Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Startup - The Truth - 1

When we were working on our product, people’s reactions were :
  • If you don't respect education, why even be here?
  • Why are you dropping your engineering classes to work on something new?
  • Just look at THAT guy, why cant you be like him!
  • You are damn lucky to have gotten this far, right people, right time.
  • Your parents have made lot of money, you can take risks!

You get the flow.

I hated these people and still do, but they are the ones who made me who I am and drove me to work even harder to reach where I am now, so they indirectly helped me!

Many people think that to go against a group, or to be a rebel requires a lot of strength, courage blah blah!!! NO!! You need people who discourage you, who put you down, who undermine your effort!

There is no shortage of such people around us. A lot of people fear these Bozos (as I prefer to call them)! Fear that society wouldn’t approve and fear to do something on their own. There is no point in living in fear, and living your life for others. Instead, take the opportunity and drive your energy into the work that you love to do rather than wasting it on answering them and justifying why you are doing it.

To quote a few lines from an inspiring speech I read lately, and which I believe in,
If you do what is expected of you, you will be limiting yourself. You will be living your life according to boundaries set by average people. I have nothing against average people. But no one should aspire to be them. And you don’t need years of education by the best minds to prepare you to be average.

This is what we had in mind, while we worked on our product. We strived to make a difference, nevertheless a tiny one at least. We faced a lot of difficulties during bootstrapping which I can just write briefly about. I am sure that any startup (founded by people straight out of college without getting funded by any investor) would face the same for that matter! I will share few experiences which got us going, helped us in implementing our idea effectively and finally selling the product to the targeted crowd!

First thing we learnt, was to accept uncertainty. It’s quite easy to write or just theoretically understand uncertainty. In reality, it’s a disturbing feeling which will continuously nag you 24/7. When you don't know what's going to happen in the future or even in the present. If something goes wrong, you are doomed and people who are dependant on you are doomed too. This is the feeling you have to live with, not just live, but you will have to work with day in day out.

Its always comforting to share this uncertainty with someone whom you have known for quite a long time, someone whom you can trust. When you do, get ready for a lot of debates, arguments, and mental trauma. Because there is no easier way!! At the end of the day, you will figure out what your problems are, what has to be done and cope up with it.

Time is something which cannot be undervalued. You would’ve fixed a date for the launch of your product. I am damn sure the product might not be ready even the day before the launch. So the day before the launch feels like climbing a hill and never reaching the hilltop! The feeling that you get the night before the product launch is just ultimate! I am sarcastic of course but these are the realities of a startup!! Working with the people who share your uncertainty, trying to get things done under pressure, and handling the tension in the room is something we have to get accustomed to, the night before any deadline. In the end, it’s worth the effort, all done to show your customers that your product is one of a kind!

Before you blink your eye, the deadline has been reached, the demo is over and you sigh in relief. You think you are now certain about things to an extent. A list of customers sign up to buy the product. And the feeling of “Hell yeah, we finally did it!”. But the story doesn’t end. There are a zillion questions popping in your head, a zillion more tasks to complete and It’s the beginning of yet another cycle of uncertainty..

Welcome to my world. :P

Thursday, October 21, 2010

EINSTASOFT - The LegalCrystal Story - 2

Before I start talking about the product, I just want to share a few experiences in running a startup!
It's been one hell of an amazing experience running a company, developing a product, Marketing and Selling the product. Before we launched the product and before we even started the company, there were a lot of uncertainties.Today looking at what we have achieved, we are more confident in executing tasks, working with people of great stature and of-course on great ideas. Looking at the future we are more enthusiastic, adventurous to work on Great Ideas with Talented people.

  Today we have customers in Bangalore, Mysore, Chintamani, Kolar, Chickballapur and Judges all over Karnataka i.e in every district. There were few major milestones that we achieved in the first three months after the product launch.
·         Product Launch at High Court of Karnataka
·         Selling it to first few customers.
·         Implementing new ideas and suggestions from our customers.
·         Demo at Karnataka Judicial Academy
·         LegalCrystal used by District/Taluk and High Court Judges of Karnataka.
Product Launch at Karnataka High Court was huge Success! Our first few customers loved the product and W-O-M spread, we received valuable feedback , ideas from our customers and started working on next version of LegalCrystal. 

 Judges were completely impressed looking at our Product, the very next day after the demo they called us saying "Can you come over to our office , we have a list of judges lined up to buy your product". We successfully completed the installation within two days! Our product requires atleast 10GB of Hard Disk space.Soon, Judges from Mysore were impressed, and they called us for a DEMO.

 We reached out to few other courts in and around Bangalore. The response from Taluk and District courts have been okay. Everyone who owned a computer bought LegalCrystal. In these areas there are only few advocates who own a computer, they still use books for their research and to find judgments. Few other advocates are a little hesitant, they just don't want to use a computer and they are very happy with their books.

As they say "Sky is the Limit", In this product the "Things to do" is huge! its never ending! not just in terms of Software Development, even in marketing, sales. We want our software to make advocates’ life easier and hassle free. Even a layman should be able to use LegalCrystal if he has any legal issues. We want every advocate in every nook and corner of INDIA to use LegalCrystal.
 And, that's the mission statement of this great product.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

EINSTASOFT - The LegalCrystal Story - 1

  I am not going to talk about LegalCrystal!, I am just going to answer WHY LEGALCRYSTAL? , hope you get a better understanding of LegalCrystal that way.

 Well, if a business has to prosper, you need three kinds of people , first you need domain experts (R&D) - the ones who knows everything about the kind of product that you are developing. Secondly, those who build the actual product (Developers). Lastly, those who are articulate,has the ability to convince people or the market that you are targeting(Product Evangelists). These are the key resources which a company needs to exist.

In my case, I am lucky to have found out right people at the right time, We have Developers, Domain Experts, Evangelist/Marketing Experts.

   Born and brought up in a family of advocates, the reason for LegalCrystal to exist and to grow each day is because of my parents. My dad runs a century old office and one fine day he heard of a software which could just give you the relevant judgment by entering few details. I was a computer freak from primary school , of course I was lucky because my dad was one of very few advocates who owned a computer at that point in time that too in a town known as Chintamani - A beautiful place, 80km from Bangalore.

 So this sales rep. from that software company gives a demo of their product and installs the software, me having attended many lectures about W-O-M(Word of Mouth) and Viral Marketing! This was like seeing live,  if you just plant the virus properly!! how more viral can your product be? ,  my dad just heard from his colleagues about this software, he is convinced and he bought the product!!

 Here it was , a complete SHIT. Just to view a judgment you have to approx. undergo 10clicks, finally you end up getting no judgment, very soon you lose all your interest using  the software, You should be a genius or a computer freak to reach level of viewing the judgment. It would be lot faster if you had searched manually with help of books. Well How did  I know that its useless, Well in my family I am known as the computer guy! "any computer problems call Srikanth"! So my dad never used the product, instead I did! This was the moment where LegalCrystal was born in my damn brain.

 My mom, genius behind the product! She is the one who gave us proper advice to develop LegalCrystal, later on my dad joined and poured in  more valuable thoughts!. From the moment I thought I could build a better product than the existing software products, I started researching on Indian Law, spoke to lot of advocates, did a lot of research on what they are really looking for? and How can I develop something better , innovative than the existing products?.

 Everybody Googles nowadays, even I am googler! I love Google! Based on research that I did, the nearest possible way to build a effective UX is to minimize no. of clicks, GOOGLE is one of the best products which gives you relevant data with just a single click! hence we thought of design something similar to Google. We developed it and advocates just loved it from the first instance showed it to them! Well its not just the UI that made advocates to love our product! there is more, lot more!

EINSTASOFT - The LegalCrystal Story - 2 is more interesting and is on its way  - it will answer few questions , What makes LegalCrystal so unique/innovative? Our Product Launch at High Court of Karnataka, Our first few Customers....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How to develop iPhone application on windows 7

Developing iPhone application on windows is possible!

You can easily install MAC OS X Snow Leopard and then Xcode on Windows 7 , deploy your iphone/ipod application on jailbroken iphone/ipod. I installed Mac OS X Snow Leopard on my Sony Vaio E series which has Intel i3 Proc. , 3GB Ram, 512MB graphic card. Snow Leopard works smoothly and Xcode too!, successfully deployed my application on my jailbroken Ipod-touch which has Iphone firmware 3.1.3. If you have an upgraded firmware i.e higher than 3.1.3 then you will have to Google and find out the latest version of RedSnow or any other tool to jailbreak.

Requirements :
  • Vmware workstation v7 
  • Xcode v3.2.1 iphone SDK 3.1.3 
  • MAC OS X 10.6 retail DVD 
  • Darwin Snow leopard ISO 
  • RedSnow to jailbreak your iphone/ipod (if it isn't Jailbroken) 
*If RedSn()w doesnt work for you , Use Spirit to jailbreak OS 3.1.3

Mac Os X retail v10.6 DVD ISO : Search in Torrents or Rapidshare

To install Macintosh OS X Snow leopard v 10.6 :

Darwin ISO to boot MAC :
Without Darwin ISO you cant boot MAC in VMWARE. So download this latest version of Darwin iso for mac v10.6 and follow the instructions as in 'RedmondPie'

Xcode and iphone SDK :
This is the only version of Iphone SDK in which which works on Mac OS X v10.6 , please dont upgrade your mac after you installed Mac in Vmware.

iPhone SDK 3.1.3 with XCode 3.2.1 for Snow Leopard : 
*If you cant download in windows, try downloading in MAC or search for torrent.

Removing code-signing :
You should remove code signing which makes possible to deploy your Iphone application on real jailbroken Iphone/Ipod i.e without ADC membership, but you cant host your Iphone Application on Apple Appstore! .

Vmware Tools :
This tool lets you connect /share folders from windows and mac and few other utilities.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Einstasoft - The Formation

"Keep your heart open to dreams. For as long as there's a dream, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living." 
  My dreams are now slowly transforming into reality. Phaneendra K N, my friend and I, recently started a Web Company called "Einstasoft". Web, here, doesn't signify website designing or web solutions. We strive to be an innovative web product based company and are currently working on a major product which reflects our ideals about the kind of products we aim to build.
Getting to the crux of what i want to share in this blog-post, I just wanted to share our experience on the entire registration process for the start-up briefly and the hiccups we faced along the way. As soon as the company was officially registered, we were soon on the fast track and currently, things are moving as quick as greased lightning! As the current scenario is proving to be highly ideal for aspiring entrepreneurs, hope the information in this post helps all you aspirants out there to speed up the entire registration process and avoid the roadblocks which we faced, especially those in Karnataka.

How we registered Einstasoft :
 My dad is an attorney, and one of his clients is a Chartered Accountant so we had the advantage of professional guidance from a close acquaintance. As we were novices in this matter, he was able to clear up several issues bothering us regarding the company registration and give us crucial pointers. He gave us three options, to register Einstasoft as a firm , as a private limited company or as a public limited company. The last two , we were informed, would turn out to be pretty expensive, approx more than Rs.25,000. As our startup is completely self-funded at the moment, a major chunk being the prize money from Google summer of code, we came to a decision that Einstasoft would first be registered as a firm. After a while, we could move on to being private limited and then finally a public limited company as time goes by.

Registering Einstasoft as a Partnership Firm :
The first thing to be done was obtaining a Rs.1000/- stamp paper in the name of the company i.e Einstasoft from one of the Sub-Registrar Offices in Bangalore. Due to security issues, Stamp Papers aren’t available in State Bank of India or any other nationalized banks.
  We received a mail from the Chartered Accountant regarding the partnership deed, The deed had details of the company, the shares in profit of the partners, and additional valuable information about our start-up which are pre-requisites. The cost of registering as a partnership firm is around Rs.3,500/-. After a subsequent payment of Rs. 3500/- to the Chartered Accountant, we were half-way through the process!
 Basically, the Chartered Accountant takes care of going to the  Govt and submitting the form to the concerned officer on paying a certain amount, so a major part of the company registration process is taken care of by him. We were just required to fill form 1 of the India partnership act.
 Applying for PAN in the name of the firm is a must for filing company tax returns. So we photocopied the partnership deed attested by a gazetted officer( in any of The Central Library) and submitted the PAN form in one of the PAN center's. A pan application costs around Rs.100/-. 
The entire registration process was successfully completed with approximately Rs.5000!

Opening a current account in the bank of our choice :
For filing tax returns and accounting the profit/loss margin,every Company needs a Current Account in some bank. We thought of opening a current account in Canara Bank, Basavanagudi for our convenience and also because of our opinion that as it is a nationalized bank, we would be on the safer side in case of an economic crisis!
 For opening an account, you are required to fill the Current Account opening application and include the following supporting documents :
· a photocopy of the Partnership Deed
· two photographs each of the partners
· address proof(D.L /Passport) of each partner and of the company premises
· an introduction by a current account holder in any of the bank's branches.

 We were not aware of anyone who had a current account in the bank, and though it was not personally a easy task to find out about customers who could give an introduction initially, you might have a better chance at it. Luckily , my friend's mom was an employee of Canara Bank and she referred us to the Branch Manager directly, soon after which we were able to proceed more smoothly.
 The wheels have been set in motion and our Revenue Cycle will be starting from July 2010. Hoping that our efforts are rewarded soon and that we make some good profits with your best wishes.

*Our First product :

**A note of caution : Registering as a partnership firm has its own limitations.  If anyone sues u , your personal assets are doomed with the company’s assets! As the chances of that are pretty rare considering that you have done your homework, it is still a feasible option for registering. As soon as your profits reach 2lakhs, you should register your firm under shop and establishment act.
**Special Thanks to my beloved uncle Mr. Badrinath D N, IBM who believes in us and our startup, our FIRST INVESTOR