Quikr premium service, the good, bad and the ugly

Quikr LogoI posted a Quikr real estate ad. a few days back and yesterday i got a call to convert that ad. into a premium listing… The offer seemed good, 10 ads for Rs.1500.

So where did it all go wrong?

Let me start with the Ugly first… I got to know it the hard way that Quikr does NOT have a refund policy. They do not believe in giving refunds to customers even if the error is on the part of Quikr. In 2015 for an online company it is absurd not to have a refund policy!

Now the bad part… While i was being sold the premium listing, the rep told me that my real-estate listing could be posted in 10 different areas. Now why would i post a specific area listing in other 10 localities? For example.. If i wanted to sell a house in Vasant Vihar, Delhi, why would i post the listing in Punjabi Bagh? Does it make any sense? and i had also told the rep that i was not a broker who would have 10 different properties to sell. Well long story short… due to the communication gap… i am now stuck with 10 premium listings in the real estate category, with no ads to post and the listings expire in 3 months.

So where does the good part come in? Well… now that i am the proud owner of these 10 listing, i will be happy to list your property in the premium category for free!!

How i got started with entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship has been a roller coaster ride for me. I do not come from a business family but since school i had this thing in me that i wanted to something of my own, it was in my 10th that i got introduced to computers and i am taking about 386 Machines with 1.4inch floppy disks which were capable of holding 1MB data (Yes.. this was back in 1993). Once i finished 12th, not being a very bight student (mildly put) my parents suggested that i do some programming course, to which i replied “i don’t want to be one of those geeks to spend all their time in front of a computer” … Oh! how little did i know :)

So i did exactly the opposite, Did B.com and joined NIS (National Institute of Sales)… Since i had plenty of time and no social life, i decided to start a business. This is the time when websites had started to come up and people had just started putting up their business sites (1998) I learnt photoshop on my own and also a bit of HTML and used one of those WYSIWYG HTML editors. I was confident that i had the skills to make it a success. Since i had to put the word out, i got a lot of single page black / while pamphlets printed and started getting them distributed them with newspapers. I started getting calls and i landed a few clients and so i continued this strategy with various parts of Delhi. A year passed and i was doing decently well but my parents though that this had no future and so i was pushed to pursue higher studies in US.

I did my B.Sc in Finance from Chicago and came back to India thinking i would land a plush job in a bank.. to my surprise i could not even land a call centre job (i choose to call this fate) Since then i have been doing various thing, tried my hand at modelling, did that for a year and then started a ecommerce website selling handicrafts (year 2004). My focus was exporting and i did get a lot of traffic on my website but little orders. Not too many people bought handicrafts looking at pictures, back then they did want to touch and feel.

SMB-2011

After that closed down, i started web hosting company (SpeedHost.in) with no prior knowledge on hosting… i just had a hunch that this was going to be a great service to sell. I knew that it would be challenge as hosting is a 24/7 business and i moreover i did not know what servers are and how i can sell. So i started reading up on hosting and found that once can start with a reseller account and a website. This was 2007 and SpeedHost.in was a brand new entrant into this domain which was already dominated by a few big companies (Probably you can make out buy now that i am not that big on research). Never the less, i was and still am a very customer centric person… I knew that there was lot or margin in hosting and the existing companies in India were selling at a much higher price as compared to US companies and that the Indian customer was still buying from India then US as business still paid in cheque deposit or cash deposit than online payment. I capitalised on this and since i hand knowledge of web designing, i designed a UI where there was no clutter, the user did not have to look all over the page to buy the hosting package and that my cell number was clearly visible on all pages (yes, i provided 24/7 customer support for over 3 years) Since i was competing with some big players then, i knew that the only way i can grow is by being on the top of Google search, so for the next 1 year i devoted a lot of time on learning SEO and getting various search terms ranked on the top… by 2009, SpeedHost.in was ranked either #1 or #2 on almost all search keywords and the traffic started poring in. I moved in to a small office and took my first couple employees. There was no looking back then, in the next couple years, SpeedHost.in grew from 30-40 paying clients to about 4000. I am proud of the fact that the customer service we provided was unparalleled to even the hostgators of the world. From a startup investment of Rs.2000, SpeedHost.in grew to close to a crore in turnover a year with multiple servers located in India for the fastest speed and in house and outsourced employees. Then the bug set in to do something else in life and so SpeedHost.in got acquired by Directi.
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What can Thomas Knox teach entrepreneurs?

Date while you wait - Thomas Knox

Thomas Knox from New York came up with this dating hack “Date while you wait” in the New York city Metro… basically Thomas wanted to do something to make people smile and enjoy their time while waiting for the Metro. I think entrepreneurs can learn a valuable lesson here… “it’s about meeting people and making connections”.

And if you are single, i suggest you read these 5 quick tips on landing a date. Good Luck!

Layoffs are a good news for startups?

I got the below email from easyhire today (I don’t remember signing up with them in the first place.) Anyways, normally i would just delete such emails but since the subject was though provoking, i decided to give it a read…

EasyHire

While their intention might good, i think their choice of words is very poor. Why would anyone hire an employee, if the said employee was let go from their previous job due to non-performance? And if such an employee was indeed hired by a startup.. do you think that startup would save money on training costs and other expenses? Would that employee be able to guide and mentor a team?

I think there is good lesson to be learnt from this email… Newsletters should be proofread multiple times by different people before they go out to the intended subscribers or even if they are being sent as spam. You never know who would post it on the web :)

Flipkart force saves your credit card info

Saw on my FB wall a post from someone saying that Flipkart is force saving your credit card info when you make a payment via your credit card. I checked it out for myself and yes, it does! (screen shot)

Flipkart saving credit card info and you cannot opt out

It would have been perfectly acceptable if users were given an option to save their card on checkout but this somehow irritates me. Maybe for most users, this is perfectly ok and Flipkart does give you the option of removing your card from file from the “my account” menu but this is an additional step which i would not have to take, had i been given the choice in the first place.

What do you think?