I recently had the pleasure of dining with tech pioneer Naveen Jain– one of the world’s most successful extreme entrepreneurs.
As much knowledge as I had accumulated for articles and stories on Jain, I was about to learn that all of my research had only scratched the surface of the man himself. Below is the story of my dinner with an incredible human being named Naveen Jain.
My first glimpse of Jain was from the restaurant window as he walked briskly across the wet Seattle pavement, full of intent. As he entered the restaurant, he immediately recognized me from across the room and introduced himself with a firm handshake and an easy smile. His brown eyes had an unusual depth and shown with authenticity– rare in a man of Jain’s achievement. His presence was a combination of laser-focused energy with equal doses of confidence and humility. Every aspect of his being was evidence that Jain is a man on a mission.
We sat down for an exceptional meal and a conversation that would rival the most educational and inspiring of my life where the topic of discussion centered on entrepreneurialism and technology. Breakthrough ideas seemed to flow from Jain in an apparently infinite stream– overwhelming and inspiring at the same time. Just listening to him, I found myself noticing and pushing past limits in my own mind I’d never known existed. It seemed that Jain was coming from a completely different realm in which there were no boundaries and no idea was too big. His entire strategy was confirmation of this, as he seemed to simply choose the biggest problems and set out to solve them with steady determination.
As I listened to Jain describe his projects, his family and his dreams, it was easy to see that, in addition to being a profoundly successful man in a business sense, he was also a profoundly happy man: as proud as a father can be of his children, as boasting as a newly married man of his wife, and bursting with a well of enthusiasm for each of his several projects. Content not for his bank account but for his influence, Jain was so overflowing with gratitude and contentment that he has made it his mission to “pay back” his debt to those who helped him on his journey. In an effort to give back, Jain regularly devotes his time and energy to helping other entrepreneurs develop their ideas.
Jain was a gold mine of advice and priceless business tips which he offered generously and without hesitation. But I knew I couldn’t keep his wisdom to myself. Below are the top three billionaire business tips I learned over dinner with Naveen Jain.
TIP #1: LOOK FOR WAYS TO FUNDAMENTALLY DISRUPT AN INDUSTRY RATHER THAN INCREMENTALLY IMPROVE IT.
Our dinner conversation centered around entrepreneurialism and innovation— not unusual considering Jain’s highly successful career as a tech pioneer. What was surprising, however, was that nearly all of his concepts involved different industries– industries in which he had no prior experience. Jain explained that the best disruptors are non-experts and people who can look at an industry from a completely new and fresh perspective. He stressed that the greatest entrepreneur’s and innovators are not those who simply improve on an existing design or idea, but completely disrupt it.
TIP #2: NEVER STOP LEARNING.
One of Jain’s most surprising and impressive qualities is his curiosity. It’s hard to believe that a guy who’s founded some of the most successful tech companies of the world still has something to learn, but he seems to think so. Throughout our dinner conversation, Jain spent more time asking questions and discussing new ideas than talking about his past accomplishments. He is a living example that no matter how successful you are, there is always something to learn.
TIP #3: THE TWO CHOICES THAT WILL CHANGE THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE MOST ARE WHAT COLLEGE YOU GO TO AND WHO YOU MARRY.
As we discussed college and my experiences, Jain insisted that the college you choose to attend is one of two choices that most effect the trajectory of your life. He explained that, watching his children grow and study at some of the best universities, he noticed the positions of power and influence they were able to attain and life-long relationships they began with quality people on a similar life path. Jain clarified that while going to a great college changes the course of your life, it does not have to change the destination. The networking and experiences simply make it far easier to succeed than going without those key connections.
Similarly with marriage, it is important that your partner is supportive, positive and is going in essentially the same direction as you are. It’s much easier to advance a relationship when both people are pulling in the same direction.
Not everyone can have dinner with Naveen Jain, but everyone can benefit from his billionaire business tips. Incorporate them into your mindset and not only will the valuable tips help you move past self-imposed limits, but they will transform your thought process.
Follow Naveen Jain on Twitter @Naveen_Jain_CEO
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