Let bad new travel

Let bad new travel

Today as I was getting ready for work I heard a loud crash and then a pitter-patter of tiny feet running. I come out just in time to see that Meera, my 1.5 yrs old, had dropped my laptop and was now running away from “scene of the crime”. My fully decked out MacBook Pro way lying on the floor and my child was running away trying to distance her from the “mistake” to avoid the scolding.

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Man's search for meaning - Book Notes

Man's search for meaning -Book Notes

I finished reading ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl today. It is one of those books that make you feel bad for not having picked them earlier. Well, better late than never. Actually I might actually read this book once every few years. This is how much I have been impacted by this book. The author was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived 4 concentration camps during the Holocaust. He is also the founder of logotherapy, which assumes the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life. I will not try to explain this here because I don’t want to misrepresent anything about it due to my new and basic understanding of it. But the concept of ‘meaning of life’ makes sense to me. A book reads (listens, in my case) like an autobiographical essay where the author uses his own experiences at the concentration camps and other examples to drive home the idea that the ultimate goal of a man is to find meaning in life which he can live for.

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Four tips to make your life simpler in 2020

Four tips to make your life simpler in 2020

Here are 4 quick tips I personally follow to make my life a little simpler. These are not pro-tips to make your life super-efficient and highly performant. Well not directly but once you start making your day-to-day life simpler than how it is right now you will yourself start seeing efficiency and productivity creeping in.

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Best Fiction Books I read in 2019

This post is in continuation with my previous post where I describe who 2019 was for me books wise. In that post I also list out the top non-fiction books I read in 2019. You can find that post here (https://akhil.me/2019/best-non-fiction-books-i-read-in-2019/).

I actually like reading fiction a lot. I have mentioned many times that audiobooks are my primary medium of consuming books and in those terms listing to fiction is the best. Not only does it require less concentration compared to a typical non-fiction but also is more enjoyable with the voice acting done by the narrators.

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Best Non-Fiction Books I read in 2019

This past year was a mixed one for me, book-wise. Last year I had read a personal best of 55 books and wanted to continue that streak this year as well. Unfortunately I could not meet that target this year. As a matter of fact, I don’t even have an exact number of books that I read this year. But. And that’s a pretty major but. I feel this year was much better in terms of the kinds of books I read. Last year was dominated by fiction which I wanted to change up this year. I am pretty happy with the mix of books this year which I felt was pretty balanced between fiction and non-fiction. I read some pretty amazing books and can only hope that this streak also continues in 2020.

Here’s a list of the top 5 non-fiction books that I read this year. These are the books I personally loved and more importantly would want my friends to read and enjoy. I am providing Amazon links to each of the books with them so that you don’t have to work too hard to find them. Full Disclosure - These are affiliate links.

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First Homebrew - Making my own beer

This beautiful unbranded bottle of beer you see here contains a beer that is so unique that only 20 such bottles exist in the entire word. That is because I brewed this beer myself. From start to finish, from the process of fermentation to bottling to carbonation, everything was done by yours truly at home.

First things first, YES this is perfectly legal. I checked. I am in the clear until I make huge quantities or try to sell it. Homebrewing is perfectly legal in India for personal consumption.

Why?

Well, why not? I like beers. They are the only form of alcohol I consume and that too I do because I like the taste of it. I like to try new beers just so that I can try new tastes. Considering that home brewing is a relatively cheap hobby this was the logical next step.

How?

I build products for a living so I approached this hobby also with the MVP approach. I purchased the bare minimum equipment that would be needed to make the first batch with some scope for future expansion. I am currently in the POC (proof-of-concept) phase of this hobby and I will take the next leap only when the POC becomes a success.

Outcome?

I will be honest - it turned out way better than I had expected. There was alcohol, so fermentation was a success. There was fizz, so carbonation was success and there was this nice hoppy flavor and smells that you get from the really nice niche breweries. My expectations were very low considering it was the first batch with minimal equipment. I did not even get a hydrometer so I didnt even know how much alcohol was produced exactly. (My estimate is somewhere between 3-4%).

Next steps

The next batch has already gone into fermentation in which I made some improvements to the recipe with some additions. This is a slow process which even at its fastest takes 4-5 weeks for the final product to be ready which is a nice addition to the activities I undertake. In terms of consumption neither do I drink that frequently nor do I drink that much so every single batch should last me many months. I plan to share most of my products with friends and family.

In case you want to know more about the process or just want to grab a homebrew with me just hit me up and we can plan.

Cheers!!

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Who will you hire - Smart or Nice?

For the past 10+ years I have managed engineering teams of various sizes, tech stacks and capabilities. No matter which team I am working with, building it out and expanding has always been a function that has excited and scared me at the same time. From the face of it hiring for tech positions seems fairly straight forward. You filter out candidates by years of experience in relevant technologies, throw a few tech questions and them and choose the ones who answer most of them. Easy! Nope. I started my stint as an engineering manager doing exactly this only and oh how I have been burned. It is very easy to fall into the trap that is this process’s simplicity if one is not careful. The biggest mistake I, as a lot of managers also do, made was judging the candidates in isolation. Judge them only on the basis of their skills and knowledge and speed at which they solved a problem without giving much thought to how they go about doing it. This, I tell you, is a mistake and the worst thing is that it takes a lot of time before you realize where it went wrong.

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Observations of a new father

This is clearly not the best title for this small write-up because if it was it would have been something like “Important lessons learnt..” or “What you should know…”. Something really assertive that would have been a more, let’s just call it compelling click. But it is not and here we are. The reason for this is simple. I do not think that what I have experienced or rather any father could have experienced in mere 4 months can be lessons that can be shared with others. I will go to the extent that this domain, parenting, is almost always learned by self-discovery and no about of reading parenting books and watching youtube videos will prepare you for what will actually happen in your life. Hence there are all what they truly are. Observations. Observations of the impact and the changes that have been brought in my life by my baby girl. Although one can say that there is always some learning in all experience, as you read ahead, I do not make any such claims. These are just my observations.

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Book Review : Win Bigly - Scott Adams

I don’t know Trump. Let me rephrase this. As an Indian, my knowledge of the American President is rather limited. Primarily because since he is not my president I don’t need to necessarily stay informed about him. And whatever news about him that trickles down to me via media, mainstream or social, is not very positive towards him. It also does not help that I am a fan of Stephen Colbert and his disapproval of Trump is world famous. The point I am trying to make by all these words is that very little positive is known to me and people like me about Trump. This has always caused me to pause and wonder that it cannot be an accident that this man has become the leader of the free world without having any redeeming positive qualities. He has got to be good, and rather brilliantly, at something which helped him defeat someone like Hillary. Hillary, who everyone thought was the only “logical” choice of the two.

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