Jason Fried on Design

One of the companies I greatly admire is 37signals. This company has a suite of business productivity products that I use every day for the projects that I manage.

In this video, he talks about the design methodology behind the building of their products. That is something I have drawn great inspiration from in building Identifii. I hope to be able to stick to focusing on the components that are necessary and not over thinking the unimportant things.

What is your Sentence?

I came across this video recently and am amazed at it’s simplicity and powerful implications. We are consumed by doing far too many things in life, thereby diluting our focus and true impact. Finding that singular mission with a corresponding drive to move ahead, is what separates the good from the great.

In a post I wrote in July last year, I put down an outline of what I my focus was to be:

“To assist individuals find career paths & professions that bring them a similar sense of satisfaction and enjoyment as I have found in the one I have selected.”

This focus still needs refinement, however, I do believe it is moving in the right direction. Since I have declared this focus and mission on my blog, I find myself helping a greater number of people find their ideal paths. Through my new venture Identifii, my mission has found impetus and has been accelerated.

I look forward to hearing your sentence!

Feb 1: Required Weekly Reading

I tend to do a lot of reading online on a daily basis. As such, I come across many articles that I enjoy and believe would be useful to a lot of individuals, specially those who read this blog. I will hence be posting one entry weekly, with a list of the best posts I have read during the week.

Ideas are just a multiplier of execution

The Pmarca Guide to Personal Productivity

Landmines on the Road to Product Market Fit

Clarify Your Story Excerpt

Can You Picture That?

The ‘alternative’ HBS career track: entrepreneurship

Should You Really be a Startup Entrepreneur?

On Leadership, Teams, Success & Happiness

10 More Reasons Why Parents Should Not Send Their Kids to College

The Last Lecture

I was reading an article today on university selection and it linked out to Randy Pausch’s famous “Last Lecture” at Carnegie Mellon University. It had been a while since I last watched it and decided to watch it again. This lecture never fails to fascinate me. I must have watched it tens of times before, however, I am always able to take something new away from it.

One of the major take aways I get from watching it is, that we have to start living and enjoying our lives today. Life is much too short to keep on planning for the future and putting things off until it is too late. This is definitely something I need to work on and hope to do so this year!

Randy Pausch: “The brick walls are not there to keep us out, they are there to give us a chance to show us how badly we want something.”

The Fountainhead

I was reading a blog post of a web designer whose work I admire,  she has quoted a snippet from an incredible book, The Fountainhead.

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received- hatred. the great creators- the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors- stood alone against the men of their time. every great new thought was opposed. every great new invention was denounced. the first motor was considered foolish. the airplane was considered impossible. the power loom was considered vicious. anesthesia was considered sinful. but the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. they fought, they suffered and they paid. but they won.” – Howard Roark / Ayn Rand

This passage is one I can relate to on multiple levels. Being an entrepreneur we battle on a daily basis, with our own inner doubts and doubts others have regarding what we are doing, we do however still carry on, as we must, on a path which seems to shift direction almost every week. We reach a point where going back is no longer an option and the only way to move, is forward.

The last line of the passage has the most relevance in my opinion. The ability to persevere, stay true to one’s own beliefs and visions is what separates the individuals who succeed from those who do not.

It is All About Your Attitude


Image by JustUptown

Life as an entrepreneur is undoubtedly very challenging. One always seems to be on a roller coaster ride, with emotions yoyoing up and down on a regular basis. The other day I was forwarded the letter below, it really made me pause and think. The message is a simple one, yet…so many of us tend not to give it the attention it deserves. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, ‘If I were any better, I would be twins!’

He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, ‘I don’t get it!’

‘You can’t be a positive person all of the time.. How do you do i t?’

He replied, ‘Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or…you can choose to be in a bad mood

I choose to be in a good mood.’

Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or…I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or…I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

‘Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,’ I protested.

‘Yes, it is,’ he said. ‘Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.

You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.’

I reflected on what he said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I saw him about six months after the accident.

When I asked him how he was, he replied, ‘If I were any better, I’d be twins…Wanna see my scars?’

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

‘The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,’ he replied. ‘Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or…I could choose to die. I chose to live.’

‘Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness? ‘ I asked.

He continued, ‘…the paramedics were great.

They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man’. I knew I needed to take action.’

‘What did you do?’ I asked.

‘Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,’ said John. ‘She asked if I was allergic to anything ‘Yes, I replied.’ The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity”

Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.’

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude…I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

Attitude, after all, is everything.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.

2009 and Beyond

I came across Larry Page’s commencement speech at the University Michigan recently, and it really got me thinking. Two major takeaways from the speech are :

1. Dream Big…there is less competition: Larry talks about how we should all dare to dream as big as we can. Life is too short for us not to take chances and live quietly within our comfort circles. If what you want to do, is not scaring the daylights out of you, then take a look around and see whether that is really something you want to be doing. The benefit of this sort of thinking is there will always be lesser competition along the way. Very few people stray from the main roads of life. If you want to achieve something extraordinary, it is time to break away from conventional paths laid out for us, and create your own extraordinary paths. 2010 is a great year to do just that!

2. Family is all we have: At the end of the day, we can achieve all the success that we ever wanted, and still feel that something is missing from the picture. That something is usually our family, those people who have been neglected along the way. It is true that most entrepreneurs have lives that result in ridiculous work hours, and have very little personal interaction other than with the people they work with. However, your work must not be used as an excuse or reason to break away from the people who truly mean the most to us. Without them success feels incomplete, and life loses its meaning. I know that this is an aspect of my life that needs to be looked into in 2010. I hope you will keep it high on your priority list as well.

Life moves at a frightfully fast pace in our world today. The only way that things actually get done is by sitting down and writing down the things we want to do and achieve in life. The new year is a great time to do just that. It is a time to reflect on our life so far, and think about the changes we want to bring into it from this moment on. This is no time for procrastination, rather, it should be used to discover what truly drives you and what you want to achieve.

I wish you all the very best for the New Year. I want to thank you for your continued support through the year. I greatly appreciate it.