As an entrepreneur, should you set firm hours for yourself? Do weekends exist?

 

I have picked up this from Quora.More relevant for us Indians as we end up working seven days a week and all waking hours.

Tags: Breaks., Holidays., Sabbaticals., Working, hours.

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Nope, no hours, no weekends.... just work for the passion and love of creating something. Switch off when u feel like its too much and jump back in.

Entrepreneurs dont work - they celebrate, and so when was celebration a timed event?
Gaurang - You may like this:

Almost every other day I get an odd mail from someone in a B-School or working in a corporate job wanting to ‘start-up’.  I am polite to all of them saying ‘think again’ but I am now inspired to write the ‘FURNACE’ test. Take this if you are in a start-up state of mind.

F = Format

Are you a ‘format’ type of guy or gal? Someone who lives by dos and don’ts and ‘this rule’ and ‘that theory’? If yes, just abandon even the dream of starting-up. It will be a nightmare. You need to be re-formatable- like a hard disk. In my dad’s socks factory, I took on an export order that could be profitable only if I bought ‘unfinished’ yarn and then did something at my end to make the sock look wearable. My factory floor manager of 30 years freaked out. He whispered to my dad that we were doomed. The yarn I had bought was twisting and turning because it was unfinished. I knit 30 pairs of socks with that yarn and did everything conceivable to make the twisting stop, until I hit bull’s eye – washing the socks! (Much later I found out that the last processing of that yarn was washing and they charged 20% premium for it).

Be ready to make a ppt in the cab – or speak extempore. Don’t live in a format.

U = Ultrarian.

Forget being a contrarian – how ‘ultrarian’ are you? Are you ‘ultra’ everything? Passionate, never saying it’s over, working on Sunday like it was a Monday, being able to cry with tears when you miss a deal? Putting work before family?

Start-up entrepreneurs are Ultrarians. They take their passion to the limit and sometimes that hurts.

My second daughter was born on a Sunday, and I told my wife as I drove her to the hospital that this kid was a ‘practical’ one. She didn’t care to hear what I said. On the Tuesday my wife was to come home, I wasn’t around. I was signing my first term sheet of my life and Neeraj Bhargava (E-Ventures) and I were putting our pens to paper at the Oberoi Lobby. My wife never forgave me for this. And let me confess that I am guilty of my action.

R = Ravenous.

Start Up entrepreneurs are not hungry – they are ravenous and starving. They are GREEDY – and I use this word in Capitals because most of us are taught not to be greedy. I contest that. The biggest wins in the world come from entrepreneurs who are starving - Steve Job’s hunger is to create art forms in hardware and the Google founders to make everything so easily discoverable.

I remember making a fervent non-stop marketing pitch at the L’Oreal office in India a few years ago. The marketing head – Ashwin Rajagopal (a close friend) at the end of my long non-stop pitching asked – ‘Alok – oh my god - why will you do all this for us’? I looked at him and said ‘to become rich’!!  There was the deadly silence in the room – they did not come across hungry, ravenous and starving entrepreneurs often.

N – Naïve.

Being uniformed can be the best blessing as a start-up entrepreneur. In IIMs and MBA colleges I usually get asked by the students out there will become great entrepreneurs and my honest answer is ‘NO’ (thank god I haven’t been hit by an egg or a tomato yet).

I think the world has changed so rapidly now, that textbook case studies are not relevant. Companies peak out in 5-10 years & that’s just about the time they would become a formal case study. Also, is this is relevant for a start-up?  Typically you are trying to do something that has never been done before – so who could have written about it?

When I began pitching contests2win, the ad gurus in agencies I met, said, ‘bad idea’ – you don’t know marketing or positioning or Maslow’s hierarchy. You are not an MBA and have not worked in a marketing function before. I nodded and never met them again. Instead I went and met 4509 brand owners in the next 10 years (Just counted the count of visiting cards I have) and convinced them that consumers (LIKE ME) – wanted to win free stuff by playing a contest, and a brand could benefit in that interactive process.  They all agreed and we created an industry that never existed before. I was naïve and I won.

A = All hands on Deck

Will you sweep you company’s floor? Will you be the receptionist? Can you hand out your start up’s fliers in a mall?

Start-up entrepreneurs usually do everything - simply because there aren’t others to do stuff for you! Also, this gives you a bottom up perspective of each and every process of your operation. You have to be all hands on deck.

During contests2win first few months, I could not afford an office boy. So, at the end of the day I used to drive and drop of the prize consignments to the local courier office. One day, the clerk said ‘Sir I have to ask you a question that’s been bothering me – You drive in an Opel car to come here and yet drop packages yourself’? I chuckled and said to myself – the car is a family gift to me and I have gifted myself a start-up!!

C = Captain

Are you a leader? I’m not asking a question that appears on the covers of those books you see in Airport bookshops. A captain is not only the guy who dies when the ship sinks. He also assembles teams, motivates armies and gets drunk with his men.

This is important. Can you fire someone without remorse? Can you shout and scream? If you can’t, that’s fine – get a co-founder who can and become ‘co-captain’. One of you will have to be the toughest SOB that ever existed.

One of my favorite Captain tricks is to arrive in packed conference rooms, sit right at the back and then ask the first question of the floor. It takes guts. Why? It gets my company noticed since I announce my Company and myself before asking the question. If I am not on the panel, I still leverage the panel. I play Captain even if it’s not my ship.

E – Excited and Excitable

Even today, a 2000 US$ game license or media buy gets me excited like a kid getting a chocolate bar. I walk around, get a coffee or just start making conversation with colleagues. I get the same high that I used to get 10 years back.

You have to be excited about your business and company and also be excitable so that your teams visibly know what makes you happy and strive to deliver to see you jump up and down!!


I really appreciate the FURNACE rule. I identify with 80% of it while going through my startup. My current company is 4 years old so I don't consider it startup but rules still apply. One thing I understood is that an entrepreneur is always and should be in statup mode. After your reply my question almost sounded rhetoric.

 

BTW I have seen closely your socks factory and you working in it.


Alok 'Rodinhood' Kejriwal said:

Gaurang - You may like this:

Almost every other day I get an odd mail from someone in a B-School or working in a corporate job wanting to ‘start-up’.  I am polite to all of them saying ‘think again’ but I am now inspired to write the ‘FURNACE’ test. Take this if you are in a start-up state of mind.

F = Format

Are you a ‘format’ type of guy or gal? Someone who lives by dos and don’ts and ‘this rule’ and ‘that theory’? If yes, just abandon even the dream of starting-up. It will be a nightmare. You need to be re-formatable- like a hard disk. In my dad’s socks factory, I took on an export order that could be profitable only if I bought ‘unfinished’ yarn and then did something at my end to make the sock look wearable. My factory floor manager of 30 years freaked out. He whispered to my dad that we were doomed. The yarn I had bought was twisting and turning because it was unfinished. I knit 30 pairs of socks with that yarn and did everything conceivable to make the twisting stop, until I hit bull’s eye – washing the socks! (Much later I found out that the last processing of that yarn was washing and they charged 20% premium for it).

Be ready to make a ppt in the cab – or speak extempore. Don’t live in a format.

U = Ultrarian.

Forget being a contrarian – how ‘ultrarian’ are you? Are you ‘ultra’ everything? Passionate, never saying it’s over, working on Sunday like it was a Monday, being able to cry with tears when you miss a deal? Putting work before family?

Start-up entrepreneurs are Ultrarians. They take their passion to the limit and sometimes that hurts.

My second daughter was born on a Sunday, and I told my wife as I drove her to the hospital that this kid was a ‘practical’ one. She didn’t care to hear what I said. On the Tuesday my wife was to come home, I wasn’t around. I was signing my first term sheet of my life and Neeraj Bhargava (E-Ventures) and I were putting our pens to paper at the Oberoi Lobby. My wife never forgave me for this. And let me confess that I am guilty of my action.

R = Ravenous.

Start Up entrepreneurs are not hungry – they are ravenous and starving. They are GREEDY – and I use this word in Capitals because most of us are taught not to be greedy. I contest that. The biggest wins in the world come from entrepreneurs who are starving - Steve Job’s hunger is to create art forms in hardware and the Google founders to make everything so easily discoverable.

I remember making a fervent non-stop marketing pitch at the L’Oreal office in India a few years ago. The marketing head – Ashwin Rajagopal (a close friend) at the end of my long non-stop pitching asked – ‘Alok – oh my god - why will you do all this for us’? I looked at him and said ‘to become rich’!!  There was the deadly silence in the room – they did not come across hungry, ravenous and starving entrepreneurs often.

N – Naïve.

Being uniformed can be the best blessing as a start-up entrepreneur. In IIMs and MBA colleges I usually get asked by the students out there will become great entrepreneurs and my honest answer is ‘NO’ (thank god I haven’t been hit by an egg or a tomato yet).

I think the world has changed so rapidly now, that textbook case studies are not relevant. Companies peak out in 5-10 years & that’s just about the time they would become a formal case study. Also, is this is relevant for a start-up?  Typically you are trying to do something that has never been done before – so who could have written about it?

When I began pitching contests2win, the ad gurus in agencies I met, said, ‘bad idea’ – you don’t know marketing or positioning or Maslow’s hierarchy. You are not an MBA and have not worked in a marketing function before. I nodded and never met them again. Instead I went and met 4509 brand owners in the next 10 years (Just counted the count of visiting cards I have) and convinced them that consumers (LIKE ME) – wanted to win free stuff by playing a contest, and a brand could benefit in that interactive process.  They all agreed and we created an industry that never existed before. I was naïve and I won.

A = All hands on Deck

Will you sweep you company’s floor? Will you be the receptionist? Can you hand out your start up’s fliers in a mall?

Start-up entrepreneurs usually do everything - simply because there aren’t others to do stuff for you! Also, this gives you a bottom up perspective of each and every process of your operation. You have to be all hands on deck.

During contests2win first few months, I could not afford an office boy. So, at the end of the day I used to drive and drop of the prize consignments to the local courier office. One day, the clerk said ‘Sir I have to ask you a question that’s been bothering me – You drive in an Opel car to come here and yet drop packages yourself’? I chuckled and said to myself – the car is a family gift to me and I have gifted myself a start-up!!

C = Captain

Are you a leader? I’m not asking a question that appears on the covers of those books you see in Airport bookshops. A captain is not only the guy who dies when the ship sinks. He also assembles teams, motivates armies and gets drunk with his men.

This is important. Can you fire someone without remorse? Can you shout and scream? If you can’t, that’s fine – get a co-founder who can and become ‘co-captain’. One of you will have to be the toughest SOB that ever existed.

One of my favorite Captain tricks is to arrive in packed conference rooms, sit right at the back and then ask the first question of the floor. It takes guts. Why? It gets my company noticed since I announce my Company and myself before asking the question. If I am not on the panel, I still leverage the panel. I play Captain even if it’s not my ship.

E – Excited and Excitable

Even today, a 2000 US$ game license or media buy gets me excited like a kid getting a chocolate bar. I walk around, get a coffee or just start making conversation with colleagues. I get the same high that I used to get 10 years back.

You have to be excited about your business and company and also be excitable so that your teams visibly know what makes you happy and strive to deliver to see you jump up and down!!

 

Gaurang - You have seen my Socks Factory??? Really??? please tell me in which context!

Gaurang Bhatt said:


I really appreciate the FURNACE rule. I identify with 80% of it while going through my startup. My current company is 4 years old so I don't consider it startup but rules still apply. One thing I understood is that an entrepreneur is always and should be in statup mode. After your reply my question almost sounded rhetoric.

 

BTW I have seen closely your socks factory and you working in it.


Alok 'Rodinhood' Kejriwal said:

Gaurang - You may like this:

Almost every other day I get an odd mail from someone in a B-School or working in a corporate job wanting to ‘start-up’.  I am polite to all of them saying ‘think again’ but I am now inspired to write the ‘FURNACE’ test. Take this if you are in a start-up state of mind.

F = Format

Are you a ‘format’ type of guy or gal? Someone who lives by dos and don’ts and ‘this rule’ and ‘that theory’? If yes, just abandon even the dream of starting-up. It will be a nightmare. You need to be re-formatable- like a hard disk. In my dad’s socks factory, I took on an export order that could be profitable only if I bought ‘unfinished’ yarn and then did something at my end to make the sock look wearable. My factory floor manager of 30 years freaked out. He whispered to my dad that we were doomed. The yarn I had bought was twisting and turning because it was unfinished. I knit 30 pairs of socks with that yarn and did everything conceivable to make the twisting stop, until I hit bull’s eye – washing the socks! (Much later I found out that the last processing of that yarn was washing and they charged 20% premium for it).

Be ready to make a ppt in the cab – or speak extempore. Don’t live in a format.

U = Ultrarian.

Forget being a contrarian – how ‘ultrarian’ are you? Are you ‘ultra’ everything? Passionate, never saying it’s over, working on Sunday like it was a Monday, being able to cry with tears when you miss a deal? Putting work before family?

Start-up entrepreneurs are Ultrarians. They take their passion to the limit and sometimes that hurts.

My second daughter was born on a Sunday, and I told my wife as I drove her to the hospital that this kid was a ‘practical’ one. She didn’t care to hear what I said. On the Tuesday my wife was to come home, I wasn’t around. I was signing my first term sheet of my life and Neeraj Bhargava (E-Ventures) and I were putting our pens to paper at the Oberoi Lobby. My wife never forgave me for this. And let me confess that I am guilty of my action.

R = Ravenous.

Start Up entrepreneurs are not hungry – they are ravenous and starving. They are GREEDY – and I use this word in Capitals because most of us are taught not to be greedy. I contest that. The biggest wins in the world come from entrepreneurs who are starving - Steve Job’s hunger is to create art forms in hardware and the Google founders to make everything so easily discoverable.

I remember making a fervent non-stop marketing pitch at the L’Oreal office in India a few years ago. The marketing head – Ashwin Rajagopal (a close friend) at the end of my long non-stop pitching asked – ‘Alok – oh my god - why will you do all this for us’? I looked at him and said ‘to become rich’!!  There was the deadly silence in the room – they did not come across hungry, ravenous and starving entrepreneurs often.

N – Naïve.

Being uniformed can be the best blessing as a start-up entrepreneur. In IIMs and MBA colleges I usually get asked by the students out there will become great entrepreneurs and my honest answer is ‘NO’ (thank god I haven’t been hit by an egg or a tomato yet).

I think the world has changed so rapidly now, that textbook case studies are not relevant. Companies peak out in 5-10 years & that’s just about the time they would become a formal case study. Also, is this is relevant for a start-up?  Typically you are trying to do something that has never been done before – so who could have written about it?

When I began pitching contests2win, the ad gurus in agencies I met, said, ‘bad idea’ – you don’t know marketing or positioning or Maslow’s hierarchy. You are not an MBA and have not worked in a marketing function before. I nodded and never met them again. Instead I went and met 4509 brand owners in the next 10 years (Just counted the count of visiting cards I have) and convinced them that consumers (LIKE ME) – wanted to win free stuff by playing a contest, and a brand could benefit in that interactive process.  They all agreed and we created an industry that never existed before. I was naïve and I won.

A = All hands on Deck

Will you sweep you company’s floor? Will you be the receptionist? Can you hand out your start up’s fliers in a mall?

Start-up entrepreneurs usually do everything - simply because there aren’t others to do stuff for you! Also, this gives you a bottom up perspective of each and every process of your operation. You have to be all hands on deck.

During contests2win first few months, I could not afford an office boy. So, at the end of the day I used to drive and drop of the prize consignments to the local courier office. One day, the clerk said ‘Sir I have to ask you a question that’s been bothering me – You drive in an Opel car to come here and yet drop packages yourself’? I chuckled and said to myself – the car is a family gift to me and I have gifted myself a start-up!!

C = Captain

Are you a leader? I’m not asking a question that appears on the covers of those books you see in Airport bookshops. A captain is not only the guy who dies when the ship sinks. He also assembles teams, motivates armies and gets drunk with his men.

This is important. Can you fire someone without remorse? Can you shout and scream? If you can’t, that’s fine – get a co-founder who can and become ‘co-captain’. One of you will have to be the toughest SOB that ever existed.

One of my favorite Captain tricks is to arrive in packed conference rooms, sit right at the back and then ask the first question of the floor. It takes guts. Why? It gets my company noticed since I announce my Company and myself before asking the question. If I am not on the panel, I still leverage the panel. I play Captain even if it’s not my ship.

E – Excited and Excitable

Even today, a 2000 US$ game license or media buy gets me excited like a kid getting a chocolate bar. I walk around, get a coffee or just start making conversation with colleagues. I get the same high that I used to get 10 years back.

You have to be excited about your business and company and also be excitable so that your teams visibly know what makes you happy and strive to deliver to see you jump up and down!!

 

I had supplied and support the invoicing software  for the period of 95-02. In fact I had some communication with you too about automating some maanufacturing process.

Alok 'Rodinhood' Kejriwal said:
Gaurang - You have seen my Socks Factory??? Really??? please tell me in which context!

Gaurang Bhatt said:


I really appreciate the FURNACE rule. I identify with 80% of it while going through my startup. My current company is 4 years old so I don't consider it startup but rules still apply. One thing I understood is that an entrepreneur is always and should be in statup mode. After your reply my question almost sounded rhetoric.

 

BTW I have seen closely your socks factory and you working in it.


Alok 'Rodinhood' Kejriwal said:

Gaurang - You may like this:

Almost every other day I get an odd mail from someone in a B-School or working in a corporate job wanting to ‘start-up’.  I am polite to all of them saying ‘think again’ but I am now inspired to write the ‘FURNACE’ test. Take this if you are in a start-up state of mind.

F = Format

Are you a ‘format’ type of guy or gal? Someone who lives by dos and don’ts and ‘this rule’ and ‘that theory’? If yes, just abandon even the dream of starting-up. It will be a nightmare. You need to be re-formatable- like a hard disk. In my dad’s socks factory, I took on an export order that could be profitable only if I bought ‘unfinished’ yarn and then did something at my end to make the sock look wearable. My factory floor manager of 30 years freaked out. He whispered to my dad that we were doomed. The yarn I had bought was twisting and turning because it was unfinished. I knit 30 pairs of socks with that yarn and did everything conceivable to make the twisting stop, until I hit bull’s eye – washing the socks! (Much later I found out that the last processing of that yarn was washing and they charged 20% premium for it).

Be ready to make a ppt in the cab – or speak extempore. Don’t live in a format.

U = Ultrarian.

Forget being a contrarian – how ‘ultrarian’ are you? Are you ‘ultra’ everything? Passionate, never saying it’s over, working on Sunday like it was a Monday, being able to cry with tears when you miss a deal? Putting work before family?

Start-up entrepreneurs are Ultrarians. They take their passion to the limit and sometimes that hurts.

My second daughter was born on a Sunday, and I told my wife as I drove her to the hospital that this kid was a ‘practical’ one. She didn’t care to hear what I said. On the Tuesday my wife was to come home, I wasn’t around. I was signing my first term sheet of my life and Neeraj Bhargava (E-Ventures) and I were putting our pens to paper at the Oberoi Lobby. My wife never forgave me for this. And let me confess that I am guilty of my action.

R = Ravenous.

Start Up entrepreneurs are not hungry – they are ravenous and starving. They are GREEDY – and I use this word in Capitals because most of us are taught not to be greedy. I contest that. The biggest wins in the world come from entrepreneurs who are starving - Steve Job’s hunger is to create art forms in hardware and the Google founders to make everything so easily discoverable.

I remember making a fervent non-stop marketing pitch at the L’Oreal office in India a few years ago. The marketing head – Ashwin Rajagopal (a close friend) at the end of my long non-stop pitching asked – ‘Alok – oh my god - why will you do all this for us’? I looked at him and said ‘to become rich’!!  There was the deadly silence in the room – they did not come across hungry, ravenous and starving entrepreneurs often.

N – Naïve.

Being uniformed can be the best blessing as a start-up entrepreneur. In IIMs and MBA colleges I usually get asked by the students out there will become great entrepreneurs and my honest answer is ‘NO’ (thank god I haven’t been hit by an egg or a tomato yet).

I think the world has changed so rapidly now, that textbook case studies are not relevant. Companies peak out in 5-10 years & that’s just about the time they would become a formal case study. Also, is this is relevant for a start-up?  Typically you are trying to do something that has never been done before – so who could have written about it?

When I began pitching contests2win, the ad gurus in agencies I met, said, ‘bad idea’ – you don’t know marketing or positioning or Maslow’s hierarchy. You are not an MBA and have not worked in a marketing function before. I nodded and never met them again. Instead I went and met 4509 brand owners in the next 10 years (Just counted the count of visiting cards I have) and convinced them that consumers (LIKE ME) – wanted to win free stuff by playing a contest, and a brand could benefit in that interactive process.  They all agreed and we created an industry that never existed before. I was naïve and I won.

A = All hands on Deck

Will you sweep you company’s floor? Will you be the receptionist? Can you hand out your start up’s fliers in a mall?

Start-up entrepreneurs usually do everything - simply because there aren’t others to do stuff for you! Also, this gives you a bottom up perspective of each and every process of your operation. You have to be all hands on deck.

During contests2win first few months, I could not afford an office boy. So, at the end of the day I used to drive and drop of the prize consignments to the local courier office. One day, the clerk said ‘Sir I have to ask you a question that’s been bothering me – You drive in an Opel car to come here and yet drop packages yourself’? I chuckled and said to myself – the car is a family gift to me and I have gifted myself a start-up!!

C = Captain

Are you a leader? I’m not asking a question that appears on the covers of those books you see in Airport bookshops. A captain is not only the guy who dies when the ship sinks. He also assembles teams, motivates armies and gets drunk with his men.

This is important. Can you fire someone without remorse? Can you shout and scream? If you can’t, that’s fine – get a co-founder who can and become ‘co-captain’. One of you will have to be the toughest SOB that ever existed.

One of my favorite Captain tricks is to arrive in packed conference rooms, sit right at the back and then ask the first question of the floor. It takes guts. Why? It gets my company noticed since I announce my Company and myself before asking the question. If I am not on the panel, I still leverage the panel. I play Captain even if it’s not my ship.

E – Excited and Excitable

Even today, a 2000 US$ game license or media buy gets me excited like a kid getting a chocolate bar. I walk around, get a coffee or just start making conversation with colleagues. I get the same high that I used to get 10 years back.

You have to be excited about your business and company and also be excitable so that your teams visibly know what makes you happy and strive to deliver to see you jump up and down!!

 

Dear Gaurangji

Although i am not a very big businssman....but i personally do take out time to go out and relax with wife and children..........seeing yr kids enjoying themselves is the best money earned. Hence i sometimes tell others also to do take out time to enjoy life as well............

regards

neeraj khandelwal

Enterpreneurs are maniacs, I am experiancing all the FURNACE symptoms right now , and I agree with Alok I am possesed with making my ideas tangible,calling ,mailing, connecting, linkdin any ways to any one title no bar, working on sundays , after diner, thinking , memorising my pitches,cutting pasting some good stuff to add to my pitches etc. great experiance. I am FUNACED...Alok regards

Alok 'Rodinhood' Kejriwal said:
Gaurang - You may like this:

Almost every other day I get an odd mail from someone in a B-School or working in a corporate job wanting to ‘start-up’.  I am polite to all of them saying ‘think again’ but I am now inspired to write the ‘FURNACE’ test. Take this if you are in a start-up state of mind.

F = Format

Are you a ‘format’ type of guy or gal? Someone who lives by dos and don’ts and ‘this rule’ and ‘that theory’? If yes, just abandon even the dream of starting-up. It will be a nightmare. You need to be re-formatable- like a hard disk. In my dad’s socks factory, I took on an export order that could be profitable only if I bought ‘unfinished’ yarn and then did something at my end to make the sock look wearable. My factory floor manager of 30 years freaked out. He whispered to my dad that we were doomed. The yarn I had bought was twisting and turning because it was unfinished. I knit 30 pairs of socks with that yarn and did everything conceivable to make the twisting stop, until I hit bull’s eye – washing the socks! (Much later I found out that the last processing of that yarn was washing and they charged 20% premium for it).

Be ready to make a ppt in the cab – or speak extempore. Don’t live in a format.

U = Ultrarian.

Forget being a contrarian – how ‘ultrarian’ are you? Are you ‘ultra’ everything? Passionate, never saying it’s over, working on Sunday like it was a Monday, being able to cry with tears when you miss a deal? Putting work before family?

Start-up entrepreneurs are Ultrarians. They take their passion to the limit and sometimes that hurts.

My second daughter was born on a Sunday, and I told my wife as I drove her to the hospital that this kid was a ‘practical’ one. She didn’t care to hear what I said. On the Tuesday my wife was to come home, I wasn’t around. I was signing my first term sheet of my life and Neeraj Bhargava (E-Ventures) and I were putting our pens to paper at the Oberoi Lobby. My wife never forgave me for this. And let me confess that I am guilty of my action.

R = Ravenous.

Start Up entrepreneurs are not hungry – they are ravenous and starving. They are GREEDY – and I use this word in Capitals because most of us are taught not to be greedy. I contest that. The biggest wins in the world come from entrepreneurs who are starving - Steve Job’s hunger is to create art forms in hardware and the Google founders to make everything so easily discoverable.

I remember making a fervent non-stop marketing pitch at the L’Oreal office in India a few years ago. The marketing head – Ashwin Rajagopal (a close friend) at the end of my long non-stop pitching asked – ‘Alok – oh my god - why will you do all this for us’? I looked at him and said ‘to become rich’!!  There was the deadly silence in the room – they did not come across hungry, ravenous and starving entrepreneurs often.

N – Naïve.

Being uniformed can be the best blessing as a start-up entrepreneur. In IIMs and MBA colleges I usually get asked by the students out there will become great entrepreneurs and my honest answer is ‘NO’ (thank god I haven’t been hit by an egg or a tomato yet).

I think the world has changed so rapidly now, that textbook case studies are not relevant. Companies peak out in 5-10 years & that’s just about the time they would become a formal case study. Also, is this is relevant for a start-up?  Typically you are trying to do something that has never been done before – so who could have written about it?

When I began pitching contests2win, the ad gurus in agencies I met, said, ‘bad idea’ – you don’t know marketing or positioning or Maslow’s hierarchy. You are not an MBA and have not worked in a marketing function before. I nodded and never met them again. Instead I went and met 4509 brand owners in the next 10 years (Just counted the count of visiting cards I have) and convinced them that consumers (LIKE ME) – wanted to win free stuff by playing a contest, and a brand could benefit in that interactive process.  They all agreed and we created an industry that never existed before. I was naïve and I won.

A = All hands on Deck

Will you sweep you company’s floor? Will you be the receptionist? Can you hand out your start up’s fliers in a mall?

Start-up entrepreneurs usually do everything - simply because there aren’t others to do stuff for you! Also, this gives you a bottom up perspective of each and every process of your operation. You have to be all hands on deck.

During contests2win first few months, I could not afford an office boy. So, at the end of the day I used to drive and drop of the prize consignments to the local courier office. One day, the clerk said ‘Sir I have to ask you a question that’s been bothering me – You drive in an Opel car to come here and yet drop packages yourself’? I chuckled and said to myself – the car is a family gift to me and I have gifted myself a start-up!!

C = Captain

Are you a leader? I’m not asking a question that appears on the covers of those books you see in Airport bookshops. A captain is not only the guy who dies when the ship sinks. He also assembles teams, motivates armies and gets drunk with his men.

This is important. Can you fire someone without remorse? Can you shout and scream? If you can’t, that’s fine – get a co-founder who can and become ‘co-captain’. One of you will have to be the toughest SOB that ever existed.

One of my favorite Captain tricks is to arrive in packed conference rooms, sit right at the back and then ask the first question of the floor. It takes guts. Why? It gets my company noticed since I announce my Company and myself before asking the question. If I am not on the panel, I still leverage the panel. I play Captain even if it’s not my ship.

E – Excited and Excitable

Even today, a 2000 US$ game license or media buy gets me excited like a kid getting a chocolate bar. I walk around, get a coffee or just start making conversation with colleagues. I get the same high that I used to get 10 years back.

You have to be excited about your business and company and also be excitable so that your teams visibly know what makes you happy and strive to deliver to see you jump up and down!!

 

while i agree its is for the passion and love of it, you still need to find a balance or eventually you will burn out. but then again it may also have to do with the environment in which you grew up.... alok's marwari culture makes dealing and chasing the deal as ingrained into the bone as is brushing the teeth and sittin on the potty...i am guessing in alok's (and every marwari's) case not chasing the business every day will be feel like a sin or something, probably turn them into nervous, nail biting wrecks....i am not makin money today!! :D

what I've found is that even though i like the idea of working non stop, breaks are necessary, time outs are needed, family/friends time helps, even when you dont feel tired and you feel you can chug a mile a minute for a few hundred hours more you should probably take a break now before the tiredness hits you at the next mile at you completely go out of whack for longer than necessary....your decisions are kinda woolly headed and you need to more time to think....RnR really helps.

Ya Abey working hard should not be Gadha Majury(donkey labour) it can be completely cerebral also I think

we spend more time on thinking it can be sudden break in the sleep at 4 and then some thinking for a while and sleep off , yes being enterpreuer is not being 'the soldier ' who ran 1st Marathon , one has to run caclculativel without collapsing and with a right balance

 

Abey John said:

while i agree its is for the passion and love of it, you still need to find a balance or eventually you will burn out. but then again it may also have to do with the environment in which you grew up.... alok's marwari culture makes dealing and chasing the deal as ingrained into the bone as is brushing the teeth and sittin on the potty...i am guessing in alok's (and every marwari's) case not chasing the business every day will be feel like a sin or something, probably turn them into nervous, nail biting wrecks....i am not makin money today!! :D

what I've found is that even though i like the idea of working non stop, breaks are necessary, time outs are needed, family/friends time helps, even when you dont feel tired and you feel you can chug a mile a minute for a few hundred hours more you should probably take a break now before the tiredness hits you at the next mile at you completely go out of whack for longer than necessary....your decisions are kinda woolly headed and you need to more time to think....RnR really helps.

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