The life of an entrepreneur is different. I have been living this life for the past eleven years. Of late, as things get busy again and the shift happens from thinking to doing, I could not help reflecting on how this life is different. As I have mentioned in the past, much of what I write is driven by my own experiences (positive and negative). There may be some overlaps with what I have written in the past, but hopefully, there are enough new thoughts that can be useful to you.
Having a reasonably clear perspective on where one is headed over the long-term is very important. At the same time, it is not that important to know the detailed roadmap that will evolve over time. More often than not, people get it wrong they focus too much on the near-term and not enough on the long-term rationale of why they are in the business.
The vision has to be driven by a set of core beliefs only then will it stand the test of time, criticism and competition. This vision must define a future that is different from the present. The entrepreneur must be able to convince others that the future can be created. The beliefs must be based on a series of logical arguments, and not just a fancy dream.
In my case, for much of the past two years, my driving belief has been that of affordable computing solutions for small- and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets like India. The aim is to get a connected computer on every desktop for every employee at a price point of no more than USD 10-11 (about Rs 500) per employee per month for all the hardware, software, connectivity and services that these SMEs need. I embarked on the road thinking all I had to do was the software (create an integrated eBusiness suite). I was wrong. I realised that I had to think about creating a total solution comprising hardware and software since the biggest issue in technology adoption in SMEs was non-consumption. That led me to server-centric computing and thin clients, married with open-source software. Over these two years, the roadmap has changed but the destination has remained the same. We are still a long way from reaching the destination in fact, I dont even know how long it will take us to complete the journey.
In the same vein, for an entrepreneur, it is very important to get the basic vision right this is much harder to alter. The vision must be something that makes the entrepreneur wake up every morning, irrespective of how the previous day was. It is this dream of a world that can be that drives disruptive innovations and revolutions.
Tomorrow: Compass Thinking