Ravi Gundlapalli – B2B SaaS for Mentorship.
My next guest is an engineer by trade who previously worked on hybrid technologies for auto manufacturers including Chrysler, Ford, and VW, and worked in the semiconductor industry. A common thread he became passionate about was mentorship. This led him to create a B2B SaaS business that helps organizations build a stronger community through mentorship. In this episode, we talk about how he generates leads, how much he charges his customers per month, and the next step entrepreneurs can take to become subject matter experts. Please welcome Ravi Gundlapalli.
Payback Time Podcast
A Podcast on Financial Independence. Hosted by Sean Tepper. If you want to learn how to escape the rat race, create passive income, or achieve financial freedom, you came to the right place.
- (00:52) – Show intro and background history
- (02:46) – Deeper into his background history and hybrid cars experience
- (07:12) – Understanding his mentoring business model today
- (10:44) – Deeper into the platform model and business strategies
- (16:35) – Understanding the pricing philosophy and strategies
- (23:13) – Deeper into his B2B marketing strategies
- (26:20) – How he engage people into his online conferences as a speaker
- (29:15) – A key takeaway from the guest
- (35:08) – What is the worst advice he ever received
- (36:17) – What is the best advice he ever received
- (38:31) – Guest contacts
[00:00:04.480] – Intro
Hey, this is Sean Tepper, the host of Payback Time, an approachable and transparent podcast on financial independence. I’d like to bring on guests to hear authentic stories while giving you actionable takeaways you can use today. Let’s go. My next guest is an engineer by trade who previously worked on hybrid technologies for auto manufacturers including Chrysler, Ford, and VW. And he worked in the semiconductor industry. A common thread he became passionate about was mentorship. This led him to create a B2B SaaS business that helps organizations build a stronger community through mentorship. In this episode, we talk about how he generates leads, how much he charges his customers per month, and the next step entrepreneurs can take to become subject matter experts. Please welcome, Ravi Gundlapalli.
[00:00:52.940] – Sean
Ravi, welcome to the show.
[00:00:54.510] – Ravi
Thank you very much, Sean. Thanks for having me.
[00:00:56.470] – Sean
Sure. Good to have you here. Why don’t you kick us off and tell us about your background.
[00:01:01.450] – Ravi
I have a very interesting background. I’m an engineer by education, studied ship building, then offshore oil carriers, then went on to do work in automotive industry. I got my PhD there in fluid mechanics. I designed hybrid cars. I designed supply chains for semiconductor companies from silicone to laptops, and then worked on the 787 DreamLiner for Boeing designing their supply chain. I have a diverse background from engineering to supply chain management and also published a book recently called The Art of Mentoring.
[00:01:42.280] – Sean
Well, we’re going to dive into mentoring here in a bit because that’s what your SaaS model is based on really impressive background here. I have to ask, what hybrid cars were you working on?
[00:01:51.590] – Ravi
When the hybrid cars were first introduced back in late ’90s, the challenge was to fit in the battery under the hood. I worked on the hybrid transmissions because when you put a battery, you don’t have a space to have the same size pumps and same size clutches. As a fresh PhD in fluid mechanics, I was asked to design smaller pumps and smaller clutches that would still give the same level of acceleration and same efficiency in the cars than compared to what we had before. I was working on multiple hybrid transmissions, CVTs, which stands for continuously variable transmissions. My work went into multiple hybrid cars.
[00:02:36.480] – Sean
Can you give us a manufacturer name?
[00:02:39.480] – Ravi
For example, some of my work went into Daimler-Kreisler. Back then it was Daimler-Kreisler. Kreisler, into General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen, all of these, I think Ford I mentioned, all of them used our technology to launch their hybrid vehicles.
[00:02:56.570] – Sean
Oh, great experience there. All right, semiconductordirectors, what companies did you work for?
[00:03:02.330] – Ravi
Yeah, I worked for a company called ITU Technologies. Itu was a pioneer in supply chain management. Then I joined another company called E2 Open. It was an open electronic exchange company, the early cloud enabler. In those days it was called ASP, Application Service Providers, and then that became the fancy term cloud. I was working for a pioneer in that business space. E2 Open also did what is called multi-tier supply chain because when you look at supply chains of major companies like Boeing, they have suppliers to seventh and eighth level who are providing the smallest of the components that eventually going to the big plane, so I2 and E2 open.
[00:03:42.210] – Sean
Got it. Okay, and then let’s move forward here to starting your business. Then I want to talk about the transition between what you were doing before and what you created today. Your current business is Mentor Cloud. Listeners out there, you can go to Mentorcloud. Com. We’re going to dive into business and what it does for customers in a second. But when did you found this company?
[00:04:05.810] – Ravi
Yeah, we just completed 10 years. It almost seems like a universe wanted me to do this. I was working at Boeing and I used to travel to speak about the importance of mentorship and importance of guiding the next generation of youth. I was in India and I missed a near fatal accident, which was an airline accident. Our plane was asked to take off and it almost ran into the helicopter carrying the President of India at that time. It was 1.2 seconds away from a total disaster. Luckily, we all walked away from it. I felt that I did not finish my homework in this world. That is why I was sent back to the planet and said, Hey, go finish that homework and you can come back. We all go at the end of our journey. I was thinking about what was it? The idea of flow came about. I did flow of fluids, I did flow of products. Then I said, What about the flow of wisdom? Mentorship is the flow of wisdom. That’s how this journey started.
[00:05:11.920] – Sean
Got you. Were you at Boeing before you started this company? Was that just before starting the SaaS business? That’s what you were doing?
[00:05:21.300] – Ravi
Yeah. I worked for a company called E2 Open. We provided the supply chain solution for Boeing. I had a Boeing badge pretty much for five years, both day, but I worked for E2 Open at Boeing.
[00:05:36.250] – Sean
Got it. Okay. With Mentor Cloud, did you bootstrap it at first or did you go all in on day one?
[00:05:44.900] – Ravi
Yeah, no, it was a bootstrap company because this is my first one. I had no idea what I was getting into, but I had the urge to do something because I just survived. I traveled around the world, actually. I went to Singapore, I went to South Africa, I was in London just to see flow of wisdom. How is it happening in the world today? Around that time, I also was approached by a 16-year-old blind student back in India who said, Sir, can you mentor me? Because as a blind student, I cannot study science and math in India, so I want to go to MIT. I still remember asking him, Do you even know what MIT is? Because here is a man who could not walk 10 feet without others’ help. How is he going to survive in MIT with cold weather and so on? That too, number one. It’s number one college in the world. I was able to mentor him. He was very ambitious, very driven, very hardworking. With my mentorship and of course, his own hard work, he got into MIT. He graduated from there from Sloan School, and he’s an entrepreneur now.
[00:06:52.700] – Ravi
He taught me the importance of this connection that can happen. But then I realized that those connections are not happening, so sometimes you have to be intentional about it. Why wait for luck to happen? He was lucky. Here in Silicon Valley, why would I go all the way to a small town in India? He was lucky. I said, How can I manufacture luck? How can I create serendipity, which is more intentional? That’s when I said people should be able to meet much more intentionally on a platform. I created this match. Com for wisdom, if you will.
[00:07:22.910] – Sean
Sure. How many months or years did you bootstrap it while you were at, did you say EC2 was the name of the…
[00:07:31.660] – Ravi
E2 Open. I left.
[00:07:33.020] – Sean
[00:07:33.940] – Ravi
I left E2 Open. I was doing some consulting work. I was actually very interested in helping other people with their college admissions, college essays, and their first career planning and all of that. That’s when all of this happened. For almost three years, I traveled extensively because E2 Open, I joined them before they went public. I had a very good exit as part of the pre-IPO team. I leveraged that success to travel. I was in the news. Hbr wrote about me because I coined the phrase supply chain of wisdom, and everybody fell in love with it. I was in the State Department, and I was a guest at the White House. Everybody loved the idea, hey, supply chain of wisdom, people connecting. Everybody was very interested in the idea. We’re-. In those three and a half years, I was just interviewing, being in the media, so I was bootstrapping. The big turning point happened when we got into 500 startups, which is a very prestigious accelerator in Silicon Valley. That was a turning point when one of my mentors said, Enough researching. This problem is real. Build something. I started building a technology platform.
[00:08:55.620] – Sean
Got it. Okay. It’s like three, three and a half years of building relationships and mentoring, building a network, it sounds like. Then you started building the platform. I assume you still kept your day job while the platform was being built, or did you go all in and start building 100% at the time?
[00:09:12.240] – Ravi
I should say all in. My day job was just not enough, so I raised some money. I had angel investors who believed in me who wanted me to do this to create a scalable mentor cloud that was almost parallel to LinkedIn. If LinkedIn was a place to go advertise yourself of all your accomplishments and degrees, there had to be a place where you could actually grow. There was a lot of people who invested in me early on, so I raised close to half a million in angel funding before the 500 startups happened.
[00:09:50.110] – Sean
Got it. Okay. Then you’re all in, you’re building this. When you first started building it, was it just you or did you bring on a team of people with you?
[00:09:58.180] – Ravi
Yeah, I had, in a couple of co-founders who came in and went. One of them moved back to India, so she went back. Then I had another co-founder who, unfortunately for health reasons, for the last four or five years, he’s not active. He’s still advising me by my peer mentor. It’s been a long journey, which I don’t recommend to anyone. It’s very, very important to have at least 2-3 founders who can balance out the duties. But I had no choice but to do this individually. But of course, over time, I hired engineers, customer success folks, sales and marketing and operations folks. But as a founder team, it’s been a long journey mostly.
[00:10:43.430] – Sean
Got it. All right, so we talked about the transition and then the foundation. Let’s dive into the business. I’m envisioning a marketplace with two audiences, people who are mentors and people who are looking for mentoring services. Is that a high-level description of the model?
[00:11:00.700] – Ravi
Yeah, it’s a marketplace within an organization. One of the companies we work with for almost seven years is the number one company in hospitality, the Marriott International. Marriott has employees all over the world, associates at various properties and hotels. We provide a marketplace within Marriott so that people can learn in context of the industry and of the company. You’re absolutely right. It’s a marketplace where people can connect, but within a known community. It could be a company, it could be an alumni association, or it could be a network of entrepreneurs where everybody is authentic, authorized, pre-vetted, but then we give them the technology to easily find each other.
[00:11:44.670] – Sean
Got it. It would be like going to Marriott, you would work with them. We’ll talk about pricing here in a second. This is where when you work with that organization, there’s mentors that jump on to the platform from Marriott, and then people are looking for mentoring assistants. They’re jumping on the platform as well. You’re like this bolt-on tool to their company to really empower mentoring.
[00:12:09.420] – Ravi
Absolutely. One thing we have done very effectively is, if you remember I told you flow of wisdom. Yes. This mentor-mentee one-on-one connection is only one framework for that wisdom to be transferred. What is unique about us is because I have simplified mentorship as a human-to-human transfer of wisdom, we have created multiple ways for that to happen. We have, for example, something called Fireside Chat, where one mentor can talk to 50 mentees at once. We have something called Circles where people can learn from each other. The core idea here is people within a company should have easy ways to learn from each other, whether it is in a small group, whether it is one-to-many or one-to-one. Whatever the availability of the experts is, they should be able to share their knowledge so they get recognized, they get promoted, and they become senior leaders eventually.
[00:13:07.860] – Sean
I’m thinking about my past experience. Some of the larger companies I’ve worked for include GE, Kuller, as well as a smaller organization. It’s not public, but it’d be direct supply. They don’t really have anything like this, at least not that they advertise like, Hey, here’s our mentorship committee, and you can connect with these 10 people to gain expertise or information or wisdom, as you state, in these particular areas. You probably come in and you say, Hey, we can help. It’s probably a retention strategy. Is that part of the cell?
[00:13:43.090] – Ravi
Yes, absolutely, you’re right about engagement and retention because the world has evolved, especially in the post-pandemic. We’re all working from home or working from multiple offices. Where is the opportunity for people to stay committed to the organization? This commitment comes when you work, for example, when you were at GE, if somebody came and said, Hey, Sean, here are some of the executives who, if you want to learn about sales or marketing, they are available. They are putting themselves out there. You’re like, Of course, I would work with them. At the same time, Sean, I see that you used to be in the marketing before digital marketing. We have just hired about a few people in the space. Would you mind just sharing your knowledge? Of course. When you do it both ways, when you’re recognized for what you know and you’re also given the resources for you to learn and grow, that is when we all feel committed that here is a place I can grow. It’s almost like a plant feeling comfortable with the farm. Because if the plant could move and the farm is not helping it to grow, it will go somewhere else.
[00:14:53.030] – Ravi
Humans are too different. We will go wherever we can grow.
[00:14:55.820] – Sean
Yes. I’m talking to more people, especially at that Gen Z, millennial level. They are a big reason they work at a company is the ability to learn and grow. And one of my closest friends, he’s actually leaving a large corporation because they keep their information siloed. They don’t want their people to learn anymore and grow. They want them to stay where they’re at. Don’t ask questions. Literally, you don’t grow. You’re being paid to just push buttons on a keyboard and that’s it. And he’s like, I can’t do this anymore. So your company is pushing past that and saying, Hey, we want your people to learn from the others in the organization and grow within. Stay with the company and grow.
[00:15:39.690] – Ravi
Absolutely. Because one is you can learn in context. Second, more important ones that we highlight is your people will get to know one another. Nobody wants to feel lonely, and especially after the pandemic when there is high level of loneliness, your people become stronger. I call it the human fabric. Right now, your fabric has holes. If our shirts have holes, that’s what is happening in organization. Whereas when your people are tight knit, somebody in Australia is talking to somebody in Finland and somebody in UK is talking to somebody in Africa, you’re creating a very strong human network. When your human network is strong, lot of wisdom flows in that network, which will essentially help you, the organization, grow. This is the ultimate nirvana solution for your people to work together as one. Those taking orders and do what we tell you to do those days are gone.
[00:16:34.930] – Sean
Indeed. I love it. This is a pretty easy business to understand. Now let’s talk about the pricing. Can you talk about low-end, high-end? What do you charge your customers?
[00:16:45.550] – Ravi
Yeah. Our pricing starts at about $10 a user a month. It is really very, very affordable because when I missed a deadline accident, I wrote on a piece of paper that day, I got to do something that will impact 100 million people. That’s what I wrote. Then I said it has to be scalable. It starts about $10 a user a month when there are smaller companies or smaller programs within a company, and it can go down all the way to $2 a user a month when there are large numbers of people, like a company like GE, for example, who would pay much less per user. We also offer enterprise licenses, but that’s the range. It’s very affordable because you want everybody to be… Everybody who receives a paycheck should have the right to learn and grow.
[00:17:28.690] – Sean
Yes, very easy entry point. I look at GE, I think last time I Googled, it has 170,000 employees. If you want 170,000 times 10, we got a little bit of a.
[00:17:41.380] – Ravi
Bill there. This is to begin, but they won’t pay like that. But I think at this level, it can go even under a dollar. We have been experimenting still. I wouldn’t say we got the pricing, but that’s the range. People are comfortable, they can feel it. But most of the companies of GE size, they ask for enterprise license, like not per- Of course. We do offer that model.
[00:18:00.940] – Sean
Yeah, and you don’t have to give numbers here because I know we talked about this offline. But do you have any contract terms? Do you do a year minimum or you try to do multi-year?
[00:18:12.100] – Ravi
They’re always multi-year, but we get paid for annually. Because this human connection, it’s not like an airline reservation. I go online and I book a Tykrt right away. This is humans coming together. It takes about 3-4 months for people to really see the value of higher productivity, higher engagement, higher connections, and people feeling that their skills are improving because of other people. We recommend one year minimum. You don’t have to sign up the entire company because we know that there’s too much of change management to deal with. Typically, it is one division or one program that the company sign up. Then over time, they add more and more employees into this network.
[00:18:59.740] – Sean
That makes perfect sense. I’d like to talk about acquisition. This can be tough for especially new entrepreneurs. They’re like, Okay, so I want to create a B2B SaaS, but how do I get customers? Walk us through that process. Do you reach out to these companies, give them a demo and then a trial period? How are you bringing on these, especially large companies like Marriott?
[00:19:21.120] – Ravi
Yeah, that’s an excellent question, Sean. Something that I thank my peer mentor, Rajesh, in a few years ago, he forced me to write a book. He said, Ravish, you know way too much about mentoring, but you should write a book. I’m like, No, my daughter is in high school. I’m bootstrapping. I have this work, that work. I had every excuse under the sun to say no. But eventually, he did push me into writing a book, which I did. That book really was the magic. In fact, if any early business owners or want to be entrepreneurs listening to this, you should put your ideas out there. That’s the best marketing you can do because it tells people what you know. By publishing a book, I got invited to many conferences. All my videos were online, my blogs were online. It is hard to imagine, but most of my demand is inbound. I have not done a singing out campaign. Because if Ravi knows about mentoring, then Ravi also knows how to solve the problem around mentoring. It’s as simple. I want to go to the doctor who knows what a flu is. He’ll obviously know how to cure it.
[00:20:31.780] – Ravi
I think that that was a big game-changer that my book became a global resource because mentoring is not taught, especially younger people in college. You say you’ve got to be independent, you’ve got to run your own journey, but that’s the very bad advice. When you take an exam, you do it alone, of course, no training, but in life, don’t do it alone. Surround yourself with people because career success, life success is a team sport. You’ve got to surround yourself. I went around the world telling guys, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Some of these thoughts were very helpful for people to say, Oh, I should allow my people to seek help and get help.
[00:21:16.000] – Sean
We love entrepreneurs that figure out how to create inbound a lot easier than outbound. If you got to be making calls and Zoom calls and email, just a drudge of a process.
[00:21:28.040] – Ravi
It is a process. But the thing is all the people who are doing that are being taught by same set of experts. People like us are bombarded by the same-looking messages. I think if you can create a thought leadership in your space to earn that respect, we are very fortunate to be recognized on the Nasdaq tower in New York. They put My Picture there, they put Mentra Cloud there. Being on podcast like this where people get to know… Ultimately, it is a people business. Don’t think it’s a software business.
[00:22:00.530] – Sean
[00:22:01.240] – Ravi
You’re selling QuickBooks or something at a very low monthly SaaS price, any enterprise SaaS company is about people. If you could demonstrate that you have a group of people who can solve your problem or the customer’s problem, that’s the companies that will thrive. The software, of course, has to work. That’s given. That’s the hygiene, but the people are more important.
[00:22:24.030] – Sean
Yes. Just to refresh here, write a book, attend conferences. Now are you doing in-person or you’re doing mostly Zoom?
[00:22:33.340] – Ravi
Now I’m an in-person guy, so I travel quite a bit. But of course, the pandemic taught us all a new way to live. I would say mine is around 50-50 now. I have many of the European calls. Back in olden days, I would go and head on a plane. But now most calls are on Zoom. But I do travel now because I really want people to know who we are, what we do, and also why we do. Again, the other advice I would like to leave with is always talk to your customers about the why. Why you are doing this.
[00:23:09.520] – Sean
Yeah, sell the blinds. Exactly. Simon Sennig, start with why. I’d like to go back to a quote. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, has been a key phrase in marketing. Is there anything else you’re doing in marketing that you find to be really effective?
[00:23:31.750] – Ravi
The blogging is very important. Again, everything around don’t wait for people to discover who you are. Then you are doing the song and dance. Let people come to you. I say this to a lot of entrepreneurs, Pick a song and sing it often. Two things happen when you do that. One, you will get good at it. Second, the world will take you seriously. Hey, this guy is singing the same song. Something must be there. They pay attention. I think by putting yourself out there, don’t worry about somebody copying your idea or anything. I mean, nobody has time to do what you’re doing. Nobody has time. Everybody has their own shit to deal with, if I can say. Don’t be afraid. Of course, you should also put some boundaries as to what you share, but share your purpose, share your vision. Tell why you are doing this, why it bothers. Last week, I heard this beautiful quote, which I wanted to have, which has become so profound, almost defines why I do what I do. It is the standard you pass by is the standard you accept. I said, Wow, that defines entrepreneurs. I passed by a standard where people were struggling.
[00:24:47.530] – Ravi
Unless you are in Silicon Valley, unless you know all the top guys, you have no opportunity to get the mentorship and advice at the right time. I said, That’s not acceptable. Your zip code cannot determine your success. You need to remove the zip code. You need to let… That’s why I called it a cloud, really. It’s not the Amazon cloud, but the real cloud. I said, A real cloud is a collection of water. What if I create a collection of mines? A real cloud is boundaryless. I wanted to create this collection of mines that is boundariless. Today, people anywhere in the world within a company can connect, learn, and share. That’s the standard I didn’t want to pass by.
[00:25:26.850] – Sean
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[00:26:37.810] – Ravi
Yeah, I would say we’re all lucky to have something like LinkedIn. I’m very active on LinkedIn. Put yourself out there, writing blogs and speaking engagements because of my book. Naturally, when you are the author, people want to learn about… Because the book only has 200 pages of text, but you have a lot more in the mind. One of the big breaks happened when Vistage… Vistage is the world’s largest network of CEOs. I became a speaker for Vistage. That’s really when I was able to perfect on doing a keynote, doing a workshop, and taking a group of CEOs into teaching them the simplicity of mentorship, because human resources leaders may make it very complicated. They make it sound like you have to wear a suit and a tie and can come out spend two hours to be this guy and nobody has time for it. I made it simplified. Guys, it’s about sharing what you know because whatever you know is going to be with you for the rest of your life and it’ll eventually go underground, so might as well share it. By sharing, you become much more visible. Do you want to be the sun behind the cloud or you want to be the sun in front of the cloud?
[00:27:51.820] – Ravi
I tell them. Executives, I see them really brighten up because.
[00:27:59.980] – Sean
[00:28:00.650] – Ravi
Why do you want to be behind the cloud? Let me come out and be out there. Of course, I will spend maybe one hour a week or two hours a week. Not all the time. Nobody’s asking you to quit your job and do this full-time. Spend an hour or two a month and just be out there. Let your people know how awesome you are.
[00:28:17.780] – Sean
Right on. I want to just summarize your business model. Then what I want to do is ask you a question. You can give the audience regarding mentorship. But just to summarize here, we got a B2B SaaS business that’s about $10 a month. Starting price skews lower as the volume of users increases, which is brilliant. Your sales process is all inbound, focusing on a book. I’ve talked about this in other podcast episodes, but the listeners out there are easy way to get a book written is you can go to Upwork, have somebody else write it for you. Of course, they’re going to interview you, write down all the notes, and they’ll help compose it. Because some people look at that process as extremely daunting How in the world do I write a book over the next year? Well, there you go. Final writer on Upwork. Then blog post. It sounds like you do a lot of writing. There’s an SEO component there, so people are reading, visiting, maybe sharing. Of course, that ranks higher for the keyword phrases, mentorship. It’s definitely think that’s a great player as well. What is a key takeaway you can give our audience?
[00:29:21.460] – Sean
Let’s say they’re a brand new entrepreneur, they want to start a business, and they know they want to network with other people in their industry. What do you recommend they do?
[00:29:32.810] – Ravi
One is I would say on LinkedIn, definitely write as often as you can, comment on other people’s posts. If you’re coming up with a new cybersecurity platform, let’s say, when there is an article on that, just go and comment on it and then tag people. It’s very important for the world to know what you know. Very, very important. I would recommend that. Always tell your network folks, like if somebody tells me, Hey, Ravik, can you come and paint my house? I would very respectfully say no, that’s not my strength. But if you are ever looking for a good mentor or somebody to do the keynote and mentoring, call me. That’s an advice I would like to leave people is tell people what they should come to you for because don’t wait for them to figure it out. I always make sure I tell them, Oh, by the way, if you’re looking for a speaker, just let me know. I’m happy. Sometimes I do pro bono speaking to you if it is a cost that I support. People know that this guy is available. You want to plant the seed in as many people’s minds and then be in conversations when you are not there.
[00:30:41.370] – Ravi
That is another advice I would like to give because you can’t be everywhere, so make sure you inspire enough people.
[00:30:49.790] – Sean
[00:30:50.020] – Ravi
Know right now, this time, I asked a question, Who is thinking about you when you’re sleeping? That’s the question you want to have. You want to have at least 10 people thinking about you and your success, and that’s when things get amplified.
[00:31:03.520] – Sean
I have to do a follow-up question to that. Knowing that you do a lot of posts, like blog posts as well as LinkedIn, how often are you posting per week?
[00:31:11.660] – Ravi
I don’t do… Even though my mentor does write every week. Right now, I’ve been doing once every two weeks on average, but I need to do more. I’m actually using some AI tools now to record because sometimes when I start writing, I try to edit and it never gets done. I’m using some AI tools to just talk into it. I hope very soon it’ll be at least twice a month blog.
[00:31:42.100] – Sean
Okay, that’s a good benchmark. I know some listeners are thinking, Do I have to do three times a day or once a day? It’s like finding the time can be a little intimidating. I’m good to know about every two weeks. All right. Well, good, Robbie. This has been a good overview of your business, what it does. I’m sure some listeners here, especially if they work for some large corps, there might be an opportunity to bring you in, get set up on your platform. But let’s dive into the Rapid Fire round. This is the part of the episode where we get to find out who Robbie really is. If you can. Again, try to answer each question in 15 seconds or less. You’re ready?
[00:32:19.390] – Ravi
All right. Rapid fire. Wow. I wish it was a rapid desert.
[00:32:23.540] – Sean
Pressure is on. Here we go. What is your favorite podcast?
[00:32:28.010] – Ravi
I like Simon Schenex and also Adam Grant’s podcast is something I really like. I also just tried to miss the name, who’s 15 seconds? Reed Hoffman’s, the Masters of…
[00:32:39.800] – Sean
Masters of scale.
[00:32:41.640] – Ravi
I love that one. I’m a regular listener and… Yeah, that’s the one. I would put that number one.
[00:32:47.440] – Sean
My favorite business podcast indeed, Masters of Scale. Highly recommend. Good one. What is a recent book you read and would recommend?
[00:32:55.610] – Ravi
The book that it’s almost something I refer to every day is booked by Keith Cunningham called The Road Less Stupid. Especially entrepreneurs, we are very, very good at taking the road that is stupid, which is we go and say, Oh, I got the idea. I’ll go sell it to stoddy people. The Road Less Stupid, what the book is all about is spending enough thinking time, which is essentially what we all learned about Mr. Warren Buffett. He spends hours thinking. That’s what he says in the book is think enough before you go on this path, whether it is a business idea or a business model or hiring someone, don’t just jump. The Road Less Stupid is a book that I really like. One book that was transformative for me was by Robin Scharma, Who Will Cry When You Die.
[00:33:49.460] – Sean
[00:33:50.500] – Ravi
Was an interesting book. It’s an easy book to read, but very profound. Because when you are born, you are the only one crying and everybody is laughing. But when you die, who is the one crying? Who are the people that are going to miss you? That book was also very transformational. One business book and one purposeful book.
[00:34:09.160] – Sean
Yes, indeed. Good recommendations. All right, movie question. What is your favorite movie?
[00:34:15.300] – Ravi
Yeah, the movie that I end up speaking a lot about is this movie called The Pursuit of Happiness. Smith’s movie, it’s a good one. I actually met the guy whose life story was it. Really very inspiring that anybody can overcome obstacles. Just stay at it and surround yourself with good people and life will turn around. There is any success story you see, and especially when you hear self-made millionaires, I hate that title. Nobody is self-made. Even you as a human being is not self-made. Two people have to come together to make you. The self-made ideology should be killed completely, in my opinion. Surround yourself with good people who really care about you, and there are enough people in the world who can guide you and support you. That movie is one I end up talking a lot.
[00:35:07.360] – Sean
Yeah, great movie. All right, a few business questions. What is the worst advice you ever received? This is a good one.
[00:35:15.510] – Ravi
I got a lot of them. No, quit. That’s the worst advice I got. People would say, Navin, I think you should quit. You’re not getting traction. No, you have a family. You should go back to supply chain or stop Metro Cloud and start a software and supply chain, then I’ll invest in you. The worst advice was asking me to quit. As adamant I am. I think entrepreneurs are adamant and… I’m adamant with some wisdom, of course. I would have quit if there are no customers and if there are no users and if nobody is resonating to my song. If my concerts are going from 100-10 to one person, obviously I should quit. But yeah, that’s the best, worst advice I got, that people are happy that I did not listen to them. I go back and tell them, Hey, this is where I am. I have people working, I have revenue, I have 150 countries around the world. They’re like, Oh, thank God you didn’t listen to me. Yes.
[00:36:15.380] – Sean
Nice. All right, flip the equation. What’s the best advice you ever received?
[00:36:21.490] – Ravi
To write a book?
[00:36:22.750] – Sean
[00:36:23.400] – Ravi
Write a book. That has changed me. It is giving me a lot of income, too, because I get paid for keynotes. It has given me marketing for my book, for my company, because company is on Mentor Cloud. As an author, I’m a fellow at TED, so author gives you a whole new world to explore. The best advice was to write a book, and I’m writing my second one also right now, which is important for the world to know.
[00:36:51.330] – Sean
That’s a great recommendation. Just to drill into that for a second, it’s not necessarily the book that generates the revenue. It’s not like, Okay, so I sell a book for $12.99 on Amazon. That’s not where you’re making money. It’s the doors that open and you’re a great case study of that situation. Anybody out there starting a business, if you can write a book, going back to that upwork strategy would be a quick way to get out there.
[00:37:16.450] – Ravi
Yeah, it is the best advice and somebody who forced me to do it, it can change the life for you.
[00:37:22.920] – Sean
Right on. All right, the last business question here, time-machine question. If you could go back in time to give your younger self advice, what age would you visit and what would you say?
[00:37:33.500] – Ravi
I would probably visit the age of 30 because up to 30, life was great. Phd, work and getting married and having daughter, all good stuff. I wish back then I bought some stock in Microsoft or Apple when it was a couple of dollars. I was never a money guy. I come from a very modest family. Even having money to have meals itself was a big deal. We come from a very modest family. This saving and planning for the future was never in my mind. If I go back, I would have saved more money because I didn’t know how many crazy things I will do to start a company. I would tell my younger self, which I tell to all my younger mentees, save as much because when you do want to become an entrepreneur or when some things don’t go the way you expect them to, then at least you have a good safety net.
[00:38:28.470] – Sean
Exactly. Great advice. I love it. All right. Where can the audience reach you?
[00:38:33.620] – Ravi
They can reach me on LinkedIn and they can visit my company site. I have a site called raviundlapally. Com. They can also reach out to our company via Mentorcloud. Com. My email is simple ravi@menthercloud. Com. I’m also on Twitter @ravikundhapali, and my book is on Amazon, The Art of the Booking.
[00:38:57.440] – Sean
We’ll make sure we get a lot of these links posted in our show notes. But, Robbie, thank you so much for your time. This is great.
[00:39:04.420] – Ravi
Thank you so much, Sean. Excellent questions and appreciate your kind words. Thinking about not what I say, but what I say that is valuable to your audience is something that I want to call out. It’s not about you or me, it’s about the audience that has something to take and then become better in their lives. Thank you for very, very thoughtful questions.
[00:39:27.860] – Sean
Absolutely. You’ll laugh at this, but I get customers, I can actually feel them metaphorically tapping me on the shoulder. You got to ask Robbie this question. Ask this next question. Because what happens is after an interview, they’ll send me an email and be like, Sean, I really like this interview, but you should ask this and this question. I’m like, Baseball moment. Like, oh, yes.
[00:39:49.360] – Ravi
You can still ask me after and you can add them in the comments.
[00:39:52.420] – Sean
Right. Well, again, thank you so much for your time.
[00:39:55.900] – Ravi
Absolutely, Sean. Thank you very much. All the best.
[00:39:58.380] – Sean
[00:39:58.640] – Ravi
Right, we’ll see you.
[00:39:59.470] – Sean
Hey, I’d like to say thank you for checking out this podcast. I know there’s a lot of other podcasts you could be listening to, so thanks for spending some time with me. Also, if you have a moment, could you please head over to Apple Podcast and leave a review? The more reviews we get, the more Apple will share this podcast with the world. So thanks for doing that. And last thing, if you do hear any stocks mentioned on this podcast, please keep in mind this podcast is for entertainment purposes only. Please do not make a buy or sell decision based solely on what you hear. All right, thanks for your time. We’ll talk to you later. See you.