Corollary is not true. Successful entrepreneurs and usual disregard.
From time to time we come across people who are either loved or hated, but couldn't be ignored. One such personality to emerge in recent times is Mr. Rahul Yadav, CEO of Housing.com. His run-ins with Mr. Shailendra Singh from Sequoia Capital and Mr. Alok Kejriwal are well chronicled. While many took offense at the language Mr. Rahul used to make his arguments, there are some who in addition to supporting his logic, suggested that having already achieved what many of us can only dream of, Mr. Rahul should be spared our judgement.
So, it got me wondering as to whether the entrepreneurs who have seen great success, an outcome of their vision and perseverance, are above the etiquette that others feel necessary and whether they should feel entitled to, if I may say so, callous responses on public forums.
My argument on this topic stems from a very popular observation/quote that “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. The success of housing.com and such young entrepreneurs is no doubt going to make lot of young graduates and drop-outs aspire to become the next Mr. Rahul Yadav. While many might see no harm in it, I would like to present some of the incidents I was involved with while growing. There was a time at school, when I wanted to bat as well as Tendulkar. So among the first things I did was to start adjusting an imaginary guard, before facing every ball, which in fact was a harmless tennis ball. Once I grew out of it, in my +2, I wanted to do as well as my college topper and started flipping pen & adjusting hair like him. I sure tried to bat better and study better, but I got much better at flipping pen and adjusting hair than I did at things that actually mattered.
The reason for quoting these examples is to examine how an ordinary, average human brain seems to work. By some weird logic, it keeps telling us that all the relevant and irrelevant attributes of a person are equally responsible for his or her success. It usually masks the fact that, while many of the successful ones seem to be arrogant/insensitive, many of the arrogant/insensitive ones aren’t successful. And ironically, yet understandably, all irrelevant/counter-productive habits of successful ones are easier to ape and get better at, than the ones that are important.
So, the successful ones if not careful are going to inspire many to think that insensitivity, being disrespectful to those who are perceived as powerful etc are some of the attributes that help in being successful and happy, while they reduce the quality of life in geand probability of succeeding on the contrary and hence is extremely counterproductive and a nuisance. One can argue that the super brainy successful ones don’t owe anything to the average/ordinary ones and hence don’t have to be mindful of the impact they can have on these. But given that successful entrepreneurs usually succeed because the average/ordinary ones exist and their needs exist, I feel and hope that they show more responsibility when it comes to how they behave on public forums.
Having said this, I am not passing any judgement/conclusions on characters of the personalities whose alleged actions inspired this piece and should be forgiven if it comes across otherwise.