May 2012 HPA Activist Newsletterby Eugene Lee, Vice President of the Alumni
Taking the Path Less Travelled
Reading the Straits Times these days, you can’t help but noticed more articles and stories about young graduates and seasoned professional starting new businesses in various industries, ranging from cafes, e-commerce sites to solar powered mobile devices. A fair number of ex-HPites have also been bitten by the entrepreneurial spirit, you know who are you are ;), venturing into businesses and start ups with lots of enthusiasm, gusto, passion and appetite for risk.
To these selected individuals, I wish you the very best in your new endeavors. Having gone down this path myself, I must say it’s not an easy decision. Creating a business from grounds up is not for everyone. It takes a set of distinctive traits to make it happen. Without the financial predictability of a stable corporate job, starting your own company does take a heck lot of tenacity, perseverance, calculated financial risk management and yes, a pitch of lady luck. Having done a start up myself, I can only assure you that you are in for a ride that you will never forget. You will experience, learn business fundamentals and implement management principles that you only read from business books. You will also very quickly discover firsthand that some of these documented business doctrines do not work in the real business world, but, we still need them for completeness.
Not all new businesses will be as successful as Google, Instagram (a 2 year old company which was reported sold to Facebook for a Billion Dollars) or Venture, but for those who have taken this path less travelled, the battle scars will hopefully make you a little wiser and become a more prudent person; and yes, optimistically, closer to your dreams. For those, who are still sitting on the side line, thinking whether to take the first step on this less travelled path, I encourage you to seriously evaluate your personal goals and aspirations in life. Nothing wrong being a successful corporate go getter, we need them in the business eco-system. Both have different war stories to recount when they retire, both have made sacrifices, but if there is a bet on which set of stories are more colorful, inspiring and vivid, I would wager on the ones told by the more adventurous. The ones that had to write their own script and chart their own course, using their self made compass, on probably more dangerous seas.
As philosopher Maya Angelou said “Life is pure adventure and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art”
Whichever path you choose, the decision is yours; just have no regrets taking either. Life is short, enjoy the journey.
Sent on behalf of Eugene Lee by HPA Secretariat Support