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

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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

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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

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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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As Post 2008 Generation, My Learnings

I have recently been thinking & discussing with my friends about “What should be our Generation’s & Particularly of People with our Background’s Differentiation Offered to this World?”
What is it that will make our Generation stand tall amindst its previous (Baby Boomers & Early Millennials IT, Manufacture) & future generations (Internet & SaaS).

Am realising for a standard working professional with a Graduation Degree & Maybe Masters with few years of experience, there are following area gaps which are left to be filled by individual her/himself :

  1. Identification of Subjects which truly stimulate your Motivation cells (which you will do unconditionally)
  2. To enhance your thought process beyond your subject of expertise – reading, podcasts, documentaries, travel, side projects?
  3. To create your own differentiation – by connecting the dots! Also no one can teach you above – one has to find a process on their own to find their Juice/Mantra/Fibre.

And then I came across below article

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/rajat-gupta-is-unrepentant-for-his-crimes/articleshow/68536851.cms

This article was more of a trigger but my research includes lots of documentaries (Around Brexit, Subprime Crisis, Corporate Functions, World History), Podcasts, Books, Travel,  Time spent with Family along with Self Talk & Analysis, meeting & networking with some right people resulted in below List. Am certain that am quite close to the answer :

  1. INTEGRITY – DEFINED BY PERSONAL & WORK ETHICS is most critical as the value associated with this will only increase in times since majority around you (as one can observe) will take the easy path always while compromising on multiple things
  2. NETWORK CIRCLE – AUTHENTICATED & ALIGNED TO YOUR PERSONAL VALUES : I personally attach alot of importance to this since it is not possible for a Monk also to remain completely sane without some basic human interactions
  3. MULTI SKILL HAT – of doing different roles required to understand everyone’s viewpoints along with different sized organizations and in different geographies. Have seen such people to be easy to mingle & quick at Problem Identification
  4. THROUGH & THROUGH INNOVATION – Creativity cannot be proven by your social media posts or by your dressing or just by speaking some cool jingoisms, you should/must have proven records of what you believe you stand for & Yes a Proven record of having done innovation in some capacity will give a certain edge
  5. DETAILING & PRIORTIZATION – Breaking a situation Down, first in Mind and then on Paper. And the ability of Breaking Down is an adaptive one where you need to master different models & implement depending on the problem statement.
  6. FUTURE TECH ADAPTATION – This is where being an engineer becomes useful coz one understands technology & its implementations
  7. PEOPLE SKILLS + LEADERSHIP – Outgoing, Easy to get along but difficult to get perturbed are very useful daily skills. Also what kind of Leader are you going to turn up to be from being an Inclusive Leader to Strategic to Transformational to Facilitative to Democratic to Autocratic to Cross Cultural to Laissez Faire (My Least Favorite) to Transactional to Coaching to Charismatic to Visionary
  8. WORLDLY AWARE IN MOST TOPICS – Music, Netflix, Travel, Politics, History, Sports, Culture Insights, Food & Wine – Strategy Ideas & References come from here a lot. Late Discovery but it has the Power of increasing your mindspace & mindframe to a greater extent than few other.
  9. YOUR OWN MOJO SKILL (PREFERABLY FROM HUMANITIES OR SCIENCE SUBJECT TOPICS FROM SCHOOL – Something You always knew you were Good at) : I have observed that every person while doing their job (numbers, coding) & following their passion, there is always some art/science from which they daily seek solace which becomes like their secret power. In many people’s cases I have seen them to be cars, gardening, cooking, etc.
  10. TO HOLD SELF AGAINST TRENDS – This I will give alot of value as well since the trends are most dangerous for those who don’t believe in themselves so much! I have personally felt the strongest of all urges by Old worlds to pull me into complacency and New Worlds to pull me into Anxiety Competition Led Atmosphere. Its important for one to find their own pace & atmosphere suited to what they believe & stand for so as to master their ownselves first & then others around them.

Loads of things like being Hard Working, Articulate, Charming which were considered to be High Value skills for Pre 80s generation will be considered basic must haves for Post 2000s.

Plus a lot of extra-ordinary skills of 80s generation will be considered Good to Have!

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Emotional Quotient

EQ is a very rare quality in a human being & even a rarer quality in a Successful Leader.

I used to study & try to understand in college, but it’s a different ball game when you appear in work arena & then see how work demands/pressures are to be met with the People/Cultural aspects.

Of course one learns to manage the work demands & skill demands depending on one’s capacity. It’s always the people skill management that is the trickiest to master as it is very dynamic, variable to unpredictability.

I struggled with the same as well – majorly because there were a lot of aspects about myself that I had not explored or made myself aware e.g. how I respond to pressure, to a New team person, to a vendor, etc. Since I had not given them any thoughts consciously, mastering them was a far away task.

I think – till the age of 28, and 5 years of work experience – the effort was more or less optimise/adjust for survival and observe around. But I think it was during my 6th year of work experience, in 2015 when I decided to do a proper analysis & self haul of :

  1. Who i am?

  2. What do i want in life?

  3. What do I want in work life?

  4. What I need to do achieve 2 & 3?

This gave a lot of perspective & a lot of peace to myself as I then felt am moving in life with some sort of direction (not 100% clear but still some LIGHT). This made a lot of people interactions & my senior leadership alignments easier as well. I won’t say that it has been absolutely smooth sailing since then but still the choppy waters have seemed manageable & the belief to be able to make it the shore has grown stronger.

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Of course, the presence of my last manager & a few other leaders with higher EQ has made me realise even stronger & clearer on what I want in life & am thankful for that. I cannot stress more on the importance on such People focussed Leaders who groom young people & motivate them to achieve what they want in Life. They become life coaches & mentors, role models for them in moments of crisis.

Last week, one of the senior women leaders decided to move out of the company & it made me feel bad beyond what I imagined. Of course in the short span that I got to know her – she came across as an extremely understanding, warm, affectionate and easy to approach (Again rare leadership qualities). The extent to which she understood your position & could advise you accordingly amazed me – High High EQ. The amount of comfort she offered to a non – direct team member speaks volumes on her ability to connect. The fact that it wells up my eyes every time I think about the fact that she could not continue due to family commitments, speaks volumes about her ability to connect & leave a positive mark.
I do wish to be always there in her life & vice versa plus also hope for many more such people in life moving forward to make it worth it!

Topic of Terrorism!

I have never written about the same though I have always felt strongly against it since a young age!
As I remember the stories of Revolutionaries, War of Independence, World Wars, History Books always fascinated me & there was a great sense of Pride associated towards having an identity in the World filled with contradictions.

My Generation might be one of those who were organically introduced to the topics of Terrorism, Communism, Socialism, Capitalism with LIVE examples all around amongst both sides debated points & forming our opinions in the midst of the same as we went about our lives.

No One supports Terrorism & its very much in Black & White but what makes this topic worth debating is when it becomes political as a mean to achieve bigger means. When Terrorism is fuelled by Religion then still, few can find sides based on rationalism but when it becomes a Politically Motivated Terrorism Issue then its a fight about who’s More Wrong.

Unfortunately, this is what has happened in Kashmir – fuelled by the 1947 Partition Venom, Kashmir has just not been allowed to come to terms to what it deserves to be.

Under the clout of Unaccepted Ownership of Indian Republic to a certain section of people based on Old Age reasons, a Young Beautiful emotional State has been played with time & again by the neighbours for a higher Political Relevance at Global Arena.

It’s nothing but unfortunate that Kashmir & India including their people have paid such heavy prices for this long due to indecisiveness on Political aspects.

At times, it is impertinent to take some STRONG rational calls for the overall Good! Israel’s stand against Palestine, US stand against Afghanistan, Lankans against LTTE are some recent modern day examples. Time India does the same!

Surgical Strikes have been widely appreciated & such mechanisms to separate & expose Militants from countries’ politics, forcing them into receding will create a LongTerm & Well Appreciated Example. India is well aware that it is amongst the Top 2 Growing Economies in the World & everyone looks upto them for solutions.

The decision is Long due & is evidently on the Walls – India is a much much more prosperous, educated, developed, flourishing nation as compared to Pakistan hence Kashmir (if and when has to fairly systematically choose its Future) shall be a part of the Former including PoK.
Execution & Enforcement of the same has to be fast & clear but Indian Subcontinent has always been slower in creating such strong consensus.

My Prayer – last attack on 14th Feb 2019 to our CRPF Men in Pulwama be the Last Ever! Amen

Changing faces of Us & Our “Friendships”

Hello! So am back to write after a small self forced hiatus 🙂 It feels good to see the words flowing from your brain to your fingertips & appearing in front of your eyes again!

Life has been a bit different with the new role & hence the changes – its weird that how my Life has undergone so many changes around the job roles I have done in past few years. Shows good that my job profile is the most important thing for me in these years but bad that am not able to keep my own personal life in control to be unaffected with changes around it!

I do feel certainly that I took time to find MY SHOE FIT.

But am glad I tried so many different ones & then finally found my best fitting, comfortable ones that were customised to my needs. Did that with my lifestyle, career & now am optimistic of same happening for my Life Partner.

Now coming to the subject of “Friendships” which has been my favourite subject unconsciously since childhood days.

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Emotion is one of the strong things that I was introduced to as a kid during my growing up years – valuing your family, respecting your elders, always speaking good, believing in God & the values, understanding our history & ancestry to learn good practices.

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So I could never forget it!

And I always valued it a lot wherever I found it – it was like me becoming a gemstone expert & start wanting to polish the gems as soon as I locate one during my education, travel, professions, social circle, etc.
What I also figured out with relating to emotion was that investment was not foolhardy, it was giving me returns to be a more self aware, worldly wise, mature human so I continued to invest & even do so now.
Maybe my portfolio selection has undergone a change now thanks to a few bad experiences in the past where I either invested too much too soon (more) or I failed to overlook a good opportunity (less).

And I do feel proud that I have become wiser to selection of my people – friends, colleagues, networking groups & others thanks to updating my qualifying parameters & accordingly updating myself + tastes. I definitely do not take things on face value any more & I definitely do not make an opinion about others or try to form a bond inorganically.

With People, it is best when it is ORGANIC!

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Sometimes, circumstances play a role in making that judgement or bond formation quicker but as a qualified and self aware human – one should understand those factors well! I feel this is the beauty of a human being always be able to prove it’s superiority over machines.

ADAPTABILITY & EMOTIONAL BONDING makes HUMAN > MACHINES

Am happy where I have reached so far in my journey – looking forward to explore More & Meet New interesting people before reaching my final destination.

I wish to become more quieter, observing, less expressing, A polished Digital Consultant (who is truly a PM at basics) Profile, socially more acceptable & enhance my intake of ignoring the unnecessary (Thickening of SKIIN – adding more Onion Layers Happily) !

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Social Welfare on my Mind

Yeah, social welfare is always on my mind without doubt!

This is the space I wanted to be in since a kid & this is the space I aspire to be in post making some money, network, resources, skills for myself.

It motivates me, it guides me & most importantly find the true me when am lost! It also helps me connect with some amazing people & also learn to be a better person on regular basis without boasting.

It brings a sense of duty, a sense of balance to the whole Capitalism drive inside us – it makes me see things in a quiet, deep & well meant light. It doesn’t let me give up when am down & out – it makes me prevail the goodness & badness with same virtues : fortitude, temperance, prudence & justice.

Moreover, technically it helps me build some interesting models based on key human behavorial insights. It helps in keeping people like me who are city dwellers (mostly out of choice for lifestyle, jobs) understand the deep & true rural/small City simplicity connect!

How I want to incessantly work for the same & build something that outlives me forever.

Somewhere my ideal model is – within the walls of liberal capitalism, the values of socialism & simplicity to flourish.

Absolutism vs Relativism

A lot of Youngsters must have explored this topic especially after reading “The FountainHead” – Your High School & Graduation Years are the times when you explore such ideals, socially accepted norms to understand them better so which path to follow.

I recall doing that myself starting at the age of 15 years & somewhere found the answer in being self dependent, financially independent, emotionally self reliable, socially responsible, well-read + travelled as my answers amongst other thoughts. Reason being that only in being free of other’s influence (most of it is financially rooted) can one choose the best for self & others. And hence all my efforts have been to deem myself resourceful enough to have my own perspectives.

I won’t deny that it has been difficult remembering these thoughts all the time despite knowing them intrinsically. Being emotionally (beliefs + trust) defeated at work & personal level has been the most difficult to manage/ navigate through.

Coming from a secure small loving family & industrial colony setup in a small city, I had challenges dealing with people’s perceptions & people’s intentions/ expectations plus I didn’t know how to maintain the balance between that & my own objectives/ beliefs.
Somewhere the belief that letting things ‘be’ in uncontrollable situations is the best thing to do. But how it can impact you & what changes it can make in you – I was always sceptical of that. I was not sure if I am emotionally that deep or aware to be able to manage the wrath being thrown at me.

Somewhere, making myself travel & explore different regions, people, cultures, relationships, situations was one of the ways I felt I can help myself understand Life & hence self better – am glad I did that.

This tells me loud and clear to KEEP THE CORE ABSOLUTE! KEEP THE CORE CLEAN for you to refer to it anytime & feel Good & Confident.
It’s the Layers that you have to develop & manage – the various layers of protection/ disguise which can be discarded/ transformed/ thickened/ softened/ added as per situations. They don’t mean much if Your Core is true & honest.

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Most of the world, times, people, situations (Especially social, financial, transactional) can be dealt with the Layers Interaction so let it be judged/ commented. They Have to be Thickened to not let unnecessary things penetrate even emotions, empathy! THICK-SKINNED IS THE MOTTO!
There are only a few which bare your soul for the world – music, love for few chosen ones, values/beliefs, travel + clicking and that true connection with the SuperPower.
Your Work, Personality, Perspective, Interactions are a byproduct of the above two which showcases them.

So nothing to worry or be sentimental about – this world’s system has been long created before you were born & there are lots affecting it all the time beside your own space. Best you can do is to play your role fulfilling while trying to make your mark via your Core + Layers Cohabited System! 🙂 Amen.

ZINGOGRAPHY : Tech/Product/UX/Startup Update # 10 – PM ToolKit

Please consider every PM to be a works-person, who needs tools apart from their skills to do a good job out of a situation!

Every worksmith/ carpenter/ chef, etc. is incomplete without their toolbox so its important as a Product Manager to be sure of your own sharpened tools basis your experience, intuition, comfort/compatibility, etc.

I also have now worked for 8+ years in different Products domain starting with Data, OTT, E-commerce, Retail Channels (B2B + B2C), Media, Food, Jewellery, FMCG, FinTech, Travel/OTA, AdTech, Transportation (Cabs/Trucks), etc.
And from my own & other PMs experience – let me share a list which I find is useful for one & all. These are compiled basis checking with other industries & PMs as well :

  1. Research Tools : SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, TypeForm
  2. Current Situation + Need Gap Analysis : Porter’s Frameworks – SWOT, 4P, STP, 5 Porter’s Force
  3. Project Management : Asana, Jira, Trello
  4. Team Management : Slack, Basecamp
  5. MVP & Road-mapping : Asana, Aha, ProdPad,
  6. Spec Writing : Word, DropBox Paper, GitHub
  7. User Scenarios Mapping : Excel, Smaply/StoriesonBoard
  8. Designing : Invision, Iconjar
  9. Coding/ Development : GitHub
  10. UX : Prototype,io, Axure
  11. Team screen sharing + feedback incorporation : Zeplin, Intercom
  12. AB Testing : VWO, Wasabi
  13. Analytics – Front End : Google Analytics, Firebase
  14. Analytics – Middle ware : Moengage, Clevertap, Appsflyer
  15. Analytics – Back End : SQL, ML Tools
  16. Campaign Management : Adobe 360
  17. Targeted Campaigns : Targetting
  18. Revenue + P&L Management : MS Excel Macro

Apart From this – the must have ingredient almost like Oiling is 5-6 hours of Reading, Networking, Experimenting, Failing, Sharing, etc.

All The Best : Let the Magic Begin!

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Is India even close to the #MeToo Movement?

There has been some recent discussion in Indian Media regarding how India needs a #MeToo movement! I can’t help but agree. It makes me feel sick that how a Female is made to feel so little physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically basis her Gender/sexuality/ right to expression.

I had been feeling very strongly about gender discrimination for a very long time now and since #MeToo movement last year it only became more firm that expressing it & agreeing formally with system + stakeholders is the only constructive way ahead. Today’s Freida Pinto’s Post made me want to write this blog much more in detail.

As a middle class growing girl in India – one has to go through several weird experiences (even boys have to go through their own share of experiences but), am talking about the socially avoidable & enforced ones because of limited mindsets of people & historically dragged dogmas.

When one is touched inappropriately ; when one is made to shut up again n again ; when one is looked upon differently especially at their boobs & V-part; when one is not expected to do well in Sports or Studies ; when one is not expected to enter Kitchen during “that time of the month” ; when one is made fun of for asking equal treatment ; when one is not expected to carry her own bags or taking care of herself while travelling alone or completing her own projects/ assignments without their male counterpart (Father/brother/friend/ colleague/husband/son/ etc.) – THESE ARE CONSIDERED NORMAL EXPERIENCES in our Society!

SHAME ON SUCH PEOPLE – who let it happen
SHAME ON SUCH PEOPLE – who go through it quietly

SHAME ON SUCH PEOPLE – who scheme, perpetuate it knowingly or unknowingly

SHAME ON SUCH PEOPLE – who encourage & create an environment for such experiences to happen
SHAME ON SUCH PEOPLE – who laugh about it & make fun about it
And Most Importantly, SHAME ON SUCH PEOPLE – who do not raise it to right authority

When I say People – I mean girls, women, parents, family, husbands, everyone.

There is no Other way to deal with such behaviours/experiences but by being vigilant & aware to immediately raise the bell at the right authority and at right time. Also keep raising the issue till a resolution is found. To make it mandatory to make the system listen to you & give you justice. You are a human at the end of the day & deserve nothing less especially basis your gender.

I feel so burnt up inside when I think of what an emotional torture it must be for the girls, parents especially to be made to feel inferior & discriminated because of her Gender! If a city, educated, professional girl is made to Shut Up – Imagine the plights of those who are poor, unaware, ignorant.

To be Told this is acceptable is the Last Thing at least I will Take! I am ready to put in extra hours, ready to push my limits to extra miles but to be made to feel humiliated, uncomfortable, harassed or not respected for being myself is not acceptable in my Family, Social Circle, Office Environment or anywhere I decide to Breathe.

Am not for a loud, conflicting, verbose or hormonally high environment either – am all for Peace, Respect, Love, Humour, Smiles, Nods, Success : BUT not at the cost of Women or any race/caste/creed/color being sidelined.

So does India or the World or any society needs a #MeToo movement repeatedly – Hell Yes! Will there be negative repercussions of the same – Could be but the +Ves are far more especially the Noise, awareness & the empowerment to be yourself.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

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