An entrepreneur has to necessarily live in the future. Any new venture one begins is creating solutions for an imagined future because it takes time to get the product to market and then create a scalable growth model. Much of my daydreaming / timepass is about imagining the future. As such, I like to read about new technologies and what tomorrow’s world will be like.
It was this anticipation of the future that helped me recognise the potential of the Internet in 1994 and launch IndiaWorld in 1995. It is the same imagining of tomorrow’s world at Scott Brinker’s 2014 Martech conference that began Netcore’s journey in automation and then towards developing the full stack. In 2011, as I thought about India’s future, I charted a path for the BJP to get a majority on its own in the 2014 elections. In 2015, I wondered about the course India needed to take to become as rich as Singapore and America – but this was a venture which failed.
Every so often, I imagine Netcore 3-5 years in the future, and what it will take to get there. I also imagine myself in the further future, in a world outside of Netcore, creating transformational institutions that will last beyond my lifetime.
A great tool for glimpsing the future is to read and think. There are many authors who take their learnings and discuss the impact innovations will have. At the turn of every year, dozens of individuals, enterprises and think tanks publish their take on what the key trends for the coming year are. Science fiction shows and books help us peer into the long future and ponder the course of humanity.
There is of course not a single future. Every entrepreneur has a view on what it should look like and therefore works to make it happen. In that sense, entrepreneurship is a battle between different futures.
I use vacations, the Diwali holidays, the year-end, my birthday, and long travels to ponder about the future. This gives my daydreaming a specific focus. I use my notebook to write out my ideas, and then over the course of time, refine them. Eventually, I have to carve out a small place in that future to stay relevant and create business and personal success.
Occasionally, I do peer into my past. But I don’t do a lot of it. Because that takes me into the “what-if” game. I see many of my missed opportunities and failures, and start to ponder about what I could have done differently. Since I cannot change the past, I tend to limit the rear view mirror. The future that hasn’t happened and therefore can be shaped is much more exciting!