[Editorial Notes : NextBigWhat’s flagship event UnPluggd is sort of a magic. We bring some amazing speakers who inspire a whole lot of entrepreneurs to move beyond their comfort zone. One such entrepreneur, Laxman, cofouner of App Virality talks about his UnPluggd experience and importantly, wants to thank his guru, Aloke Bajpai of iXiGo. Beware : a bit of Bollywood drama ahead :)].
Exactly 2 yrs back (7th July, 2012) I attended my first Unpluggd, also my first ever startup conference. I was managing a blogging network in those days yet I had no idea about what are startups or entrepreneurship, though there was that bug in mind to do something on my own and couple of crappy ideas kept rekindling the fire within me again and again.
It all began when I came across this Unpluggd event somewhere on Facebook and thought of attending it. Initially, I was little hesitant to attend; with the inconvenience of travelling between Hyderabad and Bangalore and spending nearly Rs 2600 for the whole ordeal. With a heavy heart, I convinced myself to attend the event.
I remember seeing a very ordinary looking man with an extra-ordinary aura take the stage and then take us all by storm. Somehow, Aloke had influenced me like nobody else could ever have in this world. I could relate in entirety to his talk about how that fabled Entrepreneurial bug comes in mind, how it eats on the standing notions of security, frustrates us with our corporate jobs and makes us think about ideas while sitting in the loo (trust me, that place is a gold mine. I wonder what all inventions have borne out of that place).
After this great talk, I couldn’t sit in my seat. I was restless. The bug had eaten up my insides too fast. I was trembling, nervous, numb and tearing down walls of a fake stable life in my mind. With a herculean effort, I went all the way from the last of the back rows to the all-flashes front row, met Aloke, my prophet in guise of an entrepreneur, thanked him for the talk and asked him the one ghisa-pita silly question.
“Aloke, I am working in this so called great MNC and I do have an idea. I need a small advice. Should I resign my job or continue both simultaneously?”.
He gave a very diplomatic answer like any other well wisher, but left me with clues, pushing me to pursue my dreams if I really believe in them.
I denounced right away, “I am going to pursue my dream, and come back to launch my product at same Unpluggd stage” (sounds too Bollywoodish right, I guessed so).
This is what he posted on his Facebook after the event
We are those 2 guys 😉 I added him on my Facebook and commented this.
LEARNING THINGS..THE HARD WAY:
We went back to Hyderabad, brimming with confidence and seeing opportunities everywhere. We did some philosophical brainstorming counter-weighing cozy comfort jobs with dreams and decided to take the plunge.
At this point, I must tell the reader something about my team. We are brothers. Yes, I mean literally – Ram & Laxman 😉 Can you imagine a family where both sons resign their jobs at the same time to do some seriously random shit? (And no, we don’t have a brother called Bharat -_- )
A lot of emotional drama ensued. We somehow managed to get through all of that and started off executing our ideas one by one. Can you guess the result? We failed. Not once, not twice but continuously for 3 times (Meanwhile we built couple of small things and sold to balance our financials). Yes, we learned things hard way, but the bug bit us hard and we are still very proud of what we did.
THE EUREKA MOMENT:
No. I didn’t run naked in the streets of Hyderabad and no you don’t need to ruin your creative imagination with such imagery.
We finally figured our cup of tea i.e online advertising + mobile = App Virality; and lucky us, we got selected to Microsoft Accelerator and we felt safe for the first time after starting this journey.
We started building the MVP, created a crappy landing page on appvirality.com and started gathering leads(We got 250+ leads, some of them were very interesting). But, one fine morning, something epic happened. The following screenshot speaks for itself.
Yes, the person who has inspired us showed interest to know about our product launch. Don’t tell me that he still remembers me, followed me like a fan-boy and tracked us through all these 2 Years (I wish he did 😛 ).
In fact, 4 people from iXiGO registered on our landing page, ranging right from the CEO to the VP to Developers. On one hand, this clearly shows the startup culture they still follow at iXiGO and how open they are to try new things; on the other, I was already escalating higher with joy.
TODAY, AFTER 2 YEARS:
We were here…. launching App Virality on the same stage Aloke inspired two mad men…. Yes, we were at UnPluggd’14.
I am sorry for my unclear speech in the recording, maybe I choked on seeing the first bit of my dream come true or maybe scared after seeing a 500+ audience, ready to gnaw at my offering, in the auditorium.
PS – By the way Aloke doesn’t know all this, unless he comes and reads this article. This is a surprise for my Dronacharya. Happy Birthday, Boss!! (Yeah, I know I am being Bollywoodish ;)).
PPS – App Virality is a plug and play growth hacking toolkit for mobile apps, that helps you identify and implement the right growth hacks with no coding required.
[Adds NextBigWhat Team : Got such UnPluggd experience? Share with us! firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wondering, when is the next UnPluggd? We will soon announce the details!]