Saturday, June 11, 2022


I recently reread Satya Nadella's first memo (link in comments) to the Microsoft employees after becoming it's CEO. As one might expect, it lends an immense sense of clarity and also some lessons that can help shape our thinking.

As an example, he says "Our industry does not respect tradition — it only respects innovation.", something we all possibly know but it's so impactful to hear coming from a leader of his stature.

Other aspect that caught my attention is the below excerpt that outlines his hunger for learning, something he amplifies in his book "Hit Refresh" as well-
"Many who know me say I am also defined by my curiosity and thirst for learning. I buy more books than I can finish. I sign up for more online courses than I can complete. I fundamentally believe that if you are not learning new things, you stop doing great and useful things."

Satya's love for reading is clearly fueled by his desire to satisfy his extraordinary curiosity

Why else would you read ? There are obviously many reasons and I found Vala Afshar's tweet just so relevant. Included my sketchnote based on the ideas shared in this tweet.

So how much can you read ? Here's actionable insight Prakash Iyer on inculcating the reading habit. This is something i read almost a decade back in one of writings Prakash shared in Careers360 magazine, has stayed with me ever since-

"If you read for just half an hour everyday, you could finish a 250 page book in just two weeks' time. That's 26 books a year. A 100 books in next 4 years. Just think, what difference would that make to the quality of your mind, your career, your life ?Just 30 minutes a day can do the trick, so stop giving excuses about not having the time to read."

What are you reading these days? Do share in comments.



NFTs have been a talk of the town for a while now. To me, the jaw dropping moment in NFT's journey was when a digital artist named Beeple (originally named Mike Winkelmann) sold his digital art for whopping $69 million. As part of a project called “Everydays,” he created and published a new digital artwork every day, currently in 14th year. Everydays is a collection of 5000 individual pieces of digital art all in one collage, which got sold for such unprecedented amount.

The event like these, though rare, piques your curiosity towards the mysterious world of NFTs. So what really is an NFT ?
NFT stands for- Non Fungible Tokens. As Jaspreet Bindra explains in this short video ( , < 5 minutes)-

Fungible, something that is replaceable by other identical item. Non-Fungible means not replaceable. “Non-fungible” means that it’s unique and can’t be replaced with something else. For example, a dollar is fungible — you can trade one for another dollar, and you’ll have exactly the same thing. Each NFT is one-of-a-kind.

You might wonder what problems do NFTs solve ?
Traditionally, Internet platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. monetize the content you share but they keep most (all!) the value generated. If you are a producer of digital product (think image, music etc.) , there are no definite ways that can help you validate the ownership and fairly return you the value you deserve. 
In some ways, most of us have been guilty of downloading other people's work without paying for it. Economically, when there is no scarcity of a product, there is no value.

NFTs helps create digital scarcity and scarcity leads to value. It creates the scarcity by making digital products unique. NFTs are simply assets on Blockchain networks and stored in Blockchain as smart contracts. Think of NFTs as numbered tokens, and tokens as a certificate of authority.

One word of caution is that NFTs are in the early stages of adoption. Think websites of late 1990s, something that started with a big bang, outsized valuations but got stabilized after the bubble burst. The story that I started this post with, which created the NFT hype, it turns out that the buyer is actually a business partner of Beeple. OpenSea, the most popular NFT marketplace has a tool for free minting of NFTs. The platform has admitted that 80% of these NFTs are plagiarized works, fake collections, and spam. (Source:

These deviations prove that there is still some time before NFTs becomes mainstream but a more balanced view comes from Paul Graham in his recent tweet-
"NFTs can be used for so many different things that you're inviting history to make a fool of you if you dismiss them. Even if I were sure that most current uses of NFTs were bogus, I'd never dare to say that all possible uses were."

Catch the summary in my Sketchnote.

What do you think of NFTs and its future potential ?



Last week, Rafael Nadal became the first among men's Tennis players to win 21 grand slam titles. There were 2 matches in his Australian Open journey that stood out for me.

First, of course, the finals. He beat his hugely talented opponent Daniil Medvedev in 5 sets. Medvedev is 11 years younger than Nadal. And Nadal came back from 2 sets deficit, from a stage when the tournament's AI software gave him merely a 4% chance.
Second, an epic quarter finals match against an opponent (Denis Shapovalov) 13 years younger. He conceded a 2 set lead to eventually win the final set despite suffering a heat stroke and losing 4 kgs during the course of the match. So 5 days after losing 4 kgs, he plays another 5.5 hours match and wins the coveted trophy. Insane! Isn't it ?

There are plenty of reasons that can be attributed to Nadal's success, arguably none as dominant as this one- his mindset. Any lesser player in similar conditions i.e. 2 sets down in a big finals, against higher ranked, much younger player would have been clouded with self-doubt. These words reflects Nadal's indomitable mindset-
"yeah, we need to suffer, we need to fight in the next set again.
“That’s the only way to be where I am today."

One might argue that Nadal is one of a kind and probably 'born' with such an 'unbendable' mindset. If you think this way, you are possibly mistaken! Ravi Venkatesan in his book "What the Heck Do I Do with My Life?" lucidly expresses his perspective on the subject of mindset and says-

"Think of your mindset as the software that runs your life...The wonderful thing is that ,like software, you can reprogramme your mindset and thereby change your reality"

Extending the case of Nadal, unlike many champions, Nadal seem to have perfected this ability to reprogramme his mindset within hours or even minutes and set himself up to make extraordinary comebacks and win from seemingly hopeless situations.

In the chapter titled 'Mindset: Your all for life", Ravi brings forward some brilliant insights into this crucial subject and shares these 5 Beliefs that are particularly important-
1. Self-belief
2. Agency and personal responsibility
3. The growth mindset
4. Abundance
5. The big questions
(check out the summary in my sketchnote).
'What the Heck Do I Do with My Life' is a book (link in comments) worthy of including in your reading list every year and re-reading till your internalize the ideas. Potentially life changing ideas.

What are your stories of embracing growth mindset and challenging/reprogramming your beliefs ?

My LinkedIn Post:



Is playing video games good for kids ? A perennial question for the parents across generations. Whatever way we like to rationalize the answer to this question, most of us would rarely come to this conclusion- the kids should play more of video games..

But there's always an exception to the rule. Of late, I came across alternate view points on this i.e. in support for gaming for kids. Sharing a couple of them-

1. Anshul Rustaggi, founder of Indian NFTs Gaming Metaverse called as Zionverse is an advocate of gaming for kids. In a recent podcast I heard, he said gaming helped him figure out that there is a design to everything. And it helped instill competitive, never give up spirit.
2. Tobi Lutke, the CEO of Shopify said- “So, here's the wonderful thing about Starcraft—it’s been around since 1998, so I was 18 years old when it came out. I spent a good part of my formative years playing that game. There’s a couple of amazing things about it. Every decision you make is a balancing act between the needs of right now and the long-term benefits. In this way, everything is a deferred decision, and I think a lot of success in life is how good you are at making long term choices...I think Starcraft players are already better at than a lot of people who end up getting MBAs."

As these examples prove, Gaming can be educational if the gamer can tune him/her to think beyond the instant gratification, adrenaline rush and transfer the learnings to different aspects of life.

Frans Johansson, the author of one of my favorite books- "The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures" says "When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary ideas."

We become richer in knowledge, comprehensive in building our point of views & more productive in idea generation only if choose to expose ourselves to different fields.

I recently read & quite enjoyed a tweet thread written by David Perell (link in comments) on the subject where he diligently wrote one line lessons from various fields, some of which i drew via the sketchnote below.

Which is your favorite lesson among these ? What are the areas where you have attempted to apply intersectional learning ?


 The movie Apollo 13 vividly captures the story of the moon-bound spacecraft's successful return to earth after it suffers an explosion. There's a scene in the movie where the character based on aerospace engineer Gene Kranz, the flight director at Mission Control, grabs a piece of chalk and draws a simple diagram on the blackboard.

The drawing was actually a map showing the damaged spacecraft's path from the outer space, around the moon and back to the earth's surface. This trip is expected to take more than 2 days if everything went as per the plans.
Throughout the movie, Kranz returns to this goal on the blackboard. In the chaos that the team deals with in ensuring spacecraft's safe return to earth, the simple diagram helps the team focused on the right problems.

I find this story fascinating more as it brings to the fore a few mental models that i introduce in this note. Mental Models are simply the tools that you can use to improve your ability to effectively make decisions. Lets look at a few of them:

1. Walt Disney's Rule suggests that If struggling to think clearly about a subject, draw it out. Before Disney built his media empire, he had it all drawn out first in his head and then diligently on a piece of paper (checkout Drawing as a means to bring clarity is an effective yet an underrated tool. Drawing ideas helps you slow down and think through before taking on mighty problems. As in the case of Apollo-13 where a drawing kept the entire rescue mission on track.
What was the last project you worked on where a simple drawing paved the way forward ?

2. Occam's Razor: Simple assumptions are more likely to be correct than complex assumptions. In Apollo13, a drawing really helped simplify assumptions/eliminate ambiguity while dealing with a complex recovery mission. When in doubt, lean in towards simplicity.

3. Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter’s Law. To counter the effect of this law, Elon Musk suggested If you have a project, combat Hofstader's Law by setting a ridiculously ambitious deadline. Even if it takes 3x longer than the deadline, you're ahead of everyone else.
Elon's law was evident in Apollo13 movie though the deadline there was forced by situation but it helped achieve mighty progress.

Catch a few more mental models here (thread by George Mack) and in my sketch summary-

What are some of the mental models you routinely use ? Please comment and share.