You didn’t call me
Yeah, but you also didn’t call me
You scored less
Yeah, but you also scored less
You hurt me
Yeah, but you also hurt me
You didn’t work to your full potential
Yeah, but you also didn’t
You don’t seem to be grateful
Yeah, but you also think the same way
You don’t think twice about the things you do
Yeah, but you also are quite reckless
Tell you what, this isn’t a competition.
Each time you counter your flaws by pointing to someone else, worse still the person opposite, who has the same flaw
Is each time you say no to accepting who you truly are.
Is each time you stop yourself from doing the right thing because someone in your opinion has legitimized the wrong thing.
Doing the right thing is not relative. It’s an absolute.
Everyone of us entrepreneurs is trying to solve a problem.
A live problem.
Something worth solving.
Something hopefully worth a lot, once solved.
But here is the deal about problems. Everyone has them.
If you are about saving money, even the richest guys likes to. The extent varies.
If you are about convenience, even the poorest guy wants it. The extent varies.
If you are about speed, even the guy with most time appreciates it. The extent varies.
The immediate question to ask, once you have identified the problem, is “who am I solving it for?”
“Who is my customer”
Everyone is almost always the wrong answer.
Good products do not speak to everyone. They know who they speak to. Ironically, that is mostly the reason why the products starts speaking to everyone eventually.
Each time I interview people, we have the office boy come in and ask for tea or coffee.
When it is served, I look for the response
No thank you?
Thank you Bhaiya (or equivalent)?
Tells me something about the person.
I play a sadist game on the office floor. Drop a piece of paper or tissue and then wait for who picks it up.
Tells me something about the person.
During a presentation if I point out an error on the formatting, I observe how they react. Do they clear the error right away or note it down as a todo.
Tells me something about the person.
I am a firm believer in the power of the subconscious. Our intrinsic thoughts are always governing our external actions. Mostly unknowingly.
It’s the small reactions, the perpetual thoughts, reactions to everyday things that drives the individual.
The way you do small things determines the way you do everything
Whenever I have made this statement, I realize the irony of it.
I haven’t worked with these individuals. Because they have worked on their own. Every single time.
No instructions were ever needed.
No prescriptions were ever shared.
No reviews were ever conducted.
No follow up was ever needed.
I technically didn’t work with them.
I simply observed.
And was left amazed.
They placed judgement and initiative at a higher order than obedience
The people you enjoy working with the most are those who create art on their own. Art that moves.
The world has a very convenient definition of cheating, based on a highly misplaced sense of morality.
If you are physically or emotionally involved with a person outside of your current relationship – that’s cheating.
Strangely enough, the necessary condition is not the physical or emotional attachment, rather the existence of another person in the equation.
What if it isn’t a person?
I have told this to Ruchi several times. I am cheating on her with my work.
I am in love with my work.
I dream of work.
Every waking second, I think of it.
Every second I can gather my basic instinct is to go back to my work.
Work that doesn’t just comprise managing and shaping nearbuy’s present and future. It also includes meeting people, reading about them, introspecting on my own inadequacy and more.
And all of this is no different to me from cheating on her.
But here is something I have realized.
If I am away from work, I will not be happy. And anything else I will do, will have me participate as a reluctant participant.
I am equally certain that someday I will be cheating on my work. And that too will make me happy.
Don’t compromise on the things that make you happy
Don’t let it affect you if what makes you happy is work
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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”
“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
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.
Your performance has been below par. Despite repeated feedback it hasn’t improved. Its not working out.
“You are fired!”
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.
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
What are you scared of?
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: 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!
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.
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
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
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.
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.