Thursday, October 31, 2013

[VIDEO] 1ME's Second "Office" aka Angel House Tour

Finally, I am able to give you all a tour of our new short term home/office for the 1ME India team! It only took a month and a half before we had to move out of our first space due to the growth of our team! We relocated from Ahmedabad to the capital of Gujarat, Gandhinagar. All of this was possible due to the massive contributions from our friends and family during our fundraiser. Appropriately dubbed the Angel House, check it out!!! Drop some comments below and can you guess what is my favorite part of the office is?

Angel House aka 1ME's second office space

TT Favorite Quotes: "Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming - John Wooden"

Saturday, September 28, 2013

What’s Next?

After losing 2 days flying back to India, we are back! Coming back the second time was easy, we knew what to do and people did not stare as much. Guess they were used to the “Chinese and the American” being in their state… or not, haha.

It was back to business as soon as we got back to the office/home, first a call with the team in the States. Ever since then, we have been working every day for past 2 weeks non-stop, welcome back?! We are preparing for the next version release of MeSocial and the last couple of days we have been working 15+ hour days, days like these the team has dubbed “Dooms Day”… haha, oh man. I have introduced to them “NO-Xplode” which is a pre-workout drink that pumps the body by injecting it with a ton of energy! Do not know if that is a good or a bad “American” thing to do but everyone is up and working, haha. Thanks Richard for the early birthday present, just in time!

Aside from MeSocial, I’m also working with our intern on getting a 1ME sign fabricated and I’m quite anxious to see the final product since it will have LEDs! Once that is done, I will do a video walk-through of the office!

And today is my birthday. The team here surprised me with a birthday cake at midnight and my team back home sent me a video, never felt so blessed! :) Personally, I have not been a fan of birthdays as it is the time that I question myself, what I am doing with my life and if I am “there” yet, whatever “there” is. Regardless, I know the answer is no and I’m just a failure trying to find that definition of “success.” Lately, I have been asking myself a lot of whys, why did I leave my job, why did I want to start a company, why did I move to India, and why am I doing this? I do not have any specific answers, only a generic one which is that I just want to do "more" with my life. At what point will I know if I’m on the right path or not? ........because I am tired.

Speaking of, back to working on the next version release of MeSocial and getting ready for the official launch of MeToo Studios! Once both of these products are launched, the question now that I need to ask myself is what’s next? Short term, it is an easy answer, long term, I have no idea.

TT Favorite Quote: “Had a dream of a new tomorrow.” –Five for Fighting, What If

Friday, September 20, 2013

What is your address?

August 5th, landed back in the States, grabbed a haircut and hit up a steakhouse for the best piece of beef I have ever tasted in my life... ahhh it was good to be back!

Before heading back home to Dallas, Richard and I headed to the AKPsi Convention in New Orleans to meet up with Ravi and Pria where we marketed MeSocial and handed out promotional sunglasses. It was the first time the team went to "sell" MeSocial to a crowd where the majority of the people we did not know. It was great practice for us to talk about and show off our product. After a couple of crazy nights of binge eating and drinking on the dirty streets of Bourbon St (by the way, which smells worst than India!), we headed to Houston to catch up with my sister and brother-in-law. Afterwards we road trip it to San Antonio, Austin, and then headed home to Dallas.... 2 weeks after I landed.

After 2 weeks in Dallas, I headed to Philadelphia to get some of my things which was being stored at Ravi's place. For Philly, as much as I despise it, it was not half bad since I was able to enjoy it without having some event to attend. It was great to catch up with old work colleagues, talk business opportunities, and grab a couple of drinks with friends/AKPsi bros.

Now off to New York, first stop to CT to catch up with my old work boss, wow, cannot believe it has been 4 months since I left Corporate America! What I love about being an entrepreneur is talking to others who are inspired to be one as well. I was able to do that with a buddy of mine as he looked to get this non-profit venture going. The 1ME team met up on Saturday to hold our all-hands on deck meeting, but first we hit Bryant Park to give out the remaining MeSocial sunglasses. With the team together, sitting in a rented meeting room, it made this company even more real... if that make sense, haha. It was great talking about next steps and we realize the tall mountain that we had to climb in the coming months. Ended the day catching up with friends and was that a mess, sorry NYC. If I could describe that night in a few words, it would be: Open Bar, Surprise Birthday Cake, Rainbow Shots, Pizza Pub, and 4 AM Friend Chicken. When I was not doing work, I was able to enjoy NYC, from runs along the Hudson River and in Central park to simply just strolling through Times Square. It is a shame I never took advantage of that when I was living there, lesson learned. NYC, you are a high-energy, ambitious city, I miss you.

As I spend my last week back in Dallas, I had an opportunity to meet an entrepreneur who created his software company from the ground up and then later sold it. What an inspiration and how motivational it was as I listen to him talk about his path and struggles... in short, it can be done if you are willing to give everything up! Looking forward to hearing his advice as I push the company along. Finally, ended my stay in the states with walking my Mom down the aisle, what a gorgeous person she is.

Throughout my time back in the States, I was asked many times what my address was... and funny enough, ever since I sold my place, I really do not have one. I was truly a nomad, with my stuff in Philly and temporary homes in India, at home in Dallas, and in Philly/NYC... crazy.

September 15th, back to India. After 6 weeks, I was antsy to get back to work with the team face to face but this time with a lot more support, motivation, and confidence. And that was what I got during my time in the States, so lets go! Many thanks to my friends that reached out to me during this time, much love!

TT Advice: Opportunities come and they go faster, so do not expect the same one again and do not expect it to sit around.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2 years in, 10 things I have learned so far

Cannot believe it has been 2 years already since 1Me, LLC became official. Time has flown and a lot of progress has been made. I have learned a lot about myself on this journey, so I wanted to share the top 10 things that I have learned so far:

1. Recruit 24/7. Every meeting, happy hour, lunch/dinner is an opportunity to recruit the best. I always enjoy hearing what people do and what their motivation is so that I can put them in future roles as I continually build this company. There are a lot of great people out there and I want them. You may or may not know it but I may have your career planned out already, haha.

2. Do not give away your company. The majority of my original team members are no longer here and getting back equity shares was a hassle and waste of time. At that time, I was using equity as a form of “payment.” Real entrepreneurs will stay with you for the opportunity, with no pay, because real entrepreneurs are there to create something, a better future.

3. Be constructive, not critical. I have OCD, am annoyingly detail oriented, and have high expectations, all good… for me but not necessarily good when building a team. To build a team, you need to grow them. To do that, focus on how to make things better and not on what they did wrong. In short, highlight solutions and not problems.

4. Learn to adapt to your environment. I went from living in a renovated condo in NYC to India, and was that an eye opener. Going from being a non-veg to a veg to living by myself to a dorm style shared room, I had to learn to adapt because it is about making the best of the situation so that you can move on to a better situation. It is like all new things, it will take time to adapt and you will always feel silly for saying “I can’t do this” initially.

5. Say No. At one point, I was working full-time for my regular job, for 1ME, as a Regional Director for AKPsi, and a Founding Member/President for the AKPsi NYC Alumni Chapter. When I realized that I could no longer put in 110% effort into my RD role, I began to transition out of that position. Stepping down as the RD was probably the hardest decision I had to make because I enjoyed pushing myself to make a difference for my students and volunteers.  I used to be a "yes" guy but time is so valuable these days. If you cannot put 110% in it, do not do it, you cannot please everyone and you end up doing more harm than good.

6. You are not the biggest asset, the team is. I was an “I’ll do it myself” type of guy but at some point it becomes impossible to do it all. Surround yourself with good people that believe in you and build them. Your goal is to make them better than you so that you can build a better company. There is no me in team.

7. Workout, be healthy. Simple enough, the best time to free and open your mind is when you are working out and the adrenaline pumping.  My best thinking is when I’m sweating first thing in the morning. You can do more with a healthy mind and body then just sitting around and feeding on crap.

8. Be grateful, humility goes a long way. On my journey in establishing this company, I have met many great people and received a lot of support which has helped me to get to today. I truly am grateful to have such great people and opportunities in my life, without them I could not have made it. The simplest way to thank someone is to say thank you and by doing the small things for them. I have seen too many people take things for granted, make selfish decisions, and turn their backs. As a human being, you are not better than anyone else, everyone has their own paths and the best thing you can do is empower them to move forward in their life.

9. Create your core values and use them. Sometimes you run into difficult decisions that you have to make. Having a set of core values that you and your team believe in allow you to make that decision. It is a base and a guide for the company.

10. Appreciate. When I started a crowd funding campaign for 1ME, I had my doubts because it was a lot of money I was looking to raise. The support that I received from people that I have known throughout my life time was absolutely amazing. I was surprised by the unexpected that donated and truly appreciate all of the support. Experiencing India, I have learned that having your basic needs met such as food, clean water, and having a roof over your head makes you fortunate. There are many people in this world that do not even have these basic necessities. When you are having a bad day, remember that there is someone else out there who is having it a lot worse. Appreciate what you have, if you want more, go get it, and always, always, give back.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Past Month in a Nutshell

Well, I’m back to blogging, do not know if that is a good or bad thing, haha. It has been busy for 1ME since the last post, a lot of changes…  all good changes!

With the 1ME Angel Fund, I was able to accelerate some of my plans. With it, we were able to rent a 3-bedroom bungalow for the next 6-months, on-board 1 designer and 1 other developer, and get office furniture and supplies! And that only took half of the fund, the power of the USD in India! Much appreciation and love to the 1ME Angels!

In addition to MeSocial, I’m excited to announce that 1ME will have a services division, called MeToo Studios, offering design (digital and advertisements), website, and mobile app development. We are currently putting together the plans for this and will leverage our current resources so that we can start generating revenue to sustain MeSocial and the company. And if that was not enough, I’m currently working on developing 1, possibly 2, more products offerings for 1ME! Finally, I’m also honored to announce that 1ME will be creating a non-profit foundation with the Drexel Alpha Kappa Psi Chapter to honor and remember Chris Peterson, who passed away at such an early age. What an awesome and motivated brother and person he was, miss you bro!

The next 6-months will be my final push with the team, to see if we can make 1ME possible. So why not go in full-force at 200%? Miss you stress, old pal.

And the new office? Well, I cannot do a video tour of it since it has been rainy and gloomy for the past week but will do one when I'm back here. Till then, here is a glimpse of it!

Lastly, I will be heading back to the states TOMORROW for exactly 6-weeks, hope to see you all! Cannot wait to have some beef and beer, the essentials of life, haha.

TT Quote: “I will because I am.”

Sunday, June 23, 2013

One Month into the New Chapter

Cannot believe that it has been a month since I packed up my things, hop onto a plane, and move to a non-English speaking country. In the words of Michelle Tanner, "You're Nuts."

Lifestyle has been the biggest change but I have learned a lot about myself, the importance of family and being cautious about what I waste, such as food, products, and plastic bags. Definitely components that I will be bringing into the 1ME company environment one day, 1ME will not be your traditional office that I can promise you.

The past week, the team missed the deadline to introduce MeSocial to the big boys but there were dependencies that were out of our control. I was not going to push out an unfinished product update since this will be their first impression of MeSocial and those first impressions are important. However, we are looking to push it out early this week so both the development and marketing teams have my drop-dead deadline. This is it. I’m excited to share the new features, a speedier flow, and updated look to both our current beta users and to the new ones!

Another realization I came to this past week was to push what my ultimate vision of what I want to see MeSocial back until next year. It was a difficult decision since the main reason I came out to India was to work on version 2.0. There is a lot more work that needs to be done and I’m not happy until we can establish MeSocial to what it is, the ultimate social media management tool. I need to build our user base and gain their trust and respect before I can move MeSocial to the next level.

From the India perspective, we are getting acquainted here, got my first haircut and I’m not bald! The house maid still does not say anything to us, she slaps the wall a couple times to get our attention, we exchange some hand signals, and something gets done, haha. I’m going to change my diet as well, I have gorged on enough high carb foods these past couple of weeks. I was able to find some raw almonds and cashews, so that combined with an apple,I have a low carb, protein packed dinner.  Ba (Gopal’s Grandmother) has “trained” me to make her coffee in the mornings, grab the newspaper, and starting today, check her blood sugar level since she has diabetes. Yep, you can add caretaker to my resume, but kidding aside, I’m glad I can provide her some help! Thinks she likes it and is always impress with my speedy and consistent delivery, haha. At some point, I hope we can throw a trip to Bombay for a weekend, but who knows. 

This will be my last post for a while since the next couple of weeks will be busy. I need to focus on MeSocial, the company, and figure out what is next…

TT Advice: Be hard on people not because you are a complete ass but rather because you want to make them better by setting a level of expectation. Being a great professional, leader, and human being, is the ability to grow people. However, the level of expectation should be achievable, not too easy and not relentless. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

[Q&A Time] Let's Catch Up?

So... it has been almost a month now since I have left the country and it has been a crazy ride so far. I miss my friends and most importantly, bacon, ribs, and steak, basically anything with a face, haha. With the time difference, the only time I have been able to catch up with people is through Facebook.

It is about time that YOU and I chatted, post your questions (about anything) in the comments section below and I will reply back. Or just share some news with what is going on back in the States with YOU! Hope to hear from you guys.

TT Advice: Risk it all, only then you will know what you are capable of doing.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Look Forward, Push Harder

After a 15-day campaign, we have reached our goal for the 1ME Angel Fund! As I go through the list of contributors, I'm surprised by the unexpected, humbled by the past, and sad about the missing. Like I told Richard, "Support comes in various ways, always by action, so remember those people as you work on this venture." This fund is only a part of the support as we continue to LOOK FORWARD. What an exciting start to the week and I'm even more excited to welcome the following Angels into the 1ME Family (in alphabetical order):

Alayna Ryan
Alex Andrussier
Alexander G Gac
Alexander Sultan
Allison Moore
Amber Desiderio
Amy Kelley
Andrew Speese
Angel Rosa
Angela Ragan
Benjamin Fetrow
Bruce Orvis
Chris Ciraolo
Chris Pye
Derek Ku
Dev Sharma
Diana Carey
Harsh Patel
James MacDonald
Jason Weinstein
Jay Mistry
Joe Gandolfo
John LeVering
Kathryn Lapid
Kirill Gourov
Laura Ager
Liat Buchnik
Lindsey Rames
Lisa Calandriello
Maryann Kuriakose
Matthew McMaster
Megan Chiu
Melissa Scates
Michael Heer
Navjot Lachhar
Ronni Tan
Roro Chen
Stephanie Marie
Stephanie Potter
Tamisha Jackson
Todd Crespo
Tyler Robertson
Valentino Lapid
Victoria Ku
Wayne Cheng
Wilson Chow

As family members, you all will always have VIP status in our books and no matter where this company takes us, you will have front row seats! Supporters come first, that is my promise to you.

This past week, we teamed up with WebEngage, a start-up company, to make our feedback system better (which was just a Google form). With the WebEngage application, we can gather better feedback by allowing you to attach an image of the issue and notifying you of new functionality! Please share your thoughts, remember, MeSocial is a system built for everyone by everyone!

Continuing the momentum, this week is important to us as we are looking to launch MeSocial outside of our networks, by introducing our first product to the tech websites and bloggers. They are heavy hitters so I'll be a nervous wreck waiting to hear any feedback. I have warned both the development and the marketing teams that the next couple of weeks will be a roller coaster, I will not only PUSH HARDER but I will expect more. Why? Because I need to know if I should continue MeSocial or cut the cord. It scares me but I believe in the team and in MeSocial, we just have to get "there" FAST.

In India, we had our first taste of the monsoon season a couple of days ago. As I was leaving the gym with a local friend, Rahul, we saw that the streets were flooded to knee high levels, how long were we in the gym for?! So what did we do? We parked the car on high ground and tread through the water back home! It was a bit exhilarating to run through the water like a 5-year old, as long as you do not fall into it, haha. Remarkably, it was gone the next day when the sun came out, barely any sign of the night before. Going to be interesting for us as we move into this season.

TT Quote Pick: "An entrepreneur tends to bite off a little more than he can chew hoping he’ll quickly learn how to chew it." -Roy Ash

Sunday, June 9, 2013

First Week in India - DONE

Cannot believe we have been in India for over a week now! It has been crazy hot (average of 105) since we have been here. We are expecting another week or so of this before hitting the monsoon season which means mosquitoes. Glad we have our malaria medicine!

This past week we met with our development team face-to-face and I'm really excited to be working together in one location now. Communication and translation of ideas and issues is so much better than chat or email. In addition, we have added new features, based on user feedback (so keep them coming!), to MeSocial which will set our product farther apart! Cannot wait to highlight them in the coming weeks.

With the departure of our finance guy, I have been going over our books and teaching myself Quickbooks so that we can track our expenses. I have done more company work than product development work this week which I do not like. This is what I get for trying to start a company and a product at the same time.

From the India front, the cost of living here is ridiculously cheap, what can I get with $500 a month? Well, here you go:
-Maid and cleaning service
-Food prepared fresh daily, lunch and dinner, Monday - Friday
-Gym membership

Richard and I have been slowly emerging ourselves into the food and culture. The food here is absolutely amazing, it is fresh, natural, and spicy! Since it is the hot season, mangoes are abundant so we have been eating them in different forms: fresh, lassi (blended yogurt with water), ice-cream, sauces, chutney and juice. Did I mention we have been on a vegetarian diet?! And having chai tea throughout the day has been a part of our day, it surely beats coffee! The culture here is very family oriented and everyone is treated as an extended family member. Ba (term means "Grandmother") treats us as if we are her own and both Gopal's Uncles and Aunts have been nothing but helpful and accommodating to us. They have shown us sites, help us setup the 1ME office, and fed us until we say "Bus" (pronounced "Baas") which means "no more." I am truly grateful and appreciative to be able to move into a new country and to come "home" to this family, what a start for our new venture! Could not have done this without our good friend, 1ME supporter, and AKPsi brother: Gopal Shah!

DON'T FORGET: Join and be a part of the 1ME family, contribute to our 1ME Angel Fund! It is the only fund that works to pay you back plus some and also contributes 5% of the fund collection to a charity! Campaign ends 6/15!

TT Quote Pick: “It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” - J. K Rowling