Outliers 63: Sanjay Parthasarathy on how running taught him patience as an entrepreneur

Pankaj Mishra July 13, 2018

Entrepreneurial journeys mean different things to different founders. For some, it’s a way of creating wealth. Many others do it to achieve their “change the world” ambitions. But at its core, entrepreneurship brings a deep personal transformation. Past Outliers episodes with Kailash Katkar, Aneesh Reddy, Manav Garg and K Vaitheeswaran are among conversations that underscore the personal transformation of entrepreneurs while building their startups.

For Sanjay Parthasarathy, a Microsoft veteran who quit the company to build Indix, an AI-powered catalog for all of the world’s products available online, entrepreneurship is all about patience.

And what taught him patience? Running.

“I used to play cricket, squash all kinds of sports. Now, I don’t play any sport, but run. Running is the ultimate sport for patience.”

“A job at a company like Microsoft or any large company is about career development, much more outward focused. Whereas a startup journey is much more about character development and is much more inwardly focused,” he says. You have to question your core principles, your character.”

Parthasarathy says you can afford to be impatient when at a large company. “You can talk more than listen. When you do a startup, as a smaller company you have to be patient, you have to roll with the punches,” he says.

“You don’t react to every piece of email. At Microsoft, I used to be very proud of responding to an email within few seconds. Now, I just let it lie for a bit to see if it fixes itself.”

“You don’t realise until you do a startup that it takes at least seven to ten years to build something worthwhile,” he adds.


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