So this is the kind of post which comes after half an hour of trying to figure out what your WordPress password was. And this one apparently falls in the anniversary week of my last blog post! Terribly bad! At least not how i wanted it to be like when i booked this domain. But I would blame laziness, twitter & confidentiality, in that order, for not having written posts on subjects which interested me in the course of last one year. I like writing though, in fact writing a book has long been on the bucket list alongside a lot of other weird things like directing a movie, both of which i guess are pretty far away.
In the last one year, a lot of things around me changed, most of them for good. “The small little world around me” has become slightly bigger & is hopefully growing faster than inflation. A lot of reflections & realizations, a bunch of interesting conversations, a ton of ideas, a huge amount of travel, fair bit of execution, a lot of internet data consumption & most importantly a handful of new friends & connections. I gauge change by the actual change of 2 things. Change in mindset & change in routine. The latter has changed completely. The former has been through a lot of revisions over regular intervals of time mostly in tune with the lunar cycle!
I generally hate being on flights, being disconnected from the rest of the world, having to sit still all the time & I can’t sleep for short bits. Power naps are a distant dream for me & the cause of jealousy when i see people around me fall asleep just like that! No, let’s not go there… So the flight durations are mostly dedicated towards a bit of reading & thinking or more appropriately called dreaming. Richard Branson, through his books of course, was my co-traveller, in a lot of those otherwise boring flights. (btw, there should be blind dating services on flights, idea courtesy Sherin & Anoop) A lot of things that dude did was exciting & fun and his views on business or rather businesses were obviously inspiring.
The first of the many realizations of the last entire non-blogging year (ya, Q2 to Q2!) just on one of those flights. See.. There are fundamentally 2 types of people. BTW, I’m talking about people who do big stuff or at least want to. Ha.. So 2 types. The first kind can do one thing so well that the sheer passion & effort will put others to shame. They wouldn’t mind doing that for their life time. They improve & innovate & even reinvent. And the second kind, who likes doing multiple stuff and likes being challenged from multiple directions. It’s just what makes you happy at the end of the day. The fact that we were never a single product company & that we always reinvented ourselves across multiple verticals, made me ascertain the fact that Richard Branson & Yours Truly, had similarities in the way of thinking! If anyways you are always multitasking then why not multitask multidimensionally? A breath of fresh air in the flight & the restless wait for the thing to bloody land, safely of course!
Fast forward a year & now there are a few more small entities that we are associated with in one way or the other, either subsidiaries or joint ventures or startups or small investments. Most of them small but beautiful & having a primary entrepreneur running the show on a day to day basis. And the excitement & adrenaline rush is back to how it was during college days while bootstrapping. What goes around, does come back around i guess. It’s been tough but refreshing. (more on each of the start-ups later) The biggest strength, has of course been the team around. More so because they are all fundamentally entrepreneurs themselves. Every single person in the team, in their own small & big ways, help us chase more dreams together. And like in a lot of other parallels, the fun is always more in the chase!
Now the bigger dream is to create an eco-system. One that empowers more minds & spawn dreams in them. An eco-system of do-ers & go-getters. And an economic slow-down, like the one that’s most likely to happen now, is always the most fertile ground for a start-up.
The challenge is the focus & the resources. Both are always limited. Time, the most important of resources, is the biggest luxury for a man. It’s easy to say Dream BIG, it’s more important to strike the right balance so that execution doesn’t suffer. Growing in spurts is good. Helps you set goals you can see & aim at. Just don’t get stuck to them for too long. Always revise & reinvent. Nothing survives without that. We, as a country, have always been referring to the reforms of 1991, as the reason for the India growth story. True. Totally. But only till this far. To grow further, you need a totally different set of reforms. A 2 trillion economy (by March 2012) can’t run with the policies which were created to help the country reach the then target of 1 Trillion. Applies to everything!
Basically, identify yourself. What sort of a person are you? What makes you happy?
Dream BIG, but then chop them into cute smaller ones and put them in a sequence.
Be quick to get them done one at a time, Time waits for none.
Reinvent & Adapt. Keep listening. Keep learning. Keep discovering.
Being at the right place at the right time! A statement used so often that it has almost lost all it’s charm! And still when you give it a thought, it’s so very critical in each of our lives. It’s a simplified version of saying you got a good opportunity on which you could act on. In every phase of life, a few critical such scenarios decide where you are, what you do, who you meet, your lifestyle, your friends’ circle, dreams, ambitions, aspirations… It basically defines or rather redefines who you are.
Generally “being at the right place at the right time” is referred to in the context of being fortunate. Many humble individuals would say they owe it to someone else, usual beneficiaries being god, parents, guru/mentor/boss, friend(s) etc usually in that order. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with it, it’s never completely your capability or lack of it, that you are where you are right now.
The explanation that usually goes behind all of it is the very intriguing concept of “destiny”. For a set of unexplainable & uncontrollable things, it’s a good way to save a lot of profound thinking time! What I am more interested is the set of things that is totally under your control & can actually make a difference. No matter who all you owe the opportunity to or whatever part of the result is due to pure luck, there is this obvious set of things which you have knowingly or unknowingly done or maybe still doing.
Which means that if you bring more right things under the category of ‘things you knowingly do’, you might really stand a chance to make a difference I suppose. From an entrepreneurial perspective, let me list down the most important items, many of which I’m sure will be applicable to other things in life as well.
One of the most important factors, if not the most. Just reflect on your life & you realize that every major breakthrough moment you had in your life, you can trace back to certain key individuals who was instrumental in some way or the other. As an entrepreneur you need to build contacts like crazy. It’s not easy maintaining them but obviously it’s worth the effort provided you are building the right ones. And it’s not just random acquaintances, I’m talking about people who would call you first when they come across a specific set of opportunities or information, people who like you & wish good for you.
Finally what makes one person or entity different from the other is the amount of useful information at their disposal which they could use for their own advantage or for others. You need to have your trustworthy sources of course.
With contacts & information at your side, you need enough knowledge about the sector to think through & decide how exactly you can benefit from the scenario. This is unfortunately something you can’t help but rely on someone else, maybe via books, internet, continuously interacting with key stake holders in the space & keeping yourself updated on what’s happening in the ecosystem.
Putting ideas into action, the point where you put all the above mentioned items in the right proportion & make things happen in the real world!
In a big maze every left & right you take could have a lot of good or bad implications in the future, maybe near term but more importantly the medium & long term ones. You can retrace steps easily if you hit the dead end really early, it gets a lot tougher when you have taken too many wrong turns. For entrepreneurs ‘gut feel’ works the best, I have no clue about the logic behind that but probably because you feel you are the only person responsible for the decision & hence would stand by it no matter what.
f) Risk Appetite
The adrenaline rush is the fun part and stress, restlessness & sleeplessness probably the bad part. But to achieve big things in life you will definitely need to lose a lot of sleep I suppose. But it’s up to you to decide what’s your priority, you should probably not have been an entrepreneur if you thought there were other ways! The art is in managing the risk to whatever extend possible. The function which relates risk & reward is still probably a mystery but it’s obviously got some connection & in the same direction.
Mix all of the above with a lot of positive attitude & you have got a fantastic formula to be at the right place at the right time. You do make your own destiny to a certain extend. Probably the reason why successful people tend to succeed again & again or certain individuals seem to be extremely lucky!
What do you want out of life? Money? Stardom? Fame? Love? Power? Fun? Success? Most probably a combination of some of these would be what you want out of life. If you want all the above, don’t read further, you are already too lost! Just kidding… I’m not here to preach anything, just jotting down stuff which have come to my mind in different circumstances of my journey.
I believe it’s all about being happy. It’s just that different people have different reasons & things that give them happiness. But if it’s such a common knowledge, why is it that very few people around you actually seem truly happy? I agree that everyone can’t be happy all the time, but if you admit the fact that the ultimate aim of your life is to be happy, then you should also understand that happiness is not something that suddenly comes to you 5 minutes before you die, it’s some state of mind you have to be in for the maximum amount of time as you live your life out. Looking back in life at any point, if you don’t consider yourself lucky & happy, then don’t blame it on anyone else, it’s solely your fault.
Now, what everyone believes in common is that these are things out of your control. Some say it’s god, some others just call it destiny, fate, bad luck etc. But I think it’s a lot dependent on the numerous small & big choices you make in life. For a human being living in this era, his/her life is constituted by work, family, friends & love. And each of this give enough reasons to be not happy. But what if you train your mind continuously to move on a bit faster to the next thing whenever you are hurt than the amount of time you took the last time around? And what does it take to do that? Just a lot of positive energy!
Happiness is contagious. Your happiness spreads to a close circle of people around you & vice-versa. Sadness is equally contagious, but it’s your choice whether you want to spread it or not. Choose not to unless when absolutely necessary & even if you do, don’t prolong this phase! Take life as it comes, live life to the fullest are all things you have heard a million times from so many sources, just try implementing them. Find out what gives you happiness, set your priorities straight and work towards it. Think positive & that gives you more energy than all the RedBull/Horsepower cans you can ever have. Happiness gives you a high which no other intoxicants can ever induce. It’s not fake, it’s incremental, it pushes you to achieve bigger things in life.
I strongly feel that every single thing that happens in my life is for some good or the other. It’s just that in the case of certain things, you understand immediately that it’s good for you & in certain other twists of life, you can figure that out only some time later. Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement speech has been pretty much inspirational for me, ‘you cannot connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards’. The trust you have in this statement is the only reason you would have to follow your heart. And according to me, ‘following you heart’ is the most important thing in life. Because once you start following your heart, you will learn not to blame others for whatever has happened in your life. And also, it’s only the heart that can lead you to the right thing that can give you happiness.
You should definitely watch this video if you haven’t already >>
A lot of my friends have been asking me to register my own .com for quite some time now & finally I registered this domain. Sonyjoy.com being available was an irresistable temptation. I’ve just started playing around with a couple of themes & it will take some bit of time before i get familiar to this new playground. But once i’m, you can bet, you will have a fun time checking this out once in a while. I don’t intend to be a very frequent blogger, but i do plan to put up my thoughts on a varied set of topics including but not limited to starting-up, our company - mobME, life, friends, technology, mobile, music & movies, entrepreneurship, India & whatever stuff that comes my way that would make me think! For everything in between my blogs, you can follow me here.
Being a very special picture, i wanted this to be part of the first post here... Don't ask me why!