This irreverent book has a few gems, a lot of vapid pontification but a crystallized theme that is actually worth a read.

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Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art made it on my reading list in part because of its impertinent title and in part because it is a self-help book that is masquerading as not a self-help book. However, the arrow finds it mark because as someone who is vehemently against self-help books, I actually thought the underlying message here is something that will help (gasp) my self.

The tl;dr message here is threefold -

  1. In our lives we have a finite number of fucks to give (PG:13 we can only expend our energy on so many things). We can choose to give them out willy-nilly on daily minutiae or we can laser focus the energy on the things that directly derive from our core values. …


A few months ago, some friends and I left a music festival in the Vegas desert at 2 AM to get a ride back to our hotel. We left 30 minutes before the last performance to beat the crowds to an Uber, hoping to snag a car before the networks jammed and the prices surged. As we exited the venue, we joined the small trickle of people who had the same idea as us — the early bird gets the Uber.

As it turns out, the early birds were wrong. We were not matched with an Uber for another 90 minutes and were finally seated in our Uber at 8 AM! During this painful wait, we watched hundreds of people who left after us get into hundreds of Ubers, while our car waited in the traffic that was the outcome of a venue unprepared to handle such an influx of pickups. …


This blogpost has been sitting in my inbox for two years now, awaiting a final read-through and edit. Since then JustDial bagged a Rs. 300cr round from investors and followed up with a successful IPO. Unfortunately, all my concerns about JustDial from two years ago hold just as true now as they did then, indicating that little progress has been made by the company in the space of search integrity and transparency.

JustDial is ubiquitous in India. In the last fifteen years of its existence, JustDial has aggregated exhaustive listings of every corporation, restaurant, shop and business establishment in the country and made this information available to users with a simple phone call. …


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Interviewing for a startup is very different from interviewing for a bigger company. I learnt this the hard way.

Having spent many years interviewing (and getting rejected by) countless Silicon Valley tech giants, I have always thought of job interviews as day-long ordeals, shuffling from office to office, waiting in corridors while Team Leads got ready for you, and being debriefed by the HR guy after a grueling set of day-long sessions. Also, there was that all-too-familiar pang of please-oh-please-hire-me desperation which one has to mask by appearing comfortable and making nonchalant remarks about your interviewer’s office décor.

So when it was time for me to hire people for my startup, I expected to be able to put other people through the same ordeal. Sadly, this was not to be. Interviewing for a startup, it turns out, is an entirely different ball game. …


Part 3 of 3- Takeaways

Advice for myself, if I ever decide to try building a company again.

Things I learnt about building a company

  • Money, money, money: Keep your eye on the bottom line at all times. That is your most important measure of success — how much money are you bringing in and is it increasing over time? If it isn’t, what are you doing wrong?
  • Press != Traction. Customer Satisfaction = Traction. : Appreciate the press coverage but remember that it is not a measure of how well you are doing. …


Part 2 of 3 — The Good, the bad and the ugly

The Good

I was very lucky in having worked with a fantastic team who was passionate about the company and treated it like their own. There was a great amount of camaraderie in the office and my team’s enthusiasm constantly reaffirmed my faith in what we were building.

Some of the best work was done by interns, who I learnt are not just extremely enthusiastic but also receptive to trying something crazy like handing out pamphlets in malls until driven away by mall security. …


Part 1 of 3: An introduction

Almost ten months after we shut down operations at Chachii.com, I have sufficiently collected my thoughts to discuss the successes and failures of my first entrepreneurial experiment. I will attempt to summarize the various factors which played a role in the tough decision to close operations and while I consider myself no expert on the subject, present some reflections on the labour market in India.

Chachii.com was conceptualized as a web platform to crowdsource labour for errands and odd jobs in Mumbai. The business model was simple. People in Mumbai need errands run, and they are willing to pay small amounts of money for these services. On the other hand, there are people who are willing to run those errands for remuneration. …


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After a year in which I sat through Chennai Express, Krrish 3 and Race 2, I have had just about enough of mainstream Bollywood’s underwhelming offerings. Not only do these movies have no redeeming qualities whatsoever, watching Saif Ali Khan drive a car off an exploding plane in mid-flight to land safely on the ground made me forget all the Physics I learnt in high school. So thank you for that.

With contemporary Bollywood failing me, I decided to look backwards and see if there were any 90s movies which could fulfill my criteria for a solid, honest, salt-of-the-earth masala flick. Some youtube surfing brought me to Chaalbaaz, a 90s superhit classic which narrates the story of identical twins Aanju-Manju who are separated at birth. They accidentally swap places, resulting in confusion and hilarity, concluding with … (spoiler alert) a happy ending for everyone except the bad guys. …

About

Tanvi Surti

Uber Product | ex-Microsoft | ex-Startup | Book Worm | Feminist | Bollywood connoisseur

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