Last year 2 days ago, It was my last working day at Amazon. Since then, my life have been the way i want it to be. After that, I have relocated to Chennai city to (re)start www.chennaishopping.com which is the only dream for me since 2003.
After my HSC, I some how got into B.Tech IT in 2004 and got a Desktop too at home. Since then, I was very much fascinated with computers, Internet. because it was the only thing which listened to my commands (sometimes not!)
In college, me and my friends even sold a CD called “Insoft CD” which contains all software’s necessary for new desktop system, new wallpapers etc. CD was sold like hot cakes for 30 Rs :) we sold around 100+ I guess. We together even repaired our friend’s desktop, assembling new desktop for friends and known people. It was good old days but we hardly earned much.
How I registered chennaishopping.com?
Days went out and I thought that there should be something done on the web. I was thinking about “Flash your ads” where people place ads on website. but then “website” told that people hate seeing ads. Remember how ads would be at that time…..! Then after many thoughts, i thought about online shopping. So i registered Chennaishopping.com on 11-mar-2003 with Net4Domains for 500 Rs.
Mean while, I was learning php, html, linux, mysql, apache and other web technologies apart from college studies. I was not good at subjects in college. Nothing interests me except the web. Because of the interests in web, I even won I & II prizes in many of the web design competition in various college symposiums. so Web and its design had began to mix that time.
meanwhile, i need money to host chennaishopping.com. so i signed up for reseller program and resold space so that i hosted chennaishopping.com for free. It worked for me :) Its another venture – Vazhangi.com, a web hosting company :)
Life in Sify:
During this time, there was only Dial up. Broadband came home in 2004 provided by BSNL. I joined sify as an intern and almost spent 16-18 hours in Sify. Because it had the fastest net connection i.e 2mbps :) i tried many things with my linux desktop i got there. i even did few projects there. Later joined Sify as Engineer trainee for the same project. Sify provided the major boost for my learning for the first two years but economically not good.
I got good friends and mentors there. Learnt tremendous amount of stuff in Sify Technologies without internet. Side by side, i was also exploring oscommerce and other free tools for chennaishopping.com. somehow i was able to convince the local flower vendor for bouquets, baskets etc after meeting 15+ within city. Then tried selling linux CD’s, Printed T-shirts :)
Spikesource, Paypal and Fraud:
I still have one of google printed t-shirt which i did of my own. It was great running the website online with paypal, Netbanking transfer. No indian payment gateway integration was done. After so much struggle, i used to deliver 1 or 2 orders in the morning and then leave to day job at sify. Days passed by and i relocated to bangalore to join SpikeSource.
I happen to meet great people like Dhandapani, Mugunth who have turned my perspective about startups and Tamil. Mugunth inspired us lot about Tamil and its heritage. Mugunth is one of the person who created e-kalappai, the first free tamil unicode typing tool used by many around the world. somehow got addicted to Tamil and wanted to do something related to Tamil.
It was good initially, but the company slowly drifted its direction. Due to some issues internally, i left it and somehow got into Amazon. During that time, Paypal fraud bounded me with 1000$ for shipping 3 handycams. Though i submitted the proofs, it suspended my account and took my balance 50$ something. then i decided to stop chennaishopping.com because i need to be physically present in chennai for delivery.
Life at Amazon
I learnt about paypal fraud in Amazon. which is nothing but, its called Chargeback. Since i joined Amazon Payments, I learned much of payments, its processes and much more. Four years passed in payments domain. Amazon payments developed tools for merchants and offered many great products to integrate with. I got a chance to work on Checkout by Amazon osCommerce Plug-in which yielded good amount of usage among the merchants. Checkout by Amazon Zen Cart Plug-in has been downloaded 2000+ times till date. So i was very much happy with my time in Amazon.
Usually, people from Amazon has entrepreneur spirit mixed in their heart. People at amazon usually talk about innovations, patents, technologies, businesses, table tennis and lots more. Many have left Amazon and started and running successful ventures like Infibeam.com, Flipkart.com, BankBazaar.com and many more. If i have left, please update them in comments for others. Being Amazonian is a great feeling. Everyone has that feel even after they leave Amazon. Because of its founder and the famous tag line “Work hard; Have Fund; Make History”.
This sparked me inside and kicked my heart to look back chennaishopping.com for the third time. Then i did some research related to online shopping and its trend. I also thought about Tamil books, although i have never had an habit of reading books. even tamil books. but i felt that selling tamil books online has a market even though it is small. I wanted to get into this and now its happening since last 367 days.
What did i achieve?
- Relocated to Chennai and (re)started Chennaishopping.com – an online Tamil book store
- Got married :)
- Staying with parents, having great home food, in Chennai, meeting friends.
- Got MacBook Pro
What are all the challenges?
- I have burnt cash from my personal savings for the company, marriage and other miscellaneous activities. Although the company is in (little) profitable mode, i haven’t taken salary for last 1 year. Hope to get the same salary soon from my own company!…
- You have to convince publishers, logistics service providers, buyers and provide them enough information to do business with you.
- You got to do all the job. Delivery, Procurement, software solutions, website, security, customer care and what ever it is.
- Take care of my family. Convince relatives, uncles and aunts and who ever questioning about my career.
These are my experience in bootstrapping a company and life. Share yours in the comments below.