Date archives "August 2011"

Updates from IDENTIFII

The last couple of months have been a blur. The small team behind the scene at IDENTIFII has been working ridiculously hard on creating a very high quality psychometric instrument for our members. We dove head first into the task, not totally aware of the huge complexities behind what we had endeavored to do. A commonplace occurrence in the world of startups!


Not withstanding the difficulties and challenges that we faced during these last few months, the team has prevailed. With the help of industry experts, psychologists and researchers we have found all the answers we were looking for! It is amazing what one can achieve when a collective mind is put to it!

The new assessment called PIR (Personality Identifier Report) helps individuals understand themselves over 20 personality traits. This detailed report was created with simplicity in mind to ensure that everyone is able to understand all the measures and derive maximum benefit from it.

The report highlights your tendencies, which is a powerful tool in helping identify parts of your personality, defining your strengths as well as other aspects which may be limiting your growth.

In our last assessment, we were constantly asked for the next step individuals could take to improve themselves. We listened attentively and this new report comes complete with a list of next steps to amplify strengths and work on gaps.

To ensure reliability and validity of the report, we require a minimum of a 100 participants from each country before we can do a mass roll out.

If you are an early adopter, like to give honest feedback, I would strongly encourage you to support IDENTIFII by heading over to – to register your interest and support your individual countries.

Looking forward to your support and feedback in the coming weeks!

Truth about Entrepreneurship

“Starting a company is hard, risky, painful and usually seems unfair. Starting a company that will leave a lasting mark on the world is reserved for the borderline insane or very lucky — not for those who need to be propped up with pep talks. In short, entrepreneurship is not a short cut. If you need someone to convince you that starting your own business is right for you, then it’s probably not. Going to conferences, hanging out with entrepreneurs or telling people that you’re a “start-up guy” does not put you in the category of those who put all their chips on the table to turn an idea into a reality.”

Giving Back

Last week I had the opportunity to have three conversations with individuals looking to apply to the Founder Institute and who have solid ideas going into the program. The best part about having been through the cycle of taking an idea and building it into something is that you can help others save a lot of time and anguish by helping them correct fundamental errors in the beginning.

I literally lose track of time when talking about startups, entrepreneurship and new product development methodologies, particularly when it involves another fellow entrepreneur who is just starting his/her journey. Giving back without expecting anything in return helps one achieve a true sense of fulfillment in what one does.

I am extremely thankful for the week I have just had. Regardless of all the ups and downs that one experiences during a typical startup week, you know it was all worth it when you are able to help a couple of people out. If you are launching a new startup or thinking about one and want to bounce your idea off me, please drop me a note at blog (at) usmansheikh (dot) com. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible!

Minimal Viable Product Research

I was doing some research on creating a minimal viable product for a short talk I will be giving. Listed below is some of the helpful research material I found.

What is the minimum viable product? – Venturehacks

The Minimum Viable Product Dissected

What happens to user experience in a minimum viable product?

Perfection By Subtraction – The Minimum Feature Set

Can User Experience Designers be Lean?

Milestones to Startup Success

Minimum Desirable Product


OmniFocus & Reviews

I mentioned doing monthly reviews in my last post and got some questions regarding how I manage them and what software I use. Here is what I currently use:

I use a product called OmniFocus that syncs through all my devices and helps me keep track of all the projects and tasks I need to get done. It takes some time to get it setup properly and integrate it into your daily workflow, however, once you get it synced it becomes a critical part of your daily routine. Some really good resources and videos to get started with the product can be found below:

Getting Started with OmniFocus

Getting Up and Running with OmniFocus in 5 Minutes

OmniFocus Basics

OmniFocus ScreenCast Tutorials

Once you have all your projects and tasks setup, the program gives you the ability to set a review date on all pending tasks. I have set aside a time at the end of every day to do a daily review. This brings up all the projects that need immediate action as well as those which have pending due dates coming up very soon.

At the same time I have setup reviews on a weekly and monthly basis to review projects that are coming up soon as well as those that I need to plan for in a couple of months.

Reviews help things from falling through the cracks and help prioritize your projects to ensure that you are able to meet your short term and long term goals. If someone needs help or is using omnifocus and wants to talk about shortcuts and hacks I will be more than happy to do so!

Reviving My Blog

On the last day of every month I find myself doing a recap of all the things that I have achieved as well as those I have not been able to achieve during this period. It helps to setup right priorities for the coming month with each subsequent review making the next month easier. Those of you who follow the GTD method will find this exercise a familiar one.

I was quite surprised to discover that we were more than half way through the year today. The last quarter has been an exceptionally busy one with a host of things happening all at once! I have been truly experiencing the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur and quite frankly loving it. I am fortunate enough to be doing something I love everyday, as well as working with people who share the same ideals and having a great time doing it in the bargain!

The saying that, life is not a sprint but a marathon, has started to make far more sense to me lately. I was most definitely in the sprinting category but of late I have had to adjust my pace to ensure that I don’t run out of steam. In the end, what makes more and more sense is that if you are an entrepreneur it is really all about endurance, perseverance and the ability to adapt rapidly. I do believe these three qualities are critical and definitive if you want to succeed in almost anything in life!

My blog has been through one of the longest periods of not being updated. I hope to make it up to everyone by posting at least a few times a week again.

Wishing everyone all the very best for the last two quarters of 2011!