We are the Champions: Lessons for a Startup

Champions

Congratulations on the World Cup Victory! A nation’s hopes have been pinned on this victory and this is what our boys have achieved in Mumbai. A billion (and a quarter) hearts pounding together can product a massive impact, and it’s in that din and glory that we will always remember forever our lives.

The Cup of Victory

A victory, however, doesn’t come easy. It takes years of hard work, it takes months of preparation, a lifetime of determination and all that culminates in that one day when all your hard work can either puff up in smoke or create a bang that lifts a nation’s spirits. Champions are forged in this journey – people the nation looks up to, ordinary folks like you and I – who came into this journey as boys but leave as men who leave a mark. However, individual brilliance cannot win alone – the Indian victory was a true team effort – where each man worked harder, complemented each other, backed up his neighbour, and produced a result that far grander than an individual performance – they all gave it their 200% to achieve what not many of us have seen in our own lifetime – a World Cup victory. It’s the story of believing in yourself, it’s the story of the silence that you feel when the whole stadium is erupting but all you see is the next ball. It is the story of chasing a dream – a shooting star, a wish, an idea, a passion – whose true denouement is the victory lap.

In a startup, we chase a similar dream. It’s born of an idea – an idea that we can build something that is larger than ourselves, an idea that one has the ability to build a winning company that the hearts and minds of its employees, customers, stakeholders all around. An idea that innovation can produce a killer product and when you back it up with awe inspiring service – it produces a cracker and the world sits up and takes notice.

Most importantly, it needs the team, its employees to have played like champions. Each an every person – from the smallest right upto the top, has to play his or her part in this larger story, essay a brilliant individual performance in this difficult stage, and at the same time, play the ultimate team sport, come together as a collective, back each other up, and come up with a whole which is far greater than the sum of its parts.

The most exciting part of a startup is not what you build, or what you earn, its about chasing that dream, living that vision, winning in each step, the small battles and the big war, the ability to do something for which one is known always. It’s a long and arduous journey – its never gonna be easy, but its your co-passengers who make sure it never gets too hard. It’s a journey of following an idea till you get to an appropriate climax – and even if the climax is not to your expectations, in most cases you would enjoy the journey. Because at the end of this journey, we would have been there and done that. It’s never about where you end up – it *IS* about chasing a dream.

Congratulations once again on the World Cup win, but remember, the time is NOW.

Andrew Symonds against Indian Cricket Team

Enjoy! I am sure Symonds won’t like to watch this video ;-)

[See my previous post for a more detailed treatment]

Update: Some people have commented saying that this is in bad taste? What about the Aussie media?

Would Sunil Gavaskar have made 34 centuries had he been brought up by a fisherwoman?

A very distasteful article on Harbhajan’s background in Sydney Morning Herald

Also read GreatBong’s coverage.

G Rajaraman, who had asked Ponting the question that had provoked him, writes about it in his blog.

Peter Roebuck, the celebrated Australian cricket journalist, asks for Ponting’s scalp.

Monkey Man and Other Stories

It was nearing the evening, almost dusk, when I found Chirag and Parag, first standard kids in my neighbourhood, fighting it out in the streets. Muddy shirt and all, it reminded me of the kid in Taare Zameen Par. Of course, it seemed odd to find such good friends fighting it out as it was Maratha Warriors versus Bangalore Hi-fliers (too much of TV I know!). On enquiring, I was told the reason was Chirag called Parag a Monkey. A violent protest followed.

Had that been the story, it would have been natural and logical. However, it wasn’t the case. It was a burly 32 year old (with a pipin’ hot chick) fighting almost over a lolly-pop. I would have empathized had monkey-kind complained on being equated with a monkey with 2 extra lives, but then that’s not how the world works, doesn’t it? The killer of the day, of course, occurred during the post-match ceremony, when my maid came in. She stared at us, stared at the TV, found Symonds talking into the microphone and shouted MONKEY. We kept laughing our guts out for the next 15 minutes.

Of course, in another part of the story, the umpires decided to show who was the boss. I think Steve Bucknor had by this time decided that he’d watched too many men wearing colours winning, making money, singing with Asha, and applying hair gels while sitting out. Until he could make out between morning and evening, who needs a camera? Who needs technology? All ye engineers, sitting in Bangalore, and monkey-tapping (yes!) on your keyboards, take a leave, go visit the pubs, since we need no stump-cameras, we don’t need no snick-o-meter, it’s just another brick taken from the wall, as the rest of the world watches comfortably dumb.

And then, the Aussie umpire (whose name I didn’t bother checking) Benson decided to take help from the fifth umpire (the fourth empire, oops estate, being counted out) Ricky Ponting. Aussies have such a good reputation after all, right? They walk out as soon as realize that they are rightfully out, they never appeal for false catches, and they of course, never use words as kind as Monkey. When Ponting signalled with his one finger, what I couldn’t make out was if he was saying OUT or that one more packet would get deposited in the umpire’s account just like for all the others? We will never find out.

The course of the day could hardly have been altered if these 5 decisions had been justfully given. India is partly to blame for not taking the game to the Aussie camp, not going in for the Aussie ki Taisi, as the fourth empire’s been so wanting to, but giving into the Kangaroos in a game they play only too well. While all the decisions were going their way, they resorted to monkey-tactics to take the attention away. You’d expect the Indians to be seething in anger, resenting the misfortune that came their way even after the gritty knock by Kumble but he has to report to the match-referee because a Kangaroo was called a Monkey, and took offence.

These stories don’t make any difference — the game has been decided, Ricky Ponting’s team has won 16 in a trot (will they complain on being called a horse?), and all of us will soon forget all this, switch our channels, watch some vote-and-make-your-team-win contest and give a damn about talent, grit and determination. In the end, it doesn’t even matter.

Aside: Visit airtel.com and see the surprise!

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