know at what prices to offer your servuces or products at. It’s not business if you end up making a loss even after you ve got the clients and finished the work on time. New entrepreneurs often find themselves in situations where they have to compromise on the price. This is where you need to get your marketing people to act smart. You need to set the minimum price for the work you will be doing. This should cover all the expenses involved for the whole team that might be involved in it. Everone has to eat, drink and sleep, that is the why they need to work.

5. Training

This is one of the most important part of a job well done. People can’t do something unless they are thaught how to do it. That is why there is so much demand for experienced people in any industry.

6. Satisfy your employees

The important part of getting a team to do their work is to keep the team moivated in all situations. It is okay to make a small investment if that means keeping your people happy and working. Seriously, buy that wii.

7. Keep your promises

Never promise the client that you can get the job done in 2 days if that is all it actually takes. Always leave time to correct errors and to make up for lost time. It’s always better totell the client you will get it done in 4 days and deliver the product early. It reflects on how fast you can get the job done. But this does not work at all times, it’s a risk but a calculated one. If it works you get a lot more business but it doesn’t well, you start all over again.

8. Always respond to your email

On some days, you will get hundreds of emails. On others, you will get none at all. You need to read everything and make intelligent replies to all of them. Be smart, always be nice. You never know when you will need one of them to help you out.

9. Be Organized

There is no alternative to this. You need to be organized at all times, keep your calender up to date. Attend all the events you are invited to. Attend all those breakfast things that people go to. Speak to people, get your brand out there.

10. ASK

You need something done, but you don’t know how to do it. You need to get someone to do something and you are trying to be polite. Well, before you know it, the person would be gone and you would have to go look for someone else who can do it. All it takes to get something done is to ask. There are endless things that can be accomplished by asking. People get huge deals by asking, people get stuff for free by asking. You might get that break you need by asking. SO, ASK.

11. Watch your step

You are your brand. Always watch what you say in public. Everything you say is attributed to your brand. Watch your language at all times, especially if your brand is related to kids in anyway. Watch what you post on the social networking sites.

12. NETWORKING, NETWORKING, NETWORKING.

You need to tell people what you are doing, at the same time you need to know what others are doing. Its all about networking. You know someone who knows someone who knows someone who can get you a deal on something you’ve been searching for. And, before you know it you will be great friends with all those people.

13. Talk to people about your idea

One of the mistakes entrepreneurs do is to keep their idea a huge secret from their friends. You will find that if you tell people about the idea, you get a lot of critics that is very helpful in how you proceed with the plan. But be smart about who you tell it to or someone might just use the idea. Get a lot of views on how you will be executing the plan. Trust me, it helps. A lot of problems in your proposal will be uncovered along with possible solutions.

14. Get some goodies made

People love goodies and handouts. It is one of the most effective ways to market your brand. It might just be an awesome wall paper. It can be as cool as a gadget that you can giveaway. But there has to be something that they(your target audience) can relate to.

15. Have FUN

You are not going to make it big unless you  enjoy what you do. Have fun doing it and there is nothing better.

 

Is Google making us stupid? NOT.

There was this interesting article on the Atlantic about Google and how it is  making all of us who use it stupid. Honestly, i read it only because it was a part of my reading task for the Media Organization class. But, in retrospect i think it is a good thing i did read it when i did. Although, i thought the author had done a lot of homework and read a lot of history books before writing the article.

I did not think all his views were correct. All the arguments were based on the thoughts of a lot of people cleverly pieced together to make a sound logical argument. I agree to Nicholas Carr’s view that the Internet has changed the way people think, but i do not agree that it is google that brought about the change. Google revolutionized the change. People evolve, in the way they think, in the way they work, in the way they search, in the way they live. All google did was to act as a platform to facilitate the change.

It has in no way made people stupid. If someone wanted to read a book, they would just go out there and get one. I read books, i turn to google when i need specific information about anything.  Someone said “I do not memorize what i can find in a book” and say “I don’t need to remember things i can find out from google (like, the weather!!!)”. But i know where to draw the line. Everybody does,  no one looks for each and everything online.

Looking at the evolutionary aspect of things, man started out by drawing symbols and then assigned sounds to the symbols. Sounds started getting personalized to the regions and hence languages came about. Then came the writing, then the books, then the radio, then the television, then the computer and then the World Wide Web. At one point, the only information sources were books or news channels on the radio. Now that there is this huge platform to share literally anything one wants the whole world to have access to, people have a problem with it. Of course it is going to change the way you look at things, but it is not going to essentially change how you process the information you gather from various sources.

Moreover, we do not tend to forget things very easily unless we have selective amnesia or any other disorder of that sort. Think about it, your neighbours cat got stuck on the roof, would you forget all about it after you see all those people trying to help the poor dear out? You go to google, you look for something, 99999 times in a million, you get what you are looking for. End of story. You don’t keep going back to it unless you need to.

All that said and done, google has become a way of life. There will not be a day of life without someone telling you to “google it” at least once. It only goes on to show how much we rely upon the search engine for information and it has absolutely no relation with the mental status of people. But that is one man’s view.