Category Archives: Life

Which wolf wins (story)

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Money is byproduct of your success, so Focus on Success, Not on Money

I think way too many of us try to do something to make money as in, I am doing this to make money or I am building this to make money where as the reality is, Money is byproduct of your success.

You don’t do things to make money, it automatically comes when you do things right as a by product.

So if you are building a product or doing some service or working for someone else, don’t look to make money but look for success.

Here are some examples –
1. As an employee, don’t work hard to get the year end bonus but think how you can do things to get the best outcome for everyone including the peers, team manager and the client.
2. If you are offering a service, don’t just give the bare minimum to get the money, put your best effort and get it done in best possible way, the money will anyway come and so do recurring work from that customer.
3. If you owns a product company or a marketplace, don’t focus on number of clients and the average ARPU (average revenue per user) but focus on building a better platform and product.

Excessively focusing on money never makes you money where as focusing on success is more addictive and rewarding in life.

2012 Year review for me and Plans for 2013

For this past 3 years, on every 31st of Dec at 11:30 pm, I write one post reviewing the year. Here are my posts of 2009, 2010 and 2011.

So 2012 will be over in 25 minutes, let me quickly put down everything what happened in 2012 and what I am planning to do in 2013.

The year has been mixed bag for me, I screwed up few things badly and made some really bad decisions. In terms of learning, growth and productivity, the year wasn’t good. But I think that is alright, you can’t get things in life at same pace, sometime you get it fast, sometimes slow.

After hitting some real lows and losing considerable amount of money, I think I am back on track and by feb-march 2013, things should again start moving pretty well.

WorkMonk has been a mixed experience with some good learning about people and business but I don’t want to run an operations business. I want to have fun and learn things along with freedom which operations based business don’t provide. so I am working on something new right now.

I am hoping that 2013 should be the final year of this “exploration” and I can start shaping and building things and life.

ICICI Prudential Scam – My Experience

I don’t want to convert this blog into a rant blog (I don’t like this, I hate that) but I feels this is important and I should write about it. I am also hoping that this blog post will rank for ICICI Prudential scam and get some visibility through search engines as well as in social media as more people need to get aware about the modus operandi of the insurance agencies affiliates to banks and how they are sucking innocent people for their commission.

Background – Back in 2009, I was looking to invest some money in mutual funds, I have savings account in ICICI so I went to the branch and talked to them as I have limited knowledge about investing. After some discussion, the ICICI representative sold me ICICI prudential policy saying this is like mutual fund with tax saving. I was very clear to the bank agent that I am not looking for ULIPs and do not want any locking period and hence want to go for mutual funds. Since I needed the tax saving too so I went ahead and purchased it. Just after this, I had to leave the city and I came back after 1.5 month and saw the papers sent to me by ICICI.

What ICICI prudential didn’t disclosed at the time of purchase was the 3 year locking period, the policy NOT being anything remotely close to mutual funds and after 3 year, you still have to keep on continue the policy for next 22 years! if I terminate the policy after 3 years, I will get 92% of the total amount. When I checked the value of my investment in november 2012, the “fund” has performed very badly and it is giving negative return (in 3 years, the value has become less than the original value). I am least concerned about the negative return, what angers me is the way ICICI prudential sold the ULIP policy by conveniently hiding some of the most important terms and selling it in the name of Mutual funds.

What Actions I took so Jan 2010, when I saw the exact terms, I immediately talked to ICICI, after so many emails and phone calls of explaining, I was told that they allow you to cancel the policy in first 30 days (I wasn’t there and didn’t got the papers). I told them that my concern is how ICICI prudential hide the facts and sold me the policy and not what is mentioned in the policy “booklet”. I was told that they won’t do anything.

Since ICICI prudential had pretty much told me to shove if off, I wrote my complaint to RBI through their site about how ICICI prudential agents are selling life insurance policies by hiding the major terms and conditions and sucking people in. Again, this started barrage of emails and phone calls, though this did started a formal inquiry. I got a call from ICICI regional manager, they apologized and said the agent will lose his job if I don’t take my complaint back. I do all my banking through ICICI and is satisfied with the bank and certainly don’t want anyone to lose their job so I took my complaint back in the hope that I will be done with this in 2012.

November 2012 so here comes November 2012, I thought finally I am done with this after 3 years and when I tried to cancel my policy, it turns out that I will be getting 92% of the total fund (which is already less then the original value because of poor performance of the “market”). This is something which was never told to me so I again called ICICI prudential support and send them emails, again had to spend hours explaining the matter to clueless agents and eventually nothing happened. I think they just closed the matter without even informing me. I am still getting calls from ICICI prudential to pay the premium and the moment I tell them that what is going on, they hangs the phone!

I think it is a dead issue, I have already spent lot of time on this and I feels my time is way too valuable to keep on sending mails to ICICI and to talk to them, I have learnt my lesson to never trust Indian banks as far as investment decisions are concerned. I am just wondering, if an educated guy like me got sucked into this, what is happening with the 40 something uncle/aunties who have very limited knowledge about how ULIP policies and mutual funds work.

I hope more people in India understand that, you can not trust your banks (nationalized or private once like ICICI, HDFC, Axis) as far as investing money in mutual funds, ULIP or any such policies are concerned as there is serious conflict of interest here. The bank agents get commission on every sale they make and have sales target which also push them to sell the policies at any cost. DO NOT get sucked into this, ask your friends or people who know a thing or two about investment and follow their advice.

MultiTasking is a Myth

From whatever I have seen so far in my life, I have come to the conclusion that Multitasking is a myth.

You may think that you can do multiple tasks/things at one time but you can’t as this is not how our mind and body works. What our brain can do is to switch really fast between two tasks to make us think that we are doing multiple task at one time but still we are only doing one task at a time.

I have also noticed that most of the time, the efficiency with multi tasking is less than doing one task at a time so we are better of doing one thing at a time, finish it properly and then move to next task.

Lucid Dreaming

Dreams fascinates me and I do try to spend time learning more about REM and lucid dreaming. Most of my knowledge about LC comes from this sub reddit (do bookmark it, it has some real gems).

I always wanted to have a (wish I could build it too, but well, let the more smarter people work on it) lucid dreaming machine, something which can tell me when you are dreaming so I can control(?) the flow and actions in the dreams. There are actually many such primitive devices available (like remee) but not sure how effective they are as most of them look to be simplistic and are based on our sleep cycles and shows some visual signal.

At the above mentioned reddit, there are tons of people who claim to have master lucid dreaming and it does look like it is not a very difficult thing to master, infact I am sure all of us had dreams where we knew we are dreaming, it is just that controlling it is the difficult part.

So why Lucid Dreaming fascinates me ?

We all have “dreams”, right ? to travel the whole world, to go to outer space, to dive into the deepest trench in ocean, to jump from a plane, to fly a plane or drive a F1 car, to do tracking in himalayas etc (you got the idea). The problem is, we don’t have money, time, skill and courage to do these things.

Now the excitement of these activities is in our brain, our brain get stimulated because of the “kick” and the thrill and the experience get saved in our brain. Now what if this can be reproduced with lucid dreaming! This may turn out to be one of the greatest invention in the last 100 years. Imagine, a common man in India who can experience driving a big car or living in ambani’s house! It may be a brief experience but the memory and experience will be permanent.

Right now it won’t be possible but I would love to work on this project in near future.

People are Unhappy, NOT because they have less but because Others have MORE

Tomorrow is Diwali, Indian festival of light where people burst crackers and celebrate victory of light over darkness. It is always nice to see so many happy strangers around you :)

This post was kept as draft for some time so I thought to finish and publish it. I have tweeted this earlier too and strongly believes that “People are Unhappy, NOT because they have less but because Others have MORE“. I am myself have been guilty of this many times. /meh

In India, we are raised in a very competitive environment, we studied in government schools with 70+ students in one class, each competing with others, private schools are even worse. After school, there are competitive exams, college, job and we keeps on competing with others for more and better resources. What this competition has done is -

1. It has made us insecure. We feels failure is unacceptable which eventually leads us to play safe (this is a huge topic in itself, I will cover it later)
2. We envy what others have because we don’t have what others have.

I was discussing this with my college friend Rahul few weeks back that why Indian education system needs to be reformed and why kids should be taught to how to live life, how to think rationally, how to respect life and others opinions as well as to be a better citizen. I really hope we can get “It is OK to fail” and “It is OK if others have more than you” in Indian school curriculum.

Why you should be Minimalistic

I am a big fan of being minimalistic as I personally believes that it is easier to save money then to make money.Not to mention, marketers are shoving things down your throat and you keeps on buying things without realizing if you are even going to use it.

I also like to avoid too much overhead of maintaining things, for example, a Car may be good but has a huge overhead of maintaining it so I feels I am better of using city bus or auto. I also always order things online as it turns out cheap with free shipping (there are coupons available for online shopping too). For offline purchasing, there is BigBazaar.

People buying big overpriced houses, driving big cars always amuses me since Indian reality market is highly inflated for uninformed and there are no broad roads in most of the cities in India to drive big cars. My point is, just because you can afford it doesn’t mean you have to buy it.

Want to feel Strong ? stop taking favors

This has to be a great learning from my previous startup, Want to feel Strong ? stop taking favors

In the last 12 months, it looked like I am always on my knees trying to make things happen and asking for help from N number of people. I somehow didn’t enjoyed this for a moment and this was a very big reason for moving on and leaving a business which had lot of easy money.

I realized that I am not good in manipulating people, using them and taking favors. It makes me feel weak and puts me in uncomfortable zone.

Life Lesson Learnt (which I will follow for the rest of my life now) – Be self reliant and put this at high priority. Do not compromise on it and do not take favors.

How to Avoid Analysis Paralysis

I was thinking about this for some time that for a certain decision, how much you should think before you make it ?

For example, startups are all about decisions. The more number of right decisions you can make, the higher your chances of being successful and vice versa. Now you obviously want to take some time to make the important decision like hiring an employee (in the past I have made this mistake of hiring people too fast which did lot of damage to my startup) or buying some costly product but the question is, how much analysis you should do before you actually make the decision ?

Though I feels i am a good decision maker (I often go with my gut feeling more than taking too much real world data into consideration), sometimes I make way too quick decisions and sometimes I feels I am taking way too much time which I call Analysis Paralysis.

Now what I am trying to do to avoid Analysis Paralysis is to ask my self,

1. What is on stake (in terms of importance)

2.  What will I get or lose if I make wrong decision.

Most of your decision will never need too much analysis simple because what you will get or lose is not much, in that case, I will go with “lets do it” since I do value experience and learning a lot in life.

For decisions where there is a lot on the table, I do take time to make sure I am making the right decisions to get what I want.

For decisions, where there is way too much risk and you can lose a lot, I feels it is better to wait and watch as in life I have learnt that if you are playing the game of double or nothing, it is just matter of time when you lose everything.