Good post from Rajesh Jain, India's premier entrepreneur
As an entrepreneur, I have always bet on futuristic ideas. Most of the times they have not worked out. But that hasn't stopped me from making the bets. That is the only way I know how to create new businesses. Until recently, I did not have a name for it. Now, I can term it as blue ocean strategy. The theory is easy to understand, but building a blue ocean business is tough. When one is trying to create a future that doesn't exist, skeptics abound. This is where an entrepreneur has to keep the faith. There will be many testing moments through the venture the entrepreneur has to face up to them with confidence.
Till a venture takes off, it requires immense belief in the vision to live through the daily challenges. And if a venture is not taking off, it requires great courage to accept failure and move on in life. Either way, the entrepreneur's life is about making difficult decisions and walking an often lonesome path.
This is not easy. Most of the time, I end up losing money. These are relatively small amounts of money I do not make bets which can wipe me out financially. I believe in making a few bets on what tomorrow's world will be and hope that the companies I am involved in can execute well enough to not just make that future a reality but also be big winners. I didn't have a name for this approach till I read Nassim Taleb's book, "Fooled by Randomness", And then a phrase came to me - I am a black swan entrepreneur.
Just like Nassim Taleb, who bets on extreme events as part of his investment strategy, I am betting on extreme ventures. These ventures are not about incremental change, they are about disruptive innovation. And as we were told again and again, most new ventures and products fail. But a few do succeed. Just because many new initiatives may have failed in the past, it does not mean that the next initiative will also meet the same fate. This is similar to seeing white swans. Just because one has not seen a black swan, one cannot conclude that it does not exist.
A good description of the trial and error fundamentals of successfull entrepreneurship. Not quite the turn of phrase used by Seth Godin in Zooming. Seth runs a mile with the whole embracing uncertainty concept. But good descriptions of entrepreneurial attitude and lifestyle are hard to come by.
In fact, little is successfully taught about entrepreneurial attitude. Formal "managing innovation" courses emphasize the systematics nature of making choices, with BCG matrices and weighting functions. Little prepares an MBA graduate, bursting with enthusiasm on graduation, for the day to day life of an entrepreneur. Like a goldminer setting out for the hills, the bad times are hard, while the good times ridiculous. Total volatility. MBA graduates can rarely stomach the extreme uncertainty, in wages and career path.
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