IQ

26 Aug
2016

Vidur loves to build stuff. Elements for his own world. Rockets, aliens, monsters, zoo, farms. 

And when he does, he forgets everything else. He immerses himself. It doesn’t matter what’s happening around him at that moment. 

Unfortunately, as he grows up, this will change. 

Noise will seek attention. 

Social media

TV

VR

People

The next ping. The next notification. 

And he will submit to the noise. 

Just as we all do too. 

How he deals with it will determine who he becomes. 

——

Back in the days of our parents, being smart was a differentiator. 

Your IQ could leapfrog you to the top of the order. 

And it did. 

The smartest people were almost always the most successful. 

Today, smartness I would argue, isn’t a wide range. 

There is information available to everyone. 

Opportunities too. 

The thing that matters today is focus. 

The ability to immerse yourself. And not care about what’s happening around. 

The act of discarding noise. 

Focus, more than IQ, will determine your success today

Focus in the new IQ

Your reality 

19 Aug
2016

I fear failure 

It took me a long while to realize how wrong this statement is. It makes it sound as if failure is a thing. Something that exists. Something that can be felt or experienced. 

We don’t fear failure. 

We fear the reaction of people if we fail. 

We fear the reactions resulting from failure. Not failure itself. 

And that’s when reality struck. 

Someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality. 

While at the gym last week I dropped my phone

And the screen cracked.

Over the next few days the crack spread its wings. And now represents an aggressively growing tree branch.

Basically my top left section of the phone is all glass cracks!

It’s been a week. I have gotten used to it.

 

Yesterday, I took a screenshot and sent myself an email with the screenshot.

When I opened the image on my laptop, I was expecting, out of habit, to see the top left section of the image to be all glass cracks.

It wasn’t

And that was a harsh realization.

The actual image wasn’t broken. 

The situation wasn’t broken. 

It was my lens that was broken. 

It was my perception that was broken. 

Problem?

8 Aug
2016

One of my favorite questions of all times, and a hard one at that to comprehend, is

What drives you more – the problem or the solution?

Its hard to comprehend, because no one can claim not to be driven by the solution. That’s the outcome. The purpose. The aim.

And not surprisingly, most of the times, the driving factor has been answered as the solution instead of the problem. 

That was before I found a better question

What do you fall in love with – The problem or The solution?

If you find yourself falling in love with the solution, end the relationship. 

The worst piece of advice – “Work on your weakenesses”

Equally bad advice – “Double down on your strengths”

Instead

“You have no choice but to become awesome at what is critical to your success”

If you are a leader and suck at communication, you know what you have to do! No choice

If you are a parent and suck at patience, you know what you have to do! No choice

If you are a digital marketeer and suck at numbers, you know what you have to do! No choice

If you want to become a coder and suck at logic, you know what you have to do! No choice

If you want to be an awesome manager and suck at having difficult conversation, you know what you have to do! No choice

If you want to become an entrepreneur and suck at managing chaos or uncertainty, you know what you have to do! No choice

 

You success is not determined by YOUR strengths and weaknesses

It is determined by how well you are prepared for what you have to do

 

What they see 

3 Aug
2016

Think about every single individual that you admire and look up to 

And then think of how they got there 

Thousands of line of code 

Hours of writing, singing, dancing

Months of practice early morning 

Weeks of waking, running, lifting

Years of looking in the mirror and questioning 

Years of looking in the mirror and crying

Years of looking in the mirror and saying don’t you fucking give up

Don’t you fucking get comfortable 

Don’t you fucking think it was meant to be easy 

Away from the crowd

Away from the praise 

Away from the applause 

What you do when no one can see you, defines what they see when they do. 

Fired! 

28 Jul
2016

Option 1:

Your performance has been below par. Despite repeated feedback it hasn’t improved. Its not working out.

“You are fired!”

 

Option 2:

Have you hit your targets in the last 6 months?

Why do you think you haven’t?

Is there anything I could have done to help you hit those targets?

Do you think I had the same constraints for others too? And at an organizational level as well?

How do you think leaders deliver when faced with such constraints?

How long do you think you will need to become that leader?

Do you think as an organization we have that much time?

Do you realize that because of all these conditions, every month you are here I will have to act like an asshole to you?

What would you do if you were me?

“I would fire me”

 

 

They have just lost their job. They don’t need to lose their self respect too.

Nor do you need to.

Them!

25 Jul
2016

As an entrepreneur

You will be misunderstood because of your irrational optimism. Be optimistic anyway.

Other’s success will generate massive self doubt every morning you get up. Get up anyway.

Family will suffer because you have less and less time to love. Love anyway.

You will be hated for the times you take harsh decisions. Take decisions anyway.

The world might not value the experiences you share. Share anyway.

You will struggle to smile and show up. Show up anyway.

You will struggle to show up and smile. Smile anyway.

Your teams may seem naive, inexperienced and not ready to be trusted. Trust anyway.

Your ego will tell you that you don’t need help. Seek help anyway.

You will wonder why don’t they understand. Don’t give up anyway.

In the end the battle is between you and the man in the mirror 

It was never between you and them anyway 

Scared of?

14 Jul
2016

What are you scared of? 

Ghosts?

Heights?

Water?

Your boss?

Your spouse?

Failing?

Being lonely?

Being in a crowd? 

How about decisions? Do decisions scare you? 

It’s ironic that we all ask for more responsibility. But rarely feel comfortable with the responsibility that comes with taking decisions. 

Eliminating the fear around taking decisions is the best gift you can give yourself. 

And you do that by taking ownership of the outcome of the decision. It’s success or failure. 

The thing you should be most scared of are people who sit on their decisions. 

And that could be you

Inadequate 

13 Jul
2016

Inadequate: lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.

Incapable: unable to do or achieve (something). 

Incapable is the output. The what. 

Inadequate is the reason. The why. 

All of us are guilty of stopping at the what, whenever we fail. 

I am incapable  

I can’t do it 

I don’t have what it takes 

Only a few of us penetrate the why

Why am I incapable 

Why can’t I don’t it 

Why don’t I have have what it takes 

In my experience, surrounding yourself with circumstances and people that make you feel inadequate, will magically ensure that you don’t remain incapable over a prolonged period of time. 

But we rarely do 

Again, ask why! 

Kapoor stores 

8 Jul
2016

We stay in an apartment complex comprising 400 odd families 

And there is a 100sqft store that caters to our daily needs. Kapoor stores

Below the 100sqft display is storage, possibly 3-4X bigger. So it’s not that he doesn’t have merchandise. 

2 weeks back, a 1500sqft store opened. 

GM Mart

Stacked display

Air conditioned 

Scanner checkout counters 

The mega retail format in our world 

Kapoor stores was fucked. 

Or so we thought! 

And am sure Kapoor did too

Here is what he did

He realized that most parents drop their kids at the bus stop, between 6-7am. So we opened the store at 6am now 

GM Mart had operating hours – starting 8am 

Kapoor began to extend credit. Starting with fort nightly and going up to a month, based on retention and amount. 

GM Mart was not designed to give credit 

Kapoor began promoting his home delivery ferociously. Promising 15 min delivery. 

GM Mart was proud of its self help format. 

Kapoor started to give free eggs or bread on purchase of 500

GM Mart didn’t see why they should 

Place yourself in the shoes of Kapoor. And ask yourself – what would you have done? 

I love Kapoor stores. It had a choice to crib. To give up. To settle. 

And it didn’t. 

There is a little bit of Kapoor stores in all of us. 

And a lot of GM Marts around. 

Neither is destined to win. It’s a choice we make. 

A belief we hold within 

Discipline

30 Jun
2016

I have been in the Internet some for 8 years now. By virtue of that I have accumulated a lot of tacit knowledge. If rumors were to be believed there is even a name for this now. Experience! 

It’s an immensely gratifying experience when I can add value through my experience. When I am able to move things forward, because of a larger repository of situations behind me. 

What isn’t a bit gratifying is when I am forced to add value through my discipline and rigor. If I move things forward because I have the discipline and rigor of thinking through things – that’s not because I have more experience. That’s simply because I care. And someone else doesn’t, as much. 

Discipline and rigor aren’t an outcome of experience. 

They are a choice 


Humans suck at….

29 Jun
2016

Right after a heavy dinner, the worst question to be asked is “what will you have for breakfast” 

You feel shitty right now. Why did I eat so much. You don’t want to have anything for breakfast. 

Come breakfast, you are hungry. And you gorge again. Perhaps feeling shitty again. You completely forgot how you were feeling last night. 

Humans suck at remembering the extent of their emotions they felt in the past. 

Whether happiness or pain

As a founder, the variance of emotions that hit you everyday is massive. Virtually impossible to remember all of them, let alone explain them. 

I have gained a lot by recording these emotions. Everyday, I speak to myself. A voice memo. Answering 2 questions 

What was the overwhelming emotion I felt yesterday?

Why did I feel that emotion?

And every now and then i go back to that day, just as one would to a diary. With the hope that I can still rationalize why I felt the way I did. Possibly learning how to be consistent with my emotions. 

Turning emotions into a habit is hard. 

Which is why it’s worth attempting to do it. 

Kids! 

28 Jun
2016

Am reading a book on the science of happiness. 

It describes an academic experiment where a 4 year old is sitting in a room with 2 adults. 

One of the adult moves out of the room. The other adult places a jar of cookies, which until now was on the table, in one of the shelves. And calls back the first adult. 

An overwhelming majority of kids said that the first adult knows where the jar of cookies has been placed. 

The 4-yr old brain has still not figured that what they see is not always what the world sees. Just because they know doesn’t mean the world knows. 

Isn’t is amazing how as we grow older and apparently wiser, our brains start going back to when we were 4? 

The goal is not to make the world see what you see. And treat it for real. 

The goal is to seek the truth. Doesn’t matter who saw it. 

Overnight success?

27 Jun
2016

 

Yourstory covered the journey from Groupon to nearbuy. 

 

It chronicles our journey in the past 9 months, from

  • 12 cities to 33 cities
  • 3 categories to 18 categories
  • 100% groupon tech to 100% nearbuy tech
  • a zero member tech team to a 75 member tech team
  • selling a voucher every 27 seconds to selling it every 9 seconds now
  • multiple disconnected offices to a collaborative progressive space
Whenever I see such coverages – I go through a couple of emotions, one more important than the other

 

The lesser emotion of Pride

For what we have built, for what we have collectively achieved, for the fact that someone independently acknowledges the same

Its a pat on the back for the intense work that has been put in

And we all should pause for a moment and feel awesome at how far we have come

 

The more important emotion of realism

Only we know what we have been through these last 9 months 

The long days and nights

The question of “are we moving fast enough”

The realization that we moved too fast too soon

The cash conservation steps we took

The moments of doubt, insecurity

 

All these are not visible in the coverage. 

They are NEVER visible in ANY coverage

 

Always remember the blood and sweat that has gone into “overnight” success. And never lose sight of where we have come from. Never forget your roots. 

 

The world will treat you as a success, only when you have questioned yourself every single day on whether you have what it takes to win

Weekend at ISB Mohali

20 Jun
2016

Was at the gorgeous Mohali campus this weekend. I love it there. On some levels better than Hyderabad. More so because I see a sense of belonging and ownership within the batch. Hyderabad, always my first love, acts transactional at times. And I am unable to relate to that from 10 years back. 

Startups are like that. People from 5 years back have seen a different side of nearbuy   They have been part of the grind. The recent ones feel that the organization owes them. A lot. When it never did. Never to even the ones that first joined. It just created a world where everyone knew everyone and everyone worked for a common cause. 

Startups will eventually not remain startups. The question is – what do they become? And why? 

I left the batch with 2 important messages. And a student (thanks Gaurav Gupta) was kind enough to transform the into a meme

Dinner with who? 

16 Jun
2016

Left office at 830pm last evening. I don’t have dinner as a meal, but was super hungry yesterday. Almost on the border of indulgence. 

Ordered my Uber 

And then ordered paneer rolls. 

The cab and rolls arrived at the same time. Stepped out of office complex to board the cab. Saw an ice cream vendor. Temptation trigger :) 

Selected the fruit and nut feast. 

Stepped into the cab. I always address the driver with their name. Starts the engagement at a different level all together. 

Dinesh – have you had dinner?

No sir, don’t get the time for dinner. 

Will you have it with me? 

We put on the parking lights and ate paneer rolls followed by ice cream. 

33 years. Married with 2 kids. Driving since he was 22. Was a tourist cab driver for 10 years. Started Uber a year back. Knows everything that there is to tourist places around delhi. Uses WhatsApp for everything. Doesn’t understand Facebook. Loves YouTube. Thinks Uber will fail soon because there is no business model. He will start a tourist company then. 

I had ordered 2 rolls. Don’t know why. 

But I bought 2 ice creams on purpose. I wanted to share it with Dinesh. 

Life reminded me that I should be kind. 

I listened to it and decided to be kind. 

I always thank my driver at the end of the ride. 

Yesterday both of us thanked each other. 

And life. 

Local Maxima

14 Jun
2016

Ruchi asked me last night – “what was the highlight of the day”. 

It got me thinking. For far longer than I expected. I finally gave her an answer. 

But the answer wasn’t the answer I wanted to give. 

Of course there was a highlight of the day. All days would have one. But was it the highlight I wanted? 

For a long time, we have been asking the wrong questions it seems 

What’s the best thing you have done

What’s the thing you are proudest of 

What’s your most cherished moment 

Which achievement did you have work the hardest for 

All these questions are trying to find what I call “local maxima”. 

It’s a statistical term – and simply put it means picking a small range in a graph and finding the highest point in the curve.

All these questions will of course have an answer. Even the most depressed guy on earth will have a “happiest” moment. The one who thinks he has few achievements will have one that he is proud of. There will be one moment in everyone’s life they will cherish. 

We are trying to find the highs in the range of their own lives. 

There is another concept in statistics

Global maxima

If you look at the curve in its entirety, what’s the highest point. 

Which moment, if created, would you love to have as your most cherished 

Which achievement, if accomplished, would you be proudest of 

What would you love to be remembered as

What would you want your highest point in life to be 

The best thing in your life so far should not be the best thing in your life ever. 

Ever had cocaine?

9 Jun
2016

Not the real one (am not judging). 

But the one you get in corporate life. It goes like this. 

A colleague comes up with a problem. Seeking a solution. 

And you give a solution. 

Instantly. Right then and there. 

That instant solution is your cocaine. 

That instant decision making is your drug. 

You love it. You feel good about yourself. You solve stuff. Instantly. With minimal information. You have never said “I don’t know” or “let me think about it” or asked “what do you think about it” or “how would you solve it”. 

You just solved it. You are an instant problem solver. 

Here is the deal with instant problem solvers

They don’t respect their own time. They love the noise or people walking up without notice, looking for solutions. 

And they don’t respect your problems. If they did they won’t have the urge to solve it for you. 

Instant problem solving is cocaine

Cocaine is bad for you. And people around you 

At the gym, on the 12th rep, the trainer asks you to do 5 more

“I can’t do it” 

Your boss asks you to get something done by this Thursday 

“I can’t do it” 

Your friend asks you to sing a song for her on her birthday 

“I can’t do it” 

Someone you know is planing to go to the Everest base camp this year

“I can’t do it” 

The statement is a lie. The biggest lie ever told. 

It’s a proxy for “I am not willing to put in the effort to make this happen” 

The next time around, don’t use your capability as an excuse. 

Capability is rarely the question mark in life. It’s always intent. 

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