3 years of startup blogging

I was reviewing the articles from last 3 years of my blog – those focused on entrepreneurship.

Here’s a quick summary.

Note: If you’re new here, I quit from my job after 8 years in the IT industry on Mar 11, 2011. After wandering a bit, I started Tapprs ventures India private limited – a profitable small company now based in Bangalore.

Quitting from job

This is what I wrote when I put my papers on Jan 4, 2011. In it, I talk about:

  • the need to give a shot at my own venture
  • how I was clueless about what idea to pursue, what to do, etc
  • why I still wanted to do it

Also, I spoke about 2 things I wanted to avoid:

  1. capital intensive ideas
  2. long gestation period ideas

Interestingly, I ended up doing a capital intensive idea (Tapprs). My strong aversion towards loss and risk might have contributed to my thinking of wanting to avoid long gestation ideas.

Just a few days before it was my last day at work, I wrote this article. I was still fighting the job blues, but I am surprised that I had reasonably clear thinking by then and got few things right.

  1. failure is a very materialistic word – it discounts learning, experience, life-skills learned, etc
  2. execution matters more than the idea
  3. simpler, the better
  4. build something that you need yourself
  5. start small, start fast with minimal product
  6. don’t ask too many people for validation of your idea. Without a working prototype to take a look at, their opinion varies wildly!!!
  7. if you are convinced something is fantastic, wait.. for a couple of days. Euphoria distorts facts.
  8. Follow your heart.. but realise what you may have to give up in return. Ideal situations are few and far between.
  9. target 10 early adopters and get feedback early. User validation/acceptance is the most important first step before you can plunge further.
  10. spend time and not money in the initial days
  11. money is precious and so is time

I still remember my last day at work (Mar 11, 2011) – it was a scary thing. I kept thinking of the metaphor of jumping off the plan and then frantically trying to fix the parachute in mid-air.

Being a guy with many hobbies and the need for time to enjoy them, I sometimes wondered if a full time business was a good thing at all. Also, I have always been a fan of passive income.

I ran a few experiments over the next few months – including an online portal for ETL training, a stupid idea called Hobbyists Hub, Tapprs peer-to-peer rental platform, etc.

Only Tapprs survived.

Early lessons

I started taking notes of my experience too and blogged about it.

This is one post I liked – the traits that make you a good entrepreneur.

  1. just start something small, don’t procrastinate
  2. read about people you admire
  3. focus on learning (and noting it down)
  4. unlearn what doesn’t work
  5. be responsive to feedback
  6. realize when things are not working out
  7. know your risks and manage them

This was another  good post about value chain – analysing the customers wallet in the entire chain. I think this is a very important thing to analyse.

The 3 important skills you need as an entrepreneur – another post I liked. When you’re raw, your thinking is fresh and you keep looking with an open mind. As you gather experience, you tend to overlook these simple things – a note to myself.

This is about the need to have a life plan before you have a business plan – I think that is a very important thing to do though I didn’t really plan too much on both sides.

Clearly, I was learning a ton and moving ahead in my startup journey!

The Morpheus experience

I got into the 7th batch of The Morpheus (accelerator). It was a pretty good experience where both Nandini & Sameer helped me with quite a few things. Also, there are a lot of amazing founders in the gang who are very supportive too. It was always good fun hanging out with them.

I wanted to blog about the experience, but never got to it.  Nevertheless, Morpheus was a good experience to have.

Dude, where’s your bloody vision for the company? What’s your “Why?”

All through the journey, I was trying to hold on my own, to ensure we were cash-flow positive, that we were able to pay bills and employee salaries, that we were able to focus on customer experience and make them happy and all that simple and important stuff.

In that melee, I think I think I forgot that important thing called “vision“.

I did have a rough idea – to be the best rental house in the country. But it was not like ‘the most important thing in the world’ – something that I would give my tooth and nail for. I wanted to build a good customer centric, cashflow positive, simple but growing business that had all the qualities of a good business (pricing power, good industry, slow innovation which means you could be profitable for longer using same product lines, etc). Clearly, I wouldn’t want to sacrifice these to be the best or largest rental player.

I used to have rough ideas that I used to call 6 month feedback loops – beyond that there was nothing much of a vision.

Clearly, I was at a loss for explanation when people asked me what my vision was.

Hey dude, you won’t scale up

Also, a lot of investors told me that this business won’t scale – I used to ignore it in the beginning, but as more and more of them started saying the same thing, I started questioning a few things, esp about scale.

This is where I got distracted quite a bit.

Speed or control?

Your startup should focus on both speed and control, but which is more important? Being the risk averse guy, I said control. (Because speed is a function of market response – not just your interest and willingness to build a large company. Also, I think I meant avoiding loss of control rather than trying to be in control all the time – that is antiproductive.)

Startup is a rollercoaster ride

I wrote about how a startup is a rollercoaster. How your lows are many times lower and highs just as higher. Plus, its very unsexy to do (atleast in 2011, it was).

Do what excites you. Keep moving. Have a thick skin. Its a long journey – take small steps

I had to remind this to myself often. And this. And this. And this.


Everyone has doubts – I did too. Esp, I don’t like these in our business model and would like to change it.

  1. Capital intensive
  2. Risk is high (its almost like non-collateral loans)
  3. Scale is tied down by asset intensity, operational intensity, locational dependence and higher risk 

Easy things seldom last

I did a few interim mistakes – mostly driven by attempting to pluck low hanging fruit – alas, they don’t last long.

Few false starts

I have had several false starts. Like this one.

Entrepreneurship is a long journey 

In spite of all those ups and downs and triumphs and doubts, I had to remind myself this to myself – constantly.

Still here 2 years later.

A lot of guys who started up with me have shut shop or moved onto other things. I think my biggest achievement is to still be here – running an efficient operation and doing well.

Tapprs is a profitable company that has paid the government tax well into 7 figures. We have 5 employees. And customers have very good things to say about us.

I know my journey is still in its early stages – we will go through several more challenges. Hopefully, we will scale better heights from here, take on more challenging stuff and be a much better company than what we are today.

Tomorrows are always exciting and promising :).

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