If this isn’t the first time you’re listening to First Principles, you’re probably wondering what’s going on. Why did we have five different founders opening the episode, instead of just one.
It’s because today’s is a special episode. We went back to the first five episodes we did to compile some of the most interesting, original and often counterintuitive conversations from five accomplished founders. While I’d urge you to listen to each of their conversations in full, this episode is a good place if you took to First Principles recently and are searching for reasons to listen to older episodes.
We begin with Kabeer Biswas, the co-founder and CEO of Dunzo, the cult-like instant delivery service that started from Bangalore. He talks about the 10,000 plus tasks he’s run himself on Dunzo, the impossible grind of fundraising, how founders’ traits tend to show up as organisation’s culture and many more things.
Episode 1: Kabeer Biswas of Dunzo talks about raising money, gathering user insights, battling deadlines and more
Next, we have Baskar Subramanian, the co-founder and CEO of Amagi, the most unlikely of unicorns to emerge from India. It is a media technology company that enables virtually the entire video production and distribution chain for all sorts of media companies globally. “Glass to glass solutions” is how Amagi describes itself, implying its presence from the glass of the camera where video is being shot to the glass of the screen on which it is finally watched.
Baskar dropped out of his master’s program at IIT Bombay because he found it oriented around getting grades, not necessarily learning. He talks about why entrepreneurship is like a drug for him, why vulnerability is a core value at Amagi, why a CEO’s job is to be a clock-builder and not a time-keeper, and many more things.
Episode 2: $1.5B Amagi Founder Baskar Subramanian talks about culture at work, parenting, and building from ground up
Next is Nithin Kamath, the co-founder and CEO of Zerodha, India’s largest online brokerage. He doesn’t believe in setting targets or goals for his company or employees. He also is one of those rare Bangalore founders who have succeeded at scale without taking a single dollar of venture capital. No, in fact Nithin insists Zerodha’s success is partly due to avoiding venture capital.
From his anonymous days as “Nathan Hawk”, “Tarzan” or “Columbus” at a call center or internet forums, to running one of the most profitable and yet leanest startups in India, Nithin covers a lot of ground. He talks about thinking like a trader, running a company with zero attrition, creating optionality and many more things.
Episode 3: Nithin Kamath of Zerodha candidly talks about building his bootstrapped business, weighing risks, and finding opportunities
Which brings me to Naveen Tewari, the co-founder and CEO of adtech giant InMobi, which is not only a unicorn in terms of its own valuation, but was also the first Indian company to incubate another unicorn of its own, lockscreen giant Glance.