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The story behind Jira

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In 2020, we are all familiar with startups, and we all know someone somewhere who owns one or works at one. But back in time, when Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar launched Atlassian, the response they received as university graduates wasn’t as promising.

Mike and Scott’s partnership started as many great friendships do, and can be traced back to their college life. Both were in the same scholarship program at the University of New South Wales in 1998. They built a friendship and a partnership, both ambitious and intelligent individuals. And like all other students, they were expected to join one of the Australian companies sponsoring the program.

Instead, they started Atlassian, their startup.

At the start of their career, no one knew or was able to understand what they did, or how they did it. In a nutshell, Atlassian creates software to help businesses and teams work better. And not just any businesses, but the cream of the crop. Jira, the first piece of software released by Atlassian, helps organizations like NASA and Tesla with project management.

The rest of the history of Atlassian — a true tech giant worthy of its Greek Titan inspired name — stays off the normal path. For most start-ups, funding comes from capital that’s sought out from external investors. After all, venture capitalism is its industry at this point. Mike and Scott didn’t take that route.

They took on debt to fund their project — $10,000 dollars put on credit cards. Most people who get thousands of dollars of credit card debt don’t come out on the other end being industry-shaking billionaires, but they have proven to not be like most people, just as Atlassian has proven to be different from most companies.

This includes how they marketed their new product. Atlassian has never had a giant sales team, instead relying on internet sales. The original marketing strategy was going to meetups for developers and buying them beers — with the Atlassian sticker on the bottle. The typical Australian way.

Their marketing strategy relied on a quality product at a low price and the word of mouth from happy customers. And it worked.

Atlassian also prioritized charitable work from early on. In 2006, only 4 years after launch, the Atlassian Foundation was created along with a pledge to donate 1% of equity, product profit, and employee time to charitable causes.

In 2013 as an incentive to raise $40,000 for charity, Scott, known for having long hair usually tucked into a trucker hat, said he would shave his head into a mohawk then dye it blue. And he did, adding to Jira’s lore of success.

HipChat, a web service for internal online chat and instant messaging, was acquired by Atlassian in 2012. Its office web chat features would become so valuable that Atlassian sold it to Slack, a pioneer in changing how offices communicate.

In 2017 Atlassian bought Trello, a collaboration tool for businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. After picking it up they worked to make it even more useful and compatible with existing software.

The history of Atlassian is worth it to pay attention to. It does not only teaches how to be successful; but, to be confident if you have something unique and, it’s definitely okay if people cannot understand it.

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Leadership

4 Must Reads – Straight from Elon Musk’s recommendation list

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Elon Musk’s reading collection includes science fiction classics as well as complicated literature on cutting-edge technologies. His vision as the leader of some of the world’s most valuable companies makes it interesting to take a peek into the inner workings of his mind. Musk is also known for sharing his suggestions on social media. 

Let’s evaluate some fascinating reads from his recommendations.

Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson 

This book chronicles the ambitious and adventurous life of Apple’s brilliant entrepreneur and eccentric creator. Steve Jobs covers the man’s successful enterprises, beginning with his early experiences with spirituality and LSD and ending at the pinnacle as a worldwide technology superstar. This is a well-researched book that goes into the thinking of the man behind the world’s most valuable technological business.

Life 3.0, by Max Tegmark

The Brief Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Elon Musk’s latest book, is one of the few that explores the idea of AI being used for good rather than harm in the world. Max Tegmark, an MIT scientist, addresses how to keep Artificial Intelligence helpful to humans while simultaneously ensuring that technological progress is consistent with humanity’s long-term goals.

The Big Picture, by Sean M. Carroll

The Big Picture is a bold examination of the world we live in and how we may make sense of the vast majority of it through scientific thought. It teaches readers how to think about the most difficult things, such as the origins of life, awareness, and the cosmos itself, using a deductive approach. Sean Carroll is a practicing theoretical physicist with some unique philosophical perspectives. Sean invented the phrase “poetic naturalism”, which is addressed in the book.

Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom

Superintelligence is intended to be a serious, hard-headed examination of the impending arrival of computers that are far smarter than humans. Musk has often warned about the dangers of unfettered Artificial Intelligence, and this book examines the pitfalls of taking technology too far too soon. 

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Freshwork’s inspiring success story makes employee crorepatis

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Freshworks IPO has made 500 employees crorepatis

Freshworks Inc., led by Girish Mathrubootham, became the first Indian Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company to get on the NASDAQ, which helped the valuation of the company reach a sky-high value of $13 billion.

Through stock options, around 500 of Girish’s employees turned into ‘crorepatis’, out of which 70 are said to be under 30.

Born to a former bank officer in 1975, Girish co-founded Freshdesk (now Freshworks) with Shan Krishnasamy in 2010. Atwell College from Australia was the first of many clients on board. The company managed to get 22 clients worldwide in the initial days.

Entrepreneurship is never a smooth journey, with success never guaranteed. “Success and happiness are two different things – One should focus on staying happy irrespective of what is happening around you. We always hold the key to our happiness,” says Girish.

Girish also mentions how grateful he is to all his employees and that the 500 new ‘crorepatis’ deserved a reward for their contribution over the years. About 4300 of Freshwork Inc’s employees globally hold equity options in the company.

Girish strongly believes in mentorship. He also founded SaaSBooMi, a community of founders who share hard-learned experiences by making these learnings available to all. “Passion and purpose are more important than almost anything else,” said Girish talking about young entrepreneurs looking to leave their mark. In the long run, he hopes to build a SaaS company that is recognized globally.

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Shaji Thomas: The Indian Superhero who is saving the Amazon Rainforest

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Global warming, forest depletion, and other hazardous effects on our environment have been increasing rapidly as days go by. There are still a few souls who do everything they can to make sure they somehow play a part in saving us from what is known as the end of our existence.

One such hero is Shaji Thomas. He has been in a fight for the last 26 years to protect and save the Amazon Rainforests of Brazil. Here is a look into his heroic struggle to ensure a better future for us all. 

Shaji Thomas: Guardian of the Amazon Rainforest

Shaji Thomas who hails from Kerala carried his bags and shifted to Brazil as a young student. This young smart superhero is now an environmental conservationist and a lawyer, but what is more fascinating about him is the fact that he stayed back after his education for one special cause.

Shaji Thomas decided to fight and protect the Amazon Forests of Brazil and the rights for the 60 plus communities that reside in the region. This passion began when he was in his mid-twenties and was a part of the Quilombola Community. 

The battle was not easy in the beginning. Thomas had to acquire Brazilian citizenship and become the only Indian-origin lawyer in the region. He stood up to the mafia and lived on a boat in the rivers of the Amazon for years. 

This superhero has been holding up a strong fight for years but there is still a lot of work to do. Climate change is something that has been on the rise leading to major destruction of the rainforests. Thomas claims that almost 20 sq. km burns every year due to forest fires.

Shaji Thomas is working hard every year and inspiring people all over the world to play their part to ensure that the Earth’s lungs are safeguarded, and we have a sustainable future.

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