July 1992 - Florence - Italy
I was a B.Com graduate from Sydenham College and had no clue in machines, equipment nor manufacturing.
Call it luck or simply entrepreneurship - I took the leap and told my dad 'I will be the jobber (technical worker) of this new line of machines'.
It was sacrilege in many ways. The sons of a 400+ worker factory was going to be a mechanic? To work with tools and grease and repair machines on a shop floor with workers?
The night I left for Florence was Diwali night and one relative whom I had gone to visit in the day really made fun of me and my adventure...
Mauro taught me pneumatics - precision, cad/cam (see the computer console - you could change the way the socks were knit using that dashboard).
I learnt how to make machines listen and dance to the tune of man....
This particular machine taught me the power of 'creative' computing - how a simple design (say a flower) drawn on a computer could then be transferred into the machine (notice the black socket connector on the the extreme right bottom corner of the picture), and made to actually knit a sock with the same flower!
This factory also taught me hard work.
The first day I arrived, after 1 hour, I was looking around - Mauro asked me what I was looking for? I said, "A Chair"
He smiled and said, "Signor Alok, on the factory floor we have no chairs. Your legs are your chairs. You will have to learn to sit on them for 8 hours".
The first night, my legs were swollen and I was almost numbed and disoriented.
One afternoon, almost towards the end of the 2 week training, light was coming down the glass ceiling and was shining on this machine. That moment I had a mini 'satori'...
I realized that computers synced with creativity was my future.
In 1998, I switched lines - I became an Internet entrepreneur and launched a contesting website called contests2win.com (http://c2w.com) and the rest just followed after that.
I now run a group called the 2win group (http://2wingroup.com).
This story is just one of the many examples amongst us all of "how things start".
So many things I learnt in those 2 weeks in the Conti factory come back to me even today and continue to guide me!
I am sure you have your own story to share... or you are in the midst of a plot that will unveil itself to you soon....
So, just wait for your moment - for your entrepreneur 'Satori'...!
The best way to describe it is " Behind every overnight success there is 15 years of hard work "
I had first registered www.stockimagebank.com in 2004. I had worked in " A+ " Indian company and two A+ MNC's by then and at 29 was Director - Marketing for South Asia & MEast - w 17 countries under the belt !
At 29 its a high ! yes. and I thank, that each and every organisation I worked with for believing in me.. making me feel I could so early !
Call it confidence, I quit a fat salaried job way back with perks such as a fancy car, corner office, and frequent travel abroad ( a critical perk even now) ... I took my leap of faith !
Every entrepreneur will agree that it is humbling to be one ... but If you have a Rock solid idea that you can implement in a logical manner, faith in yourself and the business model, never say die determination and and a supporting husband (as in my case :) ) you will make make your dream come true one day !
Its been 7 years since I registered the site id. Today I will not say I am a runaway success but yes I am stable and I am growing, learning and learning a LOT, and hopefully one day I will look back and say " I gave it a shot" ! I will not regret and say " I wish I had given it a shot "
Mine was a humble beginning.
Around year 1991-92, I was a fresh 10+2 drop out and joined a company as an accounts assistant, mainly because I had okay to good handwriting, but zero to nothing of exposure to accounts. I feel it is one of the perks of being a Marwadi, that it is taken for granted that the person will be good with figures.
I was a teenager all of 17 years and youngest on office floor and was allowed to move between departments anywhere and anytime.
During that period computers in offices were a rare thing, a system with printer would have around 1lac at that time, and gold being almost 10% of its current value today. We too had one and were having and accounting and inventory system being developed by two consultants on Foxbase.
I was infatuated with the computer system, and being able to do a bit of data entry in the system was a huge high for me. So, it was but natural that whenever these consultants visited our premises, I was always one of the peek over the shoulder guy.
It happened once that both the consultants and our in-house programmer were once having difficulty in writing a where clause for a particular query and somehow my inputs helped them in writing it correctly. ( It was a where clause with multiple .and. and .or.) I had generic praise from both the consultants and my boss.
I feel this was the incident which stayed with me and helped me in shifting my liking towards computers and eventually programming to turn it into a passion. I worked as an accountant till year 1999-2000, but was always meddling around with Foxpro, and rest for me is history.