Name: Hiten Shah
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Hiten is a serial entrepreneur who loves starting and growing businesses and is also eager to help others start and grow their businesses, both self-funded as well as venture backed companies
Tell us a little about your educational background and your companies.
I studied organizational behavior at UC Berkeley. Once I graduated I immediately started my first Internet company, ACS. It was a consulting company where we provided marketing services to other companies. Since then, I have started 2 software companies focused on providing analytical insights to businesses. Crazy Egg was the first company started in 2005 which creates heatmaps (a visual representation) of where people click on your website. KISSmetrics is the second company started in 2008 which helps people understand how customers are interacting with their businesses. It helps companies who sell products and services online to measure the lifetime value of their customers, who their most valuable customers are and where they came from.
How did the idea start?
When we started ACS, our consulting company, we noticed that many people had a hard time trying to make sense of and take action on their business data. Crazy Egg was created to help business people look at something visual they could understand instead of just numbers, bar graphs and pie charts. KISSmetrics was created to tie the disparate data from customer interactions into one system in order for them to understand their customers better.
What advice would you offer to someone new to this industry or wants to start his / her own company ?
Just do it. It’s really easy to keep thinking about it but much harder to actually just start doing something of value. Whether it’s something small like selling a single product or building a very simple start to a software solution, my best advice is to just get started now.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not at work?
Play with my two kids. Also spend time gardening, cooking and eating with my family.
Do you practice any Stress Relieving methods ?
I try to take as many walks as possible. Not just walking meeting with co-workers or colleagues. I also try to just walk by myself, I have noticed it helps me clear my mind and thus think more clearly.
How has Jainism played a role in your lives ? Are you involved with any Jain organizations ?
My family has been a member of the Jain Center of Southern California since we moved to Southern California in the late 1980s. I went to “Sunday School” at the temple from about age 12 to 17.
What Jain values do you use day-to-day when running your business?
I’ve personally found a lot of value in business from the first three major Jainism vows. Ahimsa, Satya and Asteya.
Ahimsa – Non-violence I do my best not to cause any harm (or pain) to any other human beings. I think about the side effects of my actions on others and do my best to avoid anything that may cause pain to others. In some cases you have to do things such as let someone go from your team. In those cases I try to “take care” of that person as best I can considering the circumstances.
Satya – Truth In my opinion, honestly really is the best policy. I speak the truth and avoid doing business with people who don’t.
Asteya – Don’t steal If gaining for myself involves stealing from another individual, I will not do it. It’s selfish, unethical and tends to lead to more problems and complications than it’s worth.
Give us a key mantra to live by.
Words I live by: “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar(American author, salesman and motivational speaker)