The second week of our New York module began with a fiery pace. We went on a roller coaster ride with Ziv Navoth as he candidly related his entrepreneurial journey. While the emotional pitch did strike a chord in my heart, there were many business lessons to be absorbed. Things are changing at epic scale and pace, resulting in a precipitous separation between what we learn in the classroom and what is happening in the contemporary market. Failure is most probable but what you do after that is more important. It is better to make mistakes and learn from them upfront when there is not much at stake. However, there is no room for stupid mistakes. It is perhaps foolish to launch your business without validating your idea. The investment in infrastructure should ideally come only after securing prospective customers or market. Ziv’s incredible journey as he picked himself up from one failure to another until he succeeded, his indefatigable spirit, and his resolve came through very strongly and were so contagious that I am afraid I am now bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
There was a definite contrast between Ziv, a self-proclaimed introvert and Diego, a super networker. Each was able to achieve success, eventually, in his own way. Diego’s story was also reflective of “the American dream”, a journey from being an immigrant who hardly spoke English to becoming a successful entrepreneur. While Ziv’s idea of immersion and taking the leap was echoed by Diego, he made a couple of important additions. Diego underscored the fact that investors invest in people and not ideas, and that there needs to be a logical progression in the development of a business. The same logic could also be applied to our careers in any field.
What allows entrepreneurs like Ziv and Diego to thrive in this city? The answer possibly lies in the culture that does not frown upon failure, an ecosystem that nurtures innovation, and provides nurseries such as We Work, General Assembly and Brooklyn Research, where ideas can take root and grow into businesses. However, being an independent business owner requires great commitment and single-minded conviction because the risks associated with starting a new innovative technology or service based company is far greater than starting a run-of-the-mill store. Although in the initial stage all that matters is the speed with which you push out the MVP, in the later the devil is in the details. Even a solution that addresses an unfulfilled need of the market could fail if it is not evaluated from the consumers’ perspective. The essence of the week that came across for me was that entrepreneurship is a tough gig; however it is a fulfilling one. There are no half measures, in today’s dynamic economic environment we need to take our ideas full throttle. In short- do your homework, focus, get engaged and just do it