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What the Duckling?
3 min read

What the Duckling?

What the Duckling?

I'm guessing you have read the story of the Ugly Ducking.

In the rare scenario that you haven't, it is a story by Hans Christian Andersen that was first published in 1843.


I remember reading that book when I was in sixth grade. One of the alumni of the school had donated towards a Library and there was a new program where we were asked to read books and then summarize the story in front of the class.

Our team got The Ugly Duckling, and we quite honestly didn't understand what to make of it. We asked our parents what the moral of the story was and the viewpoint was that it was a story about embracing everyone despite their differences - because shunning someone because they are different can be hurtful.

I remember re-telling the story in front of the class, and they all seemed to enjoy it. And our teacher asked us what the story was about. We pretty much told him what our parents had told us, with very little understanding of what inequality or discrimination meant at all.

The teacher didn't say our summary was wrong, but he added a perspective. He said, the moral of the story is that you'll be considered a duckling, and an ugly one at that and struggle trying to fit in, when in reality you are a Cygnet (baby swan). He said that we should find people who dream like us, so that we can support each other, rather than being pulled down - or being mocked at for not fitting in.

In simple words, he was talking about finding one's tribe.

I didn't understand it completely at that time, but when I was in my 10th grade and I was thinking about what to do in life, and he had heard that I was interested in a whole host of things outside of school, his advice to me was that I don't settle to being a duck, If I am convinced I am a swan.

The irony of the story is that, a duck is a lot more closer to a swan, but when the confused baby swan goes through its identity crisis, even a hen thinks it is another hen, but its own kind thinks its too different.


Most entrepreneurs confuse themselves with what an ecosystem is. Almost all startup founders are too busy  to "give back" to the community, even though their heart very much wishes to. Most startups are visions that have never been done before - so you are almost a man selling shoes in a land where no one has ever seen shoes or worn them before and it is upto you to do everything brand spanking new from the ground up. Who can possibly guide you on something that has never been done before?

Ecosystems are not buildings, or a city, or a cafe where people keep meeting. It is where your tribe resides, and you get to be the best version of yourself, and can keep growing. A place where you are challenged, but not overwhelmed. And that place could be anywhere - just takes a handful of your tribe that can create that "ecosystem" for you. Everything else, will come looking for you once you start to succeed.

I often tell aspiring entrepreneurs, not to go chasing ecosystems - because it is not ecosystems that create entrepreneurs, but the other way around; entrepreneurs create ecosystems.

So the long and short of it is, find your tribe.


That very notion of Tribe was what got me started on writing and building this community of a 1000.  Social media is starting to get very noisy, and it is incredibly hard to put out an idea where others would constructively help build it, rather than tear it down or set it on fire.

The hope is that we would build a community of entrepreneurs who all aspire to build remarkable startups - and in alignment with the post covid world - we would build an ecosystem right from where we are.

As we did last month, we are meeting again this month for the office hour on April 24th (Saturday). If you'd like to join in, would love to have you there. The office hours are complimentary for Tribe Members. If you are not a Tribe Member, you can register via the link.

Whether you decide to be a part of the BlackBook tribe or not, I do hope you find your tribe. Don't be a duckling, surrounding yourself with ducks and geese when you are destined to be a swan.

Photo by Gabriel Miklós / Unsplash

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