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To spend time with Naveen Jain is akin to gulping a nitro coffee right from the tap.
Born in India, the billionaire learned early on that life’s game is not always right-justified. His late father’s attempts at honorable work sent Jain and his family trekking through cities of sizeable populations, where moral judgments of character, unfortunately, went against his professional growth. His father’s refusal to play larger city politics eventually led the family to settle on small village life. While it resulted in a decrease in their standard of living that might have sent shivers down most other families’ spines – it galvanized the Jains.
Jain’s father was a builder, and one might contend that Naveen is as well. His toolbelt is fastened by boundless energy, wit, and wisdom for a future outside of this world, quite literally.
The endlessly curious billionaire
The man who can actually mine the moon has set his course forward to crack the human health code with Viome Life Sciences. Jain says that Viome’s singular mission is to “make illness optional.” The company’s AI-driven platform analyzes the interaction between food, one’s microbiome, and human cells to develop precision nutrition that aims to prevent and reverse chronic diseases.
Jain’s belief in Viome mirrors his belief that entrepreneurs should embody the passion of their company. “Entrepreneurs should jump out of bed in the morning, and if they don’t they are pursuing the wrong goal,” he says. “Entrepreneurs need to be obsessed with solving problems. Passion is for hobbies; passion is for losers. The winners and the entrepreneurs who know what they are going after possess a true obsession. When they go to sleep, they want to solve problems.”
Sleep may be the only thing Jain is in short supply of these days. Jain balances his curiosity for life as the Executive Chairman of Singularity University and as a Trustee on the Board of XPRIZE.
How to define success
Despite his notable success, Jain’s obsession hasn’t turned to dollars and cents. Even noting his status as a billionaire had Jain squirming in his chair. Jain notes that finding happiness should not lie in the hands of others or the experiences others extend to us as entrepreneurs.
“Success is not about the destination. Success is about the journey, acknowledging the shoulders of the giants before you, and setting your sights on moving the ball down the field. Regardless of the degree of success obtained, the next generation should be able to stand on your shoulders to continue the progress.”
As Jain notes, success or failure teeters more on an idea’s importance than on any one person. Jain’s executable strength as an entrepreneur might be best demonstrated in his ability to listen, adapt and pivot. By not seeing perceived failures as indictments on himself, he uses data to inform a clearer path forward.
His view of success centers on an entrepreneur’s ability to impact others, not themselves.
“Success is not measured by goals. It’s measured by the number of people whose lives you have improved along the way.”
Jain’s childhood ingrained in him a sense of calm in the face of change. Constant upheaval from one village to the next taught Jain to embrace change instead of fearing the unknown.
“Change became the mantra of my life; you can throw me in any situation. It doesn’t faze me, and entrepreneurs need to have that same mindset to manage through challenging times,” he says.
His advice to all entrepreneurs is simple: “Remember, you measure your success, not by the amount of money you have in the bank. You simply count the life that you have improved. The day you become humble is the day you have become successful.”