Categories
entrepreneurship startups

Investor or business advisor values to look for in a seed raise

A successful pre-seed raise sets a lot of foundation for the eventual success of the organization. I will stay away from feedbacks of startups who conclude and are convinced that money is just money and just take it and quickly raise the round. That’s the worst thing one could do from the investor side or startup side (But when you have to do it, you do it especially at tough times knowing it might be on an ideal situation). Following are the conversation traits which should be happening in seed investors to make sense of the eventual success of the whole exercise:

Brutal facts confrontations

Are your investors talking about the brutal facts with you and how open you are discussing them? You can be a subject expert or have years of experience in your domain, but if your investor is not able to challenge you with brutal facts, you probably are going to have a hard time in your fundraising as well as have a hard time deriving great value from them. Some investors can be nice to you and really want to invest in your startup whatever you are doing, but look for traits that challenge you and force you to think, go back for homework and get back with a plan.
Do you get irritated by such confrontations or tend to ignore such investors, you probably should reconsider your decision of leading an organization and probably take some NLP course or something to help yourself before you dive into your journey.

Right person, right seat discussions

A discussion of the right person at the right seat is a very important fact while you are doing the presentation. You have to walk through ideal leadership seats in your organization, current or potential people for that and your painted pictures of such people. Look for signs of investors’ tendencies to talk about your team as well.

Average Listeners

Are you not able to complete your first 5 minutes of the pitch before they start talking out? Do yourself a favor and walk out.

Metrics

Always present success metrics, which you will be tracking weekly for your startup growth and health, as well as ask their feedback on the same. If they are aligned, ask their opinion on what would they have set their metrics if they were in your shoes. Also remember, your seed-stage metrics are going to be totally different than your growth stage metrics ( e.g. viral coefficient and retention vs the number of users ).

If you have any additional traits you think are important, please suggest. Overall, if the above four are ticked, I will be very excited and feel fortunate to connect to this investor.

Categories
clarity entrepreneurship startups

Startups that survive crashes

Startups that have survived and will survive aren’t the ones that are just created based on a market opportunity. They are created by passionate individuals who have envisioned the world after a few years and know a path to go there carrying their values and articulating mission to create the perfect vision they have created.

Their current app or idea or product is not the business but an accelerator to achieve the mission. We have an interesting time right now with markets hinting a crash and excited to see startups who will do the tests of the time.

Categories
entrepreneurship How To's

Socio-psychological factors for viral engagement

Human beings are instinctively social creatures. Social media apps, largely since Facebook, have categorically tapped into some basic elements of social interaction, and brought it into cyberspace; and it is for this reason that they’re some of the largest and most influential companies in the world – and hence also some of the most ubiquitous, publicised, and scrutinised.

Social media, in general, lays its groundwork on some basic socio-psychological phenomena, which we should certainly keep in mind if we wish to create the next big thing in this space;

Acceptance, and sense of belonging

For the most part, people are largely driven by their need to belong. Our need for social acceptance is very high, and it manifests in various ways, eg.

  • We are much more likely to buy items, visit places, or meet people, that existing people around us find generally desirable (like Apple products due to their high brand value, visiting exotic but well-known locations like Paris and Venice, or bragging about meeting influential people).
  • We are always elated when we receive social attention, admiration, or acclaim. In fact, most of the larger strategic goals/ambitions in everyone’s lives are largely based on factors that are considered socially acceptable in the person’s immediate community (eg. Doctors, Engineers.)
  • We tend to gravitate towards communities that we wish to be a part of; we like to be associated with (or assumed to be in) certain groups that reflect aspirations of our own; we want to be seen with wealthy, influential, desirable individuals. Conversely, we often do not want to be associated with communities and groups that do not reflect our own values.

Social media largely capitalised on our need for social acceptance by offering us ways to be a part of, and exposed to, communities that we find desirable. We can easily follow / befriend people from the avenues of life that we aspire to be around (eg. photographers, musicians, fashion bloggers, movie stars etc.) Most social media platforms involve creating and maintaining groups and communities based on common interests, and merely being a part of such groups gives users satisfaction (and bragging rights). Even platforms that aren’t primarily social (eg. Medium, Dribbble, Stack Overflow, some online video-game communities) often end up having strong and closed communities driven by people’s need to contribute and be associated to what these larger communities represent (design, tech, gaming culture etc.)

Vanity

Human beings all wish to be desired, envied, and generally fawned over. For much of human history however, this came at a very high price. We had to carefully construct our personalities to emphasise aspects that people found desirable, and downplay parts that were considered unappealing; we had to maintain rigid physical health, posture, grace, and pay attention to our looks at all times; we also had to carefully control our mannerisms at all times.

Furthermore, in order to be desired by the community, we frequently had to move out of our comforts and stay exposed to people all the time by ensuring physical presence in all places we wanted to be seen in. Lastly, in spite of all our efforts, no one could be certain about how revered he was in a community.

Over the past decade however, social media has moved in and made vanity far more quantifiable, approachable, and accessible. By reducing “appeal” and “fame” to “likes” and “followers”, social media has handed human beings a metric by which to measure their success in this arena; the higher this number, the higher your desirability. Social media makes it easy to control people’s perceptions of ourselves, as we control the timing, nature, and quality of content they’re exposed to.

It is extremely easy for us to highlight moments of our life where we are happiest, and broadcast them to everyone, while completely ignoring the banal, trivial, or disappointing aspects of our lives, and hiding them completely from the public eye. Social media also grants people an indirect way to communicate with those who envy (possibly hate) them, and demonstrate our apathy to them as well as emphasise on how we’re better off after (or in spite of) them – something that would be too aggressive and targeted if spoken out directly.

Contribution and mentorship

While human beings usually aren’t closed to learning new things, almost every human being is exceptionally enthusiastic about teaching and sharing. We crave for opportunities to demonstrate our own learnings, and share our own experiences, sometimes regardless of whether there is any benefit to any party by doing so. We like the thought of being people who are actively pushing a community forward, and most social media platforms are using this tendency of ours to some extent.

Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp give us mediums with which we can share our opinions and experiences with the world – in fact, these platforms actively encourage us to do so (“What’s on your mind?”, “Share to Facebook this great article that you just read”, or “Here’s a recap/collage of your experiences with x entity”). Apps like Quora, Reddit, and Medium give us platforms with which we can answer people’s questions, publish/share content, and generally gather approval and feedback from people at large. Apps like Dribbble, StackOverflow, 500px etc. are also avenues through which we contribute to, and are a part of, communities that are desirable to us, and are often used as a measure of your status in those respective fields.

Categories
Uncategorized

Good to Great mindmap

Categories
tech

Fetching conversational sentiments in human-human chat

Sentiment analysis has recently become core part of analytics in chats between customers and brands specially in ones with measure as customers experience like in hospitality. Lot of research has been done and SaaS solutions are available for finding sentiment of a particular utterance but its hard to understand sentiment for conversations that comprises of conclusive utterances happening between two or more parties. This is an open research area and lots of advancements are needed in finding and mainly classifying interactions into states ( e.g. Greeting, Troubleshooting etc.  ). An interesting analytics measure for measuring guests satisfaction will be to find transition of sentiments in utterances as they are happening in conversation.

Conversational sentiments via machine learning and rule based is easier however in goal based chatbots where chatbots are programmed to achieve a particular goal and involve transitioning of conversation from one state to another ( e.g., Greetings -> Problem Discovery -> Troubleshooting -> Conclusion ). Please share any research material you have or advice for finding sentiments for human-human conversations.

Categories
crypto

Creating your own blockchain based currency for solving problems in pure decentralised way

Why do you need cryptocurrency?

We have been often asked with the one big question on how to create your own Bitcoin like blockchain for solving a niche problem. My answer to such visionary entrepreneurs is to focus on building the community because that’s what matter the most when you intend to create a new crypto currency and leave everything else to us. Another important requirement when you plan to launch such a cryptocurrency is to provide an easy to adopt wallet which consumers can download and start using immediately. Mobile apps are the best solutions to achieve this along with the ability to transact over web. It should be very easy for community to adopt to create a disruptive solution.

Other than building a strong community, its very important to build strong community of crypt enthusiasts, because by working together a community of dedicated crypto enthusiasts are much better able to find and address vulnerabilities and security threats, like the 51% attack. Building such protection and showing legitimacy by open availability of code to review builds trust among the community and adopters, something that is hard to do if those involved in the currency are passive spectators looking out for their own interests.

Categories
clarity

Living the dream

People watch their own photos so much over Facebook. They like seeing them from 3rd person perspective and truly enjoy the person behind the happy moments and empathise with the sad moments. There is another term for it, living the memories.

It will be truly amazing if they can start visualizing before living the moments. See them doing things from a 3rd person perspective and do and achieve living every moment to its best from 1st person perspective. This is a great way to live. This enables living in the moment. This is called living the dream.

Categories
clarity

Visualise

Stop, step back, relax and answer one question – what is one thing which you are focused for the whole day? Why is it important to you? Is that your goal?

If that’s your goal, have you craved enough for that goal? If the goal has success path, do you know what do you want to achieve? Imagine the situation where you are what you want to achieve. Like a child, start dreaming everything around that. Notice how you look, what everyone says about you, how proud you are and how proud others are. How much you have helped the world. Everything related to that. Does that make you happy? If that makes you happy, do it every day. If that does not, you need some more work to do.

Categories
Productivity trends

You will be the person what you click

You are being categorised every time you read any news or watch any video. Spent 1 minute extra in one of those faking articles website, you are being categorised as a person who likes articles from that more and will see those ads only on facebook or in your Google News suggestions against other productive ones you could have seen. Spent watching 2 episodes of a Crime coverage, youtube will categorise you as one who likes crime serials and will start experimenting by showing you more of such content in finding how much you are interested.

It’s very easy to be part of what I call “machine fed habits” where machines will feed you to an infinite loop of suggesting articles around an article you read. The worst thing is the average majority of people read articles that are most likely not going to be productive, helpful in your field or learning based but more around entertainment or gossips. You will be fed to a majority liked articles loop. It might already be happening to you and you might not have noticed.

 

Be very conscious of next article you are going to open or next video you are going to watch since there is a high probability you are going to consume similar content a lot in your coming days or years since software categorises you as a person who likes that content and starts experimenting with you showing similar content.

You know the outcome.. it will make you that person.

Categories
entrepreneurship

Want to be an idea machine?

Want to be an athlete? Run everyday. And be disciplined about it.

Want to be a great musician, play music everyday.

Want to learn things in your life, read an hour everyday

Want to be an idea machine?
Pick ANY topic / problem and write 5-10 ideas on that EVERY DAY. I do that everyday and consider myself a great idea machine. Be that, all you need is just to decide what you want to be and spend time everyday on that. Picking ANY IDEA has another advantage, good ideas are generally produced when different ideas have sex which each other. Thinking on variety of things will broaden your horizon.
PS: I use Google calendar goals to achieve my goals.