Simply Living Hardly ThinkingNot Always
BAL = Back at Ask Laila
OK, so that sums it up. Starting another inning at AskLaila. It was fun creating this brand long time back and I still feel that there is a lot more we can do with this. Over the years, we have done few things good, few things bad and few things outright ugly. The idea is to increase the percentage of good things. I can’t spell out the entire agenda here, but certainly will be happy to listen to your inputs. Coffee is on me if you have any feedback on what we can do better.
And as part of this, I am looking at rebuilding the team. So if you are passionate about the internet and startup scene, just ping me. Looking at building a short and sweet team. Ooops, we can’t call ourselves startup after 7 years. So we call ourselves a restartup ( Thanks Rahul for coining this word ).
A lot more things coming up from Asklaila soon….. Stay tuned.
Words fail me today as I write this. Poetic expressions and language are not enough to express the flow of emotions and feelings. But let me try to write in as simple words as possible.
It all started 5-6 months back. One of my friends, Akhila, was in a Ayurvedic place getting treated for some pain and she suggested that why don’t we do something at Karunashraya. And then the world conspired to make it happen. A chance meeting with Bharat led to me attending Diwali Celebrations at Karunashraya and then we discussed this idea of doing a fund raiser. And from no where I got connected with the fabulous team whose commitment levels were amazing ( no more awesome ).
And I realized very soon that this was a very different organization and the cause they work for is so noble that even if we contribute to it in any possible way, we will be the privileged party. But then we had never done a ticketed show. We at BBG take pride in being totaly non commercial. We love music and love spreading happiness via it, that is the reason why we do it, nothing more, nothing less. But then when I put across the idea to do a fundraiser I had support from the BBG gang. Shalini and Falguni as always were eager to make it happen. And then started discussions with artists. Shammas was one of the first one I talked to and he as always was enthusiastic not only to sing but also help in organizing. Nanu, Mathangi, Kumaran, Vikram, Malvika, Chitra, Kunal, all of them did not bat an eyelid before confirming to donating their talent for the cause. It was so nice to see these accomplished artists were so excited about the cause. I am so touched by their support and makes me feel proud to have them in BBG fold.
As the show preparation started, the tension was clear on my face. I guess everybody around saw it. And so many people offered to help. Anu, Ekta, Mahantesh and Chetan to name a few of them. The team at Indian Cancer Society was always supportive. Ritesh from Mumbai penned down some great lines for me to host the show. Some awesome music lovers came over from different parts of the country to just attend the show. Lata from Mumbai, Rajani from Hyderabad and Kalesh from Chennai to mention a few of them. Vinod and Praveen made sure that the memories of this show will linger on with their insightfull photography.
And then as the music unfolded on the stage, my thoughts were wandering thinking of patients who have only few months of life left. We sometime hold life so tightly that we almost suffocate it. May be we could lead a life holding it gently. Letting it loose sometimes and holding back in another moment. May be we could live every moment. Just like a cruiser biker who enjoys the travel more than destination.
This was our first attempt at doing a fund raiser. We might have made mistakes and we thank you for being gracious enough to forgive us for them. All we promise is that we will continue to work hard, we will continue to be 100% non commercial, we will continue to spread happiness via music. BBG has given lot of us an opportunity to find a purpose in life.
This is not a post about wrestling, this is not a post about self defense either. This is story of a kid. I don’t know his name. I don’t even remember his face clearly as it was covered with a cloth. But the interaction I had with him is a life time memory. Something which will be engraved in my memory all my life. Something which will inspire me when I am down. Something which will remind me how life blossoms in the face of adversity.
So here I was on a stage with probably 30-40 kids who were suffering from cancer were and were in different stages. We at BBG take pride at organizing events which bring happiness to various people and this was our effort to bring smiles to kids via music.
So here comes a kid, who is probably 6-8 years old, hell bent on making it to top of my head. And as I pick him up, he quickly makes it to top of my shoulders, ready to play Tabla on my head. And the dancing on the stage continues. So my 40 years of lack of exercise shows on my face. I am a bit tired, requesting him to get down, but this guy is a tough nut to crack. He plainly refuses. Oh boy, how do I get him down. I am getting tired. Tried all forms of persuasion and may be mild force. The only thing I could get him to do was, got him down from the shoulders and in my hands and this is the position where he got a wrestler style leg scissors on my legs. This was going from bad to worse. Holding him in my hands and he had a nice grip on my legs. Now what do I do. Short of options, I asked all the other kids around for help.
And they figured out the most innovative way to help me. Yes, they tickled. Ya nothing else, they tickled the kid. And his grip on me became softer. And these memories will linger on and on and on…..
I had written this in 2006 before taking plunge into the startup world. Somehow that document came up again while searching some stuff. Do let me know if they still make sense to you.
- Maintain strict confidentiality about salaries, stocks, work we do, investors, customers
- Be a business owner, not just an employee
- We will have epsilon useless meetings. All meetings start with an agenda and end with identification of action items
- If you find something wrong, fix it, don’t crib
- All deadlines are strict, if you are going to miss them, communicate in advance
- Focus on customers, customers and customers
- Unit test the code
- Get code reviews done
- Think destructively
- Put yourself in the customer’s shoes of all sizes
As always, music first.
So hope you get the idea. The tryst for a good programmer is much more difficult compared to looking for a bridegrrom. Look marriage is an old institution. People have figured out over the years what to look for and what to stay away from.
But startups, still a nascent concept. What is takes to make it big is still undefined. But let me take a shot at what I am looking at and what is important.
- Passion drives you and I am not talking about the bike passion. You are passionate about something. Not necessarily programming but you are used to the idea of being irrational and follow things which may or may not have an end.
- You should bleed GOOD code. No management BS but yes. If you are the kind of guy who writes code in mind as I talk features, if you have been coding away to glory in your college days, if your dreams consist of debugging, you are on.
- If you can laugh with a team member on their bad jokes, if you don’t mind extra coffee just because another guy in the team wants one, if you come to office to have fun not just work, talk to us.
- If you are lost it is OK. But if you are lost and you think you are not, it is a big issue. So a realistic understanding of yourself is essential. BTW this ensures you continue to evolve and learn.
Perks of the Job
- Can’t pay you much. Infact probably zero is what you end up with.
- You build something which can have a global impact.
- You build something which is good for earth and mankind ( thoda zyada phenk diya kya )
- You work with amazingly smart people ( apni baat kar raha hoon yaar, how modest is that )
So if you want to have a rocking ride, do let me know. And no hiring email ids here. If you are desperate enough, you will figure out. Please respond WITHOUT your resume and feel free to share it with others.
बेसबब लिखता हूँ मैं
ज़िन्दगी की चाल को
कौन समझा है यहाँ
कोई आता है
कोई जाता है
कुछ निशान छोड़ कर
कोई पहचान छोड़ कर
एक उजड़ी हुई बस्ती मैं
एक टूटा हुआ मकान छोड़ कर
ना आने का कोई सबब तेरा
ना जाने का कोई सबब है
बेसबब लिखता हूँ मैं
कभी हैं कदम बहुत हलके
कभी बोझ हैं बलाओं से
कभी रात कटती है इक पल मैं
कभी ख़त्म न हो क़यामत तक
नहीं जानता सहर का पता
नहीं जानता वफ़ा का घर
बढे जाते हैं कदम ये
किसी ओर किसी कारण से
और बढे जाते हैं कभी कहीं भी नहीं
बोझिल से और बेसबब
बेसबब लिखता हूँ मैं
ज़िन्दगी है नाव सी
कोई सागर मैं जो है गिर गयी
न कोई रास्ता न साहिल कोई
न है माझी और न पतवार ही
ये जो लहरें उस को छू रहीं
वो ही उठा रहीं और डुबा रहीं
न पता है मुझे अंजाम का
न पता है सुबहो-शाम का
कहीं पहुंचा तो वो भी बेसबब
और डूबा तो वो भी बेसबब
बेसबब लिखता हूँ मैं
How about compressing our netas. The idea is simple. We take few letters from their first name and few from middle and few more from last and we put it together to make something funny. Please use hashtag #NetaDotZip to express your creatives. Here are few examples to explain you what I mean.
Narendra Modi = NaMo #NetaDotZip
Manmohan Singh = MaSi #NetaDotZip
Kapil Sibal = KaSi #NetaDotZip
SushilKumar Shinde = SuShi #NetaDotZip
Harish Rawat = HaRa #NetaDotZip
Jairam Ramesh = JaRa #NetaDotZip
Kamal Nath = KaNa #NetaDotZip
So bring it on guys…….
इस रास्ते पे चले आये
बहुत दूर तक बिना सोचे
या शायद कुछ सोचा होगा
पर याद नहीं क्या था
कोई सैलाब आया होगा
कोई आंधी भी आई थी शायद
कुछ उड़ा के लिए गयी
और कुछ बहा के
पर कुछ तो बच ही गया
थोडा सहमा हुआ थोडा टूटा हुआ
हिम्मत कर के मेरी ओट मैं
खुद को छिपाए हुआ
पर जो रह गया
वो ज़रूरी था
जो बह गया
ख्वाब चाहें उजाड़ गए हों
नसीब चाहें बिगड़ गए हों
हो अँधेरा चाहें हर ओर मेरे
हो निराशा चाहें मुझ को घेरे
जो नहीं गया वो मेरा विश्वास
जो नहीं गया वो मेरा जूनून
और न ही जाएगा वो
किसी आंधी से डर के या कोई सैलाब से
कह दो जा के इन तूफानों से इन हवाओं से
टूटी किश्ती को भी किनारे लगाने का हुनर हम को आता है
टूटी किश्ती को भी किनारे लगाने का हुनर हम को आता है
So all of you already know that I am out of ZhaapNow now, terminated without reason in the worst possible way from a company you built with blood and sweat. But life is about moving on so here is my attempt.
It changed my life, all of a sudden and in lot of ways. Some expected and some not.
The first change was just in terms of dressing up. I have been known for lack of it, not dress, but sense of dressing. I get gaalis from my sisters and lot of friends for it. But for me the default option was company t-shirt and now I have to decide. Infact this is one of the biggest reason why I want to start another company. Tough to learn all these fundas at this age.
The second thing is that every morning my son asks me what time I will go to office. I guess kids do get used to the fact that father has to go to office everyday and when it changes they are wondering what happened.
Let me skip 3-10 and get started with the resurrection plan.
So here goes my six-pack….
So the first thing on agenda is to figure out what we can do to reduce suicides in colleges. In my student life I have seen few of my friends fall prey to suicide and it is tough to do last rites of your friends in early twenties when you might as well be partying somewhere with them. We have been working on this issue for sometime with Umesh and Anita but I was not able to pursue it due to lack of time.
The plan is to write inspirational stories of people who have attempted suicide and rebuilt their life from that point. I am looking for people who have been through this and are ready to discuss. I am also looking for publishers. If anyone of you have connections here, do let me know. Read more about this here.
BBG has been doing great and we will continue to spread happiness via music. I will continue to travel around the country and do non commercial programs for various causes. Our next show in Mumbai is for cancer patients in Tata Hospital. We will focus on being happiness providers not money raisers. We will have innovative formats and lot more talent will get associated with us all over the world.
Myself and Shammas have been working on making a music album called Kaash. He has beautifully composed and sung some of the poems I have written over the years. The album will also feature a song I composed as a kid. The overall theme of the album will be a little bit melancholy songs set in the music of 40s and 50s. We might shoot videos also but current focus is on getting the audio right.
I have been RJing with Radiowalla for sometime and my show Nagme Hain Kisse Hain will continue. I am loving this experience of connecting people via music and will try to to expand on this in future. From a Social RJ to real one, the experience has been enriching.
Over the years, I have realized that there are lot of companies need senior talent to guide them in various areas and it is not possible for them to always get that as it costs lot of money. So here goes my venture RentACXO to precisely solve that problem. Talk to people who know and who have been there done that. No crap, real stuff. I am already working with a great product company SenseForth and few more things are in the pipeline.
And just a clarification on this, I am not open to pick any paid consultancy in online grocery space as this will be ethically incorrect. If you want to chat up and discuss without asking any inside details of ZhaapNow, you are most welcome.
And last but not the least, my next startup is also brewing up. As they say, khaali dimag is shaitan ka ghar. The monsters are playing ping pong in my mind and something interesting will come up soon. And besides that I am fed up of choosing a t-shirt every morning. When you run a company, it is so easy to decide.
Few contours of my startup which are sure
1. This will be a global startup. Have done lot of stuff in Indian space, time to expand horizons.
2. This will be more techie in nature. Have setup offline infra few times in life but will try to mostly avoid it this time. This also enables more global approach.
And to sum it up in Sahir Ludhiyanwi’s famous words from movie Pyasa.
“UbhreNge ek baar abhi dil ke walwale,
Maana ki dab gaye haiN gham-e-zindagii se ham”
And all is well that ends in music