Posts Categorized: Experience

Before you go ahead and buy that gym membership..

Resolutions

Tis the time for resolutions. The new year is just round the corner and like every year we all have our resolutions in our minds. This is an age old practice which has been engrained in us ever since we were little. Our resolutions might have changed with time but our excellent habit of not following them to the end remains a constant. One resolution that becomes kind of constant for people my age which we make every year to abandon in the very first week is “_Get Fit_”. This resolution is most commonly phrased as “_I will fix my eating habits and start working out_”. Most of these people stay enthusiastic for at max a week. Although in this one week they will accomplish a lot of things. They will see what a day that starts at 6am looks like in Delhi winter and what a lettuce tastes like. Now the best and easiest part of the “fitness process” is preparing for it. Which means buying new workout gear, water bottle and a membership at a swanky gym. For most resolutioners gym sign up is well begun and well begun is half done. I will be pulling stats out of my ass but 95% of these people will stop going to the gym within a fortnight. If this year too you are planning to resolve to get fit and are thinking about getting a gym membership/fancy equipment, I have a few pointers for you which I am sure will help you make an informed decision.

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But what about my sensational headline?

5467472773_eef4e82205_bLast Saturday I was at a mall in South Delhi with my beautiful wife. We were in one of he apparel shops where she was checking out some cure cloths and I was wandering around doing the husband thing which would be to feign interest in the said cloths. At one point I realised that a few set of eyes were constantly following me. I saw that for some reason I was the centre for attention for 2 girls. Now I have a beard. Not a stubble a full grown-ass beard which is worthy of attention from all friends and foes alike. I am used to it. After some time one of the girls covertly (she tried but i saw) took a few pictures of mine. I noticed but IDWAF so I moved on. At the time of checking out one of the girls was within an earshot and was speaking to someone. As it turns out apparently I looked like that some someone and he was being duly informed that his doppelgänger has been spotted (she actually used the word duplicate but ugh..) and she will share the pics shortly. Now that the story was clear to me I still did not have any fucks to give so I moved along with wifey to the next stop. Later that evening as we were having dinner and discussing the incident we had a major realisation. What if it was the other way around? I, a male, would have been caught taking pics of some female secretly. I can easily imagine the viral videos shared on social media with heading like “_Two girls were out shopping happily, you would be shocked to see what this pervert did_” or “_These brave girls caught a perv secretly taking their pics. What happened next will surprise you_”. You all would have shared the video praising their heroics and cursing my mere existence. But what about my sensational headline? Now you can say I could have confronted them but even you know the outcome that would have brought. Nothing would have come out of it rather they would have turned it on me for falsely accusing and harassing them. Because women empowerment. It is a strange and scary realisation that I being a male have absolutely no rights when it comes to privacy and harassment.

For what it is worth it is not new for me that people tell me that I look like someone they know. Some 2 weeks back I was out with a friend when 2 guys came to me and told me that i looked like one of their friends and if they could take a picture. I happily obliged and posed for them. I would have done the same for these girls as well if they had only asked. After all who would not want to be photographed by 2 girls in front of his wife :)

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Ideas sometime kill ideas

Ideas sometime kill ideasAn idea is the most potent as well as the most convoluted thing in the world. A simple looking idea could turn out to be a major hassle of life and an extremely complex seeming one can be as easy as the process of breathing itself. They distract us, excite us, entice us and haunt us to sleeplessness. Yet we all consider them to be a good thing. And why not? It’s the ideas that get us out of sticky situations. If not because of ideas we would not have had so many amazing inventions and discoveries around us. Yet despite all the “goodness” about the ideas one should be careful about/with them. If an idea is the one thing that started the journey to success, it will take one rogue idea only to derail you from the right path. It is natural to get excited whenever you get a new idea and the sudden urge to try it, test it and implement could be unstoppable but it is important that you weigh the idea in the broader prospect of things and with long-term implications in mind. It is very easy for young entrepreneurs to get distracted by new ideas and waste their time and energy in chasing them jeopardizing the effort they have already put in their startup. It’s not uncommon to see new entrepreneurs running after new ideas like new marketing initiatives and adding new feature to the product totally disregarding the existing bugs or issues or drawbacks in the product that are already there. People tend to start building new shiny features when the old ones are still not working properly. They start chasing new marketing mediums even before they have properly used the conventional ones. They start chasing startup communities and VC meetups even when the product is half-baked just because that is the “cool” thing to do. It is true that entrepreneurship starts with an idea but an idea is all it takes to kill it as well. You have to see through the options and weight them based on your standing and direction. Optimization only comes after completion. You cannot optimize something that is not even there.

Don’t let your ideas kill your greatest idea.

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What we all should learn from bodybuilders

What we all should learn from bodybuildersIt is hard not to be impressed by a body builder. They the healthiest, most attractive and hardworking group of individuals you will find. But beyond these external features there is much more to body building and the individuals pursuing it. There is a whole different lifestyle and ethos of living from which we all, entrepreneurs and other, can learn so much and make our lives much better. I am sharing a few things that I feel we call should definitely learn from body builders

  1. Quantifiable goals – whether it is gaining muscles or losing weight a body builder always sets quantifiable goals and works around them. He knows exactly how many kilos he has to lose and then only he starts the activities. Even if it is as trivial as 6 he knows how many abs he wants. He will constantly log and monitor his stats and check for deviations. I am a firm believer of “What cannot be measured cannot be managed” and I feel that quantification as much as possible should be done.
  2. Impeccable planning – If you are serious about your body and you have defined your goals you will have to have a proper and detailed plan of action to achieve those goals. You will define the daily routine and diet in granular details to the last bite and last rep. An experienced body builder will also accommodate some scope of adjustment based on the intermediate observations and deviations but those still are planned. Anything that is meticulously planned is bound to succeed.
  3. Religiously follow routine – you cannot get a good body if you do not follow your plan religiously. Body builders are very particular about their diet, the quantities and the timings as well as their workout plan. They will workout in the exact same order and on exact same time as it is mentioned in the plan. This kind of commitment is something that we all can do with. Planning is easy, its only words. The real metal lies in the execution and consistency.
  4. Push yourself to the limit – if you want to have a great physique we not only have to get out of our comfort zones but also push ourself into that painful zone where the body is almost about to yield and one more rep is just not possible. And yet a dedicated body builder will do 2 more reps. He knows that it is these 2 reps that count. As entrepreneurs we do push our self to the limit at times but far too rarely. But beyond the limit is where the heavens lie. As they say in the gym – pain is just weakness leaving the body.
  5. Importance of rest – You will not get a good body if you workout 24 hours a day. When you workout your muscles break and then get reformed when you are resting (crude explanation). So the real muscle-building takes place when you are actually resting. All body builders know that and just like their workout are very particular about their rest. They know the importance of a good nights sleep and the importance of that 1 break in their schedule. They do all this to avoid fatigue and stress. In our lives it is called burnout. No one wants to burn out.
  6. Meritocracy – A gym is almost always a meritocratic society. Everyone has to earn their place and respect by showing their metal. Fellow body builders will only accept you and respect you if they see you pushing yourself. Else you are just one of those distractions hogging the treadmill posting “At da Gym” on Facebook. In my last post I wrote about entrepreneurs being far too kind and accommodating towards fellow entrepreneurs even when they have not earned it.
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Entrepreneur Sympathy

Entrepreneur SympathyIf you follow some startup communities or have a social circle which has many entrepreneurs almost every day you will be exposed to new and fresh products or services or apps that beg for your feedback and support. It could approach you directly or could be as simple as a Facebook post or tweet introducing a new “idea” and asking for feedback. Now it is not possible that you are positive about absolutely everything. Yes you can find positive things about the product/idea but that everything that you will come across will be good reflects poorly on your choices/thinking more than it does on the ideas that you see every day. Even then most of us do not share the negative feedback. Even if you feel that the idea is “stupid” (I know it is a harsh term but I will be lying if I say that this has never come in my mind when seeing a new startup) you will most likely not say it for the fear of being labeled a closed-minded pessimistic naysayer. Even when you can clearly see the poor build quality, extremely bad choice of technology and design and even platform, not a word is said to the fellow entrepreneur other than congratulating him and wishing him luck. It happens every day when I see such posts where fellow entrepreneurs, even the seasoned kind, will praise the lefts and rights of the product or if nothing the entrepreneurial spirit of the person completely neglecting the elephant sized problem that they identified within the first 5 seconds of seeing the product. Is the fear of being called a negative guy that big that you do not point out that appalling font that the developer entrepreneur has used?

I have taken a lot of flak a lot of times for giving the most direct and cruel feedback without any sugar-coating or even a single word of praise. Most of the new entrepreneurs thank me but it is easy to figure out which ones are pissed with my lone critical comment in the deluge of praises and good wishes. And yet I continue to do so. For I know that by not doing this I will be doing a disservice to my fellow friend who will never even know what he did wrong. If I give him validation just because he seeks it and I don’t want to “sound rude” would mean robbing him of the opportunity of improving himself. But most importantly I do this because I want this done to me. I like to claim that I am where I am because I made mistakes and then took lessons from those mistakes. The process of finding these areas of improvement becomes even more efficient if you point out my mistakes as soon as you see them.

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Why everyone should learn to drive

Why everyone should learn to driveAs I was driving over to meet a friend this Saturday, crisscrossing between the moderate traffic of a weekend, i came upon a realization. Driving, as a skill, is much more than just the ability or independence to transport ourselves from one place to another. There are a lot of lessons learning to drive or driving regularly can teach us what we can use in almost all aspects of our lives. I am convinced to the extent that I feel that absolutely all entrepreneurs (and everyone else must too) must definitely learn to drive.

Everything is scary at the beginning - Learning to drive is scary. At least for most of us. We all are scared that we might hit something or damage the car or something bad might happen. But eventually we learn, practice and master the skill of driving and soon we are driving in dense Delhi traffic. This applies to all the new things in life. You don’t know if it is actually difficult unless you try it, unless you take the leap.

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Lets do something thunderous today (aka Aaj kuch toofani karte hai)

Aaj kuch toofani karte haiAs it is being very cleverly shown by the multitude of highly creative illustrations floating around on the social media we are but a tiny speck, a mere grain of sand, when compared to the grand scheme of the universe.We all live, breath, breed and disintegrate just like all the multi-cellular organisms that roam on the face of this earth. The only this that differentiates us from lets say a zebra is the ability or to be more apt the opportunity to influence others. A zebra can at the max influence the lives of some zebras of its pack and maybe a few predators but we humans have the ability, opportunity and the means of influencing almost everything under and beyond the sun. Whether you use it for good or bad is totally up to us but the important thing is that we always have that opportunity. Every day that we spend going with the flow, just living by and not making use of this opportunity to make something awesome is a day wasted. It is never too early or too late to decide that now I will do something that will make a dent in this universe. Every day is the best day to start something awesome.

Sure not everyone will reach the heights of the likes of Gandhi, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg but in the end you will always know in your heart that there is some awesome in this world because of you. I had never thought in my life that someday I will quote Salman Khan (Bollywood actor and not the Khan Academy guy) but as he says in the amazing Thums Up ad campaign “ A thunder is never big or small. A thunder is a thunder.”. You have the chance to create your own thunder. Make it happen. Or as it is very often heard in the premises of Green Apple Solutions

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Why you should pay for my services even if you have a (much) cheaper option

Why you cannot build a BMW with Hyundai partsI cannot even count how many times I have been asked “_Why are you so expensive when XYZ firm is willing to take this firm at a third of the cost that you have quoted?_” or “_Why is your hourly rate so high?_” With intangible products and services you always run the risk that the customer will compare you with a cheaper service and might even be inclined to go that ways. Usually while doing so the customer is assuming that both I and the cheaper alternative are providing the same or at least similar output. There is nothing “extra” that he feels he is getting out of it.

Now let me start by saying that I am not “really” expensive. My “expensiveness” is the same in sense as a BMW is expensive compared to a Hyundai. There are people who need a Hyundai and there are people who need a BMW. Those who need a BMW pay a higher price because they know they are getting something extra and something better. Even if this something extra is the semblance of a status symbol, it is still something extra. The difference can be justified and in most of the cases is tangible. Unfortunately this is not how the consulting industry works. Yet this difference exists even in our industry. So let me try to show you why it makes sense for you to still hire us for your project even if I seem expensive. Also I = Green Apple Solutions :)

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Get Hired Series: Telephonic Interview Checklist

Telephonic Interview ChecklistSo far I have in this series I have shared 2 checklists that a job applicant should consult when he is applying for a job. In the first part we discussed how he can make sure that his résumé is free of errors and avoid common pitfalls. In the second installment I shared the do’s and don’ts one should follow when composing the email that you send to the prospective employer. In this post I will discuss the points a job aspirant should take care of when faced with a Telephonic Interview. A telephonic interview is a common practice in the tech industry where a recruiter can have a brief discussion with the applicant and make a judgment as to whether the candidate should be called for the next round. I personally am fond of this process as due to its convenience for both the parties. Also most of the times within the first few minutes of the conversation you are aware if the candidate is good enough to be called. So it makes sense for candidates to be ready for a telephonic interview. This time again I’ll be sharing the points in the form of a checklist and will be providing explanations wherever required.

  • Am I ready on time – Never forget that you have a telephonic interview lined up so that you can make yourself free for it.
  • Do I have a sensible caller tune – Although it is a personal thing I’d still recommend that you go with the standard ringer or some sensible caller tune. Not many employers would be too keen to know how “your milkshakes bring the boys to the yard” or how “bit**es are none of you 99 problems.”
  • Have I chosen the best possible spot – the beauty of the telephonic interview is that it happens at the place of your comfort. Stand where you know the signal strength is good and there is no/minimum ambient noise. It would not be beneficial to you if you have to scream or repeat every answer.
  • Do I have my résumé in hand – always keep with you a copy of the résumé that you had to this particular recruiter. Ideally you should remember what you have written in your résumé but you should be ready just in case some “weird” interviewer like me asks you the objective as mentioned in your résumé.
  • Do I have a paper and pen ready – Just in case you have to solve some small problem or atleast note down the variables that the interviewer is providing.
  • Have I prepared my fundamentals? – In a telephonic interview it is not possible for an interviewer o ask lengthy or detailed questions that might require explanation or the need of pen and paper, so most of them stick with asking short and basic questions about the fundamentals.
  • Did I greet them properly –Although it is a good life policy to always answer the phone with a polite and gentle hello, please be more careful when expecting an interview call. Arrogance is good but only in your work.
  • Are my answers to-the-point and precise – telephonic interview is only the first level of screening so it is advisable that you keep your answers short and to-the-point to avoid unnecessary lengthening of the process. This does not mean that you skip a detailed answer if it is required but just don’t make redundant statements.
  • Have I kept my clicks and flips silent? – Although we expect you to not refer to any external source for answers, we would really appreciate if you made an effort to make sure that we don’t hear you clicking on your laptop or flipping pages of a book.
    These are all very small but very important points that can determine if you ever get a call to get to the next round. If you keep this mind, you will never have a bad telephonic interview.
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