When Lakshmi Shankar was working as a technology consultant she noticed a recurring problem. Clients often had trouble integrating paid video content with paywall and subscription tools. The problem was so pervasive that she decided it was a business opportunity and began work on Bitlume.
Eventually, her team recognized a greater need than integrating video streaming with payment methods. They pivoted and created a suite of products that include live streaming and on-demand video recording services for live sports, meetups, and other events.
“As the CEO of Bitlume, my job is to ascertain that we move forward progressively in product development, market adoption, and launch and in many other aspects of startup building,” Shankar said.
She and her team have been bootstrapping the startup and operating a beta with about 12 clients.
Shankar recognizes that she is competing against some big players: Facebook and YouTube, to name two. But she believes her company’s network of professional videographers, and live streaming product that facilitates automated scheduling and subscription features, sets Bitlume apart.
“My expertise in project management and solutions delivery has motivated me to take on the platform development within the constraints of bootstrapped budget and limited resources,” Shankar said. “With so many big players in the market competing for live streaming, we are on a modest start.”
Bitlume is launching in Seattle to start and plans to expand to other regions over time.
Before taking the entrepreneurial plunge, Shankar spent two decades consulting for Fortune 100 companies. We caught up with her for this Working Geek, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for her answers to our questionnaire.
Current Location: Bellevue, WA
Computer types: MacBook Pro
Mobile devices: iPhone, HTC
Favorite apps, cloud services, and software tools: Git, Notes, Google Apps, Asana, Send Grid, Gocoder, Wowza, of course, Bitlume
Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? “I enjoy working from co-working space (Impact Hub Bellevue, CoworkBox ) as it provides opportunity to mingle with other entrepreneurs, cross-collaborate, and share experiences. Frequently I work from my home office to start the day early when interacting with the offshore team in India.”
Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? “Planning a day ahead helps me to keep my schedule in check. I make notes the previous night on priorities for the upcoming day. After years of grinding, I am getting better at keeping stress from career out of personal life and vice-versa.”
Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? “LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. I make periodical posts on business activities and progress on social media. I use Facebook for both personal and business posts. LinkedIn is my preferred platform for business communication.”
Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? More than 20
Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? 14
How do you run meetings? “During early phase of product development, all our meetings were in person, whiteboarding and brainstorming solutions for a viable workflow for our app. With offshore development kicked off, I now run more virtual meetings, with agendas, milestones, and expectations documented and distributed ahead of time. It helps to build relationships and market connections when I meet with mentors and fellow entrepreneurs in person.”
Everyday work uniform? “Business casual but sometimes jean, t-shirt and salwar as I find it quite comfortable.”
How do you make time for family? “Family is part of life, work or otherwise, so I make sure that I am constantly in touch with them and am reachable when they are in need or when I am in need. We have designed monthly or sometimes weekly family activities which I will follow through sending reminders and setting expectations.”
Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? “I love long walks. Recently my husband and I started 12-mile walks along the Sammamish River Trail which I immensely enjoy and look forward to every other week. Biking and hiking are my favorite activities to unplug. Differing heights offer me the best perspectives and mindset.”
What are you listening to? NPR is my favorite radio station. I am very fond of classical music and generally interested in flute and jazz.”
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? “Apple News feed for daily read, HBR, subscribed to Medium posts on startups and entrepreneurship, Linkedin Pulse, will periodically browse through MSN.”
Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “Pick up the Damn Phone” by Joanne Black.
Night owl or early riser? What are your sleep patterns? “Mostly a night owl during early phase as I had done some product development burning the midnight oil but also adapt to early rising as I continue to induct more members into the team from offshore.”
Where do you get your best ideas? “Confronting opinions from various sources intrigue me enough to dig deeper which leads to new ideas and approaches. I also brainstorm ideas with friends and colleagues to validate my approach but sometimes will go ahead implementing them in any case as I have a strong belief system.”
Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? “I believe each of our experiences is unique, to that I would like to explore further into my inconsistencies and weakness to adopt a more substantiated and supportive system that will assist me in taking my startup journey forward.”