1. Be prepared to walk away but …
    1. You might regret walking away! If  you leave and then want to come back, you will have to compromise! This is as true for a car dealer as it as on Shark Tank! If you were offered a truly terrible deal, then chances are the other party will try to get you back to the table to make you a better offer. But if that doesn’t happen, you might as well kiss goodbye
    2. If  your aren’t getting any closer to your ask, pretend that you are about to leave.
      1. Stand up.
      2. Start putting your stuff back into your bag.
      3. Wear your jacket
      4. Call someone and suggest to them you ‘may be done here’.
      5. If you are negotiating by email or phone, stop responding to emails and calls
  2. Don’t disclose your minimum acceptable
  3. Don’t disclose a competing offer. If you have a job offer for $X, never say you want at least $X or more than $X
  4. Create points for negotiation
  5. Don’t Bluff ! Chances are they will call your bluff. For example, don’t say a different dealer agreed to the price you are asking for. But see next point
  6. Have another offer at hand! This works great for cars and jobs! The offer must be less attractive than what you are asking for. Or it should have a twist. Examples I have used …
    1. Another dealer has offered you the car for the price you asked. But they don’t have the color you want. Be cautious because your dealer will say you have to pay more for the color you want
    2. I would like to buy it from you because I bought my last car from you and I had very good luck
  7. Know that everything is negotiable
  8. When negotiating contracts, don’t fall for these …
    1. That is standard language (Nothing is standard)
    2. Nobody ever had a problem with this. We have done this for 20 years
    3. We won’t enforce this noncompete (So they should be ok removing it ?!)
    4. This is the most we are authorized (They just told you theres a higher authority you can reach out to)
  9. Continue reading “Negotiating”

Hiring Uncommon Talent

There is rarely, if ever a reason to not hire someone your team recommends after an interview. But, there are many reasons to hire someone your team decides against

Teams often unwittingly

  1. say NO a lot to many candidates with potential
  2. dislike or disapprove of people unlike them

This leads to teams that lack healthy debate & competition

You probably don’t want to Veto your team’s decision, because vetos are indicative of an authoritative leadership that is not productive. So how do politely go against your teams recommendation ?

You could try to convince your team to change their mind. Or you could say to them,  ‘we can afford to take a gamble on this candidate’. You will be surprised how acceptable this is to everyone

Be generous with the gambles you take on people. Give them the opportunity to shine, and they will impress

Be wary of a homogenous teams. Ordinary people with diverse backgrounds can do extraordinary things as a team

Diversity Through Complimentary Personalities

In a previous post, I showed how to piece together an awesome team, like a jigsaw puzzle. Here I have listed some complimentary personality types to help  building such a team . If you have one of these personalities, you probably want to balance him/her with someone with a complimentary personality

The compliment of a personality is not necessarily the opposite personality. For example, an out-of-the-box thinker has to be balanced by a validator.

Caution! None of these personalities by themselves is bad. However, certain groupings of these personalities can result in undesirable group behavior such as recklessness, lack of innovation or group think

There are two main reasons for pairing complimentary personalities …

  1. Achieve high performance while avoiding mishaps
  2. Find middle ground.

An environment for all to thrive

In some cases, you have to setup the environment so that complimentary personalities have healthy conflict and come to a common solution. In other situations, each one needs autonomy

Out-of-the-box Thinker Validator Many  innovations are made possible because the innovator is blissfully unaware of some scenarios. A validator on the other hand is aware of those scenarios. Have both on your team enables unbridled imagination that can be harnessed practically

Make sure that your validator is not a nay sayer. A good validator says ‘thats a great idea. Do we have worry about xyz scenario?’. A nay-sayer says ‘but it cant handle xyz scenario’

Simplifier Exhaustor Everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler. These two personalities work on first and second phrases respectively
Cowboy Process Stickler Long winded processes often slow you down. Cowboys can get someone killed. Having both on your team can help you find middle ground
Risk Taker Safety Seeker Innovation & progress is made possible by risk takers. Unfortunately many risk takers don’t survive. Safety seekers are run-over by change in the long run. A good team has risk-takers pushing the limits while safety seekers add safety nets. I have found it best to keep these two autonomous
Doer Thinker These are collaborative complimentary types. Very often, some people have great ideas and designs but can’t get things done. Doers on the other hand would rather code than attend a meeting
 Innovators Scalers Innovative people often suck at bringing their ideas to fruition. If do bring it tuition, they probably lack the patience and discipline to scale the idea. This is why big companies are so profitable while startups are so innovative

Continue reading “Diversity Through Complimentary Personalities”

Air BnB, Uber & Dollar Shave Club

If Kevin O’Leary ever says to me ‘you don’t have anything proprietary or patentable’, I would point him to Airbnb, Uber and Dollar Shave Club. All unicorns, all built on the premise that ‘there is a better way to do that’


The 21 Senses

We definitely have more than 5 senses. How many exactly is debatable. Some senses temperature are clearly distinct. By distinct, I mean we don’t perceive temperature by combining the effects of other senses.

Continue reading “The 21 Senses”

People & Technology Work Together To Create Value

The best chess player in the world today is not a computer or human. In freestyle competition, where teams of computers and humans compete, the winners tend not to be teams with the most powerful computers or the best chess players. The winning teams are able to leverage the unique skills of humans and computers to work together. That is the metaphor for what we can do going forward: have people and technology work together in new ways to create value (Brynjolfsson, 2012)

Lessons lessons lessons

Work in progress …

Nobody can tell what you should do to be successful. But everybody opines on what not to do. Why would I be any different ?! So here goes …

Product : Shouldn’t be Rocket Science. Do YOU need it ? Will YOU buy it ? Are you are passionate about it? Does it have mass appeal* ?  Is it B2B ? Or consumer ? It shouldn’t be seasonal

Ecosystem: How many parties have to buy-in for you to be successful ? Is it a widget you can sell online ? In which case it is just you and customer ? Or is it like Realtime Product Placement, where you need cooperation from the artists, the content owners, the cable companies and advertising agencies to pull this off ?! If this is your first satrap, stay clear from products that you can’t sell to one party without the co-operation of other parties

Proprietary & Unique ? Like Kevin O’Leary on Shark Tank says ‘why can’t the big guys do what you are doing and crush you like cockroaches’. By that logic, Dollar Shave Club couldn’t have become an unicorn, but it did. Air BNB doesn’t have anything proprietary either. Neither does Uber!

If you don’t have anything proprietary & unique, and the barriers to entry are small, then you need to execute fast and exit

Continue reading “Lessons lessons lessons”

Starting up?

This is the cheap list you can get anywhere. Having failed learnt what not to do a few times now, I have a compilation of thoughts here


  1. Translate Your Idea into a Compelling Business Model
  2. Craft a Business Plan to Serve as Your “Plan A” Roadmap
  3. Find and Know Your Competitors
  4. Draft your Founding Dream Team
  5. Allocate the Equity in Your Startup
  6. Build a Minimum Viable Product and Validate Your Plan with Customers
  7. Establish Your Brand with Online Public Profiles
  8. Network Effectively within the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem


Continue reading “Starting up?”

Discovery to Desire To Possesion

Stuart: Hey, Sheldon, the new Green Lantern figurine’s coming in tomorrow. Want me to set one aside for you?

Sheldon: Thank you. You just robbed me of the opportunity to stumble upon the figurine and make the oh-so-satisfying journey from discovery to desire to possession.