Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Early Entrepreneur: It takes two to tango!

I stayed awake.  God knows what I do in these wee hours.  Trying to talk to zombies.  And the occasional brainwave.  Insomnia, may be.  Mind is blank.  But now, I have to pick up my pieces, in my house, in my one-seater office in Mumbai. 

I had planned to write this blog about two weeks back - and  few days back, I came across this article.  Was somebody playing the 'listener' aka, reading my mind.   Somehow, my new endeavors have consumed my time.   So, again, as discretionary as my schedule gets, here it goes.

Now I realize this - that it takes more than me to be me, out in the field.   There are my silent partners, and they are the one who compliment me, to become what I am.   I really wish I had THAT person to tango, about a decade back.

How do success stories read?  Just an example, as In Economic Times - this article talks about the stories of the executioner and the visionary,  the wizard and the workhorses.   The best example of the visionary and executioner, the complementing pair, is from the Mahabharata.  Both were related, as in second cousins.  At the same time, both carried mutual respect for each other's talent.   Both were friends.   But both had definite roles - one the visionary and the dispassionate guide, another the passionate executioner.
The visionary and the executioner, two to tango!

There are examples of Hewlett - Packard, Microsoft, Apple and other large organizations that vouch for this 'two to tango' concept.  However, there are also sole proprietorships that have succeeded, but the scale ( in pure size terms) is different.   Hence, the idea is not to contest the 'whole and sole' theory - which we will visit in subsequent articles.

The most important factor is that this relationship between the 'two in tango' is nearly lifetime.  The relationship normally transcends mere friendship or a professional relationship, but has a strong fundamental of both - being the friend, the pillar in the hour of support, at the same time, maintaining the boundaries at the 'roles and responsibilities' level.  

Once a scale is achieved, this 'tango pair', can always delegate managment responsibilities to professionals.   But still the bond remains in tact.   The debate of the next phase of growth is governed market dynamics, the organizational politics and several other factors.   There are many cases of such legendary pairs splitting and moving on, but such 'divorces' are more rare than common.

So, how do you find your 'partner' in the 'entrepreneurship tango'?  Most friendships form during early years.  The bond is natural - like the one in Mahabharatha.   The 'liking' and the 'connect' happens, and then the 'idea' and 'mission' flows later.   That is also driven by a compelling passion to do something different
Like me, find a tango partner from your college!

I have been talking to many of them, one of them an entrepreneur for more than a decade now, and we somehow found a simple fit.   He is the visionary, and I believe I am a co-visionary.

We might be in courtship phase, but the belief is that we complement each other.  He, the tight fist, and I am the one with the 'thirst'.   He is the balance, I am the impatience.   He is the canvass, I am the paint brush.   He speaks less, I speak a lot.  We are like chalk and cheese - I don't know, who is what.   The trust, here goes back 2 decades, from college.   So, technically, I again regret, that I missed two decades of entrepreneurship.

If you are at college, look within - if you are the wannabe entrepreneur in spirit, and then look around - for your partner, i.e., - first look for the 'mate' and then the 'mission'.   Sometimes, you might have to talk to few of the prospects, for, sometimes the 'mission' gives birth to a 'mate'.

This is a lesson for life. As I stay awake,  I just think of this new partnership.  It just got to work, and am sure it will.  With hopes, I wind up my wee hours, and shut eye.

If you are young, at college and with an idea - search for your partner.  Tango starts early, my friends!  If you are interested in this idea or series, please write to me at

- Ashok Speaks


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