Second Session – Lean Startup

Day 2: September 20th 2014

SECOND SESSION – Lean Startup
CEO: Jayasri
Co CEO: Rahul and Mohan

Second session of SLP started sharp at 9:45 AM with the projector showing an exciting agenda of the day. The aromatic coffee had become a new friend and the Cube-Labs office seemed soothing, the initial meets and greets had hushed down but had left a trail of smile on everybody’s face. Atmosphere was perfectly set for a wholesome day and everything seemed holistic, intriguing, and all of us were eager to learn.

The first session after the intro was a panel discussion on Ideas and Visions. Vijay Gummadi, Co-Founder of Carz and Kiran Gedela Co-Founder of Oasis center for reproductive medicine made a unsurpassed fit to deliver a high-value session on which we would all marinate on before going through the rest of the sessions. Discussion on business model, customer ownership, creating value, valuing customers, pricing right, building the right product, identifying the problem, deciding what one wants to do etc., were very influential and thought provoking.

Both Vijay and Kiran shared their inspiring stories. Vijay detailed his daring story on how he quit the comfort of a high paying job, returned from the US, and how he started Carz. The part where he narrated how an acquaintance of his at an event-party gathering reacted when he was asked “what are you going to do now that you have returned to India?” question he replied “I am going to start a car garage” was mirthful and funny. Yet he went against all the odds to build what’s today known to all of us;  a familiar brand known for its quality that is outdoing some of the big names in the market.

Kiran too had a familiar story. A London graduate, techie, returning to India and wanting to start something in medicine, the whole thing sounded odd. Ingenuity need not spark elsewhere, its inherent in many and the first signs of it is when he or she breaks the rules or goes against the traditional known good path but ventures into the unknown, takes that risk, faces all the finger points and comes out a winner unfathomed. Such was the story, so warmly and passionately told by Kiran. One out of 5 couples suffer from infertility and Kiran was deeply moved by this problem and set out the venturesome journey of starting up. Today he has impacted and successfully resolved numerous such issues and made many couples happy. The gift of life and happiness he provided to those less destined is priceless.

It was a demonstrative and thought provoking session. It seemed as though adrenaline was underpowered by the spirits of entrepreneurship that had sky rocketed our faith beyond space into the galaxy of motivation. Nothing seemed impossible. Our faith in ourselves was restored, doubled and nuclear powered to infinity. The feeling is unexplainable, ecstatic and elated. The time when everyone exchanged their questions with Vijay and Kiran they got subtle yet meaningful answers, there was no remorse, no regrets, but pure belief and passion to what everyone of us were here to do. This feeling was beyond magic, beyond wiz, sorcery or alchemy, it was beyond what words had the capability to explain.

As we returned from the awesome sandwich session, Harsha was all set with the LEAN exercise, how to use it with an example and an activity to startup. The class was divided into teams and a team leader was appointed to fill up BMC chart.

As we winded up the yummy food arranged by Chakri during the Lunch break, Diya took us through the Javelin board theory. Diya had built GHAC to the peaks of success and fame. He had a lesson to teach us all. To everyone’s surprise, the Javelin board theory was also followed by a practical experience. “get out of the building” it was called where the divided groups actually associated themselves with a startup and filled the javelin board by interviewing real customers in malls and strategic outdoor locations, all in few minutes of time allotted before it was presented with the relevance of their idea, assumptions and validations.

In no time, the day had come to an end, none realized how time flew by so swiftly and gracefully. The sessions were like living one of the most loved moments of your life. Consciously we had all reflected upon our own ideas and startups while subconsciously we learnt the most quintessential curricula of starting up and being an entrepreneur. Such high value and moving sessions can only be found at SLP. These are not just days of learning; they are precious days of transformation and realization.

Going to bed that day had a heart that was contempt with everything in the world. Great job done by the CEO and Co CEOs. Power of faith is very important to an entrepreneur. To believe in what he wants versus whats right thing to do. The day taught us how to validate that. Most importantly it instilled the faith in us. When you feel the power of faith in you, peace becomes your slave, people become your penny and problems just remained a particle in space we wished ourselves goodnight on whatsapp and winded up an eventful day to wake up a new and improved person the next day.

Grand Start at Hyd-SLP 2015 batch

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The wait was over and first session for SLP Hyderabad had dawned on September 6th 2014. Even the Sun seemed to have sported a sparkle as he slowly moved through the clouds on that day. It seemed as though all of fate and destiny had worked together with the rest of the universe and set the big stage for a memorable, exciting start at SLP Hyderabad.

30 of City’s best of Entrepreneurs were judiciously handpicked based on many aspects of passion, idea, endurance and most importantly on the cause and dream to solve a problem, serve a cause and how extensively each of them are committed and dedicated to their dream. A lot of hard-work that the Alumni had invested in this selection process, and the result had brought together a team of scintillating, enthusiastic and lively entrepreneurs of mix age and gender from all sectors of the Industry. Best of creative minds, innovators, problem solvers, dreamers, thinkers and magicians had thus come together at one place, in one program, for one Passion – to make this world a better place.

The first hour on the curriculum had to be the ice-breaker. How else can one know each other, know their journey, share their story, skills, ups and downs, highs and lows etc., Just as the tradition goes at SLP, all the participants were asked to prepare a short 3 minutes presentation that details their story in a witty way and is the opposite of a formal customer slide deck. Who knew that this would be unlike Hogwarts, unlike any business presentation but better than and beyond anybody’s imagination?
It turned out that the session was not just any ice-breaker, but the most special one that would change the course of one’s life.
As everyone started with their story the whole class resonated with laughter and illuminated with emotions of glory and loss. Every one untwined the threads of their life’s story, sinusoidal crest and highs were split wide open and even though the mistakes made were hilarious they deeply highlighted the lessons learnt. If at all there was a large mountain of ice nearby, this would have certainly shattered it and melted into an ocean, isn’t that truly an ice breaker? What a beautiful session that was, not one noticed how time passed by.

There were very witty stories, where one shared the complacence they gained from their failures and success with the team in an introspective way, while the other humorously presented the strength and weakness using something as vague yet scientific as astrology, a few stories showed how  mother-in-laws can animorph into monster-in-laws, how lonely one felt without a girlfriend in college, and how hilarious it was to have broken the rules, gone against the odds etc., Every story had an exciting start and an end. The 6 slides that all entrepreneurs had to present, included the journey, what they do, why they want to do what they do and how can they impact the world by their doing. But what those slides uniquely emitted, were important lessons of life, true stories that had a realm of self-realization. How they did small things in a great way which they did not have to do great things at all. How success is not about what you have but who you are. How one has to risk to triumph, and how you have to spend your life your own way.

Some stories of hunger, struggle, fight and glory made a few eyes wet, as they instantly cleared off with every slide embarked a witty and a happy ending but a new beginning. The most valuable thing out of all that we do are mistakes which nobody can learn by being perfect.

Everyone in the room slowly realized a sense of power to create something disruptive, to become something amazing and to do something impossible. The excitement was so much that it can only be felt because words would fall long short of a magical day.

Pizzas during lunch added to the celebration, and the smiles exchanged after knowing each other could equate to a dessert.

Just like Oprah Winfrey said “Every time you state what you want or believe, you’re the first to hear it. It’s a message to both you and others about what you think is possible. Don’t put a ceiling on yourself” Every one of the SLP team members had one faith, requited – “What I believe can be achieved and my faith in what I believe is restored”

As Entrepreneurs one often faces more struggle than glory, more put downs than praise, more pain than pleasure, more effort than results. How would it be, at the end of the day, all that changed and a sense of confidence, futuristic excitement, strength, gratitude and energy prevailed? That’s how the day ended as we continued the celebration into a splendid Welcome Party.

A day that is going to be remembered, cherished and treasured is also inevitably by the force of nature as we see it, is a history in the making. Everyone will stay inquisitive of the days to come and the people they are going to become.