Sri Kalapala is a pizza loving entrepreneur. He studied biology with plans to become a doctor, but quickly changed routes after falling in love with building startups. Primarily focused in healthcare technology, Sri has focused on improving access to healthcare services for patients.
When he’s not working on his company, Sri enjoys tinkering around new ideas, exercising and exploring coffee shops.
Sri’s goal is to build companies that not only deliver his customers a lot of value but to also create an enjoyable experience in the process.
What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?
My alarm goes off at 5 AM. Which I promptly snooze till about 630 AM, until I actually wake up. (One day, I’ll do it though). My morning routines consist of meditating, journaling, and working out before starting work. But I’m human so on some days, I’ll look at Twitter till 830. What keeps me productive is getting into a focus bubble after creating an actionable to do list based on urgency and importance. I try to limit meetings and context switching so I stay more efficient.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have a new idea, I’ll start by brain dumping everything in my head into a google doc. I’ll then organize the information and identify key information such as what the product/service is, who it is for, and how it can generate revenue.
If I still like it, I start by experimenting with user flows and processes and work on a prototype. This is all happening while talking to as many customers as I can.
Sometimes I like to launch the idea just to see how it works. If I can make it to that point, I then ask myself if this is something I can do for a few years, That answer is surprisingly no most of the time, but it’s usually a fun exercise nonetheless.
What’s one trend that excites you?
My friend showed me the power of AI/LLM’s recently and I have been fascinated ever since. Just seeing how people are using this technology as a foundation to build upon their own ideas is cool.
What is one habit that helps you be productive?
Persistence. Problems will always happen.
It’s how you work through them and keep going that keeps you productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t care what other people think about you.
Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.
The Goofy Movie Soundtrack from 1995 deserves to be on the top 10 Album of all time list.
What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?
Find a life coach. One of the best decisions I made.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
Journal! I find journaling to be a very helpful exercise to do to help clear my thoughts and regain my focus.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?
Bootstrapping a business teaches you a lot on what you actually need to run a viable business. Stretching the dollar and managing cash flow so you can begin generating revenue becomes a form of art. That strategy helps avoid a lot of unnecessary costs that you don’t help with the business. Do we have a cool social media presence? No, not at all. But do we have a thriving business? Yes.
What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?
A previous company I started had gone through negotiations for an acquisition. I even signed a term sheet for several million dollars.
I ultimately ended up with zero. Why? I failed to ask hard questions and do deeper due diligence on how the deal would actually work long term. I committed more time to the acquisition than my own company. After a year nothing had happened and my own business had suffered.
It was an amazing learning experience for me. Doesn’t matter how good everything sounds, or how great the people involved are. Check all the facts, talk to trusted friends/advisors/lawyers. Do your DUE DILIGENCE. Make sure you understand how you are impacted and assume the worst before the best.
It was hard to overcome, but it eventually led to a pivot which led to my current company.
What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A marketplace that lets you sell your unwanted plane ticket. I don’t think it’s really a new idea and I’m sure there have been several have tried.
What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I don’t think this counts, but google docs & sheets is like 85% of my organization. As a former project manager, I have used just about every tool out there, but there’s something nice and simple about a plain doc and excel.
What is the best $100 you recently spent?
A recent pizza night with two friends. Nothing really crazy happened, it was just one of those fun nights full of laughs.
Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?
The Hard Things About Hard Things is a great book. Especially if you are leading a company. I really enjoyed Ben Horowitz’s stories about the hardships he faced as a leader, why he made certain decisions and how he executed them. I think a lot of people get caught up in the startup life thinking it’s easy to make it, but it is absolutely grueling. So it was nice to have some stories that puts it into perspective what you are going to face as a leader.
What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?
So I watch a lot of youtube. Documentaries of all kinds. I enjoy learning random facts about random things.( I know I’m boring)
It feels like I have been training for an episode of Cash Cab. (if that ever comes back)
- Do proper due diligence on any deal you do. Don’t assume things will work out in your favor
- Create a focus bubble when you work. Prioritize tasks based on importance and urgency and have no meeting days.
- Bootstrapping a business teaches you everything you need and don’t need in a business.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.