December 2006

1. Met Alok. Discussed a lot of things. He brings clarity and sanity to my life. I am proud to have a mentor like him 🙂

2. Met Nitin, AVS and Kapil. It was great again talking to Nitin, and meeting AVS the first time after IIT. We discussed the kind of talent shortage IT sector in India is facing. It makes me to rephrase Paul Graham’s “Its the best time to be an entrepreneur” to suit present day Indian environment – “Its the best time to be an employee.” Have talent? Companies will find you out.

3. Met Niraj through Ashish. Niraj is a person with an idea. A good idea.

But there is a problem with ideas – Most ideas are good. Some are brilliant. Execution makes the crucial difference. Search was a good idea even in AltaVista age. And there were scores of search engines untill Google finally came.

If you are planning a startup, one of the issues you are likely to face is finding a partner.

Before deciding upon wether a you really have found the right fit, do take up important but contentitious issues –
1. The roles are less important. Discuss responsibilities.
2. Level of comittment. Its your brainchild, its likely that the other person will not have the same passion about it. Discuss and find out what really is his motivation to get into it.
3. Exit routes – What if one year down the line, one of you loose interest, or belief in the venture? What if one of you anyway want to go?
4. As the company grows its more likely that you will need someone more professionaly qualified to move in, esp at key positions. Are you/your partner willing to step down to a less “glamourous” role, because that is where the good of the company actually lies.

I believe, taking up these issues will help you before making that very crucial decision of partnership.

Btw, if you know someone who would like to build a potentially explosive company out of nothing but an idea -> approach Niraj. Via me or Ashish. Niraj is searching for a right fit to join at co-founder level. I would have loved to, but I have my own designs 🙂

Sometime back in Noida I had a chance to meet Nitin, my friend and batchmate from IIT. Nitin and Abhishek (whom we fondly call AVS) have recently bootstrapped their startup – DbyDx. (Ok, if the mathematician in you notices something in there – there is. The name.)

Three things I liked about them –

1. The name. DbyDx.

2. Their punchline – ‘Differentiating business with technology’. w-o-w! So much in line with the name, and so much in line with what they do.

And third, what Nitin said about the difference between the time when you are about to do a startup, and when you have just done it.

Pehley, when we were just starting: ‘Tab neend nahi aati thi ye soch kar ki kitna kuch karna hain.’ Now that we are on: ‘Ab itna kuch karna hain ki time nahi hain sochney ka, ki kitna kuch karna hain‘!

He has put it really simple – When you’re almost at the edge of an startup, you will have sleepless nights thinking about it. Once you start up, you will be too tired after a full days work to do anything but sleep sound.

I will be Noida this weekend, and I have every intention of catching up with him again.