European Startups Success!

Have been closely following the Europe Tech Startup Scene closely for last 2 years & here are my few realisations.
The continent’s tech Hub scene can be easily divided into below regions :
– UK Tech Hub Scene
– Northern Europe Tech Hub Scene (Scandinivian, Netherlands, Estonia)
– Western Europe Tech Hub Scene (Berlin, Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris)
– Central + Eastern Europe Scenes

europa_accelerators

Now coming to the list of companies – the ones which have succeeded by either crossing $1Bn revenue mark or being sold to another Business Giant can be listed below :

  • Spotify!
  • Booking
  • Nokia (Till it lasted)
  • Revolut/Transferwise/ N26
  • FarFetch
  • Zalando
  • Klarna
  • BlaBla Car
  • Avito.Ru
  • Meero
  • Delivery Hero/HelloFresh/Deliveroo/JustEat
  • Badoo
  • Wix
  • Skype

atomico unicorns

Some Key Observations are :

  • British continues to rule but interesting to see how Brexit changes the scene with UK Products will have limited audience in European markets & vis-a-vis
  • US,China are still BIG as compared to European Markets however very few US, Chinese products find acceptance in Europe Markets – WhatsApp, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft are few I know
  • Few Europe Companies Go Global in terms of office setups & market acquisition

But in my understanding, European Startups are unique in terms of offering & are Long Term for following reasons :

  • IPO Target : They target IPO first rather than being a Unicorn along or raising multiple fundings. This shows a mature Approach – Spotify is one unique example of the same
  • Focus on specific customer offering more than marketing, scaling – I have interacted, worked with multiple Startups & their insistence on researching, experimenting, testing, Data Science Approach is VERY VERY HIGH (to the point of nagging at times :))
  • Data approach, experimentation/Testing approach : Another Mature Approach is that they insist on Data for making all Key Decisions
  • Not in a hurry to scale
  • Skill Focussed & Way Upward from Down
  • Doing Simple Thing But Very well!
  • Options to move around different countries in a small space
  • Social Safety Net & Wealth Equality (Social Democratic Setup)
  • Egalitarism

I do think that where they differ is that Americans tend to be a lot better at sales and marketing from day one. They don’t even have a product and they are shouting about how good they are and really selling the product before it is even built. But Europeans will wait three years until the product is completely finished, or at least up to their standards, and say, hey, we exist. It is really bad from both sides. As a reporter, you are kind of fed up with people shouting before it is ready, because it is nonsense. But I really wish the European entrepreneurs would be a little be a little bit more proactive and shouting about their publicity and making noise and selling. They are very bad at selling.” —- Robin Wauters, Founder Tech.eu

risks chart

Ref :

https://www.businessinsider.com/most-valuable-startups-europe-2011-12?IR=T#mind-candy-pivoted-from-a-failed-idea-into-a-social-network-for-kids-thats-worth-more-than-200-million-2

How European and U.S. startups go global: A look at the numbers

https://www.ft.com/content/bf7b3dd4-127d-11e5-8cd7-00144feabdc0

https://www.inc.com/inc5000-europe/special-report.html

27 European startups that have reached unicorn status

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My Moroccan Diaries…

I chose Morocco coz I wanted to experience the different offerings of Middle East World Zone – The blue, white & Brown Arabic Architecture in between the inter-twining streets against the Blue Sky & Blue Sea with Quiet & Conventional People Folks really appealed to me as a place I really wanted to see.

I had been to Mountains a lot, European destinations, South East Asian Beaches, Cape Town’s valley streets but never to Middle Eastern World & that appealed to me as something I have to see with my eyes to experience. And surely, overall I was not disappointed.

Here are the things I loved :

  • The Medina walks with amazingly interesting architecture, culture, people, markets, practices (one of the most fascinating was how pretty houses were hidden inside non revealing brown walls), lives insights, handicraft industries (though my new friend Gracia mentioned that its not possible to make so much of stuff by hand alone – I agree).
  • The Hasan Mosque in Casablanca was breath-taking with its architecture & grandness – Pure Grandness of location & design – WOW!
  • The landscape were varying from Mountains (Green, Brown) to small villages to loads of markets to wide open spaces. Morocco has apparently everything from seas, deserts, mountains, modernism & medina lives to offer.
  • How the infrastructure is so much in place – very similar to Europe & a developed Islamic Country – very impressive.
  • The hotels we stayed in were majorly 4 star with lovely swimming pool views
  • Some Interesting travel places thrown in form of Roman Remains, French ski resort amongst many others.
  • I was amazed with what Progressive Islamic nation with Monarchy Dictatorship focussed on public spends at infrastructure, education, tourism, agriculture (oranges, indigo, handicrafts) can go on to achieve – my regards for this small (in geographical area) has gone up many times.
  • Though I did not expect the group I got – was able to make friends with two Italian ladies which worked out rather well & also got to see how Italians & Spanish families travel which was quite interesting
  • Morocco was filled with visitors at this point & hence one could see all age groups & nationalities floating around with so many Japanese thrown in with their selfie sticks!
  • I got some time to do self evaluation which is MOST CRITICAL for me while travelling
  • The weather was mostly pleasant with some times becoming too hot or cold
  • Also very few Indian tourists thankfully.. and no extra charge for camera..

For my next travel, here are my thoughts :

  • I would like to be more involved in the planning & probably do it on my own totally & see how it goes
  • I would want to know the itinerary more in detail so I can plan what to buy, what to wear, what to carry a bit more in advance
  • I think 4 days is enough for me to get a flavour of the place & I would like to explore something more new next quickly

Will share the pictures & some more insights in some days.

Listen & Understand..!

Listening is an important skill….

It doesn’t only happen with ears but with eyes, mind & body touch as well..!

Perhaps listening by eyes is the most important one – since they don’t lie. It is difficult to falsify what one sees from one’s own eyes – about surroundings as well as of others & if you can see through someone’s eyes then there is nothing beyond it.

Yes – learn to listen to be a more compassionate & successful human being in Life in general.

Those who are a well rounded personality & are in general appreciated by all are considered to be excellent with their people management skills & that is because they come across as friendly & compassionate to most of the people around. They tend to listen, understand others latent + expressed needs/wants better & faster and come across as supportive to achieve them.

This is a great skill set – even when talking to your customers, while analysing data of your business, it is important that you are able to connect the dots and able to listen, understand their issues to provide them a solution.

Same applies in relationships – starting with parents, siblings, friends, cousins, companion, spouse, in-laws, children : it is imperative that you listen & understand what is the person wanting to communicate. Where are they coming from & why are they saying that plus what do they exactly want & then how can you give them that basis your self awareness.
Many a times – you can’t abide because of circumstances & your own limitations and there is nothing wrong in being honest about it. In fact, straight forwardness is much appreciated by the mature & upright people & held in high regard when communicated in the right spirit & well within time. In fact the ones who keep people hanging & dilly dallying are not appreciated neither are those who turn their faces back after saying YES.

But here’s one more thing about Listening & Understanding – its a Long Process & Evolving one. One has to actually invest time & energy into it by spending time, observing them, their actions, their interactions with other people, their backgrounds of course, their words & actions, dreams, relationships, etc.
Its like keeping a hawk eye on Stock Market Blue Chips which are your Key Investments – sometimes it happens that a few are not visible with less information available but appear very interesting & worth every penny – I find them the most interesting coz few people will go for it for the effort asked & it can very much be the game changer. I have always gone for the obvious yet elusive – be in terms of choices of clothes, career choices, hobbies, people, etc.

Am sure, it is an evolving journey & I will adapt to grow better plus faster once am able to identify my areas of improvement. Last 1year or so has been a struggle with coming to terms to my feelings, personality & I feel I have taken leaps in terms of learning to be Patient, Perseverant, Humble, Positive despite everything crashing, Being Strong & Cool.
Still I think – I have distance to go in terms of controlling my reactions, feelings, expressing my needs, wants to those around me in a much more effective & acceptable way.

  • The expression whenever it comes (let it come to the last possible in peace or conflict after understanding situation & all perspectives) has to be straight forward – without any drama & iota of doubt, straight forwardly as possible. Learn to control your wants/ desires for some other good time – what is Right or Good for all will Happen any which ways! You are too small a being – remember in a world outside your being. You can control your inside world & never what happens to you or what happens to others around you.
  • Similarly, others views/ feedbacks are to be taken with the same feeling of it being their perspective – filter it out to sensible stuff while leaving the rest of it.
  • Learn to be consistent in all situations – good or bad, outside or inside, home or at work. That way you are self aware & in touch with yourself all the time & their is no conflict of personalities & thoughts. You shall be much more at peace with yourself.
  • Be Loving, considerate more & more towards others & always bring the +ve feelings first even in case of conflict – YES, IT HELPS & ITS THE RIGHT WAY. Be compassionate towards others issues, challenges, situations.

These shall be good points to kick off your remaining part of the year & build your personal or work lives! Get Going!

How Media Aversion Has Helped Me!

It was a hard thought decision but something I should have done long back to be a much STRONGER & MORE CONFIDENT Human Being! Yes You Heard It, Long Back!!

I stopped quite a lot of Media Inflows towards me (my ears, eyes, most importantly Mind), in order to do that I did the following :

  • Stopped Reading All the Media websites & Apps (TOI was banned long back, NDTV, IndiaToday, IBN, etc.)
  • Removed TV Subscription (Best Decision Ever)
  • Shortened Facebook time to <5mins/week & diverting the remaining time to reading, linkedin, twitter, medium on filtered interests/subjects.
  • Forming my Viewpoints towards everything based on my own Research (well judged resources + Authentic sources) rather than word services of others
  • Adjudging the Media, Film world, Cricketers in my life what they are – PRESSTITUTES!
  • Avoiding all so called friends/influencers who promoted the Above or spoke mostly about the same

This happened as a result of above :

  • The filtered content was self approved & self adjudged
  • Got more time to do my research & form my own opinions based on topics that I was curious about, which is much better than being involuntarily educated at topics of no interest or motivation
  • Found & Relied on much informed company of intellectuals & common believers
  • I could only focus on what I WANTED FROM MYSELF !! I COULD SEE MYSELF AS A CLEAN SLATE & JUDGE MY BREATHE, MY ACTIONS, MY WAVES, RAYS, ENERGY IN A COMPLETE IMPARTIAL LIGHT
  • PM, Startups, Tech, VCs, Design, Statistics, World Politics & Trade, Travel, Clicking, Values, Ethics, History, Human Psychology, Sports (Quality), Social Entrepreneur – these are subjects that I know am not going to leave till the end of my breath! So happy to have discovered them as interests, serious hobbies, passions.
  • I can see my Vision & Dreams alot more clearly & am much more determined than ever to achieve them by building small blocks & gathering people around.

Hope it helps others as well!! Peace for All, Amen.

 

My recent take on Travelling

I think what pains me immensely these days is that how Travel has become a thoughtless activity that people indulge into when they have 1 day or 2 days off or longer vacation at spare.
They just seem to indulge into it without really understanding the true meaning of travel & its benefits. Maybe its a one way opinion as a lot of my critics in the past have commented. However, when I talk to these people who claim to love travelling & indulge into regularly I find & feel they have simply wasted money & their time.
They have gone & done something without taking all the wonderful things which travelling to a new place has to offer.

This gives rise to a lot of unwanted providers or travel agents/portals/marketplaces which are also formed by people who feel they know travelling & business so why not to bring them together. These providers become the eyes of these travellers who do not know where they want to see.

Not taking away from some of the great travelling experiences which are provided by some great individuals, providers. Ganga Panga by Mohit Midha is one of the closest which has achieved greatness plus our Spiti Trip became great because of people’s enthusiasm, great place.

However recently after coming back from Bhutan Trip – I didn’t feel that achievement or euphoria perhaps coz of the company in travel or because I was stressed due to recent office stuff. The place was great, met some lovely people, had loads of road travel which I love, however I did not feel top of the world but felt tired & didn’t feel like going to travel again soon 😦 which is very unlike me. Am I getting too old?

I think I would like to travel to more fascinating places with more fascinating people who also share the love of travel & like to encourage one another to explore more & better in a not so obvious way. People who are a lot more accommodating & giving plus not demanding are the kind of people I know to get along well with on long term.

Am sure there are more wonderful trips coming! 🙂

A few important learnings which came my way : Patience is not about waiting but what you do while waiting, having calmness is a sign of great strength, there is nothing more important than your work – having complete dedication towards is the ultimate way towards Nirvana. Be a Professional & one can hardly go wrong!

Current Stage – Consolidation!

This is how I would like to see this stage as – Consolidating my health, work, personality amongst all priorities.

Work – its going rather well so far (touchwood) with UX & Digital Business responsibilities & got an amazing Boss to interact daily with as a friend, mentor, guide.

Health – Solid effort going in here & do not want this to get impacted in any way. Reduced frame-size, increased strength, stamina, daily workout sessions with right set of positive & vibrant people is extremely helpful.

Personality – I have been wanting to become a more calm, controlled, serene, fewer words, more giving, letting go person for some time now. I am glad to say that I do see with time, people, efforts – things are moving in that direction.

Household responsibilities along with eating habits – This was a major cause of worry in my case as I was quite lazy & careless like a (tom) boy towards this. However with time, effort & people again – I have learnt to take care of these things as they are extremely crucial to lead a happy & balanced life. Now I eat, sleep on time – somehow if I can change the food at office – it will be perfect.

Friends/People/Family – With maturity & experience, I have learnt to appreciate the kind of people I want to have around me while keeping others at bay. Gone are the days when I used to get confused among friends, situations & used to find myself gasping for escape. Glad to have found more solace here – Finding my Man is the only gap waiting to be fulfilled.

My startup/business – Having my own Digital Consultancy is what has come as an ideal solution for me – Let us see if I do this or something else. The school + studio + organic farm + yoga retreat house Dream also awaits. Refinement is awaiting & other pieces waiting to fall into place.

Travel/Photography – This is the only spot I feel am not doing 100% justice to given the amount of travel & clicking I used to do till 1 year back when every week I would just take off locally and every 2-3 months some place out. However, this piece is also getting consolidated now by pushing me into doing only great memorable trips solo or with 1 or 2 people I really wish to be with. Am sure my clicking results have grown & will continue to amaze everyone!

Amen!

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I wish to be..

I wish to be a fewer words person…
Even if there are umpteen feelings, emotions rising inside…

I want to be balanced & serene & softer/mellower…
Even if any situation demands me to have reactions…

I want to be womanlike graceful & aesthetically class apart…
Even if people around me fail to appreciate it same time..

Wish to be far more travelled, exposed to different people/cultures,
Even if it takes far more effort & time to make plans & execute them..

I wish to be with People who let me be and at the same time inspire me to grow..
Even if it means exploring wide & waiting for right selection while being without one/few…

I wish to be self sufficient emotionally, financially, socially..& feel confident, assured about it..
Even if it means telling yourself to be strong every day,moment!

(Dedicated towards all the women in daily lives who achieve this consistently knowingly & KungFu Panda 3 which thought once again to have belief in all the goodness around)12799105_10153943476592731_8114143395436703172_n

Why I do Photography?!

My first stint with camera I remember is clicking as a kid with my Dad’s mirror-less Kodak camera with a roll inside from the age of 9. The reason was that it helped me grab a frame that would go down for eternity – as I had seen plenty of family albums with black & white images – weddings, picnics, festivals, new born kids in studios, old family patriarchs in their rocking chairs. However the ones that held my attention for longest and I considered closest were the candid images – with my dad/mom/dadi/baba,etc. looking carelessly or sometimes not even looking at the camera. Yet they came across as loveable people – that made me love them more.

Coming back to my stint with camera – though I started at age of 9 however I did not have much control over what I shot so I felt in a way I was not improving nor learning much. I did not continue it till I came in MBA course. Here as well I did not have a camera however I felt great almost high when I saw some great images of my batch-mates and that is how I came to know about DSLR – as late as 2010.

{Late it was given the international scenario however in India – the photograph enthusiasts had started owning one since 2007-08.}

All I remember is that the first thing I wanted to buy for myself after MBA from my own money, even more than good food & clothes, was a DSLR. I felt it would be my VENT for my creative energies, it would act as my correspondent for whatever good I had to share with the world apart from my professional career where not much was in my control. It would also be my friend when I travel, meet new people, look at things differently or just when I didn’t want to express anything. And voila, it has been the best friend & companion in the world so far. Words are not enough to thank it – the fact that I can go back and revisit all that we saw together & cherish memories or better find new facts while staring at a rare image makes everything more special about it.

I had to push myself to go and click every weekend in the beginning, even silly events, not so happening places, disinterested people but the importance was on building a routine, a group of self critics who push each other and in the process share some good stuff. However, that was just a beginning.

My real turning point came during April – June 2012 when I visited Cape Town and Kashmir, I saw my photography grow by leaps and bounds. Combined with a new zoom lens, beautiful landscapes, relaxed atmosphere I just delved and delved into clicking what I loved – landscapes, candid, street. The results for the first time surprised me and I knew I have something good to share with everyone else for sure.

Post that – it was Spiti that brought good from me, Delhi Archeological buildings, recently Kasol, Northeast/Northwest India and some product/candid/street shoots that I really enjoyed while exploring. Exposure to Steve Mccurry’s work makes me push more & more. Sadly 90% of other people I find in this space are simply either wannabes, non-inspiring, ill – informed about their talents and for some reason I have not been able to tell any of them honestly what I think about their work.

Why I still click – coz it has become an inseparable aspect of my life, it helps me capture something that connects my inside with the world outside and keep it for eternity, it helps me in expressing my feeling about my surroundings, interactions with people, my perspective in one frame without saying a word and perhaps also share with the world.

I wish & hope I get to cover every inch worth on the Earth & capture everything that connects with me by my camera-mushy!

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