Big Fish in small pond?

Pavan Jantikar
4 min readMay 17, 2020


I recently happened to watch an interview of an Indian Entrepreneur, Founder of OYO rooms Ritesh Agarwal.During the course of the interview there were discussions about various aspects with respect to business in general, the failures, the successes etc. However, one point made by him struck me and got me thinking for a long time, quoted as :

Don’t go after industries that everybody is chasing.I see that people see two or three industries that are exciting and then everybody wants to go in that.Remember that, the industry that nobody is looking at, at this point of time is the industry that is going to be successful but not just successful, you can be the leader of that industry when the world comes back.My learning has been be the big fish in the small pond than small fish in the big pond.

The point made there could help an upcoming entrepreneur to change his/her thinking in a certain direction.We often get caught with an idea that “what’s trending?”

What’s trending in the world would often yield you results, which sometimes could be short-term and otherwise long-term.My firm conviction is that an organization should arm itself with specific knowledge and accountability.What’s trending in any industry is the Knowledge that you can be trained for.If society can train you, it can train someone else, and replace you.Hence, organizations or even startups that are entering in a domain that already has enough competition should look at those sectors that have been overlooked by customers currently.

But, to answer whether to be the big fish in small pond or a small fish in a big pond is totally subjective.Being small fish in big pond is better if you can swim around freely, observe, learn and do not get marginalized or neglected.Being Big fish in small pond is better if you want to swim alone, dominate and slowly try experiment with your abilities.

The answer to this core question depends whether you are a individual or you are an organization.

In case of organization, the interest always tend to move towards domination, power, market leader and big profits.

All this is achievable favorably if you are the big fish dominating a small territory.The global giants like Google, Amazon, Tesla, Apple and Microsoft always started dominating the niche market.Once they established themselves and stood firm ground in their domain, other companies tried to emulate the same business model and and very few succeeded in challenging and being a worthy competitor.

In case of an individual , the intent always tend to move towards Exploration, Discovery, passion & possibility.

It is always better to surround yourself with people whose intelligence, wisdom and talent are far better than yours.For this, you have to find the big, most dynamic and exciting pond you can and don’t worry about your relative size.You will find big fishes, small fishes and fishes of similar size.But, at the end you will benefit more and learn faster.

But, over the course of time you should equip yourself with specific knowledge that is highly creative which cannot be outsourced.Follow your own genuine curiosity and passion rather than what is hot right now.That way you can retain your individuality and authenticity.Hence gradually you move from a layman in the big pond to the leader in the small pond where you have established your own territory.

Finally, my firm belief is that one should start being an underdog in the large territory.Learn, explore, make mistakes, rise and find your true nature.Then, gradually move towards small pond and be that go-to-person dominating that market.

Image credits : Google, SeeKen - YouTube

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Pavan Jantikar

Reader, Observer, nature lover and passionate about Sports and Technology.