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Learnings in life - Year 2020 Week 43

My Learnings from life, key things, worth noting that I read this week.

Balkrishna Agarwal 19 min read

On with the learnings….

  1. An interesting photo collage of the transformation of a person from Male to Female. What technology can achieve today is really fascinating.

  1. In the era of the British Empire, Indians had to earn the right to even sit on a chair in front of Officers & Gentlemen. Looks like we indeed went through slavery. See these certificates issued at that time, there was a title called “Kursi Nashin”. There was a legal system for this.

  1. Functional knowledge in any domain is underrated. A template for reporting of content to be posted in SM.

  2. Some branding & marketing advice from a builder. (Functional knowledge)

    This is why the above is important. See the direction of the waves.

    “Aakrit Vaish (@aakrit) Tweeted:

    Commerce features are now live on the WhatsApp Business API.

    You can now browse a catalog, view product details, and add to cart all within WhatsApp.

    DM me or reach out to @haptik if you want to enable this for your business :)”

  3. Interesting approach towards marketing. Making no-code tools to generate interest & get a new user base. You never know, any of these no-code tools can really blow up.

    Done right the benefit to SEO would be really immense.

  4. How do brands make ads? How are D2C brands designing their ads?

  5. Again an ad breakdown. #FunctionalKnowledge

  6. Here’s some sensible advise (#FunctionalKnowledge) on how to scale your business & what it takes to educate your team.

  7. Reading this article, I got to know that Courts are dictating to banks & rating agencies if a company should be declared as NPA. This at the face value looks crazy, if dues are not paid they should be declared as NPA, whatever the reason.

  8. Why what Elon Musk is bloody difficult. Even Google is struggling with it. Internal Emails from Google.

  9. Builders are the ones who bring the vision of the future into the present. There are many variables that need to be handled alongside. & yes they don’t always get it right. It’s not about knowing all the right answers, it’s about finding the answers.

  10. Talking to users is going to get you only that far. User reviews will give you incremental increases, it’s the vision that will take you to the next orbit. & I would again say the same thing, leaders don’t always get it right but then it was never about that. Signup for the journey, not the destination.

  11. What a reframing of the situation & putting it in the right perspective. We should question why are the tax laws so insane so as to discourage builders?

  12. After reading this newsletter, I have to watch “Squid Game”. & I remember seeing somewhere today that Squid Game costume was the most searched item on Amazon a while back. Crazy!

    Digital Native
    Squid Game and the Consumer Fintech Renaissance
    This is a weekly newsletter about how people and technology intersect. To receive this newsletter in your inbox each week, subscribe here…
    Read more
  13. Just to build the market & make it liquid enough comes with costs attached. A Billion-Dollar liquidity event compresses the prices by about 60%. Crazy! This is about the crypto market, read more here.

  14. Heres more news from the crypto world to think about. Crypto is about disrupting money not about creating new Financial Instruments of ruin. Read this Bloomberg article.

  15. Terrorist is a political word? What is the definition of terrorism? Why is the definition of terrorism different in different countries? Some gut-punching questions in this interview.

  16. We have to make sure that the size of the cake increases. If that happens then everybody’s pie share automatically increases. India has to focus on increasing its per-capita income.

  17. When you make the customer feel that he is getting a deal is when it creates immediate reaction.

    See this interesting phenomenon of people.

  18. Social Media is getting highly toxic. This will only move people away from this awesome tool.

  19. Internal hackathons are great tools to greenlight moonshot projects & separating the best from the rest.

  20. Making buying friction free with headless checkout.

  21. I wrote about how the Logistics industry is stressed presently. The stress from the stopping of aviation sector was passed to the shipping industry, which is now stressing the trucking industry.

    Trucking prices in US seem to have shot & become double. How much time before all of this starts showing in retail products around us as inflation?

    We also read about ongoing energy crisis in UK last week. Now there is a coal crisis happening in India. How much of this is lack of demand forecasting & how much of this is factors such as logistics?

  22. Wow! Who is in for a day of gazing stars, lets rent a historical telescope. :)

Interesting Resources

  1. A Social Media between brands & Journalists & Media at large for any PR opportunity. - theprloop.com

  2. A tool to build a website by drawing. Haven’t tried it but sounds interesting.

  3. A no-code tool. Seems to be focused on tool building for the internal systems in companies. This is the sector of no-code which interests me the most. https://www.plasmic.app/

Dev-Tech Resources:

  1. An open-source alternative to Firebase.

    “Check out Supabase on Twitter.

    Open Source Firebase alternative.

    GitHub 👉 https://t.co/C8vH8HxUJW

    Support 👉 https://t.co/C8vH8HxUJW

    Discord 👉 https://t.co/ikFm89oi6a https://twitter.com/supabase?s=20”

From the Book - Who is Michael Ovitz

I am reading a book called “Who is Michael Ovitz”. Michael has been a very instrumental part in making Hollywood what it is today. He founded the biggest Talent Management Agency of his time. His life story is really inspiring & he really opens up in the book about how he grew up & his learnings.

Some experts that I have highlighted.

  1. “I taught our agents to reach for the club every day, but to never - or almost never - pick it up. Power is only power until you exert it. It’s all perception.”

  2. “I was so soft-spoken I made people inch their chairs closer.” - Classic power move 👌

  3. “No conflict, no interest.”

  4. “Nothing in Hollywood is anything until it is something, and the only way to make it something is with a profound display of belief.” - Replace Hollywood with anything in life.

  5. “You are getting paid, and that’s your thank-you.” - My dad thought me this, real early in life :)

  6. “"Make your clients think they’re your friends - but remember that they’re not." Yet it would be my clients who’d stay loyal, for the most part, and my friends who’d betray me.”

  7. “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first give a gift.”

  8. Michael seems to have inspired a role in a movie called “The Late Shift”. I Couldn’t find it online, if you do, please let me know.

  9. “You can be better than your father.” - Is it a curse, a wish, or a blessing?

  10. “I was always fascinated by what was coming next.” - Stay on beat with the times.

  11. Errol Flynn western said, "You’re either with me or against me" - Michael’s understanding of this, “You’re totally in or totally out”. - One can’t ride 2 boats in life.

  12. “I had no constituency. I needed to expand my relationships…

    That was my first lesson in the business: who you know matters.” - Invest in your network

  13. “I personalized the battle - and won easily. Each victory made winning more addictive.” - Multiple leaders have used this strategy to motivate the crew.

  14. “If you want to be treated like a king, you have to act like one.”

  15. “… who has done something that can be criticized than one who has done nothing and can’t be criticized.”

  16. “The other guides worked from nine to six, but I came in at seven each morning and stayed until nine at night.”

  17. “… the way glorious films blossom out of an intricate mesh of mundane practicalities, enthralls me still.”

  18. “I’d absorbed a basic rule for success: love what you do.”

  19. “… do your homework, never leave without returning every phone call.”

  20. “… he’d sweep papers left on people’s desk into the wastebasket at the end of the day. His credo was "Messy desk, messy mind."“

  21. “"… And you tweaking Al Dorskind is going to play really well up the ladder." It was true. My bosses were delighted that some college kid has shaken MCA’s tree.” - Never fear confrontation or a head-to-head fight. Bring it on!

  22. When Ovitz had to spend more than he was making, working in mailroom, learning the ropes, his wife said….

    “You’re investing in your life.”

  23. “You have no gamble in you. Sometimes you have to step up and roll the dice.”

    Though here Ovitz talks about importance of taking risks & believing in one-self. Here’s the same thing in an Engineers language.

    Heres the same thing with some artistic touch & with Sir Abdul Kalam bought in to deliver the idea :D

  24. “That day day forged our siege mentality. To defend our tiny position, we unleashed hell on anyone who crossed us.

    One of the strongest bonds Ron and I shared was a belief that any betrayal must be avenged

    Kaplan’s letter taught us to play hardball, and hardball we would play for the next twenty years.”

    With the club example & all through the book you realise that Ovitz was a master at managing perceptions. Hollywood are all about perceptions but looks like perception management is important part of branding & life in general.

  25. There is something I recently realised, you don’t need their permission to work for them. Ovitz was practicising it ages before

    “We’d poach by assumption: behave as if we were the client’s agent already, make their dream happen, and then they’d sign.”

  26. Ovitz used Anchoring bias - “Ron and I developed an effective one-two punch.” but also almost never negotiated in the price for his artists, but still make them feel heared… “buyers always felt better because they’d been listened to.”

  27. “Ted himself stepped down from Warner Bros, at a relatively young age, in his late fifties, and when I saw him a few years later, I was stunned by how listless he seemed.”

  28. “Instead of feeling threatened or offended, he found my ambition refreshing - the sign of a true leader.”

  29. “And indeed when he spoke with the others, they took the obvious point that I had clearly become the firm’s leader.” - Prove yourself, focus on making the cake large enough.

  30. “To really be his blood brother, I should have behaved as his agent.” - You keep your teams interest above yours.

  31. “Every desk phone at CAA bore the message COMMUNICATE.

    It was our version of IBM’s famous imperative to THINK.”

    What is that one word my company would live & breather by. The first commandment. & mind it, it has to be a verb. It should initiate action.

  32. “Never bad-mouth the competition.

    We built our company around positive thinking.”

  33. “We killed ourselves to take everyone’s point of view in meetings, to make everyone feel empowered.

    Ron and I would park our cars in the number one and number two spots and leave them there when we walked to business dinners, before coming back to retrieve them.

    The lack of hierarchy was a myth, of course, a management tool.”

    We were democratic dictators.

    In truth, though, the Chinese general was always a bit of a prop. It wasn’t so much what he said that inspired CAA, as the idea that we, a five-year-old company, were adhering to a philosophy from 2,500 years earlier. It gave us instant roots.”

    #TeamMotivation #PerceptionManagement

  34. “momentum was everything - once a company relaxed, it was done for.” - I agree to this commandment more than anything else.

  35. “I was obsessed with the Spartan phalanx, the idea that you were only as strong as the colleague on your left.” - Thinking in the partner model & investing in your colleague.

  36. “I viewed our people as my children, and for the first ten years I’d call every employee who didn’t show up at work to make sure they were okay and to see if they needed anything, from chicken soup to a good divorce lawyer. I did it out of concern, but I also wanted them to know I was keeping a watchful eye. Our idea was to make everyone feel that our building was comfort zone - and to balance that with a little anxiety should they step outside the building. We wanted the “Don’t cross those guys!” message to be as obvious as flashing sign at the border.” #PerceptionManagement

  37. “Ron and Bill and I began by handling studio executives’ own employment contracts, as we’d long done for TV execs. We took no fees for this; we were after something more valuable - an inside track.”

  38. “In the preemail era, when people were flooded by phone messages, which calls did they return first? CAA’s on the change they might learn something useful.

    Soon we represented so many executives that we could see the entire chessboard. The instant we sensed someone was unhappy we’d be thinking about where to move them, and whom to move into their place. We knew about openings before the executives themselves did.”

    Do you see the entire chessboard of your industry / sector? What is that advantage that lets you have such level of insight?

  39. “I enjoyed seeming all-knowing, the great Oz, but the real point was to signal our agents that we were working at a level above their heads.”

  40. “The weakest link broke the chain; being human and fallible broke the chain. It was a tough business - Freddie Fields and the producer Ray Stark were tough sons of bitches, and you had to be just as tough.”

    A lot of what’s in the book clashes with the thought of abundance but it might have been right for thse times. Its interesting & insightful to understand an alternative perspective.


    Thats it for the week friends. Hasta la vista!