Entrepreneur lessons from the
current implosion in AAP (AAM
Aadmi Party)

This article is from the archives of Venture Garage, originally published by Mr Vivek Kumar, CEO, Venture Garage

Just a few of years back AAP was the blue eyed boy of start-ups with an IIT
founder, a strong idea around anti-corruption that fired up the imagination of
millions and exponential growth. And now this current implosion. This is
reminding me of Housing.com.
Arvind Kejriwal recently put this message out. We see a few lessons in
entrepreneurship here.

1. Staying focussed on the purpose: The core anti-corruption idea which
brought together a vast middle class who were largely uninvolved in the
election process has gotten lost in all the rhetoric and mud-slinging. Start-ups
in Gurgaon who pretty much would have no interest in politics were
organising fund collection drives. This was the first time I saw friends writing
cheques towards AAP party fund, the feeling was of great hope.

It is hypercritical that amongst all the distractions a start-up will face, the
spirit of the purpose needs to be aggressively guarded by the founder. Every
time a founder feels rejection, hopelessness, or questions himself… or any such
emotions come forth, going back to why one started is a great way to get
back into the groove.

2. Team members and loyalists deserting midway:

Often people you started off with, who swore to live and die with you along the
way will come and say that they feel that “God has spoken to them and they
feel this is not for them”. This is when the entrepreneur needs to re-instil the
belief and faith, talk about the dream, talk about how life will be more exciting,
more rich, more joyful once the dream is fulfilled. Some of this will work, some
will not. However, though there is a lot of talk about teams, I feel that
entrepreneurship begins with the dream of one person, and rises and
falls on the attitude of that person. Rabindranath Tagore is hugely relevant
here when he famously crooned “If no one answers to your call, then move
forward alone.”
3. If you mean serious business expect the competition to come at you
hammer and tongs:

If the competition is slandering you, trying to stop you from working, trying to
steal your best people, throwing wild allegations at you…be pleased that you
causing serious disruption. The fact that APP caused a huge disruption in
politics cannot be doubted. Though slightly long, this quote reiterates what the
entrepreneur may need to tell himself/herself multiple times a day, the
problem is with them not with him/her. “They will hate you if you are
beautiful. They will hate you if you are successful. They will hate you if you are
right. They will hate you if you are popular. They will hate you when you get
attention. They will hate you when people in their life like you. They will hate
you if you worship a different version of their God. They will hate you if you are
spiritual. They will hate you if you have courage. They will hate you if you have
an opinion. They will hate you when people support you. They will hate you
when they see you happy. Heck, they will hate you while they post prayers
and religious quotes on Pinterest and Facebook. They just hate. However,

remember this: They hate you because you represent something they feel
they don’t have. It really isn’t about you. It is about the hatred they have for
themselves. So smile today because there is something you are doing right
that has a lot of people thinking about you.” Isn’t this why that even with the
Vadra’s, Yedurappa’s, Laloo’s, and the Pawar’s around all we talk about is AK.
4. There are no cheap shortcuts to change:

If disruption is the motive there are no short-cuts as the vast majority wants to
maintain status-quo. Often one just has to go back to the basics, and retreat
back to home base when new expansions have not worked. Disruption is
fraught with failure but clearly it is “Better to do something imperfectly than to
do nothing perfectly.” and somewhere along the way we will get close to
perfection. Sometimes as an entrepreneur, we have to swallow so much pride
that it is surprising we don’t become obese. This is the toughest one, as a
founder is always in a tearing hurry, because he can see what can be, but often
destiny has other plans. This is a personal battle every entrepreneur needs
to win because change will happen, but how much time it will take… well
GOD knows!!
Let them make fun, criticize, ridicule, but remember they can never be
you.

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