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Learnings in life - Year 2020 Week 36

Balkrishna Agarwal 61 min read

Yes I missed publishing it for 2 weeks, but now I am doing this today. This is a relly long one though.

The latest news from my side is that we realeased the first-look teaser video for UNMASK - India’s first transparent mask. Do have a look & let me know what you think.

& yes, do follow us on instagram.com/unmaskyoursmile.in

On with the learnings….

  1. See that reaction! It is from a series called connected in Netflix. Have to watch it just for that reaction.

    Now see that reaction in kids. We are all kids at heart. Kids bring so much joy into our lives. Just their reactions all the new things they experience is breath-taking. What I would pay for such innocence. This! This is what art does. It fills you from within.

  2. Cloudflare service went down during in selected locations an international tournament, which lead to 2 Indians losing important matches. How do you prepare, control & handle such issues? There is definitely a cloudflare issue but shouldn’t chess.com have backups? & what if both the backups use the same underlying infra? How deep can you plan for?

  3. We often wonder when selecting a candidate or practically anything in this world, if we have chosen right. Often the problem starts with setting of expectations in terms of quality, services, costs, etc…. Here is a scientific solution to this problem.

    The solution is ~37%. Spend 37% of time to set the baseline & then select the first one that crosses this baseline.

    Is this over engineering?

    The way I would tackle this is that I won’t necessarily reject everybody in the initial 37% but once that threshold is crossed, I would realign my expectations to check if they are too high.

  4. Came across this nice hack to check who is using automated messages on LinkedIn. Just start your name with an emoji.

    Even more interesting is this. Start your name with a function call & see what is getting blown :D. Now I understand how hackers breakin…

  5. People are building 3D worlds. Many letters earlier I remember somebody made a really awesome library with all books in the world. I am really amazed at whats happening in different silos of the world that most people aren’t aware of. The day VR tech becomes practical (this Ready Player One), minecraft will really explode.

    See this video of so realistic 3D world & see the number of subscribers to it. Mind blown! If we are here already, where would we be in 10 years??? & how far are we from creating a perfect simulation?

    Now see this. This is how kids learn so much stuff. What I & my friends learnt from Age-of-Empires & Caesar kind of games, I think Minecraft is replacing that.

    See this, here the guy accidentally fires his whole place.

  6. Now see this digital toy experience. There are so many practical use cases for this. Think how fast the world is progressing & just wonder what happens when all these pieces come together.

  7. One end is the 3D world, on other is people wanting Audio to really blow up. Though distribution mediums for Audio are changing, what has really changed from tech/product point of view? Here is Hemant talking about Audio being the next big thing.

  8. Top 25 media franchises of all time. Damn! I know nothing about most of them. I don’t relate to most of it. Make me wonder how limited my world view is.

  9. So micro-tuning/optimising of body is definitely a thing of future. There are already signs in people going for Plastic-surgery-enhancement & Lipid-suction, etc… Athletes, Actors & probably top influential people already do this. How long before this trickles down? And how long before be become a cyborg?

  10. One thing I have almost no idea of is the Passion economy. And it has so many niches that I don’t think anybody can sanely follow this.

    Here take a peak into a day of Sam Parr, a modern world influencer/porn-star? It’s crazy the way this happening.

    Its really amazing how OnlyFans created a niche out of a over-crowded industry.

    On the other hand is Danish Sait, who has created a market for himself with simple videos & amazing creativity.

  11. Entrepreneurs, do this. Have a buddy with whom you can discuss anything & everything. It doesn’t have to lonely.

    It is difficult for other people to understand this journey, so get another entrepreneur buddy.

  12. There is a period of SLOG in every high achievers life, not just a startup. Its not flashy & glamorous. You have to live through it. A nice thread on what all happens at a startup, read-on to know how those super-star founders got there.

  13. This nice blog by Naman Sarawgi on in.com’s traffic. What a simple insight & your click through rates go through the roof. What are such insights today, hiding in plain sight?

    Also this thread on how he moved from one thing to another, almost all in the field of freelancing & how writing has opened many gates for him. Absolute gold-mine I say.

  14. A wonderful story by Andrew Wilkinson on how he built a local community by giving people local news as a newsletter. Capial Daily is today bigger than The Times Colonist, a 100year old brand. What are the obvious cues in todays world that we are missing?

  15. So this lady taught tech to a aged person in her society & got paid for it. This is so crazy? Do we see a million dollar idea in here?

  16. Here is Paras Chopra on how to get great ideas. He has a simple hack. “Look for anamolies”

  17. Here is Naman Sarawgi talking about triggers for using products. Are they internal / external. This is really good insight because this would determine your positioning & marketing strategy.

    Also some products, which are habit forming just need to Slog for really long to build a new habit. Also what other natural activity can you link your product to?

  18. One of the ways Pepsodent cracked this is by asking people to run their tongue across their teeths & feel the layer there. This simple trick along with asking people to brush everyday in morning created a new product category.

  19. Do we need retail stores anymore?

    Have a moving shop, which doubles up as office. Great locations for awesome pictures & kill it on instagram.

  20. The idea of building publicly is really great. This has given rise to a new kind of passion-economy. Here’s Jack from Visualise Value talking about Social Capital & how it works. May seem really basic, but this is how it works.

  21. What are the type of online-communities growing?

  22. Note-taking is important. Note-taking is like gardening. If you want to learn effective note-taking, here is a thread on people who teach it. Also do visit Saurabh Garg’s blog on the subject.

  23. Seriously! College education is way over-rated. It worked in a age, but not anymore. Invest in books, self-education & side-hustles.

  24. Time is the most essential commodity, but its your own time. Others time is kind of non-value to you. Whatever you do, don’t sell your time to people. Sell them something which is much more.

    When doing user surverys, don’t ask what’s their pain-point, people do a very bad job at answering this. Rather obsereve where do they spend most of their time!

  25. Here is Jack explaining the same thing as leveraged man vs non-leveraged man. Humans are tool-builders & if you build tools on & for the internet, your leverage & social-capital increase immensely.

  26. How can you gain more leverage? How about taking up projects you have already completed 80%? Here is David Perell explaining how he uses the Articles already written & his note-taking system to Research better, Think better & ofcourse Write better. This is how you become a powerhouse of knowledge.

  27. Jobs App for blue collar workers. I have known about this app for almost a year now but I didn’t understand the importance of this then. Such a brilliant idea (in hindsight for me.) Also how they stumbled on PMF is a story in itself. Read about Apna app getting funding here.

  28. Any task you do Google Docs is worth a $100M business. Here is one example. Also the idea of WhatsApp-pay got life when the WhatsApp people found that people are sharing screenshots of payments done over WhatsApp. Also mostly the reason that Google-pay has a chat based interface.

    So hit me up what (repetitive)-task you do on Google Docs & let’s see if it can automated.

  29. The way we say that everbody lives in his own hell. The most difficult thing is what you don’t know how to do efficiently.

    But ya once you have acheived PMF, building gets really difficult. Probably choosing what to build & what not to build is what gets you once you reach PMF?

    Twitter avatar for @ku1deepKuldeep @ku1deep
    Selling.is.easy. 🙂 it is the building that gets you.

    Pratiksha Dake @PratikshaDake

    Building is easy. Selling is hard.
  30. “Dukaan” app which helps in cataloging & receiving orders recently got funding. Apparently its DAU’s are at ~4% of its total downloads. An app like this should have a high DAU. I am also trying to solve a similar problem, so this really hurts. what would PMF look like?

  31. At the same time the trend of offline businesses going online is also catching pace. Is this one-off or going to stick? Here is Refrens app talking about how offline businesses are increasingly looking for services in the online world.

  32. Here is founder of outdocart saying the trend is temporary.

    A few weeks back I had posted some DAU figures for Dukaan app. The figures shared by the founder here paint a different story.

  33. Harvesting farmer network has developed an app to connect farmers with buyers but still highly dependent on WhatsApp. India runs on WhatsApp.

  34. E-commerce is really flying in Indonesia. Makes me wonder whats different between both the countries for such a stark difference?

    India already is ahead of India in volume of transactions via e-commerce.

  35. So India’s GDP on a annualised basis is supposed to shrink 24%. Now this figure is wrong, as it doesn’t take into account the growth since lockdown. Also the below tweet is wrong as apparently the way of measurement for each country varies considerably.

    GST collections haven’t taken a big hit & I am increasingly getting cues that things would be back to normal way before than anybody envisaged.

  36. I came a wonderful story of Instagram, where it had to copy feature from SnapChat because the standard set by instagram was too high & it was staring into possible oblivion. The founder tried to ward off for really long, as long as possible. This probably started a culture where instagram started copying features from others. Today instagram seems directionless… This story is part of the book “no filter” by Sarah Frier.

  37. This is excellent rephrasing of a standard problem. You got to watch this.

  38. If Elon Musk can do cold outreach, anybody can. You too. Go write that email/tweet you have always wanted to.

  39. Now this is what great story telling looks like. Read this thread for a laugh.

  40. Here is Pradeep talking about finding Rust on Moon. Is this great news?

  41. The reason Zoom rules the market in video conferencing? Its the founders obsession towards customer experience. Here is the founder getting in touch with a unhappy customer.

  42. Crazy how businesses try to dupe us. The digital pregnancy tests actually are just normal pregnancy strips with a battery. Read this thread to find how crazy it is.

    Then see Foone playing game on the same test device :)

  43. A nice essay by Paul Graham on how life is Short & so you just cut all the Bull Shit from your life.

  44. This is how you nail a job offer. Show real interest in the company, add value. The best founders are looking out for such people. They would do anything to get you onboard.

  45. What a ride Bounce has been on. Here is a small thread from the founder himself on how they got here. Persistence!

    From Wicked Ride to MetroBikes to Bounce. If you stay at a problem long enough & keep experimenting, you will hit Gold.

  46. Read this is to understand why coding is so damn difficult & why it is important to keep upgrading the code. This developer went to change a small thing in their hobby project which was running fine, but things kept breaking at many levels as the world had moved on since 2009 & lot of technologies had been deprecated or were unsupported. By the time the developer resolved all the issues & got the app to function, he had forgotten the purpose of it. Its a must read!

  47. The above is true not just for software but also life in general. The world keeps marching at its own pace, the ones who don’t keep up are left behind.

    One of the reasons that the best jobs/work are going to remain outside the purview of established institutions & college degrees. The institutions by their very nature & structure can’t/aren’t nimble enough.

  48. This is the thing, I want to become Rich not because it means money but because it means freedom. What’s written in this tweet is true for all the genders. In my opinion Girls have it easy coz they probably have a way-out in the name of Shaadi. The guys become un-marriageable material if they are not earning.

  49. See this tweet where a lady threatens to file false cases against Bank officials who have come to recover a loan. What makes a society be ok with this? Where is the fundamental flaw to this?

  50. Wonderful projects. These structures move on their own like animals with just the wind. Awesome!

  51. Raising money is not as important as what you do with that money.

  52. There was a time when I used to think that Simplicity for the sake it is stupidity. Now I understand, Simplicity for the sake of it, is Genius!

  53. Best advise for starups. Be honest. Be extraordinary. Be fast.

  54. Business Values of Nike.

    We are on the offense. All the time.

    Dangers - Knowing your Weakness.

    If we do the right things, we’ll make money damn automatic.

  55. This is really interesting. Getting kids to make presentations for goodies they want. This is an excellent skill building, communication & persuasion learning exercise. I don’t know if I would follow this, would take fun out & make it more professional?

  56. So Google says running was invented in 1612. Well the computer has never went for a walk in the park, its just a proficient data skimming machine. Junk input = Junk output. Thinking about it, aren’t humans the same?

  57. This is something that would change you for ever. Just make $1 off internet. It’s that simple.

  58. This is a real cool product for kids, specially who are working on papers in a zoom class. This is quite a bit cumbersome due to the keyboard. How do we make it universal & friendly all-around.

  59. Humans are not rational beings. They are emotional beings. What kills us is not necessarily the news which sells. Its about which is more graphic & dramatic.

    Everybody is looking for some drama.

  60. How old are you? Have you ever dialled a phone number to find out the time?

  61. So basically levitation is possible at the right frequency. See this article where these scientists levitate a boat :)

  62. Here is a GPT3 created faces from just an explanation.

  63. Probably your next side-project is going to be an idea from GPT3. GPT3 is the new sounding board.

  64. Crazy trend going on Tamil Nadu where they wear T-shirts saying “Hindi Teriyadu, Poda!” (Don’t know Hindi, Go away!) & apparently these have been distributed by DMK political party also.

    One of the reasons we moved out of TamilNadu. To see this is really hurting.

  65. Isn’t it crazy the way opensource is revolutionising creating stuff with 3D printing. I am planning on installing a 3D printing in Home, if you know about them, would love to talk.

    See how 3D printing has developed. Isn’t it crazy what collective curiosity of people can achieve.

  66. The way Bobby Deol has brought himself back is just amazing. Hats off to this guy.

  67. Here is Visa’s advise on how to reach 10k followers on twitter.

  68. Amazing tools available today for growth of kids. Here is a tool to teach Logic Building to kids.

    Twitter avatar for @championswimmerArnav Gupta @championswimmer
    @cnha
    youtube.com/c/CodingBlocks… No Bill Gates ads, no bullshit. Isn't too serious either - we recommend taking it like a hobby rather than performance-monitored courseware. Check out the Python series. Logic building is what the focus is on.Coding Blocks JuniorThe basic understanding of growth begins with a fine ability to think logically. Coding is fundamental in sharpening logical reasoning and think creatively. ...youtube.com
  69. This amazing story of how a doctor connects with a cobbler, saying both are in the craft of stitching. Hats off.

  70. Amazing people from all over the world have helped me in countless ways. Pay it forward.

  71. Tiktok makes sure to get 100views to every video. Thats their minimum engagement level to properly tag the video & get early engagement metrics. Awesome hack!

    Use technology as a leveller.

  72. Mindblowing answers to this question of hacking non-technical systems in the real word.

    The best of which is this person travelling to Europe five times in a period of ten months. All by finding a way to win scholarships by writing essays. Beyond awesome!

  73. The above story is from Abhishek Nayak & here he writes about how he cold-emailed the founder of RedBus, sold him an Idea & started on a wonderful journey.

  74. Lets have a society like Star Trek. I am so happy someone is working in that direction.

  75. Think about this & tell. Are billionaires really bad?

  76. Amazing story of how a military veteran became a software developer. All you need is some good friends & freeCodeCamp.org

  77. I wish somebody had explained this to me. Growth is never linear. All learning will have times of Peak & Troughs.

  78. The way the government is trying to widen tax net is completely not done. The first thing that govt needs to do is tax Agriculture above a threshold but in vote bank politics we know thats not going to happen.

  79. The best investments happen, when they invest in people. Not on the business & idea. Read this memo by bvp on the same.

    I can only recollect the passionate dialogue in “Rocket Singh” movie, where he says. Business is just people & main jahan dekhoon wahan log dikhte hain, bahut complicated nahi hai.

  80. Logo designing & Branding is a breath-taking world of its own. Here is where the Tesla logo is inspired from.

  81. A different prespective. There is no recession in hotel rooms selling at 76,000/- per night. There are segments where price doesn’t matter. A wonderful startup completely hidden from the regular world. These solutions come from working at a problem really long & tinkering around with it until it breaks & reveals the Pot of Gold.

  82. Wonderful post for Ankur on what is the right approach towards starting a startup.

    The idea is simple. Get market validation & crack the marketing first.

  83. Its not just about consuming as much as possible.

    Deeper words have never been said.

  84. I just had a mind-blowing idea for unmaskyoursmile.in yesterday. Is this where it was subconciously inspired from?

    Humans love their own face.

  85. The cost of not setting a culture which takes its deadlines seriously could be too great to measure. People should be self driven & work without followup.

  86. New times have new problems. How do you get a economical version of a HDMI camera connector?

  87. A story from Mahabaleshwar about Mapro Foods & how they use their Mapro Park, a tourist park for effective branding & new taste testing. Indigenous I say. The solutions are often simpler than we think.

  88. This pandemic has put fire under Time. Its forcing people to think new ways & device new solutions. The learning/teaching is already seeing a lot of tinkering & many different models are coming out.

  89. If your household income is more than Rs. 1 lakh per month, you are in the top 1% of the country. Understand your privilege.

  90. A text message or email can never convey the energy & emotions the way they are meant to be. Even phone calls or video calls fall short for the same matter. Distance leads to differences.

  91. Facebook is giving away a grant of 68k cash & 32k in ad-credits to help small businesses tackle the problems of pandemic. All you need a GST & PAN number to be eligible. Enroll yourself for the program here.

  92. The marketing of the brand @fast is on point. Need to learn from this guys on creating hype & investing in customer success as a strategy.

  93. Is this the future of AR/VR with real life experience. I can already see this as a hit for the vlogger & onlyfans kind of community.


Specially for the tech world…

  1. Genius UX is often simple. Painting a safe area in contextual menus is great idea. We have all faced problems with this.

  2. See what goes into designing a simple Date input user-experience. Every user should read this short piece to understand how difficult this job is.

  3. Here is a good system to design the UX for your website & wireframe it.

  4. HTML can do great things. Here is a simple thread on various capabilities of HTML, in no way exhaustive.

  5. What is HTML without CSS? Here is some nice explanation on what various attributes of the ‘position’ property do. Read it here in this blog.

  6. If you have wanted to remove background from your photos & create png’s for the same. Here is a nice tool for that.

  7. Keep searching random words on google for inspiration for your next creative project? Here is INSPO which is attempting to solve this. It would be really wonderful if they can solve this, I just hope they don’t become just another tool everyone ignores. Read about INSPO here.

    Reading the above article I also came to know about HAIKUJAM.

    HaikuJAM is a creative writing app that lets you ‘jam’ with other writers around the world. You write a line and other writers will complete it to create a three line poem. Today, HaikuJAM is used by over 1 million creators from 144 countries who have collectively published over 100 million lines, with 1 line being published every second in the app. There are over 10 million unique associations in the corpus, and this grows at over 12,000 new associations per day.

  8. Learn some trick photography here to make awesome pictures & Social Media posts.

  9. This is interesting, don’t sort books based on average ratings. Sort them based on % of people rating it 5 or 4, etc…. Also are the ratings consistent?

  10. Here is a WhatsApp based fundraising Bootcamp. Go signup for this if you need some help with this.

  11. Scholarship program from VisualizeValue. Go for it guys or refer if you know somebody.

  12. Intro helps companies find an alternative source of capital which is non-dilutive. Check this out if you want that.

  13. Why don’t they teach this when learning to code!!! This is a life saver.

    When "console-logging" several variables, you can wrap them in curly brackets to better see which value belongs to which variable.

    There is also console.table Wow!

  14. Create AI generated compelling Ad copy at taglines.ai

  15. The Collab Lab is a awesome concept that helps early developers in learning to work in teams & network. Their new cohort is starting, apply here.

  16. Remember we talked about people hacking the Name field in LinkedIn to include functions, emojis etc… The best way to make sure your code is not breakable by such instances is to have validations in place. Read here about various validations in node.js

  17. I always wondered why images are in SVG, what is the use of it. I am amazed at what all is possible with SVG.

    Now that you want to learn it. Here is where you can start.

  18. Amazing way to make animated Indian flag.

  19. Apparently Google has started tracking page length change, which mostly happens due to images not getting loaded properly. Here is a great thread on how to upload the images properly in a webpage.

  20. Ever searched for pngs? Here is the easiest way to know which image is a png & which is not.

  21. Every searched for a png online? Here is the easiest way to know which image is png & which is not.

    By the way remove.bg, removes background from images to make a png.

  22. If you are looking for a tool to make podcasts easily. Spext App could be it.

  23. Some of the best free tools for writing, Social-Media, etc…

  24. A nice tool to generate css code for neumorphic buttons.

  25. Use relative units to keep your webpage inherently responsive.

  26. Kawa space is opening up its platform of Space data for people to play with. This is really exciting, wish I could takeup on this.


The biggest news so far. Signs of life discovered on Venus. Now a really amazing journey begins.

Twitter avatar for @paraschopraParas Chopra @paraschopra
Signs of life discovered on Venus' atmosphere. Scientists will be announcing it today! You can read more here:
archive.is/L7MT1 Super stoked about potentially having planetary neighbours :) https://t.co/HdqWNcTyAd

AAS Press Office @AAS_Press

RAS: Media Invited to Discuss Groundbreaking Astronomy Result on September 14 https://t.co/5u8FEdN6cy