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Musings Aug 2022
It has been a while since I posted. I succumbed to the tyranny of busyness at work and did not find time for writing regularly. A few gentle nudges from my near and dear has got me recommitted to writing these posts again. I have been keeping a list of good articles, videos and podcasts. To make up for my absence, let me start with a few recent gems:
I have been fascinated about the extremes that Disney goes to provide an exceptional experience for its guests. For instance, they paint some sections of the park every night, so that it appears as if it is new to their customers who come in every morning. It is a great example of how customer focused an organization can be. On that note, this was a fun read on why Disney in Florida does not have mosquitoes.
This article teases with insights on Greg Robinson, the Engineer who turned around the almost certain to fail James Webb Space Telescope project. While the article clearly ascribes the success of this project to Greg, it does not provide enough insights on the methods used. Nevertheless, it is cool to see someone described as the best mission leader that NASA has ever seen.
The greatest player of all time in tennis (GOAT), Serena Williams announced her retirement last week, in one of the best written retirement notes that I have read. Serena showed her class and in a heart felt way described the choices facing her, leading to the decision to evolve from Tennis. Yes, evolve, so much better than the word retire.
This podcast on insights was insightful. There were several excellent points, starting from "Insight is something that contradicts your prior beliefs" to the different type of insights, to positing that Organizations are inherently setup to not favor insights as insights are disruptive and unpredictable. My personal takeaway is that I needed to create space for mind wandering so that I can make connections between the different information that I am consuming. If you want to understand the wandering mind better, read chapter 5 of the book Stolen Focus
If you are looking for some workout motivation, read about Cameron Hanes, an endurance athlete who runs a marathon everyday.
A bunch of interesting insights on how to win in the Indian market in this podcast with Kunal Shah.
Adam Grant's piece on how to argue better
An excellent piece on life hacks. Many gems here like - "Anything you say before the word “but” does not count."; "Marriage is a 50-year conversation. Marry someone you want to talk with for the rest of your life."
A short piece that helps pause the never ending desire to have more.
Robert Oppenheimer's recommendation letter for Richard Feynman
Notes to my younger self
Series of notes on multiple topics that if I go back in time, I will share with my 20 year old self. A snippet below.
The desire to please others
Perhaps the hardest thing to overcome is the desire to please others or to fulfill their expectations. This desire for validation is deep in our DNA. For centuries, you could not do much without your community or your tribe. Hence it was important to be accepted, you had to conform to survive. Capitalism changed this equation and allowed people to no longer depend on their tribes and communities. We no longer live with a small group of people in a circle of codependence. However, humans evolve slowly. So we have created these virtual tribes in our mind, a group of people, often with a rolling cast of characters who in our minds have nothing better to do than to observe us, to applaud our success and criticize our failures. We waste our time and energy in seeking artificial approval from the fluid virtual group. Why else would we fall prey to brands? Why else would we spend so much time not being in the moment but capturing the moment, for others to see?
The obvious approach to getting out of this would be to resolve that “I don’t care for anyone”, a resolve that I would take every other week during my college years. However, that approach will fail as it takes away what is most human about us - to care for others.
So here is a contrarian suggestion. Instead of diminishing your care, increase it, turn it all the way to a 11. However, don’t care for what they think of you. Instead care deeply for how you can be there for them, care for how you can love them unconditionally, care for how you can forgive them as easily as you would a toddler, and care for giving them your 100% when you are with them.
Unconditional love melts away expectations, dissolves the peer-pressure scorecard you have in your mind, releases the unnecessary baggage of performance that you have set for yourself and returns you to lightness, laughter and love - qualities that make you human.
Few Tweets that I enjoyed
A brilliant paining that shows human aging as you walk around it
A good example of how deep learning models struggle with out of distribution data.
This tweet on mistakes made as a manager.
One of the all time great endings in a Soccer game
This tweet that compares humans to Giant Sequoias. It makes me want to go to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National park asap.
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