Opportunities. Nothing more. Just that.
Opportunities.

A career is what you make of it.
Or not

Don’t expect anyone else but you to plan your career.

Answer by Ankur Warikoo:

Because I did!
Failed JEE twice.
Infact thrice – didn't even make it through the entrance test for Masters.

And I think I have done just fine.
Have an awesome family, an unbelievably fun job, super smart colleagues, friends that care for me.
And a life worthy of responding to this question!

Why should I live after flunking the JEE on my second attempt?

I am going to take a contrarian view here and say – worse than no data is multiple sources of the same data.

Therein you have killed all objectivity that the data was meant to bring. It’s now subjective. And worse still you don’t know what it favors. Suddenly everyone is showing their version of the data point, to prove their assumptions. To get data to speak your language. And to confess.

If you torture it enough, even data will succumb

I grew up containing my emotions. It wasn’t for you to share or express what you felt towards them. It was expected that the opposite person would understand your emotions.

By age I have become wiser. It’s perhaps the most important gift I have given myself. I have lowered my emotional guard.

The next time you feel anything towards anyone. Do yourself a favor and let them know. Don’t think of what they will think of you.

I love you
I miss you
I couldn’t have done it without you
I don’t know this
You are so awesome
You amaze me
You make me jealous
You inspire me
You make me feel weak
Thank you

Find your kryptonite. Only then you will be superman!

The Industrial Age it seems was built on information asymmetry. People were powerful not because of what they did but because of what they knew. 

And I hate that world. 

  • Closed door strategy meetings 
  • Getting your colleagues to sign endless non compete documents 
  • Being secretive about your financials 
  • Being secretive about salaries 
  • NDAs floating all over 

All of these are beautiful examples of a misplaced sense of self importance. That we know better. 

But we don’t. 

Nor does anyone else, just because they have access. 

I know that if one puts in even the slightest effort, the groupon india financials will be easily available. And it doesn’t bother me one bit. Because those are just numbers. They don’t tell a story. They don’t speak of the effort. Of what it took! Just the same way me knowing Amazon financials will not make me Amazon! 

Imagine a world, where you get up one fine day and all the information is available to you. 

  • Who earns what, And why
  • What’s the cost structure of that company 
  • What’s the next campaign of your competition
  • When is the government announcing tax cuts
  • Have aliens visited us

Everyone knows everything. 

Suddenly, the only way for me to become better than you, is to work harder and smarter than you. I know nothing more than you. 

That’s a world I would die to live in! 

Koshish karne se hota hai

Nothing happens if you cry
It only happens if you try

This is what I keep telling vidur all the time
This is the only thing I want to tell him all his life

A daily wage worker’s two sons have made it to IIT.  He doesn’t have 1lakh to spare for their admission.

An unemployed guy’s mother is dying. And he doesn’t have enough for her medicines.

A middle class topper from a small town can’t speak in English.

A beggar stares at the window pane, as the kid in the car licks the ice cream off the cone.

What will they trade their life for?
Lower costs and subsidies
Or higher income?

Socialism isn’t about equality. It whole premise is inequality. It’s a misplaced sense of self righteousness. 

As an entrepreneur you will always have two ways of building an organization.

Lower the costs
Make it easy for the have nots
Incentivize people based on where they come from
Put in elaborate performance development plans for the weak ones
Only train when you are losing

Or

Raise the income
Even the haves will find it hard
Incentivize people based on what they do
Put in elaborate performance enhancement plans for everyone
Train when you are at the peak

The salary of your top performer should be higher than you
And publicly known
More so to the worst performer

Call in sick

22 Jun
2015

There are 2 occasions when people call in sick
When they really are
And when they are not, but wish they were

Look around you
All the successful people
The ones whom you want to be
As rich, as famous, as inspirational, as enigmatic

And then ask them – how many times did you call in sick?

Tendulkar took care of himself all these years
So does Nadal
And SRK
And all the successful people around you
They don’t call in sick
Definitely not when they are not
They don’t ever have to

Never work for something where you have to run away from it every now and then.

You will be fine

18 Jun
2015

13 years ago, in the fall of 2002, I captured a shot through my nikon. It was that of wooden fences. About a km from spartan village, where I was staying as a graduate student of MSU.
I was far away from home, lonely, staying with a housemate that hardly spoke.
I didn’t have any money and the stipend was meant to be saved as much as I could. Even if it meant being stingy.
I wasn’t enjoying my studies. I was acing the exams but not enjoying.
And I didn’t know what would happen of me. All I knew was I had to go back to India. To what,  I wasn’t sure

Ruchi and I went to the exact same spot this weekend.
The fence is still there
Nothing seemed to have changed

I wish I could tell my self from 13 years back
You will be fine!

Just because 

17 Jun
2015

Whenever I go to the U.S. I am always amazed by the number of “thank you”, “what’s up”, “you find everything ok” and “sorry” that hit me on an hourly basis. 

They don’t mean it half of the time. Just as “depends” and “maybe” doesn’t mean anything from Indians. 

Classic case of not owning the outcome!
Just because you do something a lot doesn’t mean you are good at it. 

Just because you said something doesn’t mean someone heard it. 

Just because someone heard it doesn’t mean they felt it. 

Just because someone didn’t respond doesn’t mean they didn’t hear anything. 

This single statement has killed more companies than

“I dont know the exact answer, but here is a 50% guess”

ever will!

 

Tomorrow can never be won, if what you have to do isnt decided today.

Irrespective of the stage you are at, if more than 90% of your colleagues come to work excited/happy at what lies ahead of them in the day, every single day, then you have succeeded in building the right institution. 

Else you have simply started a company

And have failed 

You have failed

You have failed
Some startups are so poor, they only have funding. 

Don’t use machines

29 May
2015

Become one!

Not to 

28 May
2015

the easiest thing in the world is not to

Not to do it

Not to go the extra mile

Not to call that person

Not to work beyond hours 

Not to show concern 

Not to work out 

Not to save 

Not to help

Not to own it

It’s the path of least resistance. The path of minimal effort. 

Here is a little thought experiment 

Each time you chose not to, someone else choses to do it. And moves ahead in life. 

Each time you give up, someone is still at it. Saying I won’t give up. 

It’s the same person all the time. So by the time you count all your “not to” that person is way ahead in life. 

It’s the person you could have become. But to chose not to! 

A bank interest rate?
A fixed deposit rate?
A stock market rate?
An extremely risky investment rate?

It shocks me how casual people are towards their money. Considering the percentage of people unhappy with their jobs, it’s amazing how many disrespect perhaps the only thing they are working for.

Be brutal with your money. Make it work for you.

My driver earns 12k a month. 8 months back he got up and bought himself a second hand auto.
In cash
For 100k
He paid an advance of 40k. And then came to me for a loan for the rest.
I was blown away! In awe of his audacity. And gladly gave him the money. But not before I asked – what if I hadn’t. You didn’t even ask me before buying.
I knew you would. And if you didn’t, I would have lost just 5k.

Awesome!
That auto earns him 8k a month now in rental.

Start planning your taxes
Take risks with your money
Be prepared to lose all
Make money your slave

Now go on and buy YOUR auto!

On your marks

25 May
2015

Circa 1998
Class 12th Results
Got a 57 in English
An 84% overall
Much lesser than what I wanted
Much lesser than what I had worked for
I cried
And I cried

Life has changed me over the years
But for all those going through the same thing at this precise moment, you dont have to wait as much as I did.

You have this video

Think of all the times you have forced a change into yourself. 

And then think of what prompted it. 

And then think of the likelihood of that prompt happening again. To the same effect of brining about a positive change. 

If it’s highly improbable, you clearly are riding on destiny! 

My health journey started because of my disease 3 years back. I shudder to think what if the disease hadn’t happened. And I definitely don’t want another disease to bring about another positive change. 

Allow anything and everything to generate a reason to change

A book

A movie

A TED talk

A conversation

A kid playing in the park
The decision to make the change is still yours

The source shouldn’t be your decision. Let it flow 

Who is your friend?

22 May
2015

I recall a fascinating conversation with ruchi sometime back. She asked – who is a true friend? Someone who is sad at your loss or happy for your success.

My instant reaction was the former. All our lives we have been trained to believe a friend in need is a friend indeed.

She offered a different perspective. A true friend is one who is happy for your success because the hardest thing for a human is to be happy at someone else’s success. And this means genuine well meaning happiness.

It makes sense to me now. 

But here is the deal with finding a true friend. It applies to your own self too.

Do me a favor.
Celebrate your success more than you mourn your failure.

“The first time” is a wonderful thing. 

It’s exciting. It’s appealing. No one expects wonders. Everyone is forgiving. You can fail and people call it learning. And there is always a second chance. 

What if there wasn’t?

What if, the first time you are doing something, will be the last thing you will ever do?

Will you do it differently? 

Then do it differently everytime. 

There is no first time! 

There is only a time when you did it like you were starting. 

And a time when you did it as if it would be the only thing you would be remembered for! 

Cynicism

20 May
2015

A middle class hard working guy owned a horse. One day, while he was passing through the forest on his horse, he was stopped by an ailing poor man. The poor man wanted a ride.

Moved by his condition, the horse owner stopped, climbed down and with great effort placed the ailing man on top of the horse.

At that very instant, the ailing man threw his cloak away to show that he was indeed a robber. Just as he prepared to run away with the horse, the owner stopped him and said

Do me a favor. Don’t ever share this story with anyone.
Why so?
Because then no one will ever stop to help a poor man again.

There are a lot of human traits that I cannot stand. Cynicism is one of them.
I have lied
I have cheated
I have broken rules
I have been unfair
I have been judgmental
Buy I rarely will be accused of being cynical. Because it’s so fundamentally against my worldview that to win you have got to trust others.

The story above is from school. I don’t even remember which class, perhaps 4th or 5th. But it’s somehow stayed with me so far.
It’s a fascinating reflection of how we operate in our lives, choosing to not trust people because of our experiences or worse still that of others.

The opposite of being cynical is not being gullible! It’s trust. The belief that the basic instinct of every human is to mean no harm.

Innocent until proven guilty
Try it once

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