What I learned from a Startup Founder’s Interview

A Sunday Evening Well Spent learning about Internshala’s journey

The 25th year of my life hit me hard. I started focusing on how I spend my free time and at the same time, I started consuming content consciously.

In the quest of finding great content, I came across an interview of Sarvesh Agrawal, Founder, and CEO of Internshala. Though generally, I spend less than 30 minutes on YouTube continuously, this interview kept me hooked on.

Here is me providing a summary of the lessons learned from the following interview -

Internshala Journey and Philosophy

While talking about his journey of Internshala, he mentioned his interest in doing something in the education field as well as him finding the blindspot(i.e. not having a centralized database of the various internships available in India and also, creating more awareness regarding internship).

After figuring out the gap and working on it, when asked about what the business model looked like to him in the initial days, he quoted from the book “Google Story”—

“If you are creating value, the money will get figured out.”

He also emphasized the importance of financial planning and mentioned had he not had planned out the next 2 years' approx cost, it would have been really difficult to figure out.

He also mentioned the humble nature of Ratan Tata and Narayan Murthy while mentioning his philosophy which is

“Business halla karke na karo, shanti se karo. Kaam Dikhna chahiye aapka, aap nahi.”

which translates to “Do your business in silence. It’s your work which should shine more than you.”

Culture

There was a major emphasis on culture during the interview -

While explaining what culture means to him, he quoted a saying from Silicon Valley

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

and

“Culture is not we create, culture is what we curate.”

Coming to the values that they follow in Internshala, he mentioned 11 of them.

  1. Dream Big
  2. Make it happen
  3. User is the heart of everything we do
  4. Do the right thing
  5. The relentless pursuit of excellence

“Your work is your signature on the world”

This being one of the favorite values, he did an anecdote.

He shared a story about a person witnessing the beautiful work on the church’s spire(the top part of the church).

A church that was made in the 15th century when there were no high-rise buildings or planes hence, no one to actually look at the beauty of the spire. Yet, the creator did not make it a reason to cut corners. He did an excellent job and created the most beautiful piece because he believed in the philosophy of his work.

6. Seek and give feedback

7. Be Jugaadu and Frugal

8. Keep it simple

9. Have fun at what you do

10. On-time every time

11. Cleanliness is Godliness

At the end of the interview, he told about what success means to him,

Success is when the answer to the following question, “When was the last time you did something new?” is “Just Today”.

During the rapid-fire rounds, he did mention few books which had a profound impact on his life. Sharing the list of those-

  1. Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future

2. The Google Story

3. Steve Jobs

4. The Making of the Greatest: Jeff Bezos

5. The Last Lecture

6. The Fountainhead

It was truly the best 1 hour I spent after a long time. The interview made me more conscious of the kind of content I should watch and also, made me more aware of how culture is a huge part of our personal as well as professional life.

Thanks to Intellectual Indies for the great interview.

Software Developer by profession, with a passion of sharing knowledge.

Software Developer by profession, with a passion of sharing knowledge.