Startup, Boards Exams, regret, no regrets. The story worth talking.
20th March, it was our Maths board exam. Even after the long preparation gap, I wasn’t prepared. my syllabus was incomplete and the revision was, well, humour worthy.
During my entire lifetime, the experienced and aged once have always told me about the importance of board exams and have tried their best in their own way to prepare me for this part of my life
As I walked in with hardly an ounce of confidence, hoping for a miracle, supplemented with a little help from the friend sitting in front of me so as to save my day but that didn’t work out and, as you’ve probably guessed by now, “I screwed up my maths exam” doesn’t even come close to what actually happened that fateful day.
There wasn’t any blame game to play. I had made decisions, I had chosen my priorities and the entire fall was on me.
Moving quickly with the flow, let me give you a quick overview of my journey. How I came to stand where I was now finding it hard to maintain my balance.
Now this is the part from where the actual story begins.
I was 15 when I’d started serving as a growth hacker for a startup named mYwindow. mYwindow was a social networking site, so as a growth Ninja, I had the best job. One that involved interacting with users, asking them to sign up for the site, reaching out to bloggers, interacting with all the active users on the site & industry leaders for review.
Psst- 60,000 sign ups and 5,000 active users and getting followed by people like Kara Swisher (Google her) does sound like heck a lot of fun and work. Correct?
I spent most of my 11th and 12th standard doing outreach work for mYwindow. As part of a start-up culture, I am pretty sure that you guys would be aware of the fact that startups pivot? Even though mYwindow, growth graph was going up. It was time for us to pivot onto a payment gateway because our burning rate wasn’t conceding and it was time for us to think forward and make tough decisions.
By the end of January, mYwindow was officially a payment gateway.
Now arises the first part of the puzzle. The one about choosing priorities.
Continuing the story, payment gateway was something I wasn’t very passionate about. So my role very quickly moved from an active growth hacker to an inactive evangelist.
During my time at mYwindow, I was fortunate and lucky that I got to interact with some of the finest and inspiring people from our valley. The ones of the likes of Kara Swisher, Tim Stevens, Dave Morin, Gary Vaynerchuk among others.
Even though I was no longer doing the outreach work for mYwindow, I kept the interaction with various people open and these spanned a variety of things. To some, I served as an adviser, to others I was a friend. A two-way learning process continued, a situation where everybody wins.
A quick fast forward to the commencement of board exams.
It is now the period when our board exams are currently going on, after screwing up with my physics exam and doing decent in the chemistry paper, it was the time to face the paper which still gives me a nightmare. Bloody maths.
Typically, the gaps between the successive exams are provided for the sole purpose of revision. Yes, revision, which follows after all of the preparation has already been taken care of. Unsurprisingly, I’d never known what ‘being prepared’ for a maths exam felt like.
To make things worse, two days before the exam I had gotten a reply from Jean-Philippe Courtois (International President of Microsoft) and a day after that, one from Dennis Crowley.
Now the problem here was that they used to reply after irregular intervals of time. Sometimes the reply was spontaneous and sometimes it used to take half an hour or even an hour. I could have ignored or skipped those messages and replied later but I was too addicted to this genre to do anything but engage in a conversation with these people. Those whose story in itself is an inspiration, The ones who are the creators of the companies whose product are widely used and praised by the word. I couldn’t possibly put them on hold and pursue Maths. It was literally impossible for me.
Long story short, maths obliterated my confidence, grades, results and what not. I regretted it. I really did.
Being rejected from top colleges to answering endless people about my performance in boards, The night was getting darker and I could only think about the invention of Time Machine.(Not literally but I still wanted to change time)
Things changed as soon as I got into college, as Dylan says
“For the losers now it will be later to win.”
On paper, I might have very little skills to offer but that was the time I realised that I have the keys to a lot of things, lots of problems which my friends at college struggle with.
Engaging with people, initiating an interaction with complete strangers, willing to do the unconventional and converting ideas into a tangible output. I realised that I could do this.
The things I learned during my time at mYwindow started showing its positive effects. Later that year I worked under the guidance of Manav Subodh for a very short period (Google him) & Currently I serve as an evangelist in several renowned startups.
Having said that, I would also like to highlight the fact that I have been fortunate enough to meet people. People who are my good friends and have accomplished a lot more than me at a younger age. Their journey in themselves inspires me to move forward and keep breaking things.
The short running story comes to an end with a believe that there is still a lot to learn, a lot to achieve & a lot to break but the entire journey have taught me one very important thing i.e..
“Passion wins if you continue to hustle”
With that quote, I would like to end this blog post and hope that you find it worth reading.