Buying respect

3 Jan

If you are a business or P&L owner, here is a piece of advice you will thank me for

When speaking to your vendors, employees, ex-employees, agencies and everyone else who you will owe money – you should be the worst negotiator on earth. Squeeze them off the last penny they can afford to give you

But once agreed upon, always pay an hour earlier than you promised.

When you pay people their money on time, every single time, you buy respect that this money can never buy.

Ready to die

31 Dec

The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s two things: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really that simple, right?

– Will Smith, in an absolutely absorbing interview

Replace treadmill with working hard
Replace Will Smith with my name

I cannot be out-worked.

It doesn’t matter whether you are being honest or not in the conversation.
To be honest is not a choice you make
It’s the choice of the recipient.
Whether he wishes to listen
Whether he wishes to be honest.
With himself

Nescafé has a beautiful new ad featuring a stand up comedian with a stutter (no – it’s not real, it’s acted out).

While there can be a post on how brands are becoming bold with their approach, the ad struck a different chord

Here is a comedian who is selling his stutter as a hook. His promise is “I am a comedian. But a lot others are. I am a comedian with a stutter. That’s me”

Tomorrow if he works on his stutter and overcomes it – will he be breaking his promise?

Adnan Sami didn’t promise to be the fattest guy playing a piano. He promised to be the fastest guy.
And that worked out just fine when he overcame his obesity.

Everyday we make promises.
To be the nicest manager.
To be the most aggressive salesperson.
To work long hours.
To always be there no matter what.
To work out from now on.
To eat right.

Will we always be able to deliver on the promise. Are we promising on our strengths or our weaknesses?

Watched The Dark Knight again. For the 7th time. Or maybe 8th. I don’t remember.

The trailer, when it first came out, blew me away. The movie matched every possible hype around. However, with more views I noticed flaws. In the story, the characters, the sequences.
Despite that, it remains one of my all time favorites. Because the experience delivered, even with the flaws, is way better than most other movies I see.

Movies are such. Only some of them are really good. Those awe you with their trailers. Make you fall in love with them when you see them. They are designed as an experience.
But over time you realize they are not all that perfect. They have their flaws. The story breaks down at places. The characters are weak at some instances.
And yet you chose to ignore these issues. Because they are better than most others.

There is something else that works like movies

If you spend enough time – everything will have flaws.
But that may not be the best use of your time.

Nothing great

19 Dec

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

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

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
Repeat and never stop


16 Dec

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

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
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.


25 Nov

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

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

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

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
Business associates

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

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