Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

You are Too Young to Be Trying This.

Posted on: November 25, 2007

The last time i heard such statements too frequently was when I was bootstrapping my first company, was verging on entrepreneurship as a lifestyle and all, and i was sixteen. It’s been more than a decade, and I am still hearing those voices in my life.

This is not a post where we talk about what is happening in the ecosystem, or what companies are doing, but part of being an entrepreneurship is about taking a route very few people do – or even see for that matter. In the immortal words, that leads to “wars within and without” – meaning that there is a battle that we fight within our own selves, of choices that could have been simpler, and a battle that we fight with the world in proving them wrong – age doesn’t matter. experience counts, but not everything. what is only in your head as an idea can indeed make an impact and change lives. And india is not just an outsourcing destination.

There are four kinds of fears that our lives start off with, starts the book, The Alchemist. The fear that we need to conquer that the world infuses within us that we will never do anything significant. The fear that we will have to make some changes to our lives in chasing our dreams – perhaps things that our loved ones will not understand. The fear that we will stand halfway through our vision and wonder if we made the wrong choice somewhere – the thought of standing halfway in the middle of the desert wanting to turn back only to be mocked by people who warned us against this choice in the first place. The fear of victory – what does winning mean. A farmer going after his dream and perhaps becoming a wealthy sultan would mean bearing a new identify. All that of the past is gone, and a new life begins. Not everyone is cut out for that.

Why do we still keep doing this then? Because, there is no other choice. It this only in this journey that we find our heart truly beating to its life. Life is too slow or too dull otherwise. Life simply cant be otherwise. We, as entrepreneurs, keep chasing this mirage, because this is what we are wired to do. We are the reason the economy of countries are driven, technologies evolve, societies develop, and nations are built… invariably wars break and destruction and havoc is caused as well. But from destruction, creation takes on a new shape. Both are in its complexity intertwined.

So why am i writing this? I am actually writing this as a reminder to myself, that people have said this in the past. And the words that echo though my head wondering if it was by fluke or chance that the past has been good to me… well, its meant to be that way. Everybody walks through this passage and its only those who dare the impossible that are rewarded. It’s the reason why ancient mysteries are coded, so that its only those with persistence that even have the faint chance of achieving and unlocking its mysteries.

Let me ground myself and this argument in a little bit of reality and clarity. It took Infosys 25 years to be grown into a company that is sustainable, scalable and before they went IPO as a publicly traded company. It takes companies less than five years – in the valley, and a condition that is soon going to become a reality in India, to achieve the same stage what took Infosys 25 years.
This is what they call a collapsing of the years, where time goes through a compression to enable ridiculously and extensible fast growth. Whether you believe it or not, India is going through that, and that too with just a minor percentage of folks contributing. This growth is going to continue till people keep chasing their dreams. And thats why you and I are important. That’s where you and I find our individual roles to play.

“You are still twenty something” they say. The words echo through my head. But the last time i heard someone mention something of my age and implying that grey hair and living through the years somehow equates to knowledge, I knew i had that smirk on my face. Not of pride – that would be in vain, but one that knew that ‘working hard and working smart’ are two different things and when you do go after what you want, the universe conspires to be on your side and help you achieve it.

They say, once a decade you need to stop and re-evaluate all your principles afresh. I am wondering if its time for that. I know the values that i am going to keep, and the ones that i am going to rewrite. There are many more in this journey than just me. That’s something i have come to understand quite closely recently. I am not alone as i used to think I am – though our paths are all our own, and our struggles individual. But there are some age old values that i am not about to let go. Not now, not ever. Never give up. Stand up to what challenges you. And age.. is just a number that you can challenge right at its face, if you do have good people around you and wise counsel. Discouragement is not wise counsel. It’s cowardism stealthed as wisdom. It will make you bury your treasures and your wisdom deep within the desert through which no man will pass by.

I’ve made my decision. I look at my the lines on my palm as if i do truly believe that its these lines that dictate my destiny. As if fate is already drawn and is as stern as the dark lines that my palm carries. And at an instant, i see a faint flash and a line slowly emerges strenghthening the line that makes ‘solomon’s ring’ stronger. It represents fame and riches, a friend said. Perhaps it does, I say to myself. Fortune does favour the daring – That I am certain about.

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8 Responses to "You are Too Young to Be Trying This."

As a twenty-something professional who is still trying to learn the ropes of entrepreneurship, I completely echo the thoughts. Although at twenty-something, one does sometimes feel, is it too late,but there is no dearth of elements in the eco system that constantly remind you that the tasks you are trying to accomplish are too big for your age.
It is the spirit of trying to make a difference, trying to carve your own path that makes you ignore such prejudices and continue your pursuit.
But as is the case with most pursuits, and considering entrepreneurship is one, that until you achieve what you’d set out to, it’s hard to announce your pride in your decisions.
Actions speak louder then words and a sense of achievement is a bigger credential than age for an entrepreneur.
So, for a person who is still in the middle of the “desert” it makes less sense to challenge such beliefs and hence makes life tougher.
It will take many more twenty-something examples to shake the tree.

[…] Vijay tells us why entrepreneurs are important: Why do we still keep doing this then? Because, there is no other choice. It this only in this journey that we find our heart truly beating to its life. Life is too slow or too dull otherwise. Life simply cant be otherwise. We, as entrepreneurs, keep chasing this mirage, because this is what we are wired to do. We are the reason the economy of countries are driven, technologies evolve, societies develop, and nations are built… invariably wars break and destruction and havoc is caused as well. But from destruction, creation takes on a new shape. Both are in its complexity intertwined. Linked by kuffir. Join Blogbharti facebook group. […]

superb article/post.

As a 20 something entrepreneur myself I completely understand what you are saying. As rumi once said

“be not content with stories of those who went before you,
Go forth and create your own story”

Its the entrepreneurs, the risk takers and the people who dont care what others think that change the world.

Hell, I’m a 30-something and find myself agreeing with what you’re saying.

What you’re hitting on is not just an age thing. You will find that there is always a reason why you can’t accomplish your dreams. At 20, you’re too young. At 50, you’re too old. If you’re married with a kid (like me), you’ll be told that you can’t start a business and sustain your family. If you’re not in Silicon Valley, you’ll be told you can’t start anythiing outside the valley.

The only answer to these naysayers is to put your nose to the grindstone and prove them wrong. Work hard, work smart. Get the work done and at the end of the day, show them that they’re wrong.

Your blog post is unreadable. I didn’t try reading through more than the first paragraph or so. There’s not enough contrast between your dark-gray letters and your black background.

Been experiencing the affects of entrepreneurship at 20 first hand right now ! It’s tough but i guess the flashing of your dream each night in your mind, the vision of making a difference, giving your idea a try and proving tons of people wrong eventually makes you tough to deal with the next day…

Sometimes your own parents don’t believe that you could have so much guts so as to even think of opening a company and running your own “thing” !

Indian society has been molded in such a way over the past 100years or so, that people refuse to move out of their comfort zones and accept that the world around them is changing, and changing fast.

When i was 16, i told my dad that i could earn loads of dollars just by using my web designing skills on the internet. He used to scoff at me… Then came broadband, and in my first summer break after class 12, I proved him wrong and earned a cool 1000$ in 3 months flat… He was awestruck…

It takes little to laugh at others, but much to appreciate their courage and applaud them at their success….

Vijay:

Good article – I think blogging thoughts is probably the most healthy form of publishing out there these days. I agree with your sentiments as well.

The life and times we lead in this era – it’s all about the long tail and the tail grows in multiple dimensions.

hey Vijay,

I am vijayanand from coimbatore, with exactly the same mindset. During my college life, i started my own tuition centre for pocket money , i rant it for two years, then i started my own webdesigning firm an year back, now i have 3 companies under my brand 16. Now planning for the 4th one :). 10 employees, lot of tales, nightmares,failures, but as you said, i,ve made my decision….would like to know more about you :). Bye

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