This 24th of April, the team at SocialCops would like to celebrate Sachin Tendulkar. It has been a few months since India’s biggest sporting icon bid us farewell. After a brief period of uncertainty, Indian cricket has moved on. In a country which has a habit of finding heroes, it has not taken long to find new ones. At SocialCops, we’ve realized that Sachin’s career emulates the kind of startup we want to be. Here are some of the lessons about building startups that we learnt from Sachin Tendulkar.
1) Get hit, fall down, keep going
Fourth Test, Sialkot, Pakistan, 1989: India had saved three tests against the great bowling attack of Pakistan. They were now in the green pitch of Sialkot. Waqar was breathing fire with India tottering at 38 for 4. A bouncer hits Sachin on the nose, leaving him on the floor with blood spurting out. A sixteen-year-old Sachin playing his first-ever series was not someone to give up so easily. He battled on with a bloodied nose, scoring an unbeaten half century. Startups are a lot like this. The initial stages are not easy and success takes a long time in coming. There are going to be occasions when you will be clouded with doubt, when it will be hard to find those short wins and, at all those times, it is just important to persist and believe.
2) Step out of your comfort zone
Hero Cup Semi Final, India vs South Africa, 1994: The Azhar-led Indian squad was on the verge of exit from the Hero Cup. After putting up a paltry score, Indian bowlers responded fairly well, leaving South Africa needing just six runs off the final over. Tough times call for tough guys. Azhar handed the ball to Sachin who had not bowled a single over in the game until then. He bravely took up the opportunity and bowled a brilliant final over to hand India the match and subsequently the tournament.
3) Even at your peak, do the basics
World Cup 1996 – World Cup 2003: It is during the period from 1996 to 2003 that Sachin Tendulkar achieved the status of “God of Cricket”. Bowling lineups around the world shook at the sight of this 5-foot 3-inch lad walking on to the pitch. Tendulkar smashed centuries after centuries, tearing apart oppositions with relative ease. To add to this, the burden on him was constantly increasing with the retirement of key players. He went on to become the highest run scorer in all formats of the game and surpassed multiple records on the way. All through, there was one nothing that never changed – the practice regime. Sachin remained the one person who’d hit more balls in the nets than everybody else, even a decade into the game.
4) Play to your strengths, especially during your tough times
Fourth Test, Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2004: After the 2003 World Cup during when he led India into the finals, Sachin entered probably the most difficult phase of his career yet. After a string of failures in the first three tests, Sachin’s place in the team was under scrutiny. He was dismissed attempting cover drives on the off side through the entire series. During the final test, Sachin taught us probably the most valuable lesson of all. Giving up entirely on his cover drives, Sachin scored a slow and painful 241* restricting to his shots purely to the leg side.
5) Train for marathons, not sprints
1990-2012: 24 years. That’s a long period for any man in any sport. One can count the number of such sportsmen on their fingertips. Longevity is not about luck but about the attitude towards your work. Sachin had a knack of converting his starts into big scores. One could almost sense within a few balls that he might just score a century this day. During every inning and across his entire career, Sachin lasted the distance. He could battle on without losing focus at any stage. He was a marathoner, not a sprinter, and his success largely owes to the same.
6) Build trust
World Cup 2011 – March 2012: The most beautiful aspect about Sachin is probably the trust he built among the Indians. Be it children or grandparents, everyone believed in Sachin. Everyone felt like nothing could go wrong as long as Sachin was there. Like Amla famously said, “Nothing bad can happen to us if we’re on a plane in India with Sachin Tendulkar on it”. Having carried the burden of expectations on his shoulders for so long, Sachin never failed to deliver and, even when he did occasionally, everyone knew it was just an off day.
7) Uphold your values at all times – it defines you
Since 1989: If we had to choose one thing that differentiates Sachin from other greats of the game, most of us would say his character. Sachin was as much a gem of a character outside the field as he was on the field. Across a career spanning three decades, Sachin has not been entangled in any controversies. His farewell speech pretty much sums up the man that he is. In a twenty-minute long speech, probably his final act on a cricket ground, there was not one person he left out. Right from the curators to his family, he was thankful to everyone who made him who he was. That is the mark of true greatness – to remain grounded even when you have achieved almost everything you possibly could.
Crowdsourcing love since 1989. Happy Birthday, Sach! Here’s a little gift – a visualization of all your centuries.