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Learnings in life - Year 2020 Week 17

Balkrishna Agarwal 23 min read

There is no preamble this week, this week was pretty busy with household chores…

On with the learnings…

  1. Times change & with them do the challenges. What will be the major challenge henceforth?

  2. One thing doesn’t change I guess. The most difficult thing is to get the first 100 users who love your product. Here is a really good story of how a Garment Brand for teens did it in the US with a subscription kind of business model. Read it here.

  3. Elevators became mainstream when the founders gave a brave demonstration to the people who matter & this has lead to the world of skyscrapers. Wow!

  4. Doing = Learning. have bias for action.

  5. Here is a excellent blog by Manas Saloi on why he has not started his own startup. This is a great mental excercise one should follow before taking the plunge.

  6. This is something really worried about, people already think that the planet is reviving or has revived. This shouldn’t become an argument for the future that all it took is 2 months for planet to revive, so its all good. Esp when we are dumping so many masks, PPE & chemicals in the name of fighting off this virus.

  7. The most dangerous thing that a company doing well can do is to become disconnected with the workforce & look for homogeneity for easier management. Whats the goal? Easier management or being at top of the game?

  8. Just what we read above in different words. Hiring right is the most important job of the founder.

  9. A article on visual story on how startups are tackling the COVID-19 situation. What do they value more & how are they communicating it for various countries, sectors & companies.

  10. Just do it!

  11. Learn about this black hole, a quasar which would eat mass equal to 2 earths every second. This is from a time after the universe was born.

  12. Are you still in the business of making predictions or believing/asking for them? Are you still into horoscopes? And if anybodys argument is that this is a Blackswan event, then whats the point of predictions if they cant help us prepare for this. Also this is not exactly Blackswan, quite a few books, thinkers & movies have talked about such a scenario.

    So if somebody says they know how this is going to playout & what the world will look like 6 months from now, understand that its just one of their guesses.

  13. Japan is a country everybody who visits, appreciates & even loves, not only refers. In these days of lockdown a beautiful thread on whats special about Japan.

  14. This a comedy style I totally love. I had a hearty laugh after a long time. Watch the Kanpuria Joke here.

  15. Fornite tried to ward off from Google Play store for really long but looks like they have been cornered. The thing is that the reasons & explanations of both side are valid & its hard to choose who is right & wrong. Here is the statement from Team-Fortnite, as they list on PlayStore.

  16. Seriously! What have we come down to! Booze is being thrown in the gutter. I agree with Professors recommendation to increase lockdown complaince ;)

  17. Govt & to some extent, even media has lost its credibility. In the age of information looks like nothing has changed from the past.

  18. An awesome post on NN Taleb on the topic of ‘Intellectual Yet Idiot’. Largely speaking these are people who don’t really understand diversity & the complex nature of incentives & consequences.

  19. Now see this. The babus in the Indian govt want to penalise the factory owners for opening factories by filing a FIR on them if any worker in their factory is infected with COVID-19.

  20. Olympian training at home. This is the stuff legends are made of

  21. This is a solid thought process. Build conviction & then act. Don’t waiver. Do don’t just talk.

  22. So this youtuber tried meditating for 1 hour every day for 30 days & recorded his journey here. You need to watch this if you are not on the meditation bandwagon.

  23. If you want to build a software or an app, here is a really good post for the things that you need to consider or probably discuss with your tech team.

  24. Here is a awesome video on what kind of effort goes into designing the front-end & hence UX/UI of an application.

  25. What transpired at Cox & Kings - India? Why did it go bankrupt? Looks like there is lot of foul play involved.

  26. Here’s part 2 of the Cox & Kings debacle.

  27. When we are on the subject of corporate frauds, lets look into one more. This one is about BR Shetty, who has received some of the most coveted awards in both Abu Dhabi & India.

  28. Funny way of Tirupur police to enforce lockdown. Police has become content creator to enforce lockdown.

  29. This week a did a small session on ‘Basics of Trend Identification & Investing’ for a few friends. Here is an excellent thread on similar topic which would help immensely in figuring out what sectors to invest & which to avoid.

  30. Ankit Arora on learnings from his failure at raising a VC fund. Looks like having a co-founder is as important there too. There’s a lot to learn from failures. I wish more people came out with such open heart blogs.

  31. A story about how a person was refused testing even when they showed clear symptoms of COVID-19. Read the thread. Also it seems for good customer service either from companies or govt. one needs to be on twitter, thats how they listen.

  32. Ahmedabad is at the forefront in the number of people being tested. Ahmedabad probably has the most number of asymptomatic cases, because they are testing.

  33. Response of India has been great when tackling with COVID-19 than many developed nations. We need to give credit where due.

  34. What do relationships & connection look like in the world of lockdown.


This section is about the effects of the epidemic. This portion is mostly sad but helps in forming the worldview. There’s something positive in the end.

  1. This is the sad section.

    Go Airlines has asked almost 90% of workforce to go on leave without pay.

  2. Swiggy laying-off people in hundreds. closing 100s of cloud kitchens.

  3. A startup called Udaan, the fastest unicorn of India has also begun mass layoffs & employees have taken onto twitter to protest.

  4. Alphabet/Google retreats on its Real Estate deals. Remote working is here to stay.

  5. If Google is cutting marketing budgets & implementing hiring freeze, I guess it doesn’t get worse than this.

  6. TCS plans to permanently go on Work-from-home model for 75% of its workforce.

  7. So crude-oil traded at negative prices for the first time in history. People basically paid money so that you take the oil barrels off their hands.

  8. Ofcourse the above is weird in itself but what could this lead to. What can we learn from history? Will exchanges cancel trades & contracts? Will this lead to Bankruptcy of traders, trading-desks & firms? This is a scenario nobody was prepared for. What will happen to OPEC?

  9. What lead this? Whats the explanation for the Why, What & the How. Read these threads to understand how this happened & what lead to this.

    Explanation from Deepak Shenoy from India. Read the thread.

  10. This is started effecting the Middle East.

  11. Indiabulls Housing has received a court order to not pay either principal or interest for their bonds, for the time being. Read on to understand the Domino effect this has brought upon. Do our institutions understand or atleast try to envision the effect of their decisions?

  12. So Franklin Templeton, probably because of the above decision & more had to stop redemptions at six of their marquee debt funds. We could probably see a redemption pressure on rest of the funds.

  13. The power of incentives. Santosh Kamath, fund manager for Franklin Templeton, probably in a candid moment on the Television. There’s more to the story in the follow-up.

  14. Here is a analysis of investments of the Franklin Templeton bonds. There’s alamaring level of risk concentration.

  15. Here is a balanced view on Santosh Kamath & the fund.

  16. An excellent thread on how marketing & product design/terms were decoupled & that has lead to the situation today.

  17. Rating of India on a Global level debt markets is not really great. It’s just a notch above junk, what happens if ratings of India slip? Read this thread to understand this topic better.

  18. With all of the above & consumer spending already at a all time low, what exactly is going to support the economy?

  19. One positive thing that I look forward to from this WFH culture is that cities will probably decongest & people might return to their villages & work from there. This could to lead to resurgence of Rural India. I hope it does.

  20. One Industry that looks will do good post Coronavirus is the automobile sector. The reluctance of people to use public transport & ride-sharing models can propel this. If benefits of low crude are passed on to consumers, it will act as a catalyst.


    We have fallen into this Corona river, the idea to not stay submerged, but to fight for your life & learn to swim.

    You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it. - Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage.