I was asked to talk in a college recently on entrepreneurship, my qualification? not because of me being an entrepreneur but I was involved in TiE Chennai very closely. So there I was with some smart materially successful people in the panel who had lots of things to say about what they are doing. I was asked to introduce myself and I said - Iam a failed entrepreneur.. failed in 4 attempts, I have fallen flat on my face. I could nearly hear the audience gasping and whispering LOSER. Oh!!!! ofcourse I have wept over it, went on to depressive bouts thrice, closed my self within thick walls, struggled. Yet I seemed to emerge back and start again and fail again.
Please dont believe this stuff about Failure being the greatest teacher, thats the lot of horseshit, Failure to me is the ONLY Teacher.
And Entrepreneurial quality that strikes me hard is the act of being able to disrupt and challenge the existing system. So a typical entrepreneur cannot be expected to behave and act normally. These streak of absurdity and pomposity is so typical of an entrepreneur. However I have come across those (me included) who put on the entrepreneurship mantle with a wrong headed approach. I was focussed on the IDEA so that it will make me RICH. That was my undoing.
After a series of FAILURES I realized that Money must not be in the frame at all. The focus must be on the IDEA or the THOUGHT. Money happens, fame happens, success happens and even if does not happen, the entrepreneur does not dither and give in. He pushes and pushes. His idea fuels him.
Well I was so fascinated when I got to understand this point of view, and it made sense particularly in the Indian Context. And I believe our culture has something very valuable to provide to us. Hence I would personally suggest that every wannabe entrepreneur gets a clear picture of the treasures our own cultural setting has to offer. Reading Indian Mythological Text is a great beginning.
Starting out with The Difficulty of being good by Gurcharan Das is a great idea