My Proficorn Way (Part 3)

Open-sourcing Ideas

One of the approaches I have followed in life is to be very open with my ideas. Whether it was IndiaWorld in 1994 or Velvet Rope Marketing in 2020, I have always been of the view that sharing and discussing ideas with others improves the ideas. I go into meetings thinking that if there is one new thing I can learn then the meeting will have served its purpose. And since I will never know until I do a meeting whether I will have learnt something or not, I tend to be open to doing meetings. And in these meetings, I talk about my ideas and thinking – even though they may not be fully baked. The feedback I get from others helps me refine the ideas. The more the inputs, the better the idea becomes.

In the fall of 1994 when I first thought up the idea of how an Internet portal could bridge the news and information for NRIs, I discussed the idea with dozens of people. I had a Visit-USA ticket on Delta – which allowed me to fly standby for a period of two months for a fixed price. It was an entrepreneur’s dream! I would talk to people and anyone who agreed to meet, I would tell them, “How about I meet you at your office tomorrow so we can discuss this in depth?” (That was, of course in the pre-Zoom days!) Go the airport, take the first available flight, and do the meeting. No cost-benefit analysis; just meet. The travel time would allow me to read and think. The different settings would trigger new ideas. And the meetings themselves were link hyperlinks which opened up new windows. I became better each day – one meeting at a time.

I find too many entrepreneurs now are very cagey about sharing their ideas. What they don’t realise is that someone somewhere is likely to have the same idea anyway. The idea is just the starting point. It is a key that opens a door. After that, it’s all about the way one executes and creates the new world. And in execution, a million things have to go right for eventual success.

So, to build a proficorn, start by sharing ideas – every person you meet and discuss it with will add value and make the idea better. Open your mind, open-source your idea and learn from the wisdom of others.

Tomorrow: My Proficorn Way (Part 4)

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.