“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”
Suparnaa an author, artiste & an entrepreneur, just as curious about the startup world as she is about leadership traits and the dots in between. For over 17 years she experimented with different mediums including Radio, TV, Print, Events and now the World Wide Web. She also founded an initiative to promote Gender Equity named womanendangered.org that is partnered with leanin.org, Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg’s brainchild.
Today with her startup “#LikeaBoss Simply with Suparnaa” she is sharing stories of startup founders & leaders alike.
E-Cell: How do you define entrepreneurship ?
Suparnaa: Entrepreneurship is doing something on your own. For me doing a 9 to 5 is not something that I’m used to doing for a long period. I’ve been a consultant and now I’ve started my own company. This means that I am responsible for what I’m doing. Also the last mile of responsibility lies on me, not only for this to be a substainable venture but also to be able to cater to all the stakeholders that are associated with me at this present moment and in the future.
E- Cell: What business are you into ?
Suparnaa: My journey in the media industry has been over the last 17 years wherein I’ve had the opportunity to get a 360 degree view of all forms of media starting from radio to television to print to events and now online. I am tapping in on my forte of media, it’s the network that I have developed in the past so many years and creating a web series wherein I interview leaders of various disciplines and fields trying to document what their experiences taught them. While students garner knowledge as far as colleges and schools are concerned,but there is a certain kind of knowledge that comes through experience and that is defined as wisdom and that is one thing which is not documented anywhere. So this series aims to document the wisdom of such leaders so that students, the startup fraternity and entrepreneurs can actually learn from them.
There are estimates that around 20-25 billion dollars are waiting to be invested in various ideas as far as the Indian startup ecosystem is concerned and there are a lot of young people who have vibrant ideas. But what is missing between these two things is the experience and wisdom. So this series aims to provide you a kind of crash course in the things not to do or the things that you should do which are tried and tested by other people.
E-Cell: What made you choose this type of business line ?
Suparnaa: The reason why I chose this line is that I’m tapping on my potential and on my network. I am doing what I am good at by trying to make the most optimal use of the potential I possess. And the most important thing is that since I’m good at it, I enjoy doing my work and if I can turn it into a sustainable business venture then it is a win win situation.
E-Cell: Do you believe that there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming successful?
Suparnaa: The answer to this is not a simple yes or no. The answer to this is that success is a process of evolution. Success can mean different things at different times. Like success for a student may mean to be able to absorb all the knowledge that he or she is being given while they are studying, success for a new born mother maybe to take care of her child in the best possible way, and as far as an entrepreneur is concerned success to begin with is to make the idea come into fruition and then in the execution of the idea, trying to fine tune it into a better place in the field you are working in. And of course then to make it sustainable, to pay the bills of the people who have invested in it and finally success can also be adding value to all the stakeholders involved.
E-Cell: If you had a chance to start your career over again, what would you have done differently ?
Suparnaa: I would have definitely taken my studies more seriously. While I interview a lot of people and there are many examples of drop outs doing extremely well, this phenomena of drop outs and success being correlated is something I do not approve of. What I definitely feel is that if I were to start my career over again I would have taken up some professional course. Whatever I have learnt, I have learnt on the job and it is always not sufficient because you come across various situations which are uncalled for and then the knowledge gained through your studies come into play. Unfortunately we don’t have the greatest of media schools in India either unless you go abroad but there is of course more accessibility to education now than it was a few decades back.
E-Cell: You must have faced some sort of failure in your business. What have been your learnings from those?
Suparnaa: I have just about started my business so I’m not looking at my failures right now since I’m not even sustainable. I am pumping in my own money and I’ve gifted this year to myself after having worked very hard for a very long time. So what I can share is that I have tried to minimise my failures and mitigate the risks that I’m taking. I’m in that phase of my life where my basic needs are looked after plus I have a little seed fund which I have accumulated and I have gifted this year to myself to be able to do what I want to do.
E-Cell: Any message that you would want to give to students like us who want to venture into the world of entrepreneurship?
Suparnaa: A simple message I would like to give to students is that always strive towards dispelling darkness and ignorance and illuminate it with the light of knowledge and once you do that and you are in alignment with how the universe works, believe me the universe will conspire to get your ideas and your future in alignment with its own laws and give you success.