Categories
Philosophy Productivity

Remote Work

All knowledge workers should work remotely now.

Forever, not just for this pandemic.

If you use computer to do your work, you should work remotely (preferably home or a closest coworking space).

You should let industrial workers, medical professionals, local businesses, or anyone who absolutely needs to be in physical space, give a priority.

It isn’t about a preference or convenience.

It is about being responsible and doing the right thing.

It isn’t just about social distancing and being cautious and prepared for another pandemic.

It’s about getting back the 5-10% time of our life we waste in commuting.

Less people on the road means:

Less or no commute time for everyone.

Less stress, neck and back pain, headaches, and accidents.

Less pollution and fuel consumption.

And more importantly – more time for family, exercise, cooking, and hobbies.

Categories
Startup Entrepreneurship SaaS

There is No Plan B

When I was doing customer-development and searching for a co-founder for Avoma, people often asked me – “Are trying to throw this idea on a wall and see if it sticks?”

I hated that question.

There was no Plan B for Avoma.

I strongly believed in the problem with extensive customer research and the gap in the market.

I had a point of view to solve this problem and an ambitious vision of what the world would look like in 5-10 years.

I left the high-salaried full-time job without having a co-founder for 6 months, without having a prototype, or any sort of commitment and clarity on any milestone.

I never doubted my vision and the opportunity even though we had very (I mean really “very”) highly-funded competitors.

We had many investors rejected us because we had “many” highly-funded competitors who had already launched and were ahead of us in the market.

There is not even a single day since Avoma’s inception I ever thought about a Plan B.

There is no Plan B.

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Sales Startup

I Have Fallen In Love with Selling

I’m an engineer by training. But have fallen in love with selling.

Here is why.

Selling is personal. Share your stories. Be vulnerable.

Selling is interpersonal. Meet new people. Build relationships.

Selling is collaborative. Get help from colleagues. Strategize with the team.

Selling is disciplined. Be consistent. Make and keep promises.

Selling is scientific. Follow the process. Learn from the best.

Selling is artistic. Be creative and solve problems. Make it unique.

Selling is hard. Face many rejections. Persevere until you succeed.

Selling is addictive. Win one, two, ten. Keep winning more.

Selling is rewarding. Create impact. Make companies successful.

Selling is mysterious. Wonder why it worked. Diagnose why it didn’t work.

Categories
Philosophy Productivity

Meeting Participants’ State of Mind

There are a lot of folks who are experiencing video meetings a.k.a. Zoom fatigue with the new normal of working remotely.

What if you get asked – “How do you feel?” before and after each meeting? 🤔

It needs to be a very lightweight approach to capture each participant’s “state of mind”.

Before the meeting, you can select one of the options:
Great: Well-prepared, well-rested, excited, or calm.
Meh: Not prepared, overwhelmed, tired, or distracted.
Worse: Sad, angry, depressed, sick, or injured.

And after the meeting, you can select one of the options:
Great: Inspired, hopeful, confident, or decisive.
Meh: Confused, hopeless, doubtful, overwhelmed, or distracted.
Worse: Angry, unhappy, lost, frustrated, or sad.

In Avoma, we already capture each meeting’s “Purpose” and “Outcome” to track meeting level success.

But this is taking it to the next level and understanding each participant’s success.

It would be interesting to capture participants’ feedback over a certain period and see how it affects meetings’ outcomes and employee satisfaction.

What do you think? Would you like to track this?

How could it be helpful for you as an individual and your team?

Categories
Entrepreneurship Startup

How Do You Hire for Passion?

In the previous post, I shared one of the hiring mistakes we did at Avoma that we hired for skills and not for passion.

But the question is still unanswered, how do you hire for passion in early-stage startups?

If I want to hire for passion in the future, I’ll ask these two questions:

1. What are your passions? (So clichéd 😊)

The goal is not to understand “what” their passion is, but “how” they talk about it.

Their passion could be about literature, painting, sports, etc. and not necessarily about early-stage startups.

But you can judge how passionately they talk about their passion, how deep they go, how do they find time to work on their passion, etc.

2. Do you have any side hustles?

The goal is to understand if they have the ambition to turn their passion into an additional income source.

It indicates their resourcefulness and creativity.

And that’s why they might have a higher chance of being more successful and instrumental in early-stage startups.

Do you agree? Is there anything that you would consider?

Categories
Entrepreneurship SaaS Startup

Hiring for Passion, Not for Skills

In Nov 2019, we were a team of 7 people at Avoma, then by Jan 2020, we were a team of 13 people, and then by Mar 2020, we were 10 people again.

And no, these reductions are not due to COVID, but what I believe is due to passion (or lack of it).

Early-stage startups are a different beast (note, I didn’t say “hard”).

They require a different level of combination of skills and passion.

I think the mistake we made was – we primarily hired for skills and experience on resume.

But we didn’t hire for passion and grit.

We can teach new skills, product knowledge, subject domain, strategies, tactics, etc.

But I don’t think we can teach passion, drive, or grit.

I believe we should hire for passion and grit.

And then bridge the gap for skills and domain knowledge if there is any.

Categories
SaaS Sales

Playing Chess and Selling

My 8-year old daughter has learned to play Chess during this quarantine to keep the screen time under control. 😀

So I’ve been playing Chess with her pretty much every day and realized how similar it is to Selling.

As a Chess player and as a Salesperson, you have to:

1. Think several moves ahead

2. Have a game plan

3. Follow the steps, and not play for a quick win

4. Be flexible with your plan and adjust the course as per new scenarios

5. Learn from others’ game plans and strategies

6. Practice, practice, and more practice with different types of players

7. Play with confident body language

8. Be patient, resilient, and still stay sharp

The only thing that’s different is – in Chess, another person is your opponent.

In Sales, you and prospect are on the same team.

So in Chess, you aim for a win.

In Sales, you aim for a win-win.

Categories
Entrepreneurship Marketing Philosophy Product Management SaaS Sales Startup

Know More

What separates a great salesperson from a good one?

It’s the same thing for a marketer, copywriter, engineer, lawyer, surgeon, and many others.

They know more.

There are only 3 ways they can know more:
1. They have more experience
2. They seek more knowledge
3. They continuously apply their knowledge

1. The hack to gain more experience at less age is to be more curious and take risks to work at small-scale companies.

The first job I got in 2002 after college was with one of India’s largest IT providers – Infosys.

I left it in 8 months, took a 40% pay cut, and went to work for a 100 person company.

2. The hack to seek more knowledge is to have a growth mindset and devour as many books and training as possible on the subject matter.

I’m an engineer by education, but people get surprised by how much I know about UX Design principles, Sales methodologies, or Copywriting.

All credit goes to reading a lot of books and taking online courses.

3. The hack to apply more knowledge is to try more in your day job but also do side hustles.

The only way I became an SW engineer from an HW engineer, or a product manager from an engineer, or a salesperson from a PM is – my side hustles.

So invest in yourself and know more than others.

Categories
Product Management SaaS Sales

The Extra Effort Commitment

When we had launched Avoma, we allowed anyone to sign-up with their personal email address to try it out.

But now we stopped doing that and have added more friction. Here is why…

It’s about “The Extra Effort” they have to take to demonstrate their commitment.

With the previous approach, people were not committed.

We would follow-up with them, but they would not reply.

Neither they used Avoma actively, nor they bought it.

That makes sense, as they didn’t have any meetings on their personal calendar.

They just wanted to “check it out.”

And we had many competitors also who signed up with their personal or random email addresses “to get inspiration”. 👀😀

And it was our mistake in the first place to keep it open.

But it’s better late than never.

We finally decided to block signups from personal email addresses.

Yes, we are going to piss-off a few people and disappoint them.

Yes, we are adding more friction to the user experience.

But we want people who are willing to take that “extra effort of commitment” with Avoma.

If you sign up with your work email address, we will strive to deliver the best possible experience for you.

Sometimes you have to add more friction to provide the best experience to the right customers.

Categories
Marketing Sales

No ‟link in the comment” for LinkedIn posts

Isn’t it a frustrating experience when people share their main message in the Post area and link in the Comment area?

Hey, CEOs, Sales and Marketing leaders, and LinkedIn influencers – I have a few questions for you.

You say you’re customer-centric.

You say you strive to deliver the best customer experience.

But your customers are your prospects first, who are your LinkedIn connections.

Why don’t you strive to deliver a better experience for your LinkedIn connections?

Why do you ask me to read something in your post and then keep searching for a link in the Comment area?

LinkedIn is stupid to encourage such behavior.

But just because they didn’t fix this issue, why are you taking advantage of this situation?

Where is “don’t be evil” or “being right” value?

I’ve made this mistake too.

I’ve fallen into the trap of LinkedIn hacks.

But not anymore.

I’ve decided not to share any post with “link in the comment” hack.

Even though it means it comes at the cost of not getting more visibility.

Let’s do the right thing.