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The Leap of Faith

After nearly 3 decades in a formal corporate career, I recently took a leap of faith to join a Fintech start up. Some of the things that made me take the plunge were the light hearted banter from my kids, after my golden birthday, about getting old and loosing sync with the current generation.

After joining the start up, I realised that I suddenly was amongst “millennials” which is much beyond Gen Next that I was used to till recently. In my earlier, assignment when I stepped out of the Banking culture into Financial Services, I toned down my attire from an everyday blazer and tie routine to smart formals, an occasional blazer and rarely a tie. This I thought was a MAJOR shift. Now, I realise for Banks to take us seriously, I’m zipping into Bank meetings in jeans, T-shirt, moccasins and that’s cool.

The Millenial attitude

At work, earlier emails began with “Dear Mr”…., with a “yours sincerely” sign off, then moderated to “Dear ABC” with a “regards,” sign off and now they begin with “Hi,” and  a “cheers” as sign off. Work hours are flexi and involves working in teams across geographies. Team meetings no longer require all to travel and be in the same room but purpose gets served through Video Conferencing over Zoom or Duo and in case someone is on the move, team members join in via a dial in. WhatsApp work groups are the norm with ideas being tossed around and discussed 24 X 7. All office documents are on a cloud via collaboration tools like Google docs, Confluence, Slack et al. Work place is no solo cabins except for a corner office. Shared work space is the norm for better collaboration. Lunch rooms are with bean bags, a few board games, coffee machine and a well stocked up  fridge,  if you are lucky with beers for after office hours.

Travel no longer means booking for a stay at a 5 star hotel but an Air BnB or a service apartment. For Staffers, ownership is foolish. Very few aspire to buy a car and drive to work. They are better off taking an Uber or an Ola or a City Flow. In fact, they prefer to minimise travel and opt for a rental usually within walking distance of the office. Even at the rental, everything including the furniture is on rent. Lunch is always just an order away via Swiggy.

Nothing is taken as given, everything has to pass through scrutiny of why it can’t be done better. Focusing on metric like bottom line or Target Group (TG) is passe. Review conversations revolve around MAU( Monthly Active Users) , ARPU (Actual Revenue Per Unit), MVP ( Minimum Value Proposition), customer cohort and the problem that you are trying to solve or what is the “thesis” that you are after. For Go to Market, if you are waiting to go through a fail proof testing, then you are old school. It’s always good to launch a MVP and have failed early, so that customer feedback can be built into the proposition to co-create. To be part of the team, you either need to be domain expert or a serial entrepreneur or must have a min 1 or 2 start up stories to tell.

In early 2000s it was the likes of ICICI Bank who disrupted the way banking services were marketed and delivered. Then it was the Financial Services through MFIs and NBFCs who pushed the envelope. Now is the turn of FinTechs to disrupt through “decomponentisation” and specialising by going phygital. Instead of trying to replicate solutions for an already solved problem, it’s all about collaborating with those who have already solved the problem & built platforms.  The Big Idea is to focus on a niche.

Now a days it is said that if you are a start up, you either fail or become a FinTech. Welcome to the world of Start-ups, Cheers !

P.s: To read other blogs on Cricketing / Corporate Tales, Start up/ Millennial experiences, Covid Times, Friends, Family and Marriages go to the Home Page

Published by Salil Datar

Eager beaver , enthusiastic but amateur blogger !!

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