I’ve learned now in retrospect that when you have a good idea and an itch to work on it, it’s important to just do it — and to release early and often.
Sachin Rekhi is founder of Connected, a professional contact manager that brings your contacts together in one place. Unlike other contact managers, Connected maintains an always up to date address book of the contacts and conversations in your life by syncing with your email, calendar and social networks.
Prior to Connected, Sachin co-founded Anywhere.FM, a web music player that allowed users to upload, play, and discover music online which was acquired by leading social network imeem in January 2008.
Sachin has also spent time as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Trinity Venture, and has also held marketing, product management and engineering roles at Microsoft, Paetec Communications, and Goldman Sachs.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m heads down on Connected, which is a web based contact manager for professionals that gets rid of all of the work entering in contacts.
What does your typical day look like?
Wake up, shower, breakfast, work, lunch, work, dinner, work. All of that combined with about three pots of tea each day and a lot of Coke zero.
3 trends that excite you?
The ability to have a digital record of everything in our lives. I’m excited by how quickly we can search and get information about everything, including our own past events, activities and people.
How technology is moving to the cloud because of how it enables entrepreneurs to build things quickly and get them to scale without cost. We use Amazon, WebFaction and multiple other services that didn’t exist five years ago.
How interconnected everyone is, it feels like we are literally 2-3 degrees of separation away from anyone.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I get inspired by an idea and that usually gets me into the state of flow. I often do weekend prototypes just because I get so excited about a thought that was passing through my mind. One of my former projects came about from a dinner conversation and I built it the next weekend. The project was called Feedera and it was one of the first daily Twitter digests. To this day it still has thousands of active subscribers who read it everyday. I love feeling inspired by solving a problem, creating a solution and getting the chance to share it with the world.
What inspires you?
Meeting and talking with all the smart people around me every day.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
It’s hard to pick just one. A recent one is from looking back at a lot of internal tools that I’ve built for myself over the years and wishing that I had taken the leap to get them out the door and share them with the world. I built them because they were useful to me, but now I realize they could have also been useful to a lot more people out there as well.
I’ve learned now in retrospect that when you have a good idea and an itch to work on it, it’s important to just do it — and to release early and often. Having real users using and appreciating something you’ve built is amazing and energizing; plus, it creates this useful feedback loop that makes me improve and get a little better every time. Despite all the anxiety that can go out with putting something out there, the worst case scenario is that the world never gets a chance to see what you’ve made.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have a million ideas that I wish I could build. I actually spent several months as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Trinity Ventures brainstorming ideas and thinking about what I wanted to work on before I decided to build Connected. One of the ideas I was very excited about was creating a great user-accessible interface for businesspeople to access and analyze public and private datasets. There’s so much rich data out there in the world, and even today it is an incredibly painful process which often involves expensive engineers to extract insights from them. Why can’t we bring the rich analytics engines of Hadoop and MapReduce to the simple paradigm of spreadsheets that business analysts understand? I hope someone builds that.
What do you read every day, and why?
I wake up every morning and read Techmeme.com, so I get the latest technology news for the day.
I also read my daily Feedera, which is a personalized daily digest of the content being shared by the people I follow on Twitter. Since I curated the list of people I follow to be based on my interests, Feedera gives me the top content that they’ve been tweeting about for easy browsing.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
I’d recommend The Paypal Wars by Eric M. Jackson. It illustrates important lessons about how to assemble a winning team, the challenges of decision making in a rapidly changing environment, and how even the winners can follow a rocky road before they reach success.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
My iPhone, it’s become an extension of my body. I’d feel naked without it.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Jason Fried of 37signals and Noah Kagan of AppSumo.
What‘s the inspiration behind Connected?
I learned early on that in every business success story, there’s usually a story about relationships that paved the path for that success. A lot of this takes the form of old friends, introductions and maybe even chance encounters at networking events. How many of these situations take place by chance and feel serendipitous?
Connected was built on the inspiration that social capital and leveraging our personal and professional networks are the cornerstones to creating success. My goal is to build the modern day equivalent of the rolodex, and make it easy for the rest of us that perhaps aren’t born networkers to be effective and successful in managing our networks.