Day in the life interview: Dimple Lalwani and Somesh Selvachandran from Talking Circles
Today’s Monday motivation comes from London based startup Talking Circles, peer mentorship for the modern workforce.
An enterprise social learning platform, Talking Circles gives todays workforce the right tools to focus on their personal and professional development in order to achieve their goals across the team.
- First can you tell us a bit about your job? What does your company do?
Talking Circles is an enterprise platform for continuous learning between coworkers. People learn best from people. We match coworkers to share unique expertise, helping them become more productive. Talking Circles is an efficient way to collaborate and share organisational knowledge at scale.We have built a tailored and cost-effective solution to training so companies can retain their best talent.
We founded the company in Spring 2016. We were both founders of other startups at the time and were introduced by a mutual friend. We were both passionate in how we could better connect people within the workplace. Talking Circles grew naturally, if not rather quickly, as we bounced possible ideas off each other.
Somesh – My background was in banking technology. During my 10 years at Morgan Stanley I’ve been actively working to get more women into technology and to engage children in STEM subjects. I’ve also seen how important it is to build your network early in your career and Talking Circles provides the platform to better connect people.
People tend to leave their jobs because they stop learning or feeling engaged with what they are doing. With Talking Circles, learning between colleagues is prioritised. For employers, having real time data and intelligence as to what employees need and how knowledge sharing is positively affecting their performance is extremely valuable.
- What time does your typical day start?
Dimple – We are really flexible and tend to sometimes work strange hours, but usually we try to start work at about 9/10 am, and then I probably shouldn’t say what time we end up finishing.
Somesh – My son ensures that I no longer have lie-ins, so the mornings are usually quite busy, which forces me to be focused and productive during the working day.
- What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?
When we got our first client. Not only were they willing to try it out but also pay for it. After all the hard work it is really gratifying and when you have investors believing in it too, it is just hugely rewarding.
- What is the one app you could not live without?
Dimple – Google Calendar
Somesh – Wunderlist
- What’s the best thing about working at your company?
We’ve both worked in a startup environment before; so we knew the structure and way of working. Picking your own team and deciding who you work with makes such a difference. The team we have grown is the best thing about working at Talking Circles:, the dynamics and sharing ideas makes it a great place to work.
- What makes London a good city for startups?
Somesh – London has embraced a startup ecosystem and across the city there are multiple programmes and investors ready to support and challenge you, to successfully take you idea and make it into a growing business.
Dimple – London has such a supportive community and we took full advantage of this when we were starting out, such as the Google Campus. London gives you the ability to innovate and start something new.
London also has greater expectations compared to other cities, there is such a different vibe around culture and background so there is just more opportunity.
- What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employee?
- Not being fearful of your opinion
- Have a passion for learning – our platform is founded on the culture of learning after all!
- And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur starting out?
Dimple – Don’t quit until you’ve validated your idea.
Somesh – Avoid the temptation to just use Google. While it can be a useful starting point, it doesn’t equate to going out and meeting people who can challenge your ideas. Being challenged by people outside. Networking is invaluable for getting advice and sharing ideas which will ultimately only benefit you and your startup.