Entrepreneurship in our bloods + Asia
As I follow fellow entrepreneurs, blogs, twitter, vcs, angel investors, etc, there is a general reverence and veneration towards the spirit of entrepreneurship. Yes, it takes guts to leave the jaws of comfort & start something of your own. It takes tenacity and willingness to adapt, to be successful. While the investing community has good reasons and have created several forums to incubate and to egg on, those that take this step, I wonder why there is such a barrier to taking risks for a proportional reward.
Especially when entrepreneurship is in our blood and habit, until recently. For a minute, if you think back about what we have learned in our history lessons, we know man has evolved as a hunter and gatherer. Which means, there wasn’t always the guarantee of a square meal or dessert. Over time, we have created societies, settlements, cordoned off plots, perfected agri practices to ensure a reasonable guarantee of food, safety and comfort. Even till recently, the main occupation of many was indeed agriculture. While man has gone on a quest for assurance of comfort by honing best practices, the promise of safety & comfort in the last century (in developed economies) has likely veered us off what we know best – to take risks and be rewarded accordingly. If Darwin is to be believed (despite what he said being applicable to survival of the fittest species), those that will remain are indeed those that can adapted, take risks & fight to survive.
As we look at the world economies, while we look at developed economies such as the US, there certainly seems to be a natural attraction towards jobs that provide the promised of comfort. Whereas, In the Asian countries, the huge population density has imbibed in it a sense of hustle that is just plain visible. You can see it in the railway station queuing up to buy tickets or at the local bank waiting your turn for a transaction. You will see people trying to cut the lines, get to the counter, edge in front of you with the elbow & what not – What the western world would see and curse as disorganization, is really truly a sense and deep seated habit of hustling. No one terms it that. But, if you closely look at the hunger in these markets, you will see the desire to succeed coupled with the recognition that only hustling will deliver a competitive advantage, behind every effort. The resigned & plentiful drop off like dead flies at the first sign of adversity. Be it getting a ticket on the train, the food ahead of others in the counter or securing business for their company.
That and the fact that, these economies have a decade’s experience in solving global problems gives them confidence that they can create solutions that will solve problems locally while creating value on global scales. While I may be over optimistic in Asia dominating the thinking in the next few decades & discarding the other factors that weigh in favorably for the west, I can see India turning in to an Innovation hub, while china is gearing to produce a dozen new wal-marts. It’s going to be an interesting decade. Meanwhile, prepare to hustle or be hustled.