When to startup

pic credit: Dialog After the #ngage session, after the food ran out, few young people (age 20-30) asked me questions. I could distill them to this question. ” I want to do a startup on something I love, but cannot find time with my current job. Should I quit? “ My answer is A BIG NO. I’m 37.  If you have asked me the same question when I was 30, I’d have said yes. I remember, back then, when a uni undergrad pitched his prototype during a hackathon, I asked him, “are you gonna do a job, or continue this prototype after graduation?” He said he’d do a job, but would improve prototype as a side kick. I laughed saying “you are not serious. Hence you will not make it.’ I don’t know what happened to him or his side kick. But I do know, what I said to him was wrong. I am sorry. I have seen more of

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The ministry of utmost happiness

I saw a small boutique type M.D.Gunasena store in Fort, in front of the World Trade Centre. Been the book worm I am, made a mental note to visit it after the meeting. They provided the same discounts they provide at the book fair. That tempted me to browse the books inside. ( At Book Fair, all I could do was to browse through a puddle of humans). I came across “The ministry of utmost happiness” by Arundhati Roy. It was a wonderfully designed hard cover wrapped in a thin layer of polythene. I thought it would cost a lot, might as well get it on kindle. Yet to my surprise, it  was just Rs.1300 (with 15% discount). As of now the kindle price is $19 ( Rs.2900 +).   I read a lot on kindle, multiple books at a time. Mostly management, technology, and leadership genre. Yet this book, with its’ exquisite hard cover design, shiny papers with a

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Outsourcing everything

There are things you cannot outsource. There are things that cannot be ‘Uber of this’ or ‘AirBnB of that’. As much as there are trends, we should not be enslaved to think that everything can be outsourced to cut cost or look sexy launching an app. There are many failure stories, that does not get your attention. There’s so much of human touch needed in serving the customer now. Never been a time like this where products and services are sold in abundance, but customers want personal attention. This is a conundrum. Growth does not mean just achieving new numbers. Growth requires the expansion of your existing relationships with customers. When organizations outsource their core value areas for the sake of sanity and cost, brutal outcomes may happen. For example: I was rudely surprised when I was treated badly by an insurance agent, when I needed their service the most. After 2 and half years of paying monthly premiums, here

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How to innovate over and over.

Most of us, when we hear about “innovation” tend to visualise staff retreats, having fun and been creative by expressing ideas. Then come up with that ‘aha’ moment, and go and work on it. Once in a year routine, may be twice a year. Far from it. Innovation in reality is loads of hard work, an emotional drainage, and a creator of many awkward and uncomfortable moments. If not driven well, it can derail even the most honest intentions. Right now, in this age, if the head of organization is not leading innovation process, nothing will happen differently. Discussions may happen, but changes won’t be there. From next week, it will be back to old stuff. So, then what is the role of the leader? Instead of thinking I have to give the grand vision and inspire people to follow, a leader must co-create space that people on their own generate new ideas, test, get it right, fail, generate ideas

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