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Entrepreneurial Journey – Learning Through Trial and Error

I made a mistake picture

If one were a betting person and one was shown the topography of the earth more than 200,000 years ago I doubt if very many people would have been putting their money on “Man” as a likely candidate to occupy the highest level in the food chain. I mean we didn’t have the size, the height, the speed or even the agility of other animals. Further our reproduction system ensured that our offspring’s took a very long time to become independent. In short we did not have any of the comparative advantages that would have made us win this race of the food chain.

However I feel that our lack of some of the more obvious strengths mentioned above forced our ancestors to use their brain in the desperate fight for survival and the more they used their brain, the better it became .The use of the brain must have happened as early man would have realized through a process of trial and error that there was something that he was doing which was making him overcome other animals in the race for food and this something was an organ that was not the obvious hands or legs but something hidden .Of course he did not have a name for it neither did he probably understand what organ he was actually using.

This brings me to the 2 fundamental laws of nature.

1. All advancement happens through a process of trial and error where a person does more of what works and discards what doesn’t (common sense!).

2. The more you do something the more we can do something and so the better we become at it i.e. the more we used our brain the more we could use our brain and so the larger it became.

As one starts a venture, meets with resistance, makes mistakes, overcomes doubt and carries on at some point the fundamental law of nature starts kicking in i.e. the more you do something the better you get at it. So one learns from a process of trial and error (which is how nature learns) and as one is creating something ground up (which is again how nature builds) the more one does it, the better one gets at it. This is what happened and in my case as I took more than 5 years and 2 failed ventures to see monetary success, natures law helped me even more! The more I started and ran businesses the better I became until finally it all broke through and I could extract monetary gains from my 3rd venture.

Let me explain what I mean by “becoming better”.

With each venture that I started, although the ultimate outcome may have been a failure in the first 2, there was tremendous trial and error that was happening at every stage. I was constantly meeting new customers, experimenting with new pricing, learning about new technologies, evaluating different delivery parameters to derive the perfect value and handling a different set of market dynamics. As a business is also an organism it also goes through the same process of doing what works and discarding what doesn’t (which pretty much is the evolutionary cycle), and this process of trial and error is what one experiences as a person who runs it. So in effect I was learning through a process of trial and error and also becoming better at learning through this process (the 2 laws that I wrote above)

Now when I look back at all those years I spent starting businesses, tinkering with each of them before I saw financial liberation from one of them, I realize that I experienced both the laws of nature that I mentioned earlier. This is what has liberated me from the fear of financial failure and gives me the confidence to now become a seed funder as I invest in ideas at an inception level and help create value ground up as I have seen it happen to me and I know that given the right amount of patience it can happen to others that I invest in also.

This remains by far the biggest learning that I had in my entrepreneurial journey.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GAUTAM SINHA - A serial entrepreneur since 1996, Gautam started (and shut down) 2 companies before successfully exiting his 3rd venture in early 2008.  TVA Infotech, an IT recruitment company founded by him in 2000, went on to become the market leader in the IT recruiting space in the south of India, which was subsequently acquired in 2008 by Allegis Group Inc, the largest staffing company in the USA. He believes in his mentors and he is a great mentor himself. He is a Seed Capital Investor (MyFirstCheque). He recently published his book “Flying Business Class”. He regularly blogs at www.gautamsinha.org.

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Summary
Article Name
Entrepreneurial Journey - Learning Through Trial and Error
Author
Description
This article explains how learning by trial and error is a mechanism through which humans have evolved and how this mechanism remains true in entrepreneurship as well.

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