Miss Universe

I spoke to her in my dreams last night. Calm and curious as always she asked me about life in California, food and people I met. I told her everything I could, even the imaginary cricket match on the beach at half moon bay. Looking for the smile on her face, I wondered if I needed to really ask her anything.

The faint smile on her face hinted something, as if she has completed a race and I am still finding my way. She challenged me with my own philosophies, as if she remembered everything I ever told her. Unusual, yet so polite and honest that I need not feel threatened. I answered nevertheless. Clarified myself for once.

She smiled.

Obamaland, again!

// random personal blog post starts

After the first and rather lonely visit to Ameericaaa in 2010, I didn’t think I would make it back to Obamaland so soon. By some accident I got pulled into a business accelerator in California and ended up spending close to four months there. This time around, I was largely on my own, with no family house to live in and no wonderful cooks to serve me Indian food. Survival was tough.

My age old wish to live on my own could have been a little less challenging though. Finding my way to cheap vegetarian food, looking up accommodation, making breakfast (if time permitted), washing the dishes, laundry and walking down a few kms daily to reach work did take up a good amount of time and energy. Having to spend in USD wasn’t all that easy either. But it wasn’t too bad, weekend getaways to cousins and some very friendly locals made moi life very easy at times.

There are lessons from this travel that I would remember for a lifetime. Some personal, some about the world we live in. Read More

No, we are not greedy!

I just happened to read an open letter by Guy Turner and as I complete my time at 500 Startups Batch 6, I find it hard to digest all of it. Here is the link: http://www.builtinchicago.org/blog/open-letter-yc-techstars-and-500-companies-take-fn-money-now-take-all-it

(We @pricebaba are part of Batch 6 at 500 Startups. We are an India business)

Guy’s advice is great. I would happily dilute 5% more at this point and ensure my company survives (oops, I just admitted it). But did any of our mentors or venture partners at 500 Startups told us to maximise our valuation? Not really. We get told often to ‘get the fuck back to work and get more users / customers’

500 Startups never told us to hold the incoming cash and maximize our valuations, they tell us to get a reasonable runway and be prepared if the business takes a little time to pick up or Series A doesn’t happen as easily.

We have also been guided to keep our valuation reasonable. It is kinda weird to tell an angel investor that we are asking for a lower valuation because that’s what our market merits. It also ensures that we aren’t overvalued when raising our next round back in India.

The venture partners at 500 Startups are some of the most wisest people I have met. And no, it is not just Dave McClure. There are a bunch of them helping us out at 500 Startups :) (Hey, Pankaj, Bedy, Rui, George, Parker…).

So on behalf of batch 6 at 500 Startups – GIVE US THE MONEY :) we will take it!

Apologies, typed on mobile while travelling. Updates from desktop soon.

Balance – Quadrant Of Life

I have been guilty of ignoring several important things in life. Starting work at 15 had its downsides that I realise only now. Talking to one of my business partners today, I acknowledged that I have been reckless. And surprisingly I came across this Quadrant of life at 500 Startups office today. My doctor once drew this for me and explained me how I should prioritize things in life. This is extremely powerful. I call it the Balance. Much needed balance. I strive for it more than ever before.

quadrant of life

Remember the ZONE is silent. It never demands from you and it is so easy to miss it.

The Victims Curse

I have been thinking about this for several years now and finally attempting to capture a tricky thought.

We are often a victim in our own story. Several times in life we get cornered into a situation where we feel helpless and we consider ourselves as the victim. It has happened with me at school, college, work, with friends, family … basically everywhere. At the same time I have seen so many of my friends being bogged down by this feeling of being a victim. And knowing how real that feeling is, I always fall short of telling them – GIVE IT UP.

It is easy and a very weak choice to think of a situation from a point of view that ‘I am a victim <insert your sorrow tale here>’.

Holding on to that pain and considering yourself a Victim has a payback. A sympathy value that you give yourself, a reason to not take responsibility for what happened. That’s the Victims Curse. It is only an excuse for living life in a certain way. A seemingly easier way. Over time our memories fade, we reconstruct what happened and only consolidate our position as a Victim.

Do you really want to carry that baggage?

I would also make my first public recommendation for Landmark Education. If you are serious about your life and its impact on this world, you should consider Landmark. Feel free to contact me if you wish to explore Landmark Education. 

PS: Thanks to @arpiit for introducing me and also once pointing out this Curse.

Figuring Trust

The genius that I think I am, I once defined Attitude problem. Several years later, it still reads so well to me. Been there so many times since. Here is what I had written:

A while back I sat down to analyze what really is this Attitude problem. And I have an answer to it today: When you Trust someone, you expect a lot of it in return as well. If you don’t see that coming your way … you develop this wall of unanswered questions, concealing your depression, complaints and sorrows. That’s attitude problem.

 Another bit I had come across was this:

well basically if any one’s ever called you a ***** than you need to check yourself, i believe that when someone has an attitude problem usually the person who has it also has a problem with trusting others and actually paying close attention to what they’re trying to say, people get offended if they think you dont care and are not paying close attention to them it’s a big nice metaphorical slap in the face.

However today I feel like revisiting the Trust Matrix. A much simpler way to look at it would be with Integrity. If your words and actions match, trust exists. If your words and actions don’t match, trust fades. 

Of course, the more technical formula exists. I don’t care about it as much anymore. 

Intuition

Intuition – The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning

I have for long talked about relying heavily on the first opinion formed about a person. Intuition plays a large role for me in choosing whom I am friends (or friendly) with. It is hard to think of a case where my Intuition failed me in warning about a bad deal. But that’s not what I am talking about today.

A sudden realization yesterday was the flip side of this intuition. While I may decide for myself on whom I want to be friends with, do business with or anything else for that matter; the other side of the equation is something I cannot control. I can be certain about not being friends with someone or do business with a given entity. However, when I choose otherwise, I can’t guarantee if the other person would reciprocate.

It is a no brainer, yet it took years to realise this. My Intuition doesn’t necessarily mean that something will work, there are factors that go beyond my control and I would accept when it doesn’t go my way. Regardless, I won’t stop believing in my Intuition.

This can be considered an update to ‘I Made A Choice’

Commitment

Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time architecting myself to be a self improving being. I care deeply about this. Given any situation, I like to come out with a sense that I have learnt and would do better the next time I am in that situation. Or simply put, every passing day, I want to push my limits in every area of life.

This begins by constant self evaluation of my actions. It often involves questions like – was there a better way to do this? Did I meet my commitments for the day? Did I make a positive impact to the space around me? My ‘alacrous soliloquy’ tag, today partly comes from such discussions in my head.

The side-affect? I would get upset over small issues and welcome seriously large problems as new opportunity to learn, to test myself.

What I do hope for, is to strike a balance. To know when not to care about what went right or wrong, to accept facts I cannot change and to limit the harshness emitting from this learning process.