I am my own startup..

I am a radio host at a college radio station. My current show is about the cool things in the software and management areas, usually covered in the form of an interview. I’ve been lucky to have some experts from the software industry join me and share their knowledge and experiences on my show.

I am an avid listener and ardent fan of the podcast Masters of Scale(MoS) by Reid Hoffman. And as I listened to the MoS podcasts, I realized that I am my own startup. My radio show is my product.

I am the founder of my startup..I started a show for the radio medium. Like any other entrepreneur I was in a hurry to bring my product to the market. It was not the best, fully professional, high quality shows that we get to listen on NPR or other radio stations. But it was out there…serving a real audience, giving me real feedback and in fact testing my own limits.

If time is believed to be money, I bootstrapped my time or whatever was left of it, what with my day job as a stay at home mommy. And just like it is with most entrepreneurs, my family too invested in me..with their time.

Although I don’t have to pitch to VCs for money, I do pitch for people to join me..invest their time in me. Unlike most entrepreneurs, as far as joining my show goes, I did not get many rejections.

In a sense, I am the HR head of my startup ..I go out and convince people to give me their time..I can promise nothing in return..no fancy packages, no equity..and yet people join me. The culture of my startup — flexible, guest-friendly, accommodating has proved to be useful. As the HR head, I keep an eye on the rules and regulations, not just the FCC ones, but also those of the companies from where my guests come.

I am the sales and marketing person of my startup. Although the sales function is unlike real life sales, yet I am bound by quarters. The numbers are not answerable to anyone. Nonetheless, I use social media marketing to grow the numbers and the number of followers..after all what’s a radio show if nobody is listening to it.

Soft-Biz on KZSU Stanford 90.1FM

I am my own product manager. I started with a basic show about warriors from India. It was my first release. It was embarrassing. But it was out there. I got first hand feedback. I could make changes early on. And it did not cost me much. Reid Hoffman was right when he said “if you are not embarrassed by your first product release, you’ve released it too late.” And like a product manager, I worked on polishing the show, feature by feature, with one eye on the vision and the other on the market needs.

I am my own engineer. The guest and I, work in collaboration to shape the show bit by bit, adding the right content to make every show “complete”, informative and interesting. And then I go about chopping off the rough edges with the editing software to make a slick show. Of course, sometimes things go horribly wrong. But what I’ve discovered is that every mistake has taught me something new. And FWIW, no mistake has ever been repeated.

And finally, I am my own CEO. Growing the business or should I say listener base, is constantly on my mind. I am the captain of my own ship, free to steer it however I want, even if that means pivoting! Oh yes, I have completely changed course from a history based show with a limited audience to a software based show (that airs in the Silicon Valley) to a wider audience. I push myself to grow the number of listeners, to grow the number of interviews every quarter, to raise the bar every show. I am trying to master the scale, in my own way.

I am my own startup.

There were roadblocks to overcome. There were things to learn.

And the ride has been nothing but fun!

(You can listen to me on KZSU Stanford 90.1)