Bootstrap at Breakfast – 12 (my first)

It was about a month ago when I came across this meetup group. The agenda is simple – Meet every other Sunday for breakfast at 8 AM and solve problems. Along with that, you get to meet people, form contacts and hopefully, forge professional relationships. As the meetup page itself says – This is a group of people who chew problems for breakfast.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to the meetups before. Sundays usually turn out to be the busiest day of the week. On this Sunday (2nd September, 2012), however, I finally attended the group at Jaaga in the courtyard cafe. I was looking forward to an interesting experience around entrepreneurs and hear their stories. It would be an understatement to say that I was not disappointed. I came across great concepts and stories and the two hours I spent there passed like a breeze.

Introductions


We got around two large tables and started with introductions. Considering there were about 35 people, introductions took a fair bit of time – and it was worth it. Each story was different from the previous and provided a different angle, a different view or a new possibility – be it knowledge of pain points or opportunities.

While most of the people were from tech background, and their ventures were tech related in some ways (obviously), not all of them were directly catering to the tech industry. This was something to which I was especially looking forward – a general mingling of ideas – be it service industry or real estate or event management. And not just that, an idea or a look into the possible pain points in that domain and how they apply generally.

Discussions

After the introductions, the most common problems were outlined and tackled. The most common problem was on co-founders. Do we need one and if yes, how to find one. There was some digression but the time-keeper and moderator kept the discussion on track. First, the discussion was on whether a co-founder is needed. General opinion was that if you can afford to ask that question, you are probably not ready for a co-founder. In fact, you then don’t need one.

The next question was how to find one. An obvious solution is to find among the people you know – like family and friends. Advantages and disadvantages of this were weighed (also explained and elaborated in this article). The trick is to determine what kind of co-founder you need. You need to search for like-mindedness, but not someone who has the same set of skills as you. It goes without saying that this must be a person you can trust, on whom you can rely. One of the disadvantages of having families/friends on-board is the taken-for-granted attitude that is sometimes common. It is important to have someone whom you can professionally trust.

There were some more points discussed on this topic (refer to the list) before the time-keeper moved us on to the next topic at hand – Creating (and enforcing) trust among your customers. There were several topics discussed here ranging from online reviews and rating system to accepting liability on the behalf of your users.

I could not stay any longer at this point as I had an urgent errand to run. For a list of problems and possible solutions discussed (including what I missed), refer the minutes on the Facebook group.

Next?

What I missed, however, was more about bootstrapping. Almost all discussions focused on specific problems in a business and some bordered on growth, finding investment, etc… I would have loved it to cover more of bootstrapping in general and also stories of companies that have bootstrapped. Such sessions simply do not fit the format of the group. Like the description says, it is a problem solving and interactive group, not a single speaker or presenter group. This is both a strength and weakness of this format. The group and discussions are highly dynamic, focused and solution oriented. At the same time, the group hardly ever stays about bootstrapping. I am not complaining… The format of the group makes sticking to a single topic impractical. In fact, that is not its purpose at all.

I am looking forward to the 13th meetup to be held on 16th September. It is at another location, and hopefully, one more spaced out and comfortable than this one’s. You can join the meetup group or the Facebook group to follow updates.

Finally, the photos…

You can view more photos on the meetup’s page.