There is Nothing Great about taking your startup to USA from India, stop fooling yourself

I never understood the fascination of Indian startups and the founders to move to US to run their company. There is nothing wrong in taking your startup from India to USA if you see the value and it has worked really well for few but there is also nothing great about it either.

I have seen way too many Indian startups and founder getting excited with the prospect of moving to US or to get their company registered there (mostly Delaware) hoping for either easy funding or easy clients. I can’t say how easy it is to get funded (I am sure it is easier as compared to India) but there are certainly no easy clients or easy money. You have to work equally hard to get US clients while being in US as compared to India and for web based SaaS startups, it is suicidal to go to US as even a 10 people company can have a burn rate of one million dollars.

There is also one major problem in running your business from USA, you loses out on cost arbitrage. Some of the India’s biggest self funded software companies like Directi and Fusioncharts make so much money because of cost arbitrage, you earn in US dollars and pay expenses in Indian rupees.

There is also huge cultural difference, India will be India, USA will not be India :) There are no friends or family around you, just people, business and money. Once the excitement of doing business in USA while being in USA dies down, the hard reality hits which takes away lot of positive energy and steam from the startups. Building a business whether in India or USA is a long term game so make sure you know what you are doing. Success in business is all about making less mistakes than your competitors.

Entrepreneurship is test of Character and not test of skills

The title says it all, I don’t have to write much.

Whatever I have seen till now, from my experience of running 2 startups and after looking at hundreds of startups, entrepreneurship is test of character and not test of skills.

It is OK if you don’t know how to code, don’t know how to do marketing, don’t know how to build a team, don’t understand the market well or don’t have any money since these things can be learnt or achieved in some time. Startups don’t fails because of the above reason, startup fails because of lack of survival skills.

I have seen way too many people in India who are really smart, hard working, have awesome ideas and co-founders but they just quit and the moment you quit, it is all over. All the experience, learning, knowledge is lost.

Building a business or making money is not difficult, what you need is character and survival skills. Ability to go beyond your comfort zone and hang in there for some more time when it is tough to get going.

Landmark Forum Learning and Teaching – What I learnt in 3 Days

I did landmark forum at Sri Satya Sai Sadan in Bangalore on 4th, 5th, 6th April and evening of 9th April 2014. A really good friend got me enrolled/registered to it and I did Landmark Forum without any notion of what it is. Me not having any knowledge turned out to be a blessing in disguise as I listened to so many people, made lot of friends, found and learnt about new way of looking at life without having any preconceived notion and bias.

I was leaving at 8:30 in the morning and was coming back at 11:45 in night and somehow I never felt tired sitting for 14 hours every day which is nothing short of a miracle! During breaks and after coming back to my home every night I tried to write what I learnt so I don’t forget the teachings.

Through this post, I am sharing it with others as I know many have forgotten what they learnt and are probably searching for it on Internet :) Here are my learning of landmark forum (or should I say here are the teachings of Landmark Education).

I am putting it as word by word what I wrote on those 3 and a half day without adding or subtracting anything. 

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Stories vs Facts – we make stories from facts. Facts are true, stories are meaningless.

In life you want power, freedom, self expression and peace of mind.

Always be present and stop talking to yourself.

Look for context and learn to distinguish and look differently.

Acceptance and Acknowledgement of Parents.

Go to the source, what is causing the problem. Avoid blind beliefs.

Be fearless. I am the most dangerous guy. I am not scared of anything or person.

Do not put past in future, put your past where it belongs, in the past.

Learn self expression. complete things which are ended but not completed.

Do not have any rackets and complaints with anyone. Declare your rackets. They are just like monkey holding peanuts.

Nothing happens to you, you don’t get hurt, it is the meaning which we give to it. View become reality.

Opportunity and identity are conflicting.

Paradigm shift from I to nobody.

Not the talk but who spoke.

Honour the word if you can’t keep it.

Strong suit give you success. Strong suit comes from background.

What am I doing ? surviving

Constraints come from context and background.

You decide your future.

No conditions are needed to change yourself.

Life has no meaning. You are just a meaning making machine.

You never get what you want. This isn’t it. It goes on, stop chasing.

The meaning we give to life causes problem

You are unique expression on this planet.

Life is empty and meaningless and it is empty and meaningless that it is empty and meaningless.

Don’t give meaning to anything.

Declare declaration, not description

Nothing — Create – Action – Complete – Nothing

You chose your circumstances.

Keep this alive forever. More, Better and Different.

Knowing doesn’t make any difference.

Present is shaped by future we are living into, stop doing this.

Last 75 Days of my life – Journey of a lifetime

I posted this on facebook and thought to put it on my blog too.

Last 75 days have been hell of a ride! I decided to change the way I was living life and doing things. I have done more in last 75 days than what I did in last 3 years. I got a new car, upgraded life style and wardrobe and improving my fitness too, I am learning guitar and hip hop dance, danced with lot of cute girls as part of dance performance, got new dslr camera, got a new macbook too. I have talked to hundreds of people and tried to know more about their life. I have also worked heavily on my social and communication skills and trying to be more involved. I have also participated in various groups, acted as leader and listened and looked at life like I never did before.

I have also taken an office, finished building my product and have hit decent number of users and paying customers. Life is Going Great and I am just Staring to Rock … :)

I will be publishing a post about inBoundio and how I took it to 1000+ users and 80+ paying customers in next 48 hours. I will also be writing more about my startup journey and how I am bootstrapping a business as a single founder.

Animals Live, you want to be Alive

Animals Live, you want to be Alive – This was told me to be someone exactly one month back. I have read 50+ books in last 12 months on life and philosophy and for some reason, I couldn’t get it what this one line made me realize and felt.

One month back, I listened to few people who shared their problems and their struggle with life, people and their environment and it made me realize how great life I had till now.

I have got great upbringing even though I comes from middle class background, parents always gave me more that what I wanted and needed, had good education and I am doing really well professionally.

My problem was, I was just trying to over analyze life and trying to find meaning of something which was not there. It turns out, life is empty and meaningless and this is a good thing! Now it is your job to give meaning to it.

In last 30 days, I have 

  1. Joined guitar classes
  2. Joined dance classes
  3. Throw away most of the unused clothes and bought new once.
  4. been working heavily on my social and communication skills. I have made lot of friends through the network and group I am part of.
  5. been heavily working out to gain weight and be in shape
  6. Have spent heavily on personal care and hygiene.
  7. Got a new music system, new glasses and if needed, will get new DSLR and a new car too. Though I won’t buy anything, unless I am really going to use it.
  8. Become leader of Koramangala group and discuss and listen to others life
  9. Got more clarity about business and what I want to do. Most importantly, I don’t think much about work and money. I am running a one man company which is growing organically and I am already getting mails of partnership and acquisitions, I think I am doing OK.

I know this blog post won’t be read by many but if you think you need help or need someone to discuss your problems in life, feel free to mail me.

You want to live in Present

I was discussing this with a friend yesterday about why we think too much about past mistakes and why future makes us nervous and anxious. The conclusion of the discussion came as – We have to live in Present.

This is an excellent article on How to live in present which I will highly advice everyone to read. Here is the first paragraph

What does it mean to live fully in the present moment? It means that your awareness is completely centered on the here and now. You are not worrying about the future or thinking about the past. When you live in the present, you are living where life is happening. The past and future are illusions, they don’t exist. As the saying goes “tomorrow never comes”. Tomorrow is only a concept, tomorrow is always waiting to come around the corner, but around that corner are shadows, never to have light shed upon, because time is always now.

Build Software for Lazy People, You will Make Money

I feels what ever that can be built on Internet has already been built as far as “need” and “wants” are concerned. It is almost impossible to find niches which are big enough to build a decent size business as well as to solve a pain point for which people are willing to pay. In short, Internet is very saturated.

So now this is what you can do if you are looking to build a business and make money – Build Software for Lazy People.

People want to simplify their life and don’t want to do things which they don’t like but have to do. So build software for such people. For example, I built inBoundio as I myself was not enjoying few marketing things to do manually and the other software were too complicate and I wasn’t feeling like using them.

I am going back to living a minimalist life

This is not a new year resolution since I don’t believe in them (nor they make any sense to me anyway) but more of an going back to who I am, what I believe in and what was working for me.

I had spent a big part of my life living in single room, sleeping on floor or on a small cot with a working laptop and some basic stuff and I totally enjoyed that kind of life. After formally starting a company in 2011, somehow life took me to a different path and I start imitating others in terms of how they were doing things and how they were living life. So after two years I can safely say that that kind of lifestyle is not for me, I don’t enjoy having too many materialistic things around me nor want to live a very luxurious life so I have decided to go back to again living a minimalist life. In the last few days I have sold and throw away some of my stuff and will sell the rest unused/unwanted stuff in next few more days. I just want what I need to live a minimalist life, a laptop, a table, a bed, that’s it.

My 2013 Review and Plans for 2014

I do this every year, on 31st of December I write a blog post summarizing the whole year and to write plans for next year. Here are my posts for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 in case you are interested to follow my journey.

OK so I started the year on a bad note, 2012 was a disaster, I had a nightmarish experience with my startup workmonk, I made huge judgemental errors, couldn’t really understood the depth and my limitations and paid a heavy price for it. Though I don’t have any regrets, I had promised to myself that I will fix those mistakes in 2013 and will get back on track as I want to align everything in life. So I spent whole year focusing on learning rather than on buidling a business or making money. I have finished reading over 30+ books and have spent lot of time on improving my technical skill set, having better social and communication skills, working on my cognitive disorders and being a better decision maker etc. I do feel satisfied with the way I spent the year and its results and I will keep on working on these in the coming year too.

I have also built Inboundio, though the development is slow and is still in progress, I feels I am in right direction as I feel confident about it and I do have some users/paying customers for it. I will be making it more polished in coming months and do have some big plans with it, I am also offering inbound marketing services from tomorrow which will add another stream of revenue.

Unfortunately working alone from a single room do have its own set of problems, I am somewhat tired and lonely but luckily have one really close friend now in Bangalore so can hang out with him during weekends. I will be changing this way of working now and will again start interacting with old startup friends.

From tomorrow onwards (1st Jan 2014), after taking a break for one year, I will be again focussing on building a business and will get back to the way I used to work.

Wishing you a very happy new year to anyone who read the post till here. Cheers.