A witty, straight-from-the-heart account about a day in the life of a startup employee in Gurgaon is being widely shared on social media.
Punctuated with doses of work-related challenges at startups, Samrat Singh seems to have struck a chord with the aspirational upwardly mobile generation by eloquently capturing the essence of corporate hub Gurgaon.
A Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA) graduate, Singh says he wrote it after reading earlier accounts about Bengaluru. “I am not a regular writer and this was just some random rambling in response to other pieces doing the rounds,” Singh, who lives on Sohna road, the booming commercial-cum-residential hub of Gurgaon, says.
Singh mentions two “almost” Unicorns - start-up companies valued at over $1 billion - operating from the building that houses his office on Sohna road and shares his daily experience in the over-the-top world with characteristic humour.
In “This is your life in the soon to be Silicon Valley of India (Gurgaon)” that appeared on online publishing website ‘medium.com’, Singh warms up by talking about the beginning of his day in Gurgaon while drawing parallels with relatively hip Hauz Khas Village in south Delhi with a small, yet relevant reference to traffic pangs.
“You wonder if that “startup networking mixer” at that pretentious co-working space in Hauz Khas was a better idea. The thought of traffic on MG Road at night reminds you that it surely wasn’t,” he says.
Then he subtly makes fun of the founders of startups describing how they spend their days in meetings and are the first to reach the office. “You reach office by 10 am, only the founders are in yet. They’re meeting some investors apparently. They’re always meeting investors actually. You wonder how they get any work done.”
Singh mentions almost everything that drives life in pop culture - from Facebook to Twitter to Tinder to Pokemon Go. “You open your laptop and check Twitter, ProductHunt, TechCrunch, Pocket, iimjobs, Facebook, Buzzfeed, Slack in that order,” Singh, who works for dating application Tinder, says.
“You also check Tinder in between. You wonder how the match rate is in Hauz Khas,” promoting his company in a discreet way.
The Twitter account ‘Unicon Baba’ that operates from the US also finds a mention in the founders’ discussion. “The founders join the discussion, they say the people they just met were discussing the same thing. You laugh at the conjecture, you wonder how anyone gets any work done,” he writes.
The highlight of the write-up is a mention about a meeting of an employee with his founder. “The founder calls you for a chat. You tell him you’re not sure of what your role is. He says you’re a growth hacker and everything is your role.”
The desperation of employees to be on the other side (be the founders) is also reflected. “You ping your friend saying let’s meet. You remember he already has 3 co-founders, you wonder if he needs a ‘Head of Growth’.”
As the day progresses, the writer explains how difficult it is to reach Cyber Hub, the upscale entertainment-cum-commercial centre of Gurgaon from Udyog Vihar. Surge pricing by app-based cab companies too finds a mention.
“You check the Uber app, 3.5X it says. You decide to use Pool, maybe you’ll meet someone interesting as well,” it says.
Singh talks about the famous hangouts of Gurgaon including HUDA Starbucks, Galleria Chaayos, Di Ghent. He mentions the city’s roads, the infrastructure, the people and the pigs during a discussion with his friend.
“Yes, the pigs, you both wonder why Gurgaon has an alarmingly large wild pig population. Your friend cracks a pig — Pokemon GO joke, you tell him it was already on Twitter last week and on Buzzfeed over the weekend,” he says.
Singh sums up the day with a call from flatmates who are discussing startup ideas at a high-end restaurant Machan - leaving a question to be answered. “You say you’re heading home. It’s 10 PM. You wonder how anyone gets any work done in this city.”
The post has gone down well with many commenting that they can relate to things that Singh mentions.
“Haha… you have captured the “essence” of Gurgaon, hilarious piece,” Devanshu Kaushik wrote.
“I have just started working in a Gurgaon startup and did relate to some of the quips mentioned :D,” Alok Sharma comments.
Not everyone is impressed by his thoughts, though.
“Though I agree with some of his observations, but it seems he is generalising things. We know everyone wants to be a founder or a co-founder, but the grass is greener from outside. Things are not that easy,” Rachit Mathur, vice-president (growth) at Zimmber, the home services startup and former co-founder and CEO at FindYahan.com, says.
A recent article that appeared in Forbes comparing India’s startups with those of the US explained how India was quickly becoming a leading global startup hub. It said that the number of startups in India is expected to nearly quadruple from 3,100 in 2014 to over 11,500 by 2020.
“Given that the vast majority of startups fail, Indian business culture must begin to examine its tolerance for founders’ missteps – and encourage the knowledge gained from failure to be applied to future success,” Ajay Yadav, a New York-based entrepreneur, wrote for Forbes.