Getting in the Zone.

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So – my bags are packed and all done. Am all set for my travel in the morning. I am tired but not sleepy.  This is the first time I am going to Mumbai  with a purpose  – a purpose to find all the support, guidance, help and solutions I need to scale up my PoolWallet.

I have worked hard to get PoolWallet to get some attention and finally today I feel like it was all worth  (thanks to Zone Start ups for their EmpowerZone Me program)– ofcourse if there were investors to lap me up I would feel even better but I think I am moving in the right direction. I think that will happen soon too.

Looked at the mentors list – cant wait to meet each of them and learn from them and tell them how cool PoolWallet is and what all I wish to do with it and if they support me , how far I can go with it. Even the list of start-ups participating – the 14 stars (excluding me) – they seem so cool – I am so eagerly waiting to meet them all.

Incidentally, today I also heard the song – Yeh hai Bombay meri Jaan Just listening to the song made me realize, what respect this city commands…I can’t tell the number of movies I have seen where going to Bombay meant – having a goal in life, being ambitious enough to fight for it and having faith in heart that whatever I want , I will go and get it in Bombay – the city of dreams.

Tonight – I feel that emotion. I feel bold enough to take charge of my future and I want the whole universe to conspire to get me what I so desperately want.

My kids asked me – there will be so many Cine Stars in Mumbai – Are you going to meet any?  Thinking of the place’s reality, that its home to majority of our favourite actors, does make me have butterflies in my stomach too.

Do I want to meet  them all – No. Not all.

If someone influential is reading my blog – while I am in Mumbai – I would love to meet Mr. Ratan Tata (Industrialist)and Mr.Dilip Kumar (actor).  If you can make it happen for me, please help me.

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Thanks Empowerzone for seeing something in me that has been hidden until now. Thanks for all the support and kindness you have shown. Thanks for selecting me and giving me this opportunity.  It would be so wrong to not mention a few of my friends who have stood by me always and who have believed in my abilities more than me – Thanks Shikha Suman(Medimojo), Ishita Anand(BitGiving), Sairee Chahal (Seroes), Sandy Carter (IBM) , Kanika Tekriwal (JetsetGo)Geetika Dayal(TiE),  Upasana Sharma (TiE) , Rashmi Jain and Peggy Libbey.

Wanted to say thanks to few special men too – who went out of their ways to shine light on me and make me my best version – a confident one –  Mike Lyles , Keith Klain, Matt Heusser,  Akash Srivastava, James Bach, Aman Jain, Anit Jha, Priyank Sharma, Ravi Gururaj, Pankaj Jain ( My investor in future, Yes Pankaj  – someday it will happen 🙂 )  and Mukund Mohan….many many more.

Please note –   its not a full list, and please dont be upset if you dont see your name in it. These are just on top  of my head.

I will sleep now and stop my rambling – have a morning flight to catch. But before I go , I want to say thanks to my family for bearing with me –special thanks to my husband and kids for understanding all the times I am not there for them because I am working. Thanks to my dad for bringing me up as he did. Want him to know I am grateful to him for all the big and small sacrifices he made to make me who I am today.

I wish I could first visit Haji Ali Dargah and Mahalaxmi temple before I went for the big day at the BSE building. But it wont be possible. However, I still feel the blessings and prayers.

See you soon Bombay!!! Thanks Empowerzone!!

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Rahul..naam toh suna hoga?

“Rahul..naam toh suna hoga?” – This is what I related the most with the name Rahul besides having a very quiet and simple friend by that name at my work (Not Mr. Narvekar). So for a very long time I had Rahul Narvekar on my Facebook as a “friend” and had interacted a few times – always when Rahul seemed occupied and my ping seemed like an interruption. And so, being the kind of person I am , I would not want to “bother” someone who is busy. And so we never spoke much.
rahul - naam toh suna hoga

But I knew Rahul was the kind of entrepreneur I wanted to speak to and he probably had answers to most of my questions. And when I say answers – I firmly believe no one can solve one’s business issues better than they themselves. But speaking to a hands on person who has experience of failing and succeeding in ventures, can give you meaningful insights to what options had better probability of working and also at times the wisdom and strength to apply brakes / change direction / press gas pedal – as the need be.

So thanks to Sahiba Sethi of HelloMeets and our facebook chats where she understood my need to meet new entrepreneurs to introduce them to Poolwallet and she invited me to her series of GrowthTalks. And since Rahul Narvekar happened to be the key speaker – I decided to pounce upon the opportunity to meet him and pour out my long list of questions and in my mind I was prepared to be shameless in asking his help.

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Tanmay was a wonderful, warm and energetic host. The ice breaking was done in the most traditional way of introductions but nothing was conventional about the details asked and any of the responses. All shared their passions and what they were upto these days and what bought them to Hello Meets.

As Rahul starts to speak, I am anxiously waiting for his stories about NDTV Indian Roots and Fashion and You. And we are half way through the meet and no mention of these yet. And yet, I don’t want the story telling to end. His humble beginnings, his entrepreneurial pedigree, his music channel Oxygen, significance of his birth date (1st Oct 1972), his first meeting with his now wife Pallavi Rao  (who was a rockstar RJ at Radio mirchi and is now heading the CSR there)….the story goes on and Rahul literally details out all the major milestones of his life.

He kept on sharing his step by step learnings and I was busy absorbing each of them. And he agreed that he realized it very early in life that he could entertain and that he also realized that one who can entertain will always be seeked by the folks around.I finally decided , this was not the day I could ask him for any discussion on PoolWallet. I wanted to talk more about his experiences. Wanted to learn as much as I can from his experiences.

Let me share my collection of learnings from the meet :

  • Perception Management – Whatever you are going through inside as a leader, as an entrepreneur – it should not show to your team unless its positive.
  • Never believe your own PR – I cant stress how important this is to keep one on the ground.
  • Wife / Mistress Syndrome of consumers – There are places we take things for granted and we treat it as a wife. We refuse to give premium for any service there. And then there are places we pay a premium because we want to be special there and we want to hold that attention at every cost. We are not sure if we are the only special ones so we do all we can to be one.
  • Don’t keep the baggage. Move on – For people and work in your life. Move on once you see things not working as desired. Don’t just keep the baggage and stay with it. When people change their attitudes based on your success / failure – don’t be bothered. Take it in your stride.This is how the world works – accept it. If you hold on to the grudges, its only going to pull you down.
  • Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey. You need to have faith and keep moving.
  • Sometimes its also about being in the right place at the right time or coming across that one key person who simply changes the entire game plan for you.
  • There are no templates to success.Things could work in your favor with some effort or not work for you even with all the efforts put in and management. External factors can’t be planned. An entrepreneur has to be ready to pivot really fast as the market factors change.
  • Investors don’t invest purely based on excel sheets. They invest on the person, on the team that is running the start-up. So build a great team that can handle situations when things don’t go as plan A. This ability to pivot also tells investors their money is more likely to be safe and growing with such teams. Be fundable as an individual.
  • Ask for help – people like helping others. They just do. Even without ROIs and having no agenda – there are many worthy and good people. Seek.

dont underestimate the power

As he explains how he went through the ups and downs of life and his career with Pallavi firmly by his side, in my mind I could see them both hand in hand sliding the sine curves – always smiling and having faith and keeping a brave face forward even when they are in the troughs. And that made me think of another Bollywood dialogue more apt for Rahul than the previous one – “Dont underestimate the power of the common man.”