Posts

CoWorking – My Learnings

Co-working or Coworking comes to us from the year 2005, a concept initially introduced by Brad Neuberg. Although as the year passed by, his idea saw its own maturity. Brad Neuberg gave a name to a concept which was just brewing at the moment in San Francisco, between all the upcoming technology and facilities. His idea was hyphen less and was simple “coworking. He had a clear vision of how to give people a touch of professionalism, who worked from home or as a freelancer.

Coworking, if I talk in layman language is when different people come to a place to work together but not for the same company. They just have one thing in common and that is their goal to succeed.

I have been working with SprouBox, a co-working space for sometimes now, and I thought this would be a great way to share what I learned being a part of this industry

Co-working taught me a lot of important things but the few I would like to keep with me are:

Ocean of knowledge:

Working in a place which is not a traditional office space but consists of people from different fields, companies of different range and ideas to breathe is always the best way to gain insight. When you work in a company, you know 100 of people around you are punching the same numbers as you. But working in a co-working space makes you stand out. It brings the individual power of yours from inside. Your thoughts become wide and your ideas become stronger. You don’t fight for a place, but you fight for perception. You grow as a company and you grow and an individual. A person learns to respect other’s profession and personality when he becomes very well aware of his own esteems.

You are in-charge:

What is better than the feeling of freedom while working towards your dream? You are the in-charge of yourself and your work. It’s you who decides over your working hour. You decide what time you have to come and which time you need to leave. It’s you who decide for long working hours or movie break in between. This helps people in working both effectively and efficiently. You are your own instructor and you are your own guide. You know when you want to shift to corner or when you require brainstorming with people. Everything becomes clear in your mind, your plans and your concepts.

Community:

It’s always better to be a part of the community. A healthy and friendly community helps you and your work grow in various levels of success. Working within a community provides you vast mastery in your own field. A community is full of talents in every field in the market. You take help and you provide some and everything works fine. Healthy competition and some hands for help are always a great deal for achieving what one desires.

Community helps you to be sustainable and open. There is a lot more power in unity. And working in a community of talented minds gives you that.

Being a part:

Working in a coworking space made me realize how good it feels to be a part. To be a part of someone’s success or to be a part of someone’s low time. When, in a closed place, works an entrepreneur, a freelancer, start-ups, techies etc there will be a valley of ideas and stories. From some, you will be inspired and from some, you will learn. People do not judge them on the basis of their success or failure in a coworking space, but they judge them on how much they tried and how cool the idea sounded. There will always be someone with all his/her ears to listen to what you have in mind. There will be support and motivation, a place full of inspiration.

Work and Fun, Do Mix Together: 

At coworking spaces such as SproutBox, there are always events happening. Whether a motivational talk to a movie night. It provides the best fun possible while working. People are always enthusiastic about impromptu fun sessions. This builds the community strong and close. People get to talk and know each other more. And who doesn’t want a break once in a while? The best part is, you can showcase yourself one side or be an observer on the other. There is knowledge everywhere; one must know to grasp it.

In case you are still waiting to make a move to a Coworking space and thinking why this extra expense – after all you can work from home, or work from a rented office, I request you to join us for a tour, or come down and spend a day coworking with us – and experience the joys it has brought me and our other coworkers. SproutBox Operates 2 CoWorking Spaces at the Moment, one in DLF Phase 1, Gurgaon (Where I sit out of) and Another one in Okhla Phase 1, New Delhi

Oh Yes, the Image on top – No this is not a food blog, just one of those days where It was raining, and we wanted to have some Pakoda’s (yes we are desis) and I organised an impromptu get together for our coworkers, around Tea and some Amazing Bread Pakoda’s and Samosa’s

 

 

 

Sunscreen, Startups & Success

If you have met me in real life, I must have told you the sunscreen story, if I have not here it is. In 1999 Baz Luhrmann converted a hypothetical commencement speech written by columnnist Mary Schmich titled Wear Sunscreen, to a song. This song has made a great impact on me both personally and professionally. In a meeting last evening with a startup that was on a tour of SproutBox, we were discussing this song again and how Startups, Success and Sunscreen get co-related.

There are times in our life, when we loose hope, we don’t know if we will succeed, we doubt ourselves – the song is a great upliftment at that time, trust yourself, compliment yourself or as the words say “Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much. Or berate yourself either, Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s”

Listen to the advice of people who offer it, you may not like what they are saying, but respect the advice. Make sure when you are down and low, high and above – you don’t forget your siblings, you don’t forget your friends, you don’t forget to know your parents better – before you know it, time will be done – you will be old and you would only want to look back at your youth to realise what you missed.

The journey of a startup is harsh and yet fun, each day is a challenge “Do one thing every day that scares you” whether that is picking up the phone and making that sales call, or saying no to a client that may not help you build value in a company, to going against your gut feeling.

Be ready for trouble, real trouble “Remember there could be real trouble that will blind side you on an idle Tuesday evening”

In the song there is a line “Don’t read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel fat” – I believe a lot of us get in a rush of why we are not getting private equity, why are the angels missing from my business – my idea and my implantation is great – stop reading the news – it will only make you feel bad. Build your product, resolve a problem, build your team, grow – the money will follow.

To me and Rajeev ji, Wear Sunscreen words are our mantra at SproutBox.

At SproutBox we believe that a community of like minded people, a network of startups, coworking with them, spending time with them allows you to get advice, run your ideas with others – collaborate, create and grow. It also gets you friends you will look back in 20 years and say you had fun with, some will stay with you, some will be memory, but an experience of working with diverse set of individuals can never be replaced by working from your own office.

To me as I said, I can go on and on about the song, and if there is a mantra for growth that I can give any startup, this song it is. So read the lyrics, see the video, build a product, a service, a company just like the sunscreen – that is relevant to all dark or light, black or white – and yes do trust me on it.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’99
Wear sunscreen

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists
Whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable
Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth, oh, never mind
You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth
Until they’ve faded but trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back
At photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now
How much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked
You are not as fat as you imagine

Don’t worry about the future
Or know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind
The kind that blindsides you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday
Do one thing every day that scares you

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours

Floss

Don’t waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind
The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself

Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements

Stretch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t

Get plenty of calcium
Be kind to your knees
You’ll miss them when they’re gone

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the ‘Funky Chicken’
On your 75th wedding anniversary

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much
Or berate yourself either
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your own living room
Read the directions even if you don’t follow them
Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good
Be nice to your siblings, they’re your best link to your past
And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go
But a precious few, who should hold on

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle
For as the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young
Live in New York City once but leave before it makes you hard
Live in northern California once but leave before it makes you soft

Travel

Accept certain inalienable truths
Prices will rise, politicians will philander, you, too, will get old

And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young
Prices were reasonable, politicians were noble
And children respected their elders

Respect your elders

Don’t expect anyone else to support you
Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse
But you never know when either one might run out

Don’t mess too much with your hair
Or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85

Be careful whose advice you buy but be patient with those who supply it

Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past
From the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts
And recycling it for more than it’s worth

But trust me on the sunscreen

Painting The Box

IMG_20150524_093041

 

While we spend endless hours making sure that SproutBox Gurgaon is a great place for coworking, collaboration, creation and enjoying your work, we also needed to make sure it looks good from outside. The picture below shows the white building we are in… on a typical day it does not stand out and merges with other buildings… this was something that was bothering us, and we wanted to make sure we had something done that made the building stand out – a few meetings and discussions led us to a thought, why not get some artists to come and paint it..

Indeed – but what do we paint, which artists do we call and well – how do we budget it?

So I decided to make a post on Facebook, asking friends for suggestions, friends who could draw and knew other people who could draw, after a lot of conversations some said volunteers will not work, we will need to hire an artist and build a brief – we were more confused than ever, only till a few came to rescue, they suddenly said – hey we will come and figure it out, some of them were amateur artists, and some of them were celebrated artists who did this for a living, we also got a response from some other friends, who wanted to rope in some people to come and paint.

We bought cans of paint, brushes, pencils and rags.. we also stocked up our refrigerator with Water, Cold Drinks, stocked the kitchen with Eatables, and were on site at 10AM… The Sun was shining and it was going to be a day that would see a high of 42 Degree Celsius… we waited, and then got a call Harshad – A Celebrated Digital Artist and his Friend Sunny were on their Way… They arrived and took a round of what sprout box is.. what it is going to do.. and then came up with a night and day theme.. they were happy that we did not have a theme.. they got painting the exterior walls.

We also got a call from Hamari Jung – A Slum Kids Collective, they wanted to come and paint too, our exterior walls were already up so we offered them inside walls.

IMG_20150524_142156-1 IMG_20150524_142122-1 IMG_20150524_142313-1

What has happened this Sunday has left our walls colourful, given us a new identity, and helped us contribute to growth of artists, and the lovely girls from the Sikandarpur Slum in Gurgaon who came and painted our walls… Words are not enough to describe this feeling!

So next time you are in Gurgaon, and see this brightly painted building, thank our artists from your side.. and marvel in their work… After all The Box now has a great new look and we love it..Thank You to our Artists

1. Harshad Moray

2. Sunny Kishore

and the lovely team of

3. Humari Jung