Dream So Big That People Think You’re Crazy

Naveen K. Jain is the founder and former CEO of InfoSpace, the founder of Viome, Moon Express, World Innovation Institute, iNome, TalentWise, Intelius. Although some of these companies did crash after the dotcom bubble, there is no denying that Naveen is out there trying to solve the world’s biggest challenges.

Naveen was born in 1959, he grew up in Uttar Pradesh, India. A state that is known to be one of the most populous country subdivisions in the world. Although the economy of UP is the fifth largest in India, UP has the highest unemployment rate. His father worked for a public department where bribes were considered a norm and there was a cost if you didn’t accept bribes. His father would refuse bribes, and as a result, his bosses would transfer him frequently from one office to the other. Naveen’s father would walk into the house at least once every 6 months and ask his family to pack up. As the family would be moving to a different location, moving often took a lot of time and money, which meant there was limited money for food. Naveen grew up in poverty but he did not allow his situation to stop him from achieving his dreams, he once said that when he was young he would look up at the moon and dream of having a better life. Maybe it was looking at the sky that made him make his moves in 2010.

In 1979 Naveen moved to Roorkee to continue his studies at the Indian Institute of Technology, where he received an engineering degree. When Naveen was 24 he left India for the US, where he saw other business titans making fortune out of nothing.

“You have to dream so big that people think you’re crazy. If people don’t think you’re crazy, you’re not dreaming big enough” — Naveen Jain

After graduating Naveen moved to Silicon Valley and worked for a bunch of startups before joining Microsoft in 1989. He was awarded three patents related to Windows 95 and became best known for his work as a program manager. After working for about 3 years Naveen felt unsatisfied and unable to make a difference in a large company. So he quit Microsoft to start InfoSpace now known as Blucora. At the time InfoSpace provided a variety of Web-based content and services including phone directories, weather information, stock quotes and search engine. The company went public in 1998, raising $75 million, which led to a large increase in Naveen’s net worth to a total of $8 billion. InfoSpace briefly became one of the largest internet companies in America, but then their price drastically dropped after the dot-com bubble. InfoSpace share price went from $1000 to $15. Among factors that involved in the drop one was the lawsuits against the company. InfoSpace apparently used accounting tricks to mislead investors into thinking it was doing better than it really was, also the company was promising a share of the stock to new employees, but later would fire them.

After InfoSpace Naveen started Intelius, Inc. in 2003. Providing information services, including people and property search, background checks and reverse phone lookup, it was later sold to H.I.G. for $100 million. In 2006 Naveen founded TalentWise, a new way to hire people, and sold it in 2016, although the selling price was not disclosed, it is said to be twice the size of Intelius.

Remembering the days when he looked up in the sky and hoped for a better life, he started Moon express, building machine-operated spacecraft that would have two purposes. One to bring back rocks from the moon and the other to build human colonies on Moon by 2022, creating colonies is a way to protect human extension from an asteroid hit. He then launched, Bluedot, with the aim of creating healthcare and energy businesses from federal research. In 2016 he founded Viome, a way to discover what’s happening inside your guts and get you a personalized action plan to fix it. Although Naveen’s net worth was affected massively after the dot-com bubble, he had made a significant impact on the way we live. With colonies on the moon, he may save humans from an asteroid, with Viome he is changing the way we monitor our health.

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