Monthly Archives: September 2018

Running A Marathon Is Like Running A Startup

Running A Marathon Is Like Running A Startup

Running a marathon, going the distance, taking up the gauntlet, in short accepting a challenge and following through with it. Many experiences in life need you to go the distance, to invest time in it and persevere in order to get results at the end. I decided to take up such a challenge, I decided to achieve it and was ready to see it to the end. I decided to run a marathon!

The first question that naturally pops into anyone’s head is this — WHY? Why does the CEO of a start-up, a busy man as it seems, working seven days a week would have to take up such a challenge? What rewards are a full time working entrepreneur looking for by committing to months of training, both physical and mental? On a superficial level, there may seem some benefits such as health advantages and overall emotional well-being. But now it’s time to scale the entire iceberg! Why run a marathon, read on to find out.

 

 

Beginning with the general physical benefits that a runner experiences include a full body workout along with the burning of a ton of calories, there is also emotional well-being that is felt throughout the training period. The training and the practice is the real marathon there is, and you will notice that the span of time really does transform you. From couch potato to an agile and lean runner, it is something you will start admiring about yourself and strive harder to stay that way all the time.

As said earlier, the journey, the process, all that lead up to the day of the marathon, is the real task. That is the real marathon you have to conquer. Getting up and training continuously for months is not an easy undertaking. But as the days progress and you notice yourself changing bit by bit, obviously for the better, it isn’t possible to stop training. You will want it more than ever and keep looking forward to it. It is a truly inspiring feeling of setting a goal for yourself and then going all guns blazing to achieve it. Investing in a set goal and following through with it tirelessly helps define your own character. It builds confidence in you that nothing is impossible. It gives you an incredible boost in all other domains of your life to just go and get it! You develop a kind of mental toughness that gives you enough energy to tackle any problem head-on.

 

Related: Power of finishing


I am a CEO myself and running a startup comes along with a large number of working hours that mostly span the entire seven days of the week. Cramming a training schedule along with it was a bit difficult, but it taught me to manage my time well and engage in effectively utilizing it. Like when you have to squeeze in time, you start prioritizing. You get a chance to remove things out from your schedule that doesn’t matter anymore.

Maintaining a passion or a hobby with your full-time work calendar is hard, but in a way, one complements the other. You follow your passion with all heart; you’ll see productivity increasing everywhere. After a few weeks, I started feeling like Batman — a billionaire businessman in daylight and a criminal thrashing vigilante at night.

And once you have gone all in to win at something, to succeed at your extra-curricular ventures, there will be a different you showing up at the office. One success is enough to raise your own bar in life. You ponder over the possibilities of achieving something even more significant in life, taking on even harder challenges. There is this insatiable hunger that you develop to go beyond all limits. You involuntarily take out all stops to get to your ultimate destination.

 

How running is related to startups

 

The journey develops you a lot, but the day of the race is something else altogether!

It is the ultimate test of your mental strength, more so than your physical one. It is time for you to showcase all your training. During the race, you realize that the human body is capable of much more than our preconceived notions. We are amazingly capable of recovering, enduring and progressing in almost any aspect. This is a realization only a marathon runner can fully realize and appreciate.

Once you finish the marathon, the euphoria, the high that you experience, nothing else can possibly provide. It’s the incredible satisfaction of finishing that not only motivates you to do it again but also makes you obsessed to always finish the task at hand and see it to its ultimate completion. I personally saw myself as a different person walking out of that marathon. Your self-respect soars, there’s a new identity that you now have, and now you basically become Batman! Nobody can touch you.

Although coming from the point of view of an entrepreneur, people from all walks of life need to experience the sheer joy of completing a marathon at least. With so much to learn about yourself and life in general, completing a marathon is truly attaining nirvana!

How Did I Land Up With 250+ CXO Meetings In Last 3 Months

How Did I Land Up With 250+ CXO Meetings In Last 3 Months

For the #makeremotework survey, our main differentiator was about having real data and not ending up just relying on the quick online surveys. We wanted to have a mix of online as well as offline channels. For the same, we visited 16 cities chosen from an email raffale

All through the campaign, we worked on getting in-person interviews. Our campaign was primarily built with LinkedIn and Email marketing and here is a quick summary of how we did it to be able to land up with 250+ CXO meetings.

1.Preparation 

Preparation included setting up our team and an action plan. We planned to work primarily through Linkedin, which I have covered in detail later. During preparation, we worked on updating my Linkedin with profile details, posts, etc guided by the Linkedin best practices. We worked on building the clarity on my profile about what I do, past works, references, etc

About Ayush Jain

 

We also listed out around 100+ CXO profiles that we intended to meet.

2. Personalization-  

We totally agreed that no CXO would have time for us so we worked on personalization in 3 ways

1. Hearing their socials and figuring out if there is a chance that they would be open to such collaboration. This could be figured out if they had remote teams themselves or if they posted about global teams etc

2.Personalizing our emails with things that they have written or talked about

3. Pivoting our emails with ideas and wordings that struck a chord. Also, we used hyperlinking in emails to connect with more elaborated details on landing pages.

mail copy

 

3. Linkedin-

 

Linkedin was one of our major tools. We used Linkedin to find out our contacts as well as know our 2nd level and 3rd level contacts. Linkedin does a great job to provide enough info that can be used to start a conversation. We used primarily the common contacts, request for intros, something interesting from the bios, etc to strike the conversation

4.  Followups and lots of them

Trying to walk the thin line between over pushing and persistence we tried to be genuine in our efforts leaving the rest to interpretation. We used mail track and Linkedin inbuilt feature about reading and unread emails. We sent different follow-ups to people who had read our emails and the one who did not.

Primarily we did a max of 3 follow-ups to people With the 1st email as the intro and asking for interest If read- 2nd email was with more info and putting things in points format 3rd email- About a soft ask with final dates of visit and specification of the slot that is open 4th email- while I was in the city, asking if any last minute window that opened

Followups

 

5. The team

All of the above definitely required a team and I was lucky to have a few good fellas among us to deliver on the plan. In summary, I believe getting a good conversion rate was the result of having a team who were ready to hustle 24*7. But while doing so, we made sure that the process is enjoyable to everyone in the team. 
Regularly the strategy was discussed often with a friendly banter among passionate people. We always believed that if everyone in the team is on the same page we will be able to pull it off. We did a party of course post the campaign 

 

The Team

 

Today #Makeremotework survey is the most comprehensive report available on remote work,  coming out directly with inputs from the decision makers.

For access to the report, go here

Out of 19,000 US Cities, Which US Cities Were Chosen For Remote work Survey

Out of 19,000 US Cities, Which US Cities Were Chosen For Remote work Survey

out of 19000 us cities which us cities were chosen for remote work survey

When we decided to take a road trip to interview people for the #MakeRemoteWork survey the first question was where to go?

To choose what cities to cover, we started with a simple exercise.

We picked up all the silicon centers from a map like the one below and sent over a trench of 20 emails in each city mentioned

cities map

Since there was no way to find which city will have more people willing to participate in the survey, we thought to do experimental emails to get some stats.

Here is the copy of the email we sent out

email copy

And here is the order of responses received

Cities Visited Open Rates Positive Negative
Montreal 25% 4 1
Atlanta 30% 6 3
Charleston 35% 7 2
Raleigh- Durham 25% 3 1
Winston-Salem 15% 3 0
Charlotte 40% 8 1
San Antonio 15% 2 1
Austin 15% 2 1
Dallas 22% 9 1
Cities Visited Open Rates Positive Negative
New York 25% 2 3
Baltimore 25% 2 3
DC- Arlington/ Alexandria 30% 3 3
Denver/ Boulder/ Colorado Spring 25% 1 3

As you could see Charleston and Charlotte were some of the clear winners followed with Atlanta and Dallas. In fact, surprisingly New York and SF do not really score that high – The reason I could think of was that they get too many emails which create a lot of noise for the founders.

Anyways we had our list ready with the 10 cities that provided us a better response rate. Apart from the stats we checked out event dates in each shortlisted city and also tried to map a direction for the journey.

The journey had to be in one direction

North to south or south to north/ east to west or west to east

Another filter was using my startupgrind directors network.  SG has a chapter in most US cities and I reached out to the chapter directors for the inside scoops of each city.

10 cities meant around 50 days on the road at a stretch but then cuteness stuck 🙂

Well, I have a 2 and a half-year-old so leaving her for more than a month was not possible…

So we decided to do the road trip in 2 phases

The first in May covering- NYC (Well can’t ignore the Big Apple and we found Techday happening as well), Baltimore, DC, Denver and the second stage covering Montreal (where we attended the startup fest ), Atlanta, North and South Charlotte and Texas.

In the last 3 months, I got to interview 250+ CXOs for the #makeremotework survey

How all of it was possible is accounted here

#Makeremotework survey today is the most comprehensive report available on remote work, coming out directly with inputs from the decision makers. For access to the report, Go Here

‘ We’ll Go With GraphQL ’, Said An App-Preneur Euphorically.

‘ We’ll Go With GraphQL ’, Said An App-Preneur Euphorically.

GraphQL

Whether you’ve heard of GraphQL or not, it’s certainly not a technology to be ignored. There’s been a lot of buzz around GraphQL recently.

 

What is GraphQL?

 

GraphQL is essentially a query language for your APIs. This fundamentally means that your web or mobile clients can dictate the data it wants. This makes it easier to evolve the APIs over a period of time as your application grows.

 

 Who uses GraphQL?

 

Facebook, which itself is the author of GraphQL uses it extensively since their product codebase has grown huge and it’s hard to maintain and manage the versioning of the APIs of such a huge codebase. Another example is Github, Github has substantially realized the advantages GraphQL gives and has been using it since.

 

What’s in it for developers?

 

The major advantage that it gives to the developers is access and control over the data on the client side itself.

 

 

GraphQL

 

A vast amount of time in app’s development lifecycle goes into communication between a backend team and the frontend team. this also means an increase in the communication gap between developers over a period of time, resulting in poor app quality.

GraphQL lets you describe the data at the backend, where you can specify what data interfaces to publish. Along with that, there are multiple community-supported SDKs like Apollo client / Relay for client-side development so that the clients can dictate the data it requires in order to achieve a functionality rather than being dependent on what API provides. This also ensures that the functional results are predictable.

 

Last but not least, what’s in it for app-based entrepreneurs?

 

Last-but-not-least
  • Great Performance

Since the app only consumes the data that it actually requires, it saves a lot of backend calls which results in reduced time in fetching, quicker results and increased performance.

 

  • Less Data Consumption

 

The users of the app also get relived on the data consumption part due to the app’s ability to consume only that which is needed for specific functionality.

 

  • Maintainability

 

The major benefit GraphQL gives to the app owner’s is its maintainability. Since the frontend developers know from where, how and what to fetch, it becomes significantly easy for the owners to maintain optimum resources.

This leaves certain people with a reluctant feeling of, “No I need my own custom APIs for specific functionality”. Well, that’s the best part. You can always write your own APIs and have it consumed with your own custom implementation along with GraphQL.

 

Conclusion-

 

Looking at all the benefits of GraphQL, it’s no shocker that it is gaining popularity day-by-day. 

 

About RemotePanda

RemotePanda is a personalized platform for companies to hire remote talent and get the quality work delivered from the city Pune. The resources in our talent pool are our close network connections. While connecting them with you, we make sure to manage the quality, growth, legalities, and the delivery of their work. The idea is to make remote work successful for you. Get in touch with us to learn why RemotePanda is the best fit solution for your business requirements.