Sketchnote: ENT101 Lived It Lecture–Kunal Gupta, Polar Mobile

Posted: - Modified: | sketchnotes

Update Jan 17, 2013: Added video!

I sketchnoted this live at the free MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 series (webcast and in-person session every Wednesday). Click on the image for a larger version of sketchnotes.

20130109 ENT101 Lived It Lecture - Kunal Gupta, Polar Mobile

Feel free to share this! You can credit it as (c) 2012 Sacha Chua under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada licence.

Here’s the video:

Lived it Lecture with Kunal Gupta of Polar Mobile ― Entrepreneurship 101 2012/13 from MaRS Discovery District on Vimeo.

Find more details on MaRS Discovery District’s blog. Check out my other ENT101 sketchnotes, or other sketchnotes and visual book notes!


Jan 9, 2013 #ENT101
Lived It Lecture

Focusing less on entrepreneurship and more on the ENTREPRENEUR

Our story:
While we were studying at Waterloo: iPhone App store, still

one year away
Inspired by mobile experience in Hong Kong: Watching TV!

The great thing about Co-op was that I learned I don’t want to

work for anybody. So we started a company!

Nobody knew what apps were. (Huh?)

Prototype of magazine on Blackberry

Why would anyone use this?
Where are the ads?
How do we get content in?

Q: Finding talent?
A: Referrals, events
Q: Pricing?
A: Listen. “How would you like to pay for this? -> Model neg.

Go out there and talk to customers
even big companies!

Nobody knew what I was talking about! (What’s an app?)

We’ll think about it. (3-6 months..)

We could’ve given up. We didn’t.

10 weeks, 9 phone calls… BUSINESS!

Professional persistence!

We launched 6 months before the App store
Went after US market in between exams

Q: Negotiation
A: Put off pricing -> validate problem first
Early days – no one expects you to have a rate card. As a

supplier, you want to use your own agreements eventually.
Q: Explaining ideas to people who pass it on
A: 1. Keep it simple. 2. Ask if they understand 3. Don’t need

to sell in first meeting.
Q: Small startup e-mailing/selling big companies.
A: Short, links at bottom. Put yourself in their shoes. Would

I reply to this?

We graduated and went full-time.

There’s so much noise about the difficulty of getting FUNDING.

/ Is there a proven market?
/ Do you have a product or service of value? Can it SCALE?
/ Do you have the TEAM you need?

Singapore is an AMAZING country. They always shoot for gold.

Learn from lots of places around the world.

Q: Future of mobile?
A: Amount of consumption -> 30% of traffic now mobile, will

cross 50%.. mobile-first. Changing the way people interact.

Manufacturers – what are people buying? Investments? Growth?
Q: Deciding between do and delegate?
A: What’s the most important thing for your business at this

time? That guides your time.
Q: Managing cofounders
A: Transparency -> trust. Expectations, concerns. Alignment.

How did we get Time Warner?
E-mailed the president!

What’s a little Canadian company doing in New York?
Blackberry -> made in Canada

9 months to get to a deal

I was so stubborn I insisted on having Sports Illustrated as

part of the deal

What we thought this would take

What it took

Hire for aptitude and attitude, train for skills
What should we do?
You know more about this than I do

Alignment is important but hard

New vision

People become more similar…

When you’re starting out, you need to keep REALIGNING

Chief Everything Officer } It’s not the right thing to do! You

can’t scale

Guarantee: You’ll make more mistakes than your team. Get over


Your body
barometer for business: stressed? focused?
Hey, is everything all right? You seem a little off.

Should I finish school?
Yes. Learn how to do things you don’t want to do.

You have to learn how to make tough decisions.

Toronto: Great place to start!

listen and develop product

Vancouver: Happier?

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at