Chronicles of a search: Building a model of enterprise education
I have been on the road for almost two months and now heading back to London. As I write this using the inflight wifi, I have a strange feeling: London is no longer home. It feels just like another stop in a much longer journey, the time for which may have come now.
The last year was rather exceptional in my life. This time last year, two things happened. We were doing a little project, as consultants, preparing students for digital economy careers: We decided to showcase what we were doing at a conference in India. One thing led to another and suddenly, we were in the venture game, raising money etc. The project became a company and the goals fundamentally changed. I feel sad about that loss of innocence - there was once a time I could look forward to building things rather than being a part of the speculative world of venture finance!
The other way my life fundamentally changed is that this time last year, we got to know that my father has pancreatic cancer and doesn't have long to live. In a few short weeks afterwards, he was gone - just erased from our lives. This left a huge gap, which I am still dealing with. In fact, it's more that as the days pass, I am figuring out the extent of his absence. This also finally uprooted me from India and released me from my nostalgic Sunday mornings when I would always dream of going back to India. But there has been nothing in fill its place: I am now officially rootless.
But journeys like the one I am just completing are wonderful opportunities to think and reflect. Professional demands notwithstanding, every evening I faced the big existential questions: What am I doing here? I could see that I am not going forward in terms of my life's goals, and rather being drawn into the world of opportunistic businessmen and pretentious conversations. Every time such realities confront me, I am reminded that I chose to leave this life a long time ago: I walked away from a corporate career path in search of freedom and any such trajectory, whatever titles that may come with, should be deemed to be a failure.
Hence, I start again. I shall go back to my original commitment to building a training and education business, but this time, I shall not be limited to London, which was the problem for my previous projects. I am now ready to travel and leave somewhere else for two to three years, as long as I can pursue interesting work. I have surely baffled my current associates recently offering to move to Australia, something I am prepared to do though not for doing the same thing that I am doing now. But my preference is Europe or North America, or if a good opportunity comes along, somewhere in Asia. This time around, I wish to take a limited role and be more honest and authentic in what I do.
Why am I chronicling this publicly? In order to keep myself honest, which was my origial objective in the first place. I have always believed that the first condition of professionalism is transparency, to one's own self and to others, and I have always been experimenting with transparency (with some disastrous results, at times). But this time around, honesty is indeed the best policy, to connect with other honest people and baffle those who are inherently dishonest. I don't know whether such a path leads anywhere but I have come to conclude that this is the only path worth following.