Akshay Kothari: What You Learn by Doing [Entire Talk] | Summary and Q&A

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April 30, 2013
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Stanford eCorner
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Akshay Kothari: What You Learn by Doing [Entire Talk]

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Summary

In this video, Ankit and Akshay share their experiences with side projects and how they turned them into successful ventures. They discuss their failures and learnings from past projects, such as the importance of focusing on solutions rather than just ideas. They also talk about the value of time and how it is more valuable than money. They emphasize the need to iterate and prototype ideas quickly to make room for new ideas. The duo also touches on the importance of founder dynamics and the impact of having a diverse team. They share insights on product marketing and monetization strategies, as well as their journey in fundraising and the importance of staying focused on the product. Overall, they encourage taking side projects seriously and learning from each experience to create successful startups.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is the main topic of discussion in the video?

The main topic of the video is side projects and how to turn them into successful ventures.

Q: What is the biggest learning from the failure of Buzz Web?

The biggest learning from the failure of Buzz Web was the need to focus on solutions rather than just ideas.

Q: How did Ankit and Akshay approach their side projects at Stanford?

Ankit and Akshay approached their side projects at Stanford by thinking of each project as a potential startup. They met with different people and learned how to accept or reject certain parts of an idea.

Q: What was Ankit's motivation to value his time over money?

Ankit realized that time is more valuable than money and decided to spend the money he earned from a research project on a D-school class that helped him build Pulse.

Q: How did Ankit and Akshay expand their team at Pulse?

Ankit and Akshay initially hired people they had worked with before or friends from Stanford. As they raised more funds, they were able to hire more team members.

Q: How did Ankit and Akshay maintain their startup culture post LinkedIn acquisition?

Ankit and Akshay mentioned that LinkedIn has allowed them to maintain their culture and values. They still sit together, work on Pulse, and have access to LinkedIn's resources.

Q: How did Ankit and Akshay fund Pulse in the initial stages?

Ankit and Akshay funded Pulse by selling their app for $4 each, which generated about a quarter million dollars. They were able to expand without relying on investors initially.

Q: What is the value proposition for publishers to be on Pulse?

The value proposition for publishers on Pulse is reaching a broader readership and using content marketing and commerce strategies to monetize their content.

Q: How did Ankit and Akshay rethink advertising on Pulse?

Ankit and Akshay believe that advertising should be content-driven and not interrupt the user experience. They focus on content marketing and making ads feel like valuable content.

Q: How did Ankit and Akshay approach fundraising for Pulse?

Ankit and Akshay focused on building a great product and gaining traction before seeking investment. They got lucky with fundraising as investors were interested in their product.

Takeaways

Ankit and Akshay share their experiences and key learnings from their side projects. They emphasize the importance of focusing on solutions rather than just ideas and the need to iterate quickly. They also highlight the value of time and the impact of having a diverse team. Ankit and Akshay talk about their approach to product marketing and monetization, as well as their experience with fundraising. They encourage taking side projects seriously and learning from each experience. Overall, they believe in the potential of side projects to turn into successful startups.

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