[quote style=”boxed”]The best way to do that is to start with what you have at the minimum level, then chisel and perfect it as you go rather than aim for the home run.[/quote]
Syed Shuttari is the Founder and CEO of LetsLunch.com. A database engineer by profession, he specializes in building professional network after learning it the hard way and having to move from city to city through his career. He conceived the idea of LetsLunch in downtown San Francisco after watching lots of smart, savvy, successful people during lunchtime. There was no way to connect people who were already physically in the same area for the same purpose of eating lunch. That led to the formation of LetsLunch, and rest is history.
What are you working on right now?
LetsLunch. Fifty million Americans eat out for lunch every day, with the same people or by themselves. In this age of multitasking, lunch can be used as a medium to expand your network. As they say, “build your network before you need it” and “it’s not about what you know but who you know.” Imagine eating lunch out with other smart professionals, entrepreneurs, social media experts and expanding your network over a meal.
Where did the idea for LetsLunch come from?
I have been traveling from city to city and end up having to rebuild my network each time. Then I ended up with a full-time job in San Francisco. Working in downtown for five years and eating lunch every day made me realize how the lunch time is full of people I need to connect with but have no means to find practically—and that is when the seed of the LetsLunch idea was planted.
What does your typical day look like?
My tasks get classified into 16 different types like hiring, sales, marketing, product management. etc. I generally spend four hours for each category of a task. If you do the calculation, seven days spent on two different tasks gets me to cover only 14 out of 16, so I squeeze in extra time throughout the week to cover them all.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The best way to do that is to start with what you have at the minimum level, then chisel and perfect it as you go rather than aim for the home run. Perfection kills, and you must begin somewhere. You must also be prepared to persist and iterate through it.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
How mobile apps are making life easier by saving you time, space and energy. I love how I don’t have to print and carry tickets anymore for events. I just swipe my phone then, lo and behold, I’m checked in!
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
I did door-to-door sales of internet cafe cards back in 1999. It taught me to polish my sales and motivational skills. Now I get paid to do motivational speeches!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would not worry about competitors, hire people based on their execution skills and reduce perfectionism.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Get feedback from users/people. I pitch my idea all the time to everyone—even to a homeless guy and to a drunk girl. I find gems of feedback and pearls of wisdom most of the time.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
While working on a startup on a day-to-day basis, there is a chance that you forget to look at everything from a 10,000-foot overview. They say a startup needs both a telescope and a microscope. Stepping back for a bit and using your telescope skills will go a long way!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Someone please reinvent the dating sites to have ratings and rankings systems, so that after every date, people can write about how the date went. This way, we can build a hierarchy of people and filter to find the right people based on their cumulative dating score.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I’d reinvent the way restaurants operate where they use stale meat, vegetables and spices. I’d buy a ranch and a farmhouse and then supply the items fresh every day to a chain of restaurants which brings in quality and taste.
Tell us a secret.
Then it won’t be a secret anymore.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources, and what do you love about them?
1. Google Analytics – To monitor user behavior and stats.
2. Live365 – For international music and a variety of genres.
3. Google Calendar – To manage all my meetings.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Never Eat Alone. This book shows practical example of how to leverage your network—and believe me, it’s way more important to build a network than all the money, education and good looks you have.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
1. Dave McClure – For his over-the-top antics.
2. Mark Suster – For his detailed analysis on topics.
3. James Altucher – For his rebellious but thoughtful posts.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I used to do standup comedy, plus I watch standup comedy, so laughing out loud and me are inseparable.
Who is your hero?
Steve Jobs for the courage he demonstrated after getting fired from his own company, and then to turn it around like that.
Syed Shuttari on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/syedshuttari
Syed Shuttari on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/Syed.Shuttari
Syed Shuttari on LetsLunch: www.LetsLunch.com/Syed
LetsLunch’s Website: www.LetsLunch.com/