Interviews, Wisdom

Our work – Startupbyte co-founders Praveen Dorna and Chethan Mittapalli


Co-founders of Startupbyte, Praveen Dorna and Chethan Mittapalli

This is the first interview of our new “interview series” on what managers and CEOs think about their work and how they work on a daily basis. There will be some good takeaway points from each individual.

StartupByte is building a “Social Network for Startups” to bring startup communities to discover, engage and transact with each other on one single platform

Describe your company and your role briefly at startupbyte?

Chethan:  We are building a social network for startups so that, the discovery, engagement, and transaction can be done in one single platform. Think of like it as a combination of LinkedIn, Meetup and Medium. We are trying to bring all the communities together to discover great content and events. My role is, I’m one of the co-founders of this Company and the head, the Tech and Product.

Praveen, it’s your turn.

Praveen:   I’m Praveen Dorna and the other co-founder. I’m handling the Business Development and Marketing efforts. So we are actively going out and acquiring communities to our platform.

What’s the problem that you are trying to solve currently?

Chethan:  We want to be the go-to social network for startups. We’re getting a lot of traction around content and events. So we want to make sure that there’s a huge repository of content and events listed on our site. We are also expanding our current team at this point. we have job openings for Designer, Developer, and a Marketer.

Praveen: We are trying to organize the content and like to get more content around the startup ecosystem for everyone to discover through a combination of startup events, We’re trying to reach out to all the event organizers, incubators, accelerators, committees, and have them use the platform, which is our current challenge.

What’s your daily routine like?

Praveen: I wake up at 5.30 in the morning. Usually, go to the gym or play badminton. Then I get ready and come to the office at 10 after dropping off my daughter at school. Based on the agenda for the day, I have a combination of activities and meetings either in the office or outside the office. By 7 PM or so, I kind of end the day at the office and pretty much go back and work at home again. Typically I sleep around 12 or 12.30 PM.

Chethan: I start my day at 10 am by reviewing the feedback from customers and then prepare the action items for the product and tech teams. I spend time figuring out the user flows, what needs to be built. I usually have a lunch break around 1.30 PM. After that, get on calls with customers like the event organizers and content publishers, so that we can onboard them. I also spend time planning for investments. That’s pretty much what I do currently. I end the day at 7.30 pm or 8 pm. Most of my day is spent on coordinating and collaborating between different teams. I would do most of my individual work in the night from 8 to 11 PM.

What is one thing that you think you got it right at work that most people don’t?

Praveen: I think a lot of people, a lot of founders don’t care about their health, but one of the things, we have learned over the years is that even the health part is critical. I also bring balance and different perspective to the team well. Most importantly, I am really good at building positive relations with people with whomever I meet. I know very few who don’t like per se. A lot of people see me as a go-to person.

Chethan: I am really good at figuring out what needs to be done and how it needs to be done in a phased manner so that the velocity of the team can be maintained. So I think I very good at prioritization with limited resources.

What’s your productivity hack?

Praveen: Preplanning my everyday schedule. If you can really plan your next day in a better way, you can use your time well. If you put all your work in slots, you can get a lot more work done for the day.

Chethan:So I tried to make sure that I have weekly and a daily checklist and make sure most of these checklists are completed in a timely manner.

One thing you, you would like to improve in your daily routine?

Chethan: I want to spend more time on my health and make sure I balance both the work and health.

Praveen: I want to cut down my calls and meetings because that’s taking too much of my time when I can spend time on other important work.

How do you define progress? And how do you measure your progress on it as an individual?

Chethan: It should be an incremental change. Basically, see a positive change in what I am seeing compared to yesterday. I try to assess what I have done yesterday and today and see if it’s getting better over a period of time or not. I measure my progress based on other’s feedback as well.

Praveen:  I measure progress based on two things. One is in terms of learning new skills. I try to see how better I am compared to last year. I try to set some goals for myself to learn some new things every year. I like to keep reviewing it over a period of time.

So you review your progress over a period of time?  

Praveen: At the start of every new year, I try to just think like, what is that I want to do this year? And then I look back and say like, how much could I accomplish? What did I do right or what did I do wrong? We use data a lot. It’s not important whether it’s on a personal front or professional front. We use data because that tells you very tangible outcomes.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Chethan: For me, it’s the focus. Do one thing, do it well and achieve your goals. I gotta be focused and do it, do one thing really well.

Praveen: Be as adaptable as possible. That’s what my dad always tells me.

Who do you look up to and why?

Praveen:  I look up to many people but specifically Mark Cuban, Mark Cuban because he has been an entrepreneur who’s come from scratch and he’s very happy. Yeah. And if you listen to his story on how has changed the Dallas Mavericks, one of the least performing NBA team to the top. It’s pretty amazing.

Chethan:  For me, I got a couple of people. First one is Naval Ravikant, like what he did with Angellist. I like the way he has gone about building an entire ecosystem and how he is trying to build entrepreneurs and mentor them. And the way has done it. Second is Jeff Bezos. The way he has built a very sustainable business and thought about the long term and built the largest trillion company.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?    

Praveen:  Phanindra Sama, co-founder of Redbus

Chethan: Shradha Sharma from Yourstory

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