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How Do You Compete With Your Idol?

How Do You Compete With Your Idol?

Feb 3 2014, 9:13am CST | by

By Neil Thanedar, CEO, LabDoor./> I’ve been looking up to my father my entire life. I have never learned more from a single person than I have from him. But I have a confession to make: I don’t...

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25 weeks ago

How Do You Compete With Your Idol?

Feb 3 2014, 9:13am CST | by


By Neil Thanedar, CEO, LabDoor./>

I’ve been looking up to my father my entire life. I have never learned more from a single person than I have from him. But I have a confession to make: I don’t want to grow up to be my father.

Dr. Shri Thanedar grew up with nearly every obstacle an aspiring entrepreneur could face. He was born in poverty. In rural India. To parents who, combined, had less than a high school diploma. He rose above this to earn four degrees, become a U.S. citizen, launch companies that have employed hundreds of Americans, and continue to innovate.

However, if I grew up to become just like my father, I would feel like I let him and myself down. I grew up in suburban St. Louis to M.D. and Ph.D. parents. I spent most of my childhood in private schools. I received near-daily lessons in entrepreneurship at home, and was allowed the privilege to work through college and beyond in low-paying startup environments. I had the safety net of my family if needed. So I owe it to myself to stand on the shoulders of my parents and achieve greater success.

This was the driving force that led me to search for startup success beyond my first company. For many reasons, I could never fully claim the success of an analytical chemistry laboratory as my own. After all, I had grown up watching my dad launch and grow chemical testing labs. That was his success. The world deserved something bigger from me. Incremental improvement was unacceptable.

‘Earning’ Your Way

The concept of privilege is a very thorny subject.

It’s at the very core of our political debate. In the 2012 U.S. presidential elections, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney led this fight. The mixed-race professor from modest means took on the Caucasian businessman with a rich, famous lineage. Even the out-of-context memes associated with the candidates reflect the dichotomy.

We all want to believe that our own successes are 100% earned. But what if they’re not? How do we judge ourselves and others on this inherently uneven playing field?

My proposal: value the delta. The daughter of migrant workers who becomes an award-winning teacher deserves to be held up for admiration next to the son of a dentist and psychiatrist who builds a billion-dollar company.

As a startup founder living and working in San Francisco, I’m aware both of the recognition that the bootstrapper receives inside the startup ecosystem, and the derision that the concept receives elsewhere. The truth lies somewhere in the middle – we should celebrate those who have succeeded despite limited means while ensuring that fewer people are forced to follow the same paths to prosperity in the future.

The Rule of Three

My grandmother always loved to remind us about her ‘rule of three.’ As the story goes, my ancestors have a long history of rising out of poverty, fighting their way to relative success in one generation, solidifying their power in the second generation, and losing it all in the third.

The bootstrapper begat the businessman who begat the black sheep.

It’s not an uncommon phenomenon. While other families may stay on top for a little longer (Conrad Hilton’s second generation rise didn’t come crashing down until great-granddaughters Paris and Nicky), it’s hard to keep the entrepreneurial fire going endlessly. Safety nets can easily become hammocks.

As a proud member of a second-generation of Thanedars, I know I have two responsibilities. First, I’m driven to meet and exceed my own expectations. Second, it’s time to figure out how to break this nasty cycle and keep the motivation strong, for our family and others./>/>

How to Break the Cycle and Succeed Anyway

If not harnessed properly, the burden of high expectations can be an even stronger degrading force than the lure of a safety net.

I’ve learned to ignore the finish line. Just like at LabDoor, mission always trumps exits. Fight upwind for as long as possible, building skills and experiences. When these efforts meet your passion, success will find you.

Every Election Day growing up, my dad and I would sit together and watch the results come in. When a candidate was announced as the winner, the TV station would show footage from the victorious politician’s living room, where they would be surrounded by cheering relatives and campaign staff. Dad would always look at me and say (in a happier version of a famous scene with two other first- and second-generation men), “Senator Thanedar. President Thanedar. One day, that will be us.”

Neil Thanedar is CEO & Founder of LabDoor, a digital health startup that uses science to tell consumers what’s really inside dietary supplements. Before LabDoor, Neil founded Avomeen Analytical Services, an FDA-registered product safety laboratory, and also worked on emerging mobile sports and medical device products. He owns degrees in Cellular & Molecular Biology and Business Administration from the University of Michigan. 

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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7 weeks ago

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Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
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7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was brok ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
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7 weeks ago

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Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected ...
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Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hisham ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in compens ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
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3

8 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

8 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme 20 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) t ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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