“You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them by looking backwards.”
That is what Steve Jobs said in the Stanford commencement speech of 2005 and I could not agree more. Somehow you have to have the faith that whatever you are working for, working on will somehow connect in future.
You will read all kind of stuff of internet – ‘25 habits of highly successful individual’, ‘5 methods to be awesome at something’, ’10 methods of something which somehow will take you somewhere else altogether’ – and in such a scenario I do believe there are no hard rules to be successful where success itself needs definition. There are no fixed methods or approaches – it is all about uncertainty. Some things will work, some things won’t. It is all about the learning. I wouldn’t contend, of course, that this is an exhaustive list. Everything mentioned here has been drawn from personal experiences.
1. The Beginning
You have just quit your job.
The job that helped you pay your rent and pay for that costly Starbucks coffee which you used to sip every day. You cannot go to any fancy restaurant, weekend movies (costly) and taking that Uber ride seems like a privilege you cannot afford now. However, it still does not feel that bad. It feels better than what you used to feel while working on that white desk with a shitty Dell (models may vary with offices) screen in front of you, pressing keys as if to avenge some slight.
2. The Search
Humans have always been wanderers. I do not accept or believe that we as a species would ever be able to settle down. We keep on searching for a connecting element, something which gives us a purpose in life. For some it is finding what governs things around us, for some it is reflecting human emotions on screen, for some it is doing something good for others, for some it is building something from scratch. We are wanderers and we always will be one.
3. The question that I always found myself asking was ‘What next?’
I had a degree from the most reputed college in the country and yet somehow I did not know my purpose at that juncture in my life. As a kid, I used to play video games and never used cheat codes to skip levels because I thought it would ruin the experience. I used to play the game from the beginning and experience every part of it. The pure, primal joy of saving points to buy that one gun or that particular power or that particular skill was immense. I guess I always had it in my subconscious that building something from scratch was ‘The Search’ for me.
4. The Meeting
Life is like a busy railway platform. You meet people, sit next to them, have a cup of tea and biscuit and ask them where they are headed and move on. On this platform, we meet a huge number of people – there are some we have that quick conversation with, some we end up walking along with.
This is how I met my fellow co-founders. Just a quick chat and tea, a quick exchange of where we are headed and then just like that we all decided to head in the same direction!
5. The Journey
Traveling somewhere is never easy. Sometimes you hate doing it all together. You question the journey. And then at that exact same moment – boom! You encounter the most beautiful scene you ever saw in your life, which makes you realize that all the pain was worth it.
For me personally, I never got too attached to the journey but to the experience. I saw the ups and downs, I saw a period where making that single sale seemed impossible to achieve. I witnessed how I had to write 50 emails for a single meeting and travel 3 hours for just 5 mins of interaction. But now when I think about all of this, it was one hell of an experience. I guess It is all about solving that one particular pain point of your customer which eases his/her life. Get that single question answered right and you are good to go.
6. The Lesson
This journey you will learn a lot. You will learn how to negotiate, how to hire people, how to let them go, how to make them stay longer, how to let go of small issues, how to focus on overall objective and many more. Just keep on learning. Learn something new every day. Learn how a marketing idea is executed, learn how pay slip is made, learn what is required in making an app, learn about designs. Learn anything and everything. Learn how to make that beautiful coffee from your office boy as well. We are a sum of our learnings. So keep learning.
I know neither the whole experience nor the entire journey. I am still experiencing it. But somewhere deep down I know that this search will have an awesome experience and I hope and wish it will be the same for all the people who are ‘starting up’.
That’s it from me. All the best to every Startup Junkie out there!
P.S. – And yeah, while you are here, why not check out our awesome website as well?