To Start or not to start?

It was 5:00 AM in the morning. In one of those chai-sutta conversations, one of my friends told me that he had considered dropping out of the IIM Ahmedabad early into the starting of the session. Before I could come out of the shock of his decision and start contemplating on the reasons that made him decide so, he spoke those vandalizing words, “Start-up”.

It took me down to my memory lane and I landed into my IIM Bangalore interview where I was taken for a ride on my ambitious idea of starting up my own business against being a good valuable manager for some company.

Is the life full of academic rigor and performance pressure, a complete waste, if I have no control over it? Shall I go ahead and make my own choices, work for my own dream project instead of working on someone else’s vision? Will I be able to learn all those “management fundas” on the go? Wouldn’t the time I take to learn them will add to the opportunity cost? What if someone else does before me? All these unanswered questions started to create a commotion in my head.

Thankfully some words of wisdom from Steve Jobs came to my rescue. “You cannot connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backward.” One will always have a choice to quit the so-called menial job of working under someone else’s instructions. But, what you take away from such a job is – understanding of people and dynamics of an organization and the realization of your analytical thinking and problem-solving capabilities. They would definitely come handy whenever you start off on your own.

One might question that why do people with work experience need those insights? They already have a fair exposure to the working dynamics. The answer my dear reader lies with the diversity of the group you might meet. And believe me; it will rarely be as per your expectations. Your experiences in the present will always challenge the perceptions you had developed with your past experiences.

With the amount of practical know-how and required skill set, this pedagogy can imbibe within us, you will always be able to provide some value addition even to the simplest of the ideas in front of you. And continuing as a manager in some firm, even for a couple of years, will definitely enhance that knowledge and further sharpen those skills. We can always think of this as an investment to reduce the opportunity cost for nurturing your own baby, “The Start-Up.” Perhaps this is why you learn driving with an old car before you jump right into your new one :P.


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