Today is reality day. 9th May. It has a very significant presence in my life. It’s the day when I decided on calling my new venture OMLogic. A company that has become a part of my life bigger than anything could ever be. OMLogic, the name, completes a decade of being, and its certainly time to reminisce. I still keep getting asked, mostly by people who find my decision disappointing and confusing, as to why I decided to move back to India. And I have given multiple different answers to them based on who was asking the question. Entrepreneurship bug, parents, Delhi life, kids are top amongst a list of 10 answers.
I have asked this question to myself numerous times and can say for sure none of them is true. So, why did I move back. Well, because I was bored. There, you have it!
Don’t get me wrong, I had a wonderful career. I was on fast path to leadership in IBM, salary more than most of my compatriots, house up on the hill and everything set right. But it all didn’t seem enough.
I guess I love the entropy, the chaos, the unknown, the change from the norm. One thing I can say about the move back to India is, 10 years, no regrets. Sure I would done some things differently (like choosing different partners to start the company with or ensuring I don’t take some of the ass-holes as customers which I did but overall…10 years, no regrets.
I want to take the opportunity today to do 2 things. One, compare US versus India (my experience) and second, share some of my learning from being an entrepreneur.
Lets start with the first one (why US entrepreneurship flourishes versus India doesn’t) – I am gonna rant here, I guess I have earned the right. Here goes, in the order of priority:
100% total lack of ethics: It’s a rarity to find good, honest, solid business persons* in India. Everyone is out to make money by fooling each other, outsmart each other. The stuff that you see in Bollywood movies, its true. Not sure if the movies were inspired by real life stories or if real life learns from Bollywood. But, its true. Calling out to the Hotmess, iSticker, Credit Nation, Punjab Government, Hero Cycles, my ex-partners and scores of others. Today is a day I pay respect to you all to make me stronger, more careful and a better person than I would be (depth teaches you the importance of height has never been truer).
Why is his shirt whiter than mine? (uski kameez meri kameez se safed kaise??): This one aspect nearly kills the Indian entrepreneurship. We are never looking for what we got, its always about what the other person has. In the US it is used as an inspiration, a way to grow stronger. In India, its just used to pull down each other.
Extreme amount of cynicism: While I say this, it is also driven by experiences most people have of dishonesty from others. I don’t blame them but it just keeps us down. An entrepreneur, by definition, has to be an optimist.
Socialism gone wrong (I call it pseudo-socialism): Its 2017, we have matured, we have grown. Its easy to be illiterate and still earn enough to feed your family. But our love-affair with wanting to sound humane never ends. People like me run the country. Don’t talk about giving anything more to the homeless bum who does nothing in their life or a farmer who spends 12 hours in the field earning tax-free…I work 16. Just because I sound educated and I don’t complain???
Unfavorable government / political / social / cultural environment: Unless you are a religious minority or a women or from backward classes or fall under some sort of reservation or are doing a business someone thought is sacred, its an extremely unfavorable environment. I pay more in taxes than I take home (by a factor of 10). And the government keeps coming up asking for more.
*I was about to say businessmen and suddenly had a flash of a large feminine brigade asking for my head.
Enough of this negativity, let me share some stuff that I learned over the last 10 years:
Its not about getting the best, its about making the best of what you have. That’s the one and only measure of true entrepreneurship
You have to have OCD and be eccentric for you to be an entrepreneur. I am a bit of both (minor case), which is why I am not a great entrepreneur.
It’s the journey that matters. Entrepreneurship is not about being successful, its about enjoying every moment and every failure. It’s a lifestyle (at times a disease).
If you are satisfied and everything is on track – you are not trying hard enough.
If you don’t progress, you regress. Forward thinking is a must have for all aspects of life.
Happiness is self-generated, not circumstances given. It doesn’t necessarily come with success and doesn’t necessarily go away with failure.
Some of you may find this blog ranting or bitchy, but that is exactly the intent. Sometimes its needed to give it the way it is.