Javed Khatri, Co-founder & Chief Everything Officer at Kustard, Provides a Spot-On List of Books for Entrepreneurs

Javed Khatri is an Indian Entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Kustard – a digital product and innovation studio based in Mumbai, specialized in building mobile solutions.

The term ‘Kustard’ means a sweet combination of various fruits – in this case, it is a combination of the best brains. The team behind Kustard is composed of “wizards” specialized in digital products and driven to find solutions to problems. They’ve worked with businesses at all levels, from early-stage startups to major brands, helping them innovate.

With studies in engineering, Javed has always had a strong inclination towards technology and entrepreneurship. He loves building simple, yet impactful digital products, using good design principles and best engineering practices.

Below you’ll find a list of the books that Javed recommends, the ones that helped him along his entrepreneurial path, why he’s taught himself to get out of his comfort zone as an introvert, how he copes with anxiety, and more.

P.S. Thanks, Darshan, for introducing us!


What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Business:
The hard thing about hard things because it has helped me take lots of wise decisions at my company.

Non-business:
Hooked because it has helped me and my team at Kustard ship amazing digital products.


Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

There is this book “Secrets of power negotiating“. It helped me close many deals by creating a win-win solution out of every negotiation so that all parties involved are happy at the end.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

Hooked had a huge impact on me. It has turned me into a better product guy, it has taught me how I can get into the minds of the end users and make them do what I want them to do (of course in a positive way). The book and the hook model itself is well researched, interesting and thought-provoking.


What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)

  • Hooked
  • Reason: If you want to learn how to build products that users love.

  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  • Reason: Running a company is mostly about taking the right decisions at the right time. This book will teach you that.

  • Zero to One
  • Reason: This book is written by Peter Thiel and I admire him a lot. I was always curious to know about his journey, he clearly presents his views on businesses and startups in this book.

  • The Lean Startup
  • Reason: This book teaches you how you can avoid spending time, money and energy on unnecessary things while you are building a company. Overall it helps you build a sustainable business in a lean way.

  • Sprint
  • Reason: This book details the “sprint” process used at Google Ventures. We follow a similar process at Kustard to validate business ideas and to solve problems without wasting much time, money and energy. If you want to quickly validate an idea, this is a proven model and a must read.


I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

Normally, I read while I am traveling and on weekends. During weekdays I read a lot on medium.com.

I prefer paper books over ebooks or audiobooks.


How do you make time for reading?

I read books when I want to take a break from work. Also, I prefer reading while I am traveling.


Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

Yes, I create a list of key takeaways after I finish reading a chapter. In this way, I get a chance to skim through the entire chapter again and at the same time helps me capture important points.


How do you choose what books to read next?

I create a queue of books to read. There are always at least 10 books in my pipeline. I usually discover new books through friends, clients and of course Amazon recommendations. And now it will be from The CEO Library as well. 🙂


Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

It all depends on what kind of content I want to read. Most of the times I prioritize books according to the situation that I am in, say for eg: if I am learning about growth hacking/sales I will read about books based on sales and other similar stuff. There’s no single book recommendation guru for me, normally I ask for recommendation from people whom I admire the most in their respective domains (tech, design, business, sales, marketing)


What book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

Currently, I am reading Predictable Revenue because I am actively working on refining/optimizing the sales process at Kustard.


You consider yourself to be an introvert. How do you cope with the pressure of interacting with other people in business purposes? I’m an introvert as well and this is something I’m personally struggling with – social interactions “eat” away a huge part of my energy – and many entrepreneurs are surely going through this as well.

I personally believe that a comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing substantial grows there. So I make sure that whatever I do, always I am out of my comfort zone. This has taught me a lot. After following this mantra for a long time, I have started observing recently that I am no longer an introvert, I think I have turned into an ambivert now. (I guess it’s time to update my bio on Instagram :D)


Did you have any backup plan in the early phase of your business?

The fact that job was always a backup plan made me stay calm during the initial 6 months when the business was not that great. I used to tell myself if this doesn’t work I will join a product based company, help them grow the company, make an impact and then again restart entrepreneurship.


What do you do when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed?

When I am feeling anxious I try to distract myself by sleeping or reading or listening to music. There are certain things which are not under your control, the best you can do is to control yourself. But in situations when things are under my control, I always make sure I give my best shot and make the most out of it!



Links where you can follow Javed Khatri or find out more about his projects:



All books mentioned by Javed Khatri in our interview:

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