Monday, September 28, 2020

On a More Serious Note – Remember, There is No Serious Note! – Myshkin Ingawale

By Sheetal Maheshwari

We keep hearing the joke about engineers: If you are not able to decide what you want to be, be an engineer and decide later.  And we do have many examples of engineers who later dabbled in various fields like Chetan Bhagat, Sushant Singh Rajput to name a few. But then there are few engineers who make their clan proud. They are the real life counterpart of Rancho from 3 idiots. They believe that if they are capable and persistent, success will follow.

Social Chutney got to know one such person who took the road less travelled. Mr. Myshkin Ingawale is a Co-founder of Biosense Technologies Private Limited and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Ingawale has also been a researcher at MIT as part of the team that conceptualized and built the Copenhagen Wheel, demoed at the United Nations Climate Summit ’09. Mr. Ingawale has worked at Mckinsey & Company as a business consultant. He holds a PhD in Management Information Systems from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Bhopal. So,  let’s hear the story from the man himself.

SC- You seem to have mastered in quite many fields in your life. So,how do you manage to have so many feathers in your cap.

 Myshkin Ingawale: I currently live and work in Spain, with startups in the AgTech area. My career trajectory has been pretty ad-hoc, non-linear and really – pretty random! Just to paint the picture: Biosense is a VC backed Medtech company, MIT Copenhagen wheel was a research project that got spun off as a startup called Super pedestrian, the TED talk was a chance to meet amazing people from all walks of life, and along the way, other jobs and ventures like McKinsey, Xiaomi and Facebook – just happened. The key to all these great, life-changing experiences for me has been – a complete and thorough lack of career planning.  On a more serious note – remember, that there is no serious note! Dont take yourself too seriously, and just remember to follow the path where your interest and skills match best with being of genuine use to someone (another person, another group, another company) around you. I generally find that good things happen automatically if you do something interesting and useful all the time, regardless of any grand plan.  
In summary: Relax, clear your head, look around you and start doing interesting and useful things! 

SC – As a child, we all feel that probably this is the way all children are raised. But it’s our parents and the way they mold us that makes us who we are. So, how was your early childhood?  And in what ways was it different that gave your wings the strength to fly and your feet rooted to ground? 

Myshkin Ingawale: Parents make us who we are. They give up part of themselves – to make this happen. Unlike many Indian kids, I grew up without any obvious pressure to become an engineer or a doctor. I could have been an artist, a musician, a historian, a writer….anything! A really stable home, no pressure to conform into medicine or engineering. 
The result: I ended up with co-founding a venture in MedTech (ie both medicine and engineering rolled into one!), haha. 
…How very boring! 🙂

SC – When you decide to follow your dreams,  you need support of people who believe in you. What is your call on this notion?

Myshkin Ingawale : Sorry about this – but I need to firmly dash the notion that one must “follow your dreams”. Let me step in and nip this wishy-washy talk of “dreams” in the bud, haha.  In fact, the ONE thing I would advise when one has a dream is – do NOT follow it! Dreams are totally and utterly random.  The trick is to discover quickly the intersection of what you are good at, what is of value to the world around you and then do it. If you are good at something and the world appreciates you for it – then you will quickly become happy with it!

SC – You traded the security of a job for what you believed in. Please tell us, how were things when you just started? Did the intial struggle deter you to take shield of the usual mundane life

Myshkin Ingawale: Job security is a myth. Do you really think it exists, in todays world? Conversely, the notion that within a “conventional” job with a company, one does not need to be entrepreneurial, is equally a myth. 
If one does not continuously create value – be that inside or outside the boundaries of the firm – then one will not be valued. It really is that simple. In that sense, rather than focussing on “job security”, I would urge the reader to focus on value, as a notion, over security.  
Ask yourself this: “Who have I been useful to today? Who is a little happier, a little healthier, a little richer, a little better off today than they were yesterday, because of something I helped with?”. 

SC – You wrote a book with Nikita Singh , ” The unreasonable fellow”. Tell us something about it.

Myshkin Ingawale: The “Unreasoanble Fellows” follows the stories of a set of social entrepreneurs, and chronicles their life stories – from childhood onwards to schooling, jobs and then their ventures  – with a view to getting the reader “into their shoes” so to speak and – even if for a brief moment or two – to live their lives. The motivation for this is that these social entrepreneurs are somehow seen as unusual or extraordinary – where as each and every one of them – when I met them, strongly oppose this definition, and rather are thoroughly grounded and see themselves as ordinary people. The dichotomy is resolved only by following the path, the journey, the story, that led these – apparently ordinary mortals- to attempt in many cases extraordinary ventures with the potential to have a massive positive impact on the world. Since the time that Penguin published the book, quite a few of these ventures have folded and shut down and some have gone on to become big and have massive impact (both financial and social) in the world.  But in all cases, I believe, personally, that the people behind these attempted ventures are more interesting than the venures themselves! 

SC – Your words of advice to the budding entrepreneurs.
Myshkin Ingawale: I have a TShirt that says “Take my advice. I dont use it anway!¨ haha. 
So my advice is – Don´t take anyones advice!

But wait – what if “dont take anyones advice” means that you are, in effect, taking that piece of advice…..oops!

Thanks for reading till this far, and my best wishes for whatever you do! 

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