Gaurav Dhillon: “What Fly Fishing Reminded Me About Entrepreneurship”

GD at KDOW PhotoSnapLogic founder and CEO Gaurav Dhillon recently sat down with Kym McNicholas, host of KDOW 1220AM’s weekly business talk radio show, “Kym McNicholas on Innovation”. They discussed a range of innovation topics – everything from how Gaurav turned an idea into a billion dollarbusiness in the ’90s, why he returned to the startup world as founder and CEO of SnapLogic, how customers can accelerate their business and become data-driven with new cloud and big data technologies, and advice for emerging entrepreneurs.

The two also talked about … fly fishing. Just back from a family vacation in Sun Valley, Idaho, Gaurav recalled how slowing down and enjoying the dog days of summer can often clear your head and remind you of what’s important. Standing knee-deep in the running river, fishing pole in hand and on the hunt for trout, Gaurav was reminded of a few important lessons required to be a successful entrepreneur.

  • Read the Market: “Trout are easily spooked and they’re very smart,” Gaurav explained to Kym. “You have to make your approach with great respect … have a sense of how the water flows, where the trout are, and not waste your time randomly throwing things around.” The same is true in business, he said. “Coming into a market you want to be very careful, understand where to enter that market,” which is analogous “to where to enter the river.” Before jumping in, be sure you take the time to “read the river.”
  • Be Methodical: With planning and discipline, you’re “going to find those good spots in the river and you’re going to fish them,” said Gaurav. “But it may be that someone has just fished them or the trout already ate. So you have to systematically fish the river – in a grid pattern or a donut shape or whatever is your favorite model – and work that fishing hole and try to get the trout to bite.” For best results, you’ve got to “be methodical”, advises Gaurav.
  • Change Tactics: “Learn to do something different if what you’re doing isn’t working,” says Gaurav. “In fly fishing, you change the fly. If the fish aren’t eating the Parachute Adams fly then go to something that is maybe more glittery, like the Purple Haze fly – every frustrated fly fisherman has tried the Purpose Haze!” The point is – “change your tactics, try something different” and keep switching it up until the fish bite.
  • Be Patient: In the end, the most important takeaway, whether fly fishing or starting a business, is you’ve got to have patience. “Being patient just makes you better.”IMG_4902

Head over to Kym’s SoundCloud page to listen to the full KDOW radio interview with Gaurav.


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