4 Signs of Reckoning

You still dream. You still carry that element of make-believe. You still hope that you are the person who can set things right – one way or the other. And they call you an idealist or a dreamer.

Let’s put it in another way.

You have a vision. You believe that you can transform your vision into reality. You want to bring a change and be the bearer of it. Big words change the scope but entrepreneurs are idealists and dreamers too.

Some say that entrepreneurs are born with an entrepreneurial DNA. Others say that anyone can be an entrepreneur once they put their mind to it. Honestly? The only difference between a big-shot entrepreneur and a normal person with ideas is that the entrepreneur implemented their idea. And before they even conjured an idea to start with, all they knew was that they wanted to do something. And that made all the difference.

How do you know that you have it to be an entrepreneur? Read on.

Monotony kills the mind. Routine is boring. Change is the siren’s call for your soul. The cramped office space does not breed innovation. You want to do things that make an impact, solve a problem or create a legacy.

If you nodded to all the statements, you have found your predisposition. Congratulations. Your creativity must have been beating its head against the walls all the time. How have you been living with that?

Get up, do something to unleash it. Don’t choke your ideas just because nobody does it or it looks crazy. Listen to your gut.

Remember that “jo darr gaya, samjho marr gaya” thing? Easier said than done, eh? All right, what would you rather have – a job that takes care of your monthly bills while you do not like doing it or a life that you created and lived on your own terms?

The easiest thing to do is to jump in the bandwagon dumbly. You do not have to think about it, you just have to follow and fit in. If that is what you want to do, sorry to make you read this. However, there is something called ‘entrepreneurial obsession’ that is the urge to work on something only because it is interesting, engaging, stimulating and challenging on a personal level. This is what makes entrepreneurs. Take risks and that leap of faith. What would be the worst case scenario? You’d fail. So what? Even Rome wasn’t built in a day.

“If I was to do this, it would look better.” “I need my own space to work.” “Creativity does not thrive if you put it in a time-frame!”

Do these statements ring with your thoughts? Frankly, it is understandable if you do not want to be pushed around in a company for a product where your say doesn’t really matter. Often, your creativity is not valued because that is not how things are done. Mostly, the companies would stick to tried and tested methods rather than doing something new.

If following the established modus-operandi is not your cup of tea, break out of it. You do not like the web design? Change it. If the UI/UX looks tardy then do not launch it just to meet deadlines. If you want your decisions to make an impact, be your own boss.

You do not really know what you want to do but you really want to start your own company – this isn’t wayward. This is pure, unadulterated entrepreneurial drive.

Being self-driven is the only way you can convert your idea and vision into reality. This is that pulsating energy that doesn’t let you rest until you have reached where you want to be. This is that zeal that makes things happen and builds a legacy without giving-up in the face of failure. And, honestly, only this drive will give you enough determination and motivation to keep going.

Bottom Line

‘The child is grown, the dream is gone’?

Remember, when we were kids, everything was possible. Do not lose that belief. If you feel you can do something, get up and do it. Do not settle for “comfortably numb.” Only Floyd can make it sound ethereal.

5 Reasons Why Jeff Bezos & Amazon Are What They Are

1994: The Vice President of D.E. Shaw & Co., a Wall Street company, leaves his employment and moves to Seattle to work on a business plan of what would eventually become the world’s biggest online retail store. They say that, for a while, he worked out of his garage.

July, 1995: Amazon sells its first book online.

1997: Jeff Bezos issues his IPO.

Late 1990s: Amazon was running out of an old brick building that shared its block with a needle exchange and a defunct pawnshop. Jeff Bezos flaunted his frugality. He was driving a Honda and was living in a small downtown apartment even as his company had gone public and, on paper, he was worth US$500 million.

Today, his net worth is about US$30 billion and he lives like a mogul but has some thoroughly unconventional methods that have made Amazon what it is today: a cheetah pursuing gazelles.

“Conserve money for things that matter.”

Jeff Bezos is a decidedly non-corporate personality. He wears a uniform of faded blue shirt over denims. He is bald as a retiree and lanky as a teen and he still uses the desk he made for himself in the initial days; a cheap wooden door supported on a metal frame. In fact, all of Amazon’s desks are fashioned the same way.

The Two-Large-Pizzas Rule

This one is quite famous. The rule simply dictates that no team should be bigger than what can be fed with two large pizzas. This means that all of Amazon’s taskforces comprise of 5-7 members only. For a company that thrives on creativity, this rule makes perfect sense. Teams are free to test their ideas without too many onlookers, guarded against group thinking. This is the rule that is responsible for some of the quirkiest and most innovative features on Amazon’s site: Gold Box and Bottom of the Page Deals.

“No, communication is terrible!”

Amazon is a decentralized, disentangled company where small groups work on their visions independently. There is no group communication, to speak of, even as it must have initially frightened the living daylights out of Amazon’s managers.

Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit.

This is one of Amazon’s 11 Leadership Principles:

Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. Once a decision is determined, they commit wholly.

Some of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders are a disagreeable lot. At Amazon, the love of debate is courted over the comfort of consensus.

Only what is absolutely necessary. Nothing more.

Amazon’s deal with Melville House established Jeff Bezos’ reputation as the Godfather: say no more than what is important and make an offer they cannot refuse. The floor where Amazon’s Kindle team works is called “Area 51.” Unless you are directly involved with the product, you are not allowed.

Bottom Line

World’s greatest entrepreneurs have a lot to teach but the thing that they all have in common is that they ditch convenience. Jeff Bezos left a comfortable Wall Street career, worked out of a garage, created a giant of a company without flying too high and – well – here he is.