I guess finding a good time to start a company is like finding a good time to have kids — there never is any. Life has a curious way of filling your precious waking time with seemingly important and unavoidable things — like relationships, work, friends, hobbies and so on.
My mid twenties was all consuming: kids, learning at work, an MBA, green card delays, sleep deprivation and trying to find the right balance between it all. Dream of company ownership started and ended with the ‘Toilet-TV’ concept that we put forward at my Kellogg entrepreneurship class. Somehow that neither triggered my imagination nor ignited my passion.
When I was asked the question after my MBA “What do you want to do when you grow up”, I really didn’t have an answer.
Thirties is when I found yoga, dance, gardening, rediscovered music and myself. A time to fine tune time management, prioritization, multi-tasking, refining super-powers to handle it all – mostly. Focus was all about how to fit it all in and take on more and keep control — that was huge! The thought that your actions could control your destiny was empowering.
When I was asked “what do you want to do when you grow up”, my answer was “I guess, more of the same?”
When you realize that everything is not within your control, it is quite a life changing event. And when things don’t go according to plan, having your friends and loved ones hold your hand and pull you up from a slippery precipice is heart warming and eye opening. To think that we are not alone and don’t need to do things by ourselves was a crazy concept that took a while to sink-in. To think that there is a community of people around us that support us and don’t always expect anything in return-AHA!
I started noticing where I give and take and how it enriched me and my growing circle of friends.
When the time came for me to decide whether to go back to corporate America or do something on my own, I finally knew what I wanted to do and that I had grown up.
On a scale of 1–10 I might rate myself a 6 when it comes to taking risk. If I had to chose at the spur of the moment a risky proposition vs. not, I would probably choose the less risky proposition. But I believe managing risk is all about doing the right prep work for it.
You hear that necessity is the mother of invention. When there is no major necessity to do something different, it is hard to give up what you have to aim for something that may not materialize.
Rockefeller once said ‘Don’t be afraid to give up the good for the great’. Great advice, and needs a lot of soul searching to decide which side of that fence you want to get off on.
Risk = Threats * vulnerability * Impact
Pitting that against the risk of starting a company
Risk-of-not-trying = Impact * 1/(Regret * Longing)
I would not describe myself as having an entrepreneurial childhood. I was never one to contemplate a lemonade stand to make money or as a matter of fact, consider making money a big priority at any time. Although I am a big believer of making lemonade when life hands you lemons instead of pining for oranges.
What drove me and still does is purpose. The desire to do something bigger than myself, make a difference, impact change, challenge status quo.
Years of working in a large aggressive enterprises has left me skilled in making things happen facing headwinds all along the way. It was challenging at times to redefine yourself and motivate everyone around you by focusing on a sliver of the purpose that you could relate to. But when the time comes when you believe in the purpose, it is so easy for everyone to rally around the common cause.
Thinking about it, there were so many Intrepreneurship opportunities within the large enterprises that I have been lucky to be part of. Now it was time.
The time was now.
The risk was to not do it.
The aptitude was what I needed to draw upon from the past and commit to evolve for the future.
Zinda.XYZ was ready to be created.
***Zinda = Alive in Persian, Aramaic, Hindi and Urdu.