Sunday, February 3, 2019

Hitting Targets

In any company, however big or small, one is always chasing targets.

Sales teams are chasing sales targets, engineering teams are chasing shipping targets.

If your startup is consistently missing targets, that is a sign of an underlying problem. Could be lack of product market fit or insufficient number of people on the team.

Focus on hitting targets. Start hitting targets. Get into the habit of hitting targets.

This weekend I again missed hitting a target I had set for myself. Some of it was to do with the fact that I faced some issues as I updated the node modules of the project. But surely not all of it.

I should think about why I am not following my own restrictions.

I am right now reminded of the penguins from Madagascar and their skipper saying. "Don't give me excuses, give me results"

In reality, I am completely burnt out.

The question is, what other option do I have but to carry on.  

Back to writing

As I published my last blog post, I realised I had not written anything in 2018.

Yes, that sums up 2018.

2019 should be different for the one reason that I am learning touch typing and have become slightly faster and better at typing.

I started writing a design brief for an intern that I am looking to hire. The process of writing reminded me of something that I had forgotten. How writing helps one think through the issues at hand and where to focus on.

Hopefully this state of mind continues. I have vowed to write more often earlier as well but never followed through.

Mind games

The odds of success survival of a startup are very low.

The odds of survival of a startup with a solo founder are probably lower.

The odds of survival of a startup with a solo founder and no team members, also dealing with issues on the personal front are probably zero, or almost.

Every day I get up, one part of my mind reminds of these odds, the time that has gone by and how these odds have not changed but probably gotten worse. How a year has passed and I still don't have answers to questions.

Every day this part of my mind tells me to let it go for now. Join a job take a break from entrepreneurship. A break will do me a world of good. Figure out and settle other questions that occupy the mind space


But then the other part of my mind reminds me. I did try to settle other questions that occupy my mind space but despite my best efforts, they remain unresolved.  What I have is time wasted trying to answer those questions. Time which could have been utilised answering questions that my startup faces. So yes, the odds are against me, but it is the small actions that one takes each day that change the odds.

So yes, for me every day is a battle between that portion of my mind that reminds me how badly the odds are stacked against me and that portion which says, yes the odds are stacked against you, but your action today will change the odds in your favour.

 Keep at it.

Let's see how long this lasts.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The One Metric

In a conversation today, I said the biggest plus of YC SS was the weekly office hours, which got one to focus back on whats important. But as I was reflecting it over now, I realized that the first thing YC SS did was to make you identify the one metric that needs to grow.

This simple step in itself is so important. Identifying this will drive what questions you ask users, what information you seek out of them. Basically, it will drive the direction which the iterations of ur product take. Overtime, as you learn from users, either of 2 things happen. You realise that you are measuring the wrong metric or your metric should start improving.

While I am building Trici primarily for developers, many have noted that it can be useful for other use cases as well.The beauty of the one metric is that whatever the use case, it still accurately indicates the health of your product.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Convenience and Choices

Convenience plays a big part in choices we make. Given a choice, one would by default choose something that is more convenient/cheaper etc. This should make choices simple and it does in so many cases. But as we know that is not always the case. Sometimes bad choices disguise themselves with convenience and we make a mistake and learn. The tricky part is when you have two seemingly good choices. On the surface one seems obviously better than the other and while there is a voice in your head which is still unsure, you make the choice that seems better. As time passes, the voice in your head grows a little louder. You obviously made the right choice so why is the voice in your head still there.
This is because the seemingly good choice seemed better only because of convenience. In fact, if you remove the element of convenience, what seemed like a good choice may not even seem like a choice anymore because that is not what you really wanted. This becomes even more interesting because it is not always clear what you really want. Which is why advertising is such a big industry. When you see something everyday, it gets programmed as a want in your head.
If there is a voice in your head it is worth thinking why its there.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trici You Beauty!

I am using Materialize CSS library for my product. Just now, I was doing some minor changes to the UI of the product when I noticed that some of the styling was not working as documented on Materialize site. I then came to the conclusion that this was because I had not updated my Materialize css build to the latest one, so I decided to go ahead and update.

I downloaded the SASS build of Materialize which I would then customise as per my requirements. Over the last year, I have customised the css as and when needed, but realized in December that I need to have a custom SASS build rather than just a customised css file. So I had downloaded the SASS build of materialize and then incorporated all the changes I had done over the months in css to Sass by going through the diff of changes, git commit history etc. This took some time but now I had a customised Sass build.

I checked this in a separate repo and used it to build a new dist folder with the customised css, js and fonts. And henceforth any changes needed were made to the Sass files, a new dist created and then that dist used in the actual react app. This was fine till today when I noticed that I need to upgrade the Sass library itself. This meant I would have to and do all the changes to Sass that I had done earlier in December.

With a sprained neck, and a fucked up sleep cycle, I was totally not in the mood to do these again. There is so much work left to do, and the realisation that I have to do all of that alone really made me wonder what am I doing with my life. Is what I am building even useful? Usage of the product has been going south for many of the initial users. There are some positive signs but when you are demoralised, glimmers of hope are not sufficient.

With this state of mind, I made myself some tea and sat down to do the changes, pushing myself to keep moving. If only there were a tool which would make this easy for me. And then I opened Trici and searched through the Focus Sessions for December 23, the day I had initially made the changes to Sass files. It turned out I actually had a Focus Session where I had captured what changes I had done on the Sass files. I had searched earlier but must have missed this one. Suddenly, what seemed to be something that would take time was achievable in a matter of minutes. I knew exactly where and what changes to do .

And then, the demoralised me was all of a sudden upbeat. Just when I was doubting whether Trici was useful, its utility presented itself to me.

I don't know whether Trici will go onto be a successful business, but I am sure that it will definitely make lives of developers much easier. And thus, I am going to open it beyond the small set of private beta users. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Debate the doubters

I am at a friends place right now. He also happens to be a beta user of Trici, the product I am building. He was explaining to me why my product would not work. He talked about the alternatives people could use. This was a good discussion. As the discussion progressed, I was able to convey to him why I thought that people would switch from the alternatives to using Trici.

When the discussion started I was not so sure footed. His arguments and points made me think. I did not come up with anything new. But I analysed my hypothesis against the arguments presented. And after a lengthy discussion came to the conclusion that the hypothesis still holds. Its yet to be proven though.

But this discussion reinforced my belief that Trici is solving a pain point. It motivated me to work faster to prove my hypothesis.