The hard part about building ventures with a view to the future is convincing others around that it can work. I face the challenge at work and when I talk to potential partners and customers. The red ocean of competition is very visible. The blue ocean isnt. I have to spend time making others see the world as I see it. I have to outline a vision that may seem outlandish to the one listening. But I have learnt to persevere. It requires great belief in what one is doing.
It is something I think about a lot. For the past year or so, I have spent a large part of my time thinking about the mobile internet and network computing. For me, there are two screens through which one will access the services in the future the small cellphone which we always carry, and the big, mostly stationary computer (or in some cases, the television). In a way, both are computers. (Nokia calls its range of mid- to high-end mobiles as multimedia computers.)
The key point here is that services will mostly be server-based. This is a shift from the world of desktop computers. Also, in countries like India, where broadband has languished due to poorly conceived policies, the mobile is likely to be the primary device for access to these services. The existing Internet leaders come from the world of cheap and plentiful bandwidth, with near ubiquitous presence of computers. That is not the case in India. It may be hard to believe but we do have something that is world-class on the infrastructure side in India the mobile data networks.
But the reality of today is that in both mobile data and network computing, there is a lot that needs to happen and change. Operators control access to mobile data networks, and network computing lacks broadband. These and other challenges are what we need to solve in the ventures I am involved with.
Besides, I need to convince team members that tomorrows world will be very different from today. I tend to live mostly in the future you see that reflected in many of the posts that I do on my blog. I read widely but spend only a limited time with newspapers on what happened yesterday. The future fascinates, but I also need to make sure that it is something that we can make reality. If we dont, we fail.
I prefer to look ahead rather than backwards at who is chasing us. I dont spend too much time thinking about what our competitors are doing. Some of them, of course, have the advantage of having a large user-base and great deal of capital. But if we think innovatively, we can beat them and win big. Sure, the odds are stacked against us, but then that part of the fun of being in the business of entrepreneurship.
Tomorrow: Handling Failure