The Balloon Story – What does matter

Tuesday July 23, 2013,

4 min Read

When I was around nine or ten, I realized that I was not what someone would call a “great looking fellow”. And for a child that age, that realization can prove to be a strong blow. I sulked around, not knowing what to do, or how to rectify it (I thought I had made some mistake)


One day, my father came to my room as I was lying down, ready to sleep. He sat down on my bed, next to me, and ran his hand over my forehead. Being a man of few words, he just told me a story.

There was once a balloon seller who sold helium – filled balloons. He was a favorite with the neighborhood kids. He had colors no other balloon seller did. And he sold them cheaper than the others. One day, he was getting ready for the evening trade – that was the time the children came out to play after returning from school. This young kid, about 6 or 7, was standing next to the seller’s cart and watching him fill the balloons with helium. As he kept watching, he saw a lack colored balloon being filled. He asked the seller, “Why are you filling this balloon? It’s black!”

The seller smiled, “Don’t you worry. Wait for some time, I’ll show you something.”

The seller then let go of the black balloon, which soared as high as any other balloon would.

The seller, looking at the surprised kid, said, “The color of the balloon does not determine the height it will achieve, it’s the stuff inside that matters.”

I did not understand the story then. I thought my father had gone bonkers and that maybe, if I told him my story, he’ll realize the futility of this story.

As time passed, it dawned on me.

I have always wanted to do something different, something of my own. And the first thing I needed was an idea. Not just any idea – but one which was revolutionary, one which made people gasp in delight. That is the gas the balloon of every entrepreneur needs. If you have an extraordinary idea, everything else relegates itself to the background. Of course, you will need money, and it won’t come to you easy. But, at least you won’t feel bogged down by the thought of raising capital.

When you have an idea that you have thought through and are sure is worth every ounce of energy in you, you need to look for people who’ll give you the moolah. You have to identify these people, see what makes them tick, and pitch to them accordingly. You can’t go to a guy who prefers innovation in the banking sector and pitch him an idea about investing in an idea that capitalizes on people using Facebook. (You can, provided your idea is good enough to shake him out of his comfort zone). Your pitch has to be right – you have to say the right thing in the right way at the right time.

You have to understand that these people, who put in millions of dollars in new companies, are extremely smart. They know what idea will click and what won’t. So, don’t try too hard to impress them. They’ll see right through it. Be comfortable. Be yourself. You are not as revolting as you think. And they are people too. They are not gods. They are experienced people who need new ideas, who seek freshness, who want to encourage ideas that will revolutionize the world. Give it to them. And let the irrelevant be where it belongs – the bin.

So, all you need is the right gas – everything else is just irrelevant!

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