When I look back to 1994, it was an extremely difficult and testing summer. The business I was running had failed and it took a lot of time to accept that. Things that we did then to extricate us out of that business only made us sink deeper into the quicksand. I was at a loss to know what to do then. I had lost confidence in my ability to think and do the right thing. But as they say, there is light at the end of every tunnel. Even in those depressing days, rays of hope started emerging as I started thinking from scratch on what I wanted to do next. When things are not working, one can either spend time brooding over all that has gone wrong, or begin to start looking ahead at what can be done. As an entrepreneur, one has to accept that success and failure are two sides of the same coin. One journey had ended, and another was about to begin.
Of course, it is much easier to analyse things in hindsight. That same objectivity is harder when one is living through it all. So, as I look at the recently elapsed summer of 2004, in some ways, the challenges are similar. There is a current business which we have struggled to make profitable over the past couple years, and at the same time, there are many new ideas which we have explored in parallel. While few of these may have worked to our liking, my approach tends to be to accentuate the positive and see the things that dont go right as learnings. And of these, there have been plenty of late. But once again, in the far distance, one can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only time will tell whether that was a mirage!
As one seeks to build out new worlds, it is very important to envision the future and imagine it to a Disneyland-like level of detail of what it can be. Where others see air, one has to see wireless transmissions of voice and data. Where others see tables, one has to see keyboards and screens. Where others see pain points, one has to see opportunities. Where others see past inventions that did not work, one has to see innovations that were stepping stones to the real thing.
It is at times like these that one has to turn inside to ones Gut, ones Intuition. Just like when Madhuri Dixit talks about love to her friend in the movie Dil To Pagal Hai that one will know from the inside (the heart) when one meets the right person, so to is the case between the Entrepreneur and the right idea/vision. Ones inside tells the outside. So it was for me in 1994, and so it feels now.
Tomorrow: A Rainbow of Revolutions
TECH TALK Tale of Two Summers+T