LinkedIn Posts

The value of deep work and focused effort

A few years ago, a friend volunteered to help me for a few days with my startup. He showed up at my office and after a long discussion, offered to create a detailed execution plan for me. He then left, promising to reconnect in a bit. For the next few hrs, I was...

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Defending your time and attention

When my wife was the District Collector, Trivandrum, she was heading 200 odd committees. If the average committee met twice a year, you end up with 400 meetings -- i.e., approx two meetings per working day. Yikes! And this does not even count all the other meetings...

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Improving systems from the inside out

During my stint with the Indian Police Service, a top police official once said this to me with immense pride: 'I only travel to countries where I am not frisked at the airport. I go to Dubai because I am not frisked, but I won't go to the US or Europe.' Apparently,...

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The Power of Social Contagion

A few years ago, I was attending a dreadfully boring conference, where we were listlessly sitting around a table. During a break, out of sheer boredom, I picked up a bottle of water to drink. As soon as I did that, 2-3 other people on the table also picked up the...

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Fix your day

Two years ago, one evening, a team member called me and said, “Today, we are going to work the whole night.” He was leading a team of 5-6 people and intended to work overnight to fix a problem. Here was the problem: Our startup had created thousands of science/math...

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Aim before you shoot

Once a renowned fund manager told me that for two years, he made no investments at all. The US markets were overpriced and good deals were hard to come by. For those two years, every day, he would dress up in the morning and go to office. He would sit and read...

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The Magic of the Present Moment

As a kid, every summer, we would visit my native village in UP. In the burning June month, without electricity or amenities, it was a veritable hell. But come evening, things would cool down. At night, lying on an elevated cot-like bamboo structure (‘machan’), we...

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Excellence is not perfection

In 2009, when I moved back to India, the first thing I did was to buy a car. And in the very first week, in the parking area, a big coconut fell on its bonnet, putting a crater-sized dent. When I saw it in the morning, I was really heartbroken. Fast forward a decade...

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The Lessons of Struggle

In 3rd grade, once our Social Studies teacher gave us a project to build a model of an object that helped humans survive. I built a really ugly model of a cave using stones and cardboard, painted with grotesque colors. The next day, when I reached our school carrying...

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Pushing Our Limits

About three times a week, I run 10 km in the morning. The distance feels just right to me -- long enough to give a huge endorphin rush, but not so much as to cause any injury or pain. And I have happily been at this ‘10 km plateau’ for a long time. Not that I can’t...

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