adipatil

Writing for an imaginary audience. @_adipatil on Twitter.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

I wasn't sure if I wanted to attend this conference. The first of its kind local conference of an established conference SaaStock. The accessibility and the line-up of speakers were tempting.

I bite the bullet two hours before the closure of the window to buy tickets. Paid 700 rupees for a 4-hour conference. I tagged it as self-improvement in my expense log.

I like to listen to stories and that was one of the primary reasons I decided to go to the conference. Also, my 6-month stint with Chargebee as a Pre-Sales guy has given me a decent idea about the SaaS world and its intricacies.

I enter the conference room and find myself a chair to get comfortable in. I avoid eye contact with folks because hey “awkward interactions”. I see a few colleagues from work and breathe a sigh of relief. I know someone.

The conference started with the session “Fireside chat with Siddharth Malik” Chief Revenue Officer of Freshworks. The session was moderated by Harshijit Sethi, Principal at Sequoia India.

A few quick points that resonated with me from the session:

–> The pipeline should not be measured by $ but measure it by the number of deals. The average size of the deals is the magic number. –> Happy salesman isn't available in the market. Focus on finding salesmen who align with the why of your company. –> Clearly define the personas for your buyers. Who is the user? Who is the influencer? Who is the decision maker? Based on the personas create the value engineering matrix. –> Observe – Learn – Adapt – Do Daily

The next session was a “Fireside chat with Ashwini Asokan” CEO & Founder of Mad Street Dan. The session was moderated by Arundhati Balachandran who heads Customer Success at Chargebee.

A few quick points that resonated with me from the session:

–> Product-Market Fit (PMF) – MF is more important than the P. You tend to learn more about the product through Sales and Go-to-Market strategy than iterating it in a closed room with product experts. –> Identify a product that solves a recurring problem that a customer faces every day with high frequency. –> Many times customers ask for that one feature that your product does not have. Do you build that out and go behind $$ or find out the lowest common denominator part of the product that everyone wants? –> In order to target enterprise market your product must be an enterprise product. –> How to go to the market where no category exists. Ashwini highly recommended reading this piece by Martin Casado. https://a16z.com/2017/06/09/go-to-market-pre-chasm-market-martin-casado/ –> Hiring T shaped people as compared to I. People who can be both product experts and marketers. Employees who can wear multiple hats. –> Mad Street Dan has 50% + women employees. If you need women to grow in their careers then show them women leaders. You are what you see.

A panel discussion was set up with product managers from Freshworks, KissFlow, and Facilio. Smrithi, Dinesh, and Rajavel respectively represented their organizations.

A few quick points that resonated with me from the session:

–> Kissflow has a wishlist for new features from customers. And if other customers want the same feature they can upvote the feature. They prioritize the features based on how many customers need the request. Customers get direct access to wishlist. –> Customer Support is also part of your product. –> Make customer realize the value of the product even after they have swiped the card.

There were multiple product showcases by founders and product managers. Some of them were Xobin (Talent Assessment), Zepel (project management tool for software developers), Upshotly (Employee performance management software), Wingman (real-time sales enablement tool) by Strings.ai. All the products were solving interesting problems and I loved the product demo of Wingman the most! Murali from Strings.ai used a zoom video recording (demo video maybe?) to showcase the product in action! It captured the attention of the audience.

The sessions finished on time! A monumental achievement considering how many variables are in play when doing such conferences. Though there was no break between the sessions it actually worked out to finish everything in one go.

There was a networking event right after all the sessions got over. And I thought about attending that for a few minutes. I gave it a shot but my anxiety kicked in and I left without “networking” over beers.

SaaStock local was good learning from the who's who in the Chennai's SaaS world. In the future maybe there can be a few interactive workshops where the audience can get involved. More like a discussion maybe? It happened today but definitely can be much more.

I heard SaaStock local is going to happen quarterly in Chennai. Also, there is one happening in Bengaluru on May 25. People from the SaaS world who want to expand their knowledge and listen from people who have made it or trying to make it should attend these conferences and build the community.

Choice

Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

All organizations have an internal collaboration space such as Workplace, Yammer, MySource Social or insert the tool you use in your workplace. These spaces are used for broadcasting announcements, recognizing a peer's achievement and much more. You will find all sorts of folks posting content in such forums. Some do so to share knowledge and a few to gain 'visibility' i.e. the subtle currency to climb the corporate ladder.

I get excited when I read good content on the web. If you see my Twitter feed (@_adipatil) you will understand why I love sharing so much. I personally feel it is an extension of who I am. Sometimes I am so excited while I am in the middle of reading a [good article] (https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2004/12/06/the-bell-curve) that I cannot wait to share it with the world. I know that defeats the purpose of reading in the first place but that's who I am.

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It is strange how one tends to change over time. You think you have a grip over your life and you have your boundaries set. You know what you can do and you are extra sure what you cannot do. People around kinda help you know what you cannot do. That reassurance drives some people and pulls some people down from the misery they like to call life.

I do not know what kind I am. There are days I feel the naysayers drive me and some days I want to prove them right to the T. The problem is I am not aware if I can be that one person for a long time, even if I choose to be. My choice like everything else also changes.

Stories keep me alive. The ones they show in movies and TV, the ones they print in books and elsewhere and the ones you see in your life if you are lucky. I love the spark they ignite in me. It is momentary but At that moment I live life to its fullest. All other time I am only hoping such a spark is waiting in the corner ready to envelop me in its entirety.

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In Tamil Nadu, every moviegoer at some point in their journey of getting to know themselves has to choose between Rajni and Kamal. While you can appreciate both of them you can call yourself a fan only when you announce your association with either of them. And once you have done you are set for life. There is no getting down from the ship. And from what I know you cannot make the switch.

If you consider yourself to be a passionate moviegoer and find others making fun of your obsession I have news for you. Your passion will always play second fiddle to the love fans from Tamil Nadu have for their stars and in turn their movies.

Bollywood has only recently woken up to the possibility of 'event' films. Kollywood or whatever you want to call it has been spearheading the concept since time immemorial. Okay not that long but long enough to justify the adjective! If you doubt my words, which you have every right to, please go to a single screen theater in any part of Tamil Nadu on the day when Rajnikanth movie is releasing. I am sure even God takes the backseat and relishes the madness with a sip of coconut water!

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I was about to go on a call with a client and it got canceled at the last minute. I have time and hence I am going to write this reflection post. I needed a guide post and I found one that made sense to me. Here it is [The 2018 Year-End Reflection] (https://medium.com/swlh/the-2018-year-end-reflection-21e66e578363) by [Brian McFadden] (https://medium.com/@itsbrianmcfadden) on Medium.

1. What went well in 2018? (What were my wins? What did I do right? What shall I continue to do?)

A. Job Upgrade

I was working as a Proposal Coordinator in BNY Mellon's Pershing. Everything was fine and I was getting comfortable in the job. I was not really thinking of changing the job since I had joined only 18 months earlier. Then a series of incidents happened with my then boss which compelled me to think of a change. In hindsight, those incidents did not warrant a job change but it turned out to be for the best.

I did not see myself growing within that company

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Shout Out

I put up this as my WhatsApp status with a caption that read “New achievement unlocked”. It meant a great deal to me. To be able to set up a movie screening and then running a campaign to get more than 125 folks to sign up. I set up the screening on Vkaao a joint venture between PVR and Bookmyshow. I wasn't expecting it to get confirmed but still went ahead and did it anyway.

The tweet that blew up and made this possible reached more than 1 lakh people! This might be a normal reach for a marketing agency or an influencer on Twitter. For a person like me who has close to 570 followers (organic growth) on Twitter, this is big! This is my first viral tweet. Well viral as defined by my low standards.

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Over the course of the last few days, a lot of Indian Men have been outed on Twitter for their sexual predatory behaviour. Most of these men belong to the world of Media and Bollywood. It is great to see women finding the courage and exposing men who have long been hidden in plain sight. These women have done it at a great personal cost. The anguish and the stress of listening, collating and sharing these hideous stories are unimaginable. I read through the multitude of stories and found myself irritated with a clumsy headache.

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Few minutes after I finished watching Mulk I realized why I love watching movies so much. It is a powerful medium to show a mirror to the society and ask some pertinent questions. Mulk covers a topic that is very close to my heart. I have always thought about it and to see a movie bring home the point in such an eloquent way is amazing.

How we are prejudiced against Muslims in our country. We presume that Muslims have been “allowed” to stay in our country. And since media always portrays the bearded Muslim as the stereotypical Terrorist we can't fathom a terrorist who is a Hindu. The movie describes this in more ways than one. Why is it that when Hindu goons destroy the local property they are called local hooligans and when the same is done by Muslims they are potential terrorists.

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One of the ways to figure out if a movie works is to gauge the audience response while they are watching the movie. Are they busy scrolling the bottomless pit of their favourite social media sites or are they enjoying the movie with rapt attention?

Andhadhun falls under the latter. There were numerous moments in the movie when the audience laughed, gasped, eeewed and got scared together. It felt as if we were collectively together in the experience. A big win for the makers.

Aakash (Ayushman Khurrana) in one of the scenes utters the infamous line “The nation wants to know” and it got a thunderous laughter from the audience. There were many such moments throughout the movie. The twists, which are in abundance, kept the audience guessing. So much so that at the cusp of the interval a girl in the audience was worried about a cat drinking possible poisonous milk. Her words were amplified because of the sunken silence of the crowd.

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My last working day in Pershing was October 3, 2018. My first day at Chargebee was October 4, 2018. Many people asked me why I did not take a breather in between. While I can definitely come up with many reasons which in hindsight might justify the decision. The truth is that I dint want to waste any time. I wanted to start the new chapter of my work life as soon as possible. Well, I am also not a great negotiator. It could be just that.

I couldn't have asked for a better last day experience. Incidentally there was a Toastmasters meeting scheduled as well. I was supposed to give a special speech. Unfortunately what I delivered was anything but special. Yet the kindness of my colleagues was unfazed. They showered praise, gifts and lots of love. I felt very humbled and almost ended up crying. I din't though. Surprising myself.

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