Recollecting 2010–2019: End of a decade and beginning of a new
10 years back, I was sitting in my room, reading Plato, and wondering how a Utopia will look like.
It was also in 2010, when I signed up on Facebook. Little did I know I will be doing much more than just scrolling through its news feed.
It turned out to be the core of my business. Thank you so much, Mr Zuckerberg 🙏🏼
When this decade is ending, precisely after 3,651 days, I am sitting in Mumbai and wondering the next step for my two startups. Through this time, I have went on to create a magazine, start a performance marketing agency, and build a social media analytics startup that is used by over 2,000 people across 60+ countries.
I guess reading about Utopia helped. 😁
On the last day of this decade, I am recollecting all the memories of the past and trying to organize them.
For me, it’s been a remarkable one. At least, unlike the ones that passed by. And, most likely, will be unlike the ones that will comes to pass.
At the beginning of the decade, I was passing into adulthood from teenage with a book by Plato in my hand.
The times we’re living in —the rise of the right wing, protests around the world, the need for a new economic order, and our final chance to end pollution — it’s paramount we pass Plato and treatise on wisdom.
I went to college to complete my graduation creating a magazine and editorial board where we did some cool stuff together: planning content, editing, taking interviews, managing finances, and circulating it.
It was exhilarating. That’s where I learnt the first lessons on raising funds and building a team.
A lot can happen over a decade. ⏳
The Best Learnings from The Decade
I learnt too. A lot actually.
However, I will share with you three which matters more than ever in the times we’re living.
My schooling was from Kendriya Vidyalaya, a school in India which truly reflects India’s social fabric. In 2010, I passed out from this school.
I was part of a classroom which had people from at least five different religions, at least ten different states, and spoke even more variety of languages. Well, our classroom had an equal gender ratio.
It’s now that I realize how special it was to be a part of such a diverse cultural group. It allowed me to appreciate and accept differences in behavior.
People, in general, are good. Of course, they have limitations. They will always have some.
But here’s what I realized.
To do great things, you need them.
You want to build a great company? You need people.
You want to build a prosperous nation? You need people.
You want to build a joyful society? You need people.
Heck! You want to create a lovely family? You need people.
By you need people, I mean you need to accept them with their flaws and make your course towards something better.
In the longer run, non-violence will always win. And even if it doesn’t, it’s something to aspire for. Always.
It’s difficult, of course. But if you practice over and over and over again, you will feel the difference.
Like any other life habit, non-violence can be cultivated with practice and intent. (Also, having a Jain friend helps. I have one😉)
The Best Entrepreneurship Lessons from The Decade
Although, my entrepreneurship journey officially began in 2014, I was skimming the waters since January 2011.
It’s been the most active and the most dominant aspect of my life.
Here’s what I learnt:
1. Fungal growth lasts
While the whole world is talking about viral growth and growth hacking, I believe fungal growth is what we need right now. It’s slow and steady. And it lasts. We’ve seen too many companies growing too quickly to die before you can say “funding”.
That’s the reason Zoho is still here while WeWork is looking to survive. Focus on growing, no matter how slowly.
2. Pivot. Pivot. And Stick.
One of the most positive trait of a founder is often mentioned as the ability to pivot. I learnt it first hand as I discovered the sweet combination of my ability and what the market needs.
When you change directions, you also need to commit to a path at some point. It doesn’t need to a great idea. It just needs to be something that aligns with your reason and passion.
3. You won’t be able to make it without patience and acceptance
While some people call it perseverance, I prefer to call it patience.
Perseverance makes it sound like you’re struggling. It’s denial.
But patience? Patience is acceptance. In entrepreneurship, you need to accept the time it is going to take before something may happen.
“The two hardest tests on the spiritual road are the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage not to be disappointed with what we encounter.”
― Paulo Coelho, Veronika Decides to Die
It holds for business too.
In fact, the bigger the potential, the more time it’s going to take. (It took billions of years for evolution to create us. Or for universe to come into existence the way we see it now 🙂)
4. It’s not all about business.
Or as the Joker would say in The Dark Night.
Entrepreneurship is about having fun. Taking a plunge and exploring all the possibilities you had in you. And if everything comes together, maybe become successful.
The Best Books I Read Between 2010–2019
How could I have ended this without mentioning some great books. Here are seven books that will always inspire me to read more:
- The Story of Philosophy: The title says pretty much all. It’s a history of how our understanding of the world changed over and over again. It’s prescience era, of course, but it’s where you could see the seeds of science being sowed.
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : It’s neither about Zen nor about fixing your motorcycle. It tries to answer the eternal question of how to live.
- Rashmirathi: A Hindi epic poem by India’s national poet, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, it tells the epic tale of Mahabharata with Karna as the hero. While it’s a glorification, it’s a philosophical take on war and violence.
- Gone with the Wind: I am disclosing this secret forever: I would have dreams of the female protagonist, Scarlett O’ Hara even after I finished it. This book introduced me to the American racism for the first time!
- To Kill a Mockingbird: And this was the second one. This book taught me so much about ‘considering things from his point of view’, ‘not killing a mockingbird’, and ‘that there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.’
- The Stranger: This book introduced me to the concept of absurdism. Does everything you do has to have a meaning? Isn’t there a meaninglessness to most of the time you spent daily? I recommend you to read this if you are struggling to come to terms with the mundane of your lives.
- Man’s Search for Meaning: Freud can stress you out. Is the civilization doomed to discontent? The author, Viktor Frankl, finds a way out. No matter how bad your life is, you have control over your deicision. Or how you want to feel about it. (Thanks Vikas for sharing this. 🙏🏼)
The Best Movies I Watched Between 2010–2019
And, of course, movies. You will find many movies that were produced in the previous decade. However, I still name them in the list to remind myself that great work stands the test of time.
- Into The Wild: Based on the real-life incident of a student, Christopher McCandless, who in his early 20s left career prospects to pursue his calling.
- The Motorcycle Diaries: Based on Ernesto Che Guevara’s road trip across the South American continent. This movie left me with a sense of awe and wonder on how much we’re capable of.
- The Lunchbox: No matter what your age is, you can still dream a fantasy. it will seem absurd, but nevertheless, there are many which you can pursue. This movie is about how two people living separate lives, having never seen with each other, imagine a world for themselves through notes.
- Masaan: A heartbreaking movie exploring the themes of love, tragedy, and mortality, but still finding peace and coming to terms with it.
- Interstellar: I like this movie for the sheer depiction of human courage and desire to overcome the impossible. It’s a story of how humanity (or maybe a true forecast, you never know) finds life on another place in the universe.
- Valkyrie: This movie portrays the final assassination plot of Adolf Hitler and shows how the Army generals planned it. The film is a great example of standing for righteousness, even when you’re against the majority.
- The King’s Speech: Would you trust someone with your speech therapy who’s not an expert? Especially if you’re a king. Based on true events, this story tells how an “uncertified” speech therapist helped the stammering King George VI to deliver speeches effectively. Must watch if you’re an entrepreneur.
What about the next decade: 2020–2029
I was in a small town of India, Barnala, preparing for my final exams, playing football, and reading philosophical texts. Now on the last month of this decade, I am sitting in the economic capital of India, Mumbai, trying to get another address for my company.
Ten years back, I didn’t know I’d be here. Similarly, I don’t have a clue how the next ten years are going to be like.
I was able to catch up with all the friends I had lost at the start of the decade when we all went for colleges. Luckily, I have been able to catch up with most of them. And honestly, it feels great to be in touch with them. I hope it’s going to be like this forever. I was lucky to have my college friends by my side too.
On the business side, it’s also the relationships I forged with my clients that make me the happiest. Knowing that you’ve helped and been the part of someone’s success story is inspiring enough to get you out of bed every single day.
While I am traveling places and learning more, I keep this advice by my side:
Wherever you go, there you are.
Wherever your paths lead you to from here on, you will always with you. With this in mind, I know I will be happy and content, what may come.
Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous new year.
सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु मा कश्चिद्दुःखभाग्भवेत।
May all sentient beings be at peace, may no one suffer from illness,
May all see what is auspicious, may no one suffer.