Saturday, March 03, 2012


It's a great feat to do something on your own. Athletes, artists, musicians, academicians, programmers, sportsmen and other inconsequential people such as farmers, cobblers, fruit vendors, paan vendors, rickshaw pullers, snack vendors do things on their own and are fairly successful in their pursuits. With due respect to the individual achievers I believe that to do something together as a team is one of the toughest things to do in this world. It could be the sweets and snacks corner run by a family as a team or it could be a small design firm like Sparklin ( ) or it could be an experimental startup like Dial-a-Book ( ) or a big firm like Flipkart. They are all doing great work because of the team which believes in a vision and work hard towards that ever distant goal of sustainability and eventual profitability.

When I founded Shack with my partner in 2007 and he could not contribute I would at times congratulate myself that I could do everything on my own from getting work to conceptualising it to executing it to servicing the client to running around for the payments ( another illusionary object in this world, which you see but never get ). I was so wrong. As times passed by I realised the importance of team. I am not writing good, better or great, as a team is big enough a concept and word. I had wanted to prove people that I could build a company big in size earning good money and some fame off course. Therefore, the focus shifted from doing great work to having more people on board, having offices in multiple locations ( we managed to rent one in Bombay) and more income. We became a fifteen member company, acquired respectable accounts, two offices and some mentions here and then.

There came a time when we had to scale up again. I took some time off and realised that this will never end and asked myself what matters most? The answer was a great team and great work. From the very beginning a book by Bo Burlingham named Small Giants has been my inspiration. The book is about fourteen companies which chose to be great instead of giants. One thing common in all the companies was presence of passionate teams, believing in one vision and working hard to achieve the same. Similarly 37 Signals has been an inspiration. They propound smallness and greatness ( Jason Frieds, their founder has written a great post about thinking and not reacting ) and have made great products like Basecamp, Backpack, Highrise and Campfire ( Shack uses 37 Signals Suite). I told myself that I would be doing what matters most.

I shared my vision with team-members at Shack. I apprised them of the situation which will eventual lead to a probable bigger organisation with loads of mediocre work and people. I informed the team that we will have to face some tough times ahead, but that is the only way ahead. We decided that we will take the path of greatness and do something great. In the past three months we have taken tough decisions and have stood our ground and plan to do the same in future as well. We are rebuilding our team. We will be a group of people who are passionate and driven towards our goal. We will ensure the wellbeing of a smaller team with more facilities and resources. Team , team , team is the focus.

I have never felt so strong and clear in my head and I am excited to see how the courage of conviction turns out to be, if I will be able to do something as great as people whom I have been inspired. It's a steep climb but I am ready for it.

Posted via email from Be

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