Heavy Computer User? Here’s 7 Ways To Fight Repetitive Strain Injury

Originally written in 2007, this article on RSI / CTS by Ankesh Kothari was first written on the site DumbLittleMan. Since the same is no longer on the web, this is being reproduced by me with permission from Ankesh. Video at the end wasn’t part of the original article. 

I first experienced RSI 3 years ago. Because I make my living online and have to sit at the computer 6 hours everyday, I couldn’t just take a long vacation and wait for my body to heal itself. I researched a lot and asked a lot of questions. With trial and error, I found some simple changes that could help decrease the risk of RSI.

What is RSI?

RSI is the dreaded abbreviation that stands for Repetitive Strain Injury. It occurs because of repeated physical movements and affects the nerves, tendons, muscles and other soft tissues. If you sit on your computer regularly, the repetition of thousands of keystrokes and prolonged use of the mouse can cause RSI to you too.

Symptoms of RSI

Most computer users experience tightness, stiffness or soreness of hands, wrists, fingers, forearms and shoulders. Many also experience burning sensations. It’s not life threatening but it’s very discomforting and painful. It can also prevent you from doing your work and enjoying your life.

Scary Fact: 10% of all computer users will suffer from RSI one time or another.

Scary Fact 2: Doctors can’t cure RSI. There is no magic pill that you can take which will make the RSI go away. RSI can only be cured by stopping the repetitive action that caused it in the first place. And even then, it may take weeks. Read More

Focused vs Unfocused – The Larry Page Perspective

The Vinod Khosla fireside chat with Google founders is great. My favourite part from the interaction is this:


VK Let me go back to Larry. As CEO of Google, a lot of these guys have board members who keep saying, Focus on a few things. Self-driving cars is one. You’ve done some things in health and others. How do you decide what’s focused and what’s unfocused?

LP I’ve been thinking about this change quite a bit over the years. I think it sounds stupid if you have this big company, and you can only do five things. I think it’s also not very good for the employees. Because then, you have 30,000 employees and they’re all doing the same thing, which isn’t very exciting for them. So I think, ideally, the company would scale the number of things it does with the number of people in a linear fashion. As far as I can tell, that never happens. It’s logarithmic with the number of people, if that.

I would always have this debate actually, with Steve Jobs. He’d be like, ‘You guys are doing too much stuff.’ And I’d be like, ‘Yeah that’s true.’ And he was right, in some sense.

But I think the answer to that – which I only came to recently, as we were talking about this stuff – is that if you’re doing things that are highly interrelated, then there is some complexity limits. It’s all going to escalate to the CEO, because you have things that are interrelated. At some point, they have to get integrated. A lot of our Internet stuff is like that. The user experience needs to make sense. It needs to feel like you’re using Google, not that you’re using something else. So I think there is a limit on how much we can do there, and we have to think carefully about it.

Everything about the automated cars is like– Sergey can do that, and I don’t have to talk to him. I like talking to him. But I don’t really have to talk to him about that, because there’s almost zero impact on the rest of our business. Although it does use some great engineers who we have on mapping and other things. Naturally, they move to that project, but that’s a scalable process. I don’t have to talk to those engineers. They just move magically.

So I do think companies usually try to do very adjacent things. They figure, “We’re going to know exactly how to do something that’s very similar to what we already do.” The problem with that is that causes a management burden. Whereas, if you did something a little less related, you can actually handle more things.

The Hard Things Challenge (Entrepreneurs Listen Up) #HardThingsChallenge

Hard Things

I recently read the book ‘The Hard Things About Hard Things‘ and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Every little self doubt that I have while building my company and every fear that I can’t express is touched upon in this book by Ben Horowitz. I have always loved reading Ben’s blog and this book just takes it to another level.

So as I gift a copy of this book to my friends in the Startup world, I propose to start a challenge (thanks Subhendu for the idea). After you receive this book as a gift from me under the #HardThingsChallenge, read it in 7 days and gift it forward to someone else. If you fail to do so, you gotta gift 2 copies of the same to fellow entrepreneurs.

To start with Amit (@amit_lakhotia) and Subhendu (@Skipiit) have accepted the challenge – Go Read :)



Do You Want To Pursue Engineering? Request: Think Again (Students & Parents)

I am kinda tired of no of kids I see getting into engineering just for the degree and then coming out unemployable after 4 years or applying for operations / BD roles. Here is a status update from my friend Navin Kabra on FB that I thought is relevant. Discussion on FB.

Heard of a friend’s son who quit engineering (COEP) after 1 year, to pursue design (DSK). This comes on the heels of someone else I know who quit engineering (PICT) to go for Liberal Arts (SSLA) and is much happier there.

So, note to 12th std students and parents: please do not box yourself into a corner and assume that there is no alternative to engineering. You might regret it an year or two from now.

Thankfully, the situation (in terms of educational options) for this generation is far better than for our generation. If you’re unsure of what to do, then a Liberal Arts program (which gives you flexibility of deciding on what degree you want after 1 or 2 years of study) might be worth considering. See http://www.flame.edu.in/ or http://ashoka.edu.in/ or even http://ssla.edu.in (thanks Dhananjay Nene)

Brilliant Read: Siddhartha

Siddhartha Annkur

You may or may not have got a copy of Siddhartha (by Hermann Hesse) from me, but you should definitely go and get one right now. A quick but very powerful read. Sharing two of my favourite paragraphs:

“I have not doubted for a single moment that you are Buddha, that you have reached the goal, the highest goal towards which so many thousands of Brahmans and sons of Brahmans are heading. You have found salvation from death. It has come to you in the course of your own search, on your own path, through thoughts, through meditation, through realisations, through enlightenment. It has not come to you by means of teachings! You will not be able to convey to anybody, O venerable one, in words and through teachings, what has happened to you in the hour of enlightenment!”


“Perhaps that you are searching far too much? That in all the searching, you don’t find the time for finding? … When someone is searching then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, O venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of you.”

– Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

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Being A Good Person

Good article on Medium by Gary Vaynerchuk

I’m just not like that, and that allows me to play through and keep giving. What I love best about this is that it allows me to be extremely happy 99.99% of the time. Lack of expectation and generosity are two very lucky traits I have, and they’re something that I implore more of you to focus on.



Came across this really inspiring post on OpenCoffeeClub. A couple of college (hostel) girls and their tryst with entrepreneurship.

This is the story of two students in University of Delhi. Happy studying Statistics and Literature with bit monotony was their life. ‘A’ was really passionate about cakes and chocolates. She could bump into any bakers at any hour of the day. It was the only thing she cooked with lots of grace while she was at home. And ‘S’, her dearest friend loved experimenting and encouraging ideas. ‘A’ baptized her virtual Bakers store as Indulgilicious with the slightest idea of this coming true. Then comes A’s cousin, the enthusiastic, the illumination and an entrepreneur. ‘A’ blabbered her dreams (Indulgilicious) to him, which would have happened sometime in the future she was not sure about. But her cousin, so like himself, became really serious about the whole thing and they had a long discussion on the same issue. ‘A’ was big time inspired and full on motivated. Then what? Read More

Innocent, Little

There are times I wish this was an anonymous blog. There is so much I want to share and yet I fear its too early to share. Today happens to be a day when I decide to unfold a little of past. A little of me. My about page speaks less of who I am and though it’s meant to be so, here is a little something that I feel necessary to share. Read More

V’s experimentation with colours!

This blog is all about me, my views. The only room until today for anyone to express themselves is in the comments section. But here is an exception.

A dear friend and one of the finest people in the tech circles that I move around in is Mr Vivek K & here is a gem from V! Read More

“1st email” LoL memories pulled out of the trunk

{This is a status update of visit we made for a college project during BMS days in Bhavans. Shaun just sent this back to me and just couldn’t resist sharing this with the rest of the word. Bachmates from Bhavans would surely understand this better}

——– 22-8-2005 From ANkur Agarwal to Tassavur Shaikh (Toxic)

Ok Officer !!
I shall give you a briefing of wht we faced so far in the war ground of Materials Management.
We moved forward to the Creative Motors Fort in Andheri.

We attacked their Service Center. BUt we came to know that their leader (mr Kamlesh Shah) is hiding in the showoom.

So we marched forward in our hired tanks (rikshaws) towards the Creative Motors  showroom in Andheri Itself.

We spotted Mr Kamlesh and holded him at gunpoint. He was talking on a wireless communication device (Probably calling in reinforcements)
He recognized me and surrendered. We had a conferene with him in his hideout (also known as cabin) and layed down numerous demands and requested lots of ancient artifacts (Slips and documents) which were very important to us. He was very cooperative here on (probably frightened after seeing 4 of us together).

He promised to handover the requested artifacts within 24 hours and so he did. Our brave knight Sir Samie III also received a special gift from their showroom (a concessional rate for Hero honda CBZ*  with finance).
The very next day we divided the artifacts and started to work on it. Kim was sent a copy of those for special study by AIRMAIL (Courier) and she mailed us her reports and findings ( Ecopies ) of the same. We then had a brief meeting where we met our lethal weapon TOXIC ( ya he takes a whole week to recharge himself and then shows up once in a week — much like me). .. and you know what happened after that.

Here I take the privilege to mail you all the Findings and research we did on the artifacts — which although of a bit low quality is attached.
THE SPECIMEN of our victory note and improvement steps is being attached – it is to be considered by you for your views and special comments.

Over and OUT
Major General ANkur Agarwal Read More