Why Startups should invest in Good Hardwares for the Team

According to Gartner, global IT spending is poised to hit $3.8 trillion by 2014. But how much of it should come from your startup? Big corporate giants have massive IT budgets that help them upgrade and keep up with the latest cutting-edge technology that gives the company a competitive edge and enhances productivity. Startups, sadly enough, often have very little or nothing in terms of an IT budget.

Even so, a new startup still in the conceptual stage has to come up with a business plan that clearly maps out how much the company can afford to spend on hardware to be used as IT infrastructure and to keep employees connected.

In terms of the company’s IT infrastructure, make sure to come up with a system and components that are scalable and will not cause disruptions through down time. Getting a high-end wi-fi router may be a lot more affordable in the end than buying a cheap one that keeps dropping the uplink to your ISP and slows down you work.

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Stuck in a rut? 5 tips to get your first freelancing gig

Many people tend to think that freelancing is easy-peasy, that they will just fling their resignation letter into their boss’ faces one day with a dramatic monologue to accompany it and ride off into the sunset where the land of milk and honey awaits.

Reality couldn’t be more different. Freelancing is a tough career to break into and quitting your job to freelance full-time is a surefire way to the poorhouse. The smart way to begin working as a freelancer is to quietly stick to your day job and begin on the side. Usually it takes a while before you can earn enough money to dramatically resign from your day job.

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How to be a Good Parent, for the Lesser Mortal Startup Entrepreneurs

Yes, for those Startup Entrepreneurs, who cannot fly around the world with their kids, who cannot hire nannies at lavish hotels, and for those who do not have superhero, super-dad, super-mom tricks up their sleeves.

Being a Startup Founder and a parent; while seemingly dissimilar, both require a great deal of time, skill and dedication in order to be successful. It may sound like a daunting task, but is possible to run your startup while still maintaining a good relationship with your children.

Founding a startup can be an exciting and rewarding endeavor, but it is also a time consuming process. In order to accomplish your goals while still maintaining a healthy home life, it is important to manage your time wisely. It is easy to get caught up in the stress and excitement of your startup and neglect your family. By the same token, the commotion of a busy family life can cause you to neglect your startup. A healthy balance between work and family is absolutely necessary to running a successful startup while still being a good parent to your children.

Many have written and advocated on effective time management and routines to help you be a super-parent and a hustling Startup Founder. As a Startup Founder, you have to find your ‘style’ of time management and (un)routine to be omni-present for your startup and your family.

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LxiDD is hiring Web Developers

I hope, some day I can do a sane article about LxiDD but for now, let’s be content with the fact that this is my latest work. I started LxiDD this January (2013) and we ‘released’ our first version in February.

By March, we got our first three customers and we sorta became ramen profitable by April. We’re hard at work to have a gradual curve to our revenue trajectory and we’re very confident that by end of this year, 2013, LxiDD will be a profitable company.

We have a very small and nimble team, working for the good of our ever growing network of designers and developers.

LxiDD is a curated network of the best indie designers, developers, and creatives on the web, with exclusive access to top shelf clients looking for the best talent.

We’re Hiring

We’re looking for good web developers with 2+ years of professional web development experience. Developers willing to experiment, not afraid to make mistakes and learn from it. Developers who have in-depth experience with one or more of the following programming languages – Python, Ruby, Clojure, Scala, etc.

Of course, we are looking for developers who do not need to be ‘managed’ or hand-hold on what needs to be done, not afraid to voice their concerns with the team, willing to give advice when needed and listen to suggestions for the right cause.

What Startups can learn from Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3

Yes, as expected Iron Man 3 was an awesome movie. The movie opens as a narrative by Tony Stark to Dr. Bruce Banner, a story that started way before Tony Stark became Iron Man. I won’t be talking about the movie, I’ll let you enjoy that at a theatre near you.

So, after the Avengers event in New York, Tony became obsessive and began prototyping lots of Iron Man suits. He moves on to another model and never have ‘the one’ perfect Iron Man suit.

Through-out the movie, you’ll see that lots of Iron Man suits were used, almost all disposable and another one always ready. None of the suits were the perfect one. Even his latest best, the Mark 42 had to be done away with, serving its purpose in the finale fight.

As a Startup Entrepreneur, be ready to build lots of prototypes, never get stuck to a single idea, move on to the next until you can get better and better with your product. Be obsess about your product, build it, re-build it, break it and then build it again. Once you have something, bring them to the battle to fight – open them to public in the real world.

Enjoy the Movie.

Olacabs, a bad User Experience

Ola

India is on a 48-hour stand-still with the ‘India Bandh’ called by the All Trade Union. They are protesting against privatization, outsourcing, violation of labor laws, price rise and several other burning issues of the country, trade unions of banking, insurance, public sector undertakings, transporters, and unorganized sectors.

Nope, I’m not going to write about the India Bandh (general strike) but more of a personal experience with Olacabs – an Indian Startup with over $8M in Series-A fund.

Ola's Lies

With our new office setup in Indiranagar, Bangalore, every day is an excitement being in the office – working, playing, and being with the team. Yesterday, with the Bandh announced, I was looking for alternatives to my usual travel medium, the Auto rickshaw aka the Tuk-Tuk.

As luck would have it, Twitter was abuzz with tweets that Olacabs will take special measures to have their cabs available to help the general public, with an added advantage of slashing their fares to that of the auto-rickshaw. All the problems solved! Moreover, I’ve been looking forward to trying their iOS app, use it and write a nice review about them (what an irony). I was hoping that Olacabs will be the Uber of India.

Today Morning, with all hopes and enthusiasm, I got up and was ready for office. I even confirmed a candidate for an Interview for one of our job openings. I fired up the Ola App, and ‘booked’ a cab. Olacabs confirmed by Booking and was assigned a ‘CRN’ Number – 1765782 and the cab will pick me at 10 am.

Got dressed, bags shouldered but by 10:10 am, with no sign of Olacabs, I called up their Customer Support. The voice on the other end wailed “Ola” multiple times and I even got to know that Ola means ‘Hello’ in Spanish. A ‘Subhalakshmi’ picked up the phone after about 3 minutes and she was pretty blunt, wasn’t really listening to me or she could not understand what I was asking. I had to ask her if she really speaks English. I asked for something and she blurted out something else. Of course, I got the fact that my cab was canceled and they were ‘no longer servicing in my area.’

Well, looks like Olacabs did something without proper planning and their PR Stunt is just that – a PR Stunt. Yes, I’ll try them again, give them another chance but today was such a bad User Experience that I won’t expect much from them. They are just another service company with a Spanish name and like every other taxi company, will not try to provide a good user experience and differentiate from the lot.

UPDATES

  • Aug 30, 2013: Uber launches in India.

Startup Baba

Startup Baba is simple newsletter where we highlight some of the interesting, crazy and fun stories from the world of startup and entrepreneurship. Every newsletter consists of about five curated links and a short excerpt about the stories. We also try to include links to tools and utilities which will be useful for design and development of your product.

We totally understand about the annoyances of spam emails and newsletters. We will not send more than two newsletters in a week. You can unsubscribe very promptly and instantly. We will not send you anything not related to building a startup, a business and being an entrepreneur.

So, if you think it’s OK for another addition to your Startup resources, go ahead and sign-up for the newsletter from Startup Baba.

A quick chat about “In50Hrs” with Vijay Anand

Many in the Indian Startup scene knows Vijay Anand or have heard of him. Vijay Anand run The Startup Centre and is very involved with Startups and Entrepreneurs in India.

I recently had the opportunity to meet him in person when he brought In50Hrs to Bangalore for the first time. In50hrs is The Idea-To-Prototype Event. Entrepreneurs, Developers, and Product Designers come together to work on audacious ideas and build working prototypes (MVP) over a Weekend.

Vijay’s been organizing In50Hrs in Chennai for quite a while and he is taking his idea to other cities in India – Delhi, Pune, and Bangalore. I asked him a few quick questions and he has some thoughtful answers, which I’m sure will be useful to budding entrepreneurs and startups in India.

In50Hrs

Q. Your name is synonymous with the Startup Scene in India. How did you start and how deep do you want to go in?

It started off by having a Startup in Canada (which was finding its exit), coming to India realizing that the ecosystem was still very nascent and with a long list of things to be done, meeting folks here, and talking to them about it. Realized nobody else was going to do anything, and if you care, you are going to have to spearhead change. Better that, than a cribbing NRI right? :)

Q. Why did you start In50Hrs? Why not spearhead the existing StartupWeekend in India under your leadership? How are you differentiating In50Hrs from other initiatives?

When we came up with the concept of wanting to build a platform for folks to come together and build prototypes of Ideas, SW was the first on the list. Unfortunately at that time (perhaps still) the pricing is rather high – for folks to participate and its a complicated structure with everything being managed from the US. We would have opted for it, if it was like a Barcamp format where you could take and run with it, and adapt a bit, rather being too restrictive by rules and a brand.

The difference between a Barcamp Model vs a TEDx Model I suppose. But at the end of the day, we are in a way solving similar problems, and I’d recommend either platform for folks looking to build a prototype over a weekend.

India has its own set of challenges in the early ecosystem and anything that is not built from the ground up to solve the problem accordingly is a forced-fit. I didn’t want to end up with that dilemma.

Q. What is your immediate expectation from In50Hrs and what are your long-term goals?

The short term expectation is for participants to be able to differentiate between a hack and a prototype. We have been constantly asking the question to ourselves as to how do we get folks to leverage this platform to be a starting point towards a venture – so the long term goal would be to enable more and more of the participating teams to launch products and startups.

Q. Do the role of In50Hrs end within those 50 hours or do you want to follow-up with them and guide them forward? If you follow-up, how many such MVPs have become actual Startups? Do you have a number?

Not at all. So that’s one reason why having an event where we can tweak every aspect of it makes sense because we can also manage how to do the hand-off and the follow-up support. We look at the stages of a tech startup as Idea to Prototype; Prototype to Product; and Product to Startup. As part of The Startup Centre we run a six-month hands-on program called The Resident Program which would be a logical progression for teams that want further support.

We have spotted a bit over 20+ startups emerge out of In50hrs.

Q. Do you judge the ideas or do you want In50Hrs to be a free-flowing event? (I see that there were no ratings or votes on the final day.)

One of the briefs we give the Jury is not to Judge the ideas, but evaluate the teams on two aspects – is the prototype a good enough representation of the idea and the problem that is being solved and secondly, what are the next steps for the teams.

We made a conscious effort not to do winners because that gives them closure, and the code dies in their laptops and never ships – let alone take the next steps. The event has been engineered from the ground up to try to build startups, not a competition platform.

Q. Anything important that I missed, that you want to add?

Since we launched to multiple cities, the support that we have been receiving has been phenomenal. Its an amazing experience seeing the startup ecosystem from a national perspective and its interesting to see how each of these hubs is all evolving with a personality of their own. Whether it be an In50hrs event or Startup Weekend, the fact remains that an entrepreneur no longer has an excuse to be sitting on an “Idea”.