Nothing great

19 Dec
2014

Nothing great was achieved without getting into the details

Nothing great was achieved by playing safe

Nothing great was achieved by postponing decisions

Nothing great was achieved by saying no just because that’s how it’s done

Nothing great was achieved by not willing to have a conversation

Nothing great was achieved without the courage to apologize

Nothing great was achieved by looking into the past

Nothing great was achieved without an irrational urge to win

The above are not options.
They are “if and only if” statements towards success.

Should we do this?

17 Dec
2014

This isn’t an exciting question when you are starting up.

Instead,
How can we do this along with what we are doing?
Why shouldn’t we do this?

When starting new, it’s foolish to assume that the path you are on is the path to success. The DNA should be to
pick up multiple paths,
measure performance,
eliminate (or select) and
improve.
Repeat and never stop

Analysis

16 Dec
2014

People spend a fair amount of time analyzing before they start something. Because of two reasons
1. They are preparing themselves for the execution.
2. They are procrastinating the execution

It’s amazing how many times people think they are doing the first when they are actually doing the second.

It’s even more amazing how many times it happens consciously!

No – cant be done

5 Dec
2014

No – the product can’t be launched now

No – the process doesnt allow it

No – you cannot get to do this

No – it cant be done

As you scale, you get to hear this a lot more – from within the company.

Whenever you make this statement, complete the following – “No, it cant be done, because the customer _________”

If you cant complete the statement, change your statement to a yes.

Even if it pains you and the company.

I am grateful to hear these words a lot of times.

But I think – what if I wasn’t there.
At that moment.
For that cause.

Would inspiration have missed the other person?
Or would he have sought it from someone or something else – nonetheless?

Meet new people
Attend talks
Watch TED
Read
Surround yourself with smart hardworking people
Build your mafia

Don’t leave inspiration to chance.

Months back I read a fascinating article on sales strategies. The most intriguing insight from the author, a seasoned sales guy and now a trainer, was
“Make your pitch and then remain silent. Do not speak. It’s a game – where the one who speaks first loses”

I have tried this in multiple interactions and it’s surprisingly works really well.

The urge to speak is almost always the urge to explain
And the urge to explain is almost always an excuse or justification.

Structure

25 Nov
2014

Someone asked me last evening – is there a market for vertical classified websites.
There is a framework that can help, I answered.
A matrix of scale of industry versus frequency of need.

The deals industry has a framework too – merchant discount versus price customer has to pay to avail discount

As an ex-consultant, the operating word for us was structure. Whatever is it that you are trying to solve – put a structure on it. As simple as it may be.

Quadrants create that structure. Force you to visualize the problem into 4 distinct buckets – each with its own characteristic.

And that works because the world isn’t one size fits all anymore.
It never was!

I drop Vidur to school everyday.
The minute he enters and his bag is handed over to the teacher, I have to call his name out for him to respond
“Vidur, have a nice day”

Without looking back, he echoes the statement.
And goes in.

He meets the same people everyday
Goes to the same place everyday
Wears the same clothes everyday
Everyday is just like everyday

And yet
He enters with an enthusiasm that I can’t explain
He learns things he didn’t expect to
Or things he didn’t even know existed
He spends hours trying to make that house of books and goes at it again, goes at it again
And yet knows when he needs to move on

True entrepreneurs behave like kids
They are driven by a force most others can’t understand
And what’s seems a routine to others is actually not just everyday!

They say that I can move the mountains
And send them crashing into the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
with faith like a child
– Jars of Clay

Being unique

18 Nov
2014

I am not blessed with super normal skills
No super high intelligence
No family wealth
I am average, at best

And I recognized this very early in life. And figured that the way to outperform others is to make myself unique
Not the best
Unique

Do several things at the same time
At a pace that others can’t match
Taking risks that others are scared to take
Reacting to failure as if it was always part of the plan
Not caring what the world thinks of me or my plans

If you are the best – someday someone else will be
If you are unique – you are the only one

I chose to be unique
As against being the best
I am the only Ankur Warikoo in the world

Sitting
burns the least amount of calories
requires virtually no effort
is easy to do
everyone can do it
can happen anywhere anytime
is the most obvious response when you are tired

And yet – we have moved forward as a species because we chose not to just sit.

Don’t sit on your decisions.
The most dangerous people you will meet in your life are those who wish to sit and change nothing.

I have always wondered – how is it that people spend so much time shopping for 1 product? Wandering from shop to shop – bargaining – sampling – trying.
Simple answer is likely – they don’t know what they want
20% time spent on the shopping specs
80% time spent on trying to find the best – the best price, the best product, the best design, the best specs!

Turn the ratios
And stop when you first find what you wanted

Now apply this logic to life…
Co founders
Employees
Business associates
Investors
Marriage!

Trying to better what you wanted – is accepting you didn’t know what you want!

When I can’t deliver on something I create an explanation for it.
As if the explanation is equal to the delivery I was meant to make.
It’s not!

As an entrepreneur my only job in the world is to create an environment as free of excuses as possible. All the tools, the right product, the right compensation, the right colleagues, the autonomy, the happiness.
Suddenly – there are no excuses to hide behind.

Success doesn’t need excuse as a companion.

I feel is the Gym.
Everyone’s intentions become undeniably obvious within minutes.

Those that perform are the ones unaware that others are looking.

Pretty reflective of what life is all about. Isn’t it!

In the book “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel points to a fascinating question he asks during interviews
“What’s a strong personal belief that very few people in the world agree with you on?”

It’s a brilliant question. One that each one of us should answer for ourself – and in a moment we will know so much more about who we are.

This weekend to went to see the Taj Mahal. I have seen it before – but each time I see it I am in awe of the audacity of the dream that translated into this structure. The scale and magnitude of the belief.

And during a conversation I realized – the greatest things in the world were driven by individuals with a belief that no one believed in.

Find that belief
To find out what drives you

Ankur warikoo believes that he should do multiple things at the same time because he is blessed with the ability to manage them. Doing one thing at a time is such a waste of his life.

How can I help you?

10 Nov
2014

Whenever you step into a conversation with someone – prepare the answer for this question.

You don’t want to not know what to ask!
It’s not always that you get asked this.

Always know what you need
To get things done

Met someone interesting yesterday. And during the conversation I realized – I hate secrecy and I hate holding back information. It creates an artificial sense of power.

The minute I open up all the information – I am exposing myself.
I am ahead not because I know something you don’t.
I am ahead because I have had to add more value than you have. I have had to work harder.

And that’s when an organization truly moves forward.

Question on Quora

Before achieving anything (like a job, relationship, projects, etc.) I am too excited about it. I will give it 100%, but after getting it, I lose interest in it. What should I do?

 

You are thinking that everything just has 1 start and 1 stop.

What if everything had multiple starts and NO stop!

Break down the “problem” into smaller pieces – each of which requiring a different effort, a different approach and a different mindset.
For instance, in a relationship – there is
Getting to know about her childhood
Her Family
Her interests
The first movie
The first dinner
The first kiss
How does she react to Roadies
Does she like ice cream
Whats scares her the most
What makes her most happy
etc etc etc

And then each item becomes a project – a task that is as exciting as was the previous one.

The follow-on question then is – how do you maintain the excitement when the activiting is repeating itself. How can the 30th dinner be as exciting as the 1st one.
Innovate! Make that a project too. Think of a new format – a new cuisine – a new venue – a new Groupon deal :)

When I look back at my life – I realize that the things I lost interest in were the things I thought I would continue doing for the rest of my life without the ability to break them down into exciting projects.

Find a start a day!

What are you selling?

31 Oct
2014

Are you selling what you have made?

Or have you made what you should be selling?

Always the easiest question to answer…

…the hardest to ask.

 

3 things happened, to converge to this post

Quora

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zero to One isnt a life story. In true Peter Thiel Style – its prescriptive in portions and preachy in part. I was hoping to know about him as an individual than know about his views as an authority on technology.

Hard Thing About Hard Things – was a true life journey. It could very well have been Ben’s autobiography (and it is indeed). He just spoke about what he did. What he felt. What he spoke.

But the beauty was how his life story seemed relevant to me (and am sure to several million others). Even though his life journey is unique – something only 1 in millions would experience.

Thats the power of a personal story.

What I did through my Quora posts – is share my life.

What I do when I speak to folks in colleges, or on the phone – is share my experiences.

Not offer advise, definitely not try to offer mentorship or guidance. And the response I receive is humbling to say the least. Numerous people have written – sharing how it motivated them, drove them to think, to question and eventually to act! The email above being a perfect case in example

Never shy away from sharing your story.

Its your story – but it helps people drafts theirs

In ways that you cannot control or even imagine

 

And here is a story I can hear over and over and over again… (Episode 1 and Episode 2)

 

 

Faith like a child

19 Sep
2014

Intelligence isn’t
Hard work isn’t too
Resilience doesn’t always
Perseverance is almost natural or not

But guess what’s contagious….

Passion!
Belief!
Faith!

And if used with the right words, for the right cause in front of the right people
It can do the unthinkable

They say that I can move the mountains
And send them crashing to the sea
They say that I can walk on water
If I would follow and believe
With faith like a child

– Jars of Clay

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