Tuesday, April 24, 2012

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Enterpedia Answers the First Question.. The Why of Entrepreneurship?

Why do you want to become an entrepreneur?

Very soon after graduation and into my first job I began to realize that the next big thing after acamedics is the entrepreneurship. You can't forever go around saying you want to pursure entrepreneurship without answering the why of it. I myself wasn't sure of anyway of answering or if I wanted to be one. But on one Sunday I had visited the best book house and found this book - Enterpedia. I bought it after reading some of the text.

I won't tell if it is a good book or whether buying is worth or if it is better than Rashmi Bansal's series. But I can say that it has relevant and timely information for entrepreneurship in today's very very fast paced world. Unfortunately I had never gotten past the first chapter. Actually it is organized into steps not chapters. I never got past the step 1. Because the answer to "why entrepreneurship" gave me a much needed paradigm shift. Though I had briefly read parts here and there and felt it has valuable information.

Influenced by few older entrepreneurs I used to think the reason for entrepreneurship must be to make lots of money.. or to get rid of annoying boss.. or to work whenever I want - the freedom. But these would never get me anywhere. Enterpedia counters these mythical reasons with amazing explanation that fits well with reality.

To make lots of money

The money part of it doesn't work because money should not be the reason it should be the result. If you want to make lots of money (and likely fast), you are likely to cut corners and compromise on the quality of your produce and service. For years, you could wonder why you are not heading anywhere. It just doesn't work that way. Only when you come outside of time then you will notice that money will flow with time and it shouldn't be the motive for entrepreneurship. The best thing I liked from Enterpedia on this was - just like there are people who want to become entrepreneurs to make lots of money than jobbing away as slaves, there are others who stay from becoming entrepreneurs because the opportunity cost is very high to leave lucrative jobs that are offered these days. Talk about offers and 25 lakh per annum, 45 lakh per annum are norm for the few top paid employees from IIMs or top ranking institutes. I don't know about you, but if I am offered such pay I would be in a very difficult situation to decide and most likely go with it. With increasing uncertainties in the world economy, fast pace of change it has become increasingly difficult to start out on your own. The opportunity cost is just high even if you are an average fresher from a commonly reputed university.

To be my own boss

Some IIM students opt out of placement season and get ready to board their own ship right out of college. I don't know how they think, but if you are not one of them, everyday you would go to a job and think "Why the hell am I still here? Life is getting boring with same routine everyday.. I don't like to be supervised.. I don't want to stick to 9-5 everyday.. I don't like deadlines (that would anyway change at the end :)..) I don't like to be rated.. I don't want to worry too much about finishing and delivering."

Enterpedia says these are all myths. As an employee you had only one boss to manage, but as entrepreneur you have many. Unlike in a job there is no one to shield you. You cannot really do whatever you please. The world outside is much harsher than you would ever dream. In Enterpedia's words ".. the way your customer holds the gun to your temple, he will make your nastiest boss look like Santa Claus." This is the best line I liked in this entire book! I tend to very much agree with that line though I didn't have a nastiest boss, I did experience nastiest customers second-hand.


You won't really have freedom as an entrepreneur, as you would expect while being a slave. In a job, you worked 9-5 or its flexible variation with fulltime weekend breaks. But as an entrepreneur you are at it 24/7. You will be directly interfacing with nastiest customers that don't wash their mouth with Dettol before they yell at you. Rather your boss does (if you were employee). You can't take holidays whenever you want. Assuming you want to get results and avoid going bankrupt.


On the sacking part when you couldn't deliver, Enterpedia introduces a British phrase "vote with your feet". Again your customer can be very nasty walking away from you into the loving arms of your competitor. Atleast when you get sacked as an employee, your boss tries to sugarcoat it and wouldn't tell you what a jerk you were. When a customer sacks you off, he not only empties your job but also of your self-esteem and your future.

The three best reasons, based on Enterpeida, in order are:
  1. I want to define my identity
  2. I want to create meaning in society
  3. I want to see respect for me in the eyes of my people

Now that was just enough for me.

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