I find the reality shows on TV fascinating. Specially the talent hunts. And the best part is the auditions. Thousands of aspirants turn up for say, 25 spots in the finals and a shot at glory. The selection ratio is at best 1:50. The TV footage focuses on the best and the worst ones. The worst ones are the funniest and the audience gets some whacky moment watching their interaction with the judges. I don’t know but if I had to guess, I would say that some of the funniest folks are planted by the channel. Some others are let in just for TRPs. Keeping aside the disproportionate footage, you gotta believe that the majority would be the middle. They don’t know going in that they are good enough but, it’s worth a shot.
My fascination comes from – why do the middle middle and lower middle turn up? Why not, you might ask? It can be turned into a nice picnic-y day, you meet celebrities and maybe you will get a chance for a little Mumbai trip, all paid. You can escape from the daily drudgery which anyway you gotta come back to those next day. And there is a 1 in a million shot at unthinkable fame and greatness. And the risks? – well you lose a day in the sun and maybe you will embarrass yourself. But you will still be on TV and have great stories to tell. People will congratulate you on your courage.
Entrepreneurship is a little bit like this. It’s cool, it’s sexy. You give it a try, takes you away from a seemingly linear career path, it promises to be fun, you feel like you can be independent and there is a small chance of unthinkable fame and wealth. You might lose a year or two if it doesn’t work but you will have good stories to tell and people will congratulate you on your courage. It might even look good on your CV.
The big difference though between the two is that in entrepreneurship you don’t have judges. A talent show is very transactional. You try, you get in or not and you move on. Entrepreneurship doesn’t have a judge panel who tells you that you can’t go ahead. It’s hard to know when to stop. I have met many entrepreneurs who keep at it for years with low to moderate success. Others give up too soon.
So how do you know if you are on the right track?