A dear friend of mine is serving his notice period, and has his last working day tomorrow. His current employer is a hi-fi financial services MNC, a very desirable name amongst b-school grads, and the natural questions to ask him would be where he is moving to and what is the jump in annual package. But probably the only answers he would have to these questions would be a grin and a wink, bec he ain't a-movin', he's a-quittin'!
All around me i see people quitting lucrative hi-speed careers to do something different. More than a dozen people i myself know well have done it, and all the time i keep hearing / reading about many more. I did it some 3 months back meself! :-)
Some are pursuing their hobbies / arts, some just needed a long break (long enough that their annual mandatory 'mandy' leave wouldn't suffice), but most are trying their hand at "dhando". There seems to be an entrepreneurial wave going around which is not a blip or a temporary craze, but something that looks much more serious and long-lasting.
I attended an investor conference a few days back and was happy (and a little bit amused, i must admit) to see that 99% of the people filling the hall were CEO's and CTO's of some start-up which was in "stealth-mode" and looking for funding. I also met some VC friends who said they were looking at 600-700 ideas a year!
Unlke in "the valley" there has never been any kind of a support environment here for technology / internet start-ups. No infra with regards to start-up funding, advisory, hand-holding, legal framework (in terms of IP), etc. But i guess that's a chicken & egg situation. Without much start-up momentum, there is no incentive for that kind of an environment to exist and subsist. Hopefully that's all set to change now.
There are suddenly numerous "angels" floating around. Most VC's are also declaring that they "seed-fund" great ideas. But i was also told by my friends that these same guys are currently nowhere close to putting their money where their mouths are. Most of the Moolah is still flowing to traditional ideas and established companies looking for that next level of growth.
What we really need are a few great exit stories....acquisitions or IPO's....and then the real money will start flowing in. Maybe we also need a few Y Combinator styled incubators to up the momentum.
In the meanwhile i hope many more people are able to free themselves from the daily corporate drudgery to follow their dreams. It is best to really live this single life we've been handed out.
It is risky, but so is:
- learning to cycle
- falling in love
- eating road side pani puri