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

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