[Editorial Notes : Kite flying is fun and there are some really inspiring lessons for the founders. Go ahead and read this guest piece by Blaze Arizanov of StayUncle.]
Our love to you is platonic. But sometimes you can get pretty demanding too. Plus we believe we have done a great job, a measurable job for the past 1 month. Therefore we have decided to take a small break and renounce this exciting cruel world for 2 days.
We found our solace in Sanchit’s place down in Central India, surrounded he greenery, kids staring at the foreigner and a bunch of cute little deities all over the house. Not to forget, all the space you can take for practicing yoga. Take that, stress!!
Only after 8 hours of worklessness and relaxation Sanchit suddenly decided that there are pending stuff that need to be completed right here, right now. Unfortunately, things did not work out the way he planned. Not after I suddenly got immersed in something else.
Tens and hundreds of them all over the cloudy sky. It was just a day after India’s Republic day when over environmentally aware Obama visited over narcissist Modi (I hope they are not reading this). People and especially children were still extending their day of holiday with their traditional ritual of kite flying.
I have seen it several times in Delhi. But never from so close. Most of the times the crowds in Delhi were too much for me, so I prefer to stay in the distance. I must say for the first time in India I decided to fly one and it was freaking awesome until it soon got stuck in the branches of a peepal tree, the type which Obama planted in Delhi this Republic Day.
After I did the same catastrophe with the second and the third one and saw the eyes of one of the kids swelling with tears I have decided to get back and leave the game to the masters. FYI, they were 3 times younger than me.
Someone said that a minute of true meditative observation equals an hour of practice.
Fortunately, I was able to observe with focus the game of kite flying and all the tactics involved to keep the tiny kite in the air despite the odds and the ever changing wind.
Have you ever observed kite flying? Have you ever done it by yourself? It is an activity that can teach an entrepreneur so many things. Here is what I picked up:
1. Pick the direction only when your head steers in that direction
The kite has the shape of deltoid. Two threads are tied on the head and on the tail. The two threads are together joined with the main thread held by the kite flier.
How can the flier ensures that the kites moves in the desired direction?
He waits until the head turns on that side and then pulls the thread which results in pulling the head of the kite. Such small mechanical force which slightly moves the kite in different direction is all it takes for the air current to start acting against the fragile balance of the kite and move it in that direction.
In such way, the kite flier ensures that the kite moves in the desired direction almost with exact precision although the kite is hundreds of meters up in the sky. For those who play the kite battles where a winner is the one who gets to cut the thread of the opponent, this skill is fundamental.
Lesson for entrepreneurs – Be aware about your state of balance and know who holds the thread attached to your head. In the wilderness out there it is likely that you will have to take a sharp move once in a while. Make sure that you hold the thread that moves your head into your own hands.
2. If you start falling – Keep falling.
I have lost 3 kites in the branches of the trees around the rooftop. The reason was always the same. I was not able to take the kite up once it started going down. I had to pass over the thread to my 12 years old masters. What they did astounded me, and made me realize where my mistake was.
Whenever the air current dispersed and the kite starts loosing attitude my masters released the pull of the thread and allowed it to fall freely. When the string is loosen up it does not pull the body of the kite and as result the kite relaxes and small gap appears in the middle just sufficient to fill it with air or catch a new air current in it’s bosom.
Ofcourse the fall did not last for long. After seconds of free fall, my masters used to pull the thread sharply and brought the kite to an instant horizontal position. The gap in the middle got instantly filled with new air current and that was all it needed for a falling kite to start ascending again.
I did it the other way around, pulling the thread sharply over and over and over again at the first instance of the kite falling down which resulted in further fall. I bow to your feet, little masters.
Lesson for entrepreneurs – If your charts and revenues start descending it may not necessarily mean a bad thing. Stay alerted and observe. What is the reason for the fall?
Is it really necessary to rectify it instantly? What if the same is a signal that it is time to iterate, a lesson Eric Ries had to learn the harder way with his IMVU despite the fact that the software was earning millions in revenue at the time?
Don’t suppress or annihilate the deviation straight away, because the same may be sent to deliver a message to you.
It may hide other underlying symptoms which may never uncover themselves to you unless you allow that deviation to manifest itself completely. Establish a controlled range of tolerance and company culture where mistakes and falls are not only possible but also encouraged to happen for the sake of learning.
If you decide that it is the time to do take a sharp pull and take that kite up ensure that enough airspace is created within your company, that everyone knows and understands what has happened and what needs to happen next. Also make sure that everyone holds on to something.
It may be ugly but if you have created a gap wide enough to take new air inside then that pull will not only be more pleasant but also desired for the sake of making your company ascend again.
3. Ascend … And then Stop!
My masters used to let the kite go up and up. The ascending was fast but also rough and ungracious. The kite was spinning most of the time as if in the verge of chaos.
Nevertheless, the kite kept ascending. You don’t care whether the next twist will completely disintegrate the body of the kite. You are merely thrilled and filled with adrenalin on the sight of the kite going up. Like a fast growing startup. That’s all you want.
Of course my masters knew better than this. They let the kite ascend high enough to bring awe and excitement and then they stopped. Now the kite was stable. Leaving it lower whether many other kites are will not make their kite stand out. Every meter up of non stop ascending on the other hand increases the risk on running on raging winds.
My masters did a great job on this one too. They were good at finding that great altitude where the kite suddenly stopped twisting and shaking and just started gliding smoothly in complete balance with the currents of the world.
Lesson for entrepreneurs – Every meter higher decreases the level of control the kite flier has over its kite. True, the kite can perhaps fly even higher. But what is the point of being the topmost in a flashlight and then break into pieces?
You can instead chose to stabilize, get calm contemplate on your new level. You can chose to deliver grace and beauty once speed and conquerorship is no longer your priority.
Stop for a while and teach your lesson to the world. Let the next passionate generation learn from you. You do not leave a legacy by being a topmost for a fraction of a second and then disappear.
You leave a legacy by living a legacy. You leave a legacy by sharing.
Can an Indian entrepreneur learn something else from our favorite outdoor activity? Do share you thoughts with us !
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