CEO and Founder of Auquan Chandini Jain on How One Book Helped Her Get Unbiased Feedback, Reading Habits & Favorite Books
Last year, Auquan was an alumnus of the Techstars London startup accelerator and has raised $1.1m. It was also recently awarded as the Hottest Fintech Startup in Europe at The Europas.
Chandini lived in India until 2012, when she moved to the US. She has a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering/Computational Science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and B. Tech from IIT Kanpur.
She then worked as a financial trader, until she founded Auquan in 2017 in order to help solve problems of the financial world.
We learned about Auquan from a Sifted article about Europe’s top 30 tech innovators, who wrote that: ‘Auquan has built a community of 10,000 data scientists who solve puzzles for fun and to compete with each other. When put together, these puzzles solve complex mathematical questions which help traders on the financial markets make better decisions.’
From our interview you’ll learn more about Chandini’s favorite books, the ones she recommends to people interested in her career path, and her reading habits.
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell us about it?
Very recently, I read The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you. The book talks about how to design user interviews to make sure you’re not asking users/customers leading questions and get unbiased feedback.
What books had the biggest impact on you? Perhaps changed the way you see things or dramatically changed your career path.
Principles by Ray Dalio.
What five books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path?
We’re interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How do you make time for reading? How often do you read? What format do you prefer?
I try to read books at least ~4-6 hours weekly, usually on the weekends. I’d like to read hardcover, but Kindle is convenient during travel.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
Good to Great by Jim Collins – This book talks about how a good company can become a great company by conscious choice and discipline. Specifically, the idea of First Who, Then What (first get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to drive it) is interesting.
Links where you can follow Chandini Jain or find out more about her projects:
All books mentioned by Chandini Jain in our interview:
- Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio
- The Lord of the Rings, by J. R. R. Tolkien
- The Mom Test: How to talk to customers & learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you, by Rob Fitzpatrick
- The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
- Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want, by Alexander Osterwalder
- Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter Thiel
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, by Nir Eyal
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins