Jiu Jitsu start makes the day seem less hectic

Today was another hectic day. At work it seems that leadership wants the materials quicker and yet folks are leaving the project rather than staying on. I like this intense part of the project perhaps because everyone is super focused and I can’t afford distractions.

Talking about focus, starting continuously at the screen has been showing it’s affects on my eyes. I’m probably headed to a pair of glasses and weakened eyes. I don’t know if I can or want to do anything to avoid that situation.

The day started with Jiu-Jitsu so it wasn’t going anywhere but down from there. However, when you start the day with learning to choke fools and get choked there isn’t much that’s shaking the Earth under your feet. Unfortunately, it is getting so much harder to take out time for anything besides work. A part of me knows that the more I’m giving to this work the further away I’m getting from it. Not because I don’t like hard work but because I know I’m not getting my due.

This brings me to the ongoing thought about starting my own thing. I know I have the skills but do I have the perseverance? Isn’t this the time when I pursue something that really energizes me? I’m now almost relieved of financial burdens and should pursue something more meaningful without being tied to anything.

Knowledge, Not Boring & Space

I haven’t meditated for a long time (relatively) and that is a bit frustrating to realize because it was a good habit. At least, I thought, it was a good habit and it was helping my brain switch off from the constant updates that I was receiving from everywhere. I will get back to it starting today. Right after I finish this post. (Isn’t this how it always goes? A little later, a little bit later). Right now I want to create a new habit. One to write one post daily. Then refine along the way.

I want to write about a few things today and more important than anything else I want to make sure that I write every day about things that interest me. I don’t want to become a person who is consuming and regurgitating opinions without any knowledge. I don’t just want to consume and be informed. I want to connect the dots and convey knowledge (see Knowledge Graph).

Individual data points and insight are related but not a one-way connection; image credit: © Maxger istockphoto.com

Something that caught my interest early was Not Boring by Dan McCormick. He clearly illustrates how more can be with a simple email. He clearly illustrated how important it is to have an idea and execute it early with the simplest of tools. Dan McCormick wrote a simple email called Not Boring that talked about everything Venture Capital and eventually now has an audience of about 200,000. He himself started a fund supported by his audience and allows them to have skin in the game. 

One of Dan’s latest areas of interest is Space. Space technology is growing like anything and there has been substantial money poured into this ‘space’. 2021 alone saw $14.5bn invested by private capital firms into startups. I started tracking this space a few months ago after a newsletter from Dan and it connected deeply with my prior experience (starting a Cube satellite project in undergrad, attending satellite navigation control courses at IIT-B, etc.). However, I didn’t act on it. I should have gone beyond the Google sheet about emerging players and created content that illustrated the players to track this space. Like Space Capital did.

WEF: Top 10 Countries in SpaceTech Sector in 2021; image credit: SpaceTech Analytics

This brings me to Alex West. Alex is a guy who started as a daily blogger and now is at a stage where he is earning $500k/yr with his clients. Of course, there were failures involved. “19 failed products” as he states frequently on different media.  However, in the long term he made choices to focus on the right things and results followed. His story is inspirational but the devil is in the detail. What I take away from all this is that I need to write and I need to write with structure and speed at the same time. 

What I lay out here in this post is day one, step one in a long journey that will build on everything that I have achieved in the past. I hope I am successful but I will stumble along the way. What I want to be sure of is that I put effort into this thing that I am trying to build and I have fun while doing it. It is not going to be easy but it will be something that will energize me and not drain me. Excited about the next steps.

Maybe It May Not But, He Says That This Too Shall Pass

These days I’m at an intellectual refresher and this seems to be compounded by the fact that I’ve been meditating for 25 days continuously now. It might well be the longest streak that I’ve ever meditated for and I don’t think it’s going to go away. At the same time, this mental frame seems to be a bit restrictive and exhausting. I thought it should be liberating and serene.

Combining case studies with this frame of mind might do me good but I’m not 100% sure about this. I think the meditation sessions are going to have an impact over the long term. They’re not something that is so… immediate.

BJJ seems to be coming back up on the horizon. I say that all the while knowing that if I had ten extra hours in a day, I still wouldn’t be able to partake in the joys of that physical endeavor. I hope something good comes of all these things and efforts coming together. Many more unexpected miles to go. This phase seems intellectually stimulating but it is only a phase or maybe not.

What Is A Product?

‘If you are paying no price, you are the product.’ This is probably a pretty popular saying by now at the time of this writing. Though this saying might be obsolete and forgotten when this blogpost is read sometime in the future. This post is about ideas and thoughts that might not seem connected at first but will eventually make sense. Isn’t that how most stories are – a set of disjointed themes that ultimately have a common thread running through them. What value do products bring to society and what exactly is a product?

A few weeks now I have been spending some time on Clubhouse. It used to be this exclusive hangout for venture capitalists, prominent people in the entertainment industry and every other sort of mechanism that coalesces around these groups. The application in itself seems to be a rip-off of Twitter but with a refurbished interface. It sounds diminutive but that’s essentially how the world works. We in the previous decade tended to blame China for creating cheap knock-offs of everything from children’s toys to computers and everything in between like yoga-mats and plastics. The industry in China iterated though, enough times to now produce goods of better quality and made quality a metric. The state of China is another story though. The country is fueled by a government which rules with an iron fist behind a stone wall. Everything that is deemed a requirement by the CCP is a go-ahead with pomp and show and whatever goes against their beliefs is trampled without debate. The CCP has some grand visions for China, which every government should but absolute unchallenged power over a billion people is a bit terrifying.

When the capital market copies, they have to by definition innovate on an existing product. Mechanisms to differentiate businesses and hence their products exist and hence the field of business management. I could go on and defend capital markets but it has its failures as well and not a few. For starters, there are no free and fair markets that exist anywhere. There is a constant endeavor to make markets free and fair and it is just that and endeavor. Clubhouse is turning out to be a ’successful’ product in such a market. Clubhouse has a great audience – the who’s who of media discuss issues arising in society today. From politics – foreign policies of middle eastern nations to bigotry and racism almost every topic I can think of has audiences and speakers 24/7 every week of the year. The founders Rohan and Paul are pleasant to approach and seem like receptive founders, reviewing recommendations and organizing townhalls every week. Clubhouse started out invite only and now the number of invites being given out is increasing every month. This exclusivity looked like a successful beta test. The air of exclusivity was an automatic promotion in the marketplace of ideas and also a mechanism to receive solicited feedback for improvements.

Discord servers record 4 billion minutes of conversation on a daily basis. The potential to improve algorithms based on the amount of audio data mined is huge. In February 2021 Clubhouse had 6 million users, 10x from December and was valued at $1bn, 10x from May 2020. Discord is still stuck with 100mn active monthly users despite being in the market for 5 more years. Clubhouse has access to Marc A. and Ben H. and them being on the platform brings their network – friends and family and their networks. While Discord has Accel and Greylock on their side as well, the only person I as a lay person I recognized on their board was Mitch Lasky. Does all this matter to the end consumer/ user? Not really the app in the market and its features should impact the product’s performance in the market as a revenue generator and yet there are a few missing pieces. Discord has been in the market longer, has better features and also had a larger original user base and yet it still seemed to be out of mainstream view for the longest time. The air of exclusivity was a marketing tactic which was perfectly used by Clubhouse but I wouldn’t attribute all of their success to it.

This blog is a product of my ideas. How I present it on the platform is the deployment of those ideas. However, the content isn’t the only thing will make it successful. It might be a pre-requisite but it’s not the only thing that will make this blog reader friendly. This might seem incredulous that something besides the content will make it more attractive to a reader, who thinks that he or she is only interested in the content. Human beings have preconceived notions that are actively engaged in disrupting logical thought process. First impressions matter, references matter, appearances matter much more than they should not. A product then is only a part of what utility it provides, some part of it is perceived utility that is conveyed by factors that are not related to the use of the product/ solution/ service. This might be much ado about nothing or this might be an important psychological phenomenon.

People and their identities are more important than who they are as individuals or what they bring to the table in terms of their skills. As products ourselves we need to build an ecosystem around ourselves in order to bring the best of this short experience. In the larger scheme of things there’s always that omnipresent question as to what exactly is the point of it all but I wouldn’t be surprised that majority will deny the answer even if it was staring at them in the face. What then is the point of the question either?

Another day

Here at a training / offsite training workshop. Relates to business and product marketing. I was conflicted whether I should come to this or not. The company had some budget allocated to training so I raised my hand. The institute had a good training. It was definitely a good refresher. I wouldn’t say it’s something that alone can change a mindset. Like anything else in life the principles need to be practiced.

The whole 3 day workshop had foundations, market and pricing. I liked the pricing workshop. It was more related to my day to day function and tasks.

I’m also traveling soon. There’s a deluge of good and news on the Coronavirus. I’m more concerned about my mum who’s traveling on an international flight with me. It is not safe and if I could I would delay my travel but it’s complicated with my visa situation. On the side I’m also looking at options in Canada. BJJ continues on the side. Will be on hold for a couple of weeks now.

I do want to think more about price strategies during a high demand surge and the price gouging and what the difference between those two things. This might be my PhD thesis.

At the training

Love and Peace,