Archive for December, 2011

Merry Christmas. Give India some more ballsy angels

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

I’m mostly a spectator investor since last 8 months, with less than two personal deals post Morpheus. Writing this as someone who knows a thing or two about investing in India.

Only 15? That’s how reacted when I saw’s list of the most promising consumer Internet startups out of India. Why not 50 to watch? or even 25! India has plenty of raw talent, desire to not fail and kick-butts. What’s lacking is a light which shows them that entrepreneurship is yet another career option.

A quick analysis of VCCircle puts the count of angel deals this year to less than twenty-five. Let’s double the number to account for un-announced deals, that brings this to fifty. Freaking 50. That’s it. I’m sure Indian Angel Network alone has more than 100 members!

That’s my wish to Santa for India’s tech venture entrepreneur ecosystem–We need more angels who are ballsy and do ballsy deals. Another wish, we need more investors who really are worthy of being called angels. For me an angel is someone who does a) at least 5-6 deals every year or at least $100K in investments and b) Leads at least 25% of his investments. Hopefully, Indian angels who interacted with Geeks On a Plane travellers, follow up on their word and start closing. Rest are investors looking to double/triple the money in 18 months.

Merry Christmas.

Why I love doing non-productive bull-shit work

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Don’t squeeze yourself with only important core tasks, but stuff mundane tasks in between. As a result, you’ll never feel overloaded with work, leading to happiness and more productive days.

After moving from Morpheus, I joined the founding team of an early-stage startup based out of Sunnyvale. At Bitzer Mobile, we are trying to build some brand new guns for the enterprise mobility sector. Developing the product is easy—whoosh your laptop and write code. Soon we raised some money and started building a team out of Bangalore.

Team started growing, members got added and the amount of non-code generating work also grew, right from sundry runs to bank  to mundane activities of settling the bill of the neigboring chai-walla on a daily basis.

Writing code requires at least 4 uninterrupted hours to have at least something productive done. If not for the night, it would have been impossible to find that time slice. When I was a one man team without a formal company in India, life was easy. Now, we are eight and the overheads of running a business have started to show. Nor we are twenty that we could hire support staff who could do random runs.

RainbowbeeeaterInitially, I used to bitch and moan how things got pulled under the rug due to interruptions. But, then I changed something. Instead of expecting a 4-hour time slice, I created intense 90-120 minute time slices. At each break, inter-twined the life with things which could be done by a support staff. For example, few weeks ago, I had to write half-a-dozen salary checks, which took a quanta of 10-minute; figuring out the exact amount, signing, stamping, sealing in a brown envelope and then delivering them to the respective desk. Earlier, I would push this task under the stack and keep bothering myself. This time, I planned the same. I walked into the office at 10:30a. Did a Skype call with a US colleague, started fixing a bug and then at around 2:00pm signed the checks and delivered them. Made me feel happy and was back to the groove for the next round and then after few hours called the furniture vendor inquiring about the status of our delivery and doing some general light-weight argument over the phone.

One super side-benefit after adopting this strategy; sundry items which were getting postponed were getting done and were no longer lingering at the back of my mind and bothering!

And when there is no bull-shit work around, I simply call a candidate and do a phone interview for 15 minutes.

Here’s a simple recipe.

  1. When your day begins make a list of 4-5 mundane tasks which you should be doing today. As simple as downloading a copy of the bank statement and sending it to the accountant. The task could be as minimum as 10 minutes. If there is something which takes hours and not urgent, plan for it on a Friday, like going to the bank, etc.
  2. Once you have the tasks identified, start your day as you would and pick each task after couple of hours and get that done.
  3. Your core important tasks may be one of writing code, doing customer calls, discussion on architecture, product, meetings, etc. These are tasks which only you could do it.
  4. Your non-core tasks are those which someone else could do it for a fraction of your time-value.

Enjoy and be productive.

The bird is a Rainbow bee-eater, a long distance migratory bird found in Australia.

Drinks on a plane: Masala coke with pepper on rocks!

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

CokeIt has been a while since I posted something. Thanks to the new gig and attempting to build some world changing technology, the elements of giving gyaan have been taken over to writing and reviewing code, and then there are better gyaanis around.

For the last six-odd months, I have been shuttling between Silicon Valley and Bangalore and found a favourite airline that does a 15 hour haul from Dubai to San Francisco via North Pole which does a comfortable coach class. Haven’t found the lucky upgrade to business class, yet. Though, the best I got was a leg from Dubai to Bangalore, once.

The usual drinks served by the hostess are plain boring so I have been doing some mixing/fixing the drinks and making some cocktails with a usual cheers with the neighbour on the next seat.

Here’s what you would typically find as ingredients of interest on the plane:

  • Lemon wedges, club soda, salt, ice, sugar, pepper
  • Coke classic, Tonic water, 7Up, Fanta, etc
  • Gin, whiskey, rum, brandy, scotch, vodka
  • Worcestershire and tobasco sauce

With the above ingredients I could make White Russian, Tom Collins, Gin Rickey, Presbyterian, Rum cola, etc. I usually stick to non-alcoholic when not faking. Instead, I made some simple masala coke to keep me kicking for the next many hours.

You need:

  • Coke 330ml. Or two small 200ml cans. The hostess may serve you from a big 1.5L bottle, request a can instead
  • 4 cubes of ice
  • 2 sachets/tubes of pepper
  • 2 sachets/tubes of salt
  • 2 lemon wedges

You do:

  1. Make sure that the hostess does not pour the coke. Get the ice and the cup
  2. Add a tube of pepper and two of salt. Make sure that the pepper goes below the ice
  3. Squeeze the lemon wedges and trap the wedges below the ice
  4. Pour the coke slowly. Watch out for the froth spilling over
  5. Add another pepper tube at the brim. Enjoy the flakes when you take a sip
  6. Let it stand still for few minutes to allow flavour of pepper disperse in the drink


Update: A conversation at the dinner table at home resulted in a promised attachment of black salt for the next flight.