Stick to your decisions
It’s terrible advice, in my opinion, in these times.
The platform that we are all standing on today, is changing.
The only religion then, worthy of standing by, is the belief that you took the best possible decision in the circumstance that you were in, with the data that you were aware of.
That doesn’t qualify this decision to be the best one going forward.
It has an expiry date. And that expiry date could be now.
In the present, our decisions seem like facts
When the only fact is, that looking back all our decisions were merely opinions.
And opinions could change.
Don’t fall in love with your decisions
When the place you are standing on is changing fast, then what you think is a u turn is not a u turn
You have taken the best decision you could with he data you had at the time
I am scared
Not because I have witnessed the result of the decisions
Not because I know exactly how much it will take
Not because I have failed before and know what it feels like
Rather I have heard how it sounds
I have been told what failure is like
I have seen it from a distance. Not happen to me. But to others
And that isn’t a good feeling
We wouldn’t believe most things unless we see it for ourselves
Yet, we conveniently imagine failure of others as ours
Are you scared because you have SEEN yourself as a loser? Or you have simply IMAGINED yourself as one?
Only 5% create noise
Only 5% create ruckus
Only 5% break the law
Only 5% are brutal, unsympathetic, cruel and don’t care
They don’t necessarily win in the end, or get their way. And even if they do, it’s short lived and gives a false impression of victory.
But they alter the path
They force the 95% to take notice
They force the 95% to work harder
They force the 95% to think beyond the normal,the obvious
And that’s why, even though the noise makers are not ideal, they are necessary.
Next time you see one
Make sure you are not one of them
Make sure you don’t become them
Make sure you see beyond them, to see how they can help alter the path for the good.
Alter your path, for the good.
Misalignment of incentives: happens 20% of the cases
The conflicting parties are not aligned towards the same goals. One has been told to increase sales at all costs. One has been told to reduce costs whatever it takes.
Managers are almost always to be blamed.
Leadership is the root cause here. Rather poor communication architecture within the leadership.
Doesn’t care about alignment: happens 5% of the cases
This guy is someone you should fire. They are optimizing for their life. Their goals. They don’t care about anything else. You know such people, don’t you? We met one in The Dark Knight as well.
People come up with solutions. Not problems: happens 75% of the time
I call it “The Curse of Intelligence”
Intelligent people have been trained to solve. To fix things. And to not stop until fixed.
So the moment they encounter a problem, they begin to think of solutions. Mostly half baked, I would argue. Considering it’s coming from an individual without any collective discussion or reasoning.
And it’s the solution that’s proposed. Not the problem to be fixed.
Suddenly, the discussion is focusing itself on the solution. And whether the solution should be implemented. And arguments are ensuing on the worthiness of the solution. No one is asking “what is it that we are trying to solve here?”
The problem is not the focus. Its the solution
Classic – outcome vs output.
“Let’s put banners all across the site because” – solution
“I want new merchants to get visibility so that they have a shot at selling” – problem
“We need more money for marketing” – solution
“We are not retaining enough customers we are acquiring” – problem
“I need a raise” – solution
“I am getting married and my expenses are set to increase” – problem
“I want to quit” – solution
“I am not challenged by my work” – problem
Do yourself a favor the next time.
Walk in with the problem.
Make the effort to describe it well.
Make the effort to identify the grief it is causing.
Make the effort to pick the metric to track
And let the solution be discussed. Not proposed.
Fall in love with the problem. Not the solution.
Why hasn’t it been done already?
Unless one does not go through the logical and emotional journey of discovering this answer, you are almost always destined to regret going down this path without the diligence it deserved.
There are 3 possible responses to this question
The sharpest, most successful brains will tell you to not care two fucks about the world when starting up. Let your passion be your force.
The same brains would have spent countless hours figuring why the world is the way it is. And how, what they are doing, is going to change the way the world is.
Don’t be around people that bring you down
Don’t be around people that make you feel useless
Don’t be around people that look for reasons to point your mistakes
Don’t be around people that do not know how to respect people below them
Don’t be around people that don’t say sorry
Don’t be around people that don’t respond when you say sorry
Don’t be around people that say “I told you so”
Don’t be around people that mock your decisions when they don’t pan out well
Don’t be around people that consider your success as “you got lucky”
Don’t be around people that show you down in a crowd
Don’t be around people that aren’t happy when you are
Don’t be around people that don’t believe in you
Don’t be around people that believe in you only when you succeed
Don’t be around such people just because you can’t be with yourself
Don’t be such people yourself
Here is the deal about wild bets.
They are wild for a reason.
If one knew what were to happen, they wouldn’t be wild anymore. They wouldn’t even be a bet.
So stop attaching a probability of success to them. Don’t try to tame them.
By the same measure, lack of conviction instantly kills any possibility of success.
Wild bets thrive on irrational belief. Don’t doubt them. Keep them wild.
I missed my connecting flight from Amsterdam to Delhi because the Seattle Amsterdam flight was delayed.
The next one was after 16 hours
I was given meal coupons and a fake apology.
I chose not to accept it. Asked for a 24hr visa instead to step out.
It was 7pm when I got the visa. My flight was at 6am.
I was dead tired. My mind told me to crash at a hotel. I chose to walk the streets of Amsterdam, clicking.
Went straight to the airport. My camera some 350 photos heavy.
Jet Airways morning flight to Mumbai. Sleep was the easy option. I chose to read the inflight magazine instead.
Came across a photo contest that asked for pictures of Amsterdam. I have never reacted to these. But the images from that Amsterdam night had remained in my head. I chose to take a camera shot of the contest page.
Was clearing my phone images. Came across the contest page image. Chose not to ignore it any further and submitted 2 of my favorite pics from that night.
Jet Airways wrote in. I had won first prize.
And understood life yet again
Your choices are not driven by the result you want
Rather, you are the result of the choices you make
In the past 4 months, nearbuy has built merchant tech that has never been built before in India, and I would argue perhaps the world.
And I have spent the last month on the road showcasing this tech and gathering feedback. Investors, customers, merchants.
The response is usually that of astonishment and amazement.
“This is so cool”
“Is this even possible”
“When is this launching”
“Why are you giving it away for free. I will pay for it”
I also know, this tech is so bold and audacious, it might never work!
But it’s cool.
And people get it intuitively.
In the past 4 months we have also built out a notification tool (called Sonar, which I think is a great name).
Sonar is intelligent to know what notification to send to whom and when. And smart to know when it shouldn’t.
In less than 2 months, it accounts for 30% of our mobile app business.
But it’s boring. It’s detailed. It’s unsexy. It’s lines of code and hours of work. It isn’t visual.
But it works!
Being cool will always draw the crowds
Being boring will get the work done
You have to be both
At the same time
All the time!
What leads to procrastination?
Most social responses will center around laziness. The inertia to not move. The need to remain status quo.
Most internal reflections will discover that it’s the world’s judgement of the output that scares people.
If I do this now, it won’t change my image, as against doing it later.
I have to do this now, else my image will change. No choice.
Fear has led to more procrastination than laziness ever will
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.