Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

Adapting to change

The only constant in life is change.

We’ve heard the age old adage many times. We’ve even given the same advice to others at times. Yet many of us have a hard time adapting to change. We’re wired for staying in our comfort zones and with what we know and who we know. Sometimes the cost to not adapting to change is minimal while other times it can have a big impact.

Does that mean we should be constantly changing? Not really. I believe we should be really aware of what is happening around us and evolve accordingly. For example, if you work at a startup, there could be changes in roles or functions often, and the more adaptable you are, the better. If you resist the changes happening around you, then the company or the people might just let you go since you’re not adapting to the changing environments. You have to learn to cope with the changing environment – personal or professional and evolve. It’s better for your own personal and professional growth.

Are you visible?

There are leaders, innovators, creators, change makers and artists all around the organization. Do you have an environment where those people get noticed or do they feel like the work is not a place to showcase their skills/talent?

The initiative to create a platform can come from the organization’s side or the individual or group can start one. When the workplace welcomes people to start something based on interests, passion or impact, it’s a good sign. When a project starts internally, you will notice the leaders, managers and change agents.

What you build

What you build, you can be proud of it.

What you build, you put your sweat in it.

What you build, you can live with the results.

What you build, you can have no excuses.

What you build, you are the best person for it.

What are you building today?

Morning routines for success

If you flip the pages of Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss, you will find many stories of successful people describing their habits, routines and what they do on a daily basis. The book is labeled as Tools of Titans The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-class performers.

One main takeaway for me from reading many of the habits of the uber successful people was that there’s no one particular routine that works for everyone. You create the routine and habits that works best for you. It’s not just the morning routine that guarantees your success, there’s plenty of other things that are equally or even more important. I took the book as an excellent reference to know what successful people do, what made them successful in the first place, and how they stay successful.

Being thankful for…

I’m thankful for my family, friends, and colleagues.

I’m thankful for the challenges, hardships, and struggles.

I’m thankful for the small and big victories, achievements, and feats.

I’m thankful for the people who push me to be better in any way.

I’m thankful for this beautiful life we all have.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

A college degree

What’s a college degree worth today?

Is the college experience more valuable than ever because learning will be continuous and the degree itself is not the only real achievement?

What’s the value proposition of going to college these days?

If you don’t go to college, how marketable will you be in the job market?

Is college for everyone?

Growth mode

A startup (should) operate in a different way when it goes from survival mode to growth mode. When the idea is launched, it gets tested in the market. If the startup is solving customers’ problems, is entering a good industry, is competitive, timing is right, and many other things including luck, the startup takes off. There’s a certain type of leadership and management needed when it is focused on surviving in the market.

Once the startup gets some ground, it should operate in the growth mode. A growth mode is different and a certain type of leadership and management is needed in this phase. What got the startup to the growth phase does not guarantee it will take it to the next level. In the growth mode, hiring the right people, retaining the loyal employees, maintaining the culture, taking on newer challenges, and many other things are important.

Which mode is your startup on?

On choosing books to read

There are couple of ways to choose your next read.

Go to a bookstore and pick the latest book or the book of your liking. Read online book reviews and buy it online/at a bookstore. It’s much easier to find great books to read nowadays. Although at times I’d like to pick a book without reading any reviews, there are times when hearing from other experiences on a particular book gets me interested in it. Here are some of the books I’ve read or want to read.

If you really like reading book reviews or summaries before picking your next read, check out Derek Sivers books page on his website where he has tiny summary and detailed notes for each book he has read so far. If you like to remember what you read, check out Farnam Street’s How to Remember What You Read.

A coach

A really good manager is a good coach. The coach can guide, provide perspective and tools for their team members to succeed. I believe 80% of the team’s success (productivity, efficiency, effectiveness etc) depends on the manager. The rest on the team members’.

If the manager is a good coach, then not only the team members will grow in their professional careers but also the company will grow. The subtle difference between a manager and a coach is their approach to managing people.

A rich life

For him, a rich life is a suitcase full of cash

That suitcase which always stays full and never runs out

For her, a rich life is a suitcase full of time

That time which always stays available and never runs out

For him, money makes the world go around

So the more the merrier

For her, time is the most precious thing she has

So the more the merrier

What if he has more time but less money?

What if she has more money but less time?

What is a rich life after all?

Are you living a rich life?

Each day…

Each day is a day to achieve greatness. There’s no days off. The process itself is the ultimate prize. You can’t take shortcuts to greatness.

Are you in it for the long run?

Data privacy laws

“Data is the new oil.” “Data is not the new oil.”

Whichever statement you agree with related to data, most of us can definitely agree that data is important. Data is the engine that AI runs on. As more data gets generated through smart devices like never before, companies are working aggressively to profit from this “Big Data”, and cities/governments need to proactively monitor, facilitate, and come up with policies and laws for proper data usage.

For example: The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a new data privacy law that applies to certain businesses which collect personal information from California residents. The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. This is an important step taken by the state of California and it won’t be surprising that other states follow suit.

Desire to grow

Employees are the company’s true asset. They are what makes the company grow. As the company grows so will the employees. If the employees are not growing (personally and professionally) as the company grows, then eventually the employees will look elsewhere.

The desire to grow is within all of us.

When you’re famous…

You’re magnetic. The press wants to talk to you, the celebrities want to be around you, and fans seem to be everywhere. You’re pulling everyone and everything towards you.

I would love to know who was there for you from the start before you achieved the fame. Who was the one or the few people who believed in you when you had that “crazy” idea? Who was holding you down when things were not going right or not going anywhere? Who gave you some real advice but still stuck with you through thick and thin?

When I see the newly crowned “celebrity”, I’d love to know the people around them who got them there. It’s easy to celebrate that one individual who is getting that spotlight but somewhere out there is a bad ass team that is making things happen behind the scenes.

What gets employees going?

An intern joined a startup. The intern completed her paid internship. She graduated college and started working at the same company full-time. She was motivated, dedicated and hungry since day 1. Fast forward 7 years, she still has the same zeal for the work.

What got the intern, then employee, then manager and then a director going? Was it the opportunity, pay, growth of the company, managers, all of the above or something else? What got the employee going for all these years?

Improving online users’ well being

Recently there was an article on Axios that “several of the biggest social media platforms are beginning to test changes that cut down on scorekeeping, discourage harassment and aim to improve users’ well-being.” A step in the right direction.

The article also noted that for many years social media companies aggressively focused on driving and creating engagement within their platforms. Some researchers now believe that those tactics have led to an over-use in social media, and may have had a negative overall impact on users’ health and wellbeing.

There is a lot that needs to be done to improve online users’ well being and social media companies seem to be taking few critical steps towards it. Let’s hope we continue to see improvements in the coming days.