This is your host Shashank Shekhar, and welcome to another episode of Shashank Redemption, an episode where every week I bring you inspiring stories, exciting guests, and thought provoking ideas.
Welcome back to another episode of Shashank Redemption, where I talk with technology founders and CEOs. And today I have the opportunity and the privilege of talking to Praveen Ghanta.
He is the founder and CEO at Fraction. Praveen, welcome to the show. Yeah, thanks Shashank. Great to be here. I'm really looking forward to this conversation because there are several elements to your resume that's, quite fascinating. And then see if we can fit all of that into the time that we have.
Of course, I want to get to fraction a little later in the show, but I want to start way earlier than that. In fact, going all the way back to your education and studying at MIT, how was that like? And any reason why you majored both in computer science and economics seems like two very different topics.
In fact, it's rarely I see people majoring in two topics like economics and computer science. So curious from perspective of, because we have some people in audience who are currently at graduate school or post graduate school - and so curious from that perspective is how that served you in your entrepreneurial and corporate career sense.
Yeah, you know, I think I was probably always interested, you know, I might have actually been interested in economics and finance. First, it's funny. I either saw a picture or anyway, somehow the recollection comes to mind of my 5th grade social studies project - it turns out was the history of money.
So clearly, I've been interested in topics in that area for a long time. But yeah, so had that interest going back and, you know, got exposed to programming in high school. And so MIT, I would say actually does a really good job of enabling students to study multiple subjects. So it's something that may not be known about the Institute, but, it definitely is something they make possible through the curriculum and the way it's structured. So had the opportunity to do that and I would say that, you know, within my career, not really my first startup, but ever since then, you know, so my first startup was actually more pure tech and collaboration technology.
But after that, I moved into technology roles on Wall Street for a bit. And then my next startup, at Hidden Levers, where I spent the most time prior to, to selling was absolutely at the intersection of those two fields. So it served me well in the sense that you know, of course, again, technology startup, but working in portfolio stress testing and really putting economics and computer science together in building that company.
Wow, you did, you did get every dollar that you spent there and made sure you had an ROI on that by using both the subjects. Well, you worked for Capital One for a while and then I think you mentioned that that's before realizing that entrepreneurship was the game for me, quote unquote. Why did you think that?
Because again, a lot of people struggle with that thought, right? I mean, even before you become an entrepreneur, it's, it's a question that we always ask is, is it something for me? And how did you figure that out? And how would you guide say some of the other people in, in similar situation? How should they answer that question for themselves?
Right. So actually you, you know you've done your research because I did that. My first job out of school was actually at Capital One. And now to set the picture, that was 1999. So the kind of height of the .com bubble was at that time. And so lots of big companies, Capital One included, they were starting maybe innovation labs or they were, you know, everybody wanted to do something with what was the new technology of that time, which was the World Wide Web.
And so in their case, Capital One had started a group, I'm forgetting the name of the group that I was attached to, essentially it was an e-commerce or internet focused group and recruiting, from, from schools like MIT. And I remember some of my peers were coming from a lot of of Ivy's or prestigious sort of backgrounds, but they were recruiting, you know, young, straight out of school analysts, maybe out of undergrad, out of master's programs. to build this team of analysts to help launch e-commerce initiatives. And I remember being assigned to a project to bring auto loans, which was an area that capital one had recently moved into at that time, but to bring the auto loan business online. So that seemed really exciting. I was, you know, I remember coming into it.
I was really excited to be part of that. Bringing, you know, a very large business onto the internet. So got to work on it and I just felt almost immediately kind of stifled by the pace at which the big company was moving and frankly, a lot of, the folks in my group felt the same way. In fact, it turned out even my boss felt that way.
And what happened was that a lot of folks were leaving and jumping to start their own thing. Again, the context being 1999 for those that remember it, you know. Although the boom in the last, you know, just prior to, and I guess even in the pandemic era with technology and tech companies had, has been huge, you know, in 2021 was of course a banner year.
Well, 1999 felt like that on steroids. It was just a crazy time. So I decided to start working on ideas that I had. And one of the ideas that I had was to, you know, why can't we collaborate more easily together? On this great new technology, the Internet, so the 1st company that I worked on was called Smart Work Groups and we're basically building what would have been a very early version.
Something like a Google docs, not even that sophisticated. Of course, at that time, that came along some years later in terms of how to get into it and how to scratch that entrepreneurial itch, what I ended up doing which really in some sense to, to bring it all the way forward to Fraction, what I do today.
It's in a similar vein. I started working on my startup on the side as a side hustle or fractionally as we might call it today. So, yeah, I was doing that. I was working, you know, and, and writing code and I pulled together the team, actually some It was a friend from high school and then some peers from college, so from MIT pulled together a team and we started working on the Smart work groups project.
All of us on the side, we all had you know, day jobs or other things we were working on, but, that's how I would say. So that would be my, the insight that I had then was. Why quit your job initially, you know, explore something on the side and as it starts to become more real, you know, then you have to decide when to take the plunge in full.
But one thing that I tell, you know, I've told founders and I've kind of been blogging about this a bit as well. I would say that if, if you can't find the capacity to make progress. You know, with your idea as a side hustle, then you know, if I'm being really frank, maybe you don't have the energy level that it takes because as a founder, you're going to be putting at least 50, 60 hours a week, you know, once you're going at it full steam.
So if you can't do 40 plus 20, then you know, it's a good way to see if you really have the energy level that it's going to be required when you really get into it. That's a great point. And, and that's something that, that you rarely hear. I mean, you, you hear people talk about when it comes to giving advice is that yes, you should do it as a part time as a second gig, but the second element of that in your response, the fact that if you're not able to do it then probably you're not ready for the full time entrepreneurship journey anyway, because as you rightly mentioned, even on good days, you're looking at 50, 60 hours a week, let alone the, the bad weeks when, when it could, of course, stretch much longer. So if you're not able to fit a 40 hour of more structured corporate life, plus say 20 hour funds structured, how do you fit in 50, 60 hours of unstructured?
And, and high intensity work. So that's, that's a great point is because a lot of people talk about it from a derisking perspective is that, hey, don't take the plunge, make sure you have your full time income, see if you can get some traction before you do that. Very few people talk it from, from an energy and bandwidth taking perspective, which you mentioned.
So quite fascinating from that angle. Let's talk about your first startup, right? You just mentioned that that was the, that was the first company that you started and then from what I, from what I understand you, of course, you, you went on and started another company. Now talk to us a little bit about the journey, founding those two companies and exiting it and anything you could have done better or worse from your experience that, that say my audience can learn from.
Definitely. You know, it was a, It was a good initial experience starting this company, smart work groups. So as I mentioned, it was in that .com era where everybody, it seemed like, you know, was starting a company. And so that was, maybe that was kind of the thing to do. But,again, we, that has, that has felt, I would say that, you know, the last couple of years or certainly a couple of years ago felt similar.
Anyway, what we jumped into was this idea that everyone should be able to collaborate with their coworkers online. Why are we constantly emailing documents back and forth? The funny thing is that you still see a non trivial amount of collaboration happening that way at big companies today. So it just proves that culture changes slowly, but there is a substantial amount of work, you know, high percentage happening on whether it's these days on the, you know, Google.
Docs and sheets platforms or Microsoft Office 365 or others. There are so many ways you can collaborate now. But if we rewind to 1999, the only way was to attach the document and hit send. And so we came up with an early collaboration, early version of a collaboration platform, and we were bringing the concept of version control over from the, you know, developer mindset.
Why do you need to have V1 and V2 and V3 or put dates on your documents? Shouldn't you have a version control system for documents? So that was one of the key concepts was bringing versioning to something like Word documents or Excel. The other piece that was innovative for the time, and of course this seems so simplistic today, was the ability to drop like post it note style comments on someone else's work, so you couldn't yet edit a word document online in our platform circa 1999. But what you could do is you could view a document someone else had uploaded and you could drop, you know, little notes and comments. On that document and they could see those in real time. So that actually required more programming wizardry than one might imagine, but in, in the internet Explorer five days, it was when we were doing it.
So that took some doing, but that was kind of like, you know, one of our innovative features and, and, you know, similar collaboration features in that vein and what ended up happening. In terms of you know, how did we get how did we, you know, make progress? Well, at that time I was thinking similarly to, you know, what a lot of founders, even today, you sort of assume that there's a standard playbook with startups.
You know, maybe you, you come up with something innovative and what do you do? Well, you go pitch VCs, right? So that's exactly what we tried to do. We went and tried to pitch VCs. Interestingly, that was still the tail era of the fax machine. Of course, email was predominant, but I actually faxed some pitches out.
Believe it or not, there was some VC on the East coast where they had their fax number, maybe on their website. So I faxed some pitches and believe it or not that one, I believe it was Edison Ventures or someone like that. Anyway, that pitch somehow got into the hands of some portfolio companies of theirs. And so it led to some conversations.
One of those conversations, I think it was one more connection removed, but that led to a conversation with a company called Intralinx, and Intralinx did go on to be a public company. But at that time they were a fast growing startup in New York City and they were looking to both to add more collaboration features to a platform that they had built for collaboration around loan syndications specifically.
And they, frankly, they just needed to bolster their engineering team as well. So what ended up happening was essentially more of an aqua hire where we were brought in to Intralinks. And so that was kind of, you know, we, we never with that company never generated any revenue, you know, we, it was, it was very early on we got, got the experience of the M&A process and, you know, the due diligence and some of those things that go into it, but I would say didn't learn all the hard lessons of building a real running company, at least at that stage.
And so, so was that something that you, you learned from your, from the second company that you founded? Yeah. You know, I would say that the lessons went like this with that first company, you know, kind of what the real lesson that I learned was in the crash, the ensuing crash, we were purchased and we were, we were told at that time, Oh yeah, interlinks is going to, is going to IPO in three weeks.
So we're like, Oh yeah, we made it in just before the IPO. We've got equity and this is going to be great. And of course that, that IPO actually never happened at that time. Instead, this was it was actually July, 2000 was when the deal closed, or maybe it was June 2000, but I recall moving to New York in July.
And so we all know what's happening in 2000 with the NASDAQ. Or if you don't remember it, you can look at a chart and you'll see it was unraveling by the day. So the IPO was delayed and delayed until of course it was shelved. And in Interlink's case, what happened was that of course they had to recapitalize into a down round.
And so when they recapitalized, they surprisingly, because a lot of times you get nothing, we were offered something like 1.5 cents a share or something like that. Anyway, in my case, it came to $350. And so the lesson was, okay, what they write on the deal paper is not a representation of any final reality.
It's just a possibility. You know, it's not until the check clears that the money is real. And so that was really the first lesson there, but a great springboard into, you know, to getting, getting over to New York. I had been in Boston up to that time and my second company, I'll fast forward to say that there was another, there was a key lesson that I learned there as well.
This with the second company, what I decided was, you know, I'm going to, again, do this on the side. But I didn't have a co-founder that time. Didn't have any Co-Founder that I was necessarily going to work with. So I thought, you know what, I'll do it by myself. I was building a travel expense management software.
So this would have been circa 2005. This is before Expensify was founded. There was still a lot of room in that space. I had a specific idea around incentive based travel expense management. So imagine you take a trip, a business trip, and you go to San Francisco. Well, even back then it was possible to spider the web and find all of the prices from all of the travel sites.
So you could benchmark how much the trip probably should cost, and then you could incentivize the traveler, the business traveler to come in under that benchmark with rewards and points and things like that. So that was the essence of the idea. And so I built that software and long story short, the lesson that I learned was that you know, no one person can do everything.
Certainly no one person can do everything well. And so I was dividing my time between writing code and you know, making sales calls a smart thing that I did was I paid for a booth at a major national travel conference, the Business travel association conference that, that I would recommend to any founder, actually, it's a really good way to get serious.
It's not so expensive, you know, because then you have this exploding deadline. Your software better be ready to demo because you paid, 5,-6,-7,000 for the opportunity to pitch or to sell. And so but I get there and I actually did collect a hundred leads. So I did an okay job at the booth, but then, you know, the lesson I learned was I learned respect for sales.
I learned respect for salespeople and for what they do, because calling that, those hundred leads and trying to turn that into something, I realized it's a real job. It takes effort and discipline. So that was the lesson I learned. I actually came really close to selling that company. I found a company in a similar space and we had, you know, a letter of intent in place.
2008 came along and killed the deal. So came close, ended up winding it down. But the key lesson I learned, which was an important lesson that I took with my third startup, you know, to, to, I would say greater success was that, you know what, next time I'm going to bring in a co-founder on day one who complements my skill set so if I can build product and I can do all of those things. I need somebody who can sell it. T
That's brilliant. Both. I mean, the learnings from from both the company you fleetingly mentioned something about forced deadlines, right? That you mentioned. That's something that you would recommend to all founders is force yourself to a certain deadline. In your case, it was booking a booth at a conference. Your product had to be ready by then a concept that that I think I've used several times. I mean, more recently, I remember. I actually made an announcement that I'll be, I'll be teaching a chat GPT class to, I think there were 800 registrants because it was almost immediately after chat GPT was launched.
And I knew nothing about it, but it was, it was a question of forcing yourself to a deadline. Once now you have announced it, you have all these registrations. You have to go and learn about it so that you're, you're better prepared and, and, and don't sound like a dummy when you're presenting it. So, and, and this works for smaller things and bigger things really, but that's a concept which a lot of people don't, is because procrastination becomes like the primary nature, so to say, is that, hey, if you don't finish it today, we can always finish it tomorrow. But these kind of forced deadlines where it's unavoidable, you can go back and cancel on that, say, conference booth is because it will cost you thousands of dollars and you already have bootstraps, so just great from getting work done perspective. That's a great advice. Let's, jump To your latest venture here, you have been now, I'll probably, I would call you a serial entrepreneur. We are already getting to the third startup now. What are, what are the trends and pain areas that you saw probably yourself as, as an entrepreneur or with your friends or other people around you that drove you to, to find something, to start something like Fraction. So even before you give, we get into exactly what Fraction does, tell us what, what were you seeing in the last decade or so which, which told you that this is something which would be very useful for the startup community.
Right - yeah. You know, so really Fraction. The idea of fraction originates from startup number three. So I guess fraction is startup number four, but so startup number three Hidden Levers, we actually that company, you know, which we grew over the course of about a decade, sold it in 2021. And we, we bootstrapped and grew profitably throughout one of the key kind of ways that we built the team was we took this fractional approach and so that's really kind of the, the, the starting point, but that happened organically.
With the company Hidden Levers, where we were building this portfolio stress testing software for the wealth management space. What happened was that initially I'm writing the code, my co founder Raj, he's the sales guy and he's, you know, going out there and pitching and selling. Once we started to find some product market fit and some traction, you know, all of a sudden bug reports come in and new feature requests come in and you kind of start to have a vision and a roadmap for what you can really achieve.
Well, one developer isn't enough anymore, but at the same time. Our cashflow was still not at the level where we could hire, you know, a senior full time developer, as we all know, that's an expensive endeavor. Even say a decade ago, that's, you're still looking at, I don't know, one 50 plus. Yeah. And so.
That that led us to, you know, try to try to figure something out. So as it, as it turned out, I had been doing some consulting work prior to that. At different places. One of them was AT& T and I happened to see from my first hand experience that there were a lot of underutilized developers there and they had lots of extra time on their hands.
So I, I knew quite a few of them. And I told, I asked one of them a guy named Suheil. I said, you know, do you want to work on this? And, you know, just help us build integrations in particular was what we needed at that time. And so organically sort of roped in somebody that I knew into working with us in that way.
And that worked out really well. So based on that, as we start, as we continue to build the tech team and even to start to add other capabilities, you know, marketing and otherwise, we would initially, we would either look for talent explicitly in that vein, in that fractional mold, or we would start somebody that way, because from our perspective, it was lowering risk.
For them because they might not, they wouldn't have to quit their existing full time job. They could prove it out for a few months. So yeah, that became our kind of organic like solution to cost effective hiring. And by the time we sold the company, our total company was, you know, around, I don't know, 26, 27 people. The dev team was 12. But of those 12 - 5 were fractional. So it was a substantial percentage. And then across the company, I think we probably had another two or three people who were so. A good percentage of our workforce, you know, was working in this model and we can see the benefit at the bottom line.
We could see that, you know, in aggregate, we were saving something like seven, 800, 000 a year in this way. And that was all, it led to us being a profitable startup, which is a rare thing in itself to be profitable while also being high growth. And and so those were features, you know, when we went, when we actually went to sell the company that worked well because our acquirer was private equity backed and they were very much crunching the numbers.
In fact, they had to go to the debt markets to raise the capital, to raise the cash to buy us. And the fact that. We had operating cashflow help justify the deal to the board because they were feeling skittish, but they could see that, Oh, you know, we can buy this company and they can pay their own way basically, because we can borrow this money and pay the debt with the cashflow.
Yep. And, so doing it with a couple of people, you said five people on your dev team were kind of fractional that's. That's a certain scale to be at, right? You were building your own product. All you needed were five people who could do this. Now you're starting a company of your own that provides this service.
How do you build this on scale? Like, how do you go from finding five to 50 people? And I don't know, maybe even 500 people. Is there a method to that madness? Because trying to find those people, these are not I don't even know if these are job requirements that you can post on LinkedIn or Indeed, or do you just use your network trying to get your secrets out here?
But I'm just curious, how do you scale it from, from five to a much bigger number if you're building a company? Yeah, no, that's a great question. And so they what we found, so our hypothesis from, you know, that experience with hidden levers was that there was actually a lot of talent Out there, you know, again, and we, we work exclusively at this point with US based developers.
So our hypothesis was that here in the United States, there are quite a few developers who are underutilized that it's a kind of a systematic problem. It happens at a lot of larger organizations. Even other places we've been shocked to see even some smaller organizations. So we had a hypothesis that there were a lot of developers interested.
And in speaking with developers, we found that to be true, that if I you know, poll a hundred developers, roughly half of them will be interested in this, you know, kind of operating approach. So that half, you know, gave us a signal that's, that's huge. Yeah, literally half. And so it is, it's a huge number percentage wise.
So we saw that the potential talent was there. Then, of course you have to screen it down, you know, of course, technical skills, making sure that one of the funny things that we find with, with some of the interested candidates is if they've been sitting in a big company role for too long what we actually call it is “brain rot”.
But brain rot sets in, in the sense that they're so kind of stuck in one role that they are no longer their skills have atrophied and they're no longer ready to do like you know, startup pace work or, you know additional demands. So if half of all developers are interested in this, we find that maybe around 10%.
So maybe one fifth of that pool are actually qualified to do it. Not just the technology side, but also having the seniority and maturity to be self managing. Because, you know, this is after hours work or, you know, work they've got to fit into an existing schedule they may have. Certainly some of our developers are themselves founders who are, you know, taking on fractional contract in order to help them bootstrap.
So we do see some of that. And we also see some folks who are maybe just downsizing career wise. They only want to work part time, but regardless, they've got to be able to work in a more independent frame. So we we've learned to screen for, you know, that kind of independent work mindset. And ability to handle, you know, that asynchronous kind of work.
So all of those would be, you know, those are our challenges. And really, I would say, is there a secret sauce to it? I think it's more that I think that we've developed some techniques that are really good around that, but we haven't had a huge amount of issue in sourcing that talent now, really the challenge for us as we seek to scale, we've had some, you know, early success, but as we seek to scale is getting the word out that actually this is an effective paradigm for companies to consider because the kind of standard concept in, in most, I guess.
Engineering managers mindset or CTOs or others is that no, this is full time work and there's no other way to make it, make it happen. Yeah. And those are the challenges that I want, wanted to come to Praveen is what you mentioned is some of the pushbacks that, that I can see CTOs or founders come back, come back with is that, hey they're not married to us because they're not full time here. How involved they are with something like this, how committed they are to something like this, how easy it is to manage them. Those are, those are some of the questions that of course, I, there will be questions around ROI, which seems based on your own experience from the last company, there was a significant ROI and cost saving with this, this thing, but just from people management perspective and commitment and motivation, what are the, what are the kinds of pushbacks that, that you've heard and, and how have you countered that as a company?
Yeah, no, we certainly have heard that from you know, many of the CTOs and VPs of engineering and other, other folks, you know, who are hiring, we hear that kind of pushback. And what we tell them is, is what we found in our own experience, which was really interesting to us in that, you know, prior decade of experience working with fractional developers, which was that the turnover in the fractional model is actually at least in our experience and this is also proved out more recently with you know, with Fraction and with our clients, but turnover of developers is actually very low. If anything, it's actually lower than with full time positions. When in hidden levers, we actually had a zero, we had no turnover with the fractional developers.
The, many of them actually switched their full time job while they were with us, but they kept our, you know, fractional contract going. And so the longest case, the first developer I mentioned, he was with us for nine years. The second longest one, actually the clock hasn't stopped because he is still with the acquirer today, as far, as far as I know.
And so we found that the tenure could actually be quite long and that knowledge kind of establishing a knowledge base with the fractional developers, that all of that was possible. And, and so that's something that we communicate to clients and prospective clients. And we've, again, we've seen that with our with our business today as well.
So that's on the kind of tenure front. And I think that the reason for that, it's just the simple dynamics that let's say today that a developer wants to take on some additional work outside of their day job. Well, they can go on Upwork, they can go on Fiverr or similar platforms, maybe even TopTal, they can do that.
The problem for them and the thing that the, from the developer's perspective is that. They, when they're jumping from project to project, they're constantly having to interview for another job and prove themselves, and also they're constantly having to ramp up with a new team. So it's very taxing actually, from the developer's perspective, if we can get them established in a good relationship, ongoing relationship with a company on a fractional basis, that's actually a win for the developer because they can avoid all of that kind of overhead and hassle and annoyance so much so that. They're generally willing to lower their their rates relative to what they would charge you know, for ad hoc work and and that enables us, you know, to provide a more cost effective solution as well.
Yeah. And that's not just the experience that you said from the developer side is an experience that I see from the CEO or running a company side as well is that I'm constantly have to look for new people on Upwork.
So I don't have that consistency of resource and talent is because that person now might be busy with some other project. Now I have to go and find someone else. So even from running a company perspective and hiring these resources. It's not ideal when I have to hop between multiple different talents is because now I have to go back to the drawing board and kind of start with them from scratch and give them all the backgrounds that I didn't have to if I had consistency of the resource that that that Fraction can provide.
In terms of proving just from a bigger perspective, do you see this as future of work? Do you see not not for large companies? Of course, but when I say future of work, I'm talking of startups talking of companies that are that are bootstrapped and cash strapped and everything. Do you see this as as being, say, more than 25-30% of whatever could be could happen in the next, say, 2 to 5 years for smaller companies is that is that as a trend you were seeing that that could be moving up?
Definitely. I mean, I think that there's, you know, a few different converging trends in, in the future of work, but, you know, fractional work and sort of freelancing, consulting, different terms are used, but it seems to be a growing phenomenon. And not just in the developer space, we've seen interest for UI, UX, so designers for product managers, for project managers. So all of the kind of associated roles that go into building a team, we've seen interest from companies and you know, can you do that fractionally? And so that's been been a learning for us and kind of areas of expansion. What I would say is that when we look at the available talent in the workforce, there's just a shortage, you know, so there's not enough trained, experienced talent to meet all of the jobs that are out there. Mm-hmm. And, you know, of course the business cycle could go up and go, go down. In the current situation, that's the case. But when we look forward demographics are not in favor for, and that's not just in the US actually increasingly across the world, there's this notion that, oh yeah, we could just, we could use nearshore talent, we could use offshore talent.
There's actually a limited supply of talent across the world, increasingly, if you look at demographics. And so we're going to have to go and find what are other alternative means. And we think that this is one of the fastest kind of approaches to light up. So I think you're absolutely right that large corporations that that's not a fit, but between zero and maybe 200, so these are all still small businesses, small and growing businesses. We think that it's absolutely going to continue to grow as, as an option. And as a share kind of of the workforce.
Yeah, I kind of thought so. And when you're walking through the model is that I see you mentioned you are you excellent. And we are looking for you right now. So we'll probably hop on to pop onto your platform and test something like that. But you're right. It's not just the dev work is, there's so much more and even, even beyond tech. I mean, people are, of course, looking at for fractional CFOs and CMOs. It's because smaller companies do not have the budget to afford say a full time executive and C suite people for, for every single role, so definitely see that as an option for. As you rightly said, maybe 0, 1 to about 200 employee size, depending on the revenue.
Praveen, this has been, this has been a fascinating conversation and we covered, I mean, I don't know, probably five, six different topics, which is, which is unusual. We went into your learnings at two or three companies, actually that you built and, and exited, and the future of work that, that Fraction build provides with the kind of platform that it is.
This is the last question, and this is, this is not so much a question, but, a recommendation. A couple of books that you think have have worked wonders for you because every successful entrepreneur has a list, and that's something that I asked some of the successful entrepreneurs, what would be some of your recommendation for our audience here some of the books that you think Is has been widely useful for you and you think the other people might benefit from it as well.
That's a, it's a great question. And I'll probably veer off the beaten path for 1 and then the other 1 will probably be a little bit more you know, something that that folks would expect to hear
So starting off the beaten path - I would say that and this is very kind of existential philosophical, but The Stranger by Camus has been a book that I read you know, several years ago, I think while I was in the midst of kind of really in the trenches of startup world. And the funny thing about it is that the book comes off you know, it's one of those books that I guess a lot of people will get assigned in, in high school or in college, and so maybe they don't treat it seriously, but really I felt that just forced, forcing a reexamination, you know.
Cause it can kind of come across as anihilist sort of story, but forcing a reexamination of yourself and your values and what you're really after. So that was something enlightening for me. Then in the business realm, I would say Principles by Ray Dalio. And more broadly, I would say, honestly, for those who don't have the time to sit down with the whole book, even just watching Ray Dalio's 30 minute explainer on the economy on YouTube he does a great job of breaking down macro cycles and a lot of, you know, what goes into, you know, how the modern economy that modern global economy works. And then in principles you know, he's sort of Dali was sort of famed for having a very different way of managing, you know, in terms of the notions of radical transparency, everyone may not subscribe to everything that he says, but I think there's a lot of interesting concepts in there in terms of how to run and build an organization.
For our audience the, the, the one line introduction to the stranger that Praveen mentioned on Amazon says that it's a masterpiece, Camu’s masterpiece, of course, but gives us the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, so it sounds pretty, pretty intriguing from the description.
And I'm even more intrigued and curious to, curious to read it now, Praveen, but Ray Dalio, such a, such a good point. It's almost, almost Richard Feynman like in terms of how he explains very complicated concept, which you don't need to go to MIT and study economics like you did Praveen for us to understand -the lesser mortals, he I think he does a really good job. And that's why almost that's why I said almost like Richard Feynman, how he could understand how could he could teach very complicated scientific concept in almost a sixth grade kind of a way.
So wonderful recommendations at least the one that I've read and the other one that I'm very curious to read after your recommendation and reading the description on Amazon, which it sounds very intriguing.
Well, great. Well, thanks for the time today, Shashank. This has been great. And yeah, I would say The Stranger is a short book too. So for busy, for busy entrepreneurs, it’s possible to digest. Yeah, this has been a great opportunity. Thanks again. Thank you, Praveen. And I look forward to talking to you soon.
Thank you for tuning into another episode of Shashank Redemption with your host, Shashank Shekhar. Be sure to follow, subscribe and review us and check out shashankredemption. com to connect with me.