Mar 102016

My brother got me to watch this lovely 5 minute clip, on his mobile. A talking head. No flashy camera movements. No overwhelming music. Nothing. Just incredible story telling. I watched on, because i wanted to know what happened next. What is it about?

‘HUMAN’ is made of aerial images and interviews. Close up shots captured people around the world who tell their life stories looking directly into our eyes, without any outside element disturbing their word. There only is us and them, words that touch us, move us, make us think. The picture tells us nothing about their lives. Shot against a black background, they all appear on an equal footing. Whether we talk about war or about the meaning of their existence, only their words, their tone of voice, the musicality of their language and their faces speak for them. This is the strength of ‘HUMAN’.

I looked up the clip, and it is part of a series of 200 unique stories that look at what make us human. I look forward to chunk on the remaining 199 (in small doses). I am also going to look up the work of the director of this film, Yann Arthus-Bertrandhis journey seems fascinating. Watch this clip. it is less than 5 minutes, and it will make you feel good about being a human being… This is the promo

The full film is here


Mar 062016
Some basic maths.
most Indians finish their 10th at the age of 16-17 ; their 12th at 18/19 (depending on which part of the year they were born)
They finish graduation at 21/22.
they finish their masters at 23/24
If they then enroll for a PhD – it can take between 3 and 7 years. That would make them 26/31 when they get their degree. I don’t know anyone who has finished their Phd in 3 years. I know people across the world, who after a decade or so, are yet to finish their Phds. 
And, post a Phd there is a post doctoral research – which makes you even older.
Also, if you come from rural, rurban India, add a year or two – sometimes lack of teachers, schools, floods etal increases the finishing your education by a year or two.
Also, if you take a gap year to work between your degree and your Masters, you may be older when you enroll for a PhD. And, sometimes, people do a second Masters’ before enrolling for a Phd. 
So, while i may understand one’s opposition to Kanhaiya’s views, i don’t understand the issue with  age. 28 and a Phd student is not a bad number. Had he been 35, i would have raised eyebrows (slightly). I know 35 year Phd students (who didn’t take a gap year, who haven’t got a second masters – who enrolled for their Phd straight after their masters, and are yet to finish)
Academia has traditionally been funded by Government – be it a Monarchy or a Republic. And, that means tax payers’ money. So have been art, music and science. So have been wars, and monuments to a regime’s greatness. So have been roads and schools, and hospitals.  None of us is consulted on what it is spent on. I am not sure we can selectively decide which of the Government’s schemes we fund.
So, i am just as cool with Kanhaiya’s Phd, as i am with some person doing their Phd in the links between ancient astrology and astrology. It is a given that i am going to pay for their curiosity/research/ future. It is also a given that there is probably no practical output from either thesis.
Mar 032016

The FT, eviscerates Donald Trump

It would be a global disaster if Mr Trump were to become president. Even if he fails, he has rendered the unthinkable sayable.

Mr Trump is a promoter of paranoid fantasies, a xenophobe and an ignoramus. His business consists of the erection of ugly monuments to his own vanity. He has no experience of political office. Some compare him to Latin American populists. He might also be considered an American Silvio Berlusconi, albeit without the charm or business acumen. But Mr Berlusconi, unlike Mr Trump, never threatened to round up and expel millions of people. Mr Trump is grossly unqualified for the world’s most important political office.

But, cautions that it is less about Trump, than the Republican Party’s mutant chickens coming home to roost. Even if he doesnt’ win, he has made bigotry acceptable.
Here is John Oliver on Donald Trump


Feb 272016

I have been consuming a lot of youtube content. A lot of it is work based research. Some of it is pleasure – primarily classical music on youtube. Others have just landed up on one of my multiple social media time lines.

I thought i will curate three of the best things i have watched (i will spare you the classical music on this).

How To Help Every Child Fulfil Their Potential – I love well designed Whiteboard Animation, and i love it when complex ideas are broken down into easy to understand animation. This is a slightly older video (about 6 months ago) but, i just had time to see it now. if you have the time, savour the entire series by RSA Animates, some great videos


The No Smoking Campaign which stars Sunny Leone, Alok Nath and Deepak Dobriyal

story telling in 3 minutes, at its’ very best. There is a good strong story, great casting fabulous performances, a great screenplay dialogue, fantastic audio effects and music. And it is under 5 minutes.

Go watch


P Sainath at JNU

Sainath at his acerbic best. I don’t agree with some of what he is saying, but he says it so well. His command over the audience, over his communication, over data points. Also, he has these great one liners that has the audience smiling (if not downright laughing).

One sample. He is talking about how the advent of the Indian billionaire has changed the very nature of the political game. He compares us with other economies including BRICS nations. He has this line about Russia and her billionaires “every 5 years the Russians send their billionaires to prison, we send them to Parliament”

Watch it. if only to understand students and how they respond.




Feb 242016

I am hoping to make this a weekly affair, curate and links to content that i have enjoyed consuming. I am going to try and have themes – entrepreneurs, development, education, movies, and the rest.  It also means a certain kind of discipline to write (and to read) 😀

Warning : IT will be random. But, so are my interests 🙂 Also, some of this may be older content, and i have just come across it.


This week, in my travels and trawls through the digital space, these are the most interesting things i read on businesses, entrepreneurship and start ups.

  • The 30 Best Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs in 2015 – a fabulously well researched and insightful piece from First Round. Each of the 30 pieces of advice is worth its’ weight in gold. The one’s that stood out for me :
    • Practice radical candor. or how to be blunt, at times brutal, without being an obnoxious piece of shit. I have seen a lot of the latter. I have tried, always, to practice the former.  It also works best when you are adept at giving praise when praise is due. The stand out line : “”I would argue that criticizing your employees when Let go of efficiency to accelerate your company.they screw up is not just your job, it’s actually your moral obligation.””
    • Give Away your Legos : you always need to be able to give up control of parts of what you are doing, to other people. And, remember all the time, they are not your clones. They are going to do things differently. You need to look at it being freed up to do new(er) things.
    • Replace Policies with Principles : Again, so required. There is a fundamental glue that binds organisations. That glue is trust. If you don’t trust people, you set your self up for failure. You can’t deliver, if you have created systems to cope with distrust. Plus, you are going to spend valuable time doing the most idiotic paperwork.
    • Let go of efficiency to accelerate your company. This is a scary one. And, the key here is, when efficiency tanks, don’t panic 🙂
    • Keep your company small while still scaling your product. I see so many new companies burn money on wasteful, and bloated hires. The laws of physics hold in business too – the greater the mass, the greater the intertia.
    • Land your “Tent Pole People.”- who are the people who will attract other talent, and stakeholders. Vital. Yup, and look at point two again, while you are at it.
  • Should you look for funding, and what will it cost you – good article to read. Most of start up because we want to work for ourselves. Investors will come in with strings attached (lots of strings). Do not expect a fairy god mother to give you money, and disappear from your life, while you grow your business, your way.
  • Who should get what share of the business – most of the time we all go with, let us see later, or how does it matter. HBR has a good piece on why this must be crystal clear upfront. You shouldn’t fall out with friends and co-founders, on something as basic as this. in both my first set of ventures, and the current ones – this is clarified right upfront. You discuss, debate and close this. Don’t let this come and bite you when you least expect it.


(small trader, #Mumbai, Vileparle. More of my photographs here.)