Thursday, October 07, 2010

Who needs a salary anyways!

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

:-)

20 comments:

Rashmi said...

well said.. however, one should manage this time well, once you start staying home..!

Vivek Rao said...

@ Rashmi: you are right...in office u work in a framework and have to adhere to rules & regulations...might not be the best thing for productivity, but a certain amount of work does get done.

when you are on your own, it is very easy to drift.

chk out this awesome oatmeal cartoon on the same:
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/working_home

Archana Rao said...

Before I actually comment on the post I would like to bring to notice that while Rashmi has no time to talk to so called friends, she waits for Vivek to put up a post and comments within 5 mins.So much for friendship, girl bonding etc etc etc. BLAH....BLAH.....BLAH....

Secondly I like the fact that she says you need to manage time well once you stay home! Wonder what she reallly wants to say Vivek!!!
And the oatmeal stuff is really supercool!!

Archana Rao said...

I really like this post! I know many people who have quit and started up on their own!! Most recently my boss quit to start his own agency in tie up with some MNC agency.

I think all you need is passion to pursue your dreams. (Not to mention having a solid plan and dream to begin with).

No point being scared, if you have a gr8 idea have the passion then just go for it!!

However I will still want the salary. Its just a lot easier to get a monthly paycheck than to worry abt where the money to give the next monthly paycheck to employees is going to come from!

I just like life to be easy :)

Vivek Rao said...

@ chana: firstly "girl bonding"??? hahaha so you believe in santa claus as well?

and about the salary thing, see with you its different. you actually love your job and are passionate about it. so you shd defi stick to it! makes sense.

but tell me how many people do you know who absolutely hate their jobs, who seriously suspect that they might have a different purpose in life, and yet carry on in the rat race for decades?

Savitha said...

@Vivek: ME ! ME ! ME! I am defi one of those waiting to start living the reason I am here for in the first place !! and you are so right so many people I know have quit to start what they aspire and dream to be....am glad our generation is finally breaking moulds and beginning to live !! phew !Nice post !

Ashish said...

You know, everyone talks about having a plan, and something to do when they're on a break/sabbatical/whatever you want to call it. You are neck deep in it by now, talking about valuations and things. The other comments to the post also echo similar views.

So it's my last day today. And I have NO plan. Period. Been working for six solid years after B-school, and just want to chill the f out for a bit. Maybe an idea will strike, maybe I'll join another job, maybe I'll regret this decision for the rest of my life. Right now, I don't care. The only long term thinking I'm doing is what to have with my drink tomorrow afternoon.

But I agree with you on this completely - I too hope many more people do what they want to, rather than being unhappy in a 'secure' (relatively) place. Unfortunately, the environment here is not vey supportive. I know of people who work for 6 months, and then persue their hobbies for the next 6. This is because the social network in their countries allows them to do so.

Anyways, thanks for your wishes. Hope all this works out well for the both of us!

And how's this for risk taking?
- I have not cycled in years.
- I've been single for way too long.
- I've never eaten roadside paani-puri

;-)

Archana Rao said...

@Vivek: yeah I love my job! Am passionate about it also! But its not easy to see everyone else make way more than you! While u still make a piddly amount!
I know many people who keep complaining abt the job and still do it bec of family commitments, financial issues etc.
I guess very few ppl are lucky like you and ashish who have the upper hand in terms of money and say FUCK IT. I don't care whether or not I have a plan. But for sure what I am doing right now is not my plan! Most people have money issues which keep them forced to run in the rat race.
But once u are out of the race, please follow your dreams is what I would say to everyone!
Its positvely pleasant to go to work when you love what you do! And that is something I can vouch for! (The beer lunch, belly dancers, sleeping during lunch etc are just extra feel good things :) )

Archana Rao said...

@ vivek: girl bonding is not for you to understand!!! And abt Santa, of course he exists, if you wear red shirt, red pants and grow a beard you would look like one!!!! Considering the growing beer belly :p

Vivek Rao said...

@ Savitha: Thanks! Waiting for you to do this too...

@ Ashish: Its not always necessary to have a plan ready. Dont worry, something will come to you when the time is right. And i dont think you'll regret this decision.

If you leave by the 9am volvo, we can figure out together what to have with our drink tomo afternoon.

As far as ur risk taking goes, we can solve the pani puri and the cycle thing in pune itself. And i see hot gujju babes everywhere man! How come u dont? Maybe its time you took a leap of faith there as well, and grabbed one of 'em?

Nona said...

I'm also seeing this kind. Mostly, they are starting a "dhando". About the startups, this is an encouraging news. :)

blawghh said...

its very easy to ride the wave - but difficult to sustain the currents ..unless one has a well thought out plan of what u want to do - it is a big risk you are taking .... truly the pleasures of such adventures can be enjoyed only if you have ur back truly covered ...... Over the last few months I have come across many people who are riding on the entrepreneurial wave, some cos they like taking big ricks, others for philanthropic purposes and some more cos they are just infected entrepreneurs ... It is fun to see them work at it and most of them time they seem to be getting successful at what they do because they are at peace with themselves and no regret kinda attitude .... a few and rare examples such people, however majority of junta just seems excited with equity and stake and evaluation of companies in millions of bucks ...this is becoming into a sermon now, ill write more when i am in a lighter mood :P

Vivek Rao said...

@ trp: if hopefully this entrepreneurial wave lasts a really long time, we are going to see lots and lots of examples of people who tried but weren't able to make it. Cant be helped. Its the nature of the game. Very very few startups will actually succeed. But those guys should still be proud that they tried.

You are right abt those ppl who typically read all those amazing facebook / google success stories and get carried away by dreams of making a quick million or two. Hopefully they dont sell out their families completely while chasing these pipe-dreams.

Luckily we (our team) are not young enough or naive enough, and well grounded enough, to not chase after some illusory number which'll help us buy an island in the caribbean...

I disagree with your view about risk taking, though. Entrepreneurial ventures are by nature high risk high return. You need to take a leap of faith sometime. I know many people who are dying to try something on their own, have some half-decent ideas that they haven't explored in depth yet. Because they are waiting for that perfect situation when their "backs are truly covered". Best of luck to them. These are the same guys who will still be cribbing 20 years later about how great it could have been.

And in real life, you CANT really have all your bases covered. Thinking that you can is naive.

We are taking a huge risk. Between bro and i, we have let go 60 lakhs of annual income! But we are loving it. And this friend of mine i mentioned at the begining of the post....he has no plan....but he's loving it! And i'm proud of him for that.

If this doesn't work out, we might have to get back to day jobs, but the story wont end there. In time there will be other attempts. The spirit wont die.

Archana Rao said...

Vivek, I agree with you (mark today's date in your calendar since that deosnt happen many times) that not many start up's are successful. Infact most 1st Ventures are failures. But once an entrepreneur fails and attempts more likely he will succeed the 2nd time.
Read this http://www.onlinecollege.org/2010/02/16/50-famously-successful-people-who-failed-at-first/
Im not saying all the 1st timers fail and defnitely the ones who failed the 1st time will suceed the 2nd time.
All I am saying is as long as you have the conviction in you to do something you really want, you will suceed.
It is a huge risk, but are we not all taking risks everyday? When we walk on the road, when we tae a local train in Mumbai, or when we go to a bakery in Pune?
Risk and success go hand in hand. There is nothing called a "safe source of income" And in some sense your won start up is better than a job! At least you will never get the pink slip! :P

Ashish said...

Boozy, I agree with you 110%.

blawghh, I don't know you, but I completely disagree with you. I'm the subject of this blog post. Have just quit my cushy job with absolutely no plan, and I'm enjoying every second of it. I met up with my ex-manager recently. A man I respect and admire, who's thought me most of what I know now. And he wishes he was in my place! And he too does not know what he would do if he were in my position. The only thing keeping him back right now is his family. And hell, I've worked hard for the last six years to earn my savings, which is going to come of use right now. Even if this is the worst decision of my life, (to build up on Vivek's point), 20 years later, I don't want to crib to people when I'm drunk in a noisy bar that I did not take the plunge. It's only been 2 weeks, but honestly, I've never been happier.

Most people I know do the 9 to 5 because of the paycheck (stability and all that jazz). Very few enjoy what they do. If you truly enjoy your work and organization, kudos. I wish I were in your place. If not, then it is my sincere request to you to pass a comment only when you've walked in that person's shoes.

And why do I need to take 'big ricks'?

Archana Rao said...

@boozy: "I am the subject of this post" hahahahha cant stop laffing!!!!
But anyways, I am so glad you took this plunge. (wonder when you will take the other plunge and get married - did i sound like every other gujju aunty you know?)
But on a more serious note, Very few people actually are fortunate enuf to just say "fuck it" and take the plunge. And if there is any possibility that you can manage things (moneywise) then you should definitely go for it.
Most of us work bec we have to, we have no choice, cant quit, need the money, what i really want to do will pay me less, have bills to pay etc etc. Each one has their own reasons.
If you find something you are passionate about, and make that into your venture then nothing like it.
I know I wont quit my job (i mean advertising, not my current agency) because i Love it. I love going to work, Ok it pays be hardly anything, but I am happy.
Just find what makes you happy and you shall b sorted.

All the best to both of you and Vivek.

blawghh, I dont know you also, but i guess there is still a lot that you have to come across in life. I know a ex colleague of mine who was forced into engineering by his dad, went to IIT, then IIM, got placed in Infosys, worked at a SUPERB package of 14 lakhs a yr for 2 years and then joined advertising as a trainee copywriter. It paid him 10000 rupees a month. But believe me HE was the happiest man i saw!!! He would tell us of how everyday getting up and going to work was like going to war for him. And how everyone told him he was a fool to quit a fancy job lie infosys that paid him more than a lakh rupees a month and join a job of 10000 rupees. But somethings are just worth it. Today he is an award winning writer, settled in a MNC agency LOWE, minting money with his writing and loving it and enjoying it also.

Vivek Rao said...

Thanks chan and boozy!

The fruit vendor at babe-wadi road seems to be making a hell lot of money fleecing us. So i guess i have my backup plan in mind already.

The new and improved 'healthy' boozy will defi be a regular custy!

:-)

Archana Rao said...

@vivek: Stop calling it Babe-wadi man! Its like bibwewadi and everyone knows that!!!
The new improved "healthy" boozy? boozy u lost weight? YAY!!! that makes the two of us! I lost 10 kilos since last October.

What's ur gtalk id? Lets exchange notes :)

Vivek Rao said...

boozy has lost around 16 kgs
you've lost 10
i'm close to losing 1 (pound)

so i guess that makes all three of us health freaks!

:-)

quasi said...

I am feeling a bit left out .. main bhi job choda hain. aur 6 months ki liye lukkha giri kiya hain ... 4x4 jeep kharedi kiya .. :P .. yah! so there. beat that.