“ Greatness is often the sea everyone wants to dive into. Yet, few will ever see its shores.
As a founder, I have always aspired to be one of the great ones, not by money alone but by value and respect. In fact I guess this feeling dates back to my childhood when I wanted to be great every single year that I lived. Of course, at the time there was very little that I understood about greatness.
Today, maybe that understanding is a little more complete.
When we started this story with Needle I wanted to see us right up there with the greats. Year after year since 2000 I have marvelled at the way Google has established its legendary future unravelling story. Even before then I had fanatically followed how Microsoft grew to be the behemoth it is. And I wanted in on this feeling.
I guess this is a sentiment that most people who start something on their own relate to. We all want to be the Googles, Apples and Microsofts of the world. Anything less, is just not permissible.
I was in my early 20’s when the seeds of entrepreneurship were sown. And when I started in my mid 20s I had a designated vision - achieve greatness by scale, vision & name by 28.
It has been 4 years since I have been 28. And hardly a 20-30 people know me well. :)
While as a company we have seen success at the basics (revenue, team & a super niche), I wasn’t completely satisfied at how the story was scripting. There was a perennial struggle between the feel good, do good, slow growth story versus the stories of epic greatness that I had personally always related/aspired to.
However, as I moved through this struggle and the years, I have had a continuous dawning realisation that greatness maybe never was what I and a lot of us had thought it to be.
And when this global crisis struck in 2020, it has finally dawned on me in complete sense that maybe greatness is unique to the way every individual story unfolds. Also, greatness need not only be achieved in the sheen of scale but could be unravelled in the comfort of how we script the journey with small steps, a truly humane connect and a tendency to be simple in the face of complexity and sophistication of the modern day technologies. (disclaimer - we are a technology company in the deep tech. space ourselves).
When I look at organisations that are today qualified to be truly great in my personal opinion, regardless of the origins what is unique is that they all started, processed growth in a simple environment wherein the basics always mattered more. Which is what I believe makes them great.
Be it AirBnB with its belong anywhere ideology or Zappos with its insane focus on people culture, the reason I would count on these organisations to be great is because despite the funding, the public nature of their businesses, at more points than less in their journeys, they have embraced the simple basics.
Even Google, regardless of the scrutiny of its privacy policies today, only truly achieved greatness because of the implicit reiteration of its mission rather than by the gigantic behemoth it represents today. And Microsoft which despite its scale had started seeming like a great story past its glory days, has rekindled the aura of fresh greatness only when it embraced its new, more open approach to the world at large.
So what’s greatness again? Today, it looks to me like the following :
- We embrace the happiness of people within and those that we work with first.
- The focus is on the mission rather than the sudden scale.
- We embrace our customers one at a time, giving each of their problems of embracing the digital transformation and 4.0 revolution individual attention rather than throwing mass solutions at a volume client base.
- Greatness becomes a part of the story rather than the story itself.
And to put things in perspective, here's to a great story in the making.