Sunday, July 17, 2011

Think Neutral

I remember this workshop from the 2008 NetIP conference called - the Laughing Club. It was led by a Boston based Entrepreneur Sushil Bhatia. I remember one of the things he emphasized - called 'Think Neutral.'

The reason that I remembered that was because of a book that I am reading called 'Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated, and Successful - No Matter What' by Srikumar Rao, who teaches the Personal Mastery course at Columbia Business School. Dr. Rao first talks about the pitfalls of conventional wisdom i.e. positive thinking. We are always taught that we must think positive, and then the positive things will happen to us. But this pressure to think positive adds stress to our lives. Every time we have to force ourselves to look at a negative thing with a positive perspective, which is stressful, and uses our mental energy.

Dr. Rao presents an alternative - just stop using the label bad and good, or positive and negative. It is actually very hard to judge whether something is positive or negative until much further in the future. For example, let's say you are an entrepreneur and an investor decided not to fund your startup. It could be negative, because you don't have the funds you want. But it might be positive for several reasons; one it might give you a chance to fix the reasons why you are not getting funded. Or this investor wasn't the right one for your startup. Or you figure out how to make things work for now and three months later get funded at a much higher valuation.

The point is, we don't really know if its positive or negative. So let's stop using these labels, and instead, think neutral.Observe what happens to you but do not get emotionally swayed. Don't lose your sense of peace. Harder said than done, but let's atleast try.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Decision making

"Mistakes can usually be corrected later; the time that is lost in not making a decision can never be retrieved." -Jan Carlson

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Photos for $9.95 a piece

One of the best ways to make money is to target a market that you could hold captive; a market that has no alternative. Pricing decisions then don't take into account competition, but instead, take into account alternatives. In fact, if you come across a product that is priced much higher than what you would expect, then it is likelihood a captive market. I recently came across several interesting examples of these:

1. Textbooks - how useful are most of the textbooks prescribed in courses? Not that much. Most of the knowledge can be gained through coursepacks, class discussions etc. Then why are they priced that high? Because they can, because the instructor decides the textbook often without consideration of the price, as the students have to bear the price.

2. Graduation pictures - I recently graduated from Kellogg, and an official photographer took 3 pictures of me - a close up, a ceremony potrait and a handshake with the dean. These are the only pictures that exist of this crucial moment of my life. So guess what the photographer can charge me for the pictures? A LOT. one 5 x 7 photo is for $9.95. Yes, the same picture that can be printed at CVS for 50 cents is for $9.95. Gross margin? Don't even ask. And this is the lowest priced product - most others are $100 plus.

3. Cinema popcorn and soda - what $4 for a soda that costs the movie theater 10 cents to make? Yes, captive market indeed.

Monday, July 4, 2011

An open offer

I am working on a startup idea and currently building a beta version of the site to test the concept. Rails is such a great platform to code on, yet it has taking me a lot more time than I expected. I need help, and I have an offer. I know several readers of this blog are applying to Business School, and have a technology background. So here is my proposal.

You are a B School applicant with a technology background, and are proficient in ruby on rails coding. You can me in building my site by taking on responsibility of some of the coding, and help me with my code when I get stuck.

I am a Kellogg graduate, and have substantial experience in both applying to B School and reviewing applications of other candidates. I will help you with your application, without doing anything unethical. What does that means? I will help you build a strategy for your application, review your essays and offer my comments, and help you present your skills and experiences positively. What I will not do: tell you what to write, create a story for you, tell you what I wrote in my applications, or anything that will give you an unfair advantage.

So we both are able to use our talents, and help each other. Interested? Email me at shobhitchugh at gmail dot com.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

So much has changed

So much has changed since I last wrote a blog post. Here are some quick updates - more to come about each of these

1. I graduated from Kellogg! Woohoo

2. I went to London and Paris for a holiday with my family. It was amazing fun!

3. Now I am back and getting ready to move to Boston, start a new job etc.

4. I got an iPad - as a gift from my family for graduation. Woohoo!

So stay tunes for thoughts on each of these in the next few weeks! Thanks for reading.