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87. Building Tech Startups andNavigating Digital Transformation with Paritosh, Part 4

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Podcast with Paritosh Gunjan Part 4


Summary: In this episode, Andrew Liewinterviews Paritosh, a seasoned entrepreneur, and discusses essential aspects
of building successful tech startups and effectively navigating digital
transformation. Paritosh shares insightful tips on identifying your role in the
digital space, the significance of understanding underlying technology, and the
importance of experimenting and having fun in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

In the fourth part of the podcastseries, Paritosh emphasizes the importance of building a business rather than
just a product when starting a startup. He advises founders to trust their
team's expertise and avoid micromanagement, allowing individuals to contribute
their skills effectively. Furthermore, Paritosh underscores the critical role
of cash flow in a startup's success and highlights how it enhances customer
trust. As the conversation concludes, he extends an invitation to the audience
to explore Liquid, a platform revolutionizing investment in the Indian stock
market, and welcomes potential partnerships for Liquid's growth journey.
Paritosh's insights provide valuable guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs,
focusing on building successful tech ventures and driving digital

[00:00:00] Andrew Liew: Coming to talk about like thework like, the next interesting question is like, what is the... The best book
that you read about digital transformation or any cool books that you have
recently read or you read that you remember and why?

[00:00:13] Paritosh: Not about digital transformation. Idon't know. Maybe when you write I'll read it. But one of the most one of the
most interesting stories that I've read and this is from a book by Lee Koka the
c e of Kler. It's a part of his book, the Autobiography, which talks about how
he how he transformed Uhler from.

[00:00:38] Paritosh: Almost going bankrupt, right? Idon't know if you know about this story, but when he joined Chrysler was almost
at the verge of bankruptcy, he went to the federal government, he had to do, he
had to totally reorganize the company layoffs he received and just for 1. 2
billion, because. That was [00:01:00] what hisneed was for cashflow at that point in time.

[00:01:03] Paritosh: And government said you, have to doa lot of things to get this guarantee from us so that you can get this loan
from the banks. And it included things like you'll make more fuel efficient
cars. You'll make cheaper vehicles. You'll that.

[00:01:19] Paritosh: He fought an uphill battle and to totop it off, he repaid the loan seven years before the tenure was, and Chrysler
came out victorious. A lot of people say that to what end because Chrysler
anyways went bankrupt, right? But yeah, this is a very interesting story that I
have read and I've read the book.

[00:01:42] Paritosh: At least two, three times. And Ilove that story because it is more of a survivalistic story wherein you do
anything to survive and then you come out victorious. And when you in
hindsight, when you look at it, it is all good. And but. You actually [00:02:00] impacted a lot of lives. You laid offpeople, you you had to take those tough decisions.

[00:02:05] Paritosh: And when you take those toughdecisions, it is very difficult to do. So yeah that's, a book that I would
recommend a lot of people to read it it is imperative that if you are, at least
if you're getting into a business to know how hard things can be and how, do
you navigate that, it's a book that everyone should read.

[00:02:27] Andrew Liew: So again, what's the name of thebook and who's the author?

[00:02:30] Paritosh: It's a book called Lee Iacocca. Ithink it's an autobiography. It's the autobiography of Lee Iacocca. It's called
Iacocca. Yeah, the autobiography.

[00:02:40] Andrew Liew: Okay, cool. So the nextinteresting question is What is the number one software or application that you
use everyday and why?

[00:02:48] Andrew Liew: Of

[00:02:48] Paritosh: course, Liquid.

[00:02:49] Paritosh: Laughter

[00:02:50] Paritosh: No, but see, this, I don't know ifyou know about Retool. Retool is a software, they have built an [00:03:00] interesting platform wherein you can buildall your admin dashboards and your internal admin tools, all your internal
tools can be built on a low code platform, which is called retool, which is one
of the retooling.

[00:03:14] Paritosh: Bye. Most used software in ourcompany, apart from of course, Jira and the technologies that we work on and
get up and all that, but retool is something that we use day in and day out. I
spend at least a couple of hours every day on various dashboards which we have,
built on our own.

[00:03:33] Paritosh: And these are slick lookingdashboards. You can go through them and look at where you are, how much revenue
is coming in, where is the money going out? How many users are coming in, what
is our CAC and all of that, right? We, have created an we have created a
plethora of dashboards, which we go through and we look at these numbers day in
and day out.

[00:03:52] Paritosh: But yes if, I were to do this I,used, I have done this for my previous companies also, and I had to build this [00:04:00] on, my own, right on by hand. Code it andthen build it and then connect it to your own DBs. But the tool is amazing. It
is one of the things which which was needed and glad that somebody built it.

[00:04:15] Paritosh: Ah, so we

[00:04:17] Andrew Liew: too, right? Okay, cool. I think Ichecked it out before, but that was like five, seven years ago. Maybe now
things have changed.

[00:04:24] Paritosh: Yeah, it's amazing right now. It'samazing. And they have got valuations to show for it. They raised last, I think
they raised 45 million at some 3. 5 billion valuation.

[00:04:35] Paritosh: So basically the VC said, give ussomething, please. And they said, okay, take 0. 01% of my company. Give me 45

[00:04:45] Andrew Liew: Now, like for those people willlisten to this podcast, right? And they are keen to start a career in the
digital space. What is your top three tips for it?

[00:04:55] Paritosh: I like these management consultant,like three part answers.

[00:04:59] Paritosh: [00:05:00]There are three things I want you to do. Okay. So see, there are let me think.
So first thing, right? First thing is to figure out what you are. Essentially
at the core who you are, right? Are you a builder? Are you a developer? Are you
a business builder or whatever, right? Are you a builder?

[00:05:18] Paritosh: Do you like to build things or videohands? Are you an orchestrator? An orchestrator can be like a product manager
or a development manager. People who like to work with people, basically a
people leader, right? Are you a visual creator? Do you want to create
experiences for people there?

[00:05:38] Paritosh: You can be a front end developer, oryou can be a UX designer, or you It can be a UI design, right? So there are
various paths in digital space. And sooner what you like to do, the better you
will be because you have to give in those 10K hours, right? You have to give in
those hours to become better at [00:06:00] whatyou do.

[00:06:00] Paritosh: If not the best. So you have tofigure out right? You have to figure out who are you at a base level and then
start working in on that particular segment, identify one thing that you want
to do become better at it, right? The second thing is once you have figured
this out, what do you want to do with the in this space?

[00:06:19] Paritosh: You have to Join an organizationwhich lets you hone your skill in that, right? So for example, if you're a UX
designer, I would not suggest you to get into an early stage company because
early stage companies have got only one idea that you will work on as a US
designer. You need to work on different ideas as a US expert.

[00:06:39] Paritosh: You need to look at differentindustries, work with different kinds of people, understand how users behave.
So you need to join a, either a. transformation studio or a digital studio, right?
Or a UX studio. But if you are a developer then I think mid sized startup with
good [00:07:00] engineering leaders and goodpractices, that's the best way, place to be.

[00:07:04] Paritosh: If you are a growth person, then youhave to join an early stage startup because that is where you see the 0 to 1, 1
to 10, 10 to million journey, right? So you have to figure out what you want to
do, who you want to be, find the right place to hone your skills, get in there,
grow with the company. And the third thing I think should be.

[00:07:28] Paritosh: You should remember to experimentand have fun while doing it, right? Otherwise, it becomes very difficult
because it's a very digital is a space wherein things move very fast. Nobody
knew AI, say, last year, right?

[00:07:41] Andrew Liew: Who knew Chad GPT? AI has been...But nobody has knew that suddenly generative AI fever, right?

[00:07:48] Paritosh: Yeah. What was in vogue, say threeyears ago, say your all these. Distributed ledger stuff, right? Smart
contracting, cryptos, and all of that. It is gone now.[00:08:00]Not at the fundamental level, but at least from public consciousness, right? So
things move very fast. So if you're not experimentative, adaptive, and if you
don't have fun doing this, it becomes a very stressful place to be in.

[00:08:13] Paritosh: You will suddenly find your skillsets obsolete very, quickly. So you have to be you have to, I don't know if you
remember, right? When 10 years ago, when we were working with one of the first
implementations of Node. js. The Java developers in the company, I was with
Samsung and I, was helping port Node.

[00:08:37] Paritosh: js and trying to build something onit and the Java devs and the C it was a hardware company, right? So a lot of
software was written in C, and a bit in Java on the server side. And these guys
used to mock us. Why? And they used to tell me, why are you giving, pushing
your career down the drain? Why, don't you come back to what you know and do
this, then do that?[00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Paritosh: But look where Nojs is right now. Itis. For all we know it is NASA

[00:09:06] Andrew Liew: is using it, yeah. It's now gone

[00:09:08] Paritosh: in terms of . Exactly. Exactly. Sothings un, unless you're adaptive, experimentative, you will never latch on to
the right. Technology is the right way forward for your career.

[00:09:20] Paritosh: And of course, for you to grow as aprofessional, right? You, have to do that and you have to have fun. Of course,
without fun, what is life? I

[00:09:30] Andrew Liew: think you're right on the markfor the kids because. For any space that they are in to know what they are good
at or what they will be good at in whatever UI, UX, front end, back end,
product, even AI or data science, they have to experiment, they need to have
fun so that they know where they eventually fall into, right?

[00:09:50] Andrew Liew: Exactly. And if they, if theyreally just go for the money, they'll be very stressed. I can tell you that. .

[00:09:56] Paritosh: Yeah. Yeah. So see, the one, onething [00:10:00] which is very important isnever, to fall in the trap of this tool experts, right? Yeah. There were a lot
of tools back in the day when I started working, and I, a lot of people I,
think a lot of people used to say, why don't you, are so good with this tool.

[00:10:16] Paritosh: Why don't you stay in it and grow init? Get certifications. And all that, I've never believed in that, right? I
don't have one certification to my name from any of these tools or technology
companies. I believed more in the logic behind it. I believe more in the, I'm
not saying that it doesn't work.

[00:10:34] Paritosh: Like a lot of people use it and theygrow in their careers. But at least for me, what I believed was that you have
to understand how the technology works. You have to understand the underlying
logical blocks, which is used to build it and see if it is a transferable
knowledge in some other field, right?

[00:10:53] Paritosh: So that is how you should think youshould when, very early in your career, right? You [00:11:00]should start thinking more about how things are built rather than how do I use

[00:11:05] Andrew Liew: I like this idea that you thinkyou're saying that, like, how do how, ideas are being built or how the.
Knowledge and tools are being built rather than just learning for the sake of
it because I don't know like in here But in singapore, like people are getting
obsessed with this skilling.

[00:11:22] Andrew Liew: I mean skilling is a great thing.It means learning but Extreme end of skilling is oh, I get aws certificate. I
get microsoft azure And then they start complaining that they're not getting
jobs because the guy is spending 24 hours getting so many certificates getting
a job. It's a job application process by itself.

[00:11:39] Paritosh: They forgot the fundamentals, right?Yeah. Think about this right now, this whole thing about prompt engineering,
right? You'll get a. 250k package when you do prompt engineering and people are
selling those courses. Generative AI is supposed to teach you how to do prompt
engineering. Why the heck do you need a course that to a [00:12:00] paid course to learn how to query agenerative AI engine, right?

[00:12:04] Paritosh: But the problem is people get Veryenamored by these these tools, right? And they start working towards figuring
out how to use the tool better. And when the tool is obsolete, you don't know
what to do because you have never tried to understand how the tool works and
you don't have transferable knowledge or skill sets to other tools, which have
come up and.

[00:12:30] Paritosh: When you're too late in your career,it is very difficult to start unlearning and learning and showing that you can
be useful in a new situation. You, it has to come through with right since the
early stages of your careers. You have to be a bit wary of that. Don't, I'm not
saying don't use tools.

[00:12:48] Paritosh: Tools are there to be used. It isvery good. It gives you productivity gains, but learn what is, how the tools
work. Don't, just blindly pay for a prompt engineering course [00:13:00] and not know what LLMs are and how do theywork and what are the limitations of of an LLM.

[00:13:06] Andrew Liew: Cool. Let me, I want to askanother question given that you have done so many stuff and a lot of the folks out
there listening to this podcast founders want to be and what is the advice you
will want to give?

[00:13:19] Andrew Liew: Anybody who wants to start astartup, a tech startup what are your top three tips for that?

[00:13:24] Paritosh: The first thing is that when you'restarting a venture, it is a business to be built, right? Not a product. A lot
of tech guys fall into that trap of perfecting the product and releasing it and
then figuring out that the users don't want it.

[00:13:40] Paritosh: And by the time they have alreadygiven one year of their life to that. So when you're building a business, can
be built using Excel sheets. Business can be built using a simple LinkedIn post
or a WhatsApp. There are a lot of ways to do businesses, right? So start a
business, not a product.

[00:13:59] Paritosh: If [00:14:00]you want to build a product, go to a company which is building a product and
build with them. It's much more satisfying because you'll have the bandwidth of
budging up and not being held accountable for that, but yeah, you get paid and
the burden is on someone else to pay you, right?

[00:14:17] Paritosh: Not on you to pay others. So start abusiness, figure out if you want to start a business then start a business.
Don't start a product. Okay. The second one would be to this is slightly
derogatory, but don't buy a dog and bark yourself, right? When you hire people,
when you hire people, basically don't do backseat driving.

[00:14:40] Paritosh: And when, you have people hire fortheir skill sets, And let them do their thing. A lot of founders I have seen
too much into micromanaging early in the companies like, I'm not saying don't
get hands off the hands on do your thing, [00:15:00]right? And let others do their thing because the startup has got n number of
things to do.

[00:15:04] Paritosh: Yes, you're always firefighting. Sounless you delegate you trust your hires, right your talent It will be very
difficult for you to scale up and a lot of companies die because of that
Because people are not able to let go and trust the people they have hired You
think micromanagement

[00:15:22] Andrew Liew: comes because some most of thefounders they are very young and then they I mean They were interns and some
tech stuff and then they see that i'm an intern and this founder Give me 10
steps to follow.

[00:15:32] Andrew Liew: So now I'm a founder. I hire aninternal manager. Here's 10 steps to follow What do you think? Do you think
there's syndrome?

[00:15:39] Paritosh: I mean that of course is there andalso there is this huge insecurity among founders that Because most of them are
young, right? What if I hire experienced candidates and they don't trust me
because they see me as very young?

[00:15:53] Paritosh: So the only way I can build thattrust is by trying to help them in everything.[00:16:00]essentially they come in the way, right? So I've learned it the hard way. And
now I'm very I, trust people to the extent they give me a reason not to, right?
I give a very, long rope. So that is how you should be as a founder.

[00:16:15] Paritosh: You have to hire people for theright skill sets and give them again, that risk reward, right? Tell them this
is the risk I am giving you. This is the amount you can F up and I will not say
anything to you, but beyond that, I'll need a reason for it. And people
normally come through more often than not, and more often than not people come
through and that is where you grow, right?

[00:16:40] Paritosh: Even when you have when you startwith one idea, you are just one person, right? You even Elon Musk, I don't
think would have, All the ideas for all the startups that he has built, right?
You start with an idea, simple idea like we started and we wanted to be the
best [00:17:00] wealth generation platform, butthe people who joined us, they brought in a lot more.

[00:17:04] Paritosh: They had a lot more inputs into whatexactly will it look like? How will it grow? How do I build it in the cheapest,
fastest method? How do I iterate on top of it? So that the MVP, when it goes to
the market creates that wow factor, but it is, it doesn't take a lot of effort
to build, right? All of that comes from people who.

[00:17:26] Paritosh: Who are there in your team and youhave to let them go. So yeah trust your people. That is the second thing I
would say. And the third and most important thing is again, related to the
first one, that cashflow is the king, right? When you're busy building a
business, build a at least try to build a business where cashflow is there,
unless you're building a deep tech product, say, products, right?

[00:17:50] Paritosh: Wherein you need initial investmentand it's like the bamboo tree, which will take seven years to grow, but then it
will grow up in Chinese bamboo tree, right? It will grow up in six months. So [00:18:00] unless you're doing that cashflow is theking. You have to look at how to increase that. And it also gives you the
confidence that when somebody is paying for your product rather whether it is
B2B, B2C doesn't matter if someone is paying for your product, they are
actually trusting you and they will use the product much better than someone
who is not paying you.

[00:18:23] Paritosh: Yeah. So these three these are mostimportant. Apart from this, I think everything else is details. You will figure
that out in the days to come.

[00:18:31] Andrew Liew: Cool. These are the three greattips that you mentioned. Now, last but not least the audience has received so

[00:18:39] Andrew Liew: What is your ask from thisaudience?

[00:18:42] Paritosh: See right now we are only operating outof india So if you are an indian living in southeast asia and other parts of
the world and want to be a part of the india growth story do check out liquid
you know It will change the way you invest in stock markets at least and we are
bringing more products wherein you can Get a slice [00:19:00]of other markets like money markets commodities and all of that We already are
used by around five 500, 000 500, 000 investors in India and advising more than
I think 300 million SGD portfolios.

[00:19:14] Paritosh: We have got various propositions, asI said both for investors and traders and if you come on the platform, don't
miss interacting with the limo, which is the. Bot which gives you personalized
and detailed stock reports, right? And Who is I think? Yeah If you are a vc
listening to this then and want to be a part of liquids growth journey Just
mail me on paritosh at liquid dot life.

[00:19:42] Paritosh: We will be touching 1 million errorthis month and We are growing around 30 percent month on month for the past six
and seven months of monetization.

[00:19:51] Andrew Liew: Cool So those listening to thispodcast if you're investing in the Indians market, please check out liquid.
I'll probably put the [00:20:00] liquid websitelink.

[00:20:00] Andrew Liew: Sure. Podcast. And those who areinterested to invest in a liquid pro and his team, please also check out his
social media handle. Awesome. Okay. Alright.