What is a Startup?

Posted: July 15, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Startups are the talk of the town. The buzz around is about working in a Startup or new startups emerging daily from one or the other sectors. It’s not only confined to technology but also in areas like agriculture, social, food and entertainment etc. The word Startup has become fancy and attracts user’s attention when it is talked about. Gone are the days when people used to dream of working in established companies like Microsoft, Google etc. The trend has slowly moved from working for Bill Gates to working towards becoming Bill Gates. That brings us to the question, what exactly is a startup? Is there any way of defining it?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as the act or an instance of setting in operation or motion. The other ways of defining it can be the act or fact of starting something. Paul Graham, in his article says “Startup is a company designed to grow fast. So Startup = Growth”. This is true in a way. Once you start something anew the only thing that can happen is growth, as you would have started from rock bottom! Most of us get the image of “two guys working in a garage”, or the idea of Steve Jobs and Steve Woznaik walking barefoot and shaggy or may be scenes from “The Social Network” where Mark Zuckerberg was showed coding to create an intense social network.

But these cinematic impressions are not always correct. True, they showcase the pioneers of modern technology, but not often do such miracles occur. Before jumping into what is a startup, let us eliminate the misconceptions about startups. Startups are not only technology oriented companies, startups are not small companies. A Startup should not be defined in terms of the age of the company. Hey, you are just 5 months old, you are a startup. Hey you are already 5 years old, we cannot consider you as a startup. No, that is not what a startup is.

Startup is a culture. Startup is an experience Entrepreneurs feel when they are with their team. The culture followed inside the organization defines the type of organization. There is openness among the employees. Everyone is trusted and every discussion happens in consultation with all involved. Everyone works as a team for the betterment of the company. Closed door chambers are out of fashion and even leaders sit among their employees and work. There is chaos, there is disorder, there is confusion but there is a hell of a lot of fun. When the CEO himself shares a joke with you over a cup of coffee, when your mentor shakes a leg with you on Friday parties and throws a beer can at you, you feel at home. You feel you are working for yourself and not for the company. When such a sense of ownership is attained, wonders happen. Startup companies make everyone around them feel like entrepreneurs. Everyone’s views are heard and unanimous decisions are taken. It’s the atmosphere inside the company that stands out from others. People play, people cook, people chat and also work equally hard. When your work becomes your love, then you don’t work, you actually party.

So even if a 5 year old company follows an open and free culture, it is startup and if a 5 month old company has stringent rules and disciplines to be followed, it goes out of the startups list. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Do not become a dull Jack, be the Jack of all trades.

Work hard, Party harder.

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It’s my fate that I married a postman. We are poor and moreover I get to see my husband’s face only in the morning and at night like television soap. You never have time for me. I was happy at my parents place only”, my wife was shouting from behind as I slowly removed my bicycle from the shed. I was listening to her as I hit the seat and meekly observed the dust rise from the seat and particles slowly disappear in the air. I was just like those dust particles that always mingle into the crowd lazily and no one ever cares about their existence. I am not an educated man so I cannot make out any scientific observations with the dust particles. I always relate myself to those dust particles and somehow find solace that there is something out there which is just like me.“Now what are you staring at in the air. At least go early so that you can come back soon”. I heard my wife’s words and then slowly started pedaling the bicycle. As I moved across the small huts, small kids came behind me and held the carrier and ran .

This was my usual morning routine. Meet me, my name is Guru. I am a poor postman whose day starts at six in the morning by listening to wife’s scolding. I live in a small slum area  or settlement area as the rich would call it. The only thing I own is my old bicycle which I do not remember when and from where I had got it. I remember nothing of my childhood as I am an orphan. I do not have any children either and this is one of the many reasons for my wife’s frustration. She does household chores in some of the bigger houses and kills time. She always complains that I don’t have any time for her. When a person can’t spare time for himself and is completely lost in the battle for survival, how can he argue with his wife? I remember in my whole married life, only once I have taken her for a movie. Some other woman had told her that a new movie is being aired in the nearby theatre and its name is Guru. I had a hard time telling her it was not about me and. So I gave up and had taken her there. I had to search in every nook and corner of all my pockets for money and somehow managed to buy two tickets.

As I slowly move along the road on my bicycle towards the post office, I pass by “The Chopras”. It is one of the houses I have always fascinated about. It has a beautiful rose garden in front of it with almost all colors of roses blossoming with fresh smell in the morning. Looking at those roses, I always used to forget the whole world. It was as if the rainbow had fallen from the sky into The Chopras residence. Daily before going to post office I used to stand by the road and keep staring at that garden. I used to dream of seeing the house. I used to see myself in the garden, watering the plants. I used to think how cruel God is. What wrong have I done to him that he is punishing me in this way. Then I used to see myself plucking a fresh red rose and smelling its nectar. Whenever I saw my wife in that garden with a tray of biscuits and a cup of hot coffee, I would come to terms with reality. Men always come to their senses whenever they see their own wife in dreams, don’t they !

Once again I patted my cycle seat and this time without caring for the dust particles I went along. As I pedaled with all my strength, my mind was romancing with that rose garden. How beautiful it is to see such a garden as soon as you wake up in the morning. How refreshing it is to smell those heavenly flowers. How tasty the coffee would be drinking in the middle of those flowers. I always used to get these thoughts. I wanted to see or go inside that once and smell those roses. I never had got that opportunity to deliver any letter to that house. I have heard that these days people send letters through machines, though I have never seen any machine delivering mails. Every morning I used to search from my bag of letters if I had any of them for The Chopras, but in vain. Having spending my life in poverty, I had come to a conclusion that if anything that makes us happy, it’s MONEY. For me, money was everything though I had nothing. I always used to think, if I had a house like The Chopras, I would be the happiest man on the earth and my wife will never ever complain about anything. I used to think that Mr. Chopra is one lucky man and he is the most satisfied person. So my formula was simple, Money=Honey.

Everyone in the post office knew my fascination about that House with the Rose Garden. They used to make fun of me and even sometimes had asked me apply for the watchman’s job in that house. Thinking about that rose garden I climbed up the office stairs. I looked up once and saw the board with newly painted letters, Post Office. I had the mixed feelings of both pride and guilt. I always used to take pride in my work earlier. But having fought against poverty all through my life, I had neither pride nor strength left in me. As I entered the office, I saw a different atmosphere altogether. My colleagues were smiling at me. I had no clue what was going on. Was that just a Good morning gesture or a genuine smile with happiness? I was surprised . Leaving all thoughts behind I hurried inside the office to get my share of letters. I nearly jumped back when I saw a letter. It was addressed to The Chopras. Then I realized why everyone was smiling at me. My friend came behind me and tapped my shoulder. So finally you are going inside your heaven today, he said. I just smiled like a baby and kept reading that address again and again.

I jumped out of the office and rode my bicycle like never before. Just the thought of entering the rose garden had filled my body with so much life and energy that I was competing with the motorcycles on the road.  I am going to enter the rose-garden house. I am going to see the real happy person. Thoughts were pouring in my mind as I approached the house. I slowly opened the gate and peeped in. The aroma of the roses welcomed me. I was still in a state of excitement + shock + happiness . As I walked along the garden, I saw a small tent like house at the end of the garden. I could hear some voices from the tent and thinking it might be the watchman’s house, I went forward. It was a dream come true for me. I went in the garden and stood in between the roses and closed my eyes. I could see the rainbow under my feet and a cloudy sky above. I put my hand on the bush and walked around the roses. Only when my wife didn’t turn up with the coffee did I come back to my senses. I had to deliver the letter. Let me ring the bell, I thought . As I was about to keep my forefinger on the door bell and apply the pressure to ring it, I heard some voices from inside. It was a female voice, probably Mrs.Chopra talking to her husband.

You always think about money. You never have time for me. It is always a status that matters to you. I am bored sitting at home the whole day and doing nothing. You go out early in the morning and come back only at night. I was happy at my parents place itself.

I was totally confused. I just dropped the letter at the doorstep and walked away. Numerous thoughts were fighting in my mind. Was I wrong till now, was my theory of money=honey wrong ? He was supposed to be the happiest person. He has money and a big house with the rose garden. He has everything in his life and his wife is still angry with him. My mind was gaining weight with all new thoughts taking birth and fighting with the older ones. As I walked towards the gate, I passed by the watchman’s house. I could hear another female voice from inside.

I am so happy here. We understand each other perfectly and we are always together. You are really a sweet husband and you always have time for me. Look at the memsaab, she is shouting at him again. I feel pity for her. He never spends time with her , let alone quality time.

The clouds above slowly started drifting and it became clear now. I still had some undelivered mails but my legs pedaled towards my house.

compare(x, x-4);

Posted: May 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

The title sounds weird. The so called engineers would be thinking, Ah, I know this, it’s a function. The non-technical community, don’t be disheartened. Actually to be frank, the title has nothing to do with those definitions of C language functions. It’s just to show off that I have studied something in my under graduation.

Funny, how life changes. 4 years back it was completely a different situation. Then, whenever I used to come out of an exam hall I used to count how many marks I would be losing on. Now it has taken a 180 degree turn. I come out of the exam hall scratching my head, looking at the question paper with a completely clueless expression, start searching nook and corner of the paper for marks which I may probably get. Soon the careless expression turns into a careless laughter. I don’t give a damn. I don’t know when and how this careless attitude enchanted me, but this is observed in everyone around me. When I look around me after I come from exam hall, I see many such laughing faces and these are certainly not the satisfied smiles. I happened to see a comic on net sometime back. It was very funny and equally true. It said, when a guy used to get up and go early during exams in my school days, everyone would be thinking, oh, this guy knows everything. Now when someone gets up and goes early, people will think, ah, this fool doesn’t know anything like me!

Change is the essence of life, a great soul has said. But this is certainly not the change he was referring to. It’s not only during exams, but also in the regular class hours also there’s a completely different situation. I used to carry a separate book for each subject in my Class 11 and 12 and even sometimes used to carry a text book to read during free time. Now I grab one book which is used to hide the novel am carrying to class! I keep the novel between the pages of that notebook and read it during the lecture hours (hope none of my teachers are reading my blog!). I always used to carry two pens to normal classes in my school days, in case one drains. Now relationship with pens blossom the day before exam and end immediately after exams.

Those days, I used to study a week before exams and solve previous year question papers the day before. Now am writing a blog when I have my exams tomorrow.

When I started writing this blog, the only thing I felt proud about was the title as this is the only thing I have learnt in my whole engineering life. As I look back I feel tensed and also surprised because I cannot recollect anything that I have learnt in my engineering life. Just for my satisfaction and a bit of “showing off”, I kept this title!

Indeed, change is the only constant. Regularly it’s changing. At X-4, I was dreaming how life would be at X and now I dream about X+4. But somehow you always know in a corner of your mind that life at X-4 only was better. 

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“From tomorrow onwards we will study seriously”, my roommate said before he slept.

The next day morning I got up at 8:30 after snoozing off the alarm for innumerable times. I got up because the breakfast will be closed by 9:00 in the hostel mess. After freshening up I went to mess and had a nice breakfast, grabbed a cup of tea and started reading newspaper. Enjoying the morning newspaper, especially Bangalore Times, with a nice cup of tea, I totally forgot I had to study.

After flipping through all the pages when I had finally come to sports section, I saw a guy rushing towards bathroom with a bucket in his hand. I looked at my watch. Oh shit, it’s already 9:40. Hot water will not be available now, I thought. I rushed to my room to get my bucket to at least take warm water bath.

 It was almost 10 when I got ready. I sat on my chair and opened my books. I counted the number of pages to be read. I made up my mind that I will finish 20 pages before lunch, again 15 after lunch and some in evening. I planned to finish it off by night. The planning had already murdered 5 minutes of time. Finally I started studying.

After 10 minutes, few of my friends entered the room playing a song with full volume. They started asking questions like how is the subject, how much time will it take to finish and so on. Gradually the discussion moved on to Aamir Khan, Bollywood, Big Bang Theory, new Samsung S3, Temple Run etc. We never realized we were hungry until it was 1:00. Continuing the same discussion we went to mess.

Having a heavy lunch when I entered the room, I realized I had not logged on to Facebook since morning. Surprised. Ashamed. I logged on to Facebook and started clicking on home and scrolling joblessly every minute. I stalked many random profiles(mostly of the opposite sex!) and read and even laughed at some status updates. With a yawn, I logged out and hit the bed. Lazily waking up at 4:45, I went to mess again and had tea. With full determination to study I sat on my chair and started studying. With the shortage of time, I re-planned my schedule for another 5 minutes. This time I continuously read for half an hour.

Then I heard that one of my friend’s parents had come and have brought sweets. The next hour was spent in grabbing, fighting and even running for the sweets. Then it started raining. I went out and stared at the rains as if I was seeing it for the first time. I came back and started studying. It was almost 8:00 and went out to have dinner. When I returned it was time to check Facebook and mail for the second time. At 9:00 the study hour started. Finally I could finish that part which I had planned to complete before lunch. With a sense of satisfaction I got up and played some songs on the laptop. Randomly I scrolled through the playlist and passed the time.

It was almost the time to sleep. When I jumped on the bed and closed my eyes I realized I still had loads to study. I opened my eyes and turned toward my roommate. He was preparing to sleep. I said to him, “From tomorrow onwards we will study seriously”. The Vicious Circle.

Those Days…

Posted: December 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Hey! Look here, The Super Mario game is on Android”, VK exclaimed. KC with his usual hyper excited voice shouted, “Oh super Mario, I loved it man. It was my favourite game, I had completed all the levels in that”. “Even me”, VK and AA chorused. “Even Contra was good, it was thrilling. The way he used to swim in water and shoot was amazing”, AA said. “Oh ya ya it was awesome”, KC agreed. Soon the extinct video games became the epicentre of the discussion. Some of the classics like Duck Hunt, Tanker, Pacman had also arrived in the room. The arrival of computers on everyone’s table has murdered television video games. The fun playing those video games with the joystick in our hand can never be matched. We literally used to move along with the joystick to the left just to make the car on the screen move to left. Everyone in the room were in their own world. They broke open the windows of the present and had gone back in time to a place where they were seeing themselves trying to insert the game cassette into the slot, holding the joystick, playing on the dirt road. I was also in the same room but only physically. My mind was elsewhere thinking to itself,

 

I wish I could rewind  time..

To those days when we used to play in sand and dirt…

To those days when we used to fight for pencils and crayons…

To those days when gaming meant Cricket and Kho-Kho…

To those days when doing school homework was a herculean task…

 

I wish I could rewind time…

To those days when dirty was mud…

To those days when hot drinks were tea and coffee…

To those days when playing cards was playing UNO..

To those days when betting was all for innocent purposes…

 

I wish I could rewind  time… 

To the days when racing was all about cycling…

To the days when chatting was face to face talk…

To the days when the toughest job on earth was to memorise multiplication tables…

To the days when we used to wait till Sunday to watch Shaktimaan..

 

I wish I could rewind  time…

 To those days when going to school in an auto was more than a picnic…

To those days when class teachers were our second parents…

To those days when we never missed school on PE weekdays…

To those days when singing in school choir made us singers…

 

I wish I could rewind  time…

 Those days every day, every minute, every second I wished to grow up quickly…

Now certainly time has changed..

Every day, every minute, every second I wish I could rewind  time…

The ‘Home Coming’

Posted: December 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

The sudden ringing of my cell phone in a room filled with silence sounded like the honking of a train in a tunnel. A sudden rush of adrenalin made my heart beat faster . It was a reminder.

“Keep the bus ticket and phone charger”, the light blue screen of the phone flashed.

I searched for the bus ticket  and found it safely placed in the drawer. The important things kept in a safe place are hard to find as you always tend to forget that safe place only!  

“Bangalore to Bagalkot at 8.30 PM”, I re-read it again and again especially the destination name. I looked at the watch, ”Oh still 5 more hours to go”. When it comes to going back home the running time seems like a tired jogger and you feel minutes turning into hours but once you reach there the vice versa happens. The essence of being at home, savouring home food, walking on the dirt roads where you used to play gully cricket etc are all felt when you live miles away from it. The very thought of going back home brings a smile on your face. After reading the ticket again I placed it in my bag and finished packing.

I walked to the hostel mess, grabbed myself a cup of hot tea and stood outside. The cool breeze, the drizzling rains of November in Bangalore with the warm tea slowly finding its way down my throat, the sound of airplanes above you which makes you think of your home and the euphoria of going back made it a perfect evening. I return back to my room after savouring the tea. The watch tells me there’s still four and half hours more.

“Oh hell, time’s really moving very slow”, I mutter to myself. I switch on my laptop and watch some random videos. After about half an hour I freshen up and get ready. After some formalities in the hostel office I finally leave the campus with a smile on my face, happiness in me, the reasons for which were obvious.

I boarded a crowded bus to the bus stand. There is a mixed feeling about Friday evenings among the people. Some think it as  “Thank God it’s Friday”  while some as “Oh god it’s Friday” . The latter expression is solely for the traffic. The traffic on Friday evenings is like ants crawling in a line. The excitement of a weekend makes someone go against the road rules which will eventually lead to deadlock. Keeping this in mind I had left three hours early. Call it fortune or misfortune there was not much traffic because of which I reached the bus stand two hours early. Fortunately, I found a person with the same smile as mine and in the same condition. The chat with him killed the time.

Soon after I saw some hundreds of smiling faces with their bags, some with their spouses and kids, some with their friends, everyone waiting for the buses. I realised that the ‘Home Coming’ feeling is same in everyone and every Tom, Dick and Harry has that characteristic smile on his face while boarding a bus back to his home. The major population of the Bangalore is because of non-bangaloreans who live here. Have a look at the Bangalore central bus stand on the weekend before any festival and you will see thousands of people eagerly waiting to release themselves from the metropolitan life of Bangalore and run to their house.

The bus finally left and I could see the tall buildings through the watery windows. I heard the man behind me speaking to his wife. “Ah finally the bus left. By the time it’s morning we will be home”. I could feel that calmness in his voice, that smile, that happiness in him which I had. I felt blissful, my eyelashes slowly embraced and I thought to myself, “ Home, Am coming”.

Mausam Toh Awesome Hai

Posted: December 18, 2011 in Uncategorized


 

Walking through the drizzling rain
Making forget all your pain
The drop of water falling from a mile
The moment of happiness bringing you a smile
You realise Mausam Toh Awesom Hai !

That five minutes of extra sleep in the morning
With the alarm beside you continously snoozing
The feel of warmth on pulling a blanket over you
The urge of bunking the class and continue sleeping running through you
You realise Mausam Toh Awesom Hai !

With a hard heart you finally get up
With the usual sleeepy mood you finally dress up
Standing in the queue for breakfast that never got shorter
The taste of hot coffee that which could never get better
You realise Mausam Toh Awesom Hai !

Hurrying up the college stairs with the bell honking
Entering late to the class with the teacher cursing
Peeping through the window from the last bench
Seeing tiny drops of water,through the air,drench
You realise Mausam Toh Awesom Hai !