Founders panel at IIT Bay area conference

I was fortunate to attend a recent panel discussion at IIT bay area conference about the blind spots of a technical founder. The panel was moderated by Ramneek Bhasin (NextForce) and the panelist were Kumar Ganapati (VxTel, Virident), Mohit Aron (Nutanix, Chohesity), Rishi Bhargava (Demisto).

Ramneek set the stage for the discussion with something really clever. Instead of building up the panelists, and it was a distinguished panel, he opened with “throwing shoes and sandals at us is not allowed no matter what we say but tomatoes are fine”.

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 4.48.45 PMThis had the amazing impact of engaging the audience as an equal and humanizing the panel. I see too many panel moderators not doing enough the make the panel approachable and to engage the audience. Kudos to Ramneek for an inspired opening and a great job.

The result of a good opening was a very engaging discussion.

Kumar talked about the importance of hiring well as a startup founder and how its better to leave a chair empty than to fill it with a wrong /”B” player.

I asked the panelist for their secrets of hiring well:

  • Mohit through that hiring engineers is easier than hiring for sales and marketing
  • Mohit’s key to successful hiring is that he takes time to check references
  • Rishi stressed the importance of chemistry and hairstyle test
  • Kumar recommended setting up a process and taking time to ensure that you have the right candidate
  • Panel recommended using a scorecard and being open to red flags

The panel also spoke about finding a co-founder and how its one of the most important decisions in the company. Mohit recommended that the founders not rush to incorporate but instead take time to work with their co-founders to get to know them better.

All in all one of the best panels in a while.

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