Sunday, 11 October 2015

Cameras, Computers, Coffee and an Idea: How Zarood became a Reality

You know what it takes to get a single product on the website live?

Get the product. Arrange a time with the photographer and send it in for a photos hoot. Check each and every photo for proper focus and lighting. Now send it to the graphics guy who will Photoshop the background out. Receive the photo, check for any problems in the background removal. If there is a problem, send it back, else approve it and then send the product in for a location shoot. While the location shoot is happening, send the product in to a content writer to write suitable content for it. Check the grammar and language for errors, if problematic send it back. Get the product location shoot picture, check for quality (duh?). Now that everything is done, brainstorm about what you can name the product, done? Now evaluate the price of the product. Sounds simple enough.

Now multiply that process by 300 products. Still not convinced? Don't worry. While you are still pulling your hair out trying to think of a smart name for your product, fighting with your boss and co-workers to meet deadlines, chances are that the faucet in the bathroom of your partially constructed office will break in the middle of the night and you have to run to get some help from wherever you can, or better still fix it yourself. Eventually you make it through the products descriptions and information, and you feel like you are done? Ha, you are a funny person.

Products are done, but are you forgetting the 'e' to your e-commerce platform. While you were making world records for setting and missing deadlines, your development team has been working on your website. You probably came up with an infinitely long list of features you wanted to add to your website, how on one click the whole window should fade out, and display all the products, a performance nothing short of an item number in a Bollywood film. In your head, everything looks great and sounds great, and then you get the first working prototype of your beloved website, and your world shatters into so many small pieces that even Fevi Kwick can't fix it for you. No worries, you tell yourself, picking up the shattered pieces one at a time and go back to the website features and try to research the lengths and depths of Google to find out the meaning of a good website design. You draw up this splendid list of changes to make and Photoshop mockups, but before you change that last change that according to you gave your website an edge over any random website out there, BAM! Your computer freezes. Of course it had to, right? You restart it, hoping that somehow magically technology would have worked its wonders and auto saved your recent changes, but alas not this time. Well, you anyhow try to recreate your ideas by memory, which at this point is fueled by endless Chais and 3-hourly samosa or Maggi breaks.

Finally the design works out, at least for the time being, and the products are put onto it and they look nice and everything, but there is always some room for improvement. Suppressing the perfectionist in you, you approve changes and move on to the next task of 1000 others. Someone in the mean time is working on a rigorous marketing and advertising strategy, while you are trying to steal a quick nap on a makeshift bed composed of two office chairs put together as soon as the designs are done. 6 months of this hard work later, you launch your website: your baby.

Zarood was a baby parented by 5 such crazy people, who put their souls into getting it to what it is today. Monday - Sunday, 10am - 10pm. And with all the effort, dedication, hard work and endless nights, our baby is almost 2 years old today, and we are so proud of it. Working with such a great team of people and a steadily growing partner artisan network today spanning 5 cities over 4 states has been one of the richest experiences of my life. As I write this post, sitting here in a Starbucks in Cairo, Egypt sipping on my coffee, all I am is thankful and even though I basically ranted for the past 718 words, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

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