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Dealing with Change

Two recent examples have helped me create a more clear position on how to deal with the present/future in which technology is always-changing our world (culturally).

  • Socrates, and his disciple Plato were vehemently against writing. Putting ideas, knowledge down as texts. They argued that it’ll have adverse effects.
  • Episode 642 of Planet Money talked about how initial automated elevators were thought of as ‘killing machines’ because there was ‘no one driving it’. That is how some of us may think of self-driving cars today.

Both of these show that we, as living-in-the-present humans, have limited capacity to see permanency of mega-trends, and tend to lean by default towards the negative aspects of it. The truth may be that fundamental, paradigm-shifts are inevitable and the socio-cultural norms rearrange themselves around the new status quo, making old assumptions and expectations invalid.


Some topics have such division on evidence that I find it hard to form a firm opinion.

  • Artificial sweetners: good for you?
  • Blackfish film: Truth or lies?
  • Organics label: worth it?

Daniel Kish and Echolocation

Daniel Kish (born 1966 in Montebello, California) is an American expert in human echolocation and President of World Access for the Blind, a non-profit he founded in 2000. Kish and his organization have taught echolocation to at least 500 blind children around the world. Kish, who has been blind since he was 13 months old, is the first totally blind person to be a legally Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) and to hold a National Blindness Professional Certification (NOMC). He also holds masters degrees in developmental psychology and special education.

Kish’s work has inspired a number of scientific studies related to human echolocation. In a 2009 study at the University of Alcalá in Madrid, ten sighted subjects were taught basic navigation skills within a few days. The study aimed to analyze various sounds which can be used to echo-locate and evaluate which were most effective. In another study, MRI brain scans were taken of Kish and another echolocation expert to identify the parts of the brain involved in echolocation, with readings suggesting “that brain structures that process visual information in sighted people process echo information in blind echolocation experts.”

Unbelievable. A reminder of how limitless the human mind and capabilities are. Read more about Daniel at

Better before cheaper, Revenue before cost

Management is all about making difficult tradeoffs. Exceptional companies approach these tradeoffs with two simple rules in mind:

  1. Better before cheaper: Companies re moire likely to succeed in long run it they complete on quality or performance than on price
  2. Revenue before cost: Companies have more to gain in the long run from driving up revenue (for e.g. by charging higher prices or appealing to more customers) than by driving down costs

[From Economist, July 13th 2013 Edition]

My Quotes

  • Respect (your body/health, relationships, animals/life)
  • How bringing up a child makes you a better person by giving you insights into yourself
  • Success in life is not because of a few correct decisions or calculated risks. It is because of thousands millions billions of little decisions and choices made. (same for success in business. e.g. Southwest, Trader Joes, Costco)
  • Current times, What we choose to do: McDonald’s Happy Meal Toy. It is economically rewarding to give a complex artificial toy away with the purchase of an unhealthy meal. Can we apply that collective will to curing cancer?
  • Perhaps our Future, What we can do: Bitcoin’s Blockchain (Source: Economist). The open-source way of creating distributed trust in an environment where people don’t know each other and there is no central enforcing authority.
  • The fact that ugly Otter cases are most popular accessory for sleek iPhone tells you a lot about the fundamental taste of masses.
  • We are already living in cognitive overload era. Nothing proves it more than the popularity of terse services like twitter and vine.
  • There is no success of failure in absolute sense. Only the ability to do course corrections matters.
    • Success is defined by how quickly you recover from mistakes, not how many mistakes you make.
    • The species that survives is not the strongest or the most intelligent. But the most adaptable.
  • Most successful people know when to stop.
  • Aim: to lead an epic life.
  • There is a difference between liking what you do (passive, inherited) and doing what you like (active, by choice)
  • Start-up life is about struggling against things that stop you and people who tend to put you down. Maybe they should be called Stop-down instead.
    • Till they get traction, start-ups mostly feel like stop-downs
  • In networking, even dead-ends count as legitimate travel (and distance covered on the way to destination)
  • A single letter swap and you can rearrange ‘health’ into ‘lethal’. Maybe that is a reminder for us in real life.
  • There are two kinds of decisions: right ones and timely ones. Strive for them being the same decision.
  • Self-criticism may be the key to perfection. Most important is what you think of your work.
  • The pleasure of doing the right thing is very addictive
  • If you see a thread, pull on it. Living is about unraveling new opportunities.
  • Life is a sum of experiences. Not achievements.
  • The realization that everything is possible is exhilarating. And scary, because there is always a risk of making sub-optimal choice.
  • Faith is individual, culture is for groups. Religion is an artificial excuse to change both.
  • I’d like to be defined by my perseverance, not success.
  • Age does not guarantee wisdom.
  • With great responsibilities, waiting for great power.
  • Rest (give up) or Wrest (with adversity)? That’s the eternal question in entrepreneurship.
  • Mantra for company culture, healthcare: No outcome = No income.
  • Startup life feels like bungee jump. Large swings in emotion for someone who sees the world upside down. (Also, sometimes what feels like up is actually down in the real world, and vice versa).

Their Quotes

  • Don’t die wondering
  • ‘Someday’ is happening today
  • Live like you are dying
  • Take the path of least regret
  • I only fear not trying
  • It’s dose that makes the poison
  • It’s our choices that define us, not our abilities… (Albus Dumbledore)
  • Those who believe don’t need a proof. For the rest, none will suffice
  • You can only connect the dots looking backwards
  • Stay hungry, Stay foolish
  • Be the change you want to see
  • Do you feel like a puzzle, and you can’t find your missing piece? (Coldplay. Song “Talk”)
  • Just because I’m losing, Doesn’t mean that I’m lost.. (Coldplay. Song “Lost”)
  • Sometimes I get nervous
    When I see an open door
    Close your eyes..
    Clear your heart..
    Cut the cord.
    (The Killers. Song”Human”)
  • There is no education in second kick of the mule
  • Every minute is a chance to turn it all around (Movie “Vanilla Sky”)
  • The most sincere prayers are heard in hospitals, not churches
  • 1.Try Something 2.Count Something 3.Write Something (Atul Gwande. Book “Better”)
  • It’s funny how some distance makes everything look small (Disney movie “Frozen”. Song “Let it go”)
  • बिन खुद जले ना होये उजाला (Song from Movie “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”)
  • Sorrow grows bigger when the sorrow’s denied (Perl Jam. Song “I am mine”)
  • Better to get excellent deal at fair price than fair deal at excellent price (Warren Buffet)
  • Life is either a daring adventure, or it is nothing at all (Helen Keller)
  • The necessary and sufficient condition for the downfall of an ideological society is the free exchange of ideas within it
  • If we choose to believe the worst in others, it brings out the worst in us (Adam Grant, Book “Give and Take”)
  • Not all who wander are lost (Tolkien)
  • The greatest risk in life may be… not taking one.
  • Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’.
  • The only way to win is to learn faster. (Eric Reis, Author of The Lean Startup)
  • The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. (Alvin Toffler)
  • Everything is wonderful, and nobody is happy. (C.K. Louis)
  • Business is mostly busy-ness for big companies.
  • We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize we only have one.