Words of Inspiration – from Kolkata, India


Namaste, Found|READers! It has been several days since you’ve seen a new post on the site, and some of you have sent notes asking why. I’ve been been on a tour of India this last week, visiting with startup founders, investors and large business throughout the country. It was a whirlwind trip, 5 cities in as many days, which left little time to do much of anything else, including post, despite my best intentions.

I did meet some terrific people and companies, however — in New Delhi my dinner host turned out to be an F|R subscriber! — and you’ll be hearing more about many of them over the next few days. But before I go back to nursing my jet lag, let me leave you with this Thought of The Day, from a rather unexpected source.

One city I visited was Kolkata (previously called Calcutta), to see an outpost of IT-outsourcing specialist, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one of India’s top 10 publicly traded companies, and an operating unit of the famous Tata Group. On our way to TCS, we made a stop in town, at the mission of the late Mother Teresa.

“Mother,” as the nuns still refer to her, died in 1997, but her writings and missives are displayed throughout the public areas of the place. Some of them strike very universal, non-religious themes. This is a woman who, by her own choosing, took on big, largely non-abating challenges (in her case, poverty) in an ambitious effort to change the world as she saw it. She even founded a new order to do it (the Catholic Church thought she was nuts and forced her to venture out on her own).

No surprise then, that Mother Teresa’s writings reveal an individual who was perpetually tired, often discouraged, and who felt very much alone. (Sound familiar?) Yet she persevered. And controversial as she has become since her death, I found these words, on her own sense of failure and how she overcame it, to be comforting:

Within me everything is cold. It is only that blind faith that carries me through. [This] smile is a big cloak which covers a multitude of pains in this darkness. [But] do not allow yourself to be disheartened by any failure, as long as you have done your best.
Later, addressing her 4,500 “employees” in the Missionaries of Charity she concluded:
What I can do, you cannot. What you can do, I cannot. But together we can do something beautiful…

Mother Teresa must’ve been a great leader in her own way — her 57-year-old operation now spans 133 countries. And I think she could’ve been writing of just about any entrepreneur’s state of mind with the words above, and so here’s your…

Thought of The Day:
Even Mother Teresa, a soon-to-be-saint, felt discouraged by the challenges of breaking the mold. Heck! So don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day, founders. You can’t do this alone. When it gets “dark,” enlist help and carry on.

Now off I go to nap. I hope everyone has been well, and busy.


Carleen Hawn

Great to hear form both of you. Wishing now that I’d posted here beforehand to let everyone know I was going to India!
(Sammy, were you at Nasscom by chance?)
Next time I’ll plan ahead more…
best, Carleen


Hi Carleen,

Another subscriber out of Bombay. Am a recent SF transplant.

If you happen to be in BOM, drop us a note and would be happy to chat and make introductions.



It was great to know you visited our country and liked it. Could you elaborate more on which start-ups you met and your experiences with them ?

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