The romance of entrepreneurship

Here's an interesting piece highlighting the romantic side of entrepreneurship. Read on...

Meghna Maiti

It had been a long, weary day for Jack Ma, a Chinese young man. He was feeling dizzy and the world around him seemed to have disappeared into oblivion. This was the ‘thirtieth’ time he got rejected for a job. Along with that, his Harvard application too didn’t bear fruit, for the tenth time now. And there were bills and rent to pay, expenses to take care of. He just threw up his hands and listened to the quiet humming buzz of the air conditioner.

Several years down the line, Ma founded Alibaba, a China-based business-to-business marketplace site in his apartment with a group of eighteen friends. He went on to become the 30th most powerful person in the word in an annual ranking published by Forbes in 2014.

What kept him going, despite the failure and ignominy? Admittedly, a sense of determination and adventure- a desire to explore the unknown, stemming from his own imagination. Without that push of the soul, he wouldn’t have been able to mark his presence so deeply in the world.

And this is not his sole story. A number of entrepreneurs have experienced this pull of conscience, this sense of endlessness and infinity that helped them reach the pinnacle of success.

It has been the same for some of the great names in our Indian entrepreneurial history- Dhirubhai Ambani, Ghanshyam Das Birla, Ardeshir Godrej or Jamsetji Tata.

In recent times, several ‘rags to riches’ stories too surfaced -a coolie’s son turning into a renowned entrepreneur or a pan-bidiwala’s son becoming a billionaire.

Undoubtedly, the road to entrepreneurship tends to be long, arduous and dark, marked by occasional pitfalls and roadblocks. In this entire tenure, a person’s spirit assumes different shapes, sometimes like a giant balloon and sometimes like a small bubble, almost as if under the influence of hallucinogenics. The greater the struggle, the richer the success story turns out to be. Such tales are often the stuff of great romances and inspiring tales for the future breed of entrepreneurs.

The tinge of romance starts in the very beginning- as a person commits to entrepreneurship. When one looks ahead, one sees mystery and uncertainty. With time, this very thing evolves into something more complex with a greater veil of enigma- which again enhances the romance factor.

Then an entrepreneur starts asking questions like- ‘I just invested into this bit of business? How long will it take to generate revenue?’ or ‘I recently thought of this great concept for my business. How should I now apply it to my business?’

More often than not, they do not get straight answers to these questions. A good entrepreneurial venture, like a good vintage wine, remains unpredictable. Its complexity in fact becomes its X-factor.

The startup industry or the entrepreneurial ventures are taking over a major part of Indian economic scenario. Their reach has also become global now. Hence, the mass marketer uses this very ‘romanticism’ associated with such businesses to sell their products. And this makes good business sense too. They discover a style that people like and recreate that to capture public imagination.

And common people too find joy and inspiration in an entrepreneur’s efforts to express one fully. It’s almost like watching a spectacle, a great human saga playing out before one’s eyes.

By embracing mysteries associated with a particularly realistic path, entrepreneurs do not lose the charm. They seek to understand it in all its aspects. Overall, it becomes a journey to look back to, years later.

How romantic have you been about your entrepreneurial venture? We would love to hear your story.

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