We Gotta Keep Dreaming

Hello world. This is the first blog post from W?N Ventures. According to our site we are a “unique hybrid seed stage investment vehicle, consultancy, and idea incubator” (whatever that means, right?). The purpose of this blog is not to talk about what we do or promote our business, but rather to discuss, applaud, criticize, and ruminate on entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial journey. The blog will consist of posts written internally by our team, guest posts, and a curation of interesting “shareworthy” content we find on the world wide web. There will be no: “5 things every entrepreneur should do”, or “10 characteristics that make a great entrepreneur”, or “7.5 things every first time founder should do before 5AM to ensure a strong company culture”. However, there will be grammatical errors (note improper use of colon in previous sentence), incoherent and incomplete thoughts, tremendously candid observations drawn from our personal successes and failures, and (many) failed attempts at humor (ha…).

The title of this introductory post is “We Gotta Keep Dreaming”. It’s not an attempt to go scientific or philosophical on you and analyze what goes on within the depths of our subconscious when starting a business or while we’re sleeping (on that note check out Shadow – a community of dreamers – after you’re done reading this). Alternatively, I want to discuss a shift in thought that invariably occurs within majority of us. That point where our mindsets and attitudes shift from I’m unstoppable, I’m going to change the world, I’m going to do this that and the other thing before I’m 30, forget the naysayers… to… what am I doing with my life?, my job sucks, I don’t know where my passion lies anymore, (insert expletive) that Snapchat guy for turning down $3 billion dollars.

It’s debatable whether this shift happens gradually or overnight, but to majority of us it does happen (way too early in most cases). College is probably the pinnacle of our dreaming. The world beyond those campus walls was what we wanted it to be… what we painted in our mind. We thought outside the box, debated for hours, discussed how we were going to become super rich, and had little concern for the consequences of our actions. Even when we graduated we were wide-eyed and over eager. My first job out of college was in Investment Banking doing sell-side M&A work in the technology sector. In the first few months I was hustling, trying to go above and beyond by bringing potential deals to the table and setting up conference calls with prospective clients. I was quite the idiot. I soon realized (as many of us do) that I was an asset in place to perform a specific function and any work done outside of that function was counterproductive… makes you want to dream a little less. But, even amidst the realization that you’re a cog in the machine is the opportunity to meet new people, explore a new city, even meet your future wife. The dream is alive…

Majority of us eventually get married (a whole new adventure where you have someone to dream with). And then kids, (this is where my expertise begins to drop off) and so on and so forth. Each step of the way reality becomes a little more real and the ability to dream begins to fade. Obviously there’s a point where life has to be taken seriously and responsibilities like student loans, or you know… food and shelter are thrown into the equation. But more systemically what happens is that we become consumed with the future. We become preoccupied with if what we’re doing is the right thing for the family, for the career, and for ourselves (add internal, family, and societal pressures). Ironically enough this concern is often what holds us back the most and hinders our ability to get where we want to go…where we have the potential to go. I’m guilty of this myself, which is partly why I founded What’s Next (but more on that in another post).

We see and read about people who dream everyday. Political affiliations aside, our President is a dreamer. In 2008, he was black, had a name that rhymed with Osama, unknown by the masses, and in his mindset he was going to become the most powerful man in the world. Other side of the spectrum… I recently came across a product called PooPourri. They’ve developed a unique aerosol spray that you administer in the toilet bowl prior to doing your business, which traps the scent of your doo doo the second it comes in contact with the water. As of today they’ve sold 4.3 million units at roughly $10 a pop (that’s $43 million of revenue). The founders of PooPourri dreamed a shi!t ton (no pun intended).

Now I’m not suggesting we all live in LaLa land with hopes of becoming President our inventing a multi-million dollar poo spray, but I am suggesting that we all take a little more time to detach from reality and dream about what we could be doing not what we should be doing. I’m sure everything I’m saying will resonate with some more than others and to some will make no sense at all and that’s okay. My point is that whether in your 20’s in a corporate job, in your 50’s as an executive, or 30’s as a stay at home mom we can all take a little more time to dream. Dreaming is where innovation begins, change is made, multi-million dollar ideas await, and where we can tap into our truest potential. So take that extra time to dream about that hobby you wanted to pursue or that career switch you wanted to make or that idea you were once passionate about but never pursued because of x, y, and z. I’ll leave with one final quote by a magnificent dreamer, Mark Twain. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Thanks for reading and stay tuned for What’s Next (pun intended).

Warmly and Humbly,

Rishi and the What’s Next Team

See below/previous post for the Shadow and PooPourri videos…

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