Questions to ask an AI founder

Questions to ask an AI founder

At Ubinomix, we are working towards building the best in class community that could benefit GTM teams in new age AI companies and as a part of the quality content that we strive to bring to the masses, we’re doing some interviews ( Via Zoom / response to questions) in the upcoming months. We will be reaching out to CEO’s and co-founders in AI organisations with a list of questions they can pick from and answer. We’ve categorised our questions into two types, one set of questions focus on getting information that AI startups can benefit while the other category focuses on helping professionals get more insights into the AI market and prepare / re-skill for the future of work. We will focus on B2B AI organisations exclusively.

Since the AI tech space is moving at a greater speed, there isn’t a set format, playbook or a successful approach that we can follow. We only become perfect at something we do, as long as we keep doing it consistently. In the same spirit, we’ve put together these first set of questions as a format to start with.

Outside of the compulsory set of questions We are going to ask our CEO’s to pick and answer any 10 questions that they find interesting and here they go:

Question corner:

What problems does your AI tool solve ?

Who are your target customers? Which function/ department in an organisation will use your tool on a day to day basis.

Do you use your own AI tool inside your organisation?

What other AI tools do you use today ?

How much time does it take today for a customer to deploy your tool?

Your advice for professionals willing to prepare for the future.

What two north star metrics should AI organisations focus on?

Your biggest learnings when building your AI startup that others can learn from.

Your favourite book/ podcast / documentary recommendation on AI

A new age AI company that you look up to ?

Do you provide a free trial period for your product? If yes, how long?

Is there an online course / video tour of your platform that people can use?

What KPI’s does your AI tool impact or help to improve?

What is a pre-defined quality your users need to have?

What skills / experience do you desire much when hiring for the following roles

Customer success:

17. What’s your pricing strategy? Do you charge by number of users/ amount of content generated?

18. Do you offer certification/ courses to master your product?

19. How many hours should a person spend to become an expert in your tool?

20.What is your engineering tech tool stack?

21.How long did it take for you to go from ideation to product launch ?

22. What function in your organisation do you look to automate in the next 5 years?

23. What’s the most expensive part of running an AI company?

While these are some questions that we are looking to get answers to.

We need your help here to make it much better.

Note to the reader:

  1. If we were to make some of these questions compulsory, pick any three questions that you feel would make absolute sense to get answers from? Add question numbers in comments.
  2. What other questions do you want to want to ask an AI founder? comment below and we are sure to add it to our question kitty.

Thanks for reading through and your energy. Super excited to hear from you. Please send your questions to and also nominate an AI organisation / founder that you’d like to have in our interviews. We’ll work towards it.

Thanks for your continued support. Good day!

How I built a website with AI

Fuelled by the thought of building an Online community for GTM teams , I started by focusing on the top 3 things needed for me to build a basic website that will be a digital visiting card and I thought, if I am planning to build a community that will help GTM teams and non-techies adopt to AI, then why not start with building the community page using AI.

I wanted to start lean and hence wanted to do 3 things right.

  1. Create a Logo
  2. Build a basic website with a single page
  3. Content for my website.

Back in 2017, I blocked a domain called “Ubinomix” and it was already sitting there idol for many years. I did not want to spend more time thinking about names and finding domains so thought I would go ahead and use the same domain. I logged in to my Domain provider and was happy to see that Ubinomix waiting patiently to go live all these years.

To business,

  1. Creating the Logo:

While there are so many logo generators out there, I chose Logomaster.AI to create a simple logo. It was easy and in 30 minutes, the tool was able to build some logos for me. The process was very simple. I had to choose some texts, icons, color palette from the screens presented to me and then let the tool do its thing.

Logomaster : Screens

While Logomaster threw me many combinations, I kept changing my inputs and after 6 to 7 iterations and like 30 minutes, I was finally satisfied with this logo below,

However when I tried to download this logo, you guessed it — Logomaster asked me to pay for the logo which was a little annoying, but I was good to go. So I put on my card and zapped 990 INR( 11.90 USD). However, after few hours I realized that I hated the tagline and wanted to make it disappear. I went back to Logomaster to make changes which was when it asked me to upgrade to Premium plan with a top up of another 1300 INR(15.71 USD). I upgraded and then made the changes with this logo below. Once done, you can download the logo as a Zip file and it shares all variations and formats.

27 USD and 40 minutes later — Logo is ready!

2. Building the website :

I came across an AI based website builder called and it had a similar experience, I stated my purpose, gave inputs and let Durable do the job for me. It was very easy to edit and I almost built the entire website without signing up.

While Durable has an AI assistant to generate content for your website, I wanted to stick to writing the objectives, goals statement myself, which I had put together on a Google Doc.

To make the landing page look more interesting, I used OpenAI’s DALL-E to generate some images to insert and I left the Dall-e logo intact on all the images on purpose, I am all in for acknowledging content that is AI generated because I want my readers to know when something is machine generated, btw what do you think of Medium’s policy towards using AI for content ?

Once the content was ready [ I used ChatGPT to generate the first part of the website section to add some level of professional experience] the website looked a bit decent, I was ready to push it to production. Durable asked me to upgrade to be able to connect to a custom domain name and I was more than happy to pay 9 USD /month to access its Premium features. Zapped in my card again and went live. It took me some 4 to 5 hours deciding the color pallete, the different sections and since it is my first time building a community like this personally as an individual, I am learning by doing too.

Overall it took me few hours to go live and now the largest part of the puzzle, which is to market it and speak to as many people as I can about this community goals and curate some good content that will add value, bring in a army of AI experts (who will speak normal language and not about code) before launching the slack community with good content that users can use.

Next steps :

  1. Speak to AI leaders / experts and create a strong preliminary network to curate rulebooks, simple content that can add value.
  2. Create a waiting list for people to join while we work on the content part.

3. Marketing and creating awareness.

We are creating a community to help prepare GTM teams for the AI driven future. Follow us on twitter.

Note! : I am not endorsing any tools mentioned here. I used them and they worked for me. If you can find similar tools that are more viable, please comment below and also lets catch up to discuss how you built something using AI.

Why I want to help GTM teams and non techies adapt to AI

Let’s face it, we are all curious to know about the future with AI in it and equip ourselves in a way that one day we don’t have to walk into a team meeting and have our boss introduce a new AI tool that will replace us. This fear can be very much relatable for most GTM team members than for techies, code junkies and developers.

In the recent light of events, looks like we are on an AI rampant world and as I observe the trend and spot new companies like Jasper and Synthesia come into existence, it’s exciting and at the same time a little bit scary as to the future of work. I can already think of so many good people who’d lose their jobs with these emerging technology but equally, I can sense the merits on the other side.

Since most of the AI world is still in the second level of formative years, I feel that the time is right for humanity to come together to form a team and evolve to learn how to rise and surf this gargantuan AI wave with our small paddle-boards as it gains momentum.

The idea is not to rally against technology taking away our jobs but to identify how it’s going to redefine our jobs and alter our way of work.

I have like a million questions that keep me awake at night when I go to bed as I imagine the year 2040. I am sharing some of these questions below,

If AI tool is going to help generate content, then how do we recognize the best content writers, what will be the KPI, OKRs and objectives of a content creator who will use the AI tool.

If AI chatbots can better serve customers and always make sure SLA’s are never broken, then what is left for the support team?

Will jobs/ roles be the same?

Will future organisations only have a central AI operations team that will do all the work ?

Will AI integrate Marketing and sales end to end and be a new branch within itself?

Will Sales executives have an AI partner for closure and demos?

Is there be a way to every identify AI generated content against man made?

Will AI be smart enough to send emails to customers ?Will AI replace Inside sales teams in the longer run?

If website creation, video production and brand designs are AI based, will there be a UI/UX team or a design team in future companies? If so, how do you measure their performance?

Will there be an AI chief of staff one day?

Will there be an AI manager that will oversee the content that humans produce and approve before it’s sent out?

The questions are many but trying to answer them would be tantamount to building a fortress on top of a moving river.

Maybe, we should be building a boat instead and not a fortress and that’s what made me realize that the time is ripe to initiate a conversation around creating play-books, methodologies and equipping the future workforce with all they need to win in an AI driven world.

The Why?

Of course, I tried to search for groups and communities that will try answering some of my questions but all I found were groups after groups where the conversations were all about using chatgpt, LLM’s, Tensorflow — whatever, it’s a techie eat techie world and for a no-code, non-tech person like me, reading those conversations and trying to find their meaning only makes me feel like Dr.Strange trying to bargain with Dormommu

Source : Google

For a non-technical person like me, I am not interested in learning 100 lines of code or what node and API’s I need, I just need to help people equip themselves with the knowledge that will make them an AI professional and still make a living without having to learn code ever — which is most of the GTM teams (Marketing, sales, customer success, Presales, Brand experts, Even Designers are no exempt these days).

As opposed to launching a full blown website, planning to speak to more experts and try to curate some good facts, contents and play books that people can take advantage of when we launch the full blown community.

As a first step, launching a simple landing page first and’ trying to organise and speak to like minded individuals to get started. If you are someone who deployed an AI tool as a part of your GTM tool stack, let’s get in touch.

Introducing Ubinomix – the AI community for GTM teams and non-tech people

The Old Monk’s Quip!

Date: March 9, 2017

Its half past 2 and I am sitting in one of the small conference rooms in Plaza ground floor for my final round of interview.

I have been in this room for almost an hour now after a very confusing first round of interview. Having opted out Biology in high school and Mechanical Engineering in college, all I have known about computers is to open Google and surf the internet while playing my favourite song in the media player ( with the exception of creating PowerPoint presentations and using Paint ). Luckily the previous organisation that I worked had Zoho CRM for the sales team. My first interviewer for the day had asked me more about Zoho corp and cloud computing and figured out I knew very very little about either of them. My second interviewer does the same but quickly starts to test my sales skills (I applied for sales executive’s role). As I talk, I see him nodding and acknowledging the things that I say for the first time since we met. I have lost hope already when he hands me a question paper to fill and dashes off congratulating me for having passed the first round. He is up and ready to leave the room reaching for the door, I feel happy and pump my fists under the table when he adds “Your next round will be with the regional sales director, he will be here soon! Good luck!!”

This is the point where I give up and say to myself. Here we go, there is another guy out there I need to convince and sell myself of my limited knowledge of computer software and this time it’s the sales director of an organisation that sold software. I expect a very authoritative and concise man whose time is money. I try to remember all the dialects from Henry Fonda’s 12 Angry men which has been my favorite sales movie and see if I could use any of them to impress the director of sales I am about to meet. So many train of thoughts run inside the small room until everything stops as the door opens,

A man in his mid 40s steps in with a warm smile. He dons a denim’s shirt and a Casio G shock watch ( which was unacceptable (back then) inside my head for a sales director). He introduces himself with a firm handshake.

He genuinely explains how busy a day it has been and have me accept apologies for the delay. This was very different an experience to start in the first place. We settle down and talk about everything in the universe for the next 30 minutes. We talk about the weather, books, movies, and food. He tells about his college days and more about his early days as a salesperson. We have a live conversation rather than an exchange of information. In my mind, it’s like “Really?? here is the sales director of India’s fastest growing organization talking about food and sports with me for almost half an hour of his precious day”

Finally, he asks for my resume and signals me to explain what I did in my previous organisation. I start explaining the sales process in Zoho CRM and go on to explain further. He patiently nods and hears out till the end without any interruption. He asks me no more. He smiles and says “You are in!”

I feel happy and I did not wait for him to turn around to pump my fists this time, which I am sure made him rethink his decision for a moment. He goes through my resume and we arrive at the crucial part of the interview- salary negotiation. He refers to my current CTC and asks “ What do you expect Lokesh?”

I had no clue what to expect. Considering the fact that I did not have an education loan or rent to pay or any commitment and knowing that I was already paid more than most people I knew in my life, I just say from my heart of hearts,

“ I do not have many things going on with my life Sir, and really content with whatever I am getting paid right now”

He stops me immediately and says “No!”.

He adjusts his chair and looks at me in the eye. His tone is very deep this time and says “Lokesh, you are a salesperson and there is something that you never do as a salesperson”

( a subtle pause) 

“Never undersell yourself”

No matter where you go, don’t undersell anything that you have to offer, ever!.

I nod in agreement and he winks at me with a smile. The interview comes to an end. He asks me to meet the HR team for the final round and walks me out of the room. He suggests to stop on the way and grab some tea (Its already 4 PM) which I do.

As I walk back to meet the HR people still not sure if I got selected. One thing made real sense “Never undersell yourself”. When I went in for the last round that day all I remembered was this piece of wisdom that was passed to me earlier. I did negotiate hard and sold myself more than I ever thought I was worth. I have applied this philosophy to not just sales and price negotiations but to life too.

Never undersell anything you have valid to offer. It’s as true of a sales person as it is of a marketer or a developer.

Happy selling!

Is your Enterprise software rightly priced ?

Is your Enterprise software rightly priced ?

One of the most important decisions of a newly formed SaaS company is to determine a pricing strategy. There are two important facts that I wish to share here when it comes to pricing your Enterprise/Flagship product.

Most often the 3 most common pricing strategies used by SaaS companies are as follows,

  1. Feature based Paywall.
  2. Per- user based Paywall.
  3. Cost based on depth of usage.

So much is written about pricing strategies, however I would like to focus on the Enterprise / flagship offering of a new company and the science behind the difference in pricing.

The Veblen Effect :

The tendency to find a product desirable because it has a higher price is called Veblen effect.

In Economics, the price and demand of commodities are inversely related, a relationship known as the law of demand. The law of demand predicts that given two equivalent products, a lower price will increase demand and a higher price will decrease demand. The Veblen effect is an exception to this law of demand. The economist Thorstein Veblen observed that in some cases increasing price can increase demand and decreasing the price can decrease demand.

The Veblen effect in marketing and pricing results in the cost of the end products being incredibly overpriced. Consider the case of Zendesk, as described by Tomasz Tunguz in his blog and how they increased demand for their Enterprise offering by taking advantage of the Veblen effect.

In Tomasz Tunguz’s mind blowing article about the obscure economic idea behind SaaS pricing challenges,

The Veblen demand curve isn’t limited to the purchasing patterns of luxury goods. It also manifests itself in SaaS sales processes. Bill Macaitis, the former CMO of Zendesk, described Veblen goods behavior when he and the Zendesk product marketing team began to address enterprise customers to complement their booming SMB (small-and-medium business) business. The product marketing team initially charged a modest premium for the enterprise product. But the experiment failed. Demand was immaterial. As they experimented with other price points, the team discovered demand surged as the price ballooned.

Today, the Zendesk enterprise plans cost 10x as much as standard plans.

Enterprise buyers, like Veblen’s luxury class, exhibit different buying preferences from other segments. Because their willingness to pay is substantially higher than smaller businesses, these buyers often equate price with quality. At a very small price point, they ask a natural question: Since the product is so inexpensive, is it a a toy or true enterprise solution?

Enterprise buyers, like Veblen’s luxury class, exhibit different buying preferences from other segments. Because their willingness to pay is substantially higher than smaller businesses, these buyers often equate price with quality. At a very small price point, they ask a natural question: Since the product is so inexpensive, is it a a toy or true enterprise solution? 

While this idea worked for Zendesk, it may not be the case with your product. Most companies today price their Enterprise / flagship edition based on this idea and sadly startups adopt these methods without ever realizing how much new business and value based customer additions they can make(increase LTV) by not conforming to Veblen effect. 

This begs the question as to what is an alternate approach to fixating the cost of Enterprise software. Look no further than Basecamp.

The Van Westerndorp Price Sensitivity Meter:

The founders of Basecamp despise the idea of overcharging their products and came up with an alternate idea to price their products properly. One of their earlier methods was to use a Van Westerndorp price sensitivity meter to survey and gather insights to understand the value of their product from an SMB perspective. Below is an example of the survey screen and the expected results on this survey shown below, 

Source : Casewriter Analysis
An example of A VWPSP chart.

The intersecting points help determine the Range of Acceptable prices which will help us gauge the cost of the product.

The Van WesternDorp PSM is Common in consumer goods industry, one of the major drawbacks of this survey however is the tendency of people to undervalue a product because of Anchoring effect the existing price has on the survey. 

However, proper segmentation and aggregation of data will point unilaterally in a direction where the cost range of product can be equated to customer approval. This method helps Basecamp and many other companies stay their course when it comes to pricing their products sensibly strategy.

The Veblen pricing trajectory may sound more practical from the point of expansion and revenue but sometimes the high cost of the product eclipses the problem the product solves and more importantly shuns smaller companies from using the software which is so much customers lost definition.

SMB’s are more profitable in a company’s active business and it is recommended that your products don’t shun them away due to Veblen effect.

On a closing note, there are 9 types of company brands as given below and we can categorize any company into the following

The Veblen effect is the driving force of major luxury brands.

Business software in my humble opinion should never be a luxury to use. Its an essential commodity in todays world and startup companies should orient more towards value based offering than luxury or working with the notion of being a populist brand ,

In the end, the secret of creating a value based pricing rests in the maxim

“Charge customers what only you are comfortable paying yourselves for”

How Ikea dismantles cost

How Ikea dismantles cost

I read very recently about Ikea’s clever business strategy from 10 years ago in cutting costs and selling the Ektorp sofa (a popular model) and it was a clever supply chain business revelation. 

By reducing the package size of the sofa by 50% in 2010, Ikea reduced the overall trucks used to transport these units by 7500 trucks and in the process cut the sale price by 14%. I created a simplified visual representation below to understand more about the process.

Though the complexity of such operations cannot be captured in a small slide, the idea remains. While Ikea is a trailblazer in all aspects of business and no single article can capture the magnanimity of their achievements with brevity, how we perceive innovation in business matters and I think innovation lies in simplicity and is it not a beautiful experience?

Innovation is not a word!

Sales forecast : Working with Outliers

Sales forecast : Working with Outliers

Wether you run an online business, retail store chain or a SaaS product, one of the basic Key performance Indicators (KPI) is to track the overall New sales / New Business of a product in a given financial year or time period.

Established companies subject their sales data to scrutiny and do a lot of data analytics before coming up with targets for the next financial year. Most often targets are given from the leadership team. For those young cub sales folks and aspiring managers in start ups, the story is entirely different. The motto seems to be “Our target is to bring more new business than we did last year”

There’s just no harm in that but how successful can you be in chasing your target? I would like to share a simple statistical approach that will help in understanding how to determine your actual sales with improved accuracy.


We should know that, when we plot our data( lets say sales data in this case), the resulting chart can be divided into four equal parts or Quartiles in increasing order.

Image Source : Google

First quartile (Q1/25th Percentile): the middle number between the smallest number (not the “minimum”) and the median of the dataset.

Median (Q2/50th Percentile): the middle value of the dataset.

Third quartile (Q3/75th Percentile): the middle value between the median and the highest value (not the “maximum”) of the dataset.

interquartile range (IQR): 25th to the 75th percentile.

We should note that any value is considered to be an Outlier if its value is above the maximum (Q3 + 1.5*IQR) or below the minimum(Q1 -1.5*IQR).


Lets assume that you are a SaaS startup and selling a product online. You are launching a paid version of your product at 5 USD per user/month. Now lets assume that there were 10 new customers in the first week as shown below,

We summarize the overall sales for the entire week to be 240 USD. We naturally expect the revenue to be the same for the upcoming week. We project the same revenue to be our target. That’s perfect.

But lets look at our data again, we see that one customer has brought 14 user licenses which is out of the ordinary while a large number of our customers purchased between 2 and 6 user licences.

This particular customer who purchased 14 users is an example of an outlier. When we treat this data, we should not consider this particular customer to be normal. We should instead replace this value with the median value of the whole dateset (where Median is the middle or commonly used value in the data set) to get a more accurate prediction.

The below figure shows how to calculate Median in a spreadsheet. You can call the function = MEDIAN and select the data range for which the median needs to be calculated.

Once the median is calculated. You need to replace the outlier with Median and determine New revenue.

In our case, we realize that the new revenue predicted for the upcoming week is 190 USD instead of 240 USD. This gives some fresh perspective.

Real time data:

In real time, no data set is going to be so easy to work on. There will be thousands of transactions every day and its impossible to just look at a data set and hunt outliers. In such cases, we can use some tools to get the job done. I use Python to get the job done. Consider the yearly sales data of an online retails store with thousands of entries.

The easiest way to check the presence of outliers is to visualize the data. There are many ways to visualize data. I choose a Boxplot (which is based on the concept of Quartiles explained above)

All data points that lie outside the Whiskers of a boxplot (denoted by two boundary lines) in both directions are outliers. In this case, by adding up the ‘Total Net Sales’ column we can calculate the overall sales

We see that the overall sales/ New revenue equals 333644 USD in the given data set. If we were to calculate our targets based on this data for the next year, we should first treat this data for outliers.

Python deploys effective codes to treat outliers and replace them with median or mode. Once the outlier treatment is done, the resulting box plot can be seen symmetric and follow normal distribution.

We can now calculate the overall sales with some degree of accuracy in the upcoming year.

The actual sales for the upcoming year can be around 241000 USD as opposed to 333500 USD in the first place. We can use this data to improvise our sales action plan.


A good sales manager will be able to predict New business more accurately by understanding / knowing how to treat outliers and use Median values of the data set using suitable tools. Hope this was helpful.

Happy selling!

Note : I have consciously avoided Jargon, deeper exploration of concepts and python codes to keep the reading light & simple. Outlier treatment is the tip of the iceberg. We can do logistic or linear regression models, time series analysis & build decision trees for more sharper insights and forecasts.Watch this space. I will be writing more on sales forecast techniques in the future)

I don’t sell Bananas!

I don’t sell Bananas!

The last time I checked the dictionary, oxymoron still bears the same meaning of things that contradict each other. I always get a feeling that the best word to describe my job would be – an oxymoron. Sales is an oxymoron because it’s easy and tough simultaneously.

I was having a conversation with my grandfather the other day and tried to explain to him what the cloud was and what I did at work. He was a bit uncomfortable when he realized that I was a sales guy. It is not uncommon to see people cringe when they hear that you are a sales guy. I went to my college alumnus meet and I was the engineer that became “The sales guy”. It’s funny when people look down on what I do. The irony of being a sales guy is that you go to war with a shield and return home alive every day.

It is remarkable how we always consider sales as a very difficult or rather easy profession like the time I was taking the morning cab back home one day and two employees were wishing that they had gone into sales because the sales team looks very relaxed and less worried. I was too tired to kiss their hands and welcome them aboard.

Ask any kid that goes to school or a teen in their final college years and I am sure that the probability of someone wanting to end up in sales should be very less or none. To all the people who think that sales is the easiest job in the world or the most difficult job in the world, please allow me to relieve you of your stereotyping. Sales is not an easy or difficult job but a combination of both. If there is a skill that people should master then it’s always the ability to sell.

Here is a quick example :

I hope most of you would have taken a train at least once. If you have, then you must have come across women selling apples or oranges. They board a compartment and shout “5 apples for 50 rupees”. If no one is interested in their products and the train closes in on the next station they know they had to sell something and they use a simple sales trick and go “8 apples for 50 rupees”. Now, this is my favorite part because the moment you hear the revised pricing you see the entire compartment coming to life, that old uncle who was engrossed in his newspaper all this time finally shoots up his head to see what’s happening. If one person purchases then it follows multiple purchases. I always think if these hawkers would have targets. Maybe it’s their target to sell a set between two stations.

The fish market is yet another classic example. We see people selling fishes piled up next to their competitors and do all the tricks to get customers. The quality of the fishes determines the sales but still, It’s funny when you hear them sell. Exhibitions and trade shows are more analogous to fish markets but in more decent and controlled environments

Have you ever stopped to wonder that almost everyone on this planet has to sell something to make a living? Even beggars sell their poverty to get our attention, empathy and of course money. If sales is so important then why do we not ask our kids to be salespeople or have the importance of sales taught in schools and colleges?

We are made to believe that sales is not a great job. Whenever we hear that someone is a sales guy, our associative memory forms a mental picture of the guy in a sling bag that waits for hours in a shop or the person who knocks our door to sell dictionaries

In my observation of my teammates and different salespeople, I realize that all these people are rather very gifted individuals in the way they communicate. Even someone who is a sales guy beyond his fate is a good person to strike a conversation with. Most of these individuals are average people all their lives and are very patient in handling things. They were the kids that went to school and did average in everything. They were the bridge between the best and the below average students. They are the same wherever they go. They are not great performers in college or poor performers. They are average. They do the one thing they love to do, which is to talk and since they have put so much man hours in talking, talking and just talking- they get very good at it. This becomes a skill over time and they have a wide source of information and get good at knowing what to speak when to speak and when to stop. They become very intuitive in understanding people and gauging behavior through the virtue of communication. The information they have gathered all these years gives them the urge to want more and they naturally seem to know/learn something about everything compared to the hardworking kid knowing everything about one thing.

When this kid leaves college, he realizes that he has nothing to offer as a skill. Has no clue what he is going to do or end up to be. He goes to interviews with nothing to sell but himself and if lucky enough ends up being a sales guy. Sales is not an easy job but the average kid is used to environments where much is expected from him in the form of sales target and he knows that he will never excel it or go below the target, just like school where he never got great marks or failed in exams. Sales always give in to the concept of “regression to the mean” and who better understands regression than the average person?

That is not all! The average kid does what he is always good at doing – talk to people and end up getting paid for that.

Sometimes people think sales is an easy job but sales is also about building relationships. The next time you see a sales guy chilling around the pantry, or taking a walk with someone from another team in prime time be sure that they are well aware of their piled up tasks and targets but are more keen in building relationships internally. This is one of the main reason why a support engineer or a pre-sales engineer is ready to help the sales guy when a customer needs immediate help. Its all about building genuine and healthy relationships.

Every day in sales is an adventure. If something should go wrong, the customer is going to call the sales guy to vent out and we are always ready to take the heat. We make sure not to pass an angry customer to any of our support folks or engineers when they have a tiresome day. All that people outside the realm of sales see is the sales team flirting with their telephone but in reality, all there is to sales is to sit holding the phone’s handset and bleed.

When its a bad month in terms of revenue, the blame game ends pointing the sales team but what is hidden is the fact that we spent an entire month defending our products and not giving a chance for the customer to criticise any of our product, service or support because we are guided by the truth that we need everyone’s help to sell a product at the end of a day and we believe in what we sell and as a rule of the thumb, what we sell is always a great product. 

The whole point of this quick article?

Sometimes we tend to look down on the sales team. We think that they look more relaxed than everyone else. We think that being average is bad and being a salesperson is being average. But the alternative of this reality is that if being average is being a salesperson then being average is good.

Again, sales is not an easy or difficult job. It’s not even a job in the first place. It’s a skill to be mastered. Sales is not a job for people who like to win always because you are expected and bound to fail in your targets when working in sales. Also every month, the book starts fresh. You must have contributed 100k in revenue on the closing day of the month but your contribution is zero the very next day ( day one of the next month). Its one of the most heartbreaking and refreshing cycles in life that fosters harmony and tranquility to the mind due to the nature of this changing reality and going from 0 to 1 and 1 to 0 every month. 

An essential life lesson that should be learned by everyone and taught to kids- to accept failure and master patience to start again and forget everything about your previous achievements. Even more than that is the vital lesson of learning to sell an idea because,

At the end of the day, what good is an idea if you cannot sell it?

Epilogue :

Sometime back in 1999

Its a regular day at primary school and the teacher is doing her best to accomplish the most difficult task under the heavens – procure the attention of kids! She tries everything and with her tricks and threats manages to shush most of the kids. There is, however this one particular kid that won’t listen or stop talking. Almost throwing her hands in disbelief she yells “Stop talking now. If you keep talking, you are going to miss the lessons and sell bananas one day.

I am glad that I never listened to her or shut my mouth back in school or college days. I enjoyed talking to people and being average all my life and I still do. As for the teacher – I am not sure if she meant it but I am thankful that she saw the budding sales guy in me back then. Thankfully I don’t sell bananas – at least for now !!!

Happy selling and please respect the sales guy!

A study in Innovation : W.L. Gore & Associates.

A study in Innovation : W.L. Gore & Associates.

There are few companies that can claim to have created products that orbit the earth, been on top of Mt. Everest and even helped mend some broken hearts. Came across “W.L. Gore and associates” and their story and management philosophy is impressive.

Founded in 1958 by Wilbert.L Gore and his wife Vieve at the basement of their home in Delaware, this humble company served the electronic market by providing manufacturing/insulation consulting and services in its early years. Wilbert used to be a R & D engineer experimenting with polymers at Dupont. The 1969 discovery by Bill and Vieve’s son, Bob Gore, of a remarkably versatile new polymer led the enterprise into myriad new applications in medical, fabric, pharmaceutical and biotechnology, oil and gas, aerospace, automotive, mobile electronics, music and semiconductor industries. As the company that invented this new polymer, expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (or ePTFE), and introduced it in the marketplace, Gore is committed to remaining a leader in fluoropolymers.

For a company with 600 plus patents to their name, 26 production facilities across the world, 9000 employees – where 24% constitutes millennials, annual sales of 3.1 Billion USD in 2018 (claiming steady growth every year since its inception) the company is still private. But that is not the catch, they are the frontrunners of innovation and technology.

How can a manufacturing company be so innovative that they manufacture fuel cells, fibre optics, bionic arteries, smartphone vents and Mars rovers simultaneously? 

It all boils down to culture and culture for Gore is not foosball tables, beanbags and sleep pods. They often say that “Gore had a culture” even before culture was a buzzword. They have a very unique management philosophy which I find interesting.

Latticwork structure :

Unlike corporates with rigid hierarchy, Gore’s major philosophy is to democratize power within the company. Managers are called “Leaders” and all employees are “Associates”. Here is a company that does not assign people or teams to managers but rather let the team choose their own managers. The Gore culture is sort of a lateral ecosystem. Leaders aren’t appointed; they create “followerships.” Anyone can pursue an idea and persuade others to join. Employees build “lattice” networks, connecting with others across divisions, to encourage the flow of knowledge and ideas. They go by the philosophy “ Great leaders attract follower-ship “

Small unit = Happy unit (The rule of 150) :

During World War II, while on a task force at DuPont, Gore had learned of another type of organizational structure called the lattice system, which was developed to enhance the ingenuity and overall performance of a group working toward a goal. It emphasized communication and cooperation rather than hierarchy of authority. Gore limits the size of all its corporate teams to 150 people. Their offices are designed into separate separate blocks / workshops for every 150 people. The size of a team is inversely proportional to the emotional bonding between its members but directly proportional to productivity they churn out. Gore achieves proportionality constant in terms of productivity and emotional bonding in teams using the rule of 150.

Rapid experimentation:

Often heralded as one of the world’s most innovative companies,W. L. Gore embraces rapid experimentation. To begin with, the company has “dabble time,” which is an expectation that approximately 10 percent of employees’ time will go toward new ideas or initiatives In addition, the company is more than willing to make long-term investments in ideas that take time to develop. The organization’s status as a privately held company, in which employees are given shares as part of their compensation, shields it from the pressure of achieving quarterly results typical at publicly traded companies. For these reasons, it is common for employees at W. L. Gore to tinker with ideas that eventually become new products.

One example of rapid experimentation is the development of W. L. Gore’s line of Elixir guitar strings. One of the company’s engineers, Dave Myers, worked in a Gore medical devices plant developing new types of heart implants. As part of his dabble time, Myers was trying to improve his mountain bike by coating his gear cables with a layer of plastic, hoping to make the gears shift more smoothly. His tinkering was successful, giving rise to Gore’s line of Ride-On bike cables. After a series of other experiments, Myers thought of using a similar coating of plastic on guitar strings to improve their durability and feel. Not being a guitarist himself, Myers sought the help of Chuck Hebestreit—a colleague who played guitar. The duo experimented with the idea without success and without management awareness of their efforts until John Spencer—a colleague who had successfully brought a best-selling line of dental floss to the market—joined the effort. Shortly thereafter, the team had a viable product. They sought official sponsorship from the company to take their guitar strings to market. The team had great success: Elixir is a highly regarded brand of guitar strings and was the market leader in sales in 2004, capturing 35 percent of market share.

The Gore strategy by : Deloitte :

The workflow of Gore as illustrated by Deloitte through careful audit. 

Image Source : Deloitte. Article

In a nutshell :

Words matter at Gore, and they do not always mean what they do elsewhere.


Gore is the enterprise, not the company. It has leaders, never bosses.

Associates (included in the corporate identity) is not a euphemism for staff — it reflects the fact that they are shareholders who play an active part in upholding the four founding principles of freedom, fairness, commitment and waterline. The latter means avoiding actions that risk holing the boat without first consulting others.


Freedom is as much about helping others grow as oneself, and is bound by further obligations to fairness and accountability to personal commitments. Gore encourages knowledge-based decision making, based on relationship building (so you know where the knowledge resides) and face-to-face communication, on the basis of which teams self-organise around the best ideas for new products or market opportunities.


Associates emerge as leaders by virtue of attracting followership, the only way of demonstrating leadership credentials — your business record is not sufficient. “If you call a meeting and people turn up, you’re a leader,”

Simply brilliant!

Innovation is not a word!!

Reference :

  • 1. Malcom GLadwell : Tipping Point
  • Gary Hamel : What Matters Now
  • Article from Funding Universe : Article

Logo Colors of popular SaaS companies

Been learning about Branding & color theory for some time. I was looking through this article from Forbes the other day,


Was curious to understand the logo colors of the fastest growing SaaS companies from 2020. Took the first 50 companies and got their color pallete (HEX) and grouped them to simple colors for this study. I wanted to keep the study simple and simplified compound colors to primary colors.

After analyzing 50 different companies and their brand guidelines for logo color distribution. We have come to the following conclusion

Total number of times Blue was used in a logo is 39 times. Top 2 Industry contributed for over a quarter (28.21%) of overall Blue, and the Top 4 Industry contributed for over a half (51.28%)

Total number of times Green was used in a logo is 23 times. Top 2 Industry contributed for over a quarter (39.13%) of overall Green, and the Top 3 Industry contributed for over a half (56.52%).

Total times Black was used is 21.Data Analytics Industry contributed for over a quarter (28.57%) of overall Black, and the Top 2 Industry contributed for over a half (52.38%).

Total times Orange was used is 19. Top 2 Industry contributed for over a quarter (26.32%) of overall Orange, and the Top 2 Industry contributed for over a half (57.89%)

Conclusion : Most of the fastest growing SaaS companies of 2020 have shades of Blue, Green, Black or Orange in their Brand logo. A vital lesson in Branding.