Learning in Life - Year 2020 Week 6

Feb 9, 2020 7 min read

Another week of learnings. I am trying to find a better way to organise the knowledge which makes it easily accessible & complete. Help me do that, suggest me ways please.

On with the learnings….

  1. Go-out talk to as many people as possible about your idea. People not really driven to steal it & actually people are way more helpful than you can imagine.

  2. Among other things, I visited my first comiccon. Wow! Can’t even explain the experience. Just Wow! Among other things, met author & comic artist Sumit Kumar, one of the authors of Savita Bhabhi :D He has a comic series of kind called ‘Bakarmax’. Read his awesome comics.

  3. Schools are increasingly becoming obsolete.

  4. This is an awesome thread & discussions around it on why technology is important & also why billionaires are rich people are not the enemy, as it is being made out to be around the globe.

  5. Somehow the powers to be have not been able to understand the 2nd, 3rd & progressive order of effects of their decisions. The more probable explanation is that its me who doesn’t understand. This budget has no-doubt been a missed opportunity.

  6. Tata Nano had to shift from West Bengal to Gujarat. Now Kia motors considering shifting from Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu. I really wonder what goes on in the power circles.

  7. This sounds really scary. How did we end up here? Digital quarantine!!!

  8. All heroes don’t wear capes.

  9. Some amazing thought frameworks from the King of advertising - David Ogilvy. Have to read this book. Read the whole thread for a succinct summary of the book.

  10. Just make sure you are making something everybody wants & survive. Time comes on your side.

  11. Are you thinking of starting your startup of joining one?

  12. Can you do something complex & difficult & make it simple enough for everybody else to use? That’s how humanity moves forward.

  13. Founders want to delight customers but later employees don’t understand why. A difficult gap to bridge. That’s what makes Amazon, American express & such companies much more awesome. Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

  14. There is a price to pay for everything. The price Hummingbirds pay for their ambition - their life!

  15. I had a very interesting conversation with a friend about Chatbots & what to chase, growth or profits? The solution is that your strategy is often decided by your competitors, esp. in the field related to AI/ML, where the quality of output is directly related to the amount & quality of input-data. The question presents itself again, can any chatbot ever compete with quality of Google’s-bot:Meena? It’s not just about engineering talent but also about the amount & quality of data & distribution. (Not even talking about integration.) Click on the below how Meena-bot has a playful conversation with the user.

  16. How competitors decide your strategy.

  17. Think about it, what will happen when these things come together. Cryptocurrency, 3D printing, AI/ML, Robotics, satellite-internet & Solar-electricity. What do you need government for? Also how does government enforce regulation?

  18. Have you read the “Horn OK please” behind Indian truck & wondered what it means. Here are a few explanations, nobody knows how it actually came into being. Read the thread & wonder whether its Only-Kerosene or Ok-to-overtake or OK-detergent

  19. This is one methods by which an individual or organisation can organise its knowledge in a structural way. Read here about the PARA method. Projects - Area - Resources - Archives. One intersting way to look at is as keeping all stuff in ROM & what you are working on in RAM. Use hashtags along with this to make this extremely efficient.

  20. A nice way to present info & some neat case study on increasing retention for email subscriptions. See the presentation here on how Morning Brew’s newsletter retention.

  21. A wonderful example of product placement & marketing. How do you disrupt a matured market segment with the right kind of marketing. Also shows how important doing social-marketing right has become. Awesome!

  22. Companies around payments are just trying to find new avenues to both get users & monetise. SMBs are the target for all these companies. [Read here about instamojo buying get-me-a-shop]

  23. This thread is an interesting take on how WhatsApp Payments can evolve over time.

  24. The way Paytm is flexing its distribution muscle is just awesome. Come to think of it Google flexed its distribution muscle & displaced everybody else to come on the top as No. 1 in UPI payments, almost over night. Now this week Whats-App seems to have received the green signal for its integrated payment module. In this new world where acheiving distribution is both easy & difficult, there are no straight answers. Read about Paytm’s strategy on moving towards profitability. India is also moving towards superapps.

  25. The key debate between distribution vs Innovation. Read here the sad case of TiVo, where distribution trumped Innovation. Its apt to listen to this amazing talk & interview of Kunal Shah where he talks about the debate between Distribution-first or Profitability-first.

  26. Now what do you do when companies with wide distribution are unethical. Flintobox is fighting this battle for 4 years now, with no result. What’s the way out?

  27. Here is one more example. I sometimes really wonder what has happened to Apple culture when it comes to dealing with its developers.

  28. I think the answer is that if you can be the best-of-breed, do it yourself else just integrate them into yourself. Read about NoteJoy’s product design principles.

  29. This! defining your culture & make sure you execute it. Answer these 3 questions, Why we exist?, How we talk & How we act.

  30. Amazon’s 14 Leadership principles with examples.

  31. Hiring a developer is something that im grappling with. The lessons here can be used in other domains too. The framework is kind of universal, they key is understanding what are you looking for, rather than method of evaluation. [Read about here.]

  32. Age is not a barrier. Stop telling yourself that story if you feel you are not young enough & youngsters, stop discounting the elder folks. There is some level of understanding that comes only with time.

  33. The time is now! The eternity is not some time in future, its now! Eternity has nothing to do with time.

  34. I am noticing excellent UIs & UXs, way too much these days. See this cool scroll….

  35. Now see this futuristic UI. Its just droooollllllll…… [Click here]

  36. We are moving towards data-ism. Read here about US court legalizing website scraping & how websites are not allowed to develop technical roadblocks to stop it.

  37. We mostly operate in 2 modes. Makers & Managers. And how to manage both. A insightful post from Paul Graham.

  38. I really wish this was possible all across the world.

  39. The language you should be talking with investors. Talk numbers, that’s what interests them.

  40. Do you have a internal homepage for your organisation? What does that look like? Your team is as important as your customer.

  41. I came across this interesting message from a friend on WhatsApp. Are you somebody who’s customers are actually tech companies? Here’s you no-cost high-impact marketing strategy.

    Let me share a easy hack to reach developers and product managers.

    Both the profiles analyse web server logs daily

    1. Get a list of 1000 websites that you want to target

    2. Run a script that makes http requests to these sites daily, ex make 100 requests to their home page daily

    3. Change the user-agent field in the script to a message like "contact signoz.io for your testing needs"

    4. Webserver reports will display the msg as a new user-agent, this field is analysed regularly

    5. This is a easy way to get their attention without spending a paisa

    6. It works, I have used this technique long back


I wrote about naval’s post about success & playing the hardmode. Even if you got the mail mid-week, it would be worthy to revisit the page, as I have added some more prespectives to it.


I have been reading a book called “How will you measure your life” by Clayton Christensen. It’s an amazing must read book. Its teaching me amazing lessons for both life & business. I am down 50%, though I am not hitting my 1 Book per week target, I am happy that I am in the right direction. [Read the summary here, its updated with my this weeks learnings.]


I listened to this awesome podcast by Sarah Tavel a VC from Silicon Valley. Here are the notes.

  1. There are 2 types of investors who think about downside protection vs Growth, the philosphy difference between East-coast vs West-coast investors respectively, in US.
  2. Understand what kind of business are you & partner with investor of similar mindset. Also understand difference between if the VC/GP is interested in scaling themselves or the startup. Always try to partner with the later kind.
  3. In the seed round the bet is more the Founder. In the later rounds, the importance shifts towards data progressively.

Talks about her Hip-camp investment

In e-commercce finding supply at scale is one of the biggest challenges. There is a reason why that supply is not online & solve for that. Mostly in e-commerce once the supply is unlocked, the demand follows.

a. For the above, are people actually looking on internet for the solution? What are the Google search trends?

  1. It is important that the investor personally relates with the market / product / problem.

Does your solution becomes the catalyst for the market to expand & not just your company.

a. Probably the RV concept wont work in India so much coz the eastern societies are already pretty much connected to nature more than the western societies. RV helps you in going to places with no phone or internet connection, so might work for Mumbai, Bangalore, etc…

  1. Investing & partnering with a founder is like dating from the investors perspective. Saying no to proposal has the same effects as a breakup. Did you miss something great? *Who FOMO works in VC world.
  2. A lot of companies make value for the society but not the shareholders. VCs are interested in the equity value that can be created. The structure of the business & company should be accordingly.
  3. The highlight of the podcast for me - Steve Jobs used to have a executive meeting 4 hours a week & in the meet they discussed nothing about Apple but rather they discussed arbitary things like which is the most well designed city, Paris or HongKong or other, etc.. Have no agenda meetings!

One personal achievement for me this week has been getting the coding certification for Responsive Web Design development. God! How much I love learning & coding. Why did I stay away from this for so long. It is way more easier than you think. [Here is the certificate]

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