Building the Startup DNA, Fostering Entrepreneurs and the Road Ahead – A discussion with Pankaj Patel (Part 2)

It is well known that a majority of startups fail. Yet the lure to join startups continues. There is no shortage of entrepreneurs pursuing the next big thing, particularly in the United States.

Some people are born to be entrepreneurs. They are passionate about ideas and strive relentlessly to see them come to life. For them, the journey is as important as the destination, and no sacrifice is too large.  Others are “accidental entrepreneurs”, pulled into the gravity of startups either by serendipity or by the lure of trying something different.

No matter what the reason, is, being in a startup, particularly in the formational stages of one, isn’t easy. Sharpening an idea, determining product market fit, assembling the right team, getting capitalized and eventually scaling – each stage can come with its own challenges and rewards.

In a previous discussion with Pankaj Patel, former EVP and Chief Development Officer at Cisco, we discussed about building purpose and scaling innovations in larger companies such as Cisco. In this segment, we shift the focus to startups.

Following his “retirement”, Pankaj has immersed himself in the startup ecosystem as a mentor, advisor, investor and board member to startups and venture firms alike. Drawing from his own experiences in startups as well as in larger companies like Cisco, he brings a unique perspective combining business and technology insights.

In this segment, we discuss the traits of entrepreneurs, building the right team and culture at startups as well, how to handle success (and more importantly learn from failure!) while building companies. We touch upon the accidental entrepreneurs that want to shift from well-paying corporate jobs to risk startups and the decision process involved.

Pankaj also shares his thoughts on the technologies he sees being relevant over the next several years.

Eventually entrepreneurship is not about where you are working or what role you play. It is a mindset and attitude. Larger companies can foster entrepreneurship internally, while startups can become complacent and rigid. I hope this segment fosters entrepreneurship in either situation.

Here’s to stay hungry, humble and foolish!