So, what do you do for a living”
“I run a start-up”
“How cool! Tell me all about it”
Our world today celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship. The stories of Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos have become legend, glorified in movies and dissected in B-schools in painstaking detail. One thing that they all have in common is that they essentially had a brilliant idea centred on new technology or delivered a service using technology.
Not so well-known are stories of how a creative service or product was conceived and pushed to the market. How did Louis Vuitton or Jimmy Choo make their mark? What inspired Walt Disney to create such an iconic industry? The creative entrepreneur walks a different path from the technology entrepreneur. She/he needs to wear two hats. The first is the designer/writer/artist hat to define the creative vision of their product or service. The second is the business hat to understand the dynamics of their chosen marketplace and sell it to as many people as possible.
Wearing two fundamentally different hats is not easy.
The Personal Journey
Artists draw their muse from the experiences which change them. What seems insignificant to someone on the outside, might well be a life-changing moment for the artist. In The Merchant of Stories, Dipa takes us through her experiences in Japan, China, USA and UK which contributed in significant ways to the shape of her venture.
It is interesting to note that none of Dipa’s past jobs or education have contributed to “relevant experience”, as head-hunters would say. She has lived through diverse professions. From being trained as an accountant and working in the textile trade to learning Jewish religion and then working a teacher, Dipa has done it all. It was her childhood love of books that inspired her to write.
The Creative Entrepreneur’s Journey
Dipa also talks about the fine details of publishing one’s own book. As with all creative ventures, the final product might seem like just an evening’s job but there is a lot of planning that goes behind it. Dipa has included a lot of useful insights for every aspiring author. This is a must-read for any writer wanting to take the leap into the world of publishing.
“You are missing it.
“The journey. You are missing it”
Perhaps the biggest driving force for all those entrepreneurs out there, is the experience of running your own venture. Some say it is akin to parenting. It teaches you something that you cannot pick up in classrooms or books. It transforms you. Perhaps, it is this transformation that entrepreneurs are seeking, unconsciously.
This spirit of adventure is not a new fad of our generation. This spark has stayed with us, perhaps from pre-historic times. Many of our grandparents and great-grandparents were not born to a world of comfort like we were. They created wealth, by seeking new avenues. They left their homes in search of a better future and crossed the seas to find a place to build their legacy.
Dipa shares the story of her ancestors, who took the plunge and set up shop in Singapore, after leaving their homeland. Any modern book on strategy would have deemed this unwise. It is daunting to conduct business with people whose language and culture are so different from your own. It is this spirit that continues to stay alive in her, when she chose to take the plunge into the world of publishing.
For the fans of the The Little Light, this book tells the story of The Little Light’s earthly journey from idea to print.
Dipa’s narrative style is unconventional. Stories of her travel experiences mingle with verse to create a journey that is filled with nuggets of life wisdom, if you know where to look for it. For me, one of the biggest take-aways from this book is the idea that no experience is a bad one. Even the darkest night, or the most boring conversation can be path to a new beginning. All you have to do is change your perspective.
About the Author