Date archives "June 2010"

The Airport Pickup

Airport pickups used to be really exciting when I was growing up. Over the years, with a considerably heavier traveling schedule across families and business, that level of excitement has decreased to an almost non-existent one. Today I had an airport pickup. I was picking up my mother whom I had not seen in a few months, and was really looking forward to seeing her again. The worst thing that can happen during an airport pickup is the dreaded flight delay or if the awaited luggage is the last piece to be off-loaded from the plane. Well it all went wrong today, and I found myself waiting for over an hour.

Thinking it would be a quick trip, I did not have any reading material with me, to top it all and an additional dreadful case scenario, my phone was dead after a long day at work. Although perforce, while waiting at the airport, I found myself enjoying the flurry of activity around me, one that is usually filtered when I have my phone/email on. The airport is actually a really interesting place. There are so many people, so many comings and goings, and each one with a fairly visible and different story line. Some that caught my eye were :

1. A father returning after a seemingly protracted business/work trip and the ensuing greeting by his immediate family. It is amazingly heartening  to see the expression on the faces of children when they see a parent after a period of time. After loud and loving greetings, when they passed me by on their way out, the children were already excitedly asking their dad what he had bought from them. It is really awesome to see this replay over and over again, bringing back fond memories….some scenarios are quite timeless.

2. The businessman turning his blackberry device back on, on the phone, finding his way to a cab or being received by someone from a hotel. In this scenario, there often seems to be a total disconnect by the person with the surroundings, and very often these people do not seem to be having the best of days. I hope I don’t look and act like that when I am traveling. Point to note for next time.

3. A son/daughter who has returned from college/summer break/holiday. Usually there are quite a number of family members who have come to welcome them back, and a series of hugs and kisses is a natural behavior. It is such a purely happy scene, those initial few minutes when a person exits the airport terminal and is met by people who matter to them. A very moving and feel good scenario.

4. The person who is lost and frantically trying to change the SIM on his phone, or trying to find a pay phone to inquire about the people who are supposedly picking him/her up. I counted 3 such cases tonight and it was sad to see. I could relate to what Juan Mann of the Free Hugs Movement really meant when he spoke about the emptiness he felt during one of his many trips in and out of airports when there was no one there to meet him. If you don’t know about the movement I would definitely check it out.

5. The person you are waiting for arrives! At first you see them from a distance but it is only after you give them that first hug does the connect register with elation. There is that immediate catchup on the flight and how you have been, time flies at this stage …. and you are all back home, together again .

In an increasingly ‘connected’ world, I feel we are rapidly disconnecting from real connections, those that make all the difference to us in the real world. If I did not run out of battery on my phone today,  I doubt I would have written this post. I felt it was important to write about this learning experience as it taught me, again,  about all that we filter out on a daily basis with our ever increasingly connected lives. Our work seems to consume us (especially for startup entrepreneurs) and we find ourselves living, increasingly out of the present rather than in it. I hope this blog post serves as a reminder to me in the first instance about what I am missing out on a daily basis, and then to those who are reading this and have not ‘disconnected’ from their ever connected lives for a while.

Raising Kids to be Entrepreneurs

Whilst growing up I was torn between becoming a high powered investment banker or a business owner. Looking back now, there were several signs that I would in all likelihood choose the latter, on account of  the things I enjoyed doing. For one, I started saving when I was around 10 years old. By the time I was 12, along  with some school friends, we came up with the idea to draw and create our own comic books and sell them. There were three of us,  2 of them excelled at drawing and I was the sales guy. That soon lead to us finding an opportunity to source and sell comics to other kids at school.

When I turned 15,  my grandfather introduced me to the stock market and the fundamentals of investing. Through this I learnt some valuable life lessons about making, and losing money. It helped that my father was a business owner, and conversations around the dining table were usually around related topics. Looking back now, the opportunity to be introduced to these concepts at such a young age was a great boon and boost for me. These lessons have helped me most definitively along my entrepreneurial  way.

I recently came across this Ted Talk. I could totally relate to where the speaker was coming from. This talk has some great tips and advice for parents on how they can help their kids along this life journey.

I believe the take away from this video is, that we should encourage our kids to pursue their strengths from a very young age. Whether it is playing an instrument, a sport or the drive to be a business owner. If we provide them the necessary guidance from a young age, we give them the opportunity to find their passion early in life. Additionally, mistakes made at this age are a lot cheaper than those made later on in life!

Passion & Life

There is a certain energy that surrounds people when they are doing something in life they truly care about. Whether it is building companies or cooking for friends/family. Over the course of the last few years, many of my friends from college and high school have entered the real world and a large majority of them don’t really like what they do everyday. It pains me to see this, at the same time, there is a very little that I can do…..or so I thought! The deal with being an entrepreneur is that when you see a problem,  once too often, it is almost a reflex action to try to figure out how  to solve it.

The answer to the question “What do you want to be?” is one of the problems, that almost everyone has experienced and perhaps still experiencing. It is a tough question, by not answering it to the best of one’s abilities, leads to having  to pay a heavy price for it during the course of our lives.

A few months ago I sat down and begun to deconstruct this question, to  find the root cause why so many people are unable to answer this question effectively, very often leading to lives of diminished self satisfaction.

1. Career choices are made on the basis of what a salary package or, how big the brand is. Job description comes in third. As a result, chances are you will end up doing something that you don’t really like too much.

2. Lack of insight into our personal set of strengths and weaknesses. Rather than leveraging on our inherent strengths , we develop skill sets to help augment our salary packages. These skill sets are often far from what you are truly good at doing. For example, someone who starts to learn programming ,when what he/she truly excels at,  is meeting individuals , interpersonal skills, and selling.

3. Lack of information regarding career paths we want to choose. Say you want to become an entrepreneur, an investment banker or, a chef. The places you would have to go to get information regarding these career paths, will probably not be in the Top 20 results of Google. Good information is usually hidden or not freely available. We  are hence, more often than not, inadequately armed to make an informed career choice.

4. Inability to access experts. Wouldn’t it be great if you could sit down with an entrepreneur who has been building successful businesses for 10+ years? However,  most of the time we are limited by the size of our personal network , access to such experts is difficult and in some cases,  not possible at all. This once again stops us from actually pursuing the paths we want to.

Armed with these thoughts I wondered if we could do something to help alleviate some of these pain points , and make it easier for individuals to make more informed career choices.

As a result was born.

More about Reevolo soon.

A Hiatus from Blogging

Since the morning of Jan 1st 2008, this blog has been a part of my daily routine. It has become a place I come to share all that I learn along the way, and to structure those thoughts with a greater level of clarity. It has  become a refuge from my daily routine, and has helped me in so many different and empowering ways to grow as an entrepreneur. No matter where you are in life, no matter what you may be doing,  integrating a blog into your daily life can, and does in my experience, bring immense clarity to life’s path. If you are not blogging, I strongly recommend that you start, sooner,  rather than later.

Over the course of these last 30 or so months of blogging, my blogging frequency has reduced periodically. From blogging every single day in 2008, to every other day in 2009,  and now in 2010, a fairly erratic posting schedule so far. I think one of the main reasons for this more infrequent schedule of posting is due to the type of content that I was concentrating on. Rather than random blog entries, I did my best to focus on a single topic, and then talk about it at length. The problem with these sort of blog posts is that they take a lot of time to write. Lately, I have been thinking that I will start writing a little more generally about the world of entrepreneurship , as well as  articles around specific topics, whenever I get the time. I want to keep this blog alive , and hope this transition will be a refreshing change from the past and one that my readers will enjoy.

The next couple of posts will be a recap of the last month. I have been involved in some very exciting new projects  this month, and may have finally found the one meaningful startup idea that I was looking for. It has been a long time coming, is still very much at an early stage right now, but I would really like to document the journey as we grow. I am hoping to post every second day starting from July 1st. The next 2 weeks will be a good gauge of whether this will be possible or not. If there are any topics in particular that readers want assessed,  please do email them to me and I will do my best to write articles around them soon.