Startup Founder Credit

Do startup founder(s) get more credit for the startup’s success or blame for its failure than other members of the startup (managers, technical leads etc)?

We know of founder(s) who started companies but what about the initial 5 to 50 employees who helped the startup grow.

What contributes to a startup’s success? Is it the founder(s)’ idea, their execution, their initial key hires, or just the timing of their idea(s)?

How much should we praise founder(s), recognize their successes and failures, and attribute to the startup’s growth?

Underrated : Thoughts on the documentary

I finished watching the Stephen Curry : Underrated documentary on Apple TV.

The documentary tells of almost a fairy tale like story of how Stephen Curry who was overlooked throughout his basketball journey (high school, college, early NBA years) to ultimately becoming a 4 time NBA champion (so far). Stephen’s journey to the NBA was filled with challenges and underestimations. However, he kept going, working on his game, and continued to reach newer heights.

Stephen had a lot of people helping him on his basketball journey – family, coaches, team members, and the community. He emphasized how important his Davidson coach, Bob McKillop and his Davidson team members were critical to his confidence and growth on the basketball court especially in his early years at Davidson.

It’s an incredible sports documentary and highly recommend watching it for Stephen Curry fans as well as for any sports fan.

Silicon Peaks

Pukar C. Hamal, Founder and CEO of SecurityPal, recently coined the term Silicon Peaks to capture the growing startup ecosystem of Nepal.

On his LinkedIn page, Pukar wrote that “The Himalayas have always been a source of inspiration for me. And given that 8 out of the worlds 14 highest mountains are located here including the highest (Mt. Everest) and the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th(!) highest, it only felt natural to pay homage to the incredible Peaks we have here! And thus ?️*Silicon Peaks* ?️ was born!”

Silicon Peaks is here and will continue to grow! #SiliconPeaks

Scale or Small – which one?

Which one is better for your enterprise? Going for Scale or Staying small?

If you run the best coffeeshop in town, do you focus on opening 100 more around the country or making the flagship coffeeshop the only one available and best in the world? If the decision to open 100 franchises of your coffeeshop, came with ownership dilution, longer working hours, more work travel to setup franchises, more stress, less personalized experiences for your customers, would you still want to do it because the financial upside is huge? If the reasons you started the coffee venture in the first place – delighting customers daily, creative and financial freedom, doing something that you are passionate about are available to you with one coffeeshop, would having MORE coffeeshops make you happier or less?

It would certainly help to revisit why you started your entrepreneurial journey in the first place!

Draft to Publish

Today is Leap Day 2024.

What ideas do you have saved for a future date to put them into action?

What emails do you have sitting in your Drafts folder to send?

Why are you sitting on the sidelines when you know you’re prepared for the game?

Are you waiting for someone’s permission, approval, or acknowledgement?

What blog have you drafted that you have not published yet? (On that note, I’m hitting the Publish button now!)

Take the Leap!

Getting to that Next Level

What’s the Next Level?

There are Levels. Realizing that there’s another level to be better is a key component in getting to that level. If you strongly believe that there’s no more level beyond where you currently are, then either you’ve achieved a lot already (Happy for you!) or you are limited in your circumstances, environment, or in your mindset. If you are doing what you can and still not getting the results that you want, then looking for outside help can benefit you. Getting to the Next Level is where the Coaching comes in!

BetterUp has written a helpful article in Benefits of coaching: Purpose, clarity, and passion in daily life

let my people go surfing

One of the books that had been on my books bucket list for a while “let my people go surfing” by Yvon Chouinard (Founder and Owner of Patagonia, Inc.) was inspiring and moving.

I had been fascinated with Patagonia’s authentic storytelling and wanted to learn more about the company, culture, and its philosophies. “Let my people go surfing” was initially meant to be a philosophical manual for Patagonia employees and later became a must read book for entrepreneurs, activists, environmentalists and anyone who wants to make our planet better than what it is currently.

I was moved by Yvon’s story of building and running Patagonia, the philosophies that guide Patagonia and its other entities, a company’s role in community activism, our collective responsibilities to our planet, and being a conscious buyer and seller. There are so many gems in this book and I encourage you to read it if you have not already done so. I will be sure to reread this book from time to time!

Book cover image from Penguin Random House.

TGND Buffalo NY – Nepal Through A Lens with Siraj Ahmad

I’ve followed Siraj’s work on Instagram for years now.

I love the way he captures places, people, objects, colors, and simply the beauty of everyday life. It’s a perspective that I’ve always appreciated and look forward to his work!

I’m having a virtual conversation with Siraj on his photographic journey on Sunday, October 22, 2023 at 11am est / 8am pst / 8:45pm Nepal time. If you’re interested to join this event, do register on Eventbrite.

Design made by Reeya Shakya

the art of excellent customer service

Erica and Tony both aspired a career in hospitality after college. They wanted to be working for a multinational hospitality group that operated hotels all over the world. Both start an internship at a national hotel chain. When the internship comes to an end, Tony decides to go back to college to finish his final year while Erica decides to pursue another internship opportunity this time with a multinational hotel chain. She wants to gain more work experiences in the industry and wait at least a year before returning to college to finish her studies.

Few years later, Tony and Erica end up working for the same multinational hotel group. (Erica does finish college through distance learning in the evenings and working during the day.) While Tony has built his knowledge and expertise in the hospitality industry through classes, workshops and industry visits, Erica has built her knowledge and expertise through years of day to day interactions with customers and guests. If Tony is process-oriented, Erica is people-oriented. Customers and guests give Tony and Erica positive reviews for their work. Tony receives general feedback highlighting his commitment to following the hotel group’s core values, prompt service request turnarounds, and helpfulness. However, Erica receives more emotion oriented feedback commending her active listening skills, empathetic nature, positive and engaging attitude, thoughtfulness, and authenticity.

Coffee Convoz’s Himalayan Java Campaign

Coffee Convoz is currently running a campaign that offers a chance for anyone based in the US to win a Himalayan Java Coffee Cup.

Himalayan Java is a pioneering coffee chain that has been serving Nepali coffee since 1999.

Coffee Convoz is a global community of Coffee and Conversations!

3 A’s to greatness

Awareness. Action. Automatic.

Awareness is the first component of becoming great at a skill or craft.

Once awareness is established, action is needed to intentionally practice and work on the skill or craft.

After taking consistent action to get better, the skill or craft becomes automatic.

The island without sandals

There was an island called Without Sandals.

A budding salesperson from a nearby Town A visited the island and saw that no one at this island was wearing sandals. The salesperson went back to the town and concluded that there are no opportunities to sell any sandals because no one would wear them.

Another budding salesperson from a nearby Town B visits the island and makes the same initial observation that no one in the island was wearing sandals. The salesperson goes back to town and concludes that there is an abundance of opportunity to sell sandals in this island because everyone can wear them.

Beyond the Comfort Zone

In our comfort zones, we tend to feel at ease, almost no anxiety, stress free, and safe.

In the boundaries of our comfort zones, we tend to feel some or a lot of anxiety, stress, and get defensive.

Do we all have comfort zones? If so, do we stay in those zones or go beyond them?

Of course, we all have our comfort zones in different areas of our lives and activities that we do. As humans, we operate from a place where we make decisions from what we know, feel comfortable doing, and go about our personal and professional lives.

However, if those same comfort zones are limiting our own growth or from allowing us to reach our full potential, wouldn’t we want to go beyond them?

Imagine you have been selected as a member of your varsity basketball team. Your basketball coach sees a lot of potential in you and provides regular feedback. There are parts of your game that are already good and you capitalize on them. Then there are other parts of your game that you are not mostly aware of but your coach sees where and how you can improve on them. After each varsity practice, the coach comes up to you and gives you constructive feedback on your improvement areas. You listen to the coach but you are not REALLY LISTENING to your coach. You have a feeling that you are already good in certain areas and that’s the part the coach should praise you on. Yet here you are listening to the coach just talking about where you can be in the future and keeps going on and on the improvement areas, not so much your strength areas. After a few of these feedback sessions, you finally get the urge to just tell the coach that you are doing everything you can and get defensive because you don’t feel appreciated or valued by the coach. You have excuses and don’t take any responsibility or ownership.

Now what can happen next?

As a player, you can reframe the conversation with the coach as a way to see that the feedback is for your own growth and if you have want to reach the next level, you should do the activities the coach recommends you to do. Or you can stay defensive and feel entitled to think that you have already reached your potential and the coach doesn’t see that? Or just quit the varsity basketball team?

Comfort zones are there and will continue to be an integral part of each of us. Yet, if you want to live out your AUTHENTIC GREATNESS, how often will you push yourself out of your comfort?

A recommended read related to this topic “How to Leave Your Comfort Zone and Enter Your ‘Growth Zone

the “perfect” work

Seth Godin’s blog today was Unbeatable vs Perfect. In it, he states that Google has killed more than 200 projects over the last few decades. They fail all the time. MORE THAN 200 PROJECTS!!!

Over the years, I knew Google discontinued a few products/services here and there but did not expect more than 200. Often we see a company, professional, or industry expert present an almost “flawless” or “perfect” product/service out in the world. We expect our work to be like theirs or close to it as possible. We forget that we are on our own journey to greatness. There is no need to compare, contrast, or feel deflated. What you can do from the work you see out there is to draw inspiration, motivation and keep going at your pace. There is “never” a perfect version of something and there is “always” room for improvement.

If Google waited for the “perfect” project/product/service to ship, we won’t be talking about them in 2022. They launched in 1998 and are still relevant to us more than ever before!

Also if I waited for the “perfect” blog to post, this post would be in my Drafts and you won’t be reading it at this moment. Thanks for reading my “not-so-perfect” blog.

You’ll be the co-captain of the varsity team!

That’s what my high school basketball coach told me after having joined the team just a few weeks ago. Basketball was still a new sport to me. I had not played much basketball growing up but fell in love with the sport instantly.

My coach knew my grades and wanted to set an example to the other teammates that academic excellence was equally important as your on court basketball excellence. She saw the potential in me and made me the co-captain of the team. She made our star varsity player the other co-caption of the team. In practice, I was paired with the best basketball player we had on the team and he taught me better techniques in dribbling, shooting free throws, and taking jump shots. During our lunch break, I would tutor our best basketball player in math. My coach had orchestrated a genius plan to harness our individual strengths and use that to help members of the team. Since I was new to the game of basketball, she encouraged me to pick up handball to improve my hand to eye coordination. She was always looking out for me and I thank her so much!

After my high school varsity team experience, I played intramural basketball in college, pick up games, and even annual basketball tournaments. The basketball court is where I belong. In a way, playing basketball is a language for me that enables me to connect with individuals from all walks of life, from various corners of the world, and feel a sense of belonging. My high school basketball coach helped me find a place where I felt a sense of belonging.

What will your Ted Talk be about?

Imagine receiving an invitation to give a Ted Talk. What will your Ted Talk be about?

Each of us have unique experiences in the world and these experiences shape our perspectives, thoughts, and behaviors. Each of us has an authentic story and it deserves to be heard. There are many platforms out there to share your story and Ted is one of them.

In your Ted Talk, what will you focus on? what stories will you share? what experiences have shaped who you are today? If you had only 15 minutes stage time, how will you use that time effectively? What is your gift to the world?

Your Authentic Greatness

Each individual has internal superpowers. These superpowers are unique and developed through our personal experiences, environment, and evolution. Storytelling is one of our authentic superpowers.

Each individual can define “success” in their own terms and go towards reaching their authentic greatness.

If each of us realize and tap into our internal superpowers, live our authentic greatness, then collectively we will create a better and evolved world.

Being an apprentice

Every human activity, endeavor, or career path involves the mastering of skills. – Robert Greene in “Mastery”

Robert Greene – Mastery

In his book Mastery, Robert Greene elaborates on the Apprenticeship phase involving three essential steps in the apprenticeship, each one overlapping the other. The three steps are: Deep Observation (The Passive Mode), Skills Acquisition (The Practice Mode), and Experimentation (The Active Mode). He states that within Skills Acquisition (The Practice Mode), in acquiring any kind of skill, there exists a natural learning process that coincides with the functioning of our brains known as tacit knowledge – a feeling for what you are doing that is hard to put into words but easy to demonstrate in action. He elaborates on how the apprenticeship system came about in the Middle Ages. “As business expanded in the Middle Ages, Masters of various craft needed more help and also wanted to build up skills in their workers. Thus the apprenticeship system developed in which young people from approximately the ages of twelve to seventeen would enter work in a shop, signing a contract that would commit them for the term of seven years. At the end of seven years, apprentices would have to pass a master test, or produce a master work, to prove their level of skill. Once the apprentices’ pass, they were elevated to the rank of journeymen and could travel wherever there was work, practicing the craft. “

Apprentice comes from the Latin word prehendere, meaning to grasp with the hand. “Apprentices learned the trade by watching Masters and imitating them very closely and learning through a lot of endless repetition and hands-on work with very little verbal instruction. Since resources such as textiles, wood, and metals were expensive and could not be wasted on practice runs, apprentices would spend most of their time working directly on those materials used for the final product. If the time was summed up for which the apprentices ended up working directly on materials in those years, it would amount to more than 10,000 hours, enough to establish exceptional skill level at a craft.”

Text derived from Mastery by Robert Greene.

Image source: Goodreads

Your company’s “Chief Question-Asker”

“The most important thing business leaders must do today is to be the “chief question-asker” for their organization” says Dev Patnaik of Jump Associates.

Patnaik says that “the first thing most leaders need to realize is, they’re really bad at asking questions. The business executives rose up through the corporate ranks because “they were good at giving answers. But it means they’ve had little experience at formulating questions.” Without the company leadership setting the tone and culture to the rest of the organization that asking questions are important and critical to the business growth, it’s no surprise that the employees are not asking any or enough questions. If the employees who understand the company’s products/services are not asking any or enough questions to the customers/end users for feedback, or asking questions to explore new products/services in the market, the company will become stagnant and the competition will take over.

Adam Bryant, The New York Times Corner Office Column writer says that “the best leaders understand that asking open, exploratory questions can help them figure out what’s coming and where new opportunities lie, so that they can lead their company in new directions.” Leaders have to show vulnerability and humility to ask questions which is more important than upholding the persona of the leader who must “be all-knowing, decisive, and in possession of infallible gut instincts, all of which leaves little room for questioning.”

Are you the company’s “Chief Question-Asker”?

Quotes are from “A More Beautiful Question” by Warren Berger

What’s your dominant question?

Jim Kwik, author of Limitless says a dominant question is the thing we keep asking ourselves, over and over throughout our day. It’s what drives our decisions in the moment and focuses our obsessions when we’re alone. He says the dominant question feels permanent but it is not.

“The questions you ask yourself will shape your life.” – Jim Kwik

In Entrepreneur magazine (June 2021), Jim shares his experience working with the actor Will Smith. They realized that Will’s dominant question is “How do I make this moment magical?” Jim recalls “One night, he was with Will Smith and his family on a movie set and it was 2am and everyone was freezing. He starts making hot chocolate for everybody, even though there’s a crew there that does that for them. He starts bringing us blankets. He starts cracking jokes. He starts telling stories. And I realized. He’s living his dominant question.”

  • Review 

Listen. Reflect on your thoughts, listen to your inner talk. Sit in silence. Silence isn’t empty, it will be full of your own questions.

  • Record

Journal every day. Review and record your day, and you’ll start to notice patterns skewing towards the things you find important in your life.

Read more at Discovering Your Dominant Question