Earning respect

9 Feb

Your colleague invites you to her wedding, by sending a personal email with the invitation card attached 

Response 1:

Open the email 

Read it

Reply back 

“Thanks <insert colleague name> 

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I am traveling and will unfortunately not be able to make it. Thanks for inviting me :)

Wishing you both a lovely wedding. All the best and God bless”

Response 2:

Open email

Open card

Read the details

Reply back 

“Thanks <insert colleague name>

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I am unfortunately traveling on the 19th and will be unable to make it. Sorry about that and thanks for inviting me 

Wish you and <insert bride’s name> a wonderful life ahead. All the best”

Time check

Response 2 > Response 1 by 10 seconds 

Respect check

Response 2 > Response 1 by infinity 

Respect doesn’t come from title. It comes from conduct. 


5 Feb

Gut is an awesome thing 

It supercedes data

It drives immediate action 

It’s based on experience 

It’s already rationalized 

It’s you 

Your judgement 

Precisely the reasons why gut is also a bad thing 

Because most people end up using gut to express fear. 

“I know I know, all the facts are right, but it just doesn’t feel right”

Gut is your enemy when you use it to represent your fears

If, as a leader, you take all your decisions based on excel sheets, devoid of emotional labor, you are a victim of excel sheet leadership. 

Here is the deal about excel sheet leadership. 

It’s an oxymoron. It doesn’t exist. 

The hard part is going through each cell on that sheet. 

The hard part is listening and responding to all exceptions. 

The hard part is looking at the world from someone else’s perspective. 

Excel sheet leaders die young. And they die as managers. 

The rest become leaders 


1 Feb

Received an email yesterday. A fellow entrepreneur wants to get into the gifting space. Wants to offer 2 hour delivery and only brands. Because no one else is serving this need. 

Here is the deal

No one starts a business saying I will deliver bad products and I will deliver slow. 

There is an economic reason behind everything. 


I always do myself a favor whenever a new idea hits me. 

I tell myself – “you are stupid. People before have already thought of this idea. But how come no one has done it yet?”

Ideas don’t need parents. 

They need work

Everything that happens, happens for a reason 

Perhaps true. 

Everything that happens, happens for the good

Perhaps true. 

If you wait long enough, everything will explain itself. Everything will settle. 

But is that the best use of your time? 


What is respect?

18 Jan

The reality of firing is not that of capability. It’s rarely that. 
It’s that of a value mismatch. The value that is being added is lesser than expected or the strengths possessed are not valued enough. 

The same value can be significant someplace else. And it usually is. 

The hard part about firing then becomes realizing this fact. And thus still maintaining respect for the individual. 

I have personally fired 27 individuals in my life. 

Not one of them would refuse to help me if I called them one day for help. 

Most would say that the firing, though painful at that stage, was a wise decision eventually. 

They were told, with respect, of how the mismatch will not work out. For both parties involved. 

That it is best for both to move on. 

Maintaining respect for the opposite side, when the side has not delivered, is a hard thing to do. 

It is also the right thing to do. 

Respect is never situational. 

Problem with the 5% 

15 Jan

I have a golden rule for policy making 

Solve for the 95%, not for the 5%. 

Look around you. Most rules and policies are drafted to curb the 5% that deviate. Not to acknowledge the 95% that adhere. 

No car blinds for the 5% rapists 

Punch cards for the 5% free loaders 

25 yrs drinking limits for the 5% that can’t control 

Daily reviews for the 5% that can’t self manage

Bell curve for the 5% that don’t fit in
And it’s obvious why that’s the case 

Problem with the 5% is that they create the most chaos

They make the most noise

They destroy the most

They seek the most attention 

They get the most attention
The 5% will make themselves visible. The hard work then is to make the 95% visible. 

Don’t let the 5% takeover 


14 Jan

Sorry, I won’t do this again 

Sorry, I didn’t think through this

Sorry, don’t punish me

Sorry, I did this on purpose 

Sorry, I do not care

Sorry, I now know what I have to do

If your sorry has multiple intents, don’t expect forgiveness as the only reaction


13 Jan

Jazbaa is an Urdu word

Translated in English, it means passion

It is the only thing that makes the world move 

Or not

Jazbaa is a good thing

Don’t become comfortable 

Have jazbaa 

Lunch with warikoo

12 Jan

In late Sep 2015, I started a personal initiative

“Lunch with Warikoo”

The company was growing faster than I anticipated. 

While I used to pride upon the fact that I knew the names of most people, not so much anymore

The initiative was driven by the insecurity of losing touch with my colleagues, than anything else. 

The initiative was to have lunch with a new person everyday. Across the country. 

And then to post about it on our employee Facebook group – much like “humans of New York” 

Yesterday I completed the 50th such lunch. 

18 of them in person. Rest on hangouts. 

I have had people cook for me

I have had people bring me gifts

I have had people cry in front of me

I have had people hug me

I have had people order food for me 

I have had people bring in their friends

I have had people write poetry for me

I have had people shower unconditional love, that I am largely undeserving of. 

And they have done all of this because I gave them my time. And they know it is the most precious thing I have. 

When you pick the most valuable thing in your life and are ready to share it, magic happens! 

What’s most precious to you? 

When are you sharing it? 

All of us have a weak spot. 

Something that we know is not right with us. 

And we cannot do much to change it. 

Lazy, unorganized, procrastination, sloppy, unaware, non-detailed – whatever it is 

Even if you can’t do much to change it, you can do a lot to change the world around you. 

For the physically lazy, does the world around offer everything in an arm’s distance 

For the mentally lazy, does the world around offer work at the dim of the day

For the unorganized, does the world around include you in every email chain

There are two ways of dealing with your weak spot 

Work on it 

Or create a world around that doesn’t fuel it

Find your weak spot 

And then fight it, using the world and not your own self. 

When people say, hire people smarter than you, they mean people who fill in the weak spots you have. 

Best lesson of 2015

30 Dec

Unless you are relentlessly open and honest in your communication, every single day, things fall apart. 

100% of failures and problems can be traced back to poor communication at some level

Dec 31st

29 Dec

Humans, by design, crave for security and comfort. And we call it different things 





Dec 31st is the biggest structure created by mankind. 

Nothing changes that day or the day after. 

The sun doesn’t reset. Nor does the clock. 

Climate doesn’t change. Nor do the people around us. 

What changes though are emotions 

Every single individual out there resets their emotions on dec 31st. 

Reflect on the year gone by. Predict the year to come. Make promises. Correct the mistakes from the past. Plan ahead. 

The 365 day structure makes us operate psychologically in a powerful way. Nothing else drives humans across the world in such a concentrated fashion. 

And I think

If the 365 day structure was man made. So can be the 1 day structure that I make. 

Resetting my emotions at the end of everyday. 

Reflect on the day gone by. Predict the day to come. Make promises. Correct the mistakes from the past. Plan ahead. 

Everyday is a Dec 31st

It’s your choice to have 1 of them in a year

Or 365! 

I work with super smart people everyday. Individuals more driven and way smarter than I can ever be. 

But there is a common thread when I see how they work

They love solving. 

Anything! And everything! 

That comes their way

Being in constant solution mode will make anyone look and seem powerful. 

There is a situation – let me solve it 

The product is broken here – let me solve it 

Sales are not happening this month – let me solve it 

This guy is not performing – let me solve it 

I haven’t slept for 48 hours – let me solve it

But solving situations isn’t ever helpful. That doesn’t ensure the problem will not come back. It is tactical. It is short term. 

And some problems aren’t even problems, the way they are described. They are mostly reactions. 

Hence, ask yourself what is it that you are truly solving for? 

Is it worth your time

And your smartness

Don’t become a victim of your own smartness

Don’t solve all the time 

The journey has been nothing short of fascinating. I wouldn’t trade this for anything else in my life. 




Thank you

16 Dec

If someone sends a thank you note, out of the blue, to you or your team or someone else

There are 2 options you have
1. This guy seems genuine. He believes in thanking people and in comforting them. And maybe that’s what I need to do to him, because this is his worldview
2. Nonsense. Sending this note to earn brownie points. Fraud!

It is not hard to realize which of the two paths above has a higher chance of success
Suddenly, it doesn’t matter which of the two options are true!


15 Dec

Views on my Quora responses crossed 2Mn this Saturday – that’s a lot of people! 

My followers on Quora are touching 20,000 – adding me to the list of the Top 100 followed people in the world 

My TEDx talks on YouTube have now garnered over 200,000 views

I get fanmail. People even call me an online celebrity! 

You know what’s the truth about celebrities? It’s easy to become one. 

It is easy to garner respect from a distance. 

To say the right things in a considered manner 

To be immaculate and trained in front of a crowd 

It is easy to be liked, when people don’t know who you really are. 

What is hard – is to be respected when people get to know you. When they know your faults. And how you react to situations. And how you treat others. And how you treat yourself. 

Known respect is always greater than unknown respect 

And way more valuable 

Long Term

14 Dec
Those who know me well know that I grew up as a boy fascinated with Space and Astronomy. I wanted to always be the first man on Mars. The planet fascinated me. It captured my imagination.
Thereafter I gave up on the possibility of making this dream possible an academic perspective (when I dropped out of my PhD in Astrophysics). But the dream still lingers on – and hey, who knows!
But today, when I saw this video, it reminded me of a far bigger thing that just my dream. The video connected on several levels
(for a quick view, see the first 10 seconds, then skip to 2:50)
Thinking Long term
Is the hardest thing for people to appreciate
Is the easiest thing to dismiss
Is the most difficult to say yes to
Is what the world will tell you is not important right now
Is what will eventually define one’s existence
We are living in a world today where instant gratification is imagined to be the winner’s logic.
We live under that temptation everyday
Why are we not doing a TV ad today
Why aren’t we bringing all the features today
Why are we not running more aggressive promo codes today
Why aren’t we raising more money today
When the right question to ask is
What is it that I can be imagining today, doing today
something that a lot of people call stupid, or foolish or not important
so that day after tomorrow,
or even beyond,
I would have created something far bigger
than who I am today
Or will ever be

Feeling secure 

11 Dec

Reminder about all our present lives 

  • We are not in the best relationship we could have been in. There are better 
  • We are not in the best paying job we could have been in. There are better 
  • We are not driving the best car in the world. There are better 
  • We do not work with the best manager. There are better
  • We do not live in the best country. There are better 
  • We do not have the best life. It could be better

Whatever is it that you do and whosoever is it that you are, there is something better

In that case, why are you afraid to change things around you? Why don’t you speak up? Why don’t you challenge the status quo. Why don’t you question the wrong? 

What is it that you fear? 

That feeling of security. That is a farce. You  have created it. The world hasn’t granted it to you. 

Shitty about me

10 Dec

When do you feel the shittiest about yourself?

Someone criticizes you? 

You fail? 

You eat too much? 

Someone says they hate you?

Your loved one doesn’t love you back? 

You aren’t inspired. Or can’t inspire? 

Feeling shitty is self imposed. You have created it. You can destroy it too. It doesn’t exist. 

What does exist is the reason behind it. And if the reason for your feeling is someone else, then don’t blame yourself. Don’t be harsh. It will pass. 

And if the reason is you yourself. And your actions. Then don’t blame anyone else. Fix it. 

The key to not feeling shitty is to find the source. And who not to blame.