You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

How Being an Outlier Set Me on My Entrepreneurial Path An entrepreneur born in a small Indian village explains that thinking outside the box comes naturally when you're born to see things from the outside looking in.

By Krish Ramakrishnan

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Innately, I'm an outlier who habitually questions why things are the way they are. That wasn't encouraged when I was young living in a remote village in India. There the culture urges conformity and a strict "listen, don't ask" protocol.

My outlier nature thrived when I immigrated to the Big Apple in the 1970s. The New York public school system encouraged questions and creative thinking. My outlier nature was set loose for a future when I would become a serial entrepreneur.

Related: 12 Surprising Signs You Could Be an Entrepreneur

Outliers are natural entrepreneurs. They build solutions when they can't find answers, embrace the unexpected with enthusiasm and unearth possibilities from the unknown.

Outliers seek answers when they're not satisfied with what they've been given. If they can't find what they're looking for, they build it. That's how innovations emerge. Five years ago, the business communications industry lacked a cost-effective, accessible collaboration solution that offered face-to-face engagement. Collaboration tools only offered audio and Web based capabilities at the time. Alagu Periyannan and I anticipated high demand for an interoperable solution for an increasingly mobile and remote worforce. We embarked on a journey to build Blue Jeans Network, intending to democratize video conferencing. Today, Blue Jeans Network has captured nearly 35 percent of the video conferencing services market and connected millions of participants together.

Related: How to Manage Employees When They're on the Road

Outliers make effective leaders. Instead of fearing change, they embrace it with open arms. During studies for my master's degree, I accidentally sat in on a computer science class thinking it was my math course. The lecture was so intriguing that it propelled me to switch my degree from mathematics to computer science halfway through my program. Following my instinct and taking a leap of faith helped me find my passion in technology.

In business, the unexpected comes up daily. Everything moves a mile a minute. Leaders must be agents of change who make changes that steer the company in the right direction. We implemented a policy when we started Blue Jeans that prevented staff from booking conference rooms. The goal was to promote punctuality, the theory being get there on time or there won't be a room. As the company grew, and meetings needed to be more structured and predictable, we dropped the policy. Changes are needed tp yield positive outcomes. The bottom line? It's OK to be an outlier. Outliers are more adaptable to change and the world needs them to continue building, innovating and solving the problems ahead.

Related: Richard Branson on Embracing Change

Krish, co-founder of Blue Jeans Network, is a serial entrepreneur who has been founder and CEO of several successful startups. Prior to Blue Jeans, he was an Entrepeneur-In-Residence (EIR) at Accel Partners. During his career, Krish has worked for NET, PeerLogic, Bell Labs, and Perkin-Elmer. He has an MSCS from Monmouth University and a BS (Physics) from Madras University, India.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.


You Need a Community With Shared Values to Find Long-Term Success — Here's How to Cultivate It.

Entrepreneurs need to remember this growth strategy: nurturing a purpose-driven community of like-minded entrepreneurs around them.

Business Solutions

Scale Your Content Output with Write Bot — Now Just $40

This AI content writer can save you time and money, especially now that it's just $39.99 for a lifetime subscription.

Life Hacks

Get Ahead of the Weather with This Intuitive App — Now More Than $100 Off

This weather app goes well beyond the normal forecast and it's just $39.99 for life now.

Business News

Who Owns The Rights to Your AI-Generated Content? Not, It's Not You. Uncover The Scary Truth That Puts AI Users At Risk.

The realization that copyright laws do not protect AI-generated material might come as a shock to many.


Pick Either a $40 or $70 Membership and Save on a Lifetime of Flights

There's really nothing easier than letting someone else find you bargains on all your future air fare and sending them to your phone or email.