Serial Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Bestselling Author Kashyap Deorah ep52

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Introduction

Kashyap Deorah is the author of The Golden Tap: the Inside Story of Hyper- Funded Indian Startups. He is better known for being a successful entrepreneur and investor. Over fifteen years, he has split his time between Silicon Valley and India building global technology companies. Besides India and US, he has done business in China, South East Asia and Northern Europe. Kashyap has started and sold three companies, worked with public companies in the US and India, invested in a score of startups, and mentored many more. He started his first company RightHalf dot com during his final year at IIT Bombay in 2000. After an acquisition by a Silicon Valley company, Kashyap spent seven years in the US.

He returned to India in 2007 to start Chaupaati Bazaar, a phone commerce marketplace, then merged it with India’s leading retailer Future Group. In 2012, he co-founded mobile payments company JustChalo and sold it to San Francisco based OpenTable, a leader in the restaurant reservations space. He is passionate about traveling to new places and telling a good story. He lives in New Delhi with family. He is also a contributor with Yourstory and Hindustan Times Mint.

For the Indian reader, there needs to be emotion, there needs to be drama, there needs to be Bollywood.

Listen to the Podcast Episode by clicking below

Discussion

  • Writing a book was on Kashyap’s Bucket list for some time, and writing a book happened by chance. He was not expecting to write a book so soon, but in 2015, he relocated to New Delhi because of his wife’s work. This was also the time when the seeds of his book were sown.
  • Roli Books approached him with the idea of writing a book on startups. Kashyap wrote blog posts on startups, and the publisher thought that Kashyap should write a book that the ‘digital consumer of India would read’.
  • Kashyap thought of the title The Golden Tap after the first two Chapters of the manuscript for the book were ready.
  • Kashyap wanted to maximize his ownership of the book, in that sense, he did not accept the book to be a commissioned work even though the Publisher was open to the idea.

Takeaway: Professionals who are looking to write a book in their subject matter expertise should keep writing on LinkedIn/Medium/Facebook pages- at the right time, depending on interest in that subject, publishers will either approach you or entertain your proposal

 

  • Kashyap finished writing the manuscript in three months. Even the publisher was not anticipating Kashyap to finish the manuscript in such a short duration of time.
  • He wrote the chapters in Google Docs and got feedback from 25 or 30 Beta Readers who gave their feedback. Kashyap later created a WhatsApp group of these readers and let them share their feedback in that group. This provided Kashyap the direction about what was working or what was not working. This approach is similar to the Lean Startup Methodology used in product development.
  • Amar used the Minimal Viable Product approach, i.e. he wrote the First Three Chapters which he sent to the publishers. (It did not work effectively for him).
  • After submitting the manuscript, Kashyap was keen on advancing the date of release of the book. His feeling was that the startup bubble in India was going to burst, and he wanted to get the timing right. Kashyap and the Publisher found a freelance editor, and Kashyap worked with this editor for about 4 to 6 weeks.
    During this phase, Kashyap increased the number of Beta Reviewers.

Takeaway: Diwali is not a good time for the distribution of a book. Considering this factor, The Golden Tap was released a couple of weeks after Diwali.

  • Kashyap received a lot of support from the Publisher, and aligned their processes to make sure that Kashyap’s book was given the support it needed.
  • He day of the interview, The Golden Tap has received over One Hundered and Twenty 5-star reviews on amazon, and a good number positive reviews on Goodreads. Kashyap anticipated readers to have ‘extreme’ views on the book (i.e. either they loved it or they hated it). Inspite of that, Kashyap was surprised by the response he received for the book.
  • Two factors helped in the success of the book- the issues called out in the book are unraveling in real world, and secondly, the timing itself.
  • Kashyap has no plans to write a follow up book just yet. According to him, probably 10 years down the line might be a good timeline.
  • If The Golden Tap was to be written as a script for a Bollywood Movie, the element of romance would be entrepreneurial failure. He was averse to writing a biographical work, but he did write in the first two chapters about getting fired from his first startup.
    Kashyap calls it the Five stages of grief- deinal, anger, negotiation, depression and finally acceptance. He continued with the book telling other peoples’ stories, but the early readers wanted to read more about Kashyap’s story.
  • The Golden Tap may be released as an audiobook in the future, though for the near future there are no plans to translate his book.
  • Book recommendation: The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. Kashyap recommends this book because he believes that the author has written his heart out in his book.
  • Kashyap’s Twitter handle “RightHalf” comes from his first startup Right Half, which was a blogging platform that he started as a final year student at IIT Bombay in 1999.
  • Kashyap narrates an interesting anecdote on how writing a book became a part of his bucket list.

 

Ways to contact Kashyap