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I am Gokul Visweswaran, Co-Founder of NFN Labs, and This is How I Work

I am Gokul Visweswaran, Co-Founder of NFN Labs, and This is How I Work

He believes in getting down to work instead of planning and dreaming and that's what propelled his design-driven development studio, NFN Labs, into a successful venture clocking in a 40 per cent YOY growth since 2011. Chennai based NFN, which stands for No F*cking Name for the lack of a better name, was founded by Gokul Visweswaran, Sonaal Bangera and Rajesh Padmanabhan to build and design niche products. They have made unique products like Voomark, BuySell Tickets and helped Floh, FundsIndia and OptaCredit. In an exclusive interaction with Ishita Blaggan, NFN co-founder Gokul Visweswaran shares interesting anecdotes from his journey and provides an insight into how he works.

Location : Everywhere. Home @ Chennai, India.
Current Gig : Road Warrior, both at NFN Labs & SlashDr
One word that best describes how you work : Chaos
Current mobile device : iPhone X (eternally waiting. iPhone SE now)
Current computer : MacBook Retina 12"

  • Tell us about your journey and how did you get where you have?
I wasn't able to find employment for the kind of attitude I show (seriously), so was forced to start with a set of people who, of course, didn't fit anywhere. We (Rajesh, Sonaal and myself) wanted to create a company that was centred around design. We kept dabbling with many ideas around design for a couple of years, and ended up as NFN Labs.

  • Please tell us about the idea and intent behind not naming the company or rather opting for the name NFN
We found the right, niche design-driven-development gap, but weren't able to zero-in on a name. Zeroing-in on a name is a process where you get all of these: a domain name, a Twitter handle, an Instagram id & a Facebook id. We were frustrated, and at one moment, went searching for That was also taken.

So, Sonaal suggested "No F*cking Name" out of frustration and that was it. Over time, NFN became what it is known as today — NFN Labs.

We found the right, niche gap in 2011 and have been a profitable small business ever since.

  • What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
I am a mobile first person. Since, I travel most of the time, it is pivotal that I be able to execute my work using my iPhone as my primary work device. For the same, I use the following apps: Trello, Slack, Telegram, Uber, Goibibo, Cleartrip, Tweetbot, Everything Apple

I am extremely active on Twitter and Tweetbot is a personal favorite Twitter client.

  • What's your workspace setup like?
All the world's my office. There is a very fine line between work and leisure, and that too is blurred.

  • NFN has been an active recruiter at many colleges. What's your take on the obsession with a fat paycheck?
A fat paycheck is always welcome, including for the folks who work at NFN Labs. There is nothing wrong with that being the choice to define one's own success; kindly note that everyone's definition of success varies. Having said that, at NFN Labs we value relationships over a fat paycheck.

  • What are some of the lifehacks/jugaad you use in life?
I carry an empty 0.5L plastic soda bottle through airport security, and fill water later. Am not comfortable paying obscene amounts of money for water. This is the 'taking man out of a village, and not village out of a man' part.

  • What's your favorite to-do list manager?
Evernote - it isn't a to-do list app, I know. To-do list apps are too stressful.

  • What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
Saying 'no' to things and rejecting deliveries.

  • You drove from Chennai to Mumbai and back with your family this year. Please share a few tips and travel hacks, dos and don'ts for readers with a similar passion
If you like driving and getting out somewhere, please start your car/bike rather than hearing tips/advice/hacks from old people. Not good enough? Click here for inspiration.

  • What's the best advice you've ever received?
When I was just out of college and started my first job, my friend's father visited us. My job was with a well-known MNC and I was dreaming of a 'settled' life.

He let me speak for some time and said "Come out of your comfort zone and continuously experiment. Go to places you'd never dare to. Eat stuff you've never eaten before. A settled life sucks."

Am not sure why he said that ONLY to me, looking straight into my eyes. Am following it till date and never been sad in the last 18 years.

He changed the way I live.

  • Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Please start doing whatever you want to, instead of planning for it, or dreaming about it.

The How I Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Have someone you want to see featured, or questions you think we should ask? Email Ishita.

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