Entries from October 2009 ↓

We made a mistake

We made mistake.  Just two months in business, we made a huge blunder. We accepted a client who we shouldn’t have. Lets call them X for sake of this blogpost ;P.

X is a pain to work with.

  1. For starters, they are closed to feedback.
  2. Then what they want sucks. So much so that my team refuses to work on it. It simply does not motivate them to.
  3. Then, the client does not know what they want. Most clients don’t but these people are adamant on not letting us help them figure out what they want. We want to tell them that we should take the design thinking approach and figure out what our problem is and how to go about solving it. They do not want that.
  4. Specifications change every time we meet them. Despite documentation.
  5. Apart from these smaller issues, biggest problem is that this project eats us most of our time. So much so that we aint getting no sleep. We loosing our peace of mind. The work is leading to arguments. And the tough part is that since we have accepted them, there is no way we can say no right now. We will have to complete the project. And put in our best effort.

Why did we accept them in first place? We accepted them because they are one of the better known “brands” in the country. If Cyntax could be associated with them, we would be in reckoning for lot more business. We in fact are working for them on cost. We are not going to make a single paisa on this client. We accepted them hoping for a better future.

So here are the lessons/rules of client engagement at Cyntax from now on.

  • Never ever work for cheap. Not even at the lure/prospect of “business development”. In fact Raj always says that when he started CLA he dint want it to be just a sweat shop. He wanted CLA to be a big company that does good work and takes pride in work. I understood the words back then but dint not realize the true meaning. Now I know what he meant. Awesome advice. Thanks Raj.
  • Equals. Being a service provider, does not mean that you are pushed against a wall. Its a marriage. The client chooses you over other service providers. And you choose to work with the client. Both are equals. They pay us for work we do. We expect to be paid for what we do. And like in all relationships, there are going to be ups and downs, times where we will have to hand-hold them, times where they would have to confide in us and stand by us, times when things would look as if they are falling apart and times we enjoy each other’s company.
  • Accept work that excites us. Motivates us to put in sleepless nights (not force us to).
  • Accept work that we would be proud of. That we can show around. It might be simplest of jobs, smallest of work, most insignificant thing ever but we should be proud of it.

Glad that we realized this this soon. In an ideal world, we would want to have the luxury of dumping a client.

Image Credits: Hulk4598. Check out his/her brilliant designs on Zazzle. Would have ordered this, this, and this if I had money :)

Escape Perfectionaism

Thanks to HN, I got link to this great post on the Harvard Business blog. Extracting a quote from there …

Perfectionists have a hard time starting things and an even harder time finishing them. At the beginning, it’s they who aren’t ready. At the end, it’s their product that’s not. So either they don’t start the screenplay or it sits in their drawer for ten years because they don’t want to show it to anyone.

But the world doesn’t reward perfection. It rewards productivity. And productivity can only be achieved through imperfection. Make a decision. Follow through. Learn from the outcome. Repeat over and over and over again. It’s the scientific method of trial and error. Only by wading through the imperfect can we begin to achieve glimpses of the perfect.

Am not sure if the tips in the blog work but I could relate the note to my personal experience. Am sure many more would be able to. It took me three years to resign from a day job and start working for myself. All this because I was trying to put everything in place before I took the leap. I dint realize that I can never put everything in place without knowing what to put in place. Feedback loop (+ and ) you see. I was trying not to fail. And as a result, I wasn’t even trying.

Any more people trapped in the “perfection” loop, please read the complete blog post. And resign and start up! Remember that shoe company that asks us to just do it?

2009 vs 1980

No description required. Originally published here. Found at GoingSocialNow.

Friends of Cyntax

So next thing on agenda, is creating something called The Friends of Cyntax. Here is the W5H …


A closed forum where we bounce-off our (premature) ideas, discuss issues (and seek resolutions), flaunt our achievements (and throw parties) and share our lessons (and seek feedback) . We plan to make it as interactive as possible and may be even “coerce”” our “friends” to participate in.


A group of friends, family, adversaries, clients, leads, teachers, mentors, ex-employers, partners, prospective hires, all those interesting people we meet on networking events etc. (referred collectively as “friends” henceforth :)). Closed. By recommendation OR invitation.


Because we need a guardian angel. We need help. With our endeavors. With this large and diverse set of people, most of them mature and experienced enough to take on the world by themselves, we will feel safe. Their experience will help us avoid pitfalls and most common mistakes that businesses make. Also since many “friends” are domain experts, we will approach them for data, insights and operations.


The compilation has already started. We have some seven names now. The youngest of the lot is 21. Or is he 20? And the oldest is around 50. Anyone in particular you think we should approach and beg/plead/bribe/pay to be a friend?

How? Where?

We are still debating. It could be a FB group, a mailing list, a Google/Yahoo group, a regular meeting event or a combination of any of these. Each has its merits and demerits. Someone with an idea?

Right now it is too loose a thought but it has great potential. It could become serious networking tool, a job board, a not for profit start-up in its own right and so many other things. All with the objective of helping other people start up.

And why would someone want to be a part of “friends”? Because you guys love us :D. And then some other tangibles are learning from other intelligent people like you, networking with them and may be, explore opportunities.

BTW, do YOU want in?

Image Credits: popartdks@Flickr.