Empathy – Pricebaba

Pricebaba started with a ambitious online to offline approach, connecting consumers to local retailers. In 2016, we declared this part of our business a failure along with the reasons. However the amount of traction Pricebaba generated (at peak ~INR 60cr worth of leads every month), there were several interactions with end users & retailers that shaped our learnings. Back in 2014, at a time when we were growing very fast, we started encountering a problem that we had long anticipated – customer experience issues at local stores listed on Pricebaba.

We built out enough flags & intelligence in our systems to detect anomalies. A lot of this was smooth because the ops, business & tech teams were one small group working from the same floor (even at peak we were 30 people in the company). I sensed the need to get our teams to understand the gravity of any customer complaint that reached us. Below is an email I wrote to the team (alongside all the other processes & systems that we put). Sharing it just like the previous post on Commitment to Equality. Read More

Commitment To Equality – Pricebaba

Following is an email I sent to the entire Pricebaba team last year. Some of my friends have recently pushed me to share more insights from running Pricebaba all these years. So I would be sharing a few notes that I wrote to the Pricebaba team over the years. Please do note that this was written back in time and often impromptu emails sent out without much editing or at times much thought. I am open to feedback and comments on these 🙂

From: Annkur P Agarwal <annkur@pricebaba.com>

Date: Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 7:17 PM
Subject: Commitment to Equality
To: all <all@pricebaba.com>, “community@pricebaba.com” <community@pricebaba.com>

Dear Friends,

Every since I started working in 2002, I have had invaluable learnings from the people whom I met and transacted with. However my learnings in recent years has been far greater than the entire previous decade of work that I saw. A large part of these learnings are as a result of starting PriceBaba. I have had to break many barriers within myself, learn new skills every day and grow myself as an individual & leader. In our Super Saturday sessions and other leadership meetings, I try and share a lot of these learnings with you.

Today I want to share another commitment that I have towards the PriceBaba team and the society as a whole. This commitment is towards equality. So much so that we are adopting Equality as a company value today. In some forms, it has been around in our values as growing each other, but let’s be more explicit about it.

During my US trip with 500 Startups, Read More

Brilliant Read: Siddhartha

Siddhartha Annkur

You may or may not have got a copy of Siddhartha (by Hermann Hesse) from me, but you should definitely go and get one right now. A quick but very powerful read. Sharing two of my favourite paragraphs:

“I have not doubted for a single moment that you are Buddha, that you have reached the goal, the highest goal towards which so many thousands of Brahmans and sons of Brahmans are heading. You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through realisations, through enlightenment. It has not come to you by means of teachings! You will not be able to convey to anybody, O venerable one, in words and through teachings, what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment!”

—–

“Perhaps that you are searching far too much? That in all the searching, you don’t find the time for finding? … When someone is searching then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, O venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of you.”

– Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

ps: if you haven’t subscribed to email alerts from me, do it now 🙂

 

Being A Good Person

Good article on Medium by Gary Vaynerchuk

I’m just not like that, and that allows me to play through and keep giving. What I love best about this is that it allows me to be extremely happy 99.99% of the time. Lack of expectation and generosity are two very lucky traits I have, and they’re something that I implore more of you to focus on.

 

Maine Bola Tha

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” – Henry Ford

One of the most ridiculous and irritating argument I have heard time and again around me is “Maine Bola Tha”. Sounds much like someone predicted the end of the world and it came true. And this applies to so many things, be it politics, cricket, family, relations or business. The part that I am focussing on today is business.

Most startups fail and things hardly ever go as predicted. You are almost always short on resources and what defines success is choosing what not to do and when. So if you think you are a leader / entrepreneur, better learn to take the bitter pill and get out of the ‘Maine Bola Tha’ club. Humans need gratification, appreciation and admiration. Seek it. But not for things you thought, but for things you did.

If you think it through, you would have done it, provided it appeared as a must do. You didn’t do it, you didn’t make it happen.

The race wasn’t won by the ones who predicted what would happen, it was won by the ones who put their money behind that prediction.

To win you need to do. So shut up and start working. Anyways, nobody cares.

Update: A good read on this topic by Seth Godin – When to speak up

The Day I Took An Auto Driver To Police Station

Auto Drivers In Mumbai

A few weeks back, on a fine Sunday afternoon I was seen tweeting about help required around Goregaon / Malad (Mumbai) to take a fraudulent Auto-rickshaw driver to a nearby Police Station. I had promised to share more details on my blog and here we go!

Yesterday Mumbai saw a flash strike by auto rickshaw drivers which apparently wasn’t called by their union. Newspapers are reporting hundreds of rigged auto meters lying at workshops as auto-walas panic to get them ‘un-tampered’ given the recent RTO drive against them. As my friend Sandeep RTs above … Only in India you can dare to go on a strike, justifying an act of cheating.

What happened that Sunday was a simple story. I took an auto from Andheri highway to Goregaon Oberoi Mall. The auto driver wasn’t in uniform and while that was least of my concern, as we reached the destination (Oberoi Mall, Goregaon) I realised he was trying to overcharge me. The meter reading was 4.80 and the auto-driver asked me for Rs 64.

I happened to knew the formula for calculating the auto-fare after the recent change in tariffs (Thanks M4Mum/Raxit). So when the auto rickshaw driver asked mr for Rs 64, I got a little suspicious and casually hit the calculator on my mobile. For the ones who want to note, the formula is x132 (multiply the meter reading by 13 and subract 2 from the total.)

The calculation in my case came to 60.4 and not 64. A small difference. I confronted the auto wala and he showed me a fare card. It was certainly a fake one, for fares above Rs 80 his tariff card showed amounts higher by Rs 10 or more. I told him that he is cheating & he suggested me to forget the 4 rupee difference as a loan and asked me to go. Yes, WTF.

I took the fare card and told him to take me towards the mall on the opposite side, where there were quite a few police vans given it was near about independence day. The auto-wala realized that I am not going to relent and Read More

Startup Weekend: Cambridge To Hyderabad, The Experience

Startup Weekend Cambridge

Back in March (2011) I disappeared for a month to UK and while I spent a month there, there are only two significant things I did. The First being a visit to Stone Henge (picture below) and the other being ‘Startup Weekend Cambridge.’

Startup Weekend is this 54 hours madness that brings together business folks, developers, designers and jack of all trades like me to build a startup over a weekend. Ones with an idea pitch it, voting follows and teams are formed organically. These teams have to come back with a product / prototype / demo / whatever by Sunday evening and present to the judging panel. In march, Startup Weekend, which has as of today done over 100 cities and 250 action packed weekends, came to India.

My friend Pankaj Jain was (he still is) passionately spearheading the India leg of SW and I decided to jump in and help organize Delhi and Bangalore. Events were planned, dates final, lots of pre-event work done and then UK happened at the same time as SW Bangalore and Delhi. And right then, Pjain pointed me to Startup Weekend Cambridge and I signed up for it immediately. So as the folks in India were organizing Bangalore, I participated in Cambridge. Left home with a view of seeing startup action in UK, getting a feel of the event, floating around multiple teams and chilling over the weekend.

What happened was crazy. Read More

Inspirational: Babu’s Doing Extraordinary Things (Transformational Leadership In Government)

In his talk ‘In defense of the indefensible’ Srivatsa Krishna goes on to show multiple examples of Government employees / ‘Babus’ / public servants doing great work, within the same political structure that is currently hit by a new scam every week. While many around me (include me to an extent) are at loss of confidence, doubting India’s prospects and can only vent their anger of Facebook / Twitter, here is a video that raises such hope!

YouTube Link

Thanks Hari Kotian for sharing this

 

Indulgilicious

Came across this really inspiring post on OpenCoffeeClub. A couple of college (hostel) girls and their tryst with entrepreneurship.

This is the story of two students in University of Delhi. Happy studying Statistics and Literature with bit monotony was their life. ‘A’ was really passionate about cakes and chocolates. She could bump into any bakers at any hour of the day. It was the only thing she cooked with lots of grace while she was at home. And ‘S’, her dearest friend loved experimenting and encouraging ideas. ‘A’ baptized her virtual Bakers store as Indulgilicious with the slightest idea of this coming true. Then comes A’s cousin, the enthusiastic, the illumination and an entrepreneur. ‘A’ blabbered her dreams (Indulgilicious) to him, which would have happened sometime in the future she was not sure about. But her cousin, so like himself, became really serious about the whole thing and they had a long discussion on the same issue. ‘A’ was big time inspired and full on motivated. Then what? Read More

Righteous

Guest Post by: Anonymous!

righteous

A guest post for Annkur Ji. Hope he bears with this vexatious writing.

We all live, act and take decisions as per our discretion. The righteous listen to their conscience, the evil look in for their benefits. But sometimes and maybe always, we are bound to take decisions irrespective of how these  will effect people, friends and even us.

It is best to listen to our conscience when we get into these tricky situations. Whom to choose, the good or the right. The good will expect us to go wrong (either professionally or personally), just to become infinitely good and lovable. The right will get us all the condemnation from everybody involved. It becomes difficult to stand up alone being the right.

But the question is: How to discern what is being right?

The most difficult task is to strongly believe that our decision is right irrespective of all the ups and downs. A lot of times, we keep getting confused, trying to change and mend the situations around. Although not perfect, but there is a small solution. Sit and think, for as long as you can, debating with yourself about everything involved. Think putting yourself in others shoes. Think why somebody is acting in a particular manner. And then take your decision. A well thought decision taken from your conscience will never be wrong.

It is not necessary to be righteous, or rather thinking that everybody should think of you as the right. Support of the masses, is never possible even for the best of leaders. Forgetting family, friends and loved ones and their feelings during the process of decision making is the worst phase. But people around are not for always. In our whole life, we keep meeting people, keep losing people. The only omniscient factor throughout is our conscience.

So be right to your self. Do what you think is good. If confused, give it a good thought sitting in silence. Take a decision and pursue it with your might.

(This is a guest post by Anonymous, hope anonymous would interact with you below in comments)