Sunday, October 15, 2017
A place without the Social Media noise.
A place to go to read what the great minds are thinking.
A place without Advertisements or Clickbaits.
That place was Medium. It is no more.
But isn't Medium a business?
It is a business at the end of the day. There is no free lunch. Medium has to pay its staff. The investors need an exit.
But shouldn't knowledge and thoughts be free?
Human Kind has progressed with the free flow of knowledge. Whenever knowledge was dammed, chaos reigned. Human progress slows down. When knowledge is shared, we grow by leaps and bounds.
Tesla made all its patents open source. So other electric car manufacturers can develop on it. Volvo invented the seat belt and opened up its patent. They saved millions of lives.
In contrast.. Apple and Google and Samsung - the Mobile Phone giants are patenting the smallest of idea - and stiffling innovation in Mobile phones - so no new ideas can come to life - except the giants.
Or like India not having access to Cryogenic rocket technology - which the Superpowers hold it within themselves and so we still haven't been able to launch a human to space.
Venkat, you got fooled so dont blame Medium
Agreed I misled myself. I believed Medium to be this utopian watering hole I go to read about Productivity Hacks, Entrepreneurs, Cancer Survivors. I love(d) Medium.
But it all has come to an end. Medium is now forcing me to pay to access this content.
Can't you just pay the 5$ a month?
Yes, I can. Mostly I will. Medium is where I turn for inspiration or book ideas or stimulate my mind and curiosity.
So what is Venkat's problem?
If writers start writing for money - will it not again get into the clickbait territory. The writers get paid based on the claps they get. So they will start writing for more claps. What gets claps? - Sensational stuff. Things that appeal to the darkest part of the human mind. Things that make you say eew and aaw.. and yet you will read. Things like the accident on the road when a crowd surrounds it - you want to peek in.
I just described above - the Tabloid Newspapers, The News Channels, The Articles on Social Media
Medium was free of all that. Because writers wrote freely with no monetary carrot dangling in front of them.
The whole concept of Medium is shattered.
So what is the solution?
Medium was started by the co-founder of Twitter - Evan Williams. I can bet it does not take billions of dollars to develop and run Medium. Evan Williams could have just sustained single handedly from a fraction of his annual income.
Heck. If Medium had just asked for donation like Wikipedia - people would have paid.
There are so many sites still running - Ad free - Wikipedia, Craigstlist, Angelist..
You Devil called Money. We hate you but we cannot live without you.
Sunday, June 25, 2017
Monday, May 22, 2017
Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl is a difficult book to read - if you are the types who get sucked into it. I typically read before sleep, and I could not go to sleep while reading this book.
Victor Frankl is a Psychatrist by profession and he and is wife are picked by the Germans and sent to the camps.
The first half is all about Victor's experience in the Nazi camps. How the prisoners are shepherded from one Camp to another in train - with no knowledge if they are being sent to the Gas Chambers or to another camp.
I strongly recommend this book - will give a new outlook to your life.
"He who has a why to live forcan bear almost any how"
"Mental health is based on a certain degree of tension - between what one has already achieved and what one still has to accomplish"
"What man needs is not a tensionless state but rather striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal"
"Live as if you are living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now."
"No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. "
"Man is ready to suffer on one condition - to be sure - that his suffering has a meaning. "
"He is not only unhappy but also ashamed of being unhappy. "
"Lying on your death bed ask your self - was your life meaning full "
Monday, May 01, 2017
Monday, April 17, 2017
1. Apple Music - Rs.190 per month - for an infinite supply of songs.
1. YouTrack.Jetbrains.com - Kickass Tool to track sprints. 20$ per month.
Sunday, March 05, 2017
Monday, February 06, 2017
Of the various hats I have worn all these years - founder, Sales guy, Deployment Specialist, Level 1 and Level 2 Support, DevOps, Cheque depositor - I have come to realize I was a Product Manager all along - right from the get go.
Putting a label on what you do is extremely important. It helps you define the job you do, appreciate it, read more on it and helps you improve on that particular skill.
If you are the guy/girl in charge of making the Product among the Founding Team - you are the Product Manager. Say it out aloud - "I am the Product Manager". The fate of your entire Startup lies in your decisions.
All other designations - CEO, CTO, Director, Co-Founder all are important - for the outside world and your team-mates - but nothing is as critical as the “Product Manager” hat you are wearing now.
Strap the Product Manager Hat tight.
When I gave Sales demo - I was not trying to get a Cheque out of the customer. I was listening to their pain points, and my mind was frantically scanning to see how my Startup could alleviate those paint points. I was trying to find patterns among Customers - so my solution can solve them all. I was trying to see how much value we can give them, and price our product as a fraction of the value ( and not just features ).
When I was paying the monthly bill for AWS account - and saw it was increasing gradually, asked myself - Are such resource hogging servers really necessary - and promptly turned them off - and found better cost effective alternatives. Also when I plan a feature, I keep the cost in mind - I am not going to get sold on the hype of a technology [ NoSql I am looking right at you]
When I got a customer to go live - I realised how a few small features created some of the biggest headaches and heartburns. Promptly booted them off or tweaked them.
When I had to do Marketing - do SEO, or write content for Brochrures, or create Competitor analysis - I had to analyse inwardly as well as the competition and could identify the areas we were strong and weak. I knew what areas we could pull ahead of the competition - become more stronger, and what areas we had to improve - so we cannot be beaten down with.
If you are the Product Manager of a Startup - and working 9 to 5, doing a few customer interviews, talking to the CEO/CTO/Founder, browsing competitors website/Apps, STOP - you have to do more. [ ps : Startup founders, if you have hired Product Managers - here is what they have to start doing ]
1. Accompany the Sales guys in a few demos. In fact you should constantly do this - product keeps changing, market keeps changing, competiton keeps changing.
2. Get your hands dirty and deploy a few accounts - from start to finish.
3. Write the next set of marketing material, do the next Competitor Analysis document yourself - instead of just giving inputs.
4. Do SEO, plan the adwords campaign yourself.
5. Be the DevOps and/or pay the AWS bill from your pocket and get it reimbursed - and see for yourself that one cool feature which hardly anyone uses is costing a bomb.
And for my startup founders - Say it aloud. Stick it in big fonts right in front of you.
“I am the Product Manager"
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Good job on creating a mass movement and uniting a fractured Tamil Kingdom ruled between a Dynasty and bunch of Film Stars. Thank you - no one could have accomplished what you just did.
I am not going into the merits of Jallikattu or demerits - but given the clout you posses - here are my humble requirements - so you will get your priorities right.
Poultry and Cattle Transfer
I wait on my bike in a traffic signal with the hot sun and exhaust fumes everywhere, sweat drips from the helmet harness on to the petrol tank and as I watch it evaporate - I hear a few bird sounds nearby.. turn to my left and see these white chicken all squeezed tightly - suffocating under the same sun and exhaust fumes - luckily their trip is only a few hours before they turn into a tandoori platter.
However, PETA - this is plain wrong. The poor souls deserve a decent journey the last few hours of their life.
Please get Supreme Court to pass an order to transport these poor souls in an AC vehicle - with enough space and feed. We should show these Chicken that we humans are not inhuman.
You saved a handful of Bulls from being subject to 30 odd minutes of hardship in a year - now it is your duty to save these billions of chickens that go through this daily.
Yes, the cost of Chicken will go up - so be it. The Non-Vegetarians will work harder to savour the chicken - they won't complain. Just like they are not complaining now about the Jersey cow conspiracy, or the thousand year culture that has got destroyed with the Jallikattu ban.
Pet animals kept for Breeding
These are the puppy mills - rampant across the country.
PETA, PETA - how can you stand this?
When you cannot stand 30 minutes of a bull run - how can you allow 30 minutes of a slow drip by drip death of a Goat or a Chicken. Yes the veins are cut and the bad blood oozes off - so the meat is fresh and pure - but imagine the torture the poor animal goes through?
Shouldn't you ban this too? The last minutes of the poor soul - when all its life has seen just the animal factory doors or a cage with zero joy or laughter - at the least can have a quick fast death.
I have a better idea PETA.
Let us ban killing completely. We buy vegetables, wash and cut them. Why not the same with Chicken, Goat or Fish? The Great Emperor in the West - Mark Zuckerberg I heard does the same thing. If he can do it - so can Non Vegetarians in India.
Here is your requirement - ban all slaughter of animals. Animals can only be sold alive - it is upto the consumer to make the final cut.
You might ask - what about Restaurants. Yes along with Menu card, let the waiter parade the chicken and goat to the table. Like they do with Crabs nowadays.
Once the patron selects, can go to the back of the kitchen where he/she can perform the deed, come back and continue checking WhatsApp - while the food is prepared.
Use your clout PETA.
PETA - gosh my blood is boiling thinking of this.
First the Cows and Buffaloes ( your special friends I believe ) are transported inhumanly to the Slaughter Houses.
There they are herded into a slaughter room where they are hit with a heavy metal rod - where they are stunned. Some lucky ones die but mostly they just pass out. And because the slaughters have to meet the daily targets - they do not wait for the poor soul to fully depart the body. While the animal is still dying and trembling - the insides are torn out and meat is cut.
PETA - you have to stop this. Monitor the industry closely. By now you should know how much time it takes for an animal to completely die. Let us give them the time - instead of being skinned alive. Reduce the output from these industries.
Let the price go up or if it is unsustainable let the business owner find something else to do.
It is ok - let the price go up. Economics has a way of solving the demand supply curve - and which is sustainable for the environment.
Organic Milk from a Desi Cow is above Rs.100 for half a litre. Yes, that is the true price it deserves - I will switch to Green tea or Soy Milk. Price of a produce - says how scarce it is. Definitely we will switch to alternatives if something is not sustainable for the pocket.
Instead of keeping the price same, and still we try to meet demand by cutting corners ( adulterating or injecting steroids ) - or destroying the environment ( by using deadly pesticides and eradicating healthy but less producing crops ), or torturing poor souls and treating them like machine parts in an assembly unit.
I honestly still don't know why you will go after Jallikattu - while these other big issues are rampant and are far more deadly. I wish you will get your priorities right.
Monday, January 02, 2017
For 2016 I had a target of 52 ( 1 per week ).
Adventure stories on present earth life is boring. Drama is boring. Romance on Earth is boring. Only Science Fiction keeps me interested - it has all and much more.
1. Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
Remember Stephen Hawking? Recently he gave an interview in which he said something ominous - if Aliens contact us please do not respond - this book gives the why.
This is the 2nd part of the trilogy written by Chinese Author. Compared to first part it was a bit dull, and the story meanders through various attempts Humans make to fight with the advanced Alien species - through our primitive technologies.
Towards the end the story unravels beautifully.
2. The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is a much acclaimed author who is good at painting Dystopian worlds. I heard her name mentioned during the US Election - on how a Trump world will be like Atwood’s so picked this one - was quite depressing at places, but loved the plot. Truly a great story teller. Regarding Trump’s new world - well even Atwood would not have imagined.
3. Red Rising ( Part 1 )
4. Golden Son ( Part 2 )
5. Morning Star ( Part 3 ) by Pierce Brown
Toooo good. As a Sci-Fi Lover lapped it up. The plot started like Hunger Games but got developed elaborately and loved how the story progressed. It is all about Strategy and how our Hero Darryl beats them all edging close to death all the time - everything is there betrayal, adventure,romance - heck they should make this as a movie.
6. Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card
This is the 2nd part of the Trilogy - the first part was Enders world which got made into a movie. Story starts with a mystery which gets unravelled at the end. Gripping through out - dull at a few places when the author takes pain to explain things in detail - but ending is really superb - how the aliens and humans come to an agreement to co-exist.
7. Survival Quest - Way of the Shaman by Vasily Mahaneko
In future prisoners are not put in Jails, but soaked in a virtual reality prison. And the prisoners have to mine day in and day out. Boring right - but they made an interesting story out of it. But you can skip.
8. Animal Farm by George Orwell
Want to understand India’s Political Elite - read this book. I think when the Politicians kin enters politics, they present this book - on how to rule the masses.
9. Immortals of Meluha
10. Secret of Nagas
11. Oath of Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi
Somewhere in the middle of 2016 I acquired an Amazon Kindle and promptly signed up for the buffet plan. Read all these books in one trot. Superb imagination. Thoroughly Entertaining.
12. 2 States by Chetan Bhagat
The following criticism might apply to me when I write my own book someday. I once read somewhere that Jeffrey Archer rewrote his book 7 times before he was satisfied. He will also write his books double spaced, so he can make corrections below the lines. 2 States had a nice plot, but felt Chetan Bhagat could have rewritten at a few places. Felt as if the book was written in a hurried manner.
However, to give Chetan Bhagat credit - it was simple fast reading and entertaining. Can see why he is such a roaring success. Has created his own style - and it works pretty well.
13 Stranger by Albert Camus
Much acclaimed. Weird book. Man commits murder and what goes on in his head. Reason why I should stick to Science Fiction.
14. Colorless Tsukumi Tazoki by Haruki Murakami
Story moves slowly. The protoganist discusses Classical Music, describes the food in detail - typical Murakami fare. Interesting plot. Loved it.
15. Mastery by Robert Greene
Wish I had read this in the early days of my career. Heck, I would be a writer giving Chetan Bhagat run for his money - if I had read this book some 20 years back. Book has many insights on how to become the master of any domain.
16. Deep Work : Rules for Focussed Success in a Distracted Word by Cal Newport
I had arrived at a conclusion that Social Media is useless. This book goes one step further and drives home the point that Social media is not only useless, but very much evil.
Point well made - this book is a must read for the millenails. - I am depending on you milenials to spend the last years of my life on flying cars, and visting Mars - but if you guys squander the time liking and retweeting inane things - I dread to think how my old age will be. Millenials - please log off Social Media - and go create something awesome.
17. Amar Chitra Katha’s Mahabaratha I,II and III
Superbly done. Enjoyed it thoroughly. It is such an easy way to read Mahabaratha. Do it.
18. Watchmen - DC Comics by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Had I been born in US, I would have been a nerd no doubt. And with dark rimmed thick glasses would have read all the comics. This one is dark, depressing at places, totally weird and didnt make any sense dialogues at many places - but gripping and held me glued to it. The book was written in the backdrop of cold war - and the influence of Super heroes on the outcome.
Now I am curious what the Batman, Superman comics are all about.
19. Perspepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Autobiography comic - depressing at many places. The author describes how she squeezes in happiness. We get a glimpse of how Iran went from a Great open culture to smithereens and how it is difficult for a open minded free bird like the author.
Sigh. Why? When we can use our collective intelligence to build space ships to go conquer the Galaxy - here we are mired in petty religious squabbles. Depressing really - how we are wasting the potential of Human brain.
20. Monk who sold his Ferrari by Robin Sharma
If you are curious on the Spiritual stuff, but do not want to sign into the Art of Living, Isha, Iskon etc.. camps - then read and follow this book. Has good simple tips for leading a good happy life - without being branded as a Spiritual guy. Liked the practical suggestions in the book.
21. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Much acclaimed. Some of the truths we already know - nothing earth shattering for us Indians who are already half awakened. Some are true eye openers.
And for 2017 have again set a target of 52 - 1 per week.