Parag Arora's Blog

Co-Founder @Plustxt now acquired by @One97, IITD Grad, Engineer, Entrepreneur, Multiplatform hacker, Product Guy

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Happiness fulfilment – only way to create successful companies

Everything what humans do is for the selfish interest of feeling happy which is fine and an accepted fact. Even public services are also done for the happiness. People consider happiness as “a feeling of satisfaction” or “attainment of satisfaction” against ” a state of calm and peaceful mind “. This is brainwashing done from ages.

There is always huge opportunity industrially and almost every organisation try to exploit this human behaviour which is fair. Examples are satisfaction of being connected, satisfaction of being insured, satisfaction of not getting cold, satisfaction of relief from nicotine pang,  satisfaction from assuming sugar is good and getting fix for it, satisfaction of saving time using time management apps etc. Seeing things in reality as they are is extremely important. Also, this makes a huge difference between successful and non-successful companies from a long term perspective. Fulfilling a satisfaction which can be seen as long lived is extremely important.

e.g., satisfying a need to provide crisp shortened news which saves time as well as provide all information is long lived, but providing news in a belief thats it a difference interface than existing ones is not long lived – its just a change. So next time you are working on anything – ask yourself what exact satisfaction you are fulfilling. If you can create happiness or even an assumption of happiness which can be long lived – you’re on great path.

Last hour of the day

Last hour is the most important hour of the day. It should not be dedicated to a specific task for the day. It should be kept absolutely free, preferably quite, alone with a good music or walking or in any other way where one is mot relaxed and prepared to do observations around and inside.

This settles mind, prepare body to rest to work for next day and gradually with increase observational awareness – such an act automatically starts drifting thoughts to ones that only experience can tell.

Compound interest value of efforts

Making disciplined effort is extremely important. Pick out the projects that matters to you most and keep dedicating small or large time to them everyday. Fix amount of time you will dedicate. These efforts gives back compound interests rates. Working distracted on multiple tasks never give you compounded value. True for relationships and money also.

Biggest misery

Biggest misery of human is when he wants something desperately, but once he gets it realise that he did not want it. This is also called addiction and is completely opposite of being a rational human being. Also, nature of human who has fallen in this trap will be he will always keep on wanting this and will never enjoy getting it. Want is only till you get it and thats the true nature of addiction and not really passion. He will end his life just doing this as his only focus.

Being industrious

There is no way to be happy, rich and wealthy without being industrious. We need to let go of every distraction idea and focus on being industrious on one thing at a time. Having the right focus and vision is the foremost requirement. There is no get rich fast technique.

A relaxed mind

Being relaxed always is most under rated yet it is the biggest thing that can make difference. A relaxed mind is the best state of mind and most productive. 24 hours of being relaxed is more productive than a month of zigzag and stressed one. That’s the most important thing which makes difference between being super smart and dumb. Being relaxed does not mean you don’t have to be hustler, industrious or ambitious.

Its an art to achieve things while being most relaxed. And that is also a great way to achieve things. A relaxed mind is capable of taking best decisions.

There is an interesting story where a guy wants to climb Mt. Everest.. While starting he is very calm, relaxed and determined for his goal. This is his best state of mind and any decision taken at this time is best decision he can take. However, upon climbing almost half of Mt. Everest, he is stressed and tired. He has stopped enjoying the climbing as stress has come in his way. He had not trained himself to be relaxed and even worse, does not understand the importance of calmness. He reaches a flat area. He starts brainwashing his mind that with such a good view already, whats the point of climbing more? This brainwashing and stress made him never achieve what his calm mind would have. He is forever in misery now till he is relaxed again as he had taken decision with a stressed and tired mind.

Restlessness in enterprises

Restlessness is the most anti-productive feeling. It is only beneficial for people who are just put on work to show restlessness to get work done. Also, that is a very bad way to get work done. It is sometimes seen as positive for organisations with small goals – like an outsourcing company at a certain project stage but is generally very bad for long term.

In restlessness, humans keep getting burst of moments when they can be productive and can focus on a particular thing. Then restlessness superseded all the thoughts. Its like heartbeat, but the duration is little more than that. In those small moments, if a human is super performant and self motivated, he tries to snatch every second to put to work, but such is a misery of restlessness that it takes him over. Then after some time, he has a chance to take over. Distractions occur very easily and humans might end up with just one or two moments of productive work.

It is generally never seen that people actually observe themselves in such situation or take some time to relax. Rather they would be eating, drinking or smoking in breaks. Deep breathe generally helps as it lowers blood rush. A low blood rush helps in focussing and focussing helps maintain that low blood rush. Similarly stress brings restlessness and restlessness ensures persistent stress. What works again is detaching yourself from moment, observing you as such and then getting back after correcting.

Startup perspective to AAP failure

[Also published at nextbigwhat here: http://www.nextbigwhat.com/aap-startup-scaling-up-297/ ]

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We have been seeing many thought leaders and risk takers failing in industry. They are able to gain good traction in the initial days of startup but fail to make it a sustaining phenomenon.

The same happened with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and results are out there, putting Mr. Kejriwal to be one of a good person to be part of the next failcon. Although, we will still wait for Mr. Arvind Kejriwal to take timeout and get out with his failure experience notes but here are some of the points we have observed which are very critical for a startup to consider while in process of turning it into a business.

Too many Co-founders

CoFounders beyond 3 makes decision making tough. AAP was a party of cofounders and failed miserably in taking any decision. Where it lost was lack of leaders having controlling stakes in the decision process while it scaled too quickly to multiple cities. There was no control structure at place.

No Ownership

There was no responsibility ownership inside the organisation and the end result was blame games. An organisation structure is necessary to be made mainly for defining responsibility owners who can not play the blame game. They have to extremely cautious and ready to accept positive or negative blames and act on it.

Too Much Focus on Competition

AAP origin was into picking out problems with other parties. With so less time for go to market, AAPs main concern was always to thrash competition only and not focussing on internal core values and user propositions. This led early adopters to a confusing state since competition was too much strong with strong user propositions and user base already. Result being early adopters too migrated to established players avoiding any risks for future.

No Vision

Its always advisable to explain your startup in one or maximum two lines. AAP never had any such vision or mission statement. Agenda provided by AAP was also very lose showing indications of lack of any research done behind that.

Too much PR too soon

It is not a hidden fact that AAP was too much of PR hungry than focusing on execution and planning. PR is useful but hunger for PR led to bad marketing as well since there was no media planning as such.

We appreciate Arvind Kejriwal for poking the nation out of slumber but what party required was a better entrepreneur too.

Art of naming your users in ideation process

[Published on nextbigwhat.com here http://www.nextbigwhat.com/user-persona-ideation-and-product-attributes-297 ]

In the initial days after I passed out from IIT, used to have dozens of business plans everyday, and was already working on few of them in a given month. Later I realised those were not business plans but cool ideas, thats all. After I was done coding, I was hardly able to find users of my app except myself for couple of days. End result is a failed startup – failure will come very soon and is much assured to come. Series of startups, at one time also made me think I should start a consulting outsourcing businesses. Happens.

Then came a little matured stage when idea of solving problems was the key. This was a stage when I was actively looking to find problems in ecosystems and came up with solutions rather discussing with people who are facing problems. End result is a failed startup. You try to articulate reasons for failure but the reason is it was not built for anyone. Your product was a solution to a problem but a solution which was not desirable. Its an assured failed startup too. Know before you fail what you missed in your product.

Then came an interesting stage. Stage where I knew I came up with ideas which are also solutions to some problems, problems not that big but interesting to have solutions of. Identifying problems for which people were not actively looking for solutions but were surprised and excited to find solutions. There were users. I could name those users when I am coding. I had that amazing feeling while working and much more reasons to work now. But the competitors were growing fast, my product lacked somewhere. Problem was solved, but there were too many solutions already. I created and showed people the problem, and was outrun before I could even imagine this would happen. Obviously I lacked somewhere. The answer was sales. Interestingly it was always sales. Even the user requirements gathering, design elements, product delivery, money collection, user on boarding, user retention, competition watch – everything is part of sales. Naming a user and selling to that named users are two different things. But with a good procedure followed to name your users, idea evolution to product is a stronger process for your startup. Read the rest of this entry »

Productivity Tip: Say it and Just do it (don’t just do it)

Don’t just do it, say it and just do it. The biggest productivity tip has always been to focus on what you are doing. But thats not as simple as it sounds like. With connected information age, we are surrounded by millions of distraction already while we are working. People are trying to multi task but thats the biggest stress builder for day-to-day life. Key is to keep doing single task till completion or as per planned and then to move on the next task. Starting to do something or doing while you are already doing something impacts productivity a lot. Just do it is a good approach but you have got to make yourself strong to not do thing B while you are doing thing A.
Read the rest of this entry »