Thursday, September 04, 2014

Dan Pink's "Last career guide you will ever need"

L1. There is no PLAN. 
So follow your fundamentals as life/world is too uncertain to make elaborate plans of future.

L2. Thinks Strengths, not Weaknesses. 

Focus on Strengths, Steer around Weakness. Strengths are those activities which induce FLOW like state. Which don’t drain you, but energise you.

“FLOW is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterised by a feeling of energised focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.”

L3. It’s not about YOU 

Serve, not self-actualise.  Bring out the best in others, your Boss & your teams for your Customer/Client. Outward Results should be the focus.

L4. Persistence trumps talent

Practice, practice and more practice (like Musicians & Players). Intrinsic motivation triggers more persistence than Extrinsic ones. [Refer Hygiene VS Motivators from "How will you measure your life" ]

L5. Make Excellent Mistakes

Read "Adapt" for details on how to make and institutionalise them. 
Bunko - Make mistakes from which the benefits of what you’ve learned exceed the costs of the screw-up.

L6. Leave an Imprint

Life isn’t infinite. Leave a legacy, work is your means to immortality. No regrets. Leave a paper trail of your work and existence.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random thoughts on THOUGHT

Thoughts when I observed a manual labor the other day.

Is this activity worth human effort? Shouldn't a machine be doing this?

This leads me to a deeper question, what makes a human human? A Luddite might endorse such occupations on ground of providing employment. If freed, from such labor, would the person opt for something more engaging his faculties? Shouldn't a society aim to be more capital intensive thereby eliminating such labor intensive for humans?

Will machines evolve to take on more "human" tasks? When they do, what will their rights be? Will we treat them as labor again?

What makes a human, human? I think its our capacity to think. And thoughts are the atomic unit of humanity.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Books I thoroughly enjoyed in 2011

Here is a list of select books that thoroughly entertained and enlightened me in 2011.
  1. Linchpin by Seth Godin : Remarkable and artistic. Seth tells you how to evolve into a new age contributor in your line of work debunking the myth of remaining emotionally detached from your work. First book by him which I read 2 times.
  2. The Drunkard's walk : Lovely walk through the world of probabilities and their impact on our world. 
  3. Happiness Hypothesis: Now this one was more enlightening than other. Summarizes the philosophies from different genres and presents them in a cogent mannner.
  4. The Quants : A thorough entertainer for all the wall street & quant junkies. Walks through the lives of many prominent Quants and the impact of the profession on the financial systems across the globe.
  5. No one would listen : Little self occupied yet brings home the basic fallacies of financial foolery. You will be surprised how Madoff swindled 65 Billions from some of the savviest investors in the world.
  6. Adapt by Tim Hartford: Now this one was really interesting and I loved Tim's writing style of driving home his points with such great stories. In the end, all success starts with failure. And having failure in the ecosystem is the only way to create true innovation. 
  7. Endgame by john Maudlin: John takes you through his researched hypothesis of how the current financial crisis is different than the previous ones. He calls it the debt supercycle and takes us a journey of how different countries will pan out in the coming years wrt the same. A good read for an investor.


Monday, October 31, 2011

A sister's eulogy to Steve Jobs

Here is a link to the eulogy offered by Steve Job's sister:

It speaks volumes about how incredible yet simple Steve Jobs was. Do read.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is confusion good or bad?

I keep hearing from a lot of people that they are still in the process of discovering their true cause. I myself have gone through similar cycles at different stages of my life. Lot of people, from whom I sought advice, mentioned that such confusion is non-productive and I need to get more focused to achieve anything meaningful in my life.

Today I wanted to present a contrarian view to this prevalent thought. I agree the necessity of being focused in harnessing all your energies to the immediate task at hand. But then why do we get confused in the first place? 

Here are two (of the many) plausible reasons:
1.    Is it that we wanted to do something and didn't find it as captivating as expected? We want a bigger challenge or more engaging work.
2.       Sometimes we come across a completely new line of work that suddenly becomes more interesting. 

If you response is either of these two, then I believe that such confusion is extremely positive in nature. In the first case, you are challenging the status quo. You are not letting complacency set down in your life. Also you still have you risk appetite intact. In the second case, you are adapting to new insights and opportunities as you are growing. You are offered with a better idea and you are proactively steering yourself into a more promising direction. I certainly believe these are all positive attitudes as they are letting you adapt and experiment. Such adaptation and experimentation is indeed the basis of evolution, then how come it be wrong or non-productive.

Sometimes grass may certainly look greener on the other side. But not adapting will ultimately lead to extinction or an mediocre life in our professional ecosystem. After all, good is the biggest enemy of great.

Sep 14, 2011.

Monday, August 01, 2011

When will merit become the criterion for winning elections?

Well its said that in India, people don’t case their votes but they vote their caste. This comes across as too inane for one of the oldest civilization on the planet. Howsoever painful this might be, but this is still the reality in this country. I have friends who still cannot marry beyond their caste. And these are people who have completed their post graduations and are doing exceedingly well in their respective work.

Specially shameful is the incident in Karnataka, where the CM of the state has been accused (not indicted yet) of so many bribery allegations but continue to be unrepentant. Indeed he asserts so cockily that he will be reelected soon again. Support from his so called “community” is the basis for this vacuous confidence. Its like a slap on the Indian democracy where such brokers of caste polity are blatantly breaking every law to gain more monetary strength. Which in turn further helps their cause.

I do not foresee a solution for this in near future till we have a major chink of our population ready to decide their votes on merit and not any form of bias. But I believe this is more like an Utopian dream which is impossible in realpolitik. All I can assure is that I shall definitely cast my vote next time and hopefully we’ll have better candidates to chose from.

Good day.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Inspiration is Perishable

We all have ideas. Ideas are immortal. They last forever.

What doesn't last forever is inspiration.Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: it has an expiration date.

If you want to do something, you've got to do it now. You can't put it on a shelf and wait for two months to get around it. You can't just say you'll do it later. Later, you won't be pumped up about it anymore.If you're inspired on a Friday, swear off the the weekend and dive into the project. When you're high on inspiration, you can get two weeks of work done in twenty four hours. Inspiration is a time machine in that way.

Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator. But it won't wait for you. Inspiration is a NOW thing, If it grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work.

[Excerpted from Rework by Jason Fried & David Hansson]

I just completed Rework and found it very refreshing and of course loved its one liners.The books is primarily for new age entrepreneurs where the authors explain that how they have been successful without following the age old wisdom. I find it highly practical for the internet & technology entrepreneurs.

Here are a few one liners that strike out for me.
  • Planning is guessing.
  • Scratch you own itch ( make products to solve your problems, don't harp around a huge feature request)
  • Get it out there. Ship it -- Deliver and deliver fast. Perfectionism is endless pursuit.
  • Live it or Leave it - Have mission statements that you can exercise daily.
  • Outside Money is Plan Z
  • You need a commitment strategy & not an exit strategy
  • You're better with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole
  • Tone is in your fingers ( not in the guitar or any equipment for that matter)
  • Interruption is the enemy of productivity
  • Meetings are toxic
  • Quick wins -- Momentum build motivation
  • Make tiny decisions
  • Pour yourself into your product. Decommoditize your product.
  • Emulate chefs
  • Every thing is marketing
  • The myth  of the overnight sensation
  • Hire when it hurts
  • Delegators are dead weight
  • When you rock the boat, there will be waves. Take a deep breath.
  • Culture is the by product of consistent behaviour
  • Decisions are temporary
  • ASAP is poison

Hope you will find some inspiration here & in the book. Ciao.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fault Lines : How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy

Here is a splendid presentation by Raghuram Rajan, Professor of Finance, University of Chicago, and former Chief Economist, International Monetary Fund; explaining his views on the structural issues still haunting the global economic system that need immediate redress.

Hope you enjoy the discussion.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cash for Trash

I just saw this great concept being deployed in Brazil for cleaning up their cities in preparation for the upcoming World Cup & Olympics. The city is fostering recycling of garbage by paying in kind to the people who bring in the trash. They give 1 kg of Fruits in exchange for 10 kg of trash.

I think this idea has a lot of merit & can be applied with proper checks& balances in India too. There is a lot of VC money already chasing the recycling ventures & clubbing this with cash for trash may be a plausible solution to clean our mighty cities.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Three most interesting books of 2009

I had a very interesting & absorbing 2009. I was able to complete some really good projects within proper timelines & without any major hiccups (I don’t think any project can be completely hiccup-free). Nevertheless, to keep me going through the year & to have me inspired, I had the pleasure of a few good books. So I just wanted to share with all of you three of the best books of 2009 that I came across and what you can seek from these books.

At the same time, I would like to strongly endorse this new site called Audible ( Audible offers audio books and was taken over by Amazon, so you can get almost all of the new books in audio format at this site.

The first book that entertained me thoroughly was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Gladwell has this rare skill of presenting very original & fresh ideas through tightly knitted stories. In Outliers, he goes on to explore what exactly are the not so manifest reason behind the most successful of people in all walks of life. Be it Beatles or Bill Gates or Athletes or Lawyers, what separates these outstanding professionals from the other ordinarily successful people in their respective profession. The idea of Ten Thousand Hours from the book has already caught the imagination of popular media and I have heard it in lots of public discourses. The idea says that it takes 10,000 hours of thought initiated actions in any respective line of work to gain maestro like expertise. Do read the book for loads of interesting and original ideas coupled with equally convincing stories.

Another book that I enjoyed very much was the Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson. The author is a well renowned historian who walks you through the history of money from its initial days of coming into existence right through the economic meltdown of 2008-09. He explains most of the important ideas associated with popular financial products, like stocks, bonds, forex, insurance, options etc., along with the history associated to each of them. I think it becomes very easy to understand contemporary financial products if we know the necessity that originated them. The author has drawn profusely from a huge list of other books which gives further credence to the simple explanations he has provided in the book. Anyone who wants to understand the larger picture of global money markets must certainly read this book.

Lastly, I would recommend The Age of Turbulence by none other than Alan Greenspan. Greenspan was the chairman of Federal Reserve Bank in US for almost two decades. Half of the book is like a biography of Greenspan along with his remarks on the economic landscape. Then in the second part of the book, he goes full throttle and that too with utmost candor, on his opinions of the global economic universe. If you are interested in unraveling the economic puzzles of current times, then there is none other available with such an authority. After all he was literally the master of the financial universe for more than two decades.

Wish you all a fabulous new year and I hope there are lots of even more beautiful books coming our way.