Free Press Journal

Cut the Crap and Jargon: Lessons from the Start-up Trenches by Shradha Sharma and and T N Hari- Review


Title:  Cut The Crap & Jargon

Author: Shradha Sharma and T N Hari

Publisher: Penguin

Price: Rs 499

Pages: xvi + 284

‘Cut the Crap and Jargon’ is a book for entrepreneurs from the start up till it becomes Flipkart. It doesn’t say’s how to play Amazon and Walmart to make a killing. This is the only thing missing in the book for a startup. The book covers various aspects of entrepreneurship. But what stands out is the first chapter “From The Trenches”; it talks about the different type of books and their strengths and drawbacks. It is a small note but important note and will help start-ups to pick up the right book for guidance. The other important chapter in the book is “Culture Matters”. A complicated matter like organisational culture has been defined and explored in an outstanding manner.

Sixth chapter “My funding story” is the story of ‘YourStory”, the successful startup of one of the authors Shradha Sharma. All the aspects that book covered could have been covered as a part of the journey of YourStory but that is not the case. One must credit the authors for keeping the objective of book supreme and not mixing the two. T N Hari the co-author has worked with various start-ups and has been through four successful exits in different industries. The first-hand experience of both the authors in start-ups is visible in the book.

Book covers the funding of start-ups in details. The reader will figure out that there are series ‘A’ funding to series ‘C’ funding and in between different levels of funding. It is obvious that each level of funding happens at different stage but what the book points out specifically is that how start-ups can manage itand more.

Then it goes on to cover how start-ups should be recruiting and retrenching, and the detail the book has gone into is commendable. This chapter will be of great help to start-ups. The discussion on a co-founder, number of them and their role is eye opener. Equally important is the chapter on founder-CEO compensation.

The book covers the life stories of two very exceptional entrepreneurs – Allan Cooper, the ‘Father of Visual Basics’ and Viral Shah, co-creator of the Juila programming. This is followed by VC viewpoint and changing role of founders as the organisation grows. Book has also an interview with Sanjeev Aggarwal known for founding Daksh, a BPO start-up that was acquired by IBM in 2004.

Apart from what I have stated, the book has lots and lots of other important issues which concern start-ups. In the introduction, the authors write: “We would not want entrepreneurs and anyone associated with start-ups  aspiring entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs running start-ups, and employees who have decided to take the plunge to work at start-ups  – to make mistakes that can be avoided if they just knew the right thing to do under the circumstances”. Authors have succeeded in covering almost entire bucket list which concerns start-ups and book is a masterpiece in analysing the complexity involved. Only time will tell how many entrepreneurs benefitted from it because every entrepreneur has to find his own path and adapt to the situation, which will be unique to him. In the foreword Deep Kalra makes an important point, i.e. “Entrepreneurship is a journey and not a destination.”

The well crafted advance praise of the book by Santanu Paul, by default, makes it way in this critic. He writes: “This book, as the title promises at the outset, is extremely well grounded and a must-read for every aspiring and active entrepreneur. No one is better positioned to write such a book than Hari and Shradha, both passionate insiders of the start-up ecosystem for decades. Their insights take the reader through a journey of innumerable “aha” moments, all of which serve as guideposts for the best practices to embrace and the pitfalls to avoid. Their distilled wisdom is extremely relevant for all kinds of situation start-ups and cuts across industries and geographies. I heartily recommend this book to all those who live and breathe in start-ups land – founders and investors, leaders and team members’.

Ours is a nation which has highest population of youth in the world, and where entrepreneurship is the way forward, this book is the need of the hour. The language and flow of the book is simple and adds to the strength of the book. An exhaustive toolkit for leadership building in the appendix will be off great help to the entrepreneurs. The cover of the book does draw attention and it is worth it.