Stoa Digest #34: Curiosity killed the cat!
Not the Lion. 🦁
Curiosity is an underrated skill in today’s day and age, but if you’re curious enough, you’ll be able to independently take yourself further than most.
We depend largely on our curiosities being piqued by an external force, but the real goal should always be to make something interesting enough for yourself.
There are a multitude of things in this world that we may fail to grasp, but given the right example, setting, context and/or explanation, it is highly likely we’ll be able to even explain it to someone else.
After all - there is a reason they say people who can teach someone else, learn better - simply because they have nurtured their curiosity enough to do so.
As a fellow of Stoa, we’d like to think something that our fellows take away from being a member of the programme, and by extension, the Community - is to learn to be incessantly curious.
Curiosity is but simply a way to allow yourself to be lost and find your own interests in a subject, in a way you didn’t think possible.
TL;DR: Seek out your own interests and solutions to be curious about a subject, topic, interest or hobby.
When participating as a Stoan, some of the ways we think our fellows will exhibit their knowledge is by asking the right questions.
How do you ask the right questions?
Make note of what you want to go in to learn.
Especially having read prompts, these give you insight into what you might or might not know about a subject - capture things you think might need answering.
Recognising a gap in your knowledge itself, is a trait harboured by people with great learning capabilities.
What parts do you/dont you understand?
Can you learn more by digging more yourself, or does it need to have the context of someone who practices this knowledge base on a daily basis.
Do you need your particular question answered right now?
What additive value does your question have, not only for that session, prompt or weekly module, but does it help you have context into the subject for the future, as well as provide context to others participating in the discourse?
Listening actively and attentively to someone is a skill, nurture it with care.
It implies understanding the way someone is communicating, but even with non-verbal cues, and gives you further insight into the subject.
In the present day & age it has become easier & easier to find the answers to your questions - and those that go digging to find these, end up coming off as more knowledgeable to those they speak to.
If that is someone you aim to be, start small and track your curiosity to improve your knowledge and learning.
Our Discord server will be going through a couple of changes to hopefully make it easier to categorise information.
We’ll send you an additional announcement on Discord itself to let you know what these changes are.
In case you come across something you think could be made easier, or improved - feel free to send Nicaia a DM with recommendations for the same.
Can’t promise we’ll be able to take all of them into consideration, but we’re open to ideas!
There are meetups coming up in Bombay & Delhi, if you haven’t been able to catch a whiff of them yet - find links to the WhatsApp groups for each city here.
🥳 🎂Birthday Parttaaayy! 🥳 🎂
8th Feb - Sindhu Jetty
10th Feb - Abhay Sharma, Divya Sahni
11th Feb - Goutam Naik, Vrushali Shivanagi
12th Feb - Bhavya Suneja
14th - Raj Rohit, Vartika Mittal, Shivramakrishnan V
🔦Fellow Spotlight 🔦
How did you end up finding out about Stoa?
“It was purely by chance.
So I’d heard about Twitter and like had an account and all of that, but I never really used my account or anything.
When I first started on twitter, I'd follow it for mostly sports news - so lots of cricketers & footballers, but when I came back I had to go on a mass unfollowing spree. Once I’d done this, I started looking at people in the startup world, and I saw a lot of Stoa on my timeline, so my intrigue obviously drove me to go check out the website. I swore to never, ever do an MBA, so everything about Stoa seemed to feed right into that, and the “Admissions Open” button was right there, so I took my chances.
Cause I was always very Anti-MBA, so when I saw Stoa’s website it just seemed super cool, like I remember my favourite part of Stoa’s website then was the FAQs. Like there was a question about, “Will I get a certificate?” and I loved the answer, cause it said, “If you’re looking for a certificate don’t come here”.
But Stoa is the best 2 lakhs I’ve ever spent, and this is after me owning a bike that I love.
And then in Sales, post engineering, what’s that story?
“Soooo, I was in Oracle doing Banking Software Implementation and I hated my job, cause it was so easy cause I used to think, ‘If computers got even an ounce smarter, I’ll be out of a job’.
All I had to do was just click here, click there, click there - like that was the job done.
One day I remember seeing my boss doing his job - and he was doing the SAME thing as me, and I was like, “man, is this me in 10 years??”, cause he had 12y of experience.
Luckily, at that time, the whole startup wave was just starting, but I remember thinking, ‘I have no skills, how am I ever going to get a job?’ Like I did Mechanical Engineering, but I had no work experience - so obviously no-one was going to hire me.
First thing I remember looking at was, ‘Okay so what do people hire for when they dont have skills?’ and the only two things I could think of was Sales and Customer Success. But when I thought of sales I also thought, these are the people that just sell encyclopaedias - like the worst job. Horrible. I wouldn’t ever want to do it.
Fast forward to me finding this role called, Solutions Consultant which was like a back office sales job. Like clients would come and tell us, ‘Oh I need a demo like this’ and we’d be the ones that made the demo and gave it to him. At least it was a foot in the door of the Sales world, though.
But from Day 01 at this company I’d been super vocal about wanting to get Sales experience - so I told them, like anytime they thought the sale wouldn’t work, to give me a chance to try and give the demo and sell. To which their response was, “no no, it’s okay we’re hiring somebody.”
So then anyway, they did hire someone, and he ended up not being a good culture fit, so then that position was left gaping wide open.
Then this is where everything worked in my favour, cause then funding came to a freeze cause of covid, so they now had to repurpose someone from the existing team into this role.
At which point obviously, my hand was the first one to shoot up.”
How did that decision end up panning out for you?
“I remember seeing Ashish(my then boss) like doing these demos, and thinking, ‘Oh dude, this can be done man, this is so easy’..
But then I sat in my first 10 demos, and for each demo I had to change my shirt, cause I was sweating that much, out of nervousness.”
What was sitting on your first demo like?
“Oh man! So I wasn’t really onboarded or anything, right?
Like from my previous role ofcourse I had been onboarded to the company, but not for Sales. I had 0 experience, and they were just like, ‘just watch some demos, you’ll be fine’, so I did and thought I’d be able to do it.
When the call came though, for me to get on a demo call, it ended up being with a pretty big client - a client, I myself, didnt want to take, especially it being my first call.
Then obviously, having done that call, I knew that they were never going to come back to us for business, and they never did either.
It was basically a birth by fire - that call.”
What would you say to people who think Sales is an “easy job”?
“I meaaaan, it’s easy to think something’s easy if you haven’t tried it, no?
Working in sales though, is like a little bit of a learning curve, like in the beginning I remember sitting in on calls and just nervously sweating right through them.
Once you find the rhythm of how it goes, it becomes easy - that’s the inflection point, the time you start finding the nuances in the conversation with a customer.
You start noticing a customer’s trigger points, and being able to navigate them and talk to them about those. Learning the nuances of how these calls work allows you to play with the process, adding your own nuance to things, experiment with diff. types of questions.
Half the things that happen on a Sales call get done on the fly, on the call, like there’s no plug & play model for Sales, but if you sit in enough Sales calls you learn some hacks & tricks about it.”
What do you think your biggest learning in sales was?
“Speak to your customer like you’re their friend, match their personality traits as much as you can.
Anyone can flow with a conversation, but when you make someone feel like you know them, cause you get what they mean, it makes a Salesperson’s job so much easier!”
Do you think you’re a good Salesman, and who made the greatest impact in teaching you to become one?
“I mean, I definitely think I’m a good salesman. The best way to judge a salesman is always numbers, like in other roles, there’s a little bit of leeway, but in Sales? That’s basically your job, if the numbers aren’t going up, you’re not doing your job well.
Salespersons HAVE to be great storytellers.
Like, look at Kunal Shah - he’s clearly a great storyteller, nobody knows what Cred is selling, but they’re making tonnes of money.”
How would you teach someone Sales?
“Oh, so mine was fairly simple.
When speaking to a customer, there are always Primary Pains, Secondary Pains and then the Cherries on top.
I call this the Primary, Secondary & Cherries.
Once we started onboarding more people as well, this is the framework I taught them too, and now it’s become the go-to onboarding teaching method to deliver results - or so I’d like to believe at least.
But when you’re speaking to a customer, there’ll always be a primary pain.
See for eg. : If you go into a store, looking for a white jacket, I can’t get you to buy red pants - cause it’ll make no sense to you.
But if I have a white jacket, then I can upsell you the red pants as something that’ll compliment the white jacket really well.
Essentially, the white jacket is your primary pain.
So they try it on, and it ends up being too tight, but then you show them one with a zipper - and that’s their secondary pain, right? Like, you’re solving for something they might not necessarily have told you, but indirectly, they did.
Always solve for a primary pain, then a potential secondary pain, and then your actual selling point/upsell will be the cherry on top.
Sales is nothing but problem solving on the go.”
What do you remember about first being on the Stoa Discord server?
“I remember not understanding ANYTHING, like the quality of content shared, and just resources and conversations going on were above my knowledge base then.
Because I was the curious type inherently, though, I didnt get intimidated by it, I just like Stoa says, “trusted the process” and now I sort of understand everything most people are talking about when it comes to business, at least.
So that was pretty cool.”
What would you say was the best thing you took away from Stoa?
“I think what was coolest to me, was the amount the team was willing to invest in my problems to solve them.
Like, no matter who I reached out to, or what for, it was made sure that my query was resolved pretty quickly.
And then of course the Career Track, like Priyal spent a crazy amount of time just looking through my resume, if I had to do that, I’d give up in 2/3 iterations, but she did it about 7 or 8 times, and she’d redline my resume, and I'd send it back, and then she’d come back with more iterations.
Just the dedication to see people succeed - and it’s not even just the team, it’s even the community, but you’ve got to kind of leverage it for yourself as well.”
🐝 Community Buzz 🐝
Twitter Gang! 💬
As if tailor-made for this edition of the Digest, Jagadeash wrote this thread that is very, very apt.
Leesha’s looking for some corporate business, help a girl out!
Vrushali’s on her way to a Youtube creator journey!! This first one was about Mind Maps & building a second brain out!
This week on Discord: Best Discord Messages This Week
Drop your Calendly into this thread, and feel free to book up time with others from this thread!
What Coke Studio sessions do you find yourself returning to often?
Kinda want to see what you guys’ Stoa notebooks look like - show us here!
For Stoans by Stoans ✍🏼📚⏯
Find some of the best book reccos with Sameer & on this thread.
If you’re looking for where to buy them, just click here.
Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice
Weekend Binges 🍿🥤
Blogs & Resources 🤓
Meme Wars 🥲
This week’s shiny new winner of Best Meme goes to …………
Mr. Anupam Sabat - a new entrant into this segment.
First C5 winner so far!
Adios Amigos! 🤠
For now, the Music channel is popping in comparison to the others 👀