I attended a talk by Ashhar Farhan on “Boot Strapping Strategies for Early Stage Companies” organized by TiE Chennai. If the flier indicated web2.0 anywhere I would have just skipped it. Fortunately it didn’t and I am glad I attended it and got some valuable authentic tips. I was tempted to blog it immediately after attending it – then I thought I will contemplate on it and blog about it over the weekend.
The tips go like this:
1.Keep the burn low, be quick and dirty to hit revenue as soon as possible.
2.Give VC, angels a miss. You will not need the Word and MS Project. Let the lean mean minimalism be the guiding you every step. More importantly VC, Angels tend to distract the focus with there( rather conventional) world view.
3.Then you can work off your laptop. With just mail, IM and friends.
4.Hire a well connected web server – don’t go for the limited web space. Bcoz this is your on the fly office, biz everything period.
5.Work on your idea. No big spec’ing, design discussions and such. Just cut cut cut and see what remains.
6.Signup( not hire!) a team – Just a coder, a tech2market translator kind of person, a CEO( referred as sweeper who will do the paper work, regulatory work, PR work etc) It is good idea to sign up a women in the team. Startup work tends to get too male thing – not good. More importantly time management is regularized – no odd hours and wasted productivity, etc.
7.Work with global partners, address global customers. One follows the other I guess.
8.Focus, focus, focus, and focus, focus, focus. Then revenue focus.
9.No customer support – customer support means there is something wrong with the system/software/interface – fix it.
10.Big punch of them all: BUILD TO KEEP: build something that is worthwhile for you rather than some gig to make some quick cash.
The most counter intuitive suggestion was to conduct meetings in a Cafe – it is a limited time, on public meeting – guarantees topic focus and decency 🙂
Ashhar illustrated these citing the wikipedia, del.icou.us and flickr. I would have been glad if he mentioned his experience with his startups. Yet not mentioning his businesses was a very refreshing style.
I was impressed by the indescribable sincerity in what he was saying. The fact that he is a avid radio builder to some extent explains it: Radio builders do quick and dirty things elegantly and get spectacular results – all very frugally!
In the networking session, I met some interesting, cool people. I was talking about my paper File Tracking system, and how it can be produced using craftsmen and such. Many were very excited to hear about it. I am planning to invite them to the BarCampChennai to see it in action.