223 / August 25, 2023
Wealth Creation, Life’s Purpose, Brotherly Stories – Paras & Pallav on Building Global SaaS Products
Welcome Back Neon Tribe!
This week’s episode is the definition of captivating as we welcome Pallav Nadhani and Paras Chopra, founders of FusionCharts & Wingify respectively, to the Neon Show!
In today’s episode, we learn about the journey of their 13-year-old friendship and how young both of them were when they attained financial independence.
Is it better to be your own boss or work for large corporations? What’s the major difference?
What does happiness & death mean to them? What topics in life give them anxiety?
How important is legacy for an entrepreneur?
Did they startup companies for money or to change the world?
All these engrossing topics and more in this RAW & SAVAGE conversation with two of India’s brightest millionaires. The most distinct conversation we’ve ever had on the Neon Show… Tune in NOW!
Pallav Nadhani 00:00
All those great statements that we say, Hey, we are here to change the fucking world. That’s all bullshit. You are here to make money. You’re here to help your customers. You’re here to help your VC investors make money.
Paras Chopra 00:07
So I went and started asking for tips. Started fanboying over him and the first thing he said, you know, hey Wingify is doing well. You’re a millionaire and you should dress like one. I clearly remember that the first set of sentences he said to me—
Pallav Nadhani 00:08
At the fundamental core, the belief is very simple. Build good products, hang around good friends, push your life to be both curious, be kind to other people —
Paras Chopra 00:29
Which I had in my 20s, where I felt I had something to prove to others. I want to leave a legacy, all those things have completely disappeared. What I want to do is just have happy days, one after another almost until the last moment.
Pallav Nadhani 00:40
Entrepreneurs never are happy by default. So your default state is unhappy with the current environment. You’re saying because I’m unhappy with the current environment, I’m gonna strive to make it better.
Paras Chopra 00:48
I’m interested in just a number of things. And very few of those things have to do with commercial concentration, for example.
Pallav Nadhani 00:54
India has the capability and the skills to be able to deliver world class products and I think Paras has also done great with his product as well. So for me the drive is to be the best in the world.
Paras Chopra 01:02
I think I’m very happy because buying a 500 rupees book. That’s financial independence for me.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 01:07
Hi, this is a Siddhartha Ahluwalia and welcome to the Neon Show. Today I have two brilliant guests with me. One is a first timer on the show. The other is making a second appearance after two years. One is the co-founder of fusion charts, while the other is the co-founder of unify. Both equally resilient, curious, and stars of the SaaS ecosystem in India. We welcome Pallav Nadhani and Paras Chopra on the Neon Show. I would also like to thank our sponsors, Prime Venture Partners for sponsoring the Neon Show. Hope you enjoy it.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 01:45
Hi, this is Siddhartha. Welcome to the neon Show. Today I have with me two brilliant guests. Some of the best SaaS entrepreneurs in India. And they have built the SaaS ecosystem in the last 10 years. In this episode, we’ll dive deep into their minds and how do they actually you know, believe in what their core thesis are? Pallav and Paras, welcome to the show.
Paras Chopra 02:09
Pallav Nadhani 02:09
Thank you so much. Thanks for having us here.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 02:11
So Pallav, you have founded FusionCharts. You ran it for 10 years, and Paras Wingify has been going on for almost I think 13 years. It’s been a huge marathon for both of you, right? Most people in the West build companies and keep on selling it. Right? But for you both it’s been like a life’s mission. Before I dive into the serious stuff, I want to… You both have been very dear friends like best friends. So I want to go back to right. How did you both meet and what caused those friendship? And for our audience. Pallav has been a very dear friend. I’ve known Paras for more than a year now. And Pallav, people love to party with you. And Paras is a serious person like me so Nansi commented me like before the episode that Siddhartha you are more serious than… So I’ll take it as a compliment. (laughter)
Paras Chopra 03:05
You should have been to my Goa party—
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 03:06
Wish I was! (chuckles) Maybe next year for your 37th birthday!
Pallav Nadhani 03:12
Sure. Yeah, so one correction Siddhartha. FusionCharts I’ve been running for 20 years actually. It’s been two decades. On how I met Paras, I think we met about 13 years ago.
Paras Chopra 03:21
I think I should tell that story. There was a NASSCOM conference. I think it was 2012 or 2011. Yeah, it was very soon after Wingify if I was just getting started, and I was at the NASSCOM conference. I think Pallav was at one of the panels and I had approached him because even he had been bootstrapping and have read about FusionCharts read about Pallav so had and still have a lot of admiration for him. So I went and started asking for tips. Started fanboying over him and the first thing you said, you know, “Hey, man, Wingify is doing well. You’re a millionaire, and you should dress like one. I clearly remember that the first set of sentences. He said to me, and then this we just became very, very natural friends. I think we bonded over a number of things around our philosophy of companies around SAS. I learned a lot from him. Also,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 04:16
observe Robert shell says your core beliefs are same, but your personalities are very different.
Paras Chopra 04:21
Yeah, I mean,
Pallav Nadhani 04:22
I just see your life change over the year no no’s you have up in the sea of all the diverse Same for me, but I think you’re absolutely right. So I’ve been there from a coding perspective we believe in like a lot of times when you’re talking like believe it fundamentally making good products, we believe in making good organization this mostly on the worksite we believe in sort of pushing the boundaries of what we can do both at a personal level and on the professional level. The places may be different obviously. I mean, life takes you different like I have two kids, Paras’s living slightly more on the spiritual and on the healthier side, and more on the body side. So those differences happen but At the fundamental core, the belief is very simple. Make good products, hang on good friends, push your life to be both curious, be kind to other people and a whole bunch of those things. And I think on those things, we fundamentally, completely agree on the manifestation of some of the actions in your life be it vices be or other things, those will differ across different people in different stages in flight.
Paras Chopra 05:22
Yeah, and I think it’s good that, like we both are not 100% alike. I think that’s what keeps the fun going. I think there’s always I mean, people, if they’re sort of surprising, each time you meet, I think that keeps things interesting. And I think that’s the way I expect from Paula wherein I think I’d get totally bored if I had a friend like myself. So it’s good to have someone who’s not like me,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 05:45
it’s been almost like 13 years of
Pallav Nadhani 05:47
friendship. It has been that Yeah. And the fun part is just not me a personal friend. So my wife Pooja, and palaces, wife, Akasha, is a great artist. Most of them are very good friends as well. So I think one thing you sort of also, which evolved very well for both of us, is, we were able to sort of bring our family and our friends together and sort of create this ecosystem, saying, hey, what does a good life mean? How do we sort of propel each other forward, whether it’s in terms of intellectual curiosity, in terms of professional achievement, and when you sort of put all these pieces together, instead of isolating them? That possibly, I think has worked out? Very well? Yeah.
Paras Chopra 06:22
So me and my wife Acconci, with godparents of his kids and, and who just gets a very close to kids very close to Buddha, of course, close to Polo. And yeah, it’s been a beautiful sort of friendship and relationship that we have got going
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 06:36
both meet each Friday, right? And
Pallav Nadhani 06:39
not as often solo not as often, actually. So drink. So I’ll give you two answers to that one. Do I want to meet him every Friday? Probably no. Also, because each Friday meeting, you don’t have so much new things to be able to solve, because he’s running ninty right now, and he’s gonna be busy Monday to Friday on Thursday. I would rather prefer meet him, let’s say once every two weeks or three weeks. And then because it’s not just hey, we meet and we just got a bunch of drinks. For us. Most of the meetings are about, hey, we sit down, we talk about a whole bunch of topics across different spectrum. In fact, that’s one of the reason we launched our own podcast, which was just a fun thing. God, what happened? And we said, Whatever we discuss on a table or a Friday night, why don’t we just expose it, which was a conscious idea, actually, one of those nights. So if you keep meeting very frequently, and you don’t have like new things to discuss, so for example, me in Paras, I don’t think we have a common physical manifestation of our relationship in the terms of a common sport that we play. Yeah, like, I love Pokemon. I
Paras Chopra 07:34
I think it’s not like, like how your friends with your school friends or college friends, I think there is a healthy mix of professional respect. So. So in that sense, it’s a different kind of friendship than how would you hang out with, let’s say, a school friend, where it is totally about, say, let’s say you live in the old memories. But here is a lot of like you discuss about ideas you discuss about technology. And of course, you respect the other person as a friend also. But it’s slightly different from a college and of school friend, for example. And now
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 08:04
I want to jump into more fun stuff. So what I’ll do is and ask, your question is not rapid fire. But you have to answer within one to one and a half minute answer to each question is asked to be answered by both of you who goes first. So Superlift can go for
Paras Chopra 08:21
the elders as one. So you go to for
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 08:23
the first time for question that they’ll take it off opposite you. Okay?
Pallav Nadhani 08:27
Yes. So what this pursuit of happiness means to you. So think happiness changes based on the stage in life. There’s no fixed definition of happiness in my life. So when you’re young, you want to have your party, you want to have a set plan for the weekend, go out and do that. Money building company happiness is about certain goals, saying that, Hey, wanna achieve this and that, and you tie your happiness to that, that’s where I got married, my happiness is about traveling with my wife, spending enough time with her. When I had kids, happiness is no change to the construct of hey, can I spend enough time with that? So from personal life, happiness is a constantly changing metric. But that should not be the code because if you’re constantly chasing just happiness, and you’ve not sort of defined what happiness is, and it’s very freaking hard to define what happiness is, you’re always depressed, and that’s the hedonic treadmill a lot of people are on and I’m guilty of that as well. So for me, happiness right now is very importantly, at a personal level, be comfortable with who I am. Even if I talk stupid, foolish, in front of everybody, I know that this is who I am, I don’t need to project somebody else to somebody. And that keeps the inner peace and happiness all of those are combined. In our professional life. Happiness is building things which I like to do. So for me, and this not coming from Bootstrap world, but fundamentally, I believe in what feels like work to other people. If it feels like play to you do that work, because then your life is going to be very, very enjoyable. And avoid having too many comes to your head. The more you have the freedom to do the things that you want to do and you enjoy it. And you’re able to sort of propel that forward. That inherently is happiness. And a roboticist Nicholas orifice was an ALS. Very not anymore, not me. So for me happiness, I mean, coming from that construct back for me happiness is to live your life, we are all immediate creatures at the edge of the word in a very philosophical construct. While a part of the world says go to the most ambitious thing in the world, a part of the world says life doesn’t have meaning, somewhere in between, you have to find your own spectrum of happiness. And it’s very, very subjective and contextual, in that overall law sets are all about you.
Paras Chopra 10:27
Yeah, I mean, for me, happiness is being you know, seven out of 10 in all the domains. So, I mean, usually we end up thinking, you know, a single source will give us happiness and you and to overdo it, it could be anything in life. You could even overdo things like fitness, you could overdo, being involved in relationships, you could overdo pursuit of money. And I think, like the old saying goes, right excess of anything becomes sort of a poison. Yeah, so for me, happiness is shooting, above median on most of the aspects that the old wisdom says gives you happiness, but not obsessing over them. So it’s, you can imagine it to be like a healthier balance, but on trying to be on the positive side and not being, you know, average on almost everything,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 11:13
I think we need to get your word, we’re still not coming from the core.
Pallav Nadhani 11:17
So that’s what I believe in, sort of one that. So a lot of times, and this probably is more entrepreneurial aspect, we sort of define our happiness tied to a goal. If we hit a funding milestone of the hit, or revenue milestone, or if we hit this big deal, we’re like you hate, we are always chasing a goal. And more and more, I think, either it’s a function of age, or the we have a board. Like, if you look at, let’s say, the spiritual side of what teachers like, find happiness and everything. So now, I’m forcing myself to sort of find happiness in the smallest things like with kids, and that is sort of something which you normally don’t realize before the kids that a normal smile, or one naughty thing they do, it gives you immense amount of happiness on a constant basis, then you stop seeking that one big goal at the very top of the barrel. So it has to be balanced between the small, what you call the dopamine rushes, and the large goals that you’re able to balance in between those,
Paras Chopra 12:07
I think, evolutionarily speaking, happiness is sort of like a signal that things are going well for you. So by this definition, no single thing can be a source of happiness, because as soon as you try to over optimize it, you know, it just comes at a cost of neglecting something else. So it just means that that healthy balance of multiple things, if there is any source of happiness, it can just be a balance of multiple things. No single source will give you that.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 12:33
The next one is… What does entrepreneurship mean to you?
Pallav Nadhani 12:36
To be in control of your life. Most importantly, the sub concept of that is the crux of entrepreneurship is two things, build things, people won’t sell it at more than what it costs. And this is entrepreneurship. And I’m not talking about very trying to change the world. The whole construct around Benissa entrepreneurship versus business. It’s I think it’s sort of a fine line between that in like, how do you sort of say, Is this a business businessman? Or is this an entrepreneur, you will say somebody who’s trading, there’s a businessman, but somebody who’s creating a new thing is on the better. But if you look at some of the biggest businesses in the world, they are basically marketplaces they are trading. So what is the fine line between that so in my mind, entrepreneurship, at the crux of it is, hey, I need to build something very dedicated value to people. And I need to capture value out of that. This is actually some Paras’s framework, create value and capture value. If you only create value and don’t capture value, you are just a company who’s losing money or probably hobby project for your
Paras Chopra 13:34
Wikipedia. Wiki, Linus Torvalds, they create value don’t capture it, a lot of open source projects are about that, where you still have huge respect, I was going to talk about a whole bunch of funded companies have no freaking idea how to really make money if the funding stops. So you create value and you capture value. And that’s what entrepreneurship is about. And the second thing about entrepreneurship is about are you having fun while doing it? See, if you look at a trading business, people are doing that day in and day out with the same repeatable playbook. And they’re you optimizing for certain things. Let’s say whether it’s your credit policy, or whether it’s working capital, a whole bunch of things. In entrepreneurship, you’re saying, hey, the number of dimensions that I can play on this in finite, then I have to pick a dimension where I’m really, really good at. And that’s where you drive inside and say, I’m gonna unlock that inside and build on top of that. So it’s just creating more value for customers, creating more value for yourself, for your team members and everybody else, while having fun doing it.
Paras Chopra 14:27
Yeah, for me, it’s thinking and acting independently. And in that sense, I would club a lot of pioneer scientists, artists, and anyone who goes beyond just general societal constructs to do something new. So entrepreneurship is for me, not getting defined by the rules society expects you to because everyone sort of ends up getting solidified into the expectations they have even if you are a professor, there are certain expectations you have and not all professors are for example entrepreneurs, but Someone who goes against what society expects them to be like, say, they end up just going and creating like a new theory. That to me is an entrepreneur. So in that sense, I think there’s a fine line between a businessman and entrepreneur, a businessman can still act in a way how business people are expected to act. Pricing, I would define entrepreneur as someone who’s fundamentally unpredictable, because they’ll end up doing something which you know, nobody is expecting to surprise of action is a, I think, a big, big factor for me when it comes to how I define entrepreneurship.
Pallav Nadhani 15:33
So very interesting Paras said that scientists can also be classified as entrepreneurs, is it only when they commercialize their invention, or you’re—
Paras Chopra 15:41
I’m not associating it with, like commercial utility at all? I mean, entrepreneurship, I think it comes from a French word, if I’m not mistaken, and it literally means venturing into the unknown. I think that’s the literal definition of it. And I think a scientist who plays it safe just does incremental things publishes paper, because scientists are expected to publish papers, I think that Sandy is not an entrepreneur for me. But someone who just takes the risk, even a career risk. He intends three years, even if it doesn’t end up becoming any fruitful, but they at least tried to do something which is new and expected. I think that scientists will be an entrepreneur for
Pallav Nadhani 16:17
So then if you have to sort of framework eyes it, would you say where the risk reward equation people are playing for the upside reward with a major risk?
Paras Chopra 16:25
I think I would say it’s more to do with uncertainty, wherein if someone is doing something which nobody expects to work out, or that person is an entrepreneur for me, but it’s very clear that a will need to be and will need to see it’s not nonprofit. So trade, people who do trading, they’re not entrepreneurs by this definition. Sure. But people who are building a toy, just like say, Satoshi Nakamoto, was building an indoor thumb, everybody thought was very weird, uncertain, crazy. He’s an entrepreneur, even if he’s not creating or capturing. I mean, he’s obviously creating a lot of economic value, but not capturing that. So it’s sort of dealing from any commercial consideration for me look at the Genesis block.
Pallav Nadhani 17:05
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 17:06
So I will tell you about both of these questions, right. For me, both of these mean, freedom. Happiness also means freedom to me, right? Freedom in the relationships that I have, right? How free I feel, not the right power, the extreme side, but put in a balanced way. And entrepreneurship also means freedom is something that you own your time.
Paras Chopra 17:27
But actually, I mean, I think I had the same view. But I’m sort of evolving from that, because nobody is truly free. We like to believe it. But even the richest person, they will be obligated to someone. They’re obligated to certain contracts. Obligated to relationships. Obligated to their kids. So the notion of complete freedom, I think it’s sort of like a misnomer. And I think on the opposite side, people who are so called not free, they can be very, very happy as well, because they’ve made internal peace with who they are and what their destiny is going to be.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 18:00
But both people who went deep into, you know, entrepreneurship, as well as the definition of happiness, were rebuilt initially.
Pallav Nadhani 18:07
So I think that’s the antithesis. Entrepreneurs never are happy by default. So your default state is unhappy with the current environment. You’re saying, because I’m unhappy with the current environment, I’m gonna try to make it better. Yep. And the moment we hit that glory, like I need to find a new world. So if you look at, so if you sort of divide, go further, building something new can mean three layers. So you are either a business person, you’re just trading, you’re a remix, or you take ideas from here, you do something here, and you sort of create a new model, which is either capital allocation, and you remix it. And then you have something like we are your true blue creating something new. If we go on the right side of it, every time you achieve a goal you like, Okay this is done. Next, what do I do to see you by default, after a couple of months or at a period in time. You’re unhappy with your current state. And that’s the hedonistic treadmill—
Paras Chopra 18:51
I think there is a clarification of terms needed. And I remember, I was talking to my trainer, and you know, I asked him out of the blue, are you happy? And he said, a really beautiful thing that stayed with me. He said, ‘You know, I’m happy but not satisfied.’. I think that’s a similar thing for entrepreneurs that you can be terribly happy, but your personal it is the state of the world. And that’s a good state to be in, where you’re dealing with these two things. You’re completely happy on day to day or day to day sense. But you’re not really given up on any change. You want to change things around. You want to change in the world, not satisfied by how things are. But that shouldn’t really sort of determine whether you’re happy or unhappy.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 19:27
But someone who’s unhappy will not ever pursue entrepreneurship. It can be happiness and unsatisfaction, like Paras said.
Paras Chopra 19:34
And that’s what I’m saying you can be happy but not be satisfied.
Pallav Nadhani 19:35
So because somebody who’s unhappy will never pursue pursue entrepreneurship,
Paras Chopra 19:41
Like happy people don’t create companies that yeah, you’re saying right, and I don’t think that’s true. That’s what I’m thinking of. There’s lots of happy people running around from happy and terrible state of the world if all the innovation has happened in by just what what I’ve been unhappy with
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 19:56
Are happy but completely unsatisfied, right and somehow just an answer to this dissatisfaction?
Paras Chopra 20:04
So 100% agree, I 100% agree that you have to be dissatisfied, to be an entrepreneur. If you’re satisfied, you’re this okay with day to day evolution of how things are happening. But you will only venture out if you’re just, it can be curiosity, it can be any field, that is also
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 20:20
Curiosity is also like a fundamental form of happiness, right? Your purpose during your own curiosity. And that gives you happiness.
Paras Chopra 20:26
Yeah. But you decide to start because you don’t know what’s out there. That’s why I think this distinction is important. You don’t have to feel sorry about yourself in order to be an entrepreneur. In fact, you will be terrible entrepreneur, if you’re unhappy, you’ll just give up too soon. It’s just so hard. Unless you are enjoying your job day to day, you’ll just give up in the first instance of a barrier. And you will say, I would like this.
Pallav Nadhani 20:48
Yes, I concur with that. So the only thing like if you look at why do people start companies, either they have a pain point that they will solve, either they have a clarity of thought that, hey, I want to achieve this, which is more on the crit side of it. And some of those are tourist entrepreneurs, but some of them also work very well. Or you have a fundamental disagreement of what the current state of the world saying that the world should be much better compared to what it is today. I don’t think any of these three, start with a point of unhappiness, you’re dissatisfied with what’s there in the world, and what you’re agreeing to do us for the next maybe 10 to 20 years, you’re agreeing to put yourself in a path of major pain, major disappointments, and that’s a choice that you’ve made. And if you’re unhappy to start with, you will not do that. Because then you’re trying to find a way to hey, let me first be happy. So happy. But I think unsatisfied is a better construct from that.
Paras Chopra 21:43
I think as a side note, most Hi Fi most people start companies because they want to prove to their parents chip on the door that door can sort of family I mean, if you go in the deep into why would you not want parents to society as like general expectations, like as growing up, maybe they they’ve had develop the sense that they need to prove themselves? Man, I think to large extent entrepreneurship is driven by the fact that they have to prove
Pallav Nadhani 22:11
an agenda shorter actually is a great sort of qualifier metric for a lot of entrepreneurs who have succeeded because plus something I learned from Rob Botha, he was in India, Sequoia CEO, I think, senior partner, Rob one of the cofounders. He said, one of the best metric we have seen in our Sequoia portfolio companies across the world. The founders have succeeded, they always had a chip on the shoulder. Because in the end, in your journey of entrepreneurship, you’ll hit deep, dark moments. The moment you hit that, for you not to give up is you just remember, what is your chip on the shoulder? What are you trying to do that very innate, personal need to prove like he gave a few examples just about 15 years ago, like if you’re a kid who was bullied in the school, but like I’m going show to every other kid, you know what I was smarter than you for the node in the school. And that deep in it, because that has been sort of grown in your minds in your formative years for about good eight to 10 years in primary school. And that feeling is very, very deep lead up to a show all those should all those jocks, how smarter than you. And even in cure in the deepest, darkest fears in that journey. Some of those work from a psychological perspective to be able to say I’m going to persevere.
Paras Chopra 23:16
Yeah, I think I mean, personally, for me being if it was my fifth attempt at doing a startup. And I just kept trying again, and again, again, I think every time I was questioning that if I am not your smart enough to like I was proving to myself that why can’t I succeed? If I’m keeping on failing again, and again, he was just to prove in between if i My goal was to make 50,000 rupees, because I felt and that’s the salary I was making. And I felt that if I can’t even make that amount of money for myself as an entrepreneur, am I like, so bad at this? So I’m pretty sure when if I would not have worked out I would have tried six or seven times the same reason the chip on the shoulder, I just wanted to prove to myself that I’m not as bad at building something. So is that not called the satisfaction? Can I just make my first dollar, let alone like a million dollars or more, but making the first dollar was just very, very strong driver for me.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 24:15
And you made like two lakh rupees in the first month rain here.
Paras Chopra 24:18
Yeah, I mean, that’s all luck, like I would ascribe it to luck. But again, you can amplify luck if you’re trying again and again and again.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 24:25
So you both have never worked for somebody else?
Pallav Nadhani 24:27
I have not.
Paras Chopra 24:29
And I have worked for one year. My first job when I was building winky face on the site. Yeah. So the first day of my job, I told my boss, I will do this during weekends and evenings and most likely, I will not be here the next year, but he was totally fine. I totally respect him for that. He gave a lot of freedom for me to build things. But yeah, very, very briefly.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 24:49
Yes. Or do you wish that you are missing something maybe a larger skill that you have ever imagined to say for example, somebody who has worked at Facebook better? They would think that Meta is the ultimate thing that I want to build in. Let me absorb the best from meta.
Pallav Nadhani 25:05
Okay, let me rephrase this question, should I have done something be more ambitious? Do what I have? Do
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 25:09
you think? Do you wish that you’re missing something? Or do you think that you’re missing something? By not having?
Pallav Nadhani 25:15
No, I don’t think so. So let me give you a simple example. There are Blitz, a couple of 100,000 people at Google, Apple, meta, all of those, how many of those have created the next meta Apple, Facebook or whatever it is? When you are working somewhere, you get to understand the scale in terms of systems and processes. That says that learning I definitely want to have. But can I get that learning without working for them? Absolutely, yes, there are three ways to do that one, hire one of those guys who’s been there to talk to a whole bunch of guys and just learn from the three most of these companies put out the systems and processes, blocks and everything. Now, for me, the second thing is when you look at a very large company, and you try to adopt the system, and scales, herbs, processes, it will not default work for you, because that works for so don’t skip. So this from an implementation perspective, from ambition perspective, I think that is very contextual to each founder. So I’ll give you for example, like, so I sold FusionCharts, in 2020, that I sold the next one in 2022. For the last year and a half or a quarter now. I’ve been unemployed, pretty much unemployed, jobless, just wandering around trying to figure out what next to do. Even when I think about what next to do, I have my first way to look at this and what do I like in the next Sunday, when I’m going to bed? What are the things I don’t want. So I don’t want anything which is with regulatory impact, anything which is highly operational, sort of like consumer, where every hour, you cannot sleep like a b2b, you better software you release it, customers like it very rarely, shit hits the fan. So I have a via negativa, which I call it that sense what I don’t want to do, but that’s my choice, because now I have sort of optimize my life to be able to say, hey, I want to get a good night’s sleep, how to spend enough time with my kids. And that’s very personal. Now, do I aspire to a billion dollar company? I don’t know yet. Now, it’s a very personal founder market fit as a sort of assumption that you make that you want to scale. Yeah, at FusionCharts. Do we want to scale further? We did as much as we could. There were market forces, which did not allow us to scale further. Do I want to scale further? For sure, yes, but not at the cost of some of the design choices for my life. That I think the every founder when they want to grow? See, when you’re young, you’re hugely like, you’re like, you have no holds barred. You try to do everything. But as life moves on, you have some constraints in life. There are certain outliers, obviously, when you say, I’m going to change the world 99% of the service automation statement gonna say every founder says I’m gonna change the world. b2b mean, nobody changes the world, you’re not changing in invert very simple. In consumer in deep tech science, yes, you are changing the world. So all this great statements that we say, Hey, we are here to change the freaking world. That’s all bullshit, you are here to make money. You’re here to help your customers, you’re here to help your PC investors make money, find your aspiration level, it’s okay to say I’m going to build build a billion dollar company and we do it. It’s okay. Also to say I’m going to build $100 million company, there are so many $5 million companies, which could have been $5 million companies who have died, because they made the VC route. And then they realize either a no man’s land. And that is a tricky problem. So one thing when you talk about ambition and the scale, as a founder, you need to realize what in my life, I’m not willing to give up? And what am I building it for, and be real to yourself. And the woman who said because I want to be like that another unicorn founder, I want to be in the social circuit. It’s good for a day, but the journey is 10 to 1520 years. And if that choices does not reflect your lifestyle choices, your personality, your design choices, flight, it is going to be absolute pay him. So which is where when you think of skin door, do I go to bed Facebook to fuck no. The amount of pressure like imagine sitting in front of a congressional hearing, everybody asking you stupid questions. No, no, that no, how is
Paras Chopra 28:50
it my fault in that sense? I mean, regrets are slightly. They’re like cognitive biases, because you can’t just choose one aspect of someone else’s life and say, I wish I would like that, you’ll have to just take that replace yourself with that entire person. So even if it’s a celebrity, you know, you can’t just expect to have the fame and the security of not being recognized and chased. Or you’ll have to just have the boat, you know, goods and Bad’s and in that sense, I think regrets. I mean, I personally don’t believe in any regrets at all, because I think you can’t just pick one thread from history. And imagine if my life was that because you’ll automatically choose the best version of it, right? You not. Let’s imagine if you’re in metal, maybe you would have gotten embroiled in politics, maybe you would have chosen a different path altogether. This is almost in finite ways history can unfold. So picking that just one and say I wish it were that this is infinity of other all history. Your life could have been like that. So yeah, I mean, absolutely. zero regrets. Yeah,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 29:48
let’s say you ran when you fly for 13 years and before starting ninty. Right. You thought like, let me at least try to work for the best person in the world. possibly, so that maybe when I am building ninty, but there is no best person, right? Or best whether you consider, right for Albert the best.
Paras Chopra 30:09
It’s always best in something. Yeah. Like people are best in archery people are best in selling people are best in XYZ. So if there is things to learn, I agree there is so many things you can learn from specific. But like Paula said, I don’t think you have to necessarily work for someone to learn. Like, like this podcast, there’s so many great resources out there. I think it’s a high cost to pay.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 30:32
Yeah, I think that they’re both ways, right? So so I’ll tell you, right, how do I made that choice? Lulu, I started entrepreneurship, like, right out of college just work for nine mills. And while working at Amdocs, I was building my startup at night, right? So when I sold that startup in 2017, after running it for five years and worked with the acquired company for two years, I thought I had super amount of hustle. But I didn’t have the best processes. What do I do when I wanted to, you know, build next and SAS thought, let me go out and I wanted to learn venture capital. So what will a VC firm that I admired? I went with prime, right? The third time, I’m not still you know, there in terms of taking in processor. And I want to say, Give next 2030 years, building law class companies in whatever form by later on fun game. Then I thought, let me try with Amazon Web Services, the largest SAS company in the world, that we try to observe their processes be a part of it?
Paras Chopra 31:30
I think it depends on personal motivations. For me, companies are a vehicle for something else. Yeah. Like for me companies. I mean, I don’t want to build a company for company sake. In fact, it will, if it was possible to do what I want to do without a company, it’s better to do that, by get all the operational crafts. So Hi, I’m Matt, I’m doing ninety it’s from a very different source of motivation and inspiration than saying something like I want to have the best process in the company, I’d rather have no process at all, and focus on what I’m motivated by,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 32:04
it’s a completely personal choice. Even though I can tell from my own choice, when I started building the font, right? Always long to build up like a really large committed receipt, if I can’t get, you know, like, beloved, a co founder, at least can be part of Paul’s journey, the two co founders that are admired cannot be of some wonderful value that they won’t look up to show the thought process comes from the
Paras Chopra 32:32
so it’s, I think, very, very personal motivation in that sense.
Pallav Nadhani 32:35
So just to add on that, so when you go and work for a company, so let me pull out some very technical points, you don’t get access to everything out there, you’re a cog in the wheel, you only get to learn what you’re exposed to a bunch of learning is dependent on your peers and manager. Yeah, you don’t control that third batch of those learnings don’t sort of directly you can sort of apply it back to your small startup, because what works for a big company 99 person would not work for a small company. Number five, in that sense, whatever you are learning out there, you are learning it at a pace pace on companies choice here, when you build your own startup, like I believe, fundamentally, that the best way of learning is doing it yourself. So the reason I mean, in my case, it was not just a choice, it just happened randomly called sheer luck, like force of nature, that I didn’t have to work for somebody else. But if I have to learn something new, I will probably not look at saying hey, I’m gonna join this company, I’m probably gonna say, Who do I want to learn from? What do I want to learn from him? And what is the best way for me to learn from him in the minimum amount of time commitment, even if it means I’ll be in turn to him for four hours a day, for a particular topic. I don’t want to note, no person is good at every technique. No company is good at everything. And also, when you’re learning about a particular topic, the good thing is like the deluge of information in the world, podcast, books, everything. But 80 to 90% of surface area, you can cover just by sort of knowing what to freaking social Google or YouTube, or one of the podcast channels out there. And all of that is fairly available 80 to 90% chance you can connect to that guy and say, Hey, I have three tactical questions. I freaking love your podcast. Can you please help me understand in this my context, you start a conversation, because you’re trying to basically say, What do I not know about particular thing? You’re covering the breadth? Then you’re saying, okay, these three things which are very contextual to me, I want your opinion, never go into the depth. Why do we need to spend a year at a company to do that? That’s like PBworks today. So book?
Paras Chopra 34:26
Yes, I think the right question to ask when it comes to learning is what’s the most efficient way of learning. And getting a job at some place might not be the most efficient in certain contexts, or even in most contexts?
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 34:40
Maybe that’s a bias but please that right if Girish wouldn’t have worked at Soho for an X amount of time? Sure. FreshWorks would have been there. No, but
Paras Chopra 34:49
I mean, there’s lots of
Pallav Nadhani 34:50
That’s very survivorship bias.
Paras Chopra 34:51
Yeah, I mean, Zuckerberg didn’t work anywhere. So I mean, I think for any example you can find a counter example. Yes. The Empathic learning is very survivorship bias because you are thinking that is applied the same playbook to is applied a lot of new things. And interestingly, I think if you take like a top 10 tech companies top 100, more likely than not people would not have worked anywhere else.
Pallav Nadhani 35:12
I think he has never worked. There was something for 10 years. So then Zuckerberg has never worked anywhere. Staff founder has never worked anywhere. Yeah, most of the sock three indexing on that. So it’s good to have mentors, it’s good to have somebody to ask question. But I think in the current world where the board is hyper network, pure, like, we say, we have six connections away from anybody, I think, at our straightaway, probably two or three connections away from anybody in the industry that we are in, you ask a question, and you frame it nicely, you get an answer.
Paras Chopra 35:42
And I think when you’re building stuff, people are more likely to give you feedback because they have a reference point. Versus you’re asking a very theoretical question. You’re going and saying, I’m building a social network? How do I solve this particular problem? Adding people are very much likely to give you an answer versus if you approach them and says, don’t just mentor me, nor Why
Pallav Nadhani 36:01
No no, can you just mentor me is also if it’s contextual. What should I build today
Paras Chopra 36:05
If you come and ask me that, can you be my mentor? And that’s such a, like a vague question, which like, I obviously can’t mentor you, right? You’re giving me no reason to tell me that this is going to be helpful, or you’re not even providing me as to what do you want to be mentored on? So I guess the more specific you are about the learning, the more efficient it can be.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 36:27
And most entrepreneurs, you know, when they start, they say that we want to make an impact on the world. Right? Did you when you both started, or even during the journey, that you had such notion that we are creating X impact?
Pallav Nadhani 36:42
So I’m gonna be very brutally honest about it. Number one impact you’re gonna make in your world is in your own life in a b2b. See, if you’re solving very hard science problems, you solve cancer, you’re making impact on the world. You move people to Mars, you’re solving the Earth. So if you’re talking about b2b, tracking product, whatever you do, everything is fricking marketing speaks. We are not making any impact on anybody’s world, in that fundamental sense. But that being said, the impact we make in the world… Let’s say we help them get promoted. We help them look good in their careers, which is meaningful impact in their own personal life. So making an impact in our lives, we’re making a meaningful impact in their lives. But there’s no ‘Hey, we’re going to change the world.’ So that’s all marketing bullshit. In my—
Paras Chopra 37:21
So I think there’s two ways to look at it. One changing the world. Even in b2b center, you are changing the world, in even by just existing, you’re changing the world, right? So it’s a continuum. So that’s what I’m saying. It’s so backwards, if you really drill it down. When you say you’ve changed the world, what’s the threshold? There’s no objective sense of thresholds very, very personal. But in the when it comes to companies, I think missions of companies are good stories. But they always take a backseat when it comes to companies being in the marketplace, because almost always the economic considerations takes the forefront. So Googles, Apples, think different, whatever mission statements. They are great for you to believe that you’re doing something meaningful. But the whole logic of capitalism, I think that forces you to prioritize.
Pallav Nadhani 38:09
First iPhone changed the freaking world. Since then, compared to present day, what is the difference? A slightly better camera? A better screen? There are no seismic changes to the product in the last 10 years. Yeah, he had better apps faster processor. The first one was absolutely what she needed. got so many people more connected to one device to do a whole bunch of things between the first and now thus incremental change, and they’re just backing on top of that—
Paras Chopra 38:30
But why do you want to change the world? I mean, that’s the fundamental question, you should ask yourself, why?
Pallav Nadhani 38:34
Because every entrepreneur wants to say, hey, we’re here to make an impact in the world, make a dent in the world, change the world.
That’s a classic statement every month, nobody wants to admit the dirty truth that you need to make money.
Pallav Nadhani 38:43
Especially if you raise money from investors. Investors need to make money, you need to make sure that you will always be glad you have that return. Yeah, correct. No. So on the sign side, which is slightly differentiating, so like, you do something or let’s say,
Paras Chopra 38:56
I mean, in that sense, I think the reason businesses exist is to commercialize. There’s only what is convert business to access to create value for shareholders to commercialize. So in that sense, I mean, scientists obviously, they exist purely for like discovering new and novel things, right. So something which changes the world like helping you save life, like a vaccine, that saves your life that changes your life, so hard to raise money for, like a deep tech company. And the reason for that is the expected returns are so much lower versus building, let’s say b2b company, curry, like as an investor if you’re purely going by your like, returns logic chart, you will never find a very, very risky scientific bet. Minus some investors. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And but that’s how things are right. And that’s why governments have to play a role in sort of really sponsoring scientific research.
Pallav Nadhani 39:43
There’s a fun thing. I was reading somewhere actually one of the YouTube videos I was watching, see, you know, this vacation, timeshare properties, timeshare properties convinced people and they try to convince other people we help save people’s life. What are you selling pension? We’re selling vacation rentals and it’s one of the most are sort of gnarly business to be in because you’re convincing somebody to part with the money, the light and you have shitty services, but the way they convince their people and then you know how we save safe, because people when they go to vacation, they’re less stressed. If they’re less stressed, they will be healthier. If they’re healthier, they will die lesser, like a sack of long, elaborate process of convincing yourself that we are selling a shitty fucking product. But we have to build a marketing message out of it. So I think a lot of this is marketing speak a lot of this. So but I did I think everyone in their heart, the nose, no, that’s why they’re not seeing that right. That’s the vision. So we have sort of agreed to it.
Paras Chopra 40:36
Most people don’t believe that they are changing the world.
Pallav Nadhani 40:38
A lot of people actually believe so that conflation of that fact. Hey, so I am very open with somebody says that I want to make money. That is why I started my company. I’m very open. Somebody’s saying I’m really saving the word. And if you’re doing that, hey, kudos to you. But somebody who’s building another, let’s say hypothetically saw your personal data to sending a marketing message when I already get 30 on my phones every on my average day. And you’re saying I’m going to change the world because I help my customers sell more products to the other guys, when both of them have no need. And we’re creating more mess in the world. There is no change the word then be very clear here and sorry Paras no digs at you, you want to make money for yourself. For investors be clear. But the thing which happens is for you to hire people, you have to build a story around it. So, everything sort of mothballs into a bigger and bigger and a bigger mothball.
Paras Chopra 41:23
And then everybody would work at a company that says We exist to make profit. That’s your lawyer on it,
Pallav Nadhani 41:29
They will think he gave us more of a prompt.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 41:32
So what I was coming to was that entrepreneurs, for example, suit, like, try to make sure that Facebook or beta is the most relevant thing that existed in his lifetime. Right? That’s why there’s so many attempts, no threads, like even entrepreneurs, when we talk about they want to make an impact. But our saying it impacts are just really does in point of time, even everything right?
Paras Chopra 41:58
That’s 100% True. I mean, even Earth wouldn’t exist in a billion year so. So just
Paras Chopra 42:09
So while you’re alive, you do something interesting. And that about
Pallav Nadhani 42:13
So legacy from a point of view of ego issue, I don’t believe in that. Legacy, from a point of view, building an institution which is like sustained for years and delivered value. I completely agree. But that’s a function of see, technique. Observation is so high. So here’s a fun fact. IBM has about 100 billion dollars in revenue today. Even today. Nobody considers IBM in the tech industry or a startup industry to be… Oh this is a great freaking company. Like none of their products at the startups use 100 billion in revenue. You Hopper at 1 billion in revenue we celebrate Oh, not unicorn they are… They’ve been doing 100 billion in numbers for so long now. But that legacy of that has not sustained now for us in the start. But if you go to the big enterprises like IBM freaking works for us. So legacy also has keys club legacy shoulder, hypothetically, let’s say for like, there are fashion brands who have a legacy of 203 radios you might not even have heard of they might live in that’s pure of their influence. And for them that is important. Is it an ego thing? Is it a value add? And the way we look at this is every ecosystem is not about justice unidimensional factor, there are so many things which make an ecosystem. If you combined ecosystems of ecosystem, there are more things to be combined one legacy when you say in tech industry, nobody else will. So what are you leaving the legacy for?
Paras Chopra 43:28
I think legacy is a proxy for trying to be mortal, not die. I think it’s the same reason why people have kids so that some part of it can continue for entrepreneurs. If companies are almost like it’s just natural to expect that they would last beyond their own lives. Thinking that it’s something’s stable source of presence across the end of time. That’s obviously a big, big cognitive bias. That doesn’t happen if something like solar system would exist in the long run of things, then your company’s just like a drop in the ocean.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 44:01
Maybe that comes from The Selfish Gene, the book explained by Richard Dawkins.
Paras Chopra 44:06
Yeah, I mean, everything I mean, if you’ve read the book, Denial of Death. The reason people wage wars is simply because they can’t believe they will be dead once so they just want to pursue bigger and bigger things, in hopes of just creating the so called bigger and bigger impact, so that they tell at least in people’s minds, they last beyond their own body, right? It’s just this pursuit of the wrong idea of being immortal.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 44:30
In the next years, what does drive you? What do you get a kick from in life?
Pallav Nadhani 44:34
So for me what I’ve what I like to really do is, again, based on what I’ve done in the past is I really like Polish parts of India. So when I met FusionCharts, also, we were one of the very early products. Hold on hold on the park tonight. For drivers very personal, right? Or for me.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 44:54
This to kind of dry right when it’s professional time and effort to go back into then, for me the drivers learning Great, putting myself in an environment where I’m constantly learning. So let’s go back,
Pallav Nadhani 45:05
for me in that case are drivers to really put out. So, let’s take a step back. The reason why I like that drive for building the best products from India is I don’t want to be living under colonial hangers, aka mania, sorry, surfaces Cassata, which is where it’s breeding into the story as well, when we’re using just we’re the best charting library in the world. But a whole bunch of other products as well second computers, where I fundamentally believe that India has the capability and the skills to be able to deliver world class products. And I think Paris has also done great with his product as well. So for me, the drive is to be the best in the world, in that particular area that I own. So in the last two stints it was about data visualization, I was really, really, really good at that. We built two companies, and we sold two out of that. Now the drivers again to be able to say, Hey, what is that one insight? Or what is that area where I want to be so good, that are not just said, Hey, this is a guy from India, it has to be Oh, like Alta Vista FusionCharts, when you send a bunch of our customers, when we went to us and who they said if we realize you were from India, we would have asked for a discount. In India, we made a bunch of Indian customers, they said, if you knew you from India would not even have bought you. Because you put that polish out there. So for me that drive is to really, really build great things in terms of product meetings, in terms of customer experience. And whatever it takes for me to learn to be able to that personal drive right now is more about me designing my life in a way, where I have literally zero guns to my head. So while Perez said that nobody is free in the world, I’ll partly agree to it. But in most of the contexts, I have no guns to the head. I’ll give you an example. I was talking to a friend, fun story. When he signed his visa term sheet. The VC informally told him, You cannot tweet anything about politics. I’m like, I’m living in a country, which is a democracy, if I don’t voice my opinion, as a civic member of the society, as a member who is contributing his taxes and his duties. Why, what am I doing here? Now for VCs because that can become a turmoil at some point in time, that freedom because I have not raised money and zero goes through my head, I value that freedom of my ability to express my thoughts, ability to do my actions, ability to be stupid, but still be able to say, hey, while they contribute value, I have a personal life. And I want to not project an image of what I have not. And that drive is very, very clear to me that this is who I am. This is what we want to live my life. This is what I want to teach my kids. This is where I can add value, not just to be to people I help to founders I have invested in or help them with two friends who are a part of my life. And I want to be real with it. And to be able to do that there’s a lot of things you need to sort of put in motion to be able to say, This is who I am, this is why I am able to do certain things. That’s my personal drive in
Paras Chopra 47:53
that sense. Yes. Am I drive is creating, solving problems, a very creative way. So it’s almost like, again, creativity plays a big role were in. I mean, I won’t say entrepreneurship problems or product problems are hard problems, in the sense of intellectually hard, but I think they’re hard in the sense of being so multi dimensional, that the answer is not obvious in the first go. So I really, really enjoy the process of navigating the different constraints and trade offs. And being able to find a creative solution. I think, the feedback to that solution when someone out there uses your product and says, you know, this is really good. I think that the biggest driver, how can you build something that other people love, and building something that other people love is a very, very non trivial problem. Most people are generally running around being more or less satisfied with their life. So how can you build something that people say I was missing this in my life? I think that’s a big driver.
Pallav Nadhani 48:54
I think one of your other big tracks is also exploration of very diverse set of topics, diverse set of people that you meet. Yeah. I mean, I was looking right out of my unique dimension, like you become a more sort of—
Paras Chopra 49:06
At least in really, from professional context, I think the driver is to solve these problems. But obviously, at a personal level, I think my biggest driver is just curiosity. So I would be equally interested in let’s say, theoretical physics, psychology, evolution, and all those things. I just want to learn more and more. And I think creating products is also like one way of learning a lot of what makes people tick. And, yeah, that’s what sort of sort of gets me up every morning.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 49:34
So one observation that I have right, to believe you have invested in more than 100 companies, right. And you would have absorbed something from Paras through these 11 years or 13 years of friendship. And you have invested in very few companies.
Paras Chopra 49:51
I don’t like into investments.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 49:54
So just want to touch upon this topic, right? Because Paula would have been a he Huge impact, right? And because he was such a dear friend, professionally, personally, so why did this then seep into your life for the last 11 years?
Paras Chopra 50:09
I think I mean, for me, like learning is a much broader like, like I said, you know, I’m interested in just a number of things. And very few of those things have to do with commercial concentration, for example. And an angel investment, I’m sure it gives a lot of learning, but I think it gives them the learning how to code in a very specific context. I mean, I would happily pay for someone to teach me quantum physics, even if it’s an investment, not investment. So in that sense, my drives are much, much sort of broader in domains, versus being very interested in just what makes money. So and it’s also a lot of effort, a lot of time investment. And I mean, I believe, I mean, if someone is doing angel investments, for making money, I think it’s a much more expensive way to do versus putting something in just index funds, and letting market do the job. But if someone is doing angel investments for learning, I totally understand that but that learning only happened in a very certain context
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 51:14
So what’s your drive for angel investing like?
Pallav Nadhani 51:16
So it has changed over the stages. So when I started in 2000, I think I wrote my first technically 10 or 11 was in Calcutta. So me and Abhishek Innospec technologies, bitesize services pub, even has a whole bunch of pieces are there in North, West and South. Nobody is investing in the Calcutta ecosystem. At that point in time, I was in Calcutta for about 10 years. So like, Hey, can both of us were bootstrap entrepreneurs, we still are bootstrap entrepreneurs. And we’re like, hey, we need to do a bunch of things for Calcutta, we started the fund unfortunate fact, the first three years we could not find a good company in Calcutta to invest 2010, we started the fund, the rest of the fund, we didn’t raise money from other people who’s just a brand cedars. It was mine and shakes money 11 I moved to Bangalore, and then every city moved like upward to realize the quality of the earth price go higher. So now sort of the playing field between US and India entrepreneurs. In most of the cases, there are certain deep tech cases where you as entrepreneurs have a much larger vision, ambition or a local market scenario with that says, So when first time I started to investing, my thesis was let’s build something for the Calcutta ecosystem. When I moved to Bangalore, I was like, let me figure out what are the better companies out there in Bangalore, because suddenly you are like, you’ve been, you’ve literally you’re like a fish in the pond, you’ve been thrown from? Sorry, efficient, well, you’ve been thrown from a fish in the well to fish in the pond. And then when you look at us, like you’re a fish in the ocean in that sense. So when I came here, they realize, hey, there’s so much learning for me. So my first incentive was to learn. Then the third was when this is what probably 2014 till about 80-90 invited foreign few notes about, hey, there’s money to be made. So there is a financial incentive, no doubt. But what I did, initially how to invest in a lot of different sort of industries, whether it’s back in the days, it was not called b2c, sort of b2c. Later b2b LELO, we did offline businesses hold much of those. We even did investments where we said, our gains are not going to be on the capital gains, which is on the equity. We’re going to take dividend. We made a whole bunch of mistakes out there. So those who hit record that. And he said, hey, everybody invests for capital gains. We did a couple of companies didn’t work out, obviously, we thought cam dividend, no selling it, and profit sharing will take place. And all of that didn’t work out. So for us it was and every time it did that they would new learnings which are coming in. So then I started investing in a couple of PR companies, which helped me understand how video works. So now my thesis is basically twofold. One, can I get to learn a new thing by being a navigator sit not in a driver seat, because when you’re running your own company, you can’t run another company, practically. So the kind of learnings I’ve had on how media business operates or how a b2c operates, or how b2c Help company operates? Just by reading what’s happening with them or setting on a once a quarter once or once every six months with the founder over beers and talking about pay child care, but I’ll better go where can I help? And then every founder Brinson, so two questions are asked every founder, what are the interesting growth hacks that you have done? What are the interesting hacks you have done overall in the company, and each one has a story, most of those will not be published, because they are too eccentric to be published in the media. And when you talk about that, like you either have a good laugh, or you’re like, This is beautiful. And more and more when you do that, you realize there’s a lot of different founders doing different things in a different way, which is learning for you. And I could take some of those learnings and apply in my company. Now because I’m jobless or underemployed. When I invest in your company, I’m like, Hey, is there an ability to sort of scale this up while learning and while helping the founder as well? So for me, it if you asked me today, if I can’t hang out with the founder who I’ve invested in, I will not invest? Because if the founder is not willing to share he is not open. He has no Not coachable is not adaptable, he is not somebody who was sort of like thinks of me as, hey, I respect you period. It’s completely okay, you don’t implement that. So it’s sort of a partnership in that way. So there’s a learning or there’s a sense of I, I have a responsibility to help you. And the third part is obviously the financial return right now, even though we are still deploying our own money, we don’t use other people’s money.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 55:23
Now, a more serious question in this part, the second part…
Paras Chopra 55:26
Why are you looking at me? (chuckles)
Pallav Nadhani 55:30
Because you are the serious guy. Compared to me Paras of course.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 55:35
What does death mean to you?
Paras Chopra 55:38
I think it means inevitability, where I mean, I know it’s the obvious answer. But again, I think I would just contrast it with not dying the holes. I think at one point of time, in fact, my first blog was called immortal block, because I never wanted to die. And there was this very strong feeling of very strange feeling of realizing that you’re going to die. And when I do feel at the very core, people don’t believe they’re going to die. They might intellectually know, present, the way we go around and alive day to day behave, I think it’s just very, very strong, is almost impossible to internalize. I actually, nobody has internalized they’re going to die until the last moment. And that’s just because the whole biology and evolution pushes us to sort of fight against inevitability. But I also feel death is what makes life absolutely wonderful. If people are immortal, they will get terribly, terribly bored of doing I mean, if you’re a model, everything will happen. The same things will happen in finite number of times, right, there’s just a finite amount of atoms going around in the universal, if you will, never do die will repeat the same things all over and over again, it will be super, super boring. So strangely, death is just what makes life worth it. And I just tend to remind myself of that again and again. But I do know, at the very core, I also believe that I’m not going to die. Even though knowing that I’m, that’s probably the outcome…
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 57:13
But that belief that you’re going to die or your loved ones are not going to be there at some point in time. Has it changed the way you live?
Paras Chopra 57:22
Certainly, I think it’s impacted very strongly by reprioritizing, a lot of things. One, it’s helped me reprioritize health, because I know if there is a way you could have a longer and healthier life, why not choose that? It has helped me focus increasingly more on friendships, and relationships with my parents with my family. It’s also made me realize work is one aspect of life. And it’s not the be all and end all to it. And strangely, like what we were talking about, it’s also, I think, put some time, big dent into whole legacy drive, which you have, I mean, which I had in my 20s, where I felt I had something to prove to others, I want to leave a legacy. All those things are completely disappeared. What I want to do is just have happy days, one after another, almost until the last moment, and if that happens, it’s fulfilling lives.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 58:20
For me, happy days might mean something different for different people. Yeah, for
Paras Chopra 58:24
me, it’s like seven out of 10 a very balanced day, day after day, until the last moment is you don’t want to call it happy ending. That also right? That’s a joy in itself. I heard you take it away.
Pallav Nadhani 58:40
Voting peers have for me most like very practically. Death is just another event like it’s the exit event in entrepreneurial sense of a life well lived. Now, it is not about the debt. It is about how well you live your life and what sort of support systems you build for people around you whether it’s mentally, spiritually financially, especially when I have kids, that when I die, they are not in a turmoil. Now, you don’t want to go to either extremes you want to be in the center, you’re all going to die. Now what Perez said about Health’s arms while I’m generally like he is become extremely health conscious in the last year, year and a half and like this fitness is obviously proof that testament I go through the cycles of like ugly fat, then I’ll be sort of letting loose and for me, this has become part of my life. How not over optimize my life choices saying that I want to delay the death because I am going to be so if you have to delay death, you will say I’m going to make all the healthy choice and my family for alcoholics videos. Quit whole bunch of things. I’m going to wake up six in the morning. I’m a slightly more hedonistic guy. I believe that life has to be lived, that at some point you are a die. You can’t cheat that You can sort of push it by a couple of years or whatever it is, but you got to be there. So a lot do something where I die to borrow 1000 Or do something. But I’m like, for 30 years, I’m going to live like a fucking monk. So that live for 10 more years to die, because then that’s not my life. It is inevitable. It has an exit moment for life. The question is, have you lived to live successfully, and success happily, successfully, meaningfully? whatever term you want to use? That’s a very personal choice of what do you want to do? And maybe different decades, you decide how you want to live your life differently, and it’s a very personal choice. society tries to dictate what’s the ideal fricking life. But I think as entrepreneurs, which Berra said, we are at mystifying society. So it’s your personal choice of what life means to you. In that sense,
Paras Chopra 1:00:41
I think it’s important to distinguish between lifespan and health span. I think the point is not to live a long life for its own sake, right. But the point is, if you can live a longer life, with being equally healthy, having good rich relationships, having good work, why not? So I mean, you don’t want to spend the last 20 years of your life bedridden, I don’t think that’s the point of life is just to be there lying there. And in that sense, I think, really discounting what you’re doing today is probably not a wise decision, you do have to take into account your future self will at some point of time, you are going to be that person. And you don’t want to be blaming your past selves for giving you an extremely shitty series of years or even decades.
Pallav Nadhani 1:01:28
But then even euthanasia that I do, I do believe in it. I think what is the threshold for you to incite hate? Is it one year on the bed five years on the bed? 10 years on the bed where you decide euthanasia?
Paras Chopra 1:01:39
No, at any point of time where I feel there is no hope. In a better life. I think it’s a natural decision to not sustain in a hopeless fashion. Right? Not officially. Yeah. So in but India doesn’t allow that. And I hope it does. It’s not I can’t believe government has something to say about people taking their own life, which is one of the strangest things out there. Man, I think they have a valid point when it comes to suicide due to mental issues. The point is to maybe help treat them but if a mentally sane person wants to just end it all. I think they should be very happy. We should celebrate. We got a life well lived
Pallav Nadhani 1:02:20
instead of moaning that if you try to kill yourself and euthanasia, we’re gonna put you in jail. We’re like, why? Do you see the irony in that? (chuckles)
Paras Chopra 1:02:28
No. I mean, if if there is a preventable costs, I think this I’m talking about old age where you’ve sort of literally living on artificially so then people have a choice. I mean, if people are deciding and they are completely mentally healthy, let them do that.
Pallav Nadhani 1:02:43
There is another tricky situation. Thompson, how do you prove somebody is mentally healthy when they’re on the Yeah, I
Paras Chopra 1:02:47
mean, we are in the murky territory? I agree. Correct. But I think if someone is suffering from mental disorder, which can be cured, sure, then at least there needs to be an intervention that because you would want other people do too, you
Pallav Nadhani 1:03:02
know, so let’s say what you’re talking about is let’s say somebody’s in 20s 30s 40s. But imagine, Let’s hypothetically put a cutoff date after which euthanasia should be legally you know, let’s put 60 Who euthanasia should be allowed at any point of time. Working again, so 60 and be terminally ill at any age, right? You could hire Dominica is one of the quality.
Paras Chopra 1:03:21
But let’s not drop the lawyer. No, we’re not going to take her seriously.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:03:26
At what age you attained financial independence in your eyes atleast? How did you change your choices in life?
Paras Chopra 1:03:32
I think very, very early in when if I, let’s say. And that’s because the motto is I made a lot of money, but because my desires have been kept. I think I’m very happy. Just buying a 500 rupees book. That’s that financial independence for me. So maybe as soon as I never thought about whether I should buy a book or not his then I achieved financial independence, where I could just click in on Amazon and buy it without looking at the price. Maybe it was when I was it’s a 24
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:04:07
Let me define financially for that realization that you never have to work for money ever again in your life.
Paras Chopra 1:04:12
Yeah, 2424 20 fire in directions
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:04:15
chain the choices.
Paras Chopra 1:04:17
I think it never worked for money that says I’ve worked to prove I could build something useful. So in that sense, I’m pretty sure if if I would not have worked out, I would have maybe worked somewhere else. But that would have been very temporary, sort of a thing, just a step to do my six startup if that would not have worked out I would have been seven I do is built for this. And ultimately, I think in startups if you keep trying, one of them would crack. So I am reasonably reasonably confident saying that I would have achieved financial independence, maybe the age would have differed. But that’s because startups are a great wealth creator. And if you keep trying to do startups again and again one time something will crack. So it’s Almost an inevitability if you have the entrepreneurship gene in you, that you will end up being relatively financial well off at some point in your life, or what do you define financial independence? Again, again, Paula, will I still have it? Yes. As I said, I don’t have a jet. It’s not financial, you know, what the Island,
Pallav Nadhani 1:05:18
New York, you’ve got it to the younger,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:05:21
let’s say whatever your current lifestyle was at that point of age, right? You said, No, I don’t have to earn a single penny more to sustain that lifestyle for the rest of my life, though, that
Pallav Nadhani 1:05:33
had never achieved, because what happens with money is every time you make more, you sort of upgrade your life’s choices, and I shall to sort of, so I would not want to say that you match your income to your expenses. I’m very conservative in that sense. And I’m certain ratios that are following only, but every year, you make more money, you sort of buy new things, you get new, let’s call it boys toys, let’s call it what fab eats and everything, there’s probably not going to be a point in time, they’re going to ever say if I never work again, I’ll be able to sustain. So even if I sort of, hypothetically efficently, to compete, but I made enough out of that, and also all the profit, what geniuses i don’t know what the kids need, I know that there’s going to be emergency, I don’t know, if there’s going to be completely unforeseen incidents of any freaking kind, where I can say, hey, I’ll be able to take care of all of that. So then also the fact of financial independence. So if you’re a set, financial independence is where you did not have to go and take a loan or ask her dad for money. I think that would be at the age of 19. For me,
Paras Chopra 1:06:37
you know, I mean, I completely disagree with that. But I think I mean, there’s interesting book that has also come up, I don’t know whether you read it, but it’s called die with zero. And I. And it’s a very interesting concept, which I also believe in that you should aim to die with zero money in your bank. And And also, when it comes to the worst case scenarios, I think it’s impossible to predict worst worst case scenarios, by Earth, right? And you have to by by definition, even the richest person cannot prevent a worst case scenario, if like a meteor is coming on the earth, what would that personal family then money. So in that sense, what you can really prepare for is bad scenarios. And not worst case scenarios and a few know what bad scenarios are likely to go into cost to you. I think at some stage, you can say that this money is enough, I feel for me if I don’t have to work rest of my life I can sustain for myself. And the very simple way if you have X amount of money, you see, you calculate like, what does it come with you say your life expectancy at 90 per month, how much that money manifesting, too, even if not, you take into account the appreciation of it. Sure, if your monthly expenses are less than that close, I’ll give you us unless you feel your lifestyle continues to become expensive over year over year.
Pallav Nadhani 1:07:55
The reason I don’t believe in this philosophy is because let’s say you have X amount of money, you put it in some investment, banks are failing the world countries are playing in the world, there is no 100% guarantee to be able to say hey, if I stop working today, this person guarantee based on my current expense, I’ll be able to because your money was being handled
Paras Chopra 1:08:11
by the officer, I mean, this is a source of endless anxiety, right? You will never get that certainty at what point of time you will get Certosa, which is where you’re always survived, banks are failing, I
Pallav Nadhani 1:08:20
think my belief is at any point in time b is kind enough to be able to say I am able to match my current expenses, but there is a difference between being skilled enough to be able to work and to actually
Paras Chopra 1:08:32
work that optionality. Yeah. So you will obviously we want to be relevant, so that when it like when it you actually have to work, you’re able to work. Sure. But until then, financial freedom really means right. You don’t have to work just for money, but your thesis that you always would need to earn more and more. And that’s what I’m saying I think at some point of time, and my belief is totally the opposite. You should aim to have zero money when you are sort of dead.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:08:59
I agree with more of your point of view that, you know, at some point of time, you realize that the rest of your life if you sustained with this lifestyle, some emergency money, right? Or if you’re if you buy some land for your family, that you don’t need to work for a single day. You’re working out of your own personal choice of happiness, freedom, whatever it is, I think
Pallav Nadhani 1:09:19
if you don’t work, you lose. You lose your sense of life, you lose purpose, you lose your gray matter. You lose sight,
Paras Chopra 1:09:27
there’s a difference between you don’t have to work and you need to be working for money, versus the the just realization that you don’t have to work. I think that gives a lot of clarity in the kinds of works you end up choosing. Exactly. I think that’s not working, but that’s optionality. Yeah, that’s important but like I’m still working but I don’t need to work correct in that sense. Nobody can put a gun on my head and do it and like no, I would never sign like a term sheet that comes with the fact that you can’t do it.
Pallav Nadhani 1:09:54
That is a different scam, financial independence. I think that I got a or maybe a What a 29. Were with that philosophy that okay, sometimes some things may head to the ship, man hit the fan. But if I never have to work again, but I choose to work because I like to work and I want to create value, probably 2740. It’s one of those years. But that whole sort of deviating. I fundamentally don’t believe in the fire movement. I don’t believe that, hey, you retire early and just enjoy life today. I don’t know what retirement even means. Even I don’t know so many violent to jobless and unemployed. For me right now. I’m pursuing new curiosity skills, ability to sort of help other founders. Because at that point in time, imagine you’re not doing anything to do with the house? No. So for example,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:10:39
Paras Chopra 1:10:40
what a lots of we will do nothing in the house.
Pallav Nadhani 1:10:43
Otherwise, if they’re happy,
Paras Chopra 1:10:46
whatever is very, very busy working on
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:10:49
whatever curiosity you’re pursuing, that doesn’t pay you a single penny for the next 10 years. It will pay you a big amount of debt. 10 years, 20 years, but that doesn’t pay. Would you be happy with it?
Pallav Nadhani 1:10:59
Absolutely. That’s a long term, man. I mean, that’s probably one of the better plans. Because if you have the ability to take a 1020 year bet, say, I am so good at it that only five people in the world would do it. But you have the ability to just do that. And take a 1020 year but and the payoff is massive, that risk reward ratio, because let’s say if I say no financially, in your statement, independent Do not ever worry about the money, that’s better willing to take. But finding those opportunities is the most difficult part. Which bank do you take because the world is moving so so fast, right now, you don’t know what is going to be relevant in 20 years,
Paras Chopra 1:11:34
I think lately, I had a realization if you’re financially independent, I think two choices make a lot of sense. Either you should do like a totally nonprofit kind of a work, where you’re just literally with no expectation of return. You’re almost like Bill Gates. The second option is I think you should create art, which is also like nonprofit, but our time really meaning in a very broad sense of doing things that just elevate a way of living and thinking almost an absurd thing, which nobody is expecting a very limited view of life, per se, you can also help other people move out like what I’m doing with other founders as well. Like, while I don’t make money off, and I’m saying the people, and I’m saying what you need to exclude if you’re financially free, is an expectation of getting paid back. No, because a lot of other people are willing to do that job, which is I’m saying there’s only certain roles in society that financially independent people can play pay for. And probably it makes sense to do that. No, but just like you talked about two megabytes angel investment. Now the shape out pay for this or helping other people succeed, because now we have time Yes, doing that without expectation without a return that’s very noble. So that sort of thing. I think one option is probably to do things where you have zero expectation of return or a second is to maybe just do something which is art comedy observed, which makes no sense at all, which nobody would find for commercial reasons. But they should exist because they really nourish the soul.
Pallav Nadhani 1:13:00
Or you can even go into like sort of changing policies for society being part of think tanks because you have a lot of knowledge. Because then you’re looking at what can you do for the greater good without expecting something bad?
Paras Chopra 1:13:11
Because everyone is working with the expectation of return? I think it’s a very good way to pursue opportunities where you absolutely don’t expect anything in return. Is that how you will uplift the society,
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:13:24
but people aren’t even designed for it? Yeah,
Paras Chopra 1:13:26
why not? I mean, so many people in history have done things with no expectation of return. I know. I mean, if you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve made a lot of money, but purely creating value for yourself, I think it’s a very, very hard mindset change. But I think there’s examples all around almost like, let’s say Bill Gates.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:13:44
I mean, there are billions of records revision,
Pallav Nadhani 1:13:46
Nandan Nilekani, I mean, he was one of the most beautiful examples of pushing India as a country had like miles and miles ahead through his own different programs and everything whether it be a talk about UPI, Aadhaar. Holden’s programs is running, like selflessly doing and pushing India forward in that sense. Why do we need a Bill Gates as an example when we have our own Nandan Nilekani here in India, most of the IT services founders have done enormous amounts of charity whether it’s Mr. Premji Mr. Nadar, whether it’s Nandan Nilekani, whether it’s Mr. Murthy as well, all of them basically, and they have sort of reached that place with like, you need to move society forward. Like with your point of die with zero, I don’t think they’re looking at that. But the right we have created enormous value for the country. For the people like it industry started by those who started by those guys. We’re talking about 3 million people getting affected directly indirectly. And now they’re deploying money in education. They’re deploying money in whole bunch of things. So many more examples in terms of what a straightforward me, I’m doing in a very small, miniscule way by helping other SAS founders. These are like magnanimously large examples in our own country in that sense.
Paras Chopra 1:14:51
Yeah, I do think I mean, you owe it to other people because you are a construct of a society just because you were born in nada poor family, you got educated. You got opportunities, like even literally the fact that my father got me a computer and someone else’s didn’t, that made the whole difference. So there is a sense of obligation of giving back to the society that actually made your life possible.
Pallav Nadhani 1:15:17
Have a question, where do you think that charity gene comes after a certain age? Or is this inherent in humans with like, Yes, I do charity or yes or no, do not do charity? hypothetical, like a lot of these people who sort of committed to the giving pledge. Were post 50 or 60. Let’s say 2030 mil so materialistic, Anhedonia stick? Is it a function of age? Or is it a function of something else?
Paras Chopra 1:15:39
I think it’s functional realization that more money is not going to make you more satisfied in life.
Pallav Nadhani 1:15:45
Yeah, but in 32nd, buy a whole bunch of sports cars, yachts, yeah, but I am sure
Paras Chopra 1:15:49
Bill Gates would have bought preme, he would have bought, but after maybe a couple of cars, they would have realized it’s not worth it. So I think money does have marginal returns in your life satisfaction. And after that, if you could, why not just pay it back? It’s just this, like, purchasing power is lying with you, why not redistributed? The just natural and I think it’s obviously a lot to do with evolutionary drives of increasing our status. So there is benefit of charity out there. It’s not all selfless. If it was selfless, will not see names on buildings, charities would be anonymous. So there is a large extent of status, also being involved in mix. But I think it’s a good trade off, if others get balanced and you have a name on your building.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:16:35
But what are the things that gives you anxiety, that that you fear about? Like Pallav feared about not having left enough for his kids…
Paras Chopra 1:16:42
I think what gives me anxiety is the possibility of my mind not being functional. So not being able to think not being able to creative because I mean, I derive a lot of satisfaction of from reading and digesting complex ideas, being creative and problem solving. So getting any kind of mental illness, which to a large extent, I don’t have any control over. I think that is like my biggest fear of just waking up one day and realizing maybe my memory is gone. My thelia abilities got hairy, partly, it had happened where I failed. growing a company was not intellectually stimulating me. And that’s one of the reasons I shifted my role from CEO to Chairman and I dived myself in my sabbatical to reading a lot of physics, chemistry, because I just wanted to see that I don’t want to get just intellectually blunt. I think that’s my biggest fear.
Pallav Nadhani 1:17:42
So an anxiety so the comments are gonna be I’m gonna change the statement, like, the anxiety is not that what I’m going to leave for the kids anxiety is always when you have kids, are they gonna turn up to be sort of self independent, being molded in the right way? Nobody gives you a book for parenting. You every parent is winging on the way they’re like, oh, shit, this is right. This is wrong. This is right. This is wrong. I think there are also kids. That’s right. That’s right. And this woman was kids. So on the personal side, the anxiety is mostly when you have kids who like, are we doing the right things. And while you have a deletion permission online, and everywhere, you have communities and everything you say, and you could be helicopter parent, you could be like a completely detached parent. And both of those models have worked in that event in the world. So you’re not sure where you want to place yourself and the sighting
Paras Chopra 1:18:30
or none of those models are followed by the word swapped out somewhere in the middle,
Pallav Nadhani 1:18:34
we don’t even know which part of the middle. So in the professional life, I think I can talk about myself. But I’ve also talked to a bunch of friends, every entrepreneur who’s become successful or sort of company or two companies, they have the sense of imposter syndrome. Shit, was it luck? Or was it me? Then second time they go through it? And they’re like, so this one is luck. Two is probably double, not three is probably pattern. Two. And every time you go through it, you’re like, This is imposter syndrome. And anxiety comes from the fact Hey, what makes what is the purpose of life? Where do I find significance and the human mind has trained like a monkey, you are part of a pilgrimage site or earth and the society. And if I’m gonna create it with this big of the city, if you’re a society where ideas are respected, where what you’re doing is respected, you’re sort of pushed into the motion of saying, hey, what makes the most of the time when I meet people after selling the second one also, let’s see what’s next. And earlier, I’ll be like, Oh, I’m doing this I’m doing that I’m doing that now become sort of more non insecure, the reverse of insecure I’m like, I just give it a spouse. I’m sharing the talk right now. Because the pressure to say it because I know I’m not very clear on what I’m gonna do next while I’m doing 100 Other things on angel investments and all those things, but from the point of view of building what’s next. I have no idea right now. Do I want to build X? Absolutely sure. But the journey to building an X It’s not like a process of saying, hey, here are five ideas, you go pick one and go and build. It’s a journey for yourself to be able to figure out, why do I want to buy this idea. And once you’ve done a couple of those, your qualifiers become more and more bigger, because now you say, hey, either larger market size, or something which has more, again, we’re not gonna use a word impact, but maybe revenue opportunity, and whole bunch of those things. So your negation becomes higher. But when you saw them connected back to what you built for the first company, you said, I was just tinkering. Quichua Quichua was a company built a bit hog, a second one was somewhere in between. So then you’re sort of navigating between the aspect of, hey, earlier was a tinkerer was a quick neckla. Now I’m sort of looking like MBA guy trying to force fit into the market, the hopper opportunity. And the anxiety comes from that like, which part of our data is you? Are you this NBA guy trying to start looking at path? Versus Are you a tinkerer at this to conflict between the personalities, creates anxiety, and then when you sort of beat anybody, and you say, kick me by the camera, people give you a blank stare. Now, obviously, I’ve gotten paid better right now to be honest, with actual career. So now when people ask, I’m like, I’m checking this out, but internally, you know, Kihara, you want to do something. Also, you reach out to the right people for the hell. But this question of what are you doing next, is what gives me anxiety,
Paras Chopra 1:21:21
I really want to build up on this just a slight tangent, but for second time entrepreneurs, it is difficult in a different way. wherein I think they because more often than not, they have Nancy for free. So they paint a very idealistic picture of what they want to build, almost like MBA, this is a large market opportunity will, they would have a long plan, step one, step two, step three, and all that. But most likely, what works is what worked in their first case, the tinkering at a problem and not knowing what will come out of it. Because if in a startup, it’s so obvious, the opportunity how it’s going to unfold, somebody would already be doing it. And startups are already about tinkering, something. There, there’s a lot of uncertainty. So it is a big private second for second time founders where they feel they figured it out. But actually value is created when nobody’s figured out, you just have to waste your time tinkering, to be able to unlock something of value.
Pallav Nadhani 1:22:20
So it’s like, oh, shoot, my entire phone is dedicated on second day founders.
Paras Chopra 1:22:26
asked them what what are they thinking instead of asking them for business plan? never work out?
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:22:30
I think fear of failure also, they’re
Paras Chopra 1:22:32
surprisingly No, I mean, I don’t think I mean, I’m doing it again, as a second time founder. I mean, it failure. I mean, there’s obviously
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:22:42
nothing you give 10 years and internet doesn’t work out the way. Yeah,
Paras Chopra 1:22:46
that’s totally fine. Because now, like I said, my source of joy is every day, what am I learning. And I also know, given what I’ve seen my first startup, there’s so many random and lucky factors involved, which are beyond my control, that I don’t think I would attribute both the success and the failure just to myself. Obviously, there is part of what I do mattering. But there’s so many factors in terms of industry technology competition, that I didn’t think I would feel I have failed, let’s save ninty has failed,
Pallav Nadhani 1:23:21
actually ninty, I can give you an example why this is going to be fun. So actually, this one even you don’t know. So I was hanging out with a friend in Chandigarh, but friend from journey that had come to Bangalore, he came to know about an empty the boat ended because his friend was a lady. She was lost like a whole bunch of weight. He was like, what was happened to you? And she told him what 90, you pretty by probably knew that guy, I’m not saying material. And then Dude, this is a really working, this is one of your customer, but even the ability to make an impact. So in his case, probably the impact is higher, because you’re basically changing a person’s view of life, and health and everything, which is where in a b2b, I fundamentally believe move not possible near. But in your case, even if hypothetically, the business fails, but even if he changes, like 10 lives for better, where they extend the life, so whatever it is, and 10 is a very small number, I think you’re working with a lot more with them. If I were him, even if I changed one line, I’ll still be very happy saying I made an impact in a real sense on somebody’s human life. Even if the business will I’m going to be happy with that.
Paras Chopra 1:24:23
Yeah, I mean, so in my like current setups, people will come up and say, you know, I feel much more healthier, much more fitter. And now the scope obviously has expanded from health coaching, to more or less, you know, personal growth coaching. So people end up saying, you know, I feel less lonely. I think that’s a source of satisfaction in that sense. Obviously, I want it to be hugely commercially successful. But if that doesn’t happen, I won’t attribute like, I don’t take failure. Personally. I think I’ve learned my lesson from the first startup not to do that.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:24:54
But if do you Did you take any time in FusionCharts when things are going down, failure personally
Pallav Nadhani 1:25:00
In my case, I have not experienced failure at a level where it would sort of kill the entire castle. Because we are the first company that became non Persky successful in its own sense. We do ventures coach, it, some of them succeeded didn’t succeed, but it was under the umbrella. You had a couple of bad years we have had, and our team getting fired. Sorry, team getting hired by somebody else. So those are ups and downs but pure business level. I don’t think I’ve seen failure in the sense where I had to worry about key call payroll cash. I had to worry about key our camera really doing because even the worst of the race I knew my entire engineering team was left Hamrick. customers say, product request Ara, whoa, passe there, I have to figure out anything basic as a banana. So most of those were tactical. They’ve had a bunch of real products. And I’m still very proud Kimmy started with thesis it did not work out. We have had our own seed punch of my own eternal decisions pthrp It culture side all of that. None of those basically killed us. Then my case. We just got very, very, very lucky. Kibera I was 16. I started with one thing just went on and on. Obviously, there’s a lot of in hindsight, I can justify saying how many SAE SAE came up. We did this right. But I have not seen a colossal failure. In that sense, which would sort of put me down and our water come out of my bed for like four weeks that I’ve not seen
Paras Chopra 1:26:29
yet, you see that I would like a relatively strong opinion on this. When it comes to failure and startups having look where failure has got us we’ve talking about financial independence. So failure in startups, literally, if you do again and again, gets you financially independent, I think we should celebrate failure and startup because there is someone who’s gone out. And unlike almost everyone else in society, try to venture into something which is completely unknown. And obviously, when you’re getting into unknown, I mean, if something is very obvious successes of this, it’s most likely going to be incremental. But if something which is more likely than not to be failed, I think we should celebrate it unless you’re you can’t just reward successes in a field exclusively because successes and massive successes, I think they come. Obviously they have a counterpoint of massive failures and failures in a practical sense really doesn’t mean anything, you end up learning so much. Building a startup that you will be much better off versus your beers, Lord,
Pallav Nadhani 1:27:26
find the level of failure. So for example, like I know, a couple of founders who’s sold that house put all the money in the company, in that case of failure is like financially disastrous for the family. I don’t think either was offers up gone through that because we’re playing, having one of the things is when you are very early, you can take a lot more risk versus like, right now hypothetically, if I didn’t have any money at 14, how to feed two kids and a Wi Fi and family, my risk taking ability would be much lower. So failure at this point would hurt a lot more versus when you’re eating because then you’re like, Yeah, you can be scattering. Yeah, but
Paras Chopra 1:27:58
I mean, even if I don’t know why anyone would sell their house to put in a inhaling Qi
Pallav Nadhani 1:28:04
reservation permission. Authentic conviction. Dude, that is a badass. That’s
Paras Chopra 1:28:09
the job of VCs and LPS for which this amount of money is just dropping the OSHA Why would you put your own hours on the line Venables
Pallav Nadhani 1:28:17
and he made it he paid tricking ball out of that audience.
Paras Chopra 1:28:21
I mean, obviously, I mean, he could have but I’m saying really thinking? I mean, maybe it’s a personal way of thinking but I would never risk cutting my house for I mean, it’s sort of like putting your house for a lottery right startups are it they’re not exactly Lottery but they have elements of lottery like things in there. It just betting then, and betting with your own money to something which is inherently random. It’s just I think I’ll still do that. Yeah, maybe we’ll get both. I like the whole point. I mean, I won’t risk getting on the streets. Just because I have conviction in my startup. So many other things matter.
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:29:01
Maybe now they matter to you more when you’re 36. They might not have mattered to you when you were 22
Paras Chopra 1:29:06
because there was nothing to put into living parents rent free getting meals for free. I mean investment my investment wing if I was literally $10 for a server so literally, yeah, 200 bucks per domain now they’re so
Pallav Nadhani 1:29:22
expensive. 200 INR. Yeah. Wow.
Paras Chopra 1:29:26
That was investment literally. So when you say ROI when you early, I think the ROI again, you’re almost in finite because you’re putting in so little
Siddhartha Ahluwalia 1:29:33
This been of such a fantastic conversation. Hopefully we’ll do a second episode of this.
Paras Chopra 1:29:41
Sure. Yeah. Thanks for that.
Pallav Nadhani 1:29:45
In 10 years once we get to learn more! (chuckles) Thank you so much Siddhartha for hosting us. Thank you!
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