Love him, hate him but you can’t ignore him. Rahul Yadav, the cofounder and CEO of Housing.com – a house renting portal for India – has been getting a lot of attention on media owing to his blunt and brash attitude. The 26-year old CEO created a lot of stir in the technology and entrepreneurship community when he fired a resignation email to the board and investors calling them intellectually incapable.
“I don’t think you guys are intellectually capable enough to have any sensible discussion anymore. This is something which I not just believe but can prove on your faces also! I had calculated long back (by taking avg. life expectancy minus avg. sleeping hours) that I only have 3L (hours) in my life. 3L hours are certainly not much to waste with you guys,” he wrote.
The interesting turn in the story is within 24 hours of this email, Rahul took the resignation back. The episode doesn’t end here, Rahul recently gave away all of this personal shares ~150Cr-200Cr (he owns 4.5% stake in the company) to all the 2251 employees of Housing.com.
Yesterday, he did AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit India and shared some gold for the aspiring entrepreneurs. Here are the key take aways from his AMA session.
Q1. What are the 3 most important things that contribute towards a startups’ success in the Indian startup ecosystem?
I think currently it is:
- Validated and copied idea from another market
What I think it should actually be:
- Solving Indian people’s problem
- Great product and innovation.
- Great teams and culture.
Q2. Rahul, thou a coolest startup entrepreneur. Please accept my bow. here are my questions.
- there was a discussion on this subreddit few days back, “Yay or Nay? India’s [r]eal estate boom is a bubble ready to burst.” what are your thoughts on this.
- being a young entrepreneur did you faced any circumstances while facing some corporate thugs.
- If a guy is a dropout, will you hire him?
- PaP with a banana for no reason.
Rahul: I do see a price correction but in long term I’m very bullish about the market given that Indian economy is soon going to be one of the world’s largest and we have a huge population base with a large number of people require Housing.
- Didn’t face any thugs, just crazy media.
- That is not a criteria.
Q3. Hey Rahul, Just wanted to know your opinion on Myntra going app only and shutting down their website. Do you think its a wise decision and why? Would you recommend new startups to focus more on their site or app?
Rahul: Key people’s focus in the company is very important, so its great that they have decided to go app only. Thumbs up for their bold decision.
Q4. Hey Rahul, a dev here. What are you doing about the high attrition rate at Housing? I know of 4 colleagues who joined Housing in the beginning of this year who left Housing after a couple of months . I regularly hear from my colleagues that they have an offer from Housing but they are passing on it. All of them complain about the work not being intellectually challenging enough.
Rahul: Our entire tech team (~100%) consists of freshers, so people do go for MS/MBA etc. Other than that its one of the lowest in the industry.
Q5. With due respect to your achievements, do you think you actions are going to be harmful for young entrepreneurs as VC’s might now believe young indians can’t handle success.
Rahul: I think the market should wait before passing a judgment on whether I am helpful or harmful for the young entrepreneurs.
Q6. How about some tips for entrepreneurs on self-promotion, pitching to VCs and the right way to do PR?
Rahul: Be Obsessed about solving the problem, Work hard and Be Optimistic. Surround yourself with great people, rest is just a cake walk. VCs, PR etc will automatically follow if you are doing good.
Q7. What makes a great product? How do you decide which design element to kick for function… especially when you’re operating without data?
What kind of data metrics are critical to track? How do you profile users’ behavior and demographics without having them sign in to FB or G+?
Rahul: A great product solves a problem in a fun and engaging manner. And all other answers can be derived from this. Other than solving problems in a fun and engaging manner, there are no rules!
Q8: What was the deal with Sequoia Capital? For science, Can you tell us what ‘other bad things’ were you referring to in your email to the VC?
Rahul: We decided a slided deal between 10-15% (depending on performance)for 1mn$. After 2 months of due diligence, when they realised we were running out money, they said they want to do a flat equity deal. I said ‘Okay. Let’s do it at 12.5%. They said 14.75%. When I requested more, they said “Let’s not waste each others’ time.” We were left with no option.
I came to know they have done it with lots of other ventures (TFS, Ola, Dexetra, LetsBuy..)
So to cut it short, I think they’re culturally a very cutthroat VC and sometimes I think that’s why they’re more successful than others. But I still condemn their practices because I feel they’re inhuman and for me, people are the ‘why’ for everything I do.
Q9. How do you recruit employees? Does CGPA, board % matter in selections and at work?
Rahul: All teams have their own style of hiring because they have full freedom. My personal hiring style is: I hire smart people ( Smartness can be judged by their past track records or by asking few tricky questions ) and ask them to commit that they will deliver. I really make people commit because everything is simple and if you’re smart & committed, it’s done.
Q10. Hey, Rahul! How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Rahul: Life’s purpose is to be happy! So if you are happy, you are successful in life.
Q11. Why 10X?
Rahul: 10x is a philosophy. It means you are not doing an incremental change but going for a fundamental shift or taking a big leap forward. 10x gives you a clear differentiator which helps.
Q12. Why ‘Look Up’?
Rahul: Because when you Look Up you only see people who are ahead of you in terms of greatness and achievements. No matter how much you have achieved in your life, the moment you Look Up, everything gets reset and you find yourself again at level 0.
To Look Up means to always keep chasing the best! To Look Up means to always keep asking ‘What’s next’. To Look Up means getting ready for the action. To Look up means to never settle.
Q13. Is it possible to chill out with you in real life?
Rahul: I leave for office at 10 am and come back by 10 pm. So I really don’t get time to chill out.
Q14. Does Housing.com has any policy for employees to contribute back to OSS, say for 5 hours in a week?
Rahul: Our tech team has complete freedom and they have their own culture as well. And they actively do contribute from time to time. One of our co-founders, Neeraj Bhunwal sleeps, eats and breathes open source!