A peeve about Linkedin

When I search for a name on Google the linkedin profile does come often as a first option. Which is great. But I hate that when I click on that link, linkedin only shows me a short summary of the profile even when I am logged in to linkedin.
The Googlebot I am sure sees the entire profile of the user in all its’ glory because that information is indexed and retrieved by Google for it to show the right result.

So it is just Linkedin that decides to show a page of partial information to the logged in user making them click an extra button, possibly upgrade them to a premium plan or whatever it is their super smart product managers think is worthy.

It is my peeve as a user of linkedin though and I hope they provide information to me who is a user in the fastest way and in a way that the Googlebot sees.

#100happydays

From Rhea Malvai (link) I learnt the meaning of the hashtag #100happydays. Matt Cutts too, in his TED Talk (link) speaks of a way to form habits by repeatedly doing things for 30 days. His point is that if you can sustain a good habit for 30 days, your chances of holding to it are much higher after that.

One of the important and regular things I want to add in my life is the feeling of gratitude and happiness. Many people and events have inspired me to do so but one that stands out is the episode of This American Life (link). This one was narrate by Michael Lewis and tells the story of a guy who has a story about how he got in to college which is quite a romantic story and is one that re-inforces your faith humanity. Except that it is not true — all of it. He has this way of adding his perspective on regular events that make the world around him look much brighter. That episode is a life changer to me.

So I started this little experiment some time back.

I spend a few minutes every day thinking of at least one thing in the day that is a reason to be happy. Not a lot, just one thing. Even on a shitty day when you have a lot of things not going the way you want, you can always look for one thing to be happy about.

This is the 21st day and I can tell you that it is a good idea and has changed my thinking if not at all times at least for some time in the day.

Now on to making this a habit – Should be easy.

Colonialism, 2014

The other day I was at the embassy area when the auto passed near the very long queues outside the US embassy. Intelligent, smart and well-to-do people (their clothes told me so) were sitting on the pavement. I don’t know why they were all waiting there instead of the nearby market. I mean it is not like the guards would call out their names across the street. Perhaps the importance that visa application or green card approval carries in their life plans made them sit there, uncomplaining in the heat of Delhi. Vendors make a good business out of selling them snacks and water.

I was looking at the crowd as we passed by them in the auto rickshaw when the driver said: ‘angrez log ab bhi raaj kar rahe hain’.

Incumbency

Exhibit 1: Clayton Christensen. His book The Innovator’s Dilemma is a celebrated one. He talks about how companies lose out on great opportunities because they stay focussed on where they earn most of their profits from today and hence sidestep what is new, promising but perhaps too small today.

Exhibit 2: Jonathan Ive, in many interviews and in his tribute speech to Steve Jobs explains that Steve had a lot of respect for fledgling ideas. He knew that “while ideas ultimately can be so powerful they begin as fragile barely formed thoughts, so easily missed, so easily compromised, so easily dismissed.

I could several stories about how large, incumbent companies have been overcome by new, smaller ones but I will skip that part because what I would like to do is extend this to our lives as well.

Most of us have an idea of what we want to do when asked to define a no-holds-barred ambition. I, for instance, want to a) make a product that is used by millions of people everyday b) want to make the world smaller by being able to travel with the same kind of planning that we do for making coffee c) want to learn programming again and experience the joy of building something that others use.

I am sure you have your ideas too, perhaps even more fun than the above 🙂 But the one thing I often hear myself (and also others) say is that they are too invested in their current lifestyle, commitments and they have responsibilities they must respect and a combination of these greatly affects their ability to pursue their dream.

I believe the reality of how we operate is totally different. I say so because while we all have stuff to pursue, the action really happens on a microscopic, everyday level when we wake up and make a decision to work on X or Y. Let’s say you want to learn gardening (or programming for that matter, in my case). The time you invest in learning the new skill doesn’t give returns right away and your mind sub-consciously continues to fight the low probabilities of success of this new venture against the assuredness of the current. We’re conservative beings, risk-averse and wanna maximise on what we know. I think this is what our brains do because of how they’ve evolved. Self-preservation, if nothing else for a fancy word.

The fact however is that you change your probabilities of success by sheer hard work and perseverance. You have to,  you *must* fool your brain at those giving-up moments to somehow circumvent the doubts during this transition from low-success probability to a higher-success one.

Fight the incumbent thoughts in your mind that tell you to hold on to what you have instead of embracing the change. And tell yourself that you will put in the hours to do what is required without even thinking of results for a fixed time every day.

PS: I’m trying to do this these days to learn programming. I’ll let you guys know how far I reach 🙂

The Car UI

The cars of olden days were all born with manual gear change. The Ambassador as I remember also had a pedal to the right that dimmed the headlights. The dipper, you know.

The four foot pedals were ABCD, that is:
Accelerator
Brake
Clutch
Dipper

In that order. Makes it easy to remember no?

I wonder if the current cars have any such smarts and simplicity…

Talking / Trusting

Today on a ride back from the beach on the auto I had to stop at an ATM because money was short. I asked the auto guy to find an ATM and he stopped at one enroute.

It was dark when we started so I’m pretty sure neither of us recognized each other enough to spot in the crowd. I got down, walked to the ATM and wondered how I would find him if I did lose him in the crowd. Never mind that for now because it deserves another post (it is an auth and identification problem similar to a browser handshaking a banks’ server).

I walked in the (right) auto and didn’t say a word and got dropped at the hotel. I loved that. Yes, the part where I didn’t have to say a word. You can sure go ahead with how-unsocial-I-must-be sort of jokes but here is why I liked it: the unspoken trust between two individuals is priceless.

A gazillion wasteful processes exist in our world to compensate for the lack of trust between people. Bus conductors, preventive litigators, currency notes, airplane boarding passes, gates, window grills.
All that is a bloody waste and it exists because people can’t trust each other.

Fluid motion

@: fluid-motion
Vehicles in different fluids behave differently when it comes to comfort of the passengers in them. The size of the vehicle and the position in which you are seated has an impact on your comfort. Here are some general principles:

# Boats

## Small Motorboats
Motorboats rise a bit from the front due to the engine being at the very back. So if you are seated at the front, you will experience the up and down of every wave. Very thrilling, but not comfortable. The back, right where the motor is happens to be the least bumpy place to be.

## Sailboats
They have a long keel at the center bottom that goes much further below the water and keeps the boat stable. Staying above that is the most comfortable location.
In general though, sailboats are not bumpy. So all positions work out okay.

# Aeroplanes
The front of the aircraft is usually the least bumpy at least in the Jets. The other position is in the rows along the wings.

The back is usually the bumpiest.