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How to get ready for later-life entrepreneurship
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Sports & Friends. That was school! – I grew up in Kanpur.
In 10th, I noticed an IIT bus make the rounds in our locality every morning. It intrigued me. I wanted to get on that bus.
After I found out more, I wanted to get to IIT. I became more serious about my studies.
An IIT degree later, I explored many things to figure out what I wanted to do.
I went for a master's abroad (I came back). I cleared the civil services mains exam. I did jobs. I even did an MBA at an IIM.
Eventually, I settled down. In Bangalore. Into the IT sector.
I was a doer. Over the years, I have always remained a hands-on doer.
I was an introvert. To fix it, I began to show my leadership intent in small initiatives.
I hosted a series of weekly walk-throughs where different teams shared their knowledge and showcased their achievements.
Ten teams presented over the next ten weeks. The contest winner was decided by weekly vote.
I had to follow up, send reminders, and orchestrate things. It exposed me to the entire company. People saw me as a mover.
Thus began my journey towards being a manager.
Even though I became a manager, but never gave up my technology focus.
Because, in my post-college years, I had struggled a lot to figure out a path for myself, I began to help others by mentoring them. I continue to do so, up to today.
Sharing my technical insights with juniors kept me on my toes too. I kept in touch with technology. I learned how people think. It helped me to forge better teams.
Word of mouth travels. Friends in our shared network connected Ankur and me. Together - we started BambooBox!
It was now ready to be an entrepreneur. Three things helped.
One - I now had an execution track-record. I had faced many types of technical and non-technical problems and solved them successfully.
Earlier, even during my MBA, I would discuss startup product ideas with friends. Some googling later, we would find it getting implemented.
Ideas are aplenty; Execution is what counts.
Two - I had chosen to remain technically hands-on.Even after being a manager, then director for several years.
It gave me confidence to start with limited resources. I could write the code myself if we did not find any money.
Three - I was ready in my life situation to be an entrepreneur.
It is common wisdom to jump into being an entrepreneur while still single. Responsibilities are few; you can channel much energy into your startup. The opportunity cost of not having your salary is also lower.
I was 43.
Maybe Someone at 26 would have more energy, but my insights and track record differentiated me.
Family-wise, I was again in a place where I could devote time and energy.
I controlled my spending and debt, so I didn’t have to worry about opportunity costs.
I was ready, and I said yes to the adventure.
This is how Ankur and I founded BambooBox.
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