As a child, I experienced firsthand the severe effects of poverty and illiteracy, especially upon women and children. My parents taught me the importance of education and how it was key to improving an individual’s life.
Very early, it made me understand that success is simply not doled out and that it must be earned through hard work, persistence, educational commitment and even a little good luck and timing.
I worked for Microsoft until 1996 when I had a different angle to view life. I wanted to become an entrepreneur and control my own destiny. In some ways, I was tired of making billions for Bill.
I started off with a company, InfoSpace, with my own funding. The company was listed among the most successful companies. I went on to start Intelius and Moon Express. Now, I focus my time on using the skills of an entrepreneur to solve many of the grand challenges facing us in the areas of education, health care, clean water and energy.
Sometimes we never see what failure is and often fail to recognize it. Before defining failure, we need to discuss what success is.
Success is not about how much money we have in the bank; it’s about how many peoples’ lives we have impacted through it. Success is experienced when we do things which are never done before. If we have to make things work, if we have to impact hundreds and millions of people, we have to do things differently.
If we look at a problem as an infrastructural problem, we cannot impact it because it requires a lot of effort. When we convert this problem into a knowledge problem, we experience a lot of changes.
Hence, it becomes important to realize what failure and success means to a person and what he/she does with it. It is the duty of every entrepreneur to go through this process of growth in order to fulfill one's dreams.
An entrepreneur is not a person who starts a company, but a person who actually solves a problem.
It’s all about execution and it is a state of mind. A person who sees a problem is a human being. A person who finds a solution is a visionary, and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur.
I am really happy to see the number of entrepreneurs in India not only because of the ideas, but also because of the passion at which their ideas are put across.
The only problem I have noticed is that people in India are constantly “reinventing the wheel." People keep repeating mistakes their older generation has made. We need to create an ecosystem where successful people can help startups take their companies forward. The reason being, nobody in history has ever succeeded without the help of the society.
It is not only the successful peoples’ responsibility, but also their obligation to give back something to society. And part of their obligation is helping as many entrepreneurs as they can.
There are two ways with which we can do it: On a scalable and local basis. If we are planning it on a local scale, entrepreneurs need each other to help resolve issues.
Successful individuals need to help and provide mentorship to the growing entrepreneurs. Through this, both can learn the lessons. This also needs some amount of seed funding which will result in giving budding entrepreneurs a great potential to grow and understand their business through these mentors.
These people now need to promote each other’s products and generate revenue through an ecosystem that is relevant to them. Great entrepreneurs focus intensely on an opportunity when others don't see anything. This focus and intensity helps to eliminate wasted effort and distractions. Most companies die from indigestion rather than starvation, i.e., companies suffer from doing too many things at the same time rather than doing too few things very well.
It is important for us to realize in which sector the exponential potential lies which in result helps us to recognize the incoming technologies from all over the world.
For example, genetics, studies conducted on intelligence, neuroscience and, helps us in applying the science in various other platforms including education which is of utmost importance. The authorities and the parents need to alter the pattern and ways we educate our children. This would bring positive changes in our society. Similarly, in the healthcare sector, we need a technology or software that can diagnose the disease better and faster than technologies that are being used now.
Moon Express is currently working on a mission to bring Helium-3 and Platinum and other important elements from the moon back to the earth. We need to build stronger infrastructure to experience great progress in our country. We need to create a mindset of solving the problem. We need to be fearless in whatever we do in order to see some positive changes. Using new methods for education would help us in a great extent. Coming with a peculiar way of changing the education platform is the best possible solution. The ecosystem needs to be strongly connected in which we witness hundreds of entrepreneurs helping each other experiencing a positive change in our society.
Find Naveen Jain on