in2022, I will…

A list of things that I plan to work on #in2022. This is my annual post where I list my goals and ambitions and dreams and all that.

Hello! So a new year is here upon us. And more than anything else, to me, it means that I have a new list of things to do, new impossibles to chase down, new shiny objects to get enamoured by, new dreams to be converted into reality and in general, take new shot at a fresh start.

Thing is, I love the idea of new. New people, new places, new opportunities, new years. The new year specifically to me is an opportunity to reset. To restart. To be a buffoon again. For what’s it worth, I find the notion of a restart or a reset very very cool. Even though I am older by a year and ought to be a tad wiser, most probably I am not. And I am ok with that. For one, I refuse to believe that I am older. At least in my head, I remain a young, fool that continues to believe that I will live forever. And second, I continue to believe that life is malleable per whims.

PS: I must say that even though I believe I would live forever, I am very very aware of my mortality. I know the time is limited. And to make matters worse, none of us knows when our time would be up. So, I am an ageist. I like the idea of doing things here and now. Yeah, I am full of dichotomies and made up of contradictions.

Each year, thus, I list down a million lofty things that I want to achieve in the course of the year. And beyond. I always aim far beyond what I know I am capable of. I mean unless I aim for the moon, how do I get to be in the middle of stars?

PS: This moon and stars analogy is wrong it should be the other way around cos the closest star is the Sun, but you get the drift.

So, in this post, I will try and list down things I want to do #in2022.

But before that, a quick recap of the year gone by.

If I were to summarise 2021, I would say it was a mixed bag. I did manage a few things, some that I have never imagined. Like the trek to Everest Base Camp. And I messed up on more things than I would’ve liked. And I made more mistakes than I thought I was capable of. I would list those on my echochamber. The worst is that I am hurt and guilty that I left a few people in the lurch. I mean my hurt is a thing but they must be angry, livid at me! Thing is, one of the maxims I live by is that I want to do onto others as I would them to do onto me. Thus, if I dont fulfil a promise or honour a commitment, I feel really bad. In 2021, there were quite a few of those. This year, I will try to reduce these mistakes.

PS: Here’s contradiction # 2. While I dont want to make mistakes, I know that unless I throw a million darts, the odds of hitting the bullseye are abysmal. So, I need to keep throwing darts. And that would mean I would make mistakes. And that would mean I would end up leaving people in the lurch. I would probably not be able to honour my commitments. A solution could be that I can tell people up front about the “risks” and potential fault lines of working with me. At least they would know what they are getting into? May be.

So, coming to the #in2022 plan,

There are just way too many things that I do and as a result, the energy and attention are scattered all over the place. To a point that I can’t even seem to make a list of things that I want to work on in the coming year. But then if I look at those things closely, there is this pattern that seems to emerge. There are a few broad themes that I chase in life. No, none of these are unique, neither is the combination unique. Just that somehow I am gravitated towards these, even if I want to move away. So, rather than going against the force of nature, I thought, this year, lemme embrace this!

So this year, I will do something different. I will not make a list of goals public. Rather, I will identify a few broad themes that I want to stand for in life. And thus, rather than chasing a list of goals this year, I will create systems that allow me to be consistent and insync with these themes. And if along the way, my goals are met, I’d talk about those and celebrate those.

Without further ado, here are the themes for 2022…

1/ Network.
The importance of being insanely connected was always known to me but in 2021, I saw it in action. I totally understand, at a deep level, when people say that your network is your net worth. #in2022, I want to work hard on amping my network. If this means I need to send out 1000 cold emails this year to random people, I would (this is an example of a goal that I would typically set for myself). If this means I need to find a system to manage all the people I talk to and conversations I have with them, I would. If this means I need to leave a lot of money on the table, I would. If this means I need to dress well and put myself out of my comfort zone by going to parties and getting into inane discussions about films, politics, food, wine and all that, I would. You get the drift.

2/ Open doors. For self. And for others.
This is a mini-theme in continuation to the one above. I would work to open as many doors as I can for myself and for others around me. Especially for the ones that have put their trust and faith in me. #in2022, I will become a super-connector. I would become like Red, “a regular Sears and Roebuck”?

Brings me to the next thing.

3/ People first.
I am not a creator per se that can work in isolation and create magic. And then hope that those wonders would allow me to earn a livelihood while I sit in a cave. Neither am I a maverick that is so good that I create one piece of work that allows me to earn passively. And I am definitely not the one to create schemes that promise “lessons” to others and profits of that.

Plus, most of the work I get is from connections I’ve made over the years. The key clients that I work for right now, I first made their acquaintance in 2006, 2013, 2014 and 2017 respectively. The most recent client was “acquired” in 2017. 4 years ago. Clear example of the value and utility of long-term thinking / relationships. So, #in2022, I will do whatever it takes to become a people magnet. Attrack people. Add value to their lives. Expect nothing. Invest. And let the seed of the relationships germinate and compound. And wait for the fruit.

PS: This is similar to 1 and 2 but there is a tiny difference. While 1 and 2 and more action-oriented, this one is little more open-ended. I mean I dont know what it takes to be a magnet. I have a tough time holding attention of people when we are not talking work and here I am. Trying to a magnet!

Also, this year, I am making a commitment to help a friend reach his life goals.

4/ Do difficult things.
All my life, I’ve had it easy. From parents to family to friends. Actually no. Things haven’t been easy at all. It’s probably my attitude that makes them look easy. Digressing. The point is, I believe I can do even more difficult things than what I do right now. Or have ever done. So, #in2022, I will do things that take me out of my comfort zone. For example, talking to strangers, dressing well, asking for help, calling a spade a spade, leaving behind dead weight when I want to move on, not being afraid of ridicule, chasing rejections, getting into more debates (even if they are public), putting myself out there, etc etc.

In one line, take more shots at things that I know for sure are out of my reach.

5/ Cash flow.
Since I took my first shot at entrepreneurship (no, not the time when as a kid I rented comics), each thing I worked on, with each idea, I would chase everything but cash flow. #in2022, unless I see clear cash flow with things I am working on, I will not work on those.

Except when I get to learn with those ideas. Or when the idea allows me to build on top of what I’ve already built. Or when an idea expands the cohorts of people I know.

So, any new “community” play is out. And yes, more “new” things are probably in.

PS: This is a bit hazy, to be honest. But I hope to crystalise this in a few weeks.

6/ Ship.
This is linked to the one above. Most times, with most ideas, I would merely imagine the start point and the end state and then I would forget about those. This is probably why there was no cash flows with ideas. #in2022, I would ensure that I ship. Enough of talking.

My method to ship remains the same – find partners to work together. I know I cant do things by myself. Just that, this year, I would be more prudent and judicious with how I partner up. All this while, I would look for ambition and passion as the filter. I assumed that I could manipulate get them to see world from my lens. I was mistaken.

Going further, I would look for just the ethos. Once that’s in sync, other things are easier to work on. I for one am very clear in how I operate and what ethos I have and thus I should be able to filter people on the basis of that.

And of course, vice versa. The ones I choose to work with may not like me or my ethos. So, I need to fit in their ethos-system as well. Unless this marriage of ethos happen, I dont think I would partner up.

7/ Finish.
Again, linked to 5 and 6, I am guilty of starting a million things and not taking even one to a logical conclusion. As a mentor (AS) pointed out (way back in 2019), I think I know the path that I need to walk to get to the end line and thus I dont actually do it.

So, #in2o22, when I start a project, I will know the “end state” of that project before hand and I will ensure that I take it to the end state. If a project’s end state is planned for after 10 years, I will know the milestone for each of those 10 years. And aim for each of those. Of course, each idea is like a human being. You imagine it to have some sort of life and in a few months, you realise that it is on a very different trajectory altogether. Which is fine. But when I give birth to an idea, I will ensure that I know the milestones for that. And work towards shipping and finishing those. So that!

8/ Self First
While a lot of what I want to do is for others and by others, I will make myself the centre of my universe. If I wasn’t already. I would also work towards making my word have more gravitas. And I would want to be known for my ability to get things done and open doors.

This was on my list last year also to be honest but I couldn’t work on this.

9/ Grow
This is a simple one.

Will happen automatically if I stick to the themes. I want to grow as a person, as a thinker, as a doer, as a getting things done guy, as a speaker, as a business person etc.

So these are the themes for the year.

Coming to the goals, of course I have a long list of goals that I want to chase this year. Here they are…

The tangible and measurable goals for the year.

For example, I want to be 32″ when I end this year. I have made a bet to get my photo plasterd on a hoarding if I am not. I also want to buy a luxury car this year. That means I need to be in a debt-free state. Then, I want to be Japan for a bit. I want to have more followers on twitter. Publish my book. Run a marathon. Climb a 6K meter mountain. Start playing poker again.

I am not listing any of those here. The top three goals remain the same. These are…

  1. Write and publish book2
  2. Lose weight, get fit (and learn dance, run a marathon etc)
  3. Make money (revenue, debt etc)

Yes, there are other sub-goals within these goals. And there are other philosophical goals. I have a sheet I’ve been using since 2017 or so to list my goals. Should people ask for it, I am happy to open it up and add to this post here. But that would be meaningless as I am sure that I want to chase themes and not just the goals.

So yeah! That’s about it for #in2022. Let’s make this the best year of lives so far!

Over and out!


PS: Like each year, at some point I will write a list of the highlights of the year gone by. And the lessons I learnt. Need a few more days for this. Let’s see when I post that.

PPS: I need to talk about the moonshot and lifegoals and how this years fits into that grand scheme. I need another post for this. For the time being, this is dense enough for me to lose whatever hair I’ve left on me.

PPPS: To be able to write this, I relied on Year Compass, my vision board and my notes that I’ve been taking over the years. The North Star has remained the three large goals that I want to achieve in life – climb the Mt. Everest, have a billion dollars in cash and impact a billion lives.

PPPPS: Here are previous updates from me…

2022 – Annual Goals (this post)
2021 – Annual GoalsJan-Feb-MarApr-May-Jun, Jul-Aug-Sep-Oct-Nov
2020 – Annual GoalsJanFeb-MarApr-MayJun-Jul-Aug
2019 – AugSepOctNovDec

And here are yearly posts from previous years – 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. I may have some data / notes from the years prior to 2012. I can try and pull those out but I dont see the merit and thus they shall remain buried in some drive somewhere.

Finally, to be honest, as I read the updates for 2021 and 2020, I realised those were written so much better. And not a lot has changed. I am still talking about the things that I talked about years ago. I am in stasis 🙁

Quarterly Update – JASON 2021

Saurabh Garg’s quarterly letter to friends, mentors, seniors, co-workers and others about how and what he did in the months gone by.

I send this letter to some of my mentors, friends, clients, and others that have shown a disproportionate interest in my life. The letter includes unfiltered, unedited, raw thoughts about life and work and all that. Even though I send a shorter version of this via email, here is the unabridged version for everyone on the world wide web to see and react to.

Hi! I am Saurabh Garg. You may remember me from conversations we’ve had over the years (or recently, in some cases). This is a quarterly-ish update about my life, to people like you that have shown an interest in my life. 

Here we go…

“Executive” Summary

For me, the months of JFM 2021 were a turnaround compared to how 2020 was. I got new work, moved back to Mumbai (from Goa), and tried to get more things done. Post that, AMJ 2021 was about consolidation. I finally got some cash flow going. And thanks to that, I hired some people across various projects that I support. I even started investing. And most importantly, I started saving.

JASON 2021, however, in one word, was disappointing. I could not sustain the momentum. I lost a few projects. More than the money, I lost face. And I lost my reputation. One of the projects overshot the budgeted estimate by 3X. I should have expected that considering that it was a film. But I did not. I started a syndicate to invest in startups, but I could not close any deal per se except making personal investments.

And now, I am back to a point where I am seeking work and taking whatever comes my way, even if it’s paying me peanuts and taking away my soul. It sucks, but I am grateful that I have work, even in this day and age.

And yes, I do have a few things in the good-things department. Allow me to talk about these in a bit.

Meanwhile, here’s a detailed update.

A. Losses / Shortcomings / Failures

This one is a long list. At least ten things on this one. Trying hard to make it shorter and save the face :D.

i. Work. At work, I took on a project that I thought knew I could deliver great things. But I could not. Despite all my earnest attempts, and it sucks that I failed at it. This is one of my most visible and public failures, and I have accepted it and decided to move on. The lesson I am taking away is that while I aim for the moon, I need to try and recognise things that are not moving and cut losses sooner.

ii. SoG Grant. Could not work on it. I could not issue it. Got busy. And once I had time, I did not have the money required to support the grantees. Will get to it at some point. The lesson I am taking away? Side projects need to be taken up one at a time. And once I commit to one, I need to allocate some budget to it and keep that money aside.

iii. LHV. Started with an angel investing syndicate with a couple of friends. Tried hard but could not get traction. I had overestimated my ability to get access to people that could invest in my decisions. While we could not raise the rounds required, we put our savings into the companies we were backing. So, the heart is at the right place. Just that I could not execute it well.

iv. Podcasting. I tried my hands at hosting a few more shows – one for investors, one for marketers, and another for people that I find interesting. I couldn’t get enough guests to be excited about any of these shows. Plus the handful that I could get, I don’t think the conversations were good enough. And then, since there was no traction per se, I lost interest.

I know that being an independent content creator is important to me. And yet, for some reason, I am unable to push the pedal on it. I think I suffer from imposter syndrome. I think I am not good, and I am constantly questioning why would someone listen to what I have to talk about. So that. I need to find a solution to this. The lesson I am taking away? None!

As against the planned goals for 2021 (listed here), I have missed almost all the goals. There are a few that I want to talk about. Just to remind myself that those are open. Here…

  1. Book2. I have been missing this for a long long time. While I know I want to tell this story, I haven’t been able to work on it. Life has kept me busy. Must work on it.
  2. Brand SG. I had decided to work on creating a personal brand for myself. However, I did not even begin to move the needle on this. This would’ve been the single most important thing that I would have worked on. In fact with each passing day I realise the importance of having a great personal brand. This is something that I will make a priority #in2022.
  3. Marathon / Fitness. This has been a goal since I can remember. And I am unable to move myself. Thing is, I can’t even walk a few steps without losing my breath. Plus the hernia. I don’t know when and how will I start on this! While I write this, I must mention that I could hike upto the Everest Base Camp (in Sep-Oct). And come back. Alive.

There is more. But this is it for the time being. Will do a longer review towards the end of the year.

B. Wins / Achievements

There were a few wins as well. Here are these.

i. Everest Base Camp Hike. Managed to hike up to the Everest Base Camp.

To me, this is the hardest and coolest thing I’ve ever done. I have posted some photos and stories on Instagram. If you are curious, do check those out. Come to think of it, I was very very sceptical about my ability to do it. But I did it! In fact, I did better than almost everyone that I went with. And one of the outcomes of this hike is that the resolve to do the Everest is now stronger. More on this in subsequent posts.

ii. The daily morning pages that I write? Well, I wrote those every day till I had to leave for EBC. A total of 280 days on the trot. I did not miss a single day. And I restarted as soon as I got back. Since then, I have moved these to email. Lemme know if you would want to get that email. To me, this simple act of doing this every day, even if I was busy, has been the most therapeutic thing ever.

iii. Co-produced yet another short film. This one should be ready for screening / sharing next month. The path we take would be the same as the last one – start with festivals and then try and get it a home at some OTT platform.

Again, the bulk of the work was done by my partner, and I merely financed it. The ambition is that at some point, I will be able to make commercial, large-scale films. These are baby steps to learn, experiment, and get my name out in the market.

iv. Brand workshop for a startup. I ran a brand workshop for a startup. I loved it! More than anything, I love it the most when I work with people to discover things that even they seem to be unaware of. You know, unknown self! I must find a way to do more of these.

So that.
There are some other minor achievements as well.
I shall skip writing about those.

Moving on to the next section. About the shiny new toys that I am excited about.

C. New projects that I am excited about?

So I have just the December to go before 2021 ends. 1 month may not be enough to do a lot of things but here are a few that I want to work on.

i. Lose 2 inches. Right now, I am 35″. I would like to be 33″ at least. For this, I would want to reduce what I eat, get on a lo-carb bandwagon and try and do OMAD. Let’s see how this goes.

ii. Book2. Lol! I plan to take this as the only non-money-making thing I’d do from December onward.

D. What help do I need?

So, there are a few things that I need help with. Here’s a list.

i. Connect me with the biggest hustler you know of. This has been an ask since I have started working on these letters. I define these hustlers as people that are out there. And they are seeking work, doing things that are out of their league, making connections, aiming higher than they’ve ever done, and more. I want to learn from them. And I want to be inspired by them and their stories.

So, please connect.

ii. Keep me away from Naukri. Thing is, since I can remember, I have wanted to stay away from Naukri. And I have pretty much managed to. For that, I have had to juggle as many things as I can. However, this time, I am this close to giving up and taking up a Naukri. I do make enough to get by, but I put in too much effort for too little ROI, and I can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, please help me get “meaningful” work and stay away from Naukri! PLEASE!

In terms of what I can do, in the past, I have worked on producing large-scale events, crafting brand strategy, consulting on digital marketing, ghostwriting, content strategy, and more. I know this sounds scattered but I do have the requisite expertise and demonstrable experience for each. And client references. Both good and bad.

Help me find gigs (freelance only, please) with businesses doing interesting, exciting and impactful things. I want to stay away from the run-of-the-mill stuff, please. 

iii. I want to work with a billionaire. Do you know a dollar billionaire that I could work with? I really really want to work with one. In fact, I am willing to give up on the no-Naukri promise if I get to work with one. I am also willing to give up to 5 years of my life and work on their agenda with as much dedication as you may imagine me to have.

Do you know one?
Can you make connections?
HELP!!!

E. Finally, what can I help you with?

If there is anything that I can help you with, please do let me know. In terms of specifics, there are two things that I can think of.

i. Connecting with others. I believe I have a wide network, and I can find connections where you’d assume they dont exist. In one word, I am a super-connector. I am shameless, and I can knock on the doors and try to open those. For you. To be able to be of help to you. Please let me know in case I could be of use 🙂

ii. I am very resourceful. Plus, I am very handy with marketing, content, writing, the Internet, futurism, emerging technology, and more. If you are stuck on some project, some idea, something, please reach out to me. I would love to be of any assistance / help / inputs / use to you.

***

Guess this is about it from this update.

See you in Jan 2022 with an update on how 2021 was, the plan for 2022, and may be more.

Thank you so much for reading this.
And your patronage and attention.
Means a lot!

Gratitude and respect,
@saurabh
Delhi, 30 Nov 2021

PS: Should you want to give me anonymous feedback on this email (or anything else), please go to https://forms.gle/28bVP8DYz2WGdHdp8. And yes, I LOVE not-so-kind, brutal, and honest feedback.

Here are previous updates from me…
2021 – Annual Goals, Jan-Feb-Mar, Apr-May-Jun, Jul-Aug-Sep-Oct-Nov
2020 – Annual GoalsJanFeb-MarApr-MayJun-Jul-Aug
2019 – AugSepOctNovDec

Quarterly Update – AMJ 2021

My quarterly letter to friends, mentors, seniors, co-workers and others about how and what I did in the three months gone by.

This is a letter that I send to some of my mentors, friends, clients, and others that have shown a disproportionate interest in my life. Since I am embracing living in public, here is the unedited letter for everyone to see, read, consume, comment on, etc.

Hello! Hello! I hope this letter finds you well. The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic was very devastating. I hope you and your loved ones came out safe.

For me, it wasn’t as good as I would’ve wanted it to be. But we shall prevail and continue to move. Ahead.

So, here we go…

Summary

If JFM was a turnaround compared to how 2020 was, AMJ has been about consolidation. Thanks to the work I got in JFM, I have some cash flow happening. And thanks to that, I hired some people across all projects that I support. I even started investing in newer projects. And most importantly, I started saving.

On other things apart from w0rk, during the past three months, I did a month-long cycle of Keto. While I could test my willpower to eat only what the service provider sent, I am not sure if it helped me – I am as fat, as unhealthy as I have always been. This quarter, I plan to add yoga and running. Of course, these things take time to materialize. Maybe the next quarterly update will have some good news!

So without further ago, here is the update.

A. Losses / Shortcomings / Failures

As against the planned goals for 2021 (listed here), here is what I have missed…

  1. No action on #book2. 🙁
    I dont know what to do to help push this. I have done literally everything and I am unable to push. Even the inspiration that I derive from others (in terms of validation from others) doesnt seem to inspire me 🙁
    So that.
  2. I had planned to do a project a month.
    I havent been able to do any. I guess I overestimate myself?
  3. On fitness, I tried Keto but I did not see any benefit. May be I’ll try OMAD all of this quarter? From what I know, OMAD would require a far larger discipline that I have ever mustered. Let’s see.

Apart from these, here are the things that I could’ve done better.

  1. We started doing events and masterclasses with The Podium. That experiement did not do well. However, inspired by that, along with a couple of other people, I have taken a step in the direction of becoming a VC. More on this in a bit.
  2. I am still unable to close windows. Read more about it here.
    There are so many projects that I started that are withering away in various stages of ignoring. Shumbur, WorkInGoa and many more.

B. Wins / Achievements

  1. As we speak, I am on a 200+ days streak of writing every day.
    Yay! Some posts are here.
  2. I continue to ‘live in public’. It translates into my intention of getting my thoughts, actions, and reality in sync. See some posts here. This was one of my goals for the year. I am embracing it and I count that as a win.
  3. On the work front, I continue my work as a brand planner for a digital agency and for cloud-computing tool. Still looking for more work. Till I can evolve into a . Help me find this additional project?
  4. I wanted to start the Marketing Connect Podcast Season 2 but I haven’t been able to. I had to prioritize and focus on work that gives me revenue and a stronger shot at connections.

C. New projects that I am excited about? What do I plan to do in the next 3 months?

As always, I am that kid in the candy store and I keep looking for things to work on. Here are some old / new toys that I am incredibly excited about. Maybe these could be the things that I will ship in AMJ!

  1. The SoG Book. I want to bind some of my best letters into a book that I share with people. For some reason, a finished product delivers a better impact than an ongoing one.
  2. The Investor Thesis podcast. Along with the marketing podcast, I am now working on the investor’s one. I want to learn more about how to make investment decisions as I move beyond what I already know. If you know any VCs, do connect me, please.
  3. The Killer Boogie routine. See this. I am told you can master this in 20 days. I am giving myself a quarter.

Apart from these three large things, I also will also work on the following…

  1. The SoG Grant. The idea is to support creators with a no-strings-attached, microgrant for a project of their choice. More here.
  2. Get active on doing video. All this while I did not want to be on the Internet But I realize that with time, I cannot avoid that. So, why not embrace it? And thus, I will get active on video. Just that the world has had enough and more gyaan on youtube. Who needs yet another person paddling common sense on Youtube? Plus, the production quality is already through the roof – better cameras, tight scripts, slick editing, gaming of algorithms, and all those hidden tricks of the Internet! I don’t think I stand a chance. But that’s the fun. No? Let’s see though how it pans out.
  3. I wanted to raise capital to become a micro VC. The structure in India doesnot allow you that. So I am doing this with the help of LHV. Oh, I may also raise about 5 crores from friends and family to create a micro VC fund to support aspiring entrepreneurs with angel rounds. I am doing this with a couple of friends. In case you have money that you are ok to lose in order to support other entrepreneurs, please do let me know.

D. What help do I need on?

So, apart from the things that I talked about above, there are indeed a few things that I need help on. Here’s a list.

  1. Connect me with the biggest hustler you know of. You know, someone who’s out there seeking work, delivering work, making connections, doing things that are out of their league.
  2. Help me get “meaningful” work and keep me away from a Naukri! In the past, I have worked on events, brand strategy, digital marketing, product, and more. I know this sounds scattered but I do have the requisite expertise and demonstrable experience. Do help me find gigs (freelance please) with businesses that are doing interesting and impactful things. I want to stay away from the run-of-the-mill stuff, please. 

E. Finally, what can I help you with?

If there is anything that I can help you with, please do let me know. I am very handy with marketing, content, the Internet, and more. Plus, I am told I am very resourceful ;). Please DO ASK!

***

So, this is about from the update. Thank you so much for reading this. And your patronage and attention. Means a lot! 

Thank You!
Saurabh Garg
Andheri, Mumbai
4 Jul 2021

PS: Should you want to give me anonymous feedback on this email (or anything else under the sun), please use https://forms.gle/28bVP8DYz2WGdHdp8. And yes, I LOVE not-so-kind, brutal, and honest feedback.

Here are previous updates.
2021 – Annual Goals, Jan-Feb-Mar, Apr-May-Jun
2020 – Annual GoalsJanFeb-MarApr-MayJun-Jul-Aug
2019 – AugSepOctNovDec

Quarterly Update – JFM 2021

The quarterly update for JFM of 2021. I talk about things I did, I missed, lessons I learnt and plans for the next quarter.

This is a letter that I send to some of my mentors, friends, clients, and others that have shown a disproportionate interest in my life. Since I am embracing living in public, here is the unedited letter for everyone to see, read, consume, comment on, etc.

In case you don’t want to read this longish letter, an abridged version is here.

Hello! Hello!

So, you may remember me from conversations that we’ve had over the years (or recently, in some cases). This is my periodic update to people like you that have shown an active interest in my life. Even though brevity is not my cup of tea, I will still try to make this email as short as I can. Here we go…

I am not sure how it’s been for you, but for me, JFM 2021 has been a turnaround compared to how 2020 was.

For starters, I am generally more hopeful about life and things. This has happened because I was lucky to have landed a couple of projects that are paying me well, making me learn new things and connecting with new people. Yay!

Further, I am a little more grounded. Physically (thanks to COVID) and metaphorically (thanks to all that’s in my head).

Finally, I am very very happy that my loved ones and I are safe in these uncertain times. I do have a few friends that get infected but most of those are doing ok. Phew! Hope you guys are good as well. Please stay safe, stay indoors and stay cool!

So, coming to the report for Q1, here we go…

A. Wins / Achievements

  1. As we speak, I am on a 119-day streak of writing every day. I have not missed a single day! You can check out some of the posts here. Knowing myself, this is probably my biggest achievement of the last quarter.
  2. I now ‘live in public’. It translates into my intention of getting my thoughts, actions, and reality in sync. See some posts here. This was one of my goals for the year. I am embracing it and I count that as a win. Must write a longer post on this sometime.
  3. AD, the team and I took The Podium into another unchartered territory with events and masterclasses. In the event, we invite some established founders / investors as jury and give aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their startups to them. The idea is not to get them to a funding round per – if that happens, great. But the larger intention is to give the participants feedback on what they are up to. The next one is on the 24th of April. Lemme know if you want to attend. This is important to me as it takes me a step closer to being a VC.
  4. I am now live on Youtube. This is the first time ever that I have appeared on the Internet. This allows me to now chase more opportunities on Youtube. Let’s see where it goes.
  5. On the work front, I continue to work as a brand planner for a digital agency. I also picked an additional project to help market a cloud-computing tool. Both these are ongoing engagements and I think I need one more project and I’ll be sorted. Help me find this additional project? Other things like Podium, PPP, TRS remain on the back burner for me to be honest. I need daal roti right now.

B. Losses / Shortcomings

As against the planned goals for 2021 (listed here), here is what I have missed…

  1. No action on #book2. I think I am fooling myself that I want to write a book. If I wanted to, I would do something about it. I mean I have been writing morning pages for 100+ days and I ensure that they get written. But the book, I don’t even get started! I don’t know why. There’s something in me that makes me want to not let go of this. And then there’s something that makes me want to not even get started.
  2. I had planned to do a project a month. We are in April and I don’t have a single project to talk about. May be I will ship one of those this month. Or may be a quarter. Let’s see.
  3. I have yet to take any action on fitness so far. I am not walking, I am perpetually tired. I am not eating right. I don’t know what to do about this.

Apart from these, here are the things that I could’ve done better.

  1. I still have a hard time saying no to things. A lot of my actions are still guided by emotions (I am far from becoming a robot). I need to be this. Don’t ask me why. I just think that you need to be attached to the outcome, rather than actions.
  2. I remain a fool and a sucker for approval from people and I continue to be taken for a ride!
  3. I am still unable to close windows. Read more about it here.
  4. I wanted to start the Marketing Connect Podcast Season 2 but I haven’t been able to. I had to prioritize and focus on work that gives me revenue and a stronger shot at connections. More on this in a bit.
  5. I was unable to find a place in Goa. Rather, I am back in Mumbai. Stuck here to be close to opportunities, reliable Internet, and well, people! The time I spent in Goa between December and March was great fun. Even though the world is moving to Goa and is happily working from there, I haven’t been able to. The simple reason is that I refuse to live in a “city” like Panjim / Porvorim. And the phone / internet remains unreliable at non-cities like Anjuna / Vagator. And I need reliable, fast access to communication for work I do. I wrote this long post on my Goa experience. Of course, I will have a leg in that place. Let’s see when and how.

C. New projects that I am excited about? What do I plan to do in the next 3 months?

As always, I am that kid in the candy store and I keep looking for things to work on. Here are some old / new toys that I am incredibly excited about. Maybe these could be the things that I will ship in AMJ!

  1. The SoG Book. I want to bind some of my best letters into a book that I share with people. For some reason, a finished product delivers a better impact than an ongoing one.
  2. The Investor Thesis podcast. Along with the marketing podcast, I am now working on the investor’s one. I want to learn more about how to make investment decisions as I move beyond what I already know. If you know any VCs, do connect me, please.
  3. The Killer Boogie routine. See this. I am told you can master this in 20 days. I am giving myself a quarter.

Apart from these three large things, I also will also work on the following…

  1. The SoG Grant. The idea is to support creators with a no-strings-attached, microgrant for a project of their choice. More here.
  2. Get active on doing video. All this while I did not want to be on the Internet But I realize that with time, I cannot avoid that. So, why not embrace it? And thus, I will get active on video. Just that the world has had enough and more gyaan on youtube. Who needs yet another person paddling common sense on Youtube? Plus, the production quality is already through the roof – better cameras, tight scripts, slick editing, gaming of algorithms, and all those hidden tricks of the Internet! I don’t think I stand a chance. But that’s the fun. No? Let’s see though how it pans out.
  3. Oh, I may also raise about 5 crores from friends and family to create a micro VC fund to support aspiring entrepreneurs with angel rounds. I am doing this with a couple of friends. In case you have money that you are ok to lose in order to support other entrepreneurs, please do let me know.

D. What help do I need on?

So, apart from the things that I talked about above, there are indeed a few things that I need help on. Here’s a list.

  1. Connect me with the biggest hustler you know of. You know, someone who’s out there seeking work, delivering work, making connections, doing things that are out of their league.
  2. Help me get “meaningful” work and keep me away from a Naukri! In the past, I have worked on events, brand strategy, digital marketing, product, and more. I know this sounds scattered but I do have the requisite expertise and demonstrable experience. Do help me find gigs (freelance please) with businesses that are doing interesting and impactful things. I want to stay away from the run-of-the-mill stuff, please. 

E. Finally, what can I help you with?

If there is anything that I can help you with, please do let me know. I am very handy with marketing, content, the Internet, and more. Plus, I am told I am very resourceful ;). Please DO ASK!

***

So, this is about from the update. Thank you so much for reading this. And your patronage and attention. Means a lot! 

Thank You!
Saurabh Garg
Andheri, Mumbai
10 April 2021

PS: Should you want to give me anonymous feedback on this email (or anything else under the sun), please use https://forms.gle/28bVP8DYz2WGdHdp8. And yes, I LOVE not-so-kind, brutal, and honest feedback.

Here are previous updates.
2021 – Annual Goals
2020 – Annual GoalsJanFeb-MarApr-MayJun-Jul-Aug
2019 – AugSepOctNovDec

Tweets vs Blogposts

Even when we are in 2020, why do I prefer blogging over tweets? As a creator, as a learner and as someone that wants to grow!

Hola! 

If you are a longtime reader of this blog (or blogs in general), you would know how blogging as a hobby has been sort of replaced by things like Instagram, tweets, and so on and so forth. Both in general and for me. And how blogging is now a lot more “content marketing” where companies pay peanuts to desk monkeys to churn out words that trap those search engine spiders logs. And how the “content” that is created does not really do anything good to any reader, even if they may want to read about that topic. And how there is so much content that it’s impossible to filter noise and signal; assuming you know what is signal for you! And how long-form writing by non-writers is dying a slow death? 

It’s sad that so many people sharing so many deeply personal anecdotes with so many strangers is all gone. I mean it’s now moved to Twitter and Instagram and all that. But I am not sure how many people are blessed with the talent to push their thoughts in mere 280 characters (or maybe 2200 for Insta). I, at least cant. Not that gifted. May be if I work hard on writing, I may learn the art of brevity? 

And this is why I have kept the blog alive. And this is why I love the idea of writing letters (come, be my pen pal?). And this is why I like the idea of journaling, diary entries, notes, etc. 

The thing is, a blog allows me to push my unfiltered thoughts, things I am thinking on, things I am working on, things I seek opinion on. And put those somewhere on the world wild web. For others to see and respond to and allow me to think better.

I miss those times when I’d be brimming with ideas about the blog posts that I’d want to write. I’d have a draft folder thicker than all the 7-8 Harry Potter books combined. And I’d look forward to publishing posts and wait with bated breath for that one rare comment that I would get once in a month or two. It was another level of exhilaration. Something that the Twitter generation would never know – after all, tweets are far faster to engage with 🙂

Anyhow. 

So, today, I am thinking about where do I want my content to go (this is what I’d do with my blog – write write write till I get tired; vomit out all my ideas, thoughts here; and since the blog is in the public domain, I’d try harder to put forth better arguments; and by the time I was done writing, I’d have some sort of clarity). Here is my attempt to think with my words. 

And, with that, here we go. In no order… 

1. Individual as a Media Company

In the times to come, unless you are a media company (even as an individual), you’d lose out. As a business, as an individual, as even a rock or a vegetable. Stories, media, content would help you stay relevant. 

You thus have to think like a media company and churn out content that is valuable and interesting and all that. 

2. 1000 True Fans

The entire idea of 1000 True Fans would be far far more relevant in the times to come. Creators (a word I used when I applied for Gumroad’s gig for customer service) would live lives that they want and will rely on patrons to support them with micro-transactions, micro-donations. And with time, you would see more and more people go down the creator route. We are already seeing the likes of Patreon, Onlyfans, etc allowing people to create economically sustainable lives. 

3. Writing

As someone who likes to straddle multiple things and at some point in time make an impact for a billion people, I need to be very very good with words. After all, words do move mountains. And these words will open doors for me, allow me to know more people, satiate my curiosity, and so on and so forth. 

In one word, my words will give me access. And thus I need to get more active and more aggressive with this! 

4. Text vs Pictures vs Video

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. So, to improve the output by a 1000×1000, I need to pivot to doing videos at some point. Not sure though when.

PS: Thanks, Annkur for the nudge. Do tell me what would you want to see on a video from me. 

5. One, single, unified home for content

Right now, my content is scattered at multiple places – my own website, medium, blog, Mailchimp, tiny letter, substack, and more. And with each passing day, these platforms are only going to grow and more platforms would come in. And thus the content will scatter even more. 

And as a result, my patrons (and the ones I want to get access to) would probably not find what they are looking for! 

So I need to find a solution to this. May be I will use the website to showcase the best work and one blog destination to dump these thoughts? I don’t know yet. 

6. Tracks that people want to read about

Continuing with the scatteredness, it is no secret that I am a scatterbrain. My writing, output, and other things are spread too thin. I talk about marketing, entertainment, content, podcasts, entrepreneurship, writing, habits, notes, poker, and a million other things. 

And thus there is no way I can give a consistent experience to readers that are interested in just one genre. I mean if you are a filmmaker, you may want to read what I had to write about The Trial of the Chicago 7 but why would you read about how I refuse to have a kitchen at my home? Or that walking barefoot is the thing you need to practice but living in a city like Mumbai, it’s literally impossible! 

So once I know what and how and where all I am writing, there has to be a way for people to identify “tracks” they want to consume and they must be able to go down that path easily. For example, when you are subscribing to newsletters on those large websites, you have an option of subscribing to certain sections (kind of content) and receive updates from only that section, that track. I will have to implement that! 

7. Twitter

Lemme talk about Twitter. The thing that got me down this path! 

The thing with the tweet is, even though there is a permalink of the tweet per se, to me, a tweet looks and feels ephemeral. It is something that’s hanging in the air. I’d love to change it and have a more solid, permanent, tangible link. Like a URL to a website. A website feels a lot more solid to me. Oh, by the way, the public URLs that I host on my own website on? They are tough to pull off – I keep trashing my website every now and then and I start from scratch! I need to fix this. 

Plus, while most of my greatest connections have come via Twitter, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s the primary destination where I create content. It can at best be a distribution platform. And heck, it’s a powerful destination! No? 

8. Writing to pay your bills

Making money and pivoting to being a writer! This is a big one. And this is what I am most conflicted about. 

The thing is, I’d love to be on substack or Patreon or something because I like the idea of monetizing my audience, my true fans. Even though I do NOT write with the intention of making money off my writing, I have been told by at least one person (thanks, Krishna!) that he is happy to pay me for what I write. Apparently, it adds value to his life. And that to me is music. 

For two reasons. A, I add value. The reason I even write in the first place. And B, people find it valuable enough to pay! 

So, if I can get 1000 people like Krishna, I’ll be free from the rigmarole of holding onto a steady job! And I can potentially take a step in the direction where I won’t have to work for others. And spend my life like a dog chasing cards – in random pursuits, where the chase itself is a reward! 

Of course, once I start seeking money for what I write, I need to not get sucked into this honeytrap and go down the desk-monkey route. 

The other thing that I am sure of is that I do not want to “profiteer” by sharing things I know. Whatever little I know, I know those because I have had generous people who were kind to me and shared things with me without expecting anything in return. And it is not right for me to profiteer when I myself haven’t paid for those! So that!

A big part of me thus does not want to charge at all. May be I’ll accept donations? I can ask people to donate whatever they deem is ok. But then, while I go with the pay what you go model, do I want to guilt-trip people into paying? Dunno. 

And if and when I do go the monetization path (in whatever shape or format), I need to decide how do I do it. With Patreon? Substack? Stripe? Ideally, I’d love to have a button or something (may be stripe connection to WordPress) on my own website. Let’s see. 

Sigh! You see the conflict? 

9. Accountability.

This is a big one. Right now, I write things as and when I feel like. There is no structure, no predictable cadence, no topic, no accountability. But once I decide that I want to be a writer for hire, I would have to be a lot more accountable. Someone said it right that a predictable routine is one of the secrets behind a free, wild, flowing, interesting life – the kind that gives you experiences that you long for. And the experiences that can shape you into a better man! 

So, I need to probably pull them socks up and get to a routine. For what I write, even if it’s across genres and all that. No?

***

So yeah, these things. 

What started as a rant, a comparison between tweets and blog posts has become a tome that I am not sure who would read. 

I will decide over the next few days and I will of course keep you guys posted. Till then, it’s over and out!