When we were at IIT – there was a saying ” If you cann’t innovate before 35 – chances are you cannot do it for rest of your life”. This was very heavy on all our heads- specially when we used to be in some of our business incubators’ days. Is it really true?
Somehow, on those days, it wasn’t worth it if you wouldn’t make it big like those of Bill Gates or Lary Page. I mean the list is too long but that doesn’t quite matter. But if you want to get there -one needs to be very creative, too good in engineering, too audacious and you still somehow should be able to make it (without any money of course) and it needs to still make some business sense. The last part was relatively easy – because, most of us never had a good deal of business sens. But yes, being creatively original was the difficult part! Almost any thing that would close to resemble to something published otherwise would simply get shot down as “not original” – and yes, i still believe if you haven’t done something original by 35 – chances are you wont do for rest of life!
In fact the idom was used (and stretch) to mean many things; like “If you aren’t a millionaire by 35 they won’t ever be” or “If you haven’t got a break-thru idea you wont get ever”, “if you haven’t done a Ph.D. by 35 – you wont’ get ever!” “If you haven’t got a successful startup by 35 you wont’ get it in rest of your life” “If you haven’t got good positions in career by 35 you wont get any later” – and i guess you may extend it for a lot of things in life.
I donno why 35! but i guess we all believed in some such threshold or a chasm – if you couldn’t do something while being this side – there is nothing further.
Today – i actually am at 35 – on that very chasm! And it is a scary though today. Have i got it? Well i didn’t quite finished my Ph.d, i had a couple of start ups – but one that i am in still have some hopes with, it has serious things to prove; I did make a good product – but i guess there is a still a long path before it becomes a rocking success. i made some decent money but definitely not millation bucks!
But To be honest, I still care about that rule. May be some one could give me an “extension” to that threshold and still allow me to push those matter to ensure that things work great. I am happy for the path that i have been – but i am still far from where i wanted to be. What happens now is still to be seen. Will life turn all boring ? Or what i have done is enough to qualify that life will continue to give me chance for more creative stuff?