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Learnings In Life | Season 20-21 | Episode 1

Coming back to writing after a Year.

Balkrishna Agarwal 24 min read

Coming back after a year. One of the primary reasons for me to stay away was that I used to write this newsletter on Sundays & it used to take me anywhere between 4 - 6 hours to document it all, with no editing/proofreading whats-so-ever. It was becoming really taxing to do this.

Now I have taken up to update the list every day & just hit publish on Sundays. I hope to be able to do a better job this way, at least a more consistent one.

This one is going about listing the major things I learned in the last year…

On with the learnings…

  1. This is the first flower ever grown entirely in space.

  2. The big decisions of life, which shape us & our lives in irreversible ways. How do you identify them?

    What Makes Something a BIG Life Decision: - Dr. Adrian Camilleri

    They are rarely made (e.g. marriage)

    They involve much thinking

    Their outcome is uncertain

    They challenge our morals or values (e.g. abortion)

    There is a significant investment of resources (e.g. buying a house)

    They rule out many other options

    They impact multiple areas of life, and people

    They have many consequences

    They are difficult to undo

    Decision’s Don’t Stop: “It seems like most of my big life decision have already been made at 35, but I’m probably wrong and you are too if you are thinking the same thing” – Dr. Adrian Camilleri

  3. Looks like people are moving away from civilization. The world moved from an era of decentralization to centralization. Technology helped us in becoming centralized & now the same technology will help us on the way back.

  4. The global supply chain is really really stressed. A container which used to be transported at $2000 has now become $30,000 & still the delivery timelines are not known.

    See these green dots, these are ships anchored waiting for a space at port to unload their cargo.

    Multiple data points which show the same trend over & over again.

    The reason for multi-fold reason for this. The primary one being that 50% of cargo used to be transported by passenger airlines. With Air travel being in disarray, the ports, shipping companies, & whole chain is extremely stressed. There is an extreme shortage of containers. Supplies across the world are expected to be disrupted. How this plays out will be really interesting to watch.

    There is unverified news that the result of the above is that the factories in China have to run at half-capacity as they are not able to ship stuff with most of the empty containers lying in the USA.

    Shipping companies are paying crazy prices to just ship empty containers back to China. The pandemic has exposed us to all the weak points in our system, it remains to be seen what we learn from this.

  5. It looks like this crisis has lead to some pretty crazy shortages happening.

  6. Ever seen a Starbucks without coffee? These shortages are getting out of hand with every day.

  7. This is a really interesting story about the origins of Starbucks. A definite must-read thread.

  8. From Ever Given to Evergrande, this year it looks to be Evergreen :D

    Ever Given was the ship which blocked the Suez Canal & Evergrande could be the company that could lead to the undoing of the Chinese if not the World economy. Keep an eye out.

  9. Came across this interesting personality from the Indian Defense & Aviation sector. The more you read, the more you are in awe. Totally away from the limelight. Dr. Anantha Krishnan Muralidharan Nair

  10. Early adopters take away an unfair advantage. Seems like self-serve OTT platform advertising is the in thing of today. Need to explore.

  11. In this thread, Michael talks about what it takes to build a great brand.

  12. Here is Arindam Paul opening his books on what it takes to build a digital-first & omnichannel D2C brand.

  13. The best way to know & follow the future is to see what the gaming industry is doing. Coming to think of it, why can’t normal shopping be like in the games?

  14. India is full of talent, esp at the most unexpected places. Just love the musicality & control of this person. Top-notch 👌

  15. People are still moving to developed countries in droves. Though HongKong-ers do have quite a few many more reasons.

  16. Probabilistic thinking, that’s how the VCs win. As much as a VC investing in a startup is a validation to some extent but it’s overrated. It mostly means that there is a > 2% chance of the company becoming a unicorn.

  17. What is a company supposed to do when a key tech developer puts down their papers to resign? How many times can the company consider the replacement cost? Which includes searching, training & consulting costs. Esp in such frothy markets, how do companies survive?

  18. I just love Rex’s newsletter & wait for it every week. Here Rex again reviews the Digital Token economy for creators. Digital Tokens allow their fans to both support & invest in the creators they love.

    Digital Native
    Social Tokens and Creator-Centric Economies
    This is a weekly newsletter about how people and technology intersect. To receive this newsletter in your inbox each week, subscribe here…
    Read more
  19. Just love this reframing in an argument. Just ask “What proof would it take to change your mind?” Love it. Gonna use it often.

  20. People think Amazon killed “Barnes & Nobles”, here a redittor breaks down how it was already in the making. Is there another side to the story? Did B&N do a lot of stuff that is just not mentioned here? Blockbuster did try a lot of stuff against Netflix, just in the wrong direction though.

  21. Here is an interesting email trial where Apple considers firing their Marketing Agency. I have a very strong opinion that marketing has to be in-house. But Apple has done fantastically well with an external agency. What factors go into the selection of a good marketing agency?

  22. Given the demographic dividend of youngsters that India has presently, if used well this could really boost the country to great heights. But is this the last chance of probably this century?

  23. Tech & Internet are highly centralizing. The Pareto principle of 80-20 gets even more concentrated due to technology. Are these sellers dependant on the platform or is the platform dependant on these big sellers?

  24. Contracts in India are a joke! Why do governments have this indifference towards the power sector, esp when it’s the foundation of all growth in the economy.

  25. This is a great example of targeted marketing.

  26. A really great thread on how a startup team rallied & huddled together to find a way to breathe air into a dying company. Things work because you make them work.

  27. Move Aside Influencers, AI is taking over the job. CGI influencers are raking in record marketing deals 🤯

  28. Anybody a fan of Ready Player One. Well, this is what it looks like in real life. The real-life VR.

  29. This is what building a tech product looks like. Endless screens to make, approve & publish.

  30. The way Japan is thoughtful about everything is just out-of-the-world. Signing petitions in a circle is legendary. No status-seeking games.

  31. A16Z one of the oldest Venture Capital companies is reinventing itself. Read about it at https://www.drorpoleg.com/pulling-a-bezos/

    “what Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z) is doing. The firm is on a hiring spree, recruiting new partners and former government officials, writers, editors, and more. A16Z is no longer building a venture capital firm; it is building a new type of company with a thick management layer that helps support its multiple portfolio companies with marketing, legal, lobbying, and technical resources. It's no longer venture capital; it's a venture corporation.

    By doing more things, A16Z becomes dramatically more attractive and valuable to entrepreneurs, increasing the likelihood it won't miss out on the biggest winners.”

  32. This is what is creating assets out of expenses. First spend money & time to doing podcasts with industry leaders, which helps with marketing of the company, directly to the decision-makers & great content for perpetuity. Now converting them to NFTs with the guest being the owner. Even if one NFT of any of the guests blows up, will give immense marketing mileage to the company 👌

  33. Why does today’s news sound so lawyered? Why cant it be more regular?

  34. Governments & Regulators don’t know how to keep up with invention. Regulations or lack of them is what holds back most invention.

  35. Go get anything, you have to risk something. How do we make regulations invention friendly?

  36. What goes into creating a successful video or ad by a brand.

  37. Analyzing one more e-commerce brand.

  38. India makes all bank data accessible. The account aggregator framework would unlock multiple opportunities for fintech.

  39. Interesting opportunity for female founders to get both funding & support for their business.

  40. Convert trouble into opportunity.

  41. Sometimes VCs cant fund the startup not because they don’t like the idea or the founders but because the cap table is just impractical.

  42. Just seeing these videos makes me laugh. Tesla Shorts :D

Interesting Resources:

  1. This is an interesting Fellowship program called the “Code India Fellowship”. They pay youngsters to go and teach coding in the villages of India, focussing primarily on young girls. This is a superb initiative. If you are open to moving & interested in teaching coding, fill out their form here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfPvhoUHeHBl_UxZhn2kVurMNhdfYvG8KBUdl3GyXEvCEYh5A/viewform

  2. Highlight & take notes of the whole web. http://getliner.com/en

  3. Here’s an investor looking to invest.

  4. Some top CEO interviews. https://ceointerviews.softr.app/

  5. How to use Twitter to grow right.

Tech Resources:

  1. I am a big fan of freeCodeCamp.org. I learned web development thanks to FCC. Just came across this wonderful option, the biggest benefit of this program is that they meet every week & which fills a big void that FCC leaves. Should definitely give it a try. Learn Fullstack development from https://fullstackopen.com/en/.

  2. If you are looking for some advice on no-code tools, here is probably a good resource.

  3. Selecting the Tech-Stack for your next project? Here is a good summary for a fast choice. There can be more nuance for specific use-cases though.

  4. Interesting opportunity to join stripe.

  5. SendSimple is an email marketing tool. Worth looking into.

  6. Photoshop all image editing for free in the browser.

  7. 100+ outlets to launch & re-launch products at indiehackers.

  8. To get Google-Cloud & AWS credits, need to just open a bank account.

  9. AWS activate for startups. https://aws.amazon.com/activate/

  10. Get discounts on multiple digital tools. https://twitter.com/JoinSecret

  11. Free analytics for 2 years. https://segment.com/industry/startups/

Interesting Memes: