So there I was on July 6 in a big auditorium full of people who either had left their cushy jobs to start their own thing or were thinking of doing so.
I didn’t know much about cushy jobs – the only thing cushy about mine was the fact that I could sit on a bean bag all day.
What do I do? I am a journalist/sub-editor who is part of two person (my editor was the pretty lady who was diseased and suffered from a new idea every minutes or so) team that runs a health site – India.com Health – a health site dedicated for the average Indian user.
It has everything really – the latest health news, stuff about diseases, videos, fun articles, sex tips (men’d rather die of the flu than suffer from erectile dysfunction) et all. But I digress (a little shameless advertising never hurt anyone).
It wasn’t really my place.
Perhaps it had something to do with the values I imbibed growing up – the ones from society and the counterculture ones from my heroes – but entrepreneurship had never appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong, capitalism and consumerism together are the bedrock of human civilisation no matter how much it’s castigated and blamed these days.
Capitalism was the answer to the world’s woes – it provided for those who couldn’t provide for themselves – consumerism allowed everyone to have things that would’ve been unthinkable a century ago. In fact in The Rational Optimist Matt Ridley hypothesised, perhaps correctly, that it’d have taken 99% of the human population to slave away and do the work so that the other 1% could afford all the luxuries that most people – at least those from the developed nations – take for granted these days.
So there I was in a room full of budding entrepreneurs – each of them bubbling to share their story (some which had nothing to do with entrepreneurship whatsoever) – their idea that’d allow them to be the masters of their own fate.
I realised this is something I’d craved all my life. Control, total control. It’s scary really how similar the values espoused by an entrepreneur are to those of an artist. Each of them look to create something unique, something that lasts – something that’ll rake in the moolah and allow them to live life on their own terms. It was beautiful really when I thought about it – there’s no greater joy than being able to control your own destiny.
Perhaps only Steve Jobs (like Alok I fucking love that man) managed to merge the two stereotypes – that of the artist and entrepreneur – to create a new identity. But are they really that different?
They both want similar things. To create something that’ll give people joy. If we go all Gitaesque, then we don’t really need anything and a piece of art and product/service ( though one is utilitarian and the other aesthetic) has the same purpose, to bring greater joy to people’s lives.
It was inspiring to be in that room for some reason, to be surrounded by people who strived to be the masters of their own fate. So will I come back again? Of course I will.
If nothing else it’s a thrill to be in a buzzing room full of people with dreams. Can’t wait for the July 27 one.