The next big idea is not what it's always about
October 27, 2016
Working as a corporate lawyer in Mumbai, I was a part of several transactions involving startups and young businesses. There were businesses with fresh ideas receiving their first rounds of investor funding, as well as young (but more established) businesses basking in the glory of multiple-fold valuations that would have made their competitors green with envy. Investments, exits, acquisitions, mergers and the math around all of it was incredibly fascinating. Needless to say, the aura around "starting-up" seeped into everyone around. It was not uncommon for a group of advisors to sit and contemplate the possibilities that could be if they were to embark on a similar adventure. Find an idea, start a business and make it big. That's how simple life should be for everyone.
The reality is that not everyone has a big idea. Not everyone can implement a big idea. And not everyone can make a big idea commercially viable. I believe that the entrepreneurial life is reserved for only a select and extremely hardworking few. But I also believe that a life of drudgery is the destiny of the rest. The starting point of one's ambitions need not only be around commercial success and fame. It could (and probably should) begin with interest and passion.
When I quit my job, I had no idea about what I was going to do. I had not formulated any clear ideas or plans. It may have been more prudent to do so, but my situation was different because I had no business plan. My biggest motivation was a search for new experiences. I knew that I was interested in travel and design, but I had no idea what I would do with those interests. I figured that the only way to find out was by diving into it.
So, instead of disappearing into a haze of entrepreneurship, I hopped on my motorcycle and rode off into the sunset (sans any romance). I moved from a matchbox home in a bustling street in Mumbai to an old independent house in the middle of a reserved forest near Chennai. I've spent a lot of time travelling and the rest learning carpentry, experimenting with photography, making attempts at writing and doing lawyer stuff in smaller doses. The journey has been anything but smooth, but the opportunities and learnings that it has thrown up have been fascinating. I don't have a business up and running, but I still have a story to tell.
Not knowing what comes next has its own perks because it leaves you open to several opportunities. I do things that I never planned to and plan things that I don't know how to do. One such outcome is this video that I made after a 3-month road trip across India with the aim of finally ticking Ladakh off my motorcycling bucket list. I invite you to watch it using the link at the top of this post. The conclusion to this post is better captured there.