Wednesday, October 27, 2010

To startup or not to startup

Just yesterday and day before a friend came up to me and said he was confused. He was building iPhone apps and was earning very well. But he was not sure if he wanted to start a company as such. He is young and can easily continue to be a one-man army and build applications and sell them. But he is not sure if he will feel good about building a team, managing it and so on. One thing he feels though is that he wishes to stay a product developer and not handle marketing or even team building.

This is a common situation many come across at least once in their lives. You do something you like doing, get some results, then what? Do you grow that, build a team, build a business? Or do you continue the direction you are on and be independent. Yes independence is an important term here. To start a team means responsibility. You may (and probably will) get partners along the way. These will be like your friends, the "gang" who combine their strengths to manage the company. These will be the group with transparent communication among themselves. And you will also build the team, the employees in traditional terms. You will also need help from your existing contacts, your family and so many other people. But it takes time.

Partners: Think of them as the closest people you know related to the business. You work together to keep the day bright and sunny, to make sure you have your work coming in, that the finances are right. But its more than just that, its about having a vision, a common vision together. You are the core of the family that you will create. If any of the non-partner team members have a doubt or a problem they should be able to approach any of you. Partners can be 2 or 3 or even as many as you need. But think about what are the core values of each of you. You want to have a team where each one brings in some quality which is required at the core of your business. This is although not how you always start out. Sometimes you just start out as a group of friends building a company. And that is fine. But then you will need to start thinking about who does what.

Team Members: At the heart of any successful company is the group of people who build it brick by brick each day. It takes time and effort. It takes a team. You need to build your product, choose the color that suits the best, select a tagline for it, contact the first possible client, market it, support your clients, and do hundreds of other things. Also you need someone to take care of your team. Someone has to make sure people are not working too much. But all this must have a reason. In my opinion the only thing that will make people come back each day and work on your business is the vision. It is the promise of a better tomorrow. Not all team members will get noticed, a tiny fraction will possibly get to come to the level of a partner. But they will all fight, with you, each day to make it a brighter tomorrow. But you are responsible for their well being, you will have to make sure they get what you promised them. This is what makes you different from other founders out there. Always remember it is the team that makes those big companies we read about.

So eventually it is one's decision to either fly alone, or build a team. Both have different modes of operation. They are very different in what you get as result. And one thing I have learned from my experiences is that building a team is toughest job you can take up. It takes a lot of time understanding the intricate details of humans. And its a slow process, taking each day and learning more, but progressing work at the same time.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kolkata adda at AD38, Nov 3, 2010

We have planned a Kolkata meetup (adda) at AD38, Salt Lake Sector 1, on November 3, 2010, from 6PM onwards. Its a no agenda meet, the original adda, Bengali format. With a traditional menu accompanying it:
Luchi, Chola dal, Kosha mangsho, salad (type not yet fixed), mishti (probably pantua and rosogolla), chatni, papad.

A few of us were discussing having a meet for sometime but we could not have it for past few months. So lets meet and have fun!

Address is AD38, Salt Lake Sector 1.
Its near No. 4 Water Tank, 10 mins from City Center Salt Lake.
And if you know, its Pixlie and Web Prachar's office.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Movie: Letters to Juliet

I had a fine opportunity to catch two movies back to back today all by myself. The movies were "Letters to Juliet" and "The Other Guys". "The Other Guys" wasn't very good, just a decent watch. If you have other movies as choices you may miss this one and not regret.

Anyway heading to "Letters to Juliet". The movie opens with Sophie (played by Amanda Seyfried) as a fact checker. She is verifying a picture of a kiss at NY Times Square taken just after the end of WWII. Trying to figure out whether it was spontaneous.

Sophie successfully figures out it was a spontaneous kiss and submits it to her Editor (I guess) and tells him about her pre-wedding honeymoon plan. She is engaged, and they are going to Italy before their wedding. Victor (Sophie's fiancé, played by Gael García Bernal) is starting a new restaurant and is always busy with food. From the very beginning he seems to be more obsessed with food and wine and vineyards than anything else in the world. But off they go to Italy.

Italy is where almost all of the plot takes place. Victor is, as predicted, busy with some contact over the phone and discussing wine, and food, and wine auctions and tours to vineyards while Sophie misses out her romantic time. After getting bored with Victor and his wine they part ways, Victor continues his quest for fine wine and Sophie starts wandering about places. Suddenly she comes into the Verona courtyard of Juliet and finds out women leave letters to Juliet. She follows a young lady taking those letters and discovers the "secretaries of Juliet" who reply to all the letters that have return addresses.

Sophie is intrigued by the whole concept and wants to know more. The next day she herself finds a letter which was left untouched for 50 years. It was about a young girl, Claire who had fallen in love with a boy in the countryside but had to return to England to her parents. She had to leave her love behind in Italy. Sophie decides to reply. To her surprise, Claire, now a grand-mom (played by Vanessa Redgrave) comes to Italy with her grandson Charlie (actor Christopher Egan) to find her long lost love. Thus Sophie, Claire and Charlie (unwilling) start their journey to search true love that once was and still is.

Sophie uses her skills to narrow down the search for Lorenzo (Claire's love) from about 74 possibilities to 15 or so. Everyone they met was not a match but Sophie pushed on, and so did Claire. Charlie stood out as the one who does not believe in true love, and thought the effort was not worth anything; that Claire may end up hurting herself because they may not find Lorenzo or he may be dead.

Victor is still engrossed in his wine and its auctions. This gives Sophie the chance to be part of the journey initially but it also brings in the realization that the couple, soon to be wedded, did not mind not staying separate on their romantic holiday. Charlie on the other hand is now presented as a man involved in humanitarian activities. He expresses his concern for his grand-mom but at the same time is thankful to Sophie. He also likes to read Sophie's writing about this journey and tells her to publish it. There is this other side to him. Slowly he feels they like each other. The fact that Sophie is engaged gives Charlie reason not to express any feelings for her, but then it happens. In a garden below the starry night they have their first kiss. Charlie is sorry after all this but things have already changed now. And things have also changed in their quest for Lorenzo.

Claire is almost given up in her journey and wants to return back. While doing so they cross a vineyard where Claire sees a boy who reminds her of Lorenzo. They find out he is the grandson of the man that Claire has been searching for. Lorenzo comes riding a white horse as you would expect in a fairy tale and it seems like a happy ending. But Sophie has snapped already. She manages a quick return to New York, home, with Victor. But the feeling is already deep inside her by now. "We did not mind being without each other". This was not her love story. Charlie on the other hand tried to talk to Sophie for the last time, to convince her that he was her true love, but did not the chance.

Sophie's Editor agrees to publish her writing of this journey. but Victor did not have the time to read it. Sophie gets an invitation to Claire and Lorenzo's wedding and decides to leave Victor. At the wedding she meets Patricia, Charlie's girlfriend who had not been in his life for a year. Sophie understands she has nowhere to go and runs from the wedding, with Charlie behind her. Charlie catches up and explains this is not his girlfriend but his cousin who is also Patricia.

Well happy ending as you can imagine after this with Tailor Swift's song "Love Story" playing in the background.