At IndiQube, we value entrepreneurs and their thoughts for they form an important foundation in what we do. Through #TheFoundersWay, we get you up, close and personal with the entrepreneurs who are redefining businesses.
Prashant Prabhakar | Co-Founder & CEO at SoStronk
What 3 books would you recommend that every entrepreneur read?
- Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis: This masterpiece of a graphic novel series might be an off-beat choice for a must-read but the protagonist showcases an attribute that is an absolute must for all entrepreneurs. Lazer-like obsession with the primary motive. Spider Jerusalem above all stands for seeking out the journalist truth above all; its his sole motivator in life. Success, comes as a consequence of this obsession. Similarly, all startups are initiated on one basic principle; whether that is a need to solve a market or to create an unaddressed market etc. In the process of the day to day details of the startup, oftentimes the bigger picture stops becoming the guiding force and its essential for an entrepreneur to always have that at the core of their business philosophy; one core belief system that drives the entire effort. In my case, it was important to put our end-consumer at the center of it all; to make something with the end gamer in mind, as I once was them.
- Work Rules! Insights from inside Google.. by Laszlo Buck: This informative guide with analogies and descriptive case studies looks at work-culture from all facets. Crucial read to understand the driving forces for different employees, the appraisal processes that work effectively, establishing a productive and automatically evolving work culture and many more crucial tidbits for a new team.
- Sun-Tzu: The Art of War: The most popular choice amongst entrepreneurs with valid reason. Strategical thinking and being one step ahead of your opponent is a necessity in making a startup succesful. Its applying the lessons effectively in the real practical world of entrepreneurship that produces the results. The ‘opponent’ could be a literal competitor, it could be market forces, it could be the end consumer — in all aspects having the ability to be in their shoes, think like them and be one step ahead will enable you to make smarter, more thought out key decisions throughout the growth of the startup.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Old school fundamentals are still king. Its easy to work in a startup environment and be in awe of all the new-age ways of the work culture, with sophisticated technologies like Slack, Trello, Jira making life that much easier for each employee and the management — it often leads to a reductive workstyle that is lots of flash and not much consistency. Old school fundamentals is what our parents and grandparents swore by; discipline, effective communication, documenting all meetings, making sure all key individuals are in sync all the time. These bring about the consistency, these enable for better planning, these stop people from burning out or under-appreciated. So keep that old physical deadline calendar next to you, use that pen and whiteboard to have a physical wall of stories alongside your virtual wall. Build an internal communication manifesto particular to your work culture and enforce it.
How do you believe evolving technology will impact the way we do business over the next 10 years?
We see the affects of it everyday. To put it simply, the most easily noticeable impact of technology is with the minimisation of geographical boundaries. More and more startups can consist of entire departments working from home and remotely. It leads to work cultures consisting of people from all over the world with different backgrounds and belief systems. As technologies grows, this is going to only become more common place. Multi-cultural teams will become commonplace with improvements in technologies and methods to increase remote worker productivity. Secondly, the day to day tedious company tasks will further be simplified whether thats investments, accounts, audits or legal — everything will go digital as it has already in some first world countries (Singapore).
How do you facilitate a positive work environment that attracts and retains talent?
We are extremely transparent with our employees. We are honest with them when the times are good or when the times are bad. We urge everyone to have an extremely thick skin with regards to feedback and be as objective as possible when being criticized. We have an established feedback system with set ‘Retro’s after each sprint/iteration — that enable for everything to be out in the open. Whether thats employees having problems with the leadership or vice versa or even with disharmony within individuals in the team itself. We make sure there is no backchatter and everyone can address each other directly and openly (even if that results in the frequent shouting matches).
How has IndiQube workspace made an impact on your resource and capital allocation?
The biggest change we noticed moving from operating our own office space (House) to IndiQube has been a direct affect on our productivity. No longer do we need to worry about small tasks that keep causing a context switch from our primary role responsibilities. Whether the electricity or water is all good, following up on slow / patchy internet, making sure someones at office to receive courier, maintenance and cleanliness of the house. All of these might sound small individually but once you group them all up and factor in the daily or weekly requirements for a majority of them it just leads to massive context switches for startup employees and undue reductions from developmental velocity.