The first month of freedom and slavery
One month of unemployment from the work that I had done for over 8 years. One month of self-employment (read: slavery towards own venture), trying to build something that hopefully will make billions healthy.
It's truly been a wonderful feeling -- don't have to dress up in formals every day, can manage my own time, that feeling of hiring people and creating job opportunities, brainstorming to crack the code for the problem that we are really passionate about, and the opportunity to demonstrate control, patience and planning, and speed and execution at the same time.
Few important learnings over the last month:
1) Business model will evolve - literally, every day. Do not worry
2) People management can be most tricky. Cofounders might leave, employees who might have been excited to join may not join altogether, hiring talent can sometimes take way longer than ideal. Do not worry. There will always be ways out. We've found some incredible freelancing support in absence of full-time resources
3) Family support is critical. I know I haven't spent quality time with my wife, my parents, or my siblings - and I truly value their support, understanding why I give importance to my time more than anyone else in family these days
4) Multiple business opportunities will come by your way. And a lot of them will be tempting too. Stay focused
5) Yes, it is important to be fast-paced, but the reality is that the market is not going to turn itself around in weeks
6) It is important to ideate and plan, but it is also important to drive to execution. Remember, Done is better than Perfect
The journey towards great learning has just begun. Am sure coming months (and years) will be more awesome than the last month.
Last morning, I woke up a little late, quickly got ready and rushed with my breakfast. Well, none of that is unusual these days, especially because I tend to sleep late, and therefore struggle with getting up early.
And then, I found myself a taxi to go to the office. As I sat inside, I realized that my shoes are too dirty and needed polishing. I figured, the best alternative at that time was to just clean them up properly. And therefore thought that I could possibly ask the taxi guy for some help.
Me: Boss, do you have a piece of cloth that you may use to clean your car?
Driver: Yes sir (looking at me suspiciously)
Me: Can you please give it to me. I just need to clean my shoes
Driver: Do think before you ask for it again
Driver: This is a clean cloth that I use to clean my dirty car. I thought you might need it to wipe off your hands and face
Driver: You are well educated, you should be mindful of making such comments. This is a clean cloth. I wash it everyday
Me: Boss, what's your problem? Why are you getting angry? Don't give me that random piece of cloth, if you don't want to
And I was left thinking that what is it that made the driver angry. May be...
- ...he was already annoyed with something and I just triggered his emotional burst
- ...that car is everything for him, and he takes really good care of that car, and anything remotely associated with it (e.g. cloth) receives equally high regard from him
- ...he wanted to just pass that comment - "you are well educated....". That seems to be the most popular dialogue amongst a lot of people these days. May be because they regret the fact that they didn't end up getting educated
- ...because it's an absolutely normal reaction, and in fact, I am ignorant to have thought that car cloth is typically a dirty piece of cloth (well, back in my pre-MBA life, that's how I treated that cloth)
I found the situation to be totally Ajeebs. And I figured that publishing about it on this blog is the only way that I'd stop thinking about it.
Something just kept me going...
Had a super tiring day after a long long time. Slept at 5 in the morning - lots of small things kept me busy until then. Woke up in 6 hrs from then to attend a meeting near Embankment, London. What an amazing area that is! I can literally spend hours walking next to Thames, taking pictures, looking at pedestrians, or even just introspecting and 'philosophying'. The meeting went well, but went way beyond the scheduled time.
The delay made me rush for the next appointment - squash. The person I played with played at similar level as mine. This made the game competitive and obviously super tiring. By the time I finished, a friend called over to play badminton. That's exactly when I figured I need something to keep me going. Decided to try something new - drank Lucozade sport lite (lemon flavor). Drank that once, and figured it wasn't enough. So drank another.
Played 5 games of badminton - with a player who too played at similar level as mine. These games were probably the most tiring badminton games I've played in a long long time. Finished that, and then went on to drink another Lucozade sport lite. Loved it! Came back home, freshened up, changed, and went on to practise for LBS Diwali dance performance.
Am tired and exhausted now, and just want to have a quiet and calm sleep for the next 6-8 hours. Still wondering if it was the drink that kept me standing throughout these activities, was it the free time, or was it my enthusiasm towards extracurricular activities (racket games and dance). Whatever it was, something just kept me going throughout.
Those little moments of happiness
Sometimes things really do give you a pleasant surprise. I recently met someone who brought to my attention that there's a ton of information available about me on Google. Obviously, I got worried, and wanted to find what they have up there. So I quickly went back home and searched for "Akansh Khurana". My linkedin profile, my blog, some random comments across websites, and my resume from almost 6-7 years old -- all of these things showed up. Honestly, my old resume (that I don't know how to remove from my college website) was the most embarassing of the lot. But overall, I was happy to have found so much about myself on Google. Having a web presence can sometimes make one feel happy - that's what I learnt from all the searching effort.
Well, I continued to scan through next few pages. On the third page (I think), I found something else too -- which I found even more interesting. I saw that Bain (on its recruiting website
) displays my name as a Bain alum who is one of the students at the London Business School.
Until then, I never thought that systems are such well coordinated in the Bain system. Displaying the names on the website must be a part of the exit process - maintaing an exhaustive database of what Bain alumni are upto. Or may be Bain closely works with the core business schools it hires from. More than the fact that Bain systems and processes are well coordinated -- never thought that Bain actually promoted our names to prospective employees. Was a pleasant surprise!
Labels: Bain, London Business School
What Steve Jobs can still teach us!
Today’s world offers plethora of opportunities, a culture of immediacy and a highly competitive environment to work in. This has made most of us impatient, and has reduced our attention span. For those most of us, Steve Jobs is an ideal example. Steve’s focus, self-motivation and persistence helped him innovate and push the human race forward. And those three are the most important traits we all need in today’s world. These traits are not only foundations to achieving perfection in what we do and winning in the competitive environment, but also making a difference in the world around.
Technology on the roll
I recently read about few different things and when I tried to connect the dots, I realized how amazing the world is going to be in near future. What is fundamental about these things, what really is an enabler is 'Technology'. I've now started to believe that technology, just as dreams, has no boundaries.
First, Facebook's Timeline allows users to tell the story of their lives chronologically with photos, videos, and music -- what an amazing way to keep track of our lives. Remember, if every user goes about creating this, it will mean a lot of information and data. Second, www.1000memories.com
is trying something similar too. The idea of 1000memories is that every individual in this world - famous or infamous - has the right to keep a record of his/her life. Their idea is to create this record using pictures. Wow - more information and data. Third, I read about the potential room for growth in photography. It was incredible to find out that 10 percent of all photos ever taken were photographed in just the last year (check this: http://techcrunch.com/2011/09/30/technology-advancing-art-photo-apps/
). And with applications like Instagram and Path - I can't even imagine the upcoming world of photography, and amount of information and data. Fourth (and final for this post), I read about Zillabyte - a product of few ex-Googlers. These guys have figured the need to analyze and manage all the content that we've been talking about (and much more!).
All of this just makes me think of a ton of opportunities across the value chain of content - source of creation, actual creation, and management and analysis. The opportunities for entrepreneurs will always remain, always!
This is perhaps one of the millions of posts that have already been written about CWG. But an incident early this morning made me consider awakening this dormant blog.
A door bell at 7 in the morning woke me up from my partial asleep state. I found this man standing at the door with a hope clearly visible in his eyes - a hope to get a job from me. I quickly recognized this man to be my car cleaner until almost two months ago. Although I have to admit that I had forgotten his name. Like many other laborers, this man too was made to leave Delhi at the time of CWG due to lack of identity details. As a result, he lost work from all the households who he served prior to CWG.
After a little conversation about his trip back home, I told him that I now have a replacement for his job and won't be able to employ him for cleaning my car anymore. That was followed with a moment of absolute silence. Although I did realize that he was trying to speak something, his heart filled with pain and his eyes filled with tears did not let him speak. Unsure on how to console, I told him that I shall let him know if there's any work for him in future.
The day started with a disappointing feeling of helplessness. Makes me think if someone is answerable for the loss of living of multiple such people.