Tim Ferris interviews Peter Thiel. My notes.


I have started listening to a lot of podcasts. There are a few that are really good and there are a few that have great ones in between. One of the former is Tim Ferris’ podcast called, unsurprisingly, The Tim Ferris Show. He’s the guy who wrote the Four Hour Work Week and since then has been a branding monster online.

Here’s the interview Tim did with Peter Thiel. Largely considered one of the smartest minds in investing. I took some notes. The questions are bolded (Tim) and the answers are all Peters. If you have the time  you should give the whole thing a listen. This is not a transcript, it is just what I was listening to and writing together in a way that helps me come back and re-think about some of the ideas posted by Peter.

His central theme is about contrarian thinking and not following trends. He talks about a way of thinking that is brutally honest. Tim’s questions are very good and the answers are filled with nuggets of wisdom. My advice is scan through the questions see what he has to say and then think about it in your own way some more.

Here are my notes from the interview. If you are listening to it then the voice of the interviewee is not Tim Ferris but Blake Masters. He is the guy that attended Peter’s class and took notes from it and then co-wrote the book.

What is one thing you believe in that few others do?
This question is much harder to answer than it sounds. I think technology  is far more important than globalization even though people are far more focused on globalization which is copying things that work and much less on technology and doing new things. You should look at technology as the main driver for the 21st century. A second answer I believe in business. Capitalism and Competition are antonyms not synonyms. A capitalist is someone who is in the business of acquiring capital. In a world of perfect competition all the capital is competed away. For example the Restaurant scene in SFO has a lot of competition but isn’t capitalistic because no one is really making any money. Whereas Google is incredibly capitalistic because they have made tons of profits but has never had any real competition since 2002.

What do you wish you know about business 20 years back?
There’s no need to wait. I went to law school and stanford but it wasn’t till I started to Paypal that I realized that you don’t have to wait to start something. If you have a 10 year plan and know how to get there, you have to ask why can’t you do this in 6 months? Sometimes it’s necessary to go through the 10 year tenure but you should always ask the question to know whether it is a story you are telling yourself or is that your reality.

What do you think about failure? How important is it in business?
It’s massively overrated. Most businesses fail for more than one reason. You often don’t learn anything when a business fails. Because the failure was overdetermined. You’d think it was because of reason 1 that it failed but it could actually be because of reasons 1 through 5. The next business you start would fail for reason no 2 and 3 and so on. So I think people don’t learn much from failure. It ends up demoralizing and damaging in the long run to morale. My sense is the death of a business is tragic not some beautiful educational imperative that is the way of evolution or progress.

When do you think of the word successful, who comes to your mind first and why?
Mark Zuckerberg. I think the why is silly. Someone like Elon Musk. Serial entrepreneur that’s created multi billion dollars businesses. What they have in common is they are relentless and don’t stop. Every day they are starting and learning something new. People wonder if Facebook was a fluke. But the more you spend time with Mark and people like him you realize the less plausible that theory is.

What are the biggest tech trends you see for the 21st century?
I don’t like trends because once it becomes a trend you have many people copying it and competing in it and it’s harder to distinguish yourself from it. When you generally have a popular trend you don’t want to be the fourth online pet food company in the late 90s. Being part of a trend is detrimental. Instead think of it in terms of vision. What is a unique problem that people aren’t solving anywhere? When Elon started SpaceX he wanted to move people to Mars. Whether or not you agree with that mission statement it uniquely motivates a lot of people to work with him. It is because every moment in technology only happens once. It is a unique constellation of events, people and stuff that come together to create something unique.

Why do investors spray and pray and focus on a few companies. Do you have any rules you have or tips for vcs?
People would say that they say spray and pray thing with their portfolio theory or some theory of diversification but that’s not true. Real reason is they lack conviction and too lazy to find companies that actually work. I don’t like that because you shouldn’t treat companies as lottery tickets or people who start it as such guys. The Anti lottery ticket approach is to be concentrated. That forces you to have high levels of conviction. You shouldn’t think in losing money and try to be concentrated and have high levels of conviction to make good investments.

What problem do you face that no one has solved?
Real and continued progress against aging and death which is not just my problem. We have 100,000 people who die daily. Diseases linked to old age and we are doing so little to attack this problem. People are in denial or acceptance, which are opposite extremes, but both stop you from doing anything. Passive modes are what these are it would be better to spend time fighting death. We should spend more time fighting death. People say that death is natural there is nothing more natural than to fight it.


What do you say to the 9.7 million unemployed people in America?
The Micro answer is there’s no one size fits all approach there are different facts and circumstances people find themselves in, we need to look at it specifically. look at the factors that led to it. What type of people are they? Students with debt or someone with lots of experience but not enough capital? Granularity is important here.

Macro answer. We need to find ways to have more growth in the economy. 4 % a year growth in the usa would solve a lot of these problems. The challenges is that we have had 1 or 2 % growth rate for the last few years. That sort of growth rate is not enough to drive this. Technology is the key driver for USA growth and anything we can do to accelerate that technological revolution is something that we should focus on.

Your position on college and higher education is hypocritical since you are a stanford and law school graduate.
I think people will always find objections in something or the other.  I think they are likely to complain in any event. My view is not hypocritical because its not one size fits all. I never said no one should go to college. Not everybody should do the same thing. There is something very odd about a society when all the smartest people get tracked into one path where same courses same careers and it is very limiting for our society. It shows a lack of diversity in our thinking and in our society. I was guilty of this myself its possible I might have done it again, I would think much harder and ask why am I doing this and what is the reason because I did well in test courses and got grades? Or is it because it is prestigious? Or am I extremely passionate about practicing law? There are good answers and bad answers and retrospectively in my early 20’s I was focused on the wrong answers.

You studied philosophy what does that have to do with business?
I’m not sure how much the formal study of philosophy helped, the fundamental question of philosophy is important. What do people agree by convention and what is the truth? There is a consensus of things for people to be true maybe its right and maybe its not. Convention cannot be a shortcut for truth. Silicon valley is filled with conventional thinking and one of the reasons and it may flipped them even more than others is that there are so few markers since we are focused on the future. The future is what they are focused on and people are not sure about it with just a few markers. They will find shortcuts listening to someone else without knowing or figuring it out. The question of thinking for yourself and breaking convention is very important in silicon valley and other places.

What do you think the future of education is?
I don’t like that word education. It is an extra-ordinary abstraction. I prefer learning as a word. There are all these granular questions. what does it mean you are learning? what is it you are learning? why are you learning? Is it an investment decision? Is it a competitive one? is to be in a partying mode? Is it a consumption decision? Is it a tournament where you are just beating other people? If we move beyond that education bubble the future will be one that people can speak more clearly about these things and is it a tournament or trade or party you have to have a specific skill.

Engineering is opposite of education, it is actually a skill and you are taught about how to learn. It’s the anti education in that sense it is a paradigm for some of the things we will have in the future. You aren’t learning for learning or not learning anything. We will have a much less size of a one size fits all approach. The big track institutions are charging more and more and giving less and less. We are at the point where it will look very different on the brink of change. Like the old catholic church institution, corrupt and spreading messages like you are going to hell till the reformers came along. You have to figure out your salvation on your own.


What are your daily habits and routines
I feel terrible when I’m answering that question is because many things are unstructured. Daily thing I try to do is to have conversations with the smartest people and try to learn new things daily. I know and develop my thinking and i talk to the same people over a lot of time and its mostly group of friends or people I work with so it’s not like the MTV format of talking to a new person all the time. A group of friends who you have worked with a long time.

What one thing would you like to change about yourself?
It’s hard to answer because it asks why haven’t I improved on it already. Looking back I was insanely tracked and insanely competitive and when you are very competitive you get good at the things you are competing on but it comes at the expense of losing out on many other things. So if you are a very competitive chess player you might become a great chess player but you might be missing out on a lot of things. I have become more self aware over the years over all the competition we have spent time on and daily I think about being less competitive and more successful.

What did you want to achieve by writing zero to one the book?
When you write a book like this you want to reach as broad as an audience as possible. There are many things I have learned as an entrepreneur and investor in the tech industry and I wanted to share that with the wider world. I think this question of technology is critical in the future. There’s a hopeful and alarmist point of view in the book. The alarmist side is if we don’t get our act together and don’t innovate we will have a very bleak future. The positive side or the hopeful side is that its not all the low hanging fruit has been picked and there are many secrets that can be unlocked for a better future. Most books take a 30 page essay and make it a 300 page book. I tried to do the opposite. I took everything I learned in the last 15 years and distill it into 200 pages so that you can read this in one afternoon. Writing this has helped me discipline my thinking and I hope it does the same for everyone who reads it.


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My year of 2014 and it’s goals.

I made resolutions all the time. I never kept them for more than a few months at most. Except growing my hair. How do you keep them?I have a few thoughts.

If you just want to know what to do, skip to the end.

The year of 2014.
2014 was one of the best years I have had. Not for my blog. It was probably the worst for my blog because I didn’t write anything at all. I promised myself a few things for 2014.

1. Travel to a new country
2. Write on my blog tri weekly
3. Learn a new language
4. Lose tons of weight
5. Grow my hair out
6. Work in gaming for another year
7. Learn that one field I’d want to be a specialist in

I’m well aware that talking about your goals means you won’t accomplish them in most cases. But those were my goals in 2014.

How did I fare with my goals?

1. Travel to a new country
I started with this to make myself feel good. I moved to Singapore. Although I’m moving back soon.

2. Write on my blog tri weekly.
I wrote 7 posts after my welcome 2014 post. That means I wrote 0.13 posts a week. An average post contains about 500-600 words. So I wrote about 74 words in the whole of 2014. On average. Total shit progress. To give you some more clarity (and show you how numbers can be interesting, I have already written over 220 words till this line).

3. Learn a new language
I set out to learn Arabic, German and Spanish. I learnt Singlish. Shit progress here too walao.

4. Lose tons of weight
This I actually did to some extent but then had a fracture and went back to my pizza eating ways. But now that my fractures gone, I’m tackling this again.

5. Grow my hair out
Grew it since February. Recently cut it after reaching shoulder length. Here’s a pic with the amazing Razer team where it’s almost shoulder length.

team razer dreamhack

6. Work in gaming for another year.
Post Disney, as the above pic depicts. I worked with Razer for the better part of 2014. I met some amazing people here. Great exposure into the company that makes the best gaming products in the world. These are actual products by the way; Mice/keyboards/An amazing mic/Speakers and of course fantastic software that I worked on.

7. Choose a field to specialize in.
For years I struggled in this one. YEARS. I couldn’t decide on what I wanted to do. Sometimes I was too pussy to do what I should have but it all serendipity and a bunch of circumstances hit and I chanced up on what I would like to do. I now know what I should build my expertise in.

How do you keep goals?
I didn’t keep my goals because I was thinking in terms of numbers and sign posts I had to cross and not the path. The goal in itself while noble is a hard thing to achieve when you start out. Therefore you build systems of practice in which the focus is to do one better than the previous day which eventually leads you to surpassing your goals.

A system of practice is inspired by Kaizen which is getting better daily.  Take one thing one day at a time and do it better than the previous day. Eventually you’ll hit the goal without thinking about it daily.

Do you know why this is easy? Because 10 pushups over 9 pushups the previous day is totally achievable. 100 pushups by the end of the month already defeats you in thinking about the massive number. You’ll achieve the same later or earlier, doesn’t matter, when your idea is just progressing daily and doing one better than the previous day, you are well on your way.

So how would/should have my goals been structured.

The learning of the language for example. I should have chosen one language and immersed myself in it. The culture, the interactions, learning one word a day. Or learning 10 words a day, then learning 11 words the next day instead of saying learn the language. Learning a language is not measurable by any means. How do you know when you “know” the language? When you can give a speech? When you can read a whole book? It’s hard to measure or tick off. But learning newer words daily? That’s easy? Learning a new sentence daily? That’s easy too.

Here’s to a fantastic new year 2015 to all of you. How did your 2014 go?

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Data, Lovin’ it and tryin’ to live with it.

Data is important since Star Trek.

Everyone builds products these days and talk about Big Data. I wish someone told me why this is important in the first place. Why can’t I just have 10 customers that pay me 100 $ without fail? That answer is you could if you wanted to keep it small. But new product insights, user behavior and the perception of your product changes at scale. Successful products are, in my opinion, inherently, maybe unconsciously, built for scale.

Why should a product scale?
Scale in the layman terms is mass numbers. When you scale, you see different patterns of the same fundamental product. India is a scaled human product. Large numbers is important for your decisions. Large growth is important (that’s what she said) because it gives us two important factors in decision making for products. Data at scale and network effect.

Data at scale.
Data is  important for you to analyse your decisions based on feeling, myth or present patterns of success. You might like the color blue personally, but what if there are 89 % people clicking on the purple link instead? Would you stick to your theory of feeling or go with a decision based on Data? Doug Bowman famously post it in his good bye post at Google. At that time I thought it was a little extreme. Actually, I still think 41 shades of blue is a little extreme, but after working at Disney and seeing the way Zynga operates, I have come to believe Data’s very important to taking decisions.

User behavior at 10 people is different from a 1000 is completely different at 1 million. A number of things at scale teach you about the product itself. Can your monetization channels hold at 10,000 people transacting per second? What is the engineering architecture to ensure that the congestion in the network is not resultant of bad handling of scale? What happens when 100,000 users send gifts every hour to 3 of their friends. What gating would you apply? How many gifts would you limit it to per second? Is it 1?2?3?4? How would you know? A/B Testing through Data. You put a few options out there, test it with people, see what sticks and go with that. That testing though cannot be achieved where there are 10 people. If you show a dollar difference between 5 people , you can rest assured that the other 5 that paid more will hunt you down.

Decisions guided at scale aren’t those that are guided by feeling or expression of art, it is based on an important concept. The Network Effect.

The network effect.
The network effect is a by product of scale. While data is basically numbers collected, network effect depicts the “behaviour” Network Effect is an important thing based on scale. The effect that one user has on the “value” of that product to other people is a powerful factor that one needs to prepare for. Twitter and Facebook are good examples (except since they are free to join, the actual value is not seen to a user). For a product like Spotify or Twitch premium, the network effect is more eminent.

Network effects become significant after a certain subscription percentage has been achieved, called critical mass. At the critical mass point, the value obtained from the good or service is greater than or equal to the price paid for the good or service. As the value of the good is determined by the user base, this implies that after a certain number of people have subscribed to the service or purchased the good, additional people will subscribe to the service or purchase the good due to the value exceeding the price.” – Wikipedia.

That is why a lot of companies in Silicon Valley are funded based on growth itself. Because monetization is not that hard. Scale is incredibly hard to achieve. Getting a critical mass to your product can immediately jump start your hockey stick growth.

Have you found anything useful in your data analysis? What insights do you have at low or high scales?

I’ll look into factors that govern how products scale in the next few product posts. It’s funny that I finished my post and read a good friend’s humorous take on the tyranny of data.


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Elon Musk on Video Games.



You know who he is. Did you know he, like Robin Williams, is a gamer too? I have often thought how well I have conquered the consumption part of video games. But there hasn’t been meaning. This particular quote struck home.

You want to do things you’re passionate about but also are useful to other people. To make an embarrassing admission, I like video games. That’s what got me into software engineering when I was a kid. I wanted to make money so I could buy a better computer to play better video games – nothing like saving the world [laughs]. Obviously just playing video games is not really contributing to anyone. So you want to do things that contribute to society that you also like. In almost any industry, if you’re passionate about doing a great job and making people that buy your product as happy as possible, it’s really fulfilling.


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Marina Bay sands.

Singapore is like white rice. It is clean, pristine, well regulated in quantity and it fills you.  Everything is controlled, watched, ruled upon and functional. A fantastic place that works as a eastern equivalent to the melting pot (America on the west in case you need to know). The problem with Singapore and the problem with white rice is that they have no independent flavor.

Ever been to a Thai restaurant? The secret is in the sauces. The spices. The vegetables. The meat. Not the rice. The rice is an accompaniment. You need it to complete a meal. But it is not a complete meal by itself. Too much of white rice? Just a bloated feeling of incompleteness.

India, on the other hand, is chaotic, unclean, unregulated, disparate but has flavor in every aspect. A meal in every bite because the bites are so large, so variant, so wonderfully resplendent to the senses. You don’t know when something is going to happen, whether that something will happen and if it’ll happen in the way you planned. Singapore you can predict it to the tee. You can be sure that if someone doesn’t deliver you can be protected by laws.

Yet too much of India can get you an upset stomach, even if you are an Indian.

Hat tip:  Andrew.


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The Weight of Expectations.

I recently made a career move. It was more targeted at getting out of a place I have been in for way too long. I’m not much of the traveler type in the cliched sense of the word. Visiting cities is great. Doing that whole trekking hoopla is alright but living in them is much better.  That was the first plan of the plan. Move around cities live in them, soak their culture, better yourself and then move out. I think permanence and chains are not in my design. That’s why I try to pack extremely light. Can move at a moment’s notice.

I made tons of great plans and succeeded in a few. Sort of half way through in a few and thoroughly confused by a few. Some days it’s just hard to accept that what you do for a living is primarily exist as a footprint on the planet.

But what is living? What is purpose? What is the meaning of this life? I have been searching these things for a long time and I have sort of stumbled on that answer through Alan Watts, who has an amazingly soothing voice but is also coherent. I urge you to listen to it.  I have added my transcript below.



And what is it all about?

When we say one must live. It’s necessary to survive. It’s your duty to go on. We think we have a drive to survive. There really is no necessity to go on living. The fear of death is absurd. Because if you are dead you have nothing to worry about. Living is something spontaneous. That which happens of itself. Not in any control of an outside boss. You can’t tell someone you must love me. That’s ridicoulous. That’s what the plant feels. It’s not a chain of command. You can’t command a spontaneous process. You stop it. What you are basically, deep deep down is simply the fabric and structure of existence itself. Reality itself is gorgeous. It is the fullness of total joy. All those stars you see outside is a firework show and celebration for that existence. This is the real secret of life, “To be completely engaged in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise that this is play”.

So where does this lead to the title in the first place? The second inspiration. George R R Martin’s blog. I chanced up on it while reading that he wants more episodes. I love reading about what people do and how people think and their systems and designs. And I realised. He can write whatever the eff he wanted and no one would say anything because he’s too good to be ignored. That’s when the weight dropped off. No one cares about post length. no one cares about theme and when you have so many interests as I do, no one gives an eff about nicheing. Nicheing is for those that don’t have variety. So I decided to use that and use my favourite splatf mantra of 400 words to bring some thoughts into this blog directly. It also helped that going from the top 1,00,000 sites to 3,00,something is motivating.


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Habit building.



They say it takes 21 consistent action days to ingrain a habit into you. With any theory. It’s important to test it. I tried this on two things.
Brushing daily twice. Photographing something daily.

I have brushed my teeth daily for about 3 months now. The picture taking forced it’s own problems with me not being happy with the way a picture turned out, or wanting to take for the sake of taking a picture just to meet the quota. I tried to find out reasons to the degree of success in each endeavour and I present some findings here.

1. A mechanical task is easy to complete. An artistic one is hard to consistently continue.
Brushing my teeth = mechanical, easy to do no thinking required and therefore has a higher degree of completion.Taking pics and then complicating it with filters and such made the endeavour much harder. It trained my eye to look for picture opportunities but then I lost the beauty of the moment and wanted to instead capture it and sometimes I got the worst of both (miss the moment and not take the picture either).

2. Motivation is intrinsic. Driven by either fear or success.
I have had 3 root canal treatments. My motivation to brush twice daily (once in the morning obviously and the other before going to bed) was motivated by fear of the drill. That’s what we would call the stick method (in the carrot and stick). As my mom would say, “Prevention is better than cure”. The other way to stay motivated is taking up a habit to achieve a goal. The closer you get to it, you start noticing a few things:- the more different you are through the process of learning, the results you see act as fuel to change or challenge yourself further. Photography didn’t fit in this because it was a self evaluation process without the results of improvement being appreciated or instantly recognised by you. Every picture you take is good after all.

The best consistent habit though is one that I read on Lifehacker and passed on by Seinfeld. I post it here for motivation.

Seinfeld revealed a unique calendar system he uses to pressure himself to write. Here’s how it works.

He told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.P

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

The next task I plan to take up is writing. And exercising. But instead of a daily activity I plan to make do with 3 times a week. With the chain being recorded successfully on a weekly basis.


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Learning by Doing.

“Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps, experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile

Life is short, [the] craft long, opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult.”

– Hippocrates

For many many years I have been under the notion that greatness in any skill or craft follows these steps.

1. Research on the subject.
2. Equip yourself with the fundamentals.
3. Start a project on your own.
4. Start talking to people who have done something similar.
5. Keep working on projects.
6. Become great.

It seems that the formula is wrong. I still hold by my principles. But the right way to go about any craft is the following.

1. Learn by Doing.
2. Talk to people that do.
3. Suck less each year.
4. Become great when you have put in 10,000 hours.

I could rant on why I think my formula is excellent but one excellent counter argument comes to mind. Learning swimming. You learn to swim by hitting the f$@$@ water and trying not to drown. Then you learn to stay afloat. Then you learn to navigate. Then you succeed in knowing swimming.

Nike has a better expression to this. It reads as


You might also know this as “Trial by Fire”, “Do or Die” or the current “YOLO” (you live only once). Okay, probably not YOLO but you get the idea. So how does one go about the 4 steps mentioned in greatness in any craft?

1. Learn by Doing

I first read this in an ancient archaic post while scrounging through Coding Horror’s How to learn programming series. I’ll elaborate on that later but the idea is to get some sort of understanding on how Code works so as to appear intelligent in conversations where code talk trumps non code talk. Anyone in marketing, product management, project management, sales, media etc knows what I am talking about. I’ll take the most important part and snippet it out here.

You can read more about this here.

There is really only one way to learn how to do something and that is to do it. If you want to learn to throw a football, drive a car, build a mousetrap, design a building, cook a stir-fry, or be a management consultant, you must have a go at doing it. Throughout history, youths have been apprenticed to masters in order to learn a trade. We understand that learning a skill means eventually trying your hand at the skill. When there is no real harm in simply trying we allow novices to “give it a shot.”

Parents usually teach children in this way. They don’t give a series of lectures to their children to prepare them to walk, talk, climb, run, play a game, or learn how to behave. They just let their children do these things. We hand a child a ball to teach him to throw. If he throws poorly, he simply tries again. Parents tolerate sitting in the passenger seat while their teenager tries out the driver’s seat for the first time. It’s nerve-wracking, but parents put up with it, because they know there’s no better way.

2. Talk to people that Do

No man is an island. You get better when you compete. Competition doesn’t have to be negative. It can be liberating if the spirit and attitude is right. People who do your craft are the ones you should seek to spend time with. Spend time asking them about how they think. What they think about? How do they learn? What do they do? The answers will amaze you. It will also make you appear humble. Humility in anyone is a winning trait. Especially if you are respected. We stand on the shoulder of giants. Some known and some unknown. Make sure that, in the time you have, you utilise the knowledge to better yourself.

3. Suck less each year.

This was a post that was put out in 2006. Talk about archive hunting. One of the best insights I have gotten from this is. Every year look at where you are in your craft. Do you suck less than last year? The only tangible skill I can immediately relate to (because well game developing is not personal and also in some areas very hard to measure) is photography.

This is a picture from last year, February 2013.

View from my house.

This is a picture from this year.

View from the basement

I’d like to think I have gotten a little better. Even if the photos aren’t the same to compare.

You get the idea. Measure, Analyse, Iterate, Enhance and Ship.

4. Become great when you put in 10,000 hours.

In this excellent post which asks, “Why is everyone in such a hurry?“, Peter Norvig (a programming great) talks about how it takes 10,000 hours to craft. It is applicable to any field. Photography, for instance, could be 10,000 photos (which another great Henri Cartier Benson talked about). You will need to put in an extra ordinary amount of time to become great. My brother, in one of our philosophical conversations about life (we brothers are where it’s at) talked about how he got into programming and how he stuck to it because there are some days you want to smash your face against the monitor. He said, “You do this not to succeed quickly. Not to get tons of money or fame. You do this because you want to become better, one step at a time. The first year of coding I was sort of intrigued. I also didn’t like it. It took me three years to start to know it better and understand. It then took me a few projects to learn. It then finally dawned on me that I loved coding. But it was acquired love.”

Sort of like peanut butter in my opinion.



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Recognition is temporary, class is permanent.

Two of my favourite companies have, very recently, crossed major milestones. Congratulations Apple and Blizzard.

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Isn’t a word.

But the last post was about Take 3 and I got nothing done. 2013 went by in a whizz. It was a great year with interesting people, challenging projects and some personal learning. 2013 mended a lot of philosophies I had or have been unsure about. As the year goes I plan to explore these in the blog.

I started with redesigning my website www.karthickgopal.net. It needed an uplift  and I decided to add in my minimalist take. I have to modify the blog to match it, but one step at a time. I am using the Focused theme on WordPress.

This was the old design which had a lot of intro text, salutations in the language of Khala and many broken links.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 4.43.43 pm

On the 31st of December (it still is as of writing this post), I sat today and put together a website. It was inspired in design. The custom portrait is by an artist called Fishuu who does great personalised cartoon sketches. He’s regularly featured on Teamliquid. This theme focuses more on simplicity and effectively highlighting a few links and redirecting to others.

Screen Shot 2013-12-31 at 4.43.57 pm

It’s been about 6 years since I first started blogging. I haven’t kept up very well so far and before I promise regularity in the blog, there are 2 thoughts that are great guidelines to live by for 2014. So this could be a looking forward to 2014 post.

Both these thoughts are from Derek Sivers. You should check out his blog. My favourite section is the review of books that he does.

Thought no 1: Shut up don’t announce your plans.

The gist of it is 

Tests done since 1933 show that people who talk about their intentions are less likely to make them happen. Announcing your plans to others satisfies your self-identity just enough that you’re less motivated to do the hard work needed.

I have put this theory to test and found it to be reasonably sound. In any endeavour it is better to work at it for a while (it takes 30 continuos days to form a habit) and then announce it to the world. This realisation came a few days back when 2013 was ending. So before you start expounding on all the great things you wish to achieve, pick up realistic goals, work on it for 30 days and then come and post about it.

Thought no 2: Hell yes or no.

Way to many times we commit to things we can’t do. We commit to them because we want to be nice. I have often flaked out on a bunch of things mostly because I had no time or intention to get it done, but I didn’t want to appear rude. What happened? I was mistaken as unreliable for not completing certain things or appearing at certain events. Given a chance, I would explain it to these people saying my intention wasn’t hurt, I just didn’t have time. There were other things I should have focused on.

Derek mentions the following,

When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” – then my answer is no.When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”.

We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out.


2013 was great, here’s to a fantastic new 2014.


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