Friday, 23 November 2012

“The Hope” of a first generation entrepreneur

Two weeks back I meet few of my old colleagues/friends. Some of us are still in jobs and some have started their own business. It is almost a year we meet last and as expected this time also the discussion went very long.

As time is passing by each one of us is getting a chance to experience different aspect of personal and professional life. Whether it is business or job, when it comes to human factor, we all are sharing similar problems.

One of our friends who started his own business in IT was sharing his experience. He started as a Product Company and in parallel he started some software consulting business also.Later on due to recession and other factors it was getting difficult for him to survive just on product. Consulting side also he was not having much work and he was in need of some quick consulting business for his survival.

One of his friends, let’s call him Mr. “J”, who was in US, appeared as a savior and helped him getting some work outsourced to his company.  His friend really pulled him out of crisis. The deal was not so good but still it was good enough for our friend to survive.

Mr. “J”, who was working more as a middleman, started getting more projects for him and again like first project deals were not so good. Since product side also things were not so great our friend continued accepting deals.

Later on some projects got screwed up, the entire team left, the customer was not happy, project is scraped. Some projects stopped in between, our friend has hired people and he has to pay them salary for next two months. Later on he found that Mr. “J” is actually charging higher amount to customer and he is getting almost a 1/3 of that.  

In entire relationship the Mr. “J” was always pushy about his idea; he has always made enough money for each project and when it comes to failures, he always pushed our friend to face it.

Now Mr. “J” is back to India and asked our friend to provide space to run his own company within his premises!!! And our friend is again agreed to serve him J!

After listening whole story, we all were wondering, man! What kind of relationship is this! Why our friend is still entertaining this guy? When we asked him why? His answer was that, he thinks that this guy has helped him in bad times and because of that obligation, whenever this guy pushes, somehow he accepts it!, sometime he feels that he should help his friend and sometime he feels that whatever has happened it was his fault and Mr. “J” always played it smart.

We were not able to understand the reasoning, because he is running business and we did not accept something like this from him. After some more discussion we were able to figure out that actual reason is something else which he was not able express. He was having problem on product side and he was expecting his friend as “THE HOPE”!!!!!!!!!

Whenever we are going through some bad phase or crisis its natural for us to look for somebody to help or support. It is not necessary that person who is helping you is doing a charity; he might be having his own interest in helping you. This how nature has designed creations to help each other and continue evolving.
Creating a system just on brighter side of human nature is very optimistic and something not real. End of the day we are human and we are bound to behave naturally rather than behavior defined by very idealistic thinking. We do not have a fixed behavior, we act more like a state machine, depending on need we moved into one of the state and once our need is fulfilled we try to get into some other state.

If we look back our ancestor they were more society oriented and very ethical. They used to think more for family, society/community. With time people started realizing that society and community is getting controlled by only few people for their benefits and rest of the society/community is not getting any benefit out of it.  People started pretending to be social but in back of mind they are always working for their personal interest. This has given birth to capitalist ideology.  

On the other side still lot of people are having very social and ethical upbringing. In today’s world, People who are having this social kind of upbringing are finding themselves unfit for current system and they are in confused state of mind where they are not able to decide, what is right and what is wrong?

People who have spent enough time in capitalist world/communities are finding easy to exploit these confused people. One side they gives you a very social/ethical picture and other side they are ready to ditch and make their profit.

The irony is that because of this confused upbringing, People who are cheated, one side they think socially/ethically and complain about these people as cheaters. Other side they think like a capitalist and admire the cheater as a smart person J  

We are not product of what opportunities we have got few years back; internally we are product of our upbringing. This is very hard to overcome for People who are first generation entrepreneur. But it has to be done very consciously otherwise we will face the consequences.

Because of not having enough understanding of nature we keep on thinking of extracting everything from what we case of our friend he started completely relying on Mr. “J” as “THE HOPE”. It’s easy to say but there are other options and he needed to be open for alternatives.   

We should not get into any of social or capitalist mode completely, just follow your drive; nature will help you getting support; take that help and move on. We do not need be a part of any social ideology to behave ethically; nature has already hardwired enough moral values within ourselves to behave ethically.


  1. I thought you are going to propose a different point of view as a solution. May be this Mr. J is not a problem at all for him. May be your friend is following his drive.
    his drive is to make sure his business run. May be he tried other help but did not succeed.

    The world at top is very lonely. You hardly have any friend with whom you can talk. forget about the help.

    Recently I met one such guy. He is older than my father, CEO of a company. 25+ years of entrepreneurship.

    When we sat down for lunch, he told me that I am his best friend and he can exchange his seat with me right now. he said no one could understand and share his pain like I have.

    Also I told you once, its either "luck" or "Communism" which can make a business successful. All others in between just keep on struggling for even mediocre success.

    1. The way communism exist today is not a solution. people can not be forced to follow unnatural rules.

    2. We should remember that the idea and the context of being communist/capitalist/some-other is always socioeconomic. The real issue today is we just pick one over the other (social Vs Economic) whichever suits us or convenient for a given situation. The policy making today is not taking both of them in the same perspective, side by side. Its more like promoting economic goals on the other hand blaming that policy for the problem it created in the social context. And people feel like treated as sheep and pushed around because they are stuck in dilemma of their idea of ethics Vs business interests. Both are equally important. Matters gets worse in Indian context where there is a sea change in how social ties are pursued in urban India as against rural/small town places.

      The problem is also how we pursue things and form opinions. If we pick the example of Mr "J", suppose it was clearly spelled out and made known before hand that he is going to take a cut in the payment (may be it was, we don't know). I am sure we would be drawing totally different conclusions from the exact same story. Everything else remains same. (classic capitalist behavior). I have seen this clarity of intent is the American way of doing business. You may be best friends but the still the American businessman will himself offer and insist to give a cut if you bring him business, Keeping the social and economic ties separate and clear. We are stuck in between and that is the main issue.

    3. The way capitalism exists today is, you don’t care about society, so it’s not socioeconomic. It is only win-win for a group of few people.

      Right now we have all kind of people in India; people who are purely ethical/social, people who are purely communist and people who based on need can put either of these two faces.

      Whether city or village during our upbringing, we are still taught to act ethically and socially and create a society where people will act ethically. This is something not real; it’s human nature to act both ethical as well as unethical. At Some point we ourselves might realize that whatever we were taught is something very ideal and does not work in real world and coming generation might through it completely, which is wrong.

      Leaving it to nature and time to punish unethical people is not the right thing. If we really want to create a system it is our responsibility to coexist with all kind of people. The more real way is that we should be educated to act ethically and same time should be educated to handle and coexist with unethical people.

  2. Exploitation will always exist in a society and its due to the disparity that prevails and it's omnipresent in every form. If not, the so called ecosystem would cease to exist.

    Just like Rancho mimicking Virus 'Life is a race' in the movie '3 Idiots', everybody gets into that mode when everyone's life is put into that demanding situation and the rest all depends upon how one goes over the track. In the course, everything boils down to the factor 'Success' and to be frank everyone wants to taste that flavour quickly no matter what it takes.
    One of the challenge in the journey is to uphold the moral/ethical values while traversing milestones which earns dividend in the long run and after all that is what we vouch for...
    No matter how, everyone gets into the nucleus of 'Jaise Karni Waise Bharni'.....

    1. We are already blessed with moral values by nature but not everyone is bound to follow it, expecting that everyone will follow is not real. A person who wants to succeed with his moral value should be aware that there can be people who will not follow their moral value, who will not act ethically and he should be able to deal with that. Our current ethical upbringing teaches us only good and it does not focus much on how to coexist and deal with something which is unethical.

      In today’s world, an unethical person is more aware and adjusting when dealing with an ethical person. But when we see an ethical person he is not equally aware and that is the reason of ethics not prevailing any more.

      It’s not about forcing everyone to behave either ethically or unethically, it’s more about if we choose one, consciously how much we are aware to deal with the other side.

  3. Great post Shahid Saheb. Amazing thinking.I wish I could have listened you more.