Author Archives: Ayush Jain

About Ayush Jain

Ayush Jain is an entrepreneur whose work revolves around building global teams that work efficiently. He loves to encompass everyday adventures and turn them into meaningful success lessons. Ayush co-founded MindBowser, a digital agency and currently working on his new endeavor RemotePanda. RemotePanda is a curated marketplace that takes care of end to end remote work cycle including searching, hiring, recruiting as well as managing remote employees.
When I Felt I Could Die, I Found Out What is Most Important to Succeed

When I Felt I Could Die, I Found Out What is Most Important to Succeed

success

 

I felt a Eureka moment today while doing my morning run. I think I found the secret to success. The answer to the perennial question- “What is one trait you have to build in yourself to be successful?”

It was just another day with me in the middle of a run. Like every day I had set up a targeted distance and was taking circles around the park. Taking a run in circles requires more concentration than running from point A to point B, since running in circles means you have the option to quit after every round

My long runs also provide me the opportunity for introspection. I consider it to be the best part of running- Imaginations run wild at the pace of legs, and I have found myself in middle of varied thoughts from Elon Musk to Scarlett Johansson, from profits to growth and the stock market crash, etc.

So today I started thinking what is that one skill to be built in oneself to be successful. Is it developing a habit of reading or is it about becoming a constant knowledge seeker? Does becoming obsessed with something is important or does building a network of people leads to success. As I started pondering over these thoughts, there was also a constant push from the other part of my brain that was telling me that I am tired and I should take a break. Even if I have not covered the distance I had targeted earlier, it’s ok to rest or else my heart could fail, and I would die soon

And that’s when it hit me. THE POWER OF FINISHING.

I think the most important trait to be successful is about how much obsessed you can be to finish anything at hand. Do you complete every task at hand before you take a break? Do you finish every book that you start? Do you make sure that the one task that could have been done today is not moved to the next day? Our mind is wired into telling us that we are tired and that if we do not sleep on time or do not take enough rest, we may soon find ourselves in the hospital with a breakdown but can you build the willpower to overcome those thoughts and make sure that you don’t settle unless the work is done.

 

Comment

 

The habit of finishing has far-reaching effects on productivity. Extending that last stretch leads to satisfaction which leads to overall happiness levels. Also making sure that there are no tasks left unattended frees your brain from the unnecessary worry of too many things to be done. Additionally, every such stretch makes sure that you are not spending time every time to get started. It’s like if you have a goal of 5 miles either you can do a 3 mile and do not enjoy the happiness that comes from achieving the goal or does 5 and feels satisfied for throughout the day.

What do you guys think about it? What are the factors you believe are most important to succeed in life?

Five People, I Want To Meet in 2019 and Why

Five People, I Want To Meet in 2019 and Why

Life is an eternal learning curve, so much to learn from so many aficionados.

We all have people we look up to, whether it’s for business guidance or ameliorating personal life. These role models of ours are what we thrive to be and follow their footprints. We follow them, envy them, get inspired, get motivated and learn from them. These mixed feeling persuade us to propel and take a step toward our dreams.

Everybody has a list of people they aspire to meet, here’s mine –

1) Dharmesh Shah – The Ace Entrepreneur

Dharmesh Shah

 

Founder and CTO of HubSpot are on top of my list. The kind of content and insights he provides is just amazing. He is like an idol. I look up to the honesty in his content, like what he has built with HubSpot. Introduced to HubSpot 10 years ago and have seen it grow into the giant it is today. I am pretty sure that every marketer has visited HubSpot at least once. HubSpot has become more like a Wikipedia for Marketers now.

Well, that’s not all, HubSpot also aims to help customer-centric startups and early-stage ventures reach their full potential. Recently HubSpot launched HubSpot Ventures – A $30 Million Fund to Support Customer-First Startups.

Neil Patel

 

New York Times bestselling author, a top influencer on the web, one of the top 10 marketers, creator of one of the best 100 companies are few of the accolades of Neil Patel.

I want to meet him because he is a top-rated marketer. I would love to pick his brain on digital marketing. Also, to tell him to upgrade his webinar software :p (Just Kidding)

Neil Patel
Gary Vaynerchuk

 

Whether I am going through my Instagram feed or surfing YouTube or just listening to the podcast: Gary always motivates and inspire me. One thing that I learned from him is – CRUSH IT

 

4) Byju Raveendran – The Visionary

Byju Raveendran

 

Founded in 2011, BYJU’s has come a long way under the leadership of Byju Raveendran. BYJU’s is a perfect example of building a global business from India. It was Byju Raveendran’s vision that made BYJU’s  #1 in Edtech space throughout the world. It would be really amazing if I got to meet such an accomplished man.

To add more, EdTech giant recently got $540 million in funding and got valued at $3.6 billion. Byju’s is set to use the fresh funding to build new products and aggressively expand in international markets.

Taso Du Val

 

Taso Du Val CEO of Toptal is one person that I am very eager to meet. As a remote work advocate myself, it always excites me whenever I hear someone talk about remote work. As they say “Surround yourself with those on the same mission as you,” it would be great if I could have a chat with Taso on the future of work.

Well here is my list but what about you? I am sure you have a similar list of people that inspire and motivates you, let me know who all you are on your list.

How In My 3rd Attempt, I Succeeded at Running a Marathon

How In My 3rd Attempt, I Succeeded at Running a Marathon

When you consider your life as a whole, it is bound to be full of ups and downs and in a lot of ways that is the essence of life. In a lifetime where you haven’t failed at all is one where you haven’t tried anything new at all. That is something alarming. Anytime you think of taking a risk; it is given that there is a solid chance of failure at the end. But you still got to do it, not just for the sake of experiencing things but for the need to get ahead. Learning is achieved through failures and downfalls. The will to stand back up and keep going at it is what defines your character.


The Back Story


Completing a full-length marathon has always been a pipedream for me, and at a certain point 
of time, I decided I was going materialize and worked towards realizing it. I started working towards the ultimate goal and completed a half marathon in October 2016. The success probably got to me as I decided on an impulse to go for a full marathon within just two months. The glory was perhaps what I was eyeing, and I failed to see the bigger picture – the training and back-end work one has to put up before being confident about my readiness to run. Needless to say, I wasn’t able to complete it that year.

Fast forward a year – in 2017 I was now determined to overcome all my shortcomings from the previous year. But what I completely overlooked was one of the most essential elements – Discipline! Training for a marathon requires a lot of strength training and conditioning, almost as much if not more than the actual run. I started training quite late and then haphazardly. One important thing to remember when you are training for anything the way is to go step by step. You run 10 miles on one day; then you cannot possibly expect to do 20 miles next week. It is always a gradual process, requiring daily efforts. The old tale of a hare and tortoise tells us to win races by being slow and steady, but I took the rabbit’s way. I went in it hard and fast and ended up hurting my knee just a few shy of the race day. The wait extended by a year!

“Why do we fall? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” -Batman Begins (2005)

The Current Scenario


The third time around and that is this year; I had learned a lot from the previous debacles. I was now determined to go beyond, cross all the obstacles and reach the destination. It was now time to take up the gauntlet and knock it of the park. This time, the training began much earlier, as planned. I went in one step at a time, progressing towards my aim one day at a time. The training gradually starts growing on you till one day it’s like an addiction. All you have to do is stay consistent, be persistent and see the progress. Every day, you have to work a little harder to go an extra minute. You can achieve that, and you will make progress for sure.

How to Stay Motivated and Prepared

  • Building a Peer Group –

Around this time, building a peer group of like-minded runners is very helpful. These peers are not only to push when you think you cannot go any further, but also to keep you motivated enough till and during the race day. Healthy competition is necessary to inch closer and closer to your goal.

  • Set Clear Goals –

Another thing that has to be taken care of is to have a clear goal in your mind, a goal that has to be specific and achievable too. There is a thin line between achievable and going too easy. Going easy will just make you lose all your tempo, but a challenge tough to achieve but achievable nonetheless is something worth going the distance for.

  • Social Pressure Helps –

Another thing that helped was social pressure. This year, I made a public announcement that I’ll be completing the upcoming full-length marathon. The heat of the moment announcement but it somehow build enough social pressure around me. Social pressure that helped me to keep going and kept me from quitting midway. I had to prove myself and show the world!

The Day of Showdown

After tireless hours of training, the day came. The day I was going to prove myself.

The nervousness was evident in the air on the day of the run. Thousands just like me had come there to run. Some were there to prove a point, others just for the fun of it while a certain section was made up of people who ran as a habit and didn’t want to know otherwise. The race began, and I consciously controlled my nerves. In my excitement, I would have gone too fast at first and then would exhaust myself at the 20th mile or so. I was well aware that this was the rubber match for me and the marathon. This time, I was determined to conquer!

During the run, you have to have some sort of motivation. There are a lot of ways to do that – music, talking to your peers, self- talk, etc. Self-talk is very necessary for such situations. Very often, our brain gives up way before our body actually has to. This result is human beings giving up way before their capacity. Our body is capable of going amazing lengths and staying unaffected; we are just scared to test it. Self-talk helps you tune out everyone else and focus on your own physical being.

“It ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” -Rocky Balboa (2006)


finished the race my third time. Isn’t it said that third time’s the charm? I sure do agree with it now. The satisfaction of finally finishing it was a bit overwhelming, to be honest. When you finally accomplish a task, there is this feeling of completion and the knowledge that you don’t have to work towards achieving it again from tomorrow. However, you become more than determined to get even better the next time around.


Conclusion

While running, you realize that once you are going at your absolute peak, the outcome is not going to affect you at all. Whether you finish or not, you start enjoying the moment. And at the moment, results and outcomes hardly matter. The only thing that matters is having fun, giving your absolute best and enjoying the process. For the final eventuality may last forever, but the journey is always the one that stays etched in memories.

Five Ways I’ve Tried To Thank My International Clients

Five Ways I’ve Tried To Thank My International Clients

 

Winter is Coming! The end is here! Well, instead of white walkers, the end of a fantastic year is coming.

 

Yep, it’s that time of the year where we look back at all the fantastic memories we made and the people we met. It’s also that time of the year where we send the year-end greetings to our valued clients. It is a tradition and a ritual that we follow every year in order to tell our clients how great it is to be connected with them and how important they are to us. It’s our way of expressing gratitude and appreciation.

Since it’s our yearly tradition, we have always tried to experiment with newer and effective ways. This post accounts on how we have sent different gifts from India to the USA and the gaffes that have happened with international shipments.

Before starting on any such exercise make sure that you have the right address and contact details of your customers. Sending an email asking the same is ok, rather than delivering on a wrong address later. Even if you have the address from their website or signature, it is advised to double check. Once that is done, you can think about innovative ideas to make holidays even better for your clients.

 

1. Getting Some Self-Made/Customized Stuff Across:

 

 

Team Selfie

 

For us, it is imperative to get that feeling of belongingness across to our clients and what’s better than sending hand-written customized notes right? Accompanied by a project-specific team picture just to add a cherry on top of the cake.

This is a fantastic idea, right? What could go wrong one must wonder?

Well, we used a company for the same that had an app to put across handwritten notes and ship them via UPS. What we learned the hard way is to go for receipt option so that you know whether it’s delivered or not. If untracked, you just don’t know which packets got delivered and which ones did not.

 

2. Sending The Essence Of Your Culture:

Essence Of Your Culture

 

If a handwritten note is not your style, you must have thought that sending something which symbolizes your culture would be a good option. Like sending something which isn’t really available in your clients country, could be an excellent way to connect and exchange culture with them. One of the years, we chose to send handmade elephants to our clients.

We chose to ship internationally from India. The delivery rate was high but the cost of shipping every item was way higher than the cost of the product.
Lesson learned – Take shipping cost into account while you plan.

 

3. Sending Gift Box Through Amazon:

sweets

 

Let’s go with a simple method of sending a gift box using Amazon, well why not? right. Amazon has basically everything. Yep, Last year we tried this too and found that our clients received the gift boxes unlike the case when we sent from UPS, but we had chosen gift wrap option and we figured out that most clients did not see our name on the box. This meant they didn’t know who sent these gift boxes to them. It was only after we asked our clients later on how they liked our gift, they told us that they realize it now that it was us. The chocolates were delicious though, they reported.

 

4. Gift Cards Are A Good Option:

 

Amazon Gifts

 

Gift cards are good, who doesn’t like gift cards right?

We have discovered them to be nice and easy to send over option. While sending gift cards, make sure of certain things like –

*Making sure that there is ample amount of time to avail the offer.
*Making sure that the offer you are providing is accessible in their country.

 

5. If nothing else is possible, A Simple Email Greeting Can Go A Long Way:

 

It’s the end of the year and a holiday season; it is entirely possible that your clients have already gone out of office. Now, what to do? A simple email greeting would be best in cases like these. Moreover, many time clients are juggling with different phases like changing office or going on a long holiday and they may also prefer virtual greetings.

Year-end greetings are a great way to express gratitude and importance towards the client. It’s a way to appreciate people who were a part of your journey throughout the year.

Well, a lot of effort does go into planning and working out gifts for clients- the special people of your company. Here is a quick glimpse of us working out on the same this year –

 

 

 

What are some year-end greetings and gifts that you have sent to people? Did you also face any issue? Let us know.

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

Why StartupFest Montreal Is Poised To Grow?

Why StartupFest Montreal Is Poised To Grow?

Startupfest

Being at the StartupFest for the last 4 days have been no less than an exhilarating experience. I have been to many fests but there are some things that StartupFest did differently and that’s the reason Phil can be relied on with the promise he made – StartupFest is going to get bigger and better next year.

Here are 4 things that I appreciate the team for:

A. Seamlessness:

Having a fest with 500+ speakers and 8 stages running in parallel is not an easy task. Well, the fest not only adheres to timelines every time, the switch from one focus to another was really seamless.

B. Multiple tracks:

There was something for everyone – AI, Blockchain, Cannabis Tech, startups, anything that you could be thinking, there was a related stage. You had multiple accelerators, investor zone, 4 major startup pitch competition with the 100K prize won by InVivo AI.

C. Great Food:

No fest is complete without great food and drinks. Got to see great food trucks with varieties of all types. For 2 days of the fest, the drinks were on the house as well. The breakfast options were laid out well.

D. BrainDate:

One of the reasons to love the fest was BrainDate, a dedicated lounge area which could be accessed for meeting with fellow participants. BrainDate helped find the right people to meet one-on-one to share knowledge and learn from the right participants. You could share out topics of your interest and fellow interested participants could book a time with you.

 

All along, great fest with fun people. Love Montreal !!!

Denver to become top startup city

Denver to become top startup city

Why I count Denver to become one of the top startup cities in coming years

 

Denver to become top startup city

As I landed in Denver last week, I could not help but notice pet dogs all around on the roads (No surprise that on the flight from DC to Denver there were at least 2 women traveling with their dogs). I checked into my Airbnb house; I got to see a goat and a chicken as well in the backyard.


Well, I love the idea of animals in the house, it’s just that having lived in NYC or SF, you are not used to such luxuries. Welcome to Denver – A city amidst mountains and blessed with great sunshine.

Over the days I realized how Denver had blended burgeoning tech ecosystem with great quality of life (Think great outdoor activities, ski resorts, cheap housing, and great friendly folks)

Here are a few things that stood out for me and make me feel that Denver is a city to look up to:

 

  1. Easy to go around:
    Most of the companies in Denver are around the Downtown area and it is easily walkable or bikeable. I never witnessed any long jam and in fact, enjoyed my walks around parks.
  2. Friendly people:
    Something that stood out with most Coloradans was humility and simplicity. Whether I was speaking with Chris Franks or Josh Churlik (guys credited with building Denver Founders) or the meeting with founders such as Jim Turner, Nicholas Gardner, Brian Borg everyone gave me their time and attention.
  3. Events all around:
    I got a chance to present RemotePanda at 1MC (Courtesy Jef Reisig and Jessica Kinney), and at the Denver Founders Pitch (This is a 90 seconds pitch event). I also met the StartupGrind Denver Director- Doug Thorner and attended a workshop on negotiations.
  4. Incubators and WorkSpaces:
    Denver is brimming up with cool co-working spaces. Some notable mentions that I was able to visit are Spark, Industry, Galvanize. The Commons is a free space for startups backed by the government.
RemotePanda presenting at 1MC Denver
RemotePanda presenting at Denver Founders Pitch
RemotePanda at Spark co-working space

Conclusion

In all, it was a great week spent in Denver with plenty to take away. Many names do not get mentioned here but it is just due to lack of space and of course, no one would want to read through a cast list. I got to spent only an evening in Boulder due to limited time but I believe I should be back soon and be able to absorb more of Boulder next time I am in Colorado.

A big Thank you to all the guys in Denver who took out time to meet me and act as ambassadors of the city’s thriving startup ecosystem. You guys are doing amazing.

Birth of RemotePanda — What made me invest my time in this idea

Birth of RemotePanda — What made me invest my time in this idea

Once upon a time, a newbie called Jon decided to start his own company. He had an innovative idea, some hard earned cash and blind faith in hiring market. He was so naive, when someone told him, platforms like Upwork, Freelancers is the easiest and the best way to find people who can help him develop his idea, he just fell for it. He didn’t know what to look, how to look, what to ask, whom to ask. Well, basically “he knew nothing”. All he “supposedly” knew was that these platforms would connect him to the right people. So, he decided to use their service by putting all his money and faith in the hands of some strangers. One doesn’t need to be an expert in the field to guess what would have happened next, right?

Now, let me tell you another story- the story of Robb.

Robb in this story was an experienced guy and yes, he knew everything. For his startup endeavor, he wanted to hire some talented guys. As it was a startup, he had limited resources at hand to spend so he decided to look for remote talent. Now, please note that he knew what to look, how to look, what to ask, whom to ask. He followed traditional remote hiring process and found a “great team” called Team Bolton. He decided to partner up with Bolton, and the journey started. Days passed by, everything was going well until they faced some technical challenge. Bolton’s are supposed to be expert to address such type of challenges so, Robb asked them to take care of it. But, they backed out and told him that it’s not part of the contract and can’t work on the issue within the current budget. Well, what could have gone wrong here!? I mean, for this type of challenges Robb decided to hire them in the first place, they were the experts, they knew Robb has a limited budget but still, they decided to accompany Robb in his journey and when the hard time came they stabbed him through the heart. Sad ending, isn’t it?

Well, Jon and Robb are not the only ones here. There are lots of Jons and Robbs who are out there looking for talented people but not able to find the right one.

 

What could be the reason?

Some may say it’s Service providers fault, some may say it’s employer’s fault and some may say it’s the marketplace that needs to improve their vetting process. In my opinion, if one has to play blame game then everyone is at fault here but if you really try to understand the real issue then you will realize that the traditional remote hiring process is the real culprit and we need to fix it.

 

Why not me?

Before we started building RemotePanda, I met more than 150 startup CEOs from 10 different cities such as SF, Boston, Houston etc. I discussed with them what I had in my mind, understood their point of view, collected their feedback and the conclusion I drew was simple, ‘They Demanded Quality’.

And that’s exactly what we are offering. What I realized from my interaction with all those startup founders is that if we tweak the traditional process a bit then maybe we can solve challenges like quality plus we can improve success rate multi-fold.

 

How are we doing it?

1.Have a captain in place:

Rather than just being someone who just introduces (in that case you could have just found people from Upwork/Linkedin) we remain part of the contract throughout the lifetime of the project and be invested in the project. We want to free employer/project owner from the headache of managing people.

2.Quality Watch Dogs:

We want to maintain quality, transparency and seamless experience for everyone. We make sure that expectations are set from each side from the beginning by quantifying the deliverable.

3.Friend, guide and helping hand in need:

We assign a dedicated personal assistant for employer/ project owner who will be their guide at every stage helping them with setting goals, timelines, etc. He/she is the one who basically makes things happen and acts as the bridge between stakeholders.

4.Learning and Education:

We invest part of fees that employer/ project owner pay to us into skill development of talent they hire.

5.Team visit:

We sponsor a visit between employer/ project owner and their remote team every six months.

6.Escrow Billing:

We support Escrow billing and release the money to the service provider only after quality work is delivered.

We are powered by Startup Grind Pune and all the freelancers, agencies, remote teams are associated with us are close network connections. In order to give personalized experience, we have kept our talent pool limited to Pune ecosystem.

We are currently in closed beta and testing our model with selected few employer/ project owners. We have made good progress so far and all the current users have positive feedback about RemotePanda service.

I’m not claiming that this model is gonna solve all the problems but at least address the 3 main challenges in remote work viz. expectations, communication, and feedback. I believe if we are able to implement things the right way, we’ll definitely able to fix the broken process to some extent. 

Let’s hope for the best. Fingers crossed.