Outliers 56: Ravi Venkatesan asks people to stop looking for jobs, focus on timeless skills and become self employed

Pankaj Mishra May 18, 2018

After quitting his job as Microsoft India chairman, Ravi Venkatesan spent few months working with a core team of former colleagues on a startup idea. Just before an investor was about to write a cheque, he realized he wasn’t passionate enough and backed out. It was the second time he was bitten by the startup bug in his career.

“Let’s say I had gone ahead and flamed out, so what, what’s the big deal? In the cosmic scheme of things, these don’t matter. What matters is you live a fulfilling life, you figure out the way you’re really going to make a difference,” he says.

Ability to learn new things, to lead and not just manage and the ability to manage self, are three timeless skills and traits that can help ride through the disruption, according to Venkatesan.

“The biggest obstacle to your success is you. If you look at what has been happening around the world, the number of amazing people who’ve crashed and burned because they did something incredibly stupid ranging from Rajat Gupta at Mckinsey to many others.”

Venkatesan is the chairman of a state-owned bank (Bank of Baroda), a philanthropist with his Social Venture Partners (SVP) and was a board member at India’s second largest software company Infosys until last week.

“The reason we were born on earth is not to have a job; most of us are searching for the reason as to why we were put on the earth. The job is only a means to that bigger end.”

There’s a raging debate going on in India’s intellectual networks and among those seeking employment about the future of jobs and new skills required to earn a living.

With his experience across different sectors, Ravi offers some great insights that could help in navigating the disruption better.

Do listen in.

P.S. we will make the transcript of this podcast available next week.


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