090621 – Morning Pages

A longish post about how I spent the day yesterday, things I did and how I felt as I went about them.

8:29. Was up a few minutes ago. Made my bed, opened the windows, got some water, and switched on the computer. And here I am. I will try to write this one without switching context. Let’s see how I fare. I will keep a tab of interruptions and what triggered that.

Yesterday was interesting for a lot of reasons. Lemme recap and then I will write more. So for starters, I went to Starbucks and spent almost half a day there. More on this in a bit. Then I came back and ate (once in the day! yay!). Remember the keyboard I wrote about? I found it! Wedged next to the bookshelf! Then I worked and worked and worked and worked till about 10. And then I slept. While sleeping, I felt like a machine that started in the morning, worked till the day ended, and then shut down. The joy felt missing. I mean the joy is in work itself, to be honest, and I enjoy most things I do. But as I was trying to get sleep (around 11), I wished there was more. May be this is the loneliness that they talk about that people my age suffer from? You know, the ones that don’t have a significant other? I won’t know.

Moving to specifics.

Starbucks. So I went to the Starbucks I go to often. I got myself a Venti Americano and settled into the spot that I used to sit at. In the first 10 minutes while I was there, I realized it was going to be a good good day. In the sense that I will get a lot done. I will be in the zone. I will do better things.

And I did. I felt the spring in my step. I made difficult calls. I was on a literal roll!

Now that I know this and it has dawned onto me this well, I think wherever I go, I will have to find a place like Starbucks to work from. I will invest in a place (as in pay a fee or something). May be a WeWork. It would become a large variable when I choose the place where I want to be. When in Goa, even Clay was not plush enough for my taste. Felix probably was. Just that phone / Internet wouldn’t work there. Plus those places are not built for virtual calls.

Oh, and I will start calling this the ‘Starbucks Effect on Work’. Related is Coffee Effect on Sleep. Like I couldn’t fall asleep easily last night when I tried. And then I woke during the night. Guess that’s all the coffee in me playing a spoilsport.

Next up. Now that I am fully vaccinated and all that, I plan to be in Delhi for a few days towards the end of Jun. I know my work would get affected while I am there – I won’t have the space to work from and I would have to live in a small house with my parents. But I think my parents deserve a break and work can wait. No, they’ve not told me that they want me to live with them. It’s just that I want to. Most times, I make more than 6 trips to Delhi a year. This time around, it’s been tough. I remember I was in Delhi in March of last year. And then around Diwali. It’s been more than 7 months and I think I owe them one. So that.

In other news, I saw that Vikramaditya Motwane Sir is doing a session where he would listen to pitches from aspiring authors. I think I will participate in that and try my luck. In case you are a filmmaker and reading this by mistake, do see this. In fact, thanks to TRS sessions, I have come to love what he’s as a person. I am lucky that I get some behind-the-scenes time with him and thus I know that he’s probably one of the best-meaning filmmakers that I know of. I must must make friends with him. If only wishes had wings!

Finally, the thing that I want to write about is WWDC21. Apple’s flagship event for developers. While I did not catch the event per se but the buzz made me stop and see what all they presented. And it’s amazing how they do it. They make seemingly simple things sound so grand that you are left in awe. I think there are a lot of lessons in there for me as a person, for brands, and for businesses. I mean see the below two videos and tell me you are not impressed!

Day 1 recap
Day 2 recap

Damn Steve! What a brilliant organization you created! I am in perpetual awe of you.

Ok, the other person that I want to talk about who I am in awe of? Jeff Bezos! He announced that he’s going to space. In a rocket that one of his companies designed. Along with his brother. I mean WTF! The most epic example of eating your own shit! A part of me is amazed at his dareness. Another part is scared. What if something happens? I mean the odds are pretty high! We lost Steve randomly. Dont think I want to lose Jeff. Or Bill. Or Warren for that.

I know I know I am trying to abstain from Hero Worship but these are the men that actually show others (and more importantly me) that there’s more to life than Ram Mandir! I sincerely wish I end up like that – where my conduct and my life and my work inspires others.

But wait. What about the epic laziness that I am ingrained with? Lemme give an example. Last night, once I was done with all the work and wailing in my loneliness (that I wrote about above), I realized that I don’t have water. And I drink a lot of water. Like a lot. Some 10 liters a day. I am not exaggerating. So I needed water. And I did have a 20-liter jar that I just had to open and pour into a dispenser. And what did I do? Ordered 4 1-liter bottles of water. Such a waste of money and plastic. Only to save me the discomfort of pouring water into a dispenser. Lol!

Ok. After this 10,000 kilometers of a rant, coming to the real thing that I am thinking a lot about. My angel investing syndicate that I am doing with Akash and Anubhab. We call it Long Haul Ventures (LHV).

The thesis there is simple. We want to be long-term partners for young founders that often find themselves alone. You know the ones that aren’t from an IIT-IIM etc. The ones that dont really have a pedigree to gather interest for the bets they are making. The ones that often find themselves alone and in a corner. I don’t want to call them underdogs. Idea is to give them a shoulder to stand on!

It’s been my life’s mission to enable others to do more. LHV is yet another step in that direction. This time, in a little more structured manner. With people who are smarter than me (both share initials – AG and AG). And of course, for the super long-term. Most of the work I will do on LHV will reap fruits after 5-10 years. But I am committed. With my time, money, energy, and even reputation.

So, while there are a few long-term goals we are chasing, I do have a short-term objective to meet as well. I am helping close the first deal by helping a startup raise capital.

And I am learning that it’s tough as fuck! Tougher than raising money for your own startup. For your startup, the friends and family that invest in? They are backing you and your passion and your dreams. Here, they are backing a stranger’s dream and all they have is your word!

Each person you ask for money (and support the startup) has a million questions about you and your thesis and all that. The questions are deep and pointed (as they must be) and they make you feel naked. You have to bare your heart and soul. Some of these questions are so tough that you don’t know what to say. But you need to do it. Right? Yeah!

So that. It’s a new thing and I know it’s a long, hard road I am on. Let’s see how long can I tread on it.

Guess that’s about it. It’s 9:24. A little less than an hour.
And 1400 words! Wow!
Maybe I had a lot to write.
Or may be I did not switch context a lot.
Oh, I kept a list. Here…

  1. Music (needed something to play in the background)
  2. Whatsapp (had to ask a few friends about a trip before I goto Delhi)
  3. Someone at the door

Well done, Mr. Garg.
You deserve a break! Go call your Pavlovian response mechanism to go berserk.

You, dear reader, deserve a break as well.
Go, live your best life.

PS: Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 178
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 1. Did not plan to. It just happened.
  • #noCoffee – 0
  • #noCoke – 90
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0

PPS: And here’s what Hemingway has to say about this piece…

Not bad!

080621 – The Curious Case of a Missing Keyboard

A write about a keyboard that has gone missing from the matchbox that I live in. Help me find it?

7:53 AM. I woke up about 10 minutes ago. Like the last few days, I woke up groggy and all that. Even my back hurts for some reason. I need to really figure this out. Or may not. I mean it’s probably the age. So it’s cool. However the soreness is almost gone, so that’s a good thing. I must say this vaccine shot has made me realize where I stand with my health. I did not have any adverse side effects (except drowsiness that made it impossible for me to stay awake). I need to do a lot if I want to climb Everest and live till 120! Anyhow.

So the thing on top of my head is a Bluetooth Keyboard that I recently bought to help me work better. It’s a Targus keyboard that is small enough that I can carry it in a backpack and big enough to be comfortable. Plus it’s wireless, BT, and doesn’t need a USB connection. With the MacBook Air I use the number of posts is a challenge (just 2, and only USB C type) and thus I needed a BT keyboard. And I got. I even touted it as the best 1200 odd bucks I spent in a long long time.

However, the keyboard is gone missing.

In the 200 sq ft space I live in, all I have is a writing table, some unopened cartons of books, a book shelf and a kitchen. And yet I can’t find the keyboard. Plus I am not the one to lose things often and yet I can’t seem to find it. I have looked at every inch of the place. While I am pissed at my carelessness, the larger emotion at play is amazement – where could this keyboard even go?

As a kid, I really wanted to be a detective. I was very very inspired by Byomkesh, Crystal Maze, Super Commando Dhruv, and all the other early things that I consumed as a child. At that age, I knew that I would go on to become a detective. I think that’s how I probably developed a questioning mind. Maybe that’s the hidden reason why I write crime-fiction. You know, commit a crime and then solve it 😀

I really want to solve this one. The keyboard has to be within this room – it can’t step out by itself. The only person that has access to its space is the domestic help – she comes like twice a week. Of course, she’s beyond suspicion. I have unequivocal trust in her.

No, I dont think there are any trained monkeys that could climb up to the 8th floor and take the keyboard away.

There is no incentive for anyone else. It’s a simple Bluetooth keyboard that is of no use to anyone. It’s just irksome that it has gone missing. It’s a thing now. I really have to find it. Throw me scenarios? ideas? Where could it be?

Moving on…

While I was working late last night, I realized something interesting. Something negative and yet awesome. I can’t work without task switching. In the sense that I was working on a client project and I had to write a memo. While I was doing that, I kept switching to Whatsapp to Twitter to News to Youtube to I dont know what else. This is such a bad way to get things done. With all this context switching, there’s no way I’d be able to get into deep work and deliver better output. In a world where we are known by our output if I cant deliver great work, what’s the point?

I have tried meditation – I used to be a regular (2-3 times a week) till early last month but I haven’t been doing it lately. Maybe I need to get back to it. Let’s see. As I type this post, I am trying to not switch to any other window. Except tinkering with the music playing in the background (which is allowed). I think I must get more conscious and more mindful about being in the moment. I must catch myself every time I spot myself switching tasks.

Oh, I just saw, I’ve put a sticky note on the wall in front of me where I’ve written: “DO NOT SWITCH”! Lol!

So that. Something that needs working on.

Finally, last but not the least, I plan to work from a Starbucks till about 3 today. I dont have any important calls planned today. This means that I am ok with the background noise on whatever other calls I will get. So that’s cool. I was honestly in two minds because going to a Starbucks means spending 400 bucks on coffee that I am anyway trying to abstain from. But then I think the caffeine and the money are the tax I will have to pay to get more things done. You know, anything for higher productivity.

So, let’s see how the day goes. Wish me luck!

Here’s streaks…

  • Morning Pages / Meditations – 177
  • #aPicADay – 0
  • 10K steps a day – 0
  • OMAD – 0
  • #noCoffee – 2. I plan to work from a Starbucks. And that means I will have a coffee!
  • #noCoke – 89
  • 10 mins of meditation – 0
  • #book2 – 0
  • Killer Boogie – 0
  • Surya Namaskar – 0