Accidental Entrepreneur: Knowledge is King (Acquiring knowledge for Success)

  1. Foundational Knowledge: I start everything back to foundation. In engineering there are foundational principles or laws which govern the creation of the world and day to day activities such as movements or forces. In finance and accounting, there are accounting principles which help build all the complex rules and regulations. The same thing applies in manufacturing, governing, etc.
  2. I look at the learning of foundational knowledge as two areas, first one is learning the foundational laws/principles and the second one is knowing which of the principles is relevant for the problem at hand. Learning to choose and apply the relevant principle for the problem is as important as learning all the principles.
  3. Experimentation: Learning a key principle is one thing, but applying it to solve a problem is key. The way I have been able to apply the principles is by experimenting and learning the real application and results, then based on the results refining the approach. Many people get stuck with the foundational principles and forget to refine the results based on specific situations and experimentations. I have used this experimentation methodology for engineering while building complex products for people management. I learn this by trying out different approaches as well as learning from other’s mistakes and successes.
  4. Collaborative learning: People come from varieties of backgrounds and educational foundations. I try to use collaboration as my opportunity to learn and absorb from others. I have written an earlier article on “diversity” of people and their backgrounds extensively.
  5. Discussion/Listening: One key aspect of learning is participating in discussions and listening to learn. Some people tend to shy away from open discussions for various reasons such as being afraid of change or entertaining new or different approaches to a problem. I learned from successful founders and executives that willingness to participate in open discussions and come to collaborative decisions have yielded better success than close minded solutions and approaches.
  6. Learning and Coaching: One common thread in my article is learning and morphing the solution to the situation and participants. Second key item is coaching and learning from others. The learning can come from old people, young people, fresh graduates and anyone who can articulate the approach clearly and logically. I force people with specific knowledge to share their knowledge by inviting them to present at “Lunch and Learn” sessions or by asking them for their opinions during meetings, even when they don’t volunteer themselves.



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Ruban Kanapathippillai

Ruban Kanapathippillai

Entrepreneur, Founder of multiple successful startups, Mentor/coach, Angel investor (Sandhill Angels) and Positive thinker