We don’t find our passion, we grow there, says Ankur Warikoo

Ankur Warikoo wears several hats. He’s an entrepreneur, content creator, angel investor, mentor, and speaker. Known as the founder of the Nearbuy discovery platform, Warikoo stepped down as CEO in 2019, though he is still a member of its board. Now he has also become an author. Combining his personal and professional background, Warikoo’s book Do epic shit explains how our relationship with money, time, and ourselves defines almost everything in our lives.

In an interview, Warikoo talks about his entrepreneurial journey, his book, and what success really means. Edited excerpts:

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Ankur Warikoo.
(Courtesy of Juggernaut)


How did you start your entrepreneurial adventure?

It was quite fortuitous. I was a consultant and held a wealthy position when I graduated from business school in 2005-06. One fine evening, I meet up with a friend from business school and he tells me about a site he has launched, Secondshaadi.com. I laughed and asked if that was what I thought. And he said, “Yeah, man, that’s a marriage website for remarriages.” I loved the idea and asked if I could help in any way.

Since it was my first job, I didn’t want to quit to become an entrepreneur. So for a year and a half I had a day job as a consultant and at night I was like Batman trying to remarry people (laughs). After three years he grew to a size and scale that deserved my full attention, so I quit my day job, suffered a massive pay cut and joined Secondshadi.com as a full-time entrepreneur. It started the journey to entrepreneurship in 2009.

What I love about entrepreneurship is that it’s the most honest form of telling you what you are worth. Often in life, people get something because of the school they went to, the way they looked or the way they spoke. But none of that matters. When was the last time you bought something from a startup because the founder raised a lot of money. You don’t care. He’s the greatest leveler because he doesn’t care about anything. The only thing that matters is: am I building something of value that people really want and need?

Most entrepreneurs move from company to company in pursuit of the next big idea, the next million. Why did you choose to leave this path and become a content creator?

I think I was an entrepreneur even when I was working with someone else because of my way of thinking and going about things. So in that sense, I’m still an entrepreneur. I would like to say that I am still working in a startup, a startup in creating content and building a personal brand that will become something bigger than what it is now. I follow the same process as for creating a startup: in terms of product, team building, process orientation, customer orientation, doing things that interest them, it’s the same thing. The only conscious choice I’ve made, which would be fair in the sense of the question you asked, is that I consciously chose not to play the venture-funded game on my next gig. I understood how it works, I have an appreciation for it but also understood how it wouldn’t work for most people. When I was consciously choosing what I wanted to do next, I decided I wanted to do something that was bootstrap, profitable from day one.

Why did you choose to reinvent yourself as an influencer and sort of older friend who mentors the younger ones?

Because I enjoyed it a lot. I realized that I had made a lot of mistakes in my life, and each time I was led to realize it through the eyes of older people. I didn’t sign up for it, it just happened. I was fortunate to be among people who wished the best for me and showed me the right way to look at things and this is something that I would like to give back.

What does success mean to you?

Success for me is basically being able to do what I want to do without worrying about what the world thinks of me. That for me is success, that for me is happiness.

Posted by Juggernaut

Posted by Juggernaut
(Company document)


You say in your book that the most important skills today are those that are rarely taught in school or college. Why?

The reason they are rarely taught is that it is difficult to measure these skills, which only show results in the long term. Our systems are designed for the immediate, for the short term, for assessment, and therefore for mid-term, final exams, rankings, where you are told where you stand in the world.

In my opinion, the skills that really help are, first, curiosity. Ironically, curiosity is the first thing school and college try to kill, and usually succeed in it. He just doesn’t like people asking questions. Second, the skill that you need to be successful is knowing how to become a student when you need it and I say this because the world is changing rapidly and the only hope we have is to keep learning. Third, reflection. We are not encouraged to think; we are told to move on. We are told that failure is the stepping stone to success, but this is not true because everyone fails and not everyone succeeds. Not all failures lead to success. And unless you’re thinking, you’re just going to go from failure to failure until you spend some time thinking.

You repeat that there is nothing wrong with failing, but sometimes it gives the impression that failure looks cool, even glamorous, what Marc Andreessen calls “fetish failure.” “. Isn’t that a little dangerous, and shouldn’t one ideally try, try until one succeeds?

I never tried to make failure cool. I never say follow your passion, quit your job, I often say that there is a way to work out what you want to do with a living. We don’t find our passion, we become our passion. By definition, that means it’s going to take time. And so you’ve got to have something to feed your stomach.

If you have a job that doesn’t affect your physical and mental health, then stay in that job and do what’s expected of you. Do enough to do a good job. Take as much time as you can – weekends, holidays, nights – to work on things that motivate you, which you think could become your passion if you get better at yourself. In this journey, you will inevitably fail. But if you don’t even start because of the fear of failure, you’ve already failed. Failure is not the fear of failing per se, but the fear of what people will think of you when you fail. And if you live your life in fear of what people will think, you will never have the courage to do what’s right for you.

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