This post is written by Akash Daniel Boaz , MBA ( Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology). He was earlier working as a network security expert at Infosys for 3 years. Here he discusses how he quickly donned many hats while interning with Team WiC
How it all Started?
I have always thought of how it would be to work in a startup, how does it feel when you are up against a lot of responsibilities at the same time. Being an Entrepreneurship Cell member at my college, I have often interacted with startups but never had an opportunity to work with them directly.
As you read along you’ll know that it’s been a lot of fun.
My startup journey started few months back as a Consultant at WiC (Where is Cheapest). My initial role was that of a Marketing Consultant. Here we were preparing to create price discovery tool which could cut across all boundaries. However, after working for a couple of weeks, we realized that leave aside world, even getting great information about lowest prices in Pune is a herculean task.
So, How did we do it? Did we give up ?
I realized that no matter how good a framework is ; for user participation we need good data and for data, we need some really good feet on street. This prompted me to target hiring a few nimble souls who would extend my eyes and my ears to the market. Thus began my first ever journey of recruiting people. These people would then help me out in covering the most important markets of Pune. I quickly changed my gloves to don one of the most challenging roles of attracting and recruiting some of the brightest people, at the cost a startup can afford. We didnt want to pay 30,000 a month to established job sites or one month gross salary to mushrooming head hunting tribe. We found posted jobs on 12+ free jobs classified site, hit social media like crazy and thought candidates will pour. If you ask me, after first month of not even a trickle our faith in getting things done free was shaking. I couldnt hire even one. As the new month dawned, we were getting impatient and ready to fork cash we has some bright guys dropping in. Women were still apprehensive of working with a startup and didnt turn up even after committing. I didnt know if I will be able to hire, then , in a single day we closed most of our positions and even met the gender balance target . This ingrained the basics deeply into my neurons. Results do not come over night. Zero cost hiring is possible, persistence pays and social media works.
One more for the count. Yeh meri manzil nahii…
As I moved further in my primary journey, I realized that for marketing WiC need some wonderful 1 pager which people would love to preserve at work of art. I had earlier delved into Graphics Designing, and I thought making a pager will be a piece of cake for me. I realized that its not just the color or pattern which will work. The essence lay in simplified communication even a grocer should find it hard to resist knowing more about it. Here , just like an actress, less was more. Few design iterations later came the real test, getting my work incarnate on paper. For the first time, I was interacting with Printers who will print 100s of copies of my work on paper. Shoe strung we covered the breadth of city and discovered that the same page for which I paid Rs 12/ page can be done in Peth area for Rs 3.80 . The constraints of startup were making me wiser. From just creating some good art on to photoshop to now handling full lifecycle of printing, now I am enriched, have better nuances of handling print and yes, the master of elusive art of negotiations.The graphics designer in me has matured.
Why is this story important?
I though of telling you all this because I believe that constraints foster innovation. A startup can only sustain when it’s growing at a rate of 70-100% even when there are severe constraints. You cannot play any blame game here. You do not have time to wait and delay your growth. You have got an idea, make it count, make it somebody’s favorite solution. Sometimes you might have to go out of the way, out of your comfort zone but when you really do, the resulting fruits are really juicy. Being a specialist is good but being an all-rounder changes the games. Once you start taking initiatives in your areas of passion you become a specialist in no time.
The few lines below pretty much sum up my journey at WiC till now:
I began my startup journey
As a jack of all trades
And when the works begun
I realized I was a master of none.
But as time went by
I excelled in several fields
I can definitely say this in the long run
That I had actually become
Jack-of-all-trades and Master of SOME!!!
Intern @ WiC
Symbiosis Centre for Information Technology.