“I wanted what everyone wants. To be me, full-time”

Phil Knight writes in his memoir Shoe Dog that he wanted to be himself full-time, not that he didn’t like his PriceWaterHouse job “but it just wasn’t me” he writes.

Do you want to be yourself full-time and not have to pretend to be someone else, if you are working for somebody you must be someone else most of the day and only at nights and weekends you get to experience your true self but even that gets harder if you are spending that time worrying about why your work is not play, why you are not tap dancing to work, what brought you here and how can you get out of that box?

If you are pretending to be someone you are not with family then you are toast anyway, no point trying to fix your work life, first go and figure out personal life issues. You cannot produce your best work.

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken (Oscar Wilde)” is easy to quote and should be even easier to practice, fire is always fire, it doesn’t pretend to be water, why do we humans struggle?

Swadharme Nidhanam Shreyaha Para Dharmo Bhayavahaha”

Gita 3-35

श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुण: परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेय: परधर्मो भयावह: || 35||

śhreyān swa-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmāt sv-anuṣhṭhitāt
swa-dharme nidhanaṁ śhreyaḥ para-dharmo bhayāvahaḥ

It is far better to perform one’s natural prescribed duty, though tinged with faults, than to perform another’s prescribed duty, though perfectly. In fact, it is preferable to die in the discharge of one’s duty, than to follow the path of another, which is fraught with danger.

source: https://www.holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/3/verse/35

If You Want To Do Something, Don’t Think About It, Go And Do It

I have come to this point many times. Sometimes, many times in a single day. I have a good idea and then think and think and think about it, imagine all the things that could go wrong and all the things that could go right. Weigh the pros and the cons in a rational way and of course the idea is to come to a reasonable decision. The problem here is that the original idea doesn’t actually get done, lot of thinking usually makes the idea not that interesting anymore and I lose the excitement I had in the beginning.

This line “If you want to do something, don’t think about it, go and do it” from Dyson vacuum founder in a podcast with Guy Raz made me think about this a bit. He has a point, why should you spend time thinking about the idea, what’s the fun in that, all the fun is in doing the idea and not thinking more about it.

#8 Karthish Manthiram

On Creating Fuels and Chemicals For The Next 100 Years and The Importance Of Accessible Role Models

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Karthish Manthiram is an Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering at MIT. The Manthiram Lab at MIT is focused on the molecular engineering of electrocatalysts for the synthesis of organic molecules, including pharmaceuticals, fuels, and commodity chemicals, using renewable feedstocks. Karthish’s research and teaching have been recognized with several awards, including Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science.



Our work should break us out of what we are used to, it should surprise us, disturb us –Karthish Manthiram

#7 Tirthak Saha

On modernizing the power grid infrastructure and making life choices that you are happy with

Tirthak Saha has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Drexel. He was selected by Forbes 30 under 30 for his work in electric grid modernization. He worked on Smart Grid projects at utility giant American Electric Power. One of his proposals won AEP’s Spark Tank Innovation Challenge and is now underway. The $1 billion investment will improve energy delivery across 9 states.

“Be happy with your life choices.”

#6 Vijay Nadadur

On using machines to help humans to understand natural language faster, cheaper and better and on feeling comfortable with your life choices

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Vijaykant Nadadur is the Co-Founder & CEO of Stride.AI. His expertise spans the areas of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Understanding. He is also a mentor at Techstars Paris and Bangalore. He has lived in 6 countries and speaks 7 languages. 



Enjoy my conversation with Vijay

Lessons Learned From Ben and Jerry

We didn’t think of it as a business, we thought of it as a venture. We wanted to do it for a couple of years and then become cross country truck drivers.

A lot of our problems would be solved if we made the ice creams shittier.

Business is essentially “busyness”, it’s mostly commonsense and lot of work.

We ran a promotion in winter called “Penny Off Per Celsius degree Below Zero Winter Extravaganza (POPCBZWE)”.

Ben and Jerry are two great friends and amazing citizens of the world delivering happiness by the pint, under $5

Random tweet (credit: Marche’ Lawton) about Ben and Jerry, haven’t fact checked but if it is true I’m definitely buying more chunky monkeys as well

Jerry Greenfield, left, and Bennett Cohen, the founders of Ben and Jerry Homemade Inc., pose in front of their “Cowmobile” in Burlington, Vt., on June 15, 1987.
( Toby Talbot / AP Images )
Source: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/heresthething/episodes/ben-and-jerry-warm

Notes and Links

https://www.amazon.com/Ice-Cream-Wendall-S-Arbuckle/dp/1461380677

#4 Sidharth and Somvir

On a mission to rebuild real human connections locally, worldwide

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Somvir and Siddharth are co-founders of MyScoot platform which helps people discover great local experiences and meet amazing people through house parties. They are part of the Y Combinator Accelerator program and are fired up to change the way people build and develop social connections locally all around the world.

“By the end of this week, there will be 50 people who would have met each other through something that we’re doing”
Enjoy my conversation with Somvir and Siddharth

#3 Sumona Karjee Mishra

On a mission to eliminate pregnancy related disorders in India and around the world, starting with early diagnosis of Preeclampsia.

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Sumona Karjee Mishra is a scientist turned entrepreneur. She co-founded Prantae Solutions along with her husband to disrupt treatment of pregnancy related disorders, with an initial focus on Preeclampsia which affects 5-8% of all  pregnancies worldwide. She received her PhD from the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi.

“You can’t let the pregnant women die” and “Love yourself”


#2 Sriram Emani

On disrupting the 600-year old Indian music and dance industry and choosing to do what you love

Sriram Emani is the Co-founder and CEO of IndianRaga. He is a 2015 Global Fellow with the International Society for the Performing Arts (ISPA), where he was the only Indian out of 52 Fellows from across the world. Dedicated to popularizing Indian classical and contemporary music and dance, Sriram is the brains behind the widely popular Indian version of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, which has garnered over 25 million views across various platforms.

“I went to IIT to do engineering, but I ended up doing a whole ton of performing.”

How Many Clone Startups Do We Need?

Why is the world obsessed with building so many similar products and companies, is it that many VCs are just sheep and throw money at startups in a large and growing market? Or is it that the world needs variety? current solutions are not serving the market well? the market is big and more companies can co-exist and thrive?

For example, I don’t work in the Cloud, Data or Monitoring space and I don’t spend much time thinking about this space but I have seen many companies popping up that are all doing variations of Cloud Backups, Cloud Log Analyzers. I can only imagine how many companies actually exist in each of these areas, I am probably only aware of a small percentage of them.

I see this happening in many industries, not just cloud computing. I see this even in Transportation (Lyft, Uber, Didi, Ola and on and on), Hospitality (Airbnb, Sonder, Lyric, Vrbo, Vacasa, Holidu and on and on), Streaming (Disney+, Peacock, Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu and on and on). I understand variety is the spice of life but I also know the “paradox of choice”.

The fundamental question I’m intrigued by is “why do people spend so much money, time and effort on building things that are not unique”, that are not, in my humble opinion, zero to one companies.