Thursday, November 26, 2009

To be or not to be an entrepreneur

If you have read through some of my archives, you will know that I am very keen to become self-employed. Now whether that will make me an entrepreneur or just a freelancer does not matter. The very thought of the freedom associated with self-employment and the responsibilities and risks attached to it gives me a rush. As it does jitters. The reason I decided to test the waters, so to speak, volunteering with HeadStart, a nonprofit supporting the entrepreneur ecosystem, organizing Startup Saturdays in Bangalore, before taking the plunge. The last six months working with the SSB gang has been wonderful and fantastically educational. Of my own capabilities, nature, attitude, and a whole lot of other things that won’t be interesting to anyone else other than me. And before I start writing my autobiography, let me get to the point which is the theme of this month’s Startup Saturday “To be or not to be an entrepreneur”. To say that this SSB saw a high number of participants would be an understatement. It was the highest ever. Makes me feel proud to be part of the team that organized it. God, there I go again, writing my biography. The self-interest does creep in between the lines, doesn’t it? But hey, isn’t that what blogs are for? Argh, stop. Before you become more philosophical. That was for me btw. Goodness, I have two writing personalities? STOP.

To continue with SSB November, here’s what we wrote in our mailers and event introduction – “Many aspiring entrepreneurs are still stuck and not able to take the Plunge…. This month’s SSB will have a session on whether or not to be an entrepreneur by a three-time startup expert….”Perfect for me and others who have been loitering around in the lobby and twiddling our thumbs. The only problem was that it clashed with my daughter’s first ever fancy dress day at her playschool. Mommy or Boss? Which comes first? Father! Roped the guy in to make sure daughter’s dress up doesn’t suffer and went ahead with enlightened self-interest. Mommy will not miss this month’s Startup Saturday at any cost. So attend I did and came away with lot of notes. Not sure about that enlightenment. I still feel like loitering around. But that’s beside the point as always.

Just to ensure that those notes don’t go wasted, I sat and put in almost an entire half a day at office trying to write a very interesting, very educational, very enlightening post on the session for the HeadStart blog. It turned out like an essay that my final year college self would have written. But then I loved my college self. So here’s an excerpt of what she, I mean me, lets just say we wrote.

“Chaos and uncertainty – two things you must learn to live with if you want to be an entrepreneur” – started Surya, our presenter for the expert talk this Startup Saturday. One of the most awaited sessions, November’s Startup Saturday saw the highest number of participants in the history of SS Bangalore. Over 170 people assembled at the IIMB auditorium on this brisk Saturday morning eagerly waiting for some insights on entrepreneurship. While the event started with a series of the regular lightning pitches the audience waited eagerly for the key attraction of the day, the expert talk and discussion on “To be or not to be an Entrepreneur.”

“You have an idea or a maybe even a lot of them. But you don’t know where to start. You are confused.” continued Surya, adding “Then you can assume you are in the right place… you are fit to be an entrepreneur.” A huge collective sigh of relief spread through the audience. You could almost hear them thinking “thank god, am not alone.”

Dot. Dot. Dot.

The session concluded with Surya’s last slide which resonated with all of us long after the Saturday. It simply stated thus:

“Don’t be disappointed if the world refuses to help you out. Remember what Einstein said – I am thankful to all those that said No. It’s because of them that I did it myself.”


Read the complete write up here. And SAY NO to me please.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009