NEW DELHI — "How do I convince my 17-year-old-son not to be an entrepreneur," asked a worried father on Quora recently. "I want him to excel in school, get a degree and then think about entrepreneurship -- so that he has something to fall back on. But he wants to get into robotics -- and now he's looking for an internship at a start-up. As much as I appreciate that, I want him to focus on school first. Am I wrong?" he wondered out loud.
When a confused dad asked this question on Quora recently, many successful entrepreneurs responded with a whole bunch of interesting insights.
Gaurav Munjal, founder and CEO of Flatchat, recounted a whole bunch of personal success stories from his school days. "This one time in Class 7 when I had got a new computer and CD writer, I started selling pirated game CDs for 50 bucks to my classmates and used to earn around Rs 30 per CD. My Dad found out, I got a scolding and he slapped me and asked me to focus on studies and not worry about money," Munjal wrote.
After explaining how he ventured into a printing business in Class 8, wrote a novella in Class 10, and joined an MNC after engineering college, Munjal adviced, "You can convince your son not to be an entrepreneur, but if he wants to be one, he will be one and you can't do anything about it."
Many more entrepreneurs such as Shashank Murali, Utkarsh Apoorva and Anuradha Thota, among others, on the other hand, have already offered the young boy internships.
While most of the entrepreneurs who've responded on the post appreciated the young boy's enthusiasm with entrepreneurship, several of them also sympathised with the father.
Tabrez Alam, founder of Pluggdd, said, "As a father you are not wrong... I understand that while the entire world talks about school dropout entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, no one even cares that there may be a million more dropouts who never made anything of themselves. Your concern can be attributed to the lack of social security in India, actually."
A young 15-year-old entrepreneur Amrith Shanbhag agreed. "I'm a young social entrepreneur myself — founder of Ohmega. While I understand that you're just being protective, it is actually the entrepreneurs, who make the world a better place by taking risks. So if you teach him to follow his heart, his passions will eventually lead him to success," he wrote.