How many arguments do you have before selecting a restaurant to dine? What sort of food do they offer? Are they expensive? How is the atmosphere? These are some of the questions we dwell over before going out. Sometimes selecting a restaurant can be a daunting task! This can even lead to decision paralysis (I’m exaggerating a bit here.) But thanks to Yamu.lk, finally we can choose what to do without any hassle or regrets. Yamu.lk is a Sri Lankan based startup which reviews restaurants, bars and places. You can read more about them here.
Even though Yamu.lk is a huge success in the Sri Lankan startup arena, it did not happen over night. Somehow we manage to get Indi Samarajiva, a director at Yamu.lk to answer some of the biggest questions any wanterpreneur would have before starting their own business. From his favorite movie to his biggest mistakes, Indi shares some of the best insights on starting your own business. If you are serious about starting your own business, you don’t wanna miss this one.
If someone asks you in a cocktail, “what do you do?” How would you answer?
I manage YAMU. We produce and distribute content. Our main business is food reviews, but our highest growth is in video. We cover mainly food and culture, mostly Colombo but expanding in Sri lanka.
What made you start Yamu.lk? How did you know that it would become a success?
Wanted to start something. Didn’t know but the site was pretty popular from the beginning.
How did you fund your business?
With my own money, and got family to invest.
If someone wants to start their own online startup, what is the best advice you can give them?
Just start something and see if it works. Most online start-ups don’t require that much capital upfront.
Can you outline a typical day of your life?
I wake up around 7:30, get to work by 8:30. In the morning I read the (physical) paper and check emails. Lately I spend more time managing people, so that means checking metrics and communicating more. My wife and I manage the company together so I spent a lot of time communicating with her. People get in around 10 so I keep an eye on the content going out. I don’t really eat lunch but I sit with my wife when she eats.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how weird are you? Why?
Depends how you scale it I guess. I think I’m about 6 I guess. Comfortably weird.
What is your greatest fear? How do you manage it?
Things jumping out from behind other things. I’m not in many situations like that.
How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Depends on the idea. If I’m confident in it I’ll keep going.
If you could talk to one person from history, who would it be and why?
The Buddha. Generally the wisest person I’ve ever heard of.
What are the books that had the most influence to your life?
Anything by Roald Dahl – that shaped my desire to be a writer of some sort. Ender’s Game I just enjoyed, especially the political part of it. The Age Of Spiritual Machines led me to study Cognitive Science.
What were the problems you faced in the beginning of Yamu.lk? How did you overcome them?
Website crashing, poor record keeping, growing a team. Overcome that sort of thing day by day.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Not having to take orders. In other jobs you’d sometimes have to do something silly because someone above you said so.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you have made in your life?
I didn’t register domain names when I first thought of them. I honestly don’t know, mistakes are other paths you could have taken and I don’t know where those paths would have ended up.
What are some of the hacks/apps that you use to increase your productivity?
The Microsoft Outlook app for iOS is surprisingly excellent. For email and calendaring.
When you feel demotivated and frustrated, how do you overcome it?
I talk to my wife, or walk around and talk to people. If things are particularly bad I hang out with the dog who doesn’t care about any of it.
What are some of the blogs and websites that you follow?
What makes you happy?
My wife and dog. And binge-watching TV.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in your life? How do you feel about it now?
We asked one of our co-founders to leave the company. I still feel not great about it, but we’re luckily still friends.
What was your first business idea? What did you do with it?
I was part of a company that sold cell phones in Canada. It was a total failure.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I hang out with our dog or watch TV. I don’t do much in terms of hobbies.
What movie, no matter how many times you’ve seen it, do you have to watch when it’s on?”
Where can we find you?
I’m actually not personally active on social media as much anymore. Best thing is probably email, email@example.com.
You can know more about Yamu.lk and Indi here.
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