The first deal

  • February 17, 2022
  • K V Daniel
  • 3 min read

“Give it to this guy, and its done!”

I still remember the first deal I ever got.

It was in Bangalore in the 90s. In true Bangalore startup style, where everybody had fire in their bellies and stars in their eyes, we aimed really high, straight out of the gate. Plenty of passion, no planning, no funds, and big, big dreams – a heady mix, born of the times.

We were just three guys then, not counting
an unofficial office boy who got us an endless supply of cigarettes and tea from the corner angadi. We had hardly any experience and we were working out of a small rented house with no furniture. Well, we had two tables, one for the computer, one for the printer, and one chair, but mostly we sat on the floor. Very different from the well-dressed and well-funded startups of today, I often think.

But we were too young and too hungry to be afraid. So we went for it.

We went for MICO.

The marketing manager at MICO was interested and wanted to come see my office. I panicked –
where was he going to sit?

I finally persuaded my neighbours to lend me a cane table and three cane chairs for the big man’s visit. I rented a few computers for the day and called all my friends, most of whom were unemployed, to come act as ‘staff’. Unfortunately we miscalculated the time of the Big Man’s arrival and they were all standing outside in the street smoking and chatting when he came. (Also we had forgotten to plug in the rented computers). But still the meeting went very well. He seemed to like what we had to say and was impressed with our ideas. So we waited hopefully.

Days passed.

Then out of the blue, suddenly one day he turned up unannounced. No furniture, no computers, no staff.

He had planned it deliberately, he said, just to catch us out.

Looking back, I think he was amused by our impertinence, because we did get the deal.

He went on to become a good friend and well-wisher. I remember him once saying to his managers, “Whatever you need, give it to this guy and it’s done.”

And that’s the first time I realised the value of a satisfied customer. That first testimonial still
rings in my ears, and even now with twenty years of much bigger and scarier deals under my belt I still get the same butterflies in my stomach whenever I’m facing a prospect.

It’s a good feeling.