Nasscom Product Conclave takeaways

Here are few of my primary takeaways from the event in no particular order..

1. Vivek Wadhwa live..

This one’s obvious. I’ve been a fan of his research and his thoughts for quite some time now. It was great to have his presence there. The sheer candid nature and knowledge of the man is fantastic. He’s not always correct, but the good thing is.. he doesn’t try to be.

2. “Company needs a different management team when its $5M than when it is $500M. Sometimes you have to let people go.”

As an Entrepreneur, you need to be rational about your decisions about your organization. Can’t be very emotional about it. This statement was courtesy Sharat Saran, CEO ON24

3. “Selling is a major function for Entrepreneurs.”

Its not an option really. Entrepreneurs have to be good at selling their idea. If not, should learn it. Replacing this deficiency by hiring a VP-Sales is not a good option at all.

4. “Never sell wrong stuff to people.”

Absolutely. Do not sell people what they don’t need. This model is not scalable. At times, it is better to say “Our product doesn’t really fit your requirement.” If you’re nice enough you can follow up by saying “Here are a few products which can help you with your need… “. You’re building lot of credibility and trust for yourself.

5. “Every employee is your salesperson.”

Every interface that your company has with external world leaves impression. Impressions about your company, people and product. Its essential that every employee of yours understands the true values of your company and exhibits that in his interactions.

6. “Indians have a higher chance of success at their venture”

Since Indians are flexible to change and accomodate/adjust to situations relatively more easily to their western counterparts, the chances of them achieving success is fairly high. Only thing keeping them from it is giving it a shot.

Pitch the dream, not the job!!

Startup hiring is one of the most interesting and humane part of the whole starting up experience. Not something that companies do very well, though.

I’ve seen startup founders feel very apologetic when discussing career options with an employed person. The discussions go like “We wouldn’t be able to pay your current salary”, etc. etc.

Once you’re apologetic yourself, think of what the other guy thinks of you. I’ve been in such situations myself and can say that they’re not the most comfortable situations to be in.

Let’s change the scene a bit.

Founder pitch:

I can offer you a “life changing experience” which your current job is not capable of.

What I have to offer is the “thrill, dynamism, new identity” which your current job cannot provide.

Think of an environment “non-bureaucratic, filled with energy, enthusiasm, challenge, camaraderie”.. Think of us.

And guess what.. I’m paying you for all this.

I mean.. yeah.. why should you be apologetic about offering a lifetime opportunity..

Sell the dream.. Pitch the prospects.. not just the job.

[Shameless self-promotion]

Wanna join us at Orbis.. Send me a mail at satyan[at] with details of yourself (less fluff, more code..) Thanks.

Don’t just sit there..

This post is for programmers and managers who believe that spending more time on the project (in the office) is directly proportional to productivity of the programmer.  Ok.. I’ll break a secret here.. “IT’S NOT”. Obviously you need to be in front of a computer to type, but the similarity with programming just ends there.

Here are few misconceptions by managers:

1. A programmer can produce more lines of code if he’s working on the project.

Probably true (if he’s programming at all). But more lines of code IS NOT necessarily what software needs. There are many other metrics which define productivity and ‘lines of code’ doesn’t really feature there. In fact its the other way around.

2. Programmer is available for status updates and meetings.

If one requires programmers to be around just for this reason, there are better ways to do it. Read about Scrum, offline status updates, etc. One argument is discussing technical issues with other programmers. That is true but can be done without extended hours too.

3. One is more committed to success of the project.

This one is completely WRONG. There are many factors that determine the success of project. Project execution, Team bonding, Effective communication… Spending time is not. A programmer can be doing lot of things right, with a long term view.. producing readable and highly maintainable code.

Ok. So what should programmers do with their time?

Utilize portion of your working time honing your skills and updating on getting more productive. Here are a few simple things you can do:

Productivity Tips for Programmers