The Party of 9

Imagine a roundtable of really smart, interesting and talented people. Each from a different line of work. And now imagine you on that table!

Here’s an invite to be on an incredible roundtable of interesting people!

So, the other day some friends and a few of us from C4E met (see this tweet).

There were 9 people at the table and on it, we had a filmmaker, a standup performer, a literary editor and a few marketers. And people there ages between 19 and 45. And the conversations were rich, deep and meaningful. We talked about great pieces of work, creating things, creative blocks and other such things. We gave each other feedback about various things that we were stumbling with. And each conversation was passionate, polite, respectful and full of laughter. 

At that table, I realised that I need to be on more such tables where each person is carefully handpicked and comes over to listen and to share and to meet others and all that.

This table, to me, is similar to those Salons of the yesteryears where interesting people gathered in the company of other interesting people and helped each other grow their network and knowledge. You know, helped each other stand on each other’s shoulder and see farther. 

This is also similar to the concept of Mastermind Group by Napolean Hill where a group of people draw from the knowledge and experience of others. 

I can find similarities with social clubs, networking groups, alumni groups, religious affiliations and more. The point remains that you’d do better in the company of other people. In fact, like they say, if you are the most intelligent person in the room, you need to find a new room. This is your opportunity to be in a room where you have more interesting and intelligent people than you. 

So, I hereby propose that I will host a brunch for 9 people on Sunday the 9th of April in Mumbai (somewhere in BKC / Bandra). Each of these 9 (8 apart from me) would be handpicked. And then if this goes well, I will do this every month.

And this is your invitation to join the party! 

What happens there?

You and 8 other handpicked people gather around and spend 2-3 hours.

For the 2-3 hours you spend with each other, expect to hear stories from others about their lives, the moments that shaped them into who they are, the challenges that perplex them, and the questions they need answers to. And the same for you! 

Think of this as a curated networking opportunity.
You could be 18.
Or you could be 81.
You are welcome!

Oh, and 9 becuase I think the best conversations happen in small groups (of about 5 to be honest) and I want to see two groups getting created.

What is this not?

Here’s a list…

  • This is not a dating service.
  • This is not an activist club.
  • This is not a place to host politically charged conversations. Apart from politics and religion, any conversation is a fair game.
  • This is not a place to solicit business or investments. If something comes out of your meeting with people and you enjoy chatting with one or more, you, at your risk may engage with them even after lunch is over. 
  • This is not a coaching class. Just like Fight Club, if you are at the party, you better contribute.

Why am I doing this?

I may be 40 but I need to learn more, do more, grow more. This is my attempt at creating luck. I want to be around interesting people!

How would I select people? 

To be honest, for the first one, I think I’d have to drag people. If by any stroke of luck, I can get more than 6 requests to join, I will pick the ones that I find the most interesting!

I will also try to pick people from different disciplines so that we have a wide range of people to connect with.

If you’d like to be here, please fill in this form


Whatever the bill of the place is, we will split it 9 ways.

I will pay for 3 guests – myself, a guest of honour and a young person sponsored by C4E. Each attendee pays 1/9th. I am assuming it would be about Rs. 3000 per head 

No, I am not making any money from this.

Any more questions? 

I am on @saurabh on Twitter. Or email me at

Oh, as I end this, I am reminded of this quote by Jack Kerouac. He says,

the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Jack Kerouac

This is my attempt to surround myself with the mad ones. If you are one, or if you know one, do let share this with them!

See you on the 9th April 2023.
Over and out!

16 Lessons from Tim Ferriss and Matt Mochary

Notes and lessons from a conversation between Tim Ferriss and Matt Mochary.

Hi! Context.

I saw this podcast where Tim Ferriss spoke to Matt Mochary about coaching and all that. I thought it was brilliant and I thought that the wider world must consume these. While I heard the talk, I took notes (as always) and here they are.

Before you read, here are some disclaimers…

  1. These notes are my attempt to distil learnings into short sentences / lessons 
  2. The transmission loss (in their narrative and my understanding) must be attributed to me 
  3. The notes are coloured by my personal experiences and biases. 
  4. For the unfiltered notes, please see this thread I wrote while I heard the podcast.
  5. If you like what you read, follow me on Twitter

If you want to see the podcast, here

Lesson 1 

Most people operate from fear and anger. And often the root of all fear / anger is your ego.

If you can eliminate fear and anger from your life, you could become more effective. Think of the last time you were not happy (or even ineffective). You can trace back the unhappiness to either fear or anger. 

Lesson 2 

The base of everything we do (love / business / one-time transactions) has to be trust. 

Nothing else.
No contracts.
No paperwork.

Plain old trust.

You will get taken for a ride but think of those instances as the tax you need to pay to build a life of more abundance and more growth. 

As you go along, try and make your reputation and word so strong that people dont even think about asking you to sign a paper. Think of how you talk to your spouse or best friend. That! 

The beauty is this behaviour compounds. Once you become someone that people can trust, you will attract more people that would want to trust you and most of them will also operate from the lens of trusting you. Collectively, like a spiral goes up (thanks to Gokul from CynLr for this concept of the spiral), everyone collectively becomes better. 

Lesson 3 

As your stature becomes bigger in the public eye, you’d attract a lot of people with a lot of ulterior motives.

Contrast this with lesson 2 and you need to find a middle ground and a filtering system that detects behaviours from the other party

Lesson 4 

Start to think a lot more in terms of likelihoods (odds / percentages etc). This doesn’t come across as natural to people even though they know about it. 

What are the odds that a certain deal will convert?
What are the odds that the next flight you take will crash?
What are the odds that your business partner of today will remain a partner tomorrow?

And then work to maximise these odds 

I still do it. But need to amp it up.

Lesson 5. Most Important.

Convert conversations into action items.

Create a bias for action.

And this means you need to write down action items.
Put deadlines.
And do. 

And the cost of not doing must be you letting yourself down in the eyes of someone that you dont want to! Your parent, spouse, best friend, team, clients etc.

This is one of those things that MOST entrepreneurs lack. They dont add an action item. At least I dont. This is one change that I will bring in.

Lesson 5A

Accountability beats elaborate planning all the time. Enough said.

Lesson 6

You get angry or you are in pain when some personal boundary gets crossed.

You need to understand those boundaries and then communicate to self first and then to others.

When you talk to yourself, try and unravel – what boundary was crossed. And then when you talk to others, tell them that they’ve crossed a personal boundary.

Will make you more effective. 

Lesson 7

Work becomes better / easier in the physical presence of others. MM pays people to just sit on a couch and read magazines while he works.

While this talk of remote and async work is great, there are people that may need an office environment. 

On a personal level, as someone whose boundaries in terms of work and personal life blur a lot, I can vouch for this. On multiple levels. 

a, I <3 offices! 
b, I <3 coffee shops to work.
c, I love seeing others around me working on their dreams as I work on mine.

In fact, this works for others as well. 

On the writing cohort that I run (#lfwc3), @adisave came up with the idea of #rozwrite where we log in with cameras on, and mics off and do our own writing. The ones that participate get a lot of writing done!

No wonder. We are after all social creatures.

Lesson 8

At any company, it’s a human you are optimising your work for! 

Think of any business. They are in the end optimising for a human being. Could be customers / investors / employees / even the head of state! Even in your personal life, you are optimising for yourself!

Once this is internalised, decision-making changes. And so does the trajectory of your work!

Lesson 9. Second most important.

Separate decisions from implementation. 

Remember how they say that you suffer more in imagination than in reality? That! 

MM talks about how you fire someone. You are dreading the decision to fire because the implementation of that (the conversation with who you are going to fire) will be tough. Similarly, when you want to get fit, the decision to get fit is an easy one to take. You delay it because you are dreading those sweaty gym sessions and abstinence from your favourite food! 

This coupled with converting conversations into actions should see you getting a lot more done!

Lesson 10

People have three pillars in life – the home they live at, their most significant relationship and their job. 

If any of these three gets impacted, it creates a big trauma.

As a leader, your job is to help your people prevent these traumas. Often you would be able to control just one of the three. But can you expand your influence in other areas as well?

Lesson 11. Important. 

Help people eliminate fear. Especially in a work setting.

Respect is great but fear is not. Your team must NOT be afraid of you. 

One way to do this is to showcase to your people by setting an example through your conduct. Each time that team could be scared, you need to show to them that they dont need to. The best way to do this is by doing. 

For example, you have to let go of someone. While one person is losing their job, others are also scared about theirs. So while you fire that one person, you tell that person that it’s not them that is the reason. And do whatever it takes to find that person a replacement. Treat that persona as a human and not as a number. 

When you fire like that, the ones that are working with you see the humane side. They see that you have been kind and you have actually gone out of your way to get the outgoing person hired, they will not operate from a place of fear. 

A good way to reflect could be by asking these questions… 

  • Last time when you had to fire someone, how did you talk to the person you had to let go?
  • Last time when an irate customer yelled at you, how did you handle them?
  • When people dont agree with you fundamentally, how do you talk to them?

Lesson 12

Antisell the role / company when you are hiring. 

This is counter-intuitive but works.

You paint the saddest scenario to the incoming talent. And if they are still willing to work with you, you know that they are aligned with the mission! And they are not in it for free catered food or whatever.  

Lesson 13. Very important. 

Do energy audits.

After each interaction, try and take note if that left you energized or drained. Over time, find patterns. And then double down on things that energize you. Stop doing things that drain you.

TF talk about how he gets drained (and angry) when he has to do legal paperwork. 

What about you? Does a chat with your team energize you? Or drains you? What do people tell you? Do you energise them? Or do you drain them?

Lesson 14. Very important. 

Good communication is a marriage of writing and talking.

It’s imperative that each person builds the muscle to write. And then talk. 

Oh, and take notes!

So when you write, you get clarity of thought.
When you speak, you can add nuance.
When the two tango, you create magic.

Most great speakers and influential business people run on this secret combination. 

Side note. I must offer coaching sessions like note-taking, writing, thinking, building teams, and speaking. To people that want to get more effective. No, I am not an expert on any of these but this is the only way I would learn and get better. Does anyone want to pay me for this?

Lesson 14A

Must give feedback in a sync mode and in person. As much as possible. Even though you could be the best writer / speaker / manager. 

It’s ok to send long emails or texts but if it’s going to be an unpleasant conversation for either of you, please do NOT escape. Ask for a time when the two of you could sit together and chat and then bring it up. Take your notes. Let the other person bring notes as well!

Lesson 15

The secret superpower to effectiveness is to get an effective EA / CoS. No, not to get your grunt work done. But to shadow you and do things that only you can do. And give that person the freedom to run operations while you just think and use your brain. 

This is similar to what Ali Abdaal calls sparring partners and what we at C4E call a chain of mentors. 

That’s about it! Hope this helps.

3 Mar 2023 – Untitled

A braindump of thoughts that have been clouding my head for the last few days.

So, been a while since I did a brain dump on a public platform. And today morning seemed like a good idea to do so. So, here we are.

In this post, I will talk about…

  1. The 2 months of 2023.
  2. Tetherless living.
  3. Craziness with work
  4. Coming out with work
  5. Twitter

Let’s go!

1/ The 2 months of 2023. The ones that have gone by in a blink.

So we are in March. I didn’t even realise when this happened. I mean it was yesterday when I was thinking I will do grand things in 2023 and the calendar tells me that it’s March already. Wow!

The lesson of course is that time flies. On a day-to-day basis, there is so much that sucks you in that you dont realise where you’re headed. You know, days are long.

If I were to do a recap of how the last two months have been, I think I can not complain. I could travel (took 8 flights; was in Bangalore twice, was in Dubai, Chennai and a few more places), took my parents to a new country that they’ve been wanting to visit for a while, spent in-person time with C (who lives in a stupid city; read more about C in the monster part), got a lot of work done (acquired new clients, reinitiated work with ex-clients), paid back about 5% of the outstanding loan. And in general, have had an ok mental health streak (barring a few days). Moved forward on some projects. Slacked on a lot of those. So, life’s been good. Like I said, I can’t complain.

I need to of course get aggressive (aggressive is not the word I want to use but I guess you get the drift) about things and do more. Let’s see how that goes.

2/ Tetherless living

If you know me, you know this. But lemme recap.

I dont like the idea of owning things that end up owning me. I like the idea of having no attachments to anything material. I have no favourite foods, no favourite places to hang out, no favourite things to do and all that. I like to be free. I like to take decisions on how I am feeling at the moment. I want to believe I chase what Chris was chasing. But if I said that, I would be lying. I mean I dont know what I want and or what am chasing. But I know that I like that I dont report to no one and I control a large part of how I spend my time.

One of the tenets of this is my aversion to getting a house. Of course, it’s also a function of the lack of money but I can still get a decent enough place in a decent enough part of Mumbai for the kind of money I make. But I refuse to commit. I am happy to shack at a friend’s place. And when his place is not available, I am ok to spend money on cheap hotels and all.

Oh, and this works well in theory. And most times. But…

…there are times when I absolutely need my space, my privacy, my comfort and I dont have access to a place. This is when I get mindfucked beyond imagination. And this is when I start thinking about all the decisions I’ve made and the ones I could make and the ones I should’ve made. And all that.

No, I dont have a point. I am not trying to talk about anything specific. I am just reflecting that the last few days have been not so good and I wish I could do better.


3/ Craziness with work

For me, life is not about enjoying or experiencing it in full or travelling or spending it with loved ones or chasing happiness or leaving it better for my kids or whatever.

It is about work.

And about making meaning. Enabling others. Being the shoulder. Creating opportunities. Being of help. Moving the needle. Building bridges. Letting others fly. Chasing my curiosity. Scratching the itch.

So, I dont know how people take rests on Sundays. I can’t comprehend when people say that they need a work-life balance. I’ve probably lucky that I am sane on most days (I could be wrong though, lol).

I am also lucky that I can make enough money to pay my bills (well, most days. And the days I can’t, I have family and friends that I can lean on for a loan or two). And this despite the market and situation I am in (recessionary market, average work, hypercompetitive, old-age et al).

And I know this only happens because I am willing to outwork (thanks, Will) others. And this means I can’t rest. The good part is, I dont want to rest in the first place anyway. So, I think the stars align!

Now, with that out of the way, I HAVE to say, the last few weeks have been extremely crazy with work. Last few days, I have probably worked 19 hours a day, 7 days a week. And no, I dont want this to sound like a rant but I want to acknowledge that I am working like this (I know others may not be able to) and in case I have been harsh or unkind while I was immersed in this, I apologise.

So that.

4/ Coming out with work

Recently, for one of the brand consulting projects, I collaborated with a designer that I have immense respect for. While working, she told me that what I do is good and I should put more of my work out.

Coming from her, it was very very gratifying and I for once felt that what I do must be good!

I mean I am insecure about what I do (for multiple reasons; to be talked about on a different day) and thus I have been extremely shy about telling the world what I do. To a point that my team can’t imagine why would I not talk about these things.

But with validation coming from AS, I think I want to get active on this. I am not sure how I’d go about this but I will change this as I go along.

5/ Twitter

It’s no secret that most great things in my life have come as an outcome of my public rants on Twitter (and some from my ability to write and publish). Lately, for some reason, my interactions on Twitter have faded away. To a point that my tweets are shown to very few people.

May be their internal algo has marked me as spam. Maybe they see me as more rant than value. Maybe I don’t spew negativity (which in the words of a client is the driving force for Twitter). Whatever it is. I know that Twitter is important to me. And I want to scale it. And I will make sure that happens.

So, here’s what I will do.

  1. As of writing this, on 3 Mar 2023, I have 4165 followers. The intention is to scale to 5K by end of this month.
  2. I will get more active and mindful with my posts on Twitter. This means fewer shitposts. More value.
  3. I will try and post in one niche only. For March 2023, most of my posts would be about marketing. I will use #mktg101 as the hashtag.
  4. I will engage with larger accounts and try and get their attention and thus their followers. While most of my content will be about marketing, when I interact with others, I will be broad-based.
  5. I will seek help because I know I can’t do anything by myself. I need to stand on the top of the shoulders of giants.
  6. I will create a support group of sorts where I would ask those people to engage (Share, RT, Like, Fav) with my Twitter content. I know this is not the best thing to do but why not?
  7. What else can I do?

So this.

More on this over the next few days. Of course on my Twitter handle.


That’s about it for the time being.

More braindumps as and when I am so overwhelmed that I am compelled to share.

Till then, over and out.

Oh, and follow me on