Archive for December 2011
2011, I’ll remember you as the year of fireworks! // @ankitagaba @shadez @lester @ashwinsid @captain_speakin
Fireworks! That’s the most apt way to summarize and visualize the year that 2011 meant to me. The fireworks I’m talking about are what we know as “rockets”, they leave a trail of light as they go higher and higher and then burst into a million little sparkling pieces to light up the sky with bang! The beginning of this year was slow and steady, the fuse taking it’s own merry time to reach the gunpowder. All the way up to mid-year! Everything was moving slowly, I was depending fully on photography as my primary source of income and staying in the small town of Ahmednagar, I wasn’t doing too good with it. A few decent assignments here and there. Nothing great. The fuse transferred it’s charge to the explosives when a few big assignments landed into my schedule. Twitter, as always helped me with work and finding new friends. And during this same time, I found someone special. The fire was too much to contain, up went the rocket with a screech; sparks flying out. I moved to Bombay, and was able to meet some fantastic people over Tweetups, FreedomDP event and photography workshops. Reconnected with some old friends. It went higher and higher, I thought photography would finally catch up here. Then came the big blast! I met two more brilliant people – we shared some ideas, mulled over them and decided that we’ll get together to start something new. And with a flash of light, I turned from a full-time photographer to a full-time software developer. Of course, I’ve been pursuing both fields in parallel, just that the ratio software:photography changed from 49:51 to 70:30. Yeah, photography took a hit, and it will take further hits. But it’s okay, I’m working on something that’ll eventually give me the freedom to pursue my gearlust for photography, the passion does not die – I still make photos every day, even if with my cellphone. As the millions of bright particles burn out… the year has come to an end. The last few months have brought smoke and leftover carbon particles from the fireworks. It didn’t look as brilliant, but the feeling of excitement hasn’t yet waned. Now there’s much less drama, just like the beginning. Only that now I know where I’m headed, what I’m doing and will quietly pursue it. Dear 2012, here I am, be good to me :)
Yesterday’s post on commitment included two categories of commitment, of entrepreneurs towards their ideas and of lovers towards their loved ones. @angadn posted a comment saying the distinction between entrepreneurs and lovers was misplaced. Jotting down my thoughts about the same today.
An entrepreneur is a person in love of an idea, a concept and wants to bring it to life. An entrepreneur is a creator, an inventor. Unafraid to tinker and make his creation better and better. An entrepreneur has no limitations to tear down the idea to bare basics and rebuild it over and over again until it is perfect. An entrepreneur’s ‘love’ is about achieving a goal. It is about perfection. An entrepreneur is typically impatient, wants results now. Entrepreneur is in full control, and that’s where the high lies: in commanding the relation with the idea to new heights.
A lover on the other hand is in love with another person. This changes the dynamics completely! There is no creation or invention here, but tuning into the wavelengths of another human. Love can make you better if you want to improve for your loved one, but that’s not guaranteed. You can’t force changes on other person, even if you know it will make them a better person right away. A lover’s love is about ‘being there’ emotionally and physically for their significant others. This love does not try to dissect the personality forcibly, there’s always a willful change; force ends in disaster. A lover is patient. A lover shares control over the relation, and it is as much about taking control as it is about giving in for bigger picture. The high is when the lover’s love is reciprocated by the other person. It’s the orgasm of a relation, to be loved back just the same.
That brings in the conclusion…
entrepreneurs ≠ lovers
You have to shift the mindset between entrepreneur and lover when dealing with ideas and people. And with this realization, it suddenly becomes clear why a lot of entrepreneurs who have such passion towards their work have disastrous love lives, their attitudes towards ideas will never win a person. They are not bad people, they are simply applying the wrong concepts.
The correct way ahead as I see it is to realize this distinction and shift gears gracefully when dealing with ideas and people.
Please leave a comment if you agree/disagree or can add to these thoughts!
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. The whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: 'Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.'" (from W.H. Murray, "The Scottish Himalayan Expedition")
This message is equally important for entrepreneurs and lovers alike. Until you really commit, things will be difficult, uncomfortable and sometimes just plain pain in the neck. When you're sitting on the fence over an idea or regarding that I-think-she's-special person, the things that feel bothersome are high in number than when you are committed to the idea or the person. And here's where you realize the subtle difference between 'decide' and 'commit'. From my geek perspective, the word commit is used numerous times in a day. Yes, for 'committing' code I've written into the repository. This repository remembers everything that I've changed, updated, added, deleted. It keeps a track of _everything_ I've done with the code. And before I commit the changes, I always take a moment to review. Even if it is a private repository where nobody else will see the code, I pause, check the changes confirm I'm not doing anything that I'd be embarrassed about later and then issue the command to commit the code. This reminds of some of my very early ventures, they were just ideas that I thought were interesting. I decided to work on them, I never committed. The moment difficulties cropped up, I shifted to other ideas. Not being committed to the idea made me lose focus easily. In retrospect, some of them could had struck big if only I had committed. With commitment comes patience, perseverance and grit. Adam Smith has a great blog post about grit being more important than self control and IQ, I highly recommend it. The99percent discusses that grit happens to be more important than talent, another great read. More about grit some other day. How much do we think before we commit ourselves? Do we over analyze and refuse to commit to things because we're afraid? The magic of committing is that things fall into place once you've given yourself to the idea or relation. It's a big leap of faith, but without it, the chances of failure are higher. Is there a middle ground? Unfortunately, no. Commitment means either you are in and willing to do everything to make it work, or you do not care – which translates to "it's perfectly fine if this fails". Choose your commitments wisely, but don't be afraid to commit – sometimes it's the only way things will work out. Cheers to entrepreneurs! Cheers to lovers!