We as startups spend a lot of time thinking on what our venture would be called, how would the name sound – would it mean something, oh yes what will the logo look like. Some of us bootstrap our logo by drawing something that we like, some hire freelancers and some hire expert graphic design friends by buying them a beer instead of paying their bills – irrespective of how you got your logo, have you ever wondered what if your logo told the truth – I know we all say our logos tell the truth, but an amazing set of work by Designer Viktor Hertz called Honest Logos got me thinking.
Lesson 1: Make Sure whatever you do has a virality affect
A few days back there was a picture on Twitter, it showed a lady wearing a chura (red bangles) as newlywed Indian women would, and then there was a picture of her dancing – I saw this tweet go by, and ignored it.. suddenly in the evening this picture was being discussed on the news channels, I wondered what happened, only to catch up with the news and soon she was all over.
No one, well not many knew of her till the day these pictures came up on twitter, and what came out was that she was well established, her own set of followers and now she was trending everywhere, and everywhere you went people were talking about her.
Lesson 2: Sell to your probable customers, in less than 60 seconds
The Elevator pitch is not just for raising money, it is also for making sales. They say over years our attention span has reduced, and on twitter conversations don’t last for more than a minute. If you were to go by this, you need less than 60 seconds to make a sale, and Radhe Ma does this – whether this is by her attire, or people surrounding her and adding to the background conversation or by making sure you have heard about her (good or bad), even before she arrives on the scene. So next time you are looking at making a sale, make sure your customer has heard about you and your value proposition, if you are raising funds – make sure the Angel / VC has heard about you before you arrive there.
Lesson 3: Content is still King
Search for Radhe Ma and chances are you will come up with several hits, these hits are not just the news item from the time she became famous on twitter and was on the news channels, this includes videos on Youtube, Facebook pages that are active for long and also articles talking about how people have experienced spirituality in her sessions. No I am not recommending that you attend one or don’t attend one – i leave that choice to you, but having content out there, that explains what you do when you make a pitch, present a business card, or talk to someone about who you are and what you do is important.
Don’t skip on writing a blog, don’t skip on updating your social media network, don’t skip on creating videos – if videos is what people are looking for. Each of us has a different social media network that we follow, and who knows where people are searching for you.
Lesson 4: Have your own Tribe
Seth Godin [Wikipedia] in his book Tribes explains that there is an inherent need for us as humans to to connect with other human beings, whether this be for networking or this be for your tribe, or your followers if you were a godman / godwoman. Having a tribe of believers, early adopters, customers who buy your product because they believe in it is a great idea, and if you have a tribe that is large enough, say a 100,000 customers that buy from you on a regular basis, you have a business going. Today there is a lot of talk about Hyper Local Businesses and one of the lessons here is to ensure continual engagement, repeat buying, and having your own tribe.
If you want to know more about Tribes, I urge you to see the following TED Talk by Seth Godin.
Lesson 5: Palagarism can be a good thing, too
This brings me to my final lesson in the Radhe Ma Controversy, The Picture at the top of this article, is from a Party that had a theme of Radhe Ma – Indeed, this is not a joke – you can find this by clicking here on facebook. If people are copying your idea – that means there is something worth doing, whether you are building a mobile wallet, solving the bus ticket example, or building a travel site – there is a me too happening in that space, don’t worry about it as competition, see it as a validation of your idea, what you are doing is right, and if you follow Lesson 4 and build a tribe, if you follow Lesson 1 and build virality, if you follow Lesson 2 and are straight to the point on how you are better than the rest, your product, your service will succeed.
There are many more lessons that can be drawn out of the Radhe Ma news / controversy or from any other popular story that you see on social media, in news papers or on the television today. The world is now connected 24 x 7 and your news could be a minute long, or could be a month long, or could be an year long – what we all need is a story, a story that the world can tell about your startup. It is interesting to see how SproutBox is mentioned everytime someone talks about Coworking on Social Media, we finally have a tribe going and a virality to that effect. What do you think?
The article has been written in lighter vein, this article is not to point anything towards Radhe Ma, her followers or any one associated with her, or in the same space as she is. If you are someone who believes in her, we respect you, if you are someone who does not, we respect you for your thought there also. For us, the Viral affect and the Speed in which this news has spread, how people are now doing themed parties, to the discussions about her everywhere are great lessons that we think should happen to each startup.
The startup ecosystem has given rise to a supporting ecosystem of a whole lot of online services and gadgets for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Most devices and accessories geared towards entrepreneurs aim to help with productivity on-the-move, a characteristic that most entrepreneurs and startup folks identify with. We work out of coffeehouses, coworking spaces, at home on our couch, so on and so forth and of course meet a lot of people for pitching ideas, striking partnerships, or random ‘startup banter’.
One of the things you do most often in startups is ‘present’. Whether you need to present your product roadmap or marketing ideas to your team, or present a product or business pitch to a mentor or an investor, you’d end up using a slide deck.
It’s a shame that even the folks who present very often end up using the navigation keys on their laptop to transition between the slides. It’s disorienting, really, and a wireless presenter is all you need to change the slides in a more seamless manner without moving back and forth between your spot and where your laptop is placed.
A wireless presenter allows you to discreetly switch slides during a presentation, and offers a pretty good range. You can even keep the laptop you’re presenting from out of the sight! These ‘clickers’ are plug-and-play devices and useful for conference room presentations as well as on stage.
High Capacity USB Flash Drive
While I advise everyone to move to cloud for storage and file-sharing, you still need to keep a high-capacity USB pen drive in your backpack. It is convenient to share some files quickly with somebody sitting across the table or backup your files that you just don’t want to clutter your computer with.
The 32-128GB flash drives are pretty common and inexpensive these days, but we’ve even got higher-capacity ones now going up to 1TB! Depending on your requirements, you should really have a high-capacity USB flash drive on you all the time.
Here’s a pro tip. Make sure you buy one with a built-in cover, else you always have a chance of losing it. Also, you might want to buy one with a lanyard or string or something so that you can bunch it with your keys or attach it to your bag. If you are an outdoorsy person, pick one that can withstand rugged conditions and take the elements. These small things easily get misplaced and since you now end up having a lot of data on them, you need to take even greater care.
Back in the day, all laptops had a VGA port, and all projectors has a VGA cable for input. Easy enough. But that’s not the case now. One, you can be required to present on a regular projector or another display/television screen with HDMI port. Second, different laptops and tablets have different display ports – full HDMI, micro HDMI, or mini HDMi and the optional VGA port.
The easy way out is to always carry a set of adapters and cables – display port to HDMI and VGA. That should allow you to present from your laptop and tablet, or even phone, on any kind of external display.
Even though I fly frequently, I was holding on the purchase of a nice pair of noise-cancelling headphones. I thought only audiophiles needed one.
However, after I started working out of coffeehouses and coworking spaces, buying one made sense. Increasingly, these places are noisy with loud music or people chatting away in nonchalance. A set of headphones allow me to cut that out, and be at peace and focus at work. You’ll only have to experience one to understand the difference between a normal pair and a noise cancelling one.
High Speed – Multi Port USB Charger
Every time I look at people working around, I find them fiddling with multiple charges or rotating devices to charge on the single charger they have on them. There used to be only smartphones till sometime back, but the devices to charge have increased manifolds. There’s your fitness band or smartwatch, headsets, tablets, power banks, and more.
I strongly recommend buying a multi-port USB charger. It allows you to charge multiple devices at once, and most recent ones adjust the current rating to charge your devices faster. Of course, the only downside is that you’ll have to carry charging cables separately.
These are my pick of gadgets that freelancers and startup guys need almost every day. There’s also power banks, a stylus, couple of USB cables, and a portable speaker that I lug around in my backpack. Which ones have I missed?