Aim in life is to find the “meaning and change the world”

Thanks to Mr. Hemant Kumar, Visiting Faculty at IIITD for suggesting me to read the book “The Art of The Start” by Guy Kawasaki. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, cover-to-cover. You can blame it on my recent excitement and curiosity about startups (in various forms, research labs / enterprises / academic institutes). Even though the book is all about startups in the enterprise sense, I took away a lot of points from the academic / non-enterprise point of view too. While reading the book, I was scribbling some thoughts and making notes from the book, just putting them here for my own purpose. This may help you (if you have reached until here) get excited to read the book or just know the crux of what is in the book. The summary is only of the points that I got excited about and it has nothing to do with the topic or the views that the author has covered. I have asked some questions related to the views that I took away, which I hope some of you reading this blog entry can answer and enlighten me on the same.

Book: “Life is too short to work with people you don’t naturally like — especially in a young, small organization”

Book: “Investors are impressed by the suggestions of professors. In Silicon Valley, for example, a call or an email from a Stanford engineering professor will get the attention of every venture capitalist. I hope you did well in school!”

PK: How much of this happens in India? How many professors interact with industry (startup or established) in an “Advisory” role? How many industry folks know the professors who are working in the area of the industry? How many of the professors in India working on things that the industry might get excited about, which can become a sell-able product?

PK: One of the senior professor in India mentioned this to me, paraphrased “If you are working on the right problem, outcomes can be technology, startups, industry will be interested, etc., but if you are working on the wrong problem, the outcome will be a paper.”

Book: “I have done ok so far, getting us to this point. But if it ever becomes necessary i will step aside.”

PK: I think, this is such a hard thing to do, but I can see how strong message it can send to the investors / decision-makers listening. Not just step aside but let fresh talent grow, nurture it to become tomorrow’s someone. How much does this nurturing happen in industry / academia / government?

Book: Albert Einstien was on a train. He couldn’t find his ticket after searching through all his pockets and bags. The conductor approached him and said something to the effect of “Dr. Einstien, everyone knows who you are. We know the Princeton can afford to buy you another train ticket.” To which Eeinstein replied with something along the lines of “I’m not worried about the money. I need to find the ticket to figure out where I’m going.”

Book: “It is not about what you know, or who you know, but, who knows you”

PK: This is so apt! I am realizing the power of this [positive / enthusiastic / non-self-oriented networking] as I am growing.

Book: “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. – Samuel Johnson.” “Make friends before you need them”

PK: Such a deep view, I don’t know how much one can follow this, but will try.

Book: “Why is that those who have something to say can’t say it, while those who have nothing to say keep saying it?” – Anonymous

PK: I also learned some new words like:

  • Mensch: is the Yiddish term for a person who is ethical, decent and admirable
  • Schmoozing: art of networking

Author: PK

Associate Professor @ IIIT-Delhi http://precog.iiitd.edu.in

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