Indian entrepreneur and venture capitalist Kunal Shah calls on his decades of entrepreneurial experience to discuss what he’s learned about what motivates people, and how observing trends have made him a runaway success in business. Shah also discusses the cultural differences between India and the West, the lessons he learned growing up in the family business, why he dropped out of an MBA program, strategies for decision-making, and so much more.
Shah is the founder and CEO of CRED, an Indian fintech company that serves as a reward-based credit card payments app. Shah also currently sits on the board of a variety of Indian companies and has served as an investor in dozens of companies since 2016.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
But according to me, you cannot develop substance, networks, wealth, experience, unless you’re constantly willing to risk your reputation.
What creates an emotional arousal is rarely through efficient methods. For example, trips to inefficient places will be more memorable than efficient places by design.
If it becomes too similar, innovation dies. If becomes too dissimilar, trust dies. So it seems to be in an interesting spectrum that you can only have a certain mix that keeps driving things to move forward versus it becomes stagnant and boring and too chaotic.
Unless you know your salary and hourly basis, you will never really know what the value of time is.
I believe the insight is the smallest unit of truth that is actionable. And therefore people who operate in the currency of insights tend to be generally more successful, at least in business.
So I believe that historically people who were hired for years of experience, I think in future, people will be hired for experiences per year.
00:00 – Intro
00:27 – Lessons Kunal learned growing up
08:37 – On the fear of failure and shame
11:55 – Value vs. price
20:15 – Standardization of businesses
23:19 – What people pay for
32:51 – Who we do (and don’t trust)
34:38 – Focus in Asian markets
38:10 – Value of time in India
41:40 – Kunal’s startup journey
1:00:35 – What predicts startup success
1:06:42 – On insight
1:11:02 – Core human motivations
1:14:55 – Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in America vs. India
1:18:06 – On your group of friends and compounding
1:24:29 – Sharpening insight through public discourse
1:29:55 – On signaling
1:31:47 – Inner v. Outer scorecard
1:35:15 – On jealousy of different levels
1:43:46 – Most people aren’t in the truth business
1:53:45 – On getting surprised
1:55:28 – Wealthy people keep secrets
2:02:32 – On making decisions
2:18:35 – Opportunity cost
2:22:10 – on hiring high performers