What’s next?

If you are an observer/learner of politics, business, or human behavior, then I would recommend you to watch House of Cards on Netflix.

House of Cards is an American political thriller web television series created by Beau Willimon.

In the series, there are many characters to observe and draw business and life lessons from – both negative and positive, but I would like to talk about the role of Doug Stamper.

Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper in House of Cards

Granted that Doug shows positive and negative flavors of his behavior, but he is consistent in one practice: no matter the situation, he always asks ‘What’s Next?’

Well, he does not literally ask that question, but all his actions are results of that very question!

No, he is not the lead character of the series. He is a supporting character but an essential cog in the political machine of the lead characters Underwoods for sure, but the role does not matter, what matters is his one character trait.

Doug is quiet, cold, calculative, less-speaking and first-rate executor. He is ruthless and unapologetically go-getter. His diplomacy is remarkable, and his ability to subterfuge the situations put him apart from others (not necessarily that is a positive trait but that is not the point).

Ok, so that was probably too much observation about Doug. But it has established a case for the trait I am going to advocate as a must-have trait for any influencers/leaders/managers.

This trait is to ask what’s next in every and any situations deliberately. Except for the moments of utmost Joy which you are going to have with your loved ones by being fully present in the present moments!

  • If you got an inferior grade in exams, ask: what’s next?
  • If you want to quit your job and do something else which you are not even sure of, ask: what’s next?
  • If your spouse wants a divorce, ask: what’s next?
  • If your business has failed and you feel like the failure, ask: what’s next?
  • If your family member is severely ill and you are only 50% sure of his/her wellbeing, ask: what’s next?
  • If your ex is getting married to someone else, ask: what’s next?
  • If someone did not behave as per your expectations, ask: what’s next?
  • If you have achieved your goal and got a promotion in your career, ask: what’s next?
  • If your business is thriving like never-before, ask: what’s next?

What’s next!?

These words hold high power. Power to keep the human race going. Power to move on from what’s not serving you. Power to keep you grounded when something is serving you very well.

Try for yourself.

Whenever you encounter any situation, rather than being excited because it is good or being devastated because it is terrible, ask what’s next!

If you do it genuinely, you will end up being as productive as Doug and accomplish a lot more things than ever.

Don’t believe me. Try for yourself. Ask: what’s next?

NOTE TO SELF

  1. While I have been watching House of Cards for years, I did not realize about Doug’s character trait until a situation came and left me with this question – what’s next?
  2. Situations that you give your attention to have the power to instill a never-before awareness for your present and future.
  3. As it turns out, What’s next is not just a question but your attitude towards your life. And the one that potentially serves you.
  4. The only moments where you are in your present moments filled with utmost Joy, you don’t need to ask what’s next but be in that moment because that moment is the reason you asked what’s next for many decades if not births!

Now I am closing this blog post by asking this question to me (and to you), what’s next?

Software Company

What should be the focus of a NEW software development company?

If you want to start a software development company in 2019, then you should focus on doing better than the competition if there is any competition in the selected niche.

Now, “doing better” is too subjective and different from case-to-case basis so how to nail it?

Simple. Create a niche or sub-niche where YOU are the ONE, not a leader, but the ONE! It has to be too narrow for the biggies and also irrelevant for the small firms.

If you can find a niche service or solution need and can offer reasonably good service or product/solution in that specific area, you are likely to make the business profitable (examples: some companies provide services in Salesforce and LifeRay for 35-40$/hour from Ahmedabad, India).

Being (and remaining) a technology-driven company is one choice many service companies make.

It works when you have a kick-a$s team (means hefty pay + great market demand + continuous motivation from the leadership…easier said than done…), but it is not always possible in practice.

So what do you do?

Find out the best mediocrity that works for your clients and offer them at moderate rates!

As counter-productive as this might sound, this has worked for many so-called BIG companies also in Ahmedabad. (I can name names in-person with examples!)

Be the best at what you do if you can, if you cannot then find out a fitment that works.

Create a mediocre company, and you will still end up making INR 5 to 8 lakhs per month if that makes any rational sense to you or serve any of your dreams. Making 25-30k$ per month turnover which is not that difficult with a mediocre team!

Now, let me be clear: the above answer applies to the people who “asked” this question … I did not have the liberty to ask such a question to anyone when I started. I had to fail faster than the most, pay the price concerning financial losses, increased blood pressure, and mental stress and figure things out.

Start a Product Company

It was suggested that starting a product company is much better than starting a services company. Yes, it is a dream of most founders, yet only a few can make such a dream come true.

The problem is: many startup founders try to find the problem and they find one, mostly the one that does not require any solution because the market does not give a sh*t about it being solved or not.

The problem is: many startup founders try to find the problem and they find one, mostly the one that does not require any solution because the market does not give a sh*t about it being solved or not.

Creating a product and making it successful is a super-stressful ballgame with tremendous rewards if the product commercially succeeds.

It’s not the cup of many founder’s teas for a simple reason: most of them lack perseverance that creating a remarkable product demands for various reasons: short of funds, peer pressure, not enough clarity, family/spouse expectations and alike… a few can make it and a VERY few can enjoy the fruits of it when they are healthy because creating a product is like chasing an unknown unknown and no one knows how much time it’d take … means we don’t feel we know what we are doing until the product has got its fitment in the market!

And founders like to feel in control so that it becomes a stressful situation.

I did products (and services) and made both profitable ✅

In two decades of my journey, I ran services, I did products and after selling two sub-companies for a not-so-bad profit, I can say that if one has guts (and resources and the ability to manage various kinds of stresses and severe uncertainty and willingness to drive a two-wheeler when your peers were driving a car…), by all means, go for creating a product that solves a real problem and do not think much about starting a consultancy/services firm.

Services company is not too bad 🤓

But if you are convinced that presently you do not have what it takes for creating a product, then a lot of businesses need companies that provide good software development services.

To build a good software development services company, choose to focus more on solving a real problem rather than focusing on technologies if you offer your services to B2C.

If you want to create a B2B services company, find out what the receiving end of “B” wants in terms of services and build a team/expertise in that area.

Initially, offer them much lower rates and excellent service and then provide the even better-unparalleled services for a premium. Now, this is easier said than done, and most people are not able to switch this swiftly so be as careful here as you can or not having enough profits will frustrate you.

Don’t believe in my advice! 🤫

Making a business successful is not as easy as asking an expert and believing that something will work out just because an expert thinks so. It is figuring out what works and what doesn’t in your unique context because each context is unique and each one of you too!

Please take my point of view with a pinch of salt but the bottom line is: be it a product or a service, make the experience worthwhile for the paying pocket and you can do a profitable business sooner than later.

Thoughts, questions, insights, and arguments are welcome. Feel free to write to me.

The Metadata

In one of the communities of tech entrepreneurs, yesterday, this question was asked. Lately, I have stopped giving so-called expert advise (‘fundas’) to others as I have started to notice that people relate in one of the two ways when they listen to them:

  • a. Many people think that the expert’s situation was different from them or he could get lucky;
  • b. Many people listen to the advice but often find it difficult to own it and thus cannot put in practice;

Somehow, I’ve found that generic expert advises are not that useful unless very explicitly asked to solve a business problem for a fee but yesterday, perhaps I had the 5th or 6th glass of Merlot red wine, so I ventured into answering, and I’m happy to note that it resonated with some of the community members.