Nistha Tripathi is an entrepreneur herself and this clearly reflects in the rigor which she has put in her book. The book talks beyond the general 'gyaan' and gets into specifics of entrepreneurship. The book helps set realistic expectations with anyone trying to get into something of own, at the same time has valuable insights coming in from India's top entrepreneurs who have been there, done that. Kudos to Nistha on this book. I read her first book and loved it. Since then I waited for her second one, this one is worth the wait!
I have been closely following Nishita for at least two years now and her insights on quora is quite helpful . Ever since she announced that she would be writing a book on Indian startup entrepreneurs who had made it big. I wanted to get my hands on it. Perhaps it was the first attempt made by an Indian that I am aware of, to consolidate the startup culture that we have in contemporary India. I could see few gists of Malcolm gladwells’ outliers in the book as in the way these entrepreneurs went out of thier way , breaking the rules and hustling , has truely made them outliers in our Indian societal context. A good read and I highly recommend it.
After reading Founders at Work I was thinking is there any equivalent of that book covering Indian startup founders interview and guess what I was not able to find any good book. So if you are a startup founder or you are interested in doing a startup and want to understand what it takes to build a successful startup then rather than taking shortcuts read this book No Shortcuts: Rare Insights from 15 Successful Start-up Founders — by Nistha Tripathi
Nistha Tripathi has done an excellent job to get inside the minds of startup founders to write a detailed honest and insightful story.
One of the main reason for me to pick up this book was because of my interest in learning from other successful startup founders. This book turned out to be a fantastic read and even in terms of knowledge I have learnt some exceptional insights which I will be applying to my startup.
Although all the interview featured in No Shortcuts are fantastic but if I have to pick up the best ones then it will be the below:
1) Girish Mathrubootham: Freshworks — Girish has shared some real insights right from how he started Freshworks and the way they gained initial traction. This interview is full of good lessons in people management and marketing.
2) Paras Chopra: VWO — After reading this interview I understood the power of content marketing and how VWO created awareness around A/B testing as many marketers did not understand it fully. Value-based pricing is another key insight which I learnt from this interview.
3) Amit Ranjan: Slideshare — One of the hardest problem which any startup founder face is related to hiring. Amit has shared some fantastic insights on attracting talent, and I loved their idea of blogging which helped people in knowing Slideshare and building trust. Apart from hiring if you want to understand how Slideshare product evolved and the choices they took then read this powerful interview.
4) Prasanna Sankar: LikeALittle — I believe an entire movie can be made based on their story and once I started reading this I was not able to keep the book down as it was that interesting. Although LikeALittle was not a financial success, I have never read any failure story as interesting as LikeALittle. If you are a startup founder and if you believe that funding will solve all problems then you are wrong as LikeALitte was backed by one of the leading VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. One of the most popular terms in the startup world is “Growth Hacking” and Prasanna shares in this interview why it doesn’t work always, and there are constraints in the way it works.
5) Ankur Single: Akosha — Since I have met Ankur and know some behind the scenes story I can vouch for the authenticity of this interview. If you are of the view that to build a successful tech startup you need tech people in founding team, then you are wrong because Ankur is from Law background. If you want to know how he built a successful tech startup around consumer complaints, then wait no further pick this book. Right from product evolution to fundraising and creative business model this interview has been the best I have read ever on Akosha.
6) Jaydeep Burman: Faasos — How many of you know the real meaning behind the name Faasos? Of course, its a very crazy story and I will let you find that out. How many of you believe that to build a food-on-demand company you need an understanding of the food industry? Then let me tell you Jaydeep had no background in the food business, he was a management consultant, and it was inspiring to read his story on how being passionate is the key to build anything successful. It was fascinating to read some out of the box hiring steps the founders have taken, and one of them was FER (Faasos Entrepreneurs-in-Residence), and this was the turning point in Faasos journey and the people they hired in FER they had zero experience in food but a tremendous sense of ownership.
7) Sameer Guglani: Madhouse — Measuring everything in terms of funding raised and exits can be misleading. If you want to read a counter-argument story on how startups can be a massive success in terms of learning, then this is the interview you should read.
This interview contains one of the most exciting examples of how you can translate happy customer experience to both marketing and hiring. After reading this interview, I realised how burning money to attract or please investors is not the right way to build a startup.
8) Tarun Mehta: Ather Energy — I am sure you must have read many stories about Tesla Motors, and I am a huge fan of Elon Musk. Now you must be thinking what is the link between Elon Musk and Tarun Mehta? Then let me tell you Tarun Mehta is the co-founder of Ather Energy and it is the one of the most promising attempt at creating India’s own smart electric scooter. India is very behind in successful product hardware development, and there are very few VC firms funding hardware startup. Often we hear why equity dilution is bad, but Tarun altogether has a different perspective to that. After reading Ather Energy story I can truly say there are No Shortcuts and if you want to build a strong technology company then you have to own all its engineering, and you have to build the product from scratch.
I am thankful to Nistha Tripathi for creating this book and in Hindi, we use the term ‘Paisa Vasool’ when anything is value for money, and No Shortcuts is one of those books.
An insightful compilation of interviews of some of the most successful first generation entrepreneurs who took the road less travelled. The honesty and integrity of the author shines forth from the untitled Acknowledgement page itself!
The book is a veritable treasure trove for people who have fire in their belly and dream of becoming their own masters.
Hiring veterans of an industry or pricey IIT/IIM grads is not the sure-shot way of cracking the successful startup code. Luck factor is overrated. There is no substitute for hard work, passion and good financial sense. Success in first venture does not guarantee success in next. Nor does failure in first dooms the entrepreneur for all times.
These and many other insights from 15 startuppers from diverse industries makes this book a must read.
Nistha's first-person stories make a brilliant read for those who are looking to start a business or those who have turned entrepreneurs. There is so much to take away from each story that one could make a book out of the notes they've taken. The pace of every story, it's context setting and verbatim narrative makes "no shortcuts" a great read! This book would make a perfect gift for someone starting up!
Indian startups success stories. Better than Stay Hungry Stay Foolish ★★★★★ I was looking for the stories of new startups in technology in India and got this book. I like it more than some other indian books I have read. The summary section at the end of interview are helpful. Highly recommended.
One of the favorites quotes from an author I have read till date is Shiv Khera's "Winners don't do different things. They do things differently". This quote is very much apt for almost all the successful businessmen or leaders or those who are successful in their life.
When I read "No Shortcuts", the above said quotes reaffirmed it because those who went ahead to set up a successful venture on their own, saw the potential lying in front of them and utilized it to their best.
What did I like the most about the book?
There are various things which made me get a real good impression about this book which includes:
1. Professional write-up
2. Coverage of success stories of 15 successful start-ups which weren't covered in a single book, earlier.
3. The book was written in such a way that you wouldn't feel bored since each one had a combination of facts and figures.
4. Categorization by Industry, Current Status & End Result - whether the brand was bootstrapped, venture backed(running, acquired and pivoted away).
At the end of each chapter, there is a takeaway which talks about Person, Product, Marketing, People in common for most and for some, there is Pricing, Marketing & Sales, Fundraising, traction, operations & challenges.
Each chapter is also accompanied by a picture which most of us wouldn't have seen it till date. This makes this 280 page book, real interesting and compelling. The book can serve as a real learning experience for the potential entrepreneurs who wanted to be successful in their life because each story imparts you with the knowledge of a lifetime which has been acquired by these extremely successful people through their sheer determination, will & guts backed by foresight and leadership skills.
I could see that the author has written this book not for the sake of writing but has put in her heart and soul which is clearly reflecting in every word that has been used in this book. This might look flattery on my part to most of you but this is the reality. When you finish reading this book, you would not agree to disagree with me.
The media extremely glamourize startups. Most articles are limited to the success(read funding) and milestones they achieved. But there isn't enough literature on the journey these startups take, especially in a complex and challenging market like India. Nistha's book is unique in that it talks about challenges entrepreneurs face in the first few years of starting up. The format of the book is again unique. It makes you feel like you just had a 1-1 conversation with these founders. Must read for every dreamer who is at the verge of starting up.