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