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  1. <feed xmlns=""><title>Joseph Jude</title><id></id><updated>2019-07-23T09:29:50Z</updated><link href=""></link><author><email>[email protected]</email></author><entry><title>You can beat the giants - My address to Karunya Students</title><updated>2019-07-16T02:33:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;Addressing Karunya Students&#34; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Twenty-nine years back, I was sitting where you are sitting and told myself a lie. A lie that constrained my potential, a lie that limited what I could achieve.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Before I tell you about that lie, I want to narrate a historical anecdote. It is about the Jews.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Jews were slaves in Egypt. God rescued them miraculously from Egypt. They were standing in front of the river Jordan to enter the land that was promised to them. Their leader, Moses, sent twelve men to find out details of the land they are going to possess.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Ten of them came back with a lie. They said the men in that land are giants. We looked small in front of them. There is no way we can win over them to possess the land.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;But two of them, Caleb &amp;amp; Joshua, had a different report. They said that our heavenly father has put in us enough power to win every battle that comes our way. In essence, they said, God has given us the spirit of excellence. We have only to demonstrate it. We can beat those giants and possess that land.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Coming to the lie that I was telling myself. I told myself I studied only in a village school. There are students from city schools. I can’t compete with them.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I told myself, I studied in state-board syllabus. There are students who studied in CBSE and ICSE board. They are smarter than me. I can’t compete with them.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;They were lies that chocked me. Thankfully I got over them while studying in this college.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;That same boy who studied in a state-board village school went on to advice top IAS officers of the country.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I am not alone. While driving here, I passed Iruttupallam government school where one of my class-mate studied. After graduating from Karunya, this boy who studied in a government school went to study in one of the top colleges in the US. He then founded a startup and sold it for millions of dollars.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I am sure some of you sitting here are telling yourself similar lies - I can’t speak in English; I come here from a village; I am not smart enough to complete Engineering. Don’t let those lies strangle you of your destiny. Our heavenly father has put in each of us a spirit of excellence. You only have to raise and demonstrate that spirit of excellence. I hope you do.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry><entry><title>Year In Review - 2018</title><updated>2018-12-31T05:15:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;I was productive this year. I spoke in conferences, corporate events, churches, and colleges. I read 12 books. I coded daily for more than 100 days, during which time I developed 4 products. I traveled with family to Sri Lanka, Dehradun, Wagah Border, Amritsar, Dharamshala, and Hyderabad. I started to exercise in the latter half of the year and lost little more than 5 kgs. I am happy to finish the year with satisfaction.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Travel&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;We started the year with travel to the exotic &lt;a href=&#34;/srilanka/&#34;&gt;Sri Lanka&lt;/a&gt;. We went as a family. We visited Dambulla, Nuwara Eliya, Yala, Hikkaduwa, and Colombo. The country is so beautiful. Visiting the Yala national park and &lt;strong&gt;swimming in the Hikkaduwa sea&lt;/strong&gt; were the two unforgettable memories of the trip.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;You can read my detailed post &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;here&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;We also traveled domestic.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;We traveled to Dehradun on a one-day trip. We spent every hour in Dehradun at Kempty falls. &lt;strong&gt;Soaking in Kempty&lt;/strong&gt; falls was an amazing experience.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Later in October, we traveled again. This time we traveled to Wagah border and witnessed the aggressive flag march between soldiers of Pakistan and India. &lt;strong&gt;Walking up to Bhagsunag waterfall&lt;/strong&gt; in Dharamshala was another amazing experience of this year.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;In November, we traveled to Hyderabad. I like historical art and my younger son is obsessed with cars. Hyderabad became a treat to both of us.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Salar Jung Museum&lt;/a&gt; is an exception to Indian museums. To start with, it is huge. It is so huge that it is one of the largest museums in the world. We spent half day touring the museum. We had to skip few sections since kids started to become tired. If I had gone alone, probably I would have spent a day.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Then it is not filled with just one type of artifact. There are war attires, guns, swords, walking sticks, crucifixes, sculptures, manuscripts, and ceramics. Not just from one country. Japan, Egypt, Italy, India all find a place in the museum.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The best artifact is the &lt;strong&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Veiled Rebecca&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/strong&gt;. I couldn’t believe a transparent veil could be sculpted. Why this sculpture is not as famous as Mona Lisa, is something I don’t understand.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;If Salar Jung satisfied my appetite, my son got a treat from another type of museums.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Sudha Car Museum&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/strong&gt; is an off-the-beaten, nevertheless an interesting spot. The owner Sudhakar has built cars resembling everyday objects like handbags, cricket bat, and helmet. My 6-year old had fun looking at each “car”. There is also vintage car museum in Chowmahalla Palace. He now wants to move to Hyderabad!&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Public Speaking&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Like any introvert, I don’t enjoy public speaking. Few years back, I became a CTO and public speaking came along with the job. Instead of shying away, I embraced every opportunity to master the art of public speaking. This year provided so many opportunities.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;Delivering Agile in the C-Suite&#34; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;First came Chandigarh Azure global Bootcamp. I delivered a keynote titled, &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;“How to deliver value in digital age?”&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Then came Agile Chandigarh event. I delivered a talk titled, &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;“Agile in the C-Suite”&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;These two were the larger events. But I also spoke at mini-events.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I talked on “Non-functional requirements for scale and growth” at &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Chandigarh Product Tank&lt;/a&gt;. I delivered two talks at Digital Friday sessions at Net Solutions. One was titled: &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Essential Skills for a Digital World&lt;/a&gt; and the other one was “What to learn next?”&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I also addressed students of &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Gulzar Group of Institutes&lt;/a&gt; in Punjab. I spoke to them about “4 factors for success — wisdom, network, wealth, and autonomy”&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I also spoke in churches. I led Bible Study in my church on Abraham, Nehemiah, and the book of Ephesians. In another church, I spoke on the topic &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Walking as kings because of Christ&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Speaking in such diverse topics and stages gave me a grip on public speaking. I prepared a lot. For every talk, I took notes and rehearsed. Such preparation increased my confidence. I didn’t squeak in any of these talks.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;100-day coding&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;It has been more than a decade since I coded for work. I believe in practical knowledge rather than theoretical knowledge. So I challenged myself to code again. Since June, I have been coding almost daily. There are times I would break the chain because of family duties and travel. I got back to the rhythm as soon as I can.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;Coding Daily&#34; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I learned Golang and Vue. I developed 3 products mainly satisfying my own needs.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;First one is &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Sheet2Buffer&lt;/a&gt;. I created it to send social media updates to buffer tool via Google Sheet.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Second one is &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;EveryPaisa&lt;/a&gt;. It is a tool to track income and expense.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Last one is an online video course tool. I plan to launch few course in the next year as part of &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Prudent Devs&lt;/a&gt; site.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;You can already use Sheet2Buffer and EveryPaisa. Use them and let me know your feedback &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;via twitter&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Writing&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I wrote 25 blog posts between this site and at &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Prudent Devs&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Fitness&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Around the same time that I starting coding daily, I started to exercise. I wanted to work-out from home rather than joining a gym. So I started with what I knew — rope skipping. For a long time, that was all that I did. Then, I added other exercises one by one. Now-a-days I do plank, reverse crunch, squat, push-ups, and leg-raise.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Exercising isn’t without pain. But it comes with its own gain. I lost little more than 5 kilos, I feel good, and I have a better posture.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Exercising is a mental game than a physical one. When the time comes for work-out, I hear all negative voices — “just skip this one day”, “it hurts from yesterday’s session; should you do it today too?”, “may be just do little bit”, and so on. I have to keep that voice in check every time.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I have learned to deal with that negative voice by &lt;strong&gt;focusing on the task at hand&lt;/strong&gt;. At 7.30, I focus on wearing the shoe. When I exercise, I focus only on the one I am doing at that moment. With that kind of mind-control, I surprised myself with 80 push-ups one day. It is all in the mind.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Best blog posts read&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I read a lot and stored the best ones in Evernote. I am listing only two here that had profound impact on me, to the level of changing how I thought about a subject.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;What Hope Looks Like&lt;/a&gt;: Goins wrote this post in 2014. Essence of his post is this:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Poverty isn’t defeated with wealth; it’s overcome by hope&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;This year I worked among daily laborers. I visited their homes, shared meals with them, listened to their dreams and struggles, and encouraged them in the ways that I know.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I grasped what Goins wrote. The poor don’t want handouts. They want hope. They want hope that if they work hard they can come up in life. They want hope that they will not be discriminated because of caste, creed or color. They want hope that their children can out-shine them.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Poverty is not about economics. It is about hope.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The second article is about product development. Using a practical example, Thomas explains how to unearth the real requirements. I understood two aspects of product development from this article:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;MVP is not the first product released but the first one that solves the problem adequately;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;There is a strong relation between product, design, and technology.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Solve for X&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Product + Design&lt;/strong&gt; without Technology is &lt;strong&gt;Vaporware&lt;/strong&gt;. We have a great idea and people seem to want it. But we can’t build it.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Design + Technology&lt;/strong&gt; without Product is a &lt;strong&gt;Hackathon Project&lt;/strong&gt;. It looks great and it’s even fully functional, but there’s no market for it.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Product + Technology&lt;/strong&gt; without Design is an &lt;strong&gt;Office Printer&lt;/strong&gt;. The necessary evils of the world that are completely at risk of being disrupted by a customer-centric innovation.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Alternatively, when there is a balance between all three disciplines, that’s when you get amazing stories of success.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Books Read&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I read 9 books and listened to 3 books, all on &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Scribd&lt;/a&gt;. I could take notes on books, but not on audio-books.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;ol&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;The Cluetrain Manifesto&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;David Weinberger, Doc Searls, Christopher Locke, Rick Levine&lt;/em&gt;. “&lt;strong&gt;Markets are conversations&lt;/strong&gt;” and “&lt;strong&gt;Hyperlinks subvert authority&lt;/strong&gt;” are still true as much as it was true when these theses came out, in 1999 . CEOs who understand the impact of these alter their business models. Employees who understand these, build better career.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Thou shall prosper&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Rabbi Daniel Lapin&lt;/em&gt;. Rabbi Daniel distills the Jewish business wisdom into 10 commandments. In one of the chapters, he lists 4 factors that are required for a holistic success in life — &lt;strong&gt;wisdom, network, wealth, and autonomy&lt;/strong&gt;. I have tried to improve on all these factors this year. I had sufficient success in all factors except wealth. Hopefully in the coming years I taste some success in that too.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Triumph of Christianity&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Rodney Stark&lt;/em&gt;. Paras Chopra &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;asked in twitter&lt;/a&gt;, “Is there any book chronicling the &lt;strong&gt;growth hacks that made Christianity #1 religion in the world&lt;/strong&gt;?” This book was mentioned in the thread. Four major points of the book:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;Basic Christian message is simple and can be understood by all. Not much education is needed&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;Christianity offers both long-term and short-term benefits; (eternal life + rewards in this life). This is an attractive combination.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;When Rome had plagues, Christians cared for the sick, while others threw the sick in dungeons. This did 2 things: Christians outlived the pagans; Surviving pagans embraced Christianity.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;Christians accepted women and didn’t discard female infants. Like mercy in times of plague, this caused Christian numbers to swell.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Liminal Thinking&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Dave Grey&lt;/em&gt;. Summary:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;There are thresholds, doors of opportunity, around you, all the time. Most of them are invisible to you, because you are focusing on other things. But they are there and they offer incredible potent.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;A belief is something you hold in your mind, a kind of map or model of that external reality. But just as maps and models can be wrong, so can beliefs. Beliefs are not reality. They are not facts. They are constructions.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Liminal thinking is the art of &lt;strong&gt;creating change by reframing beliefs&lt;/strong&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Making Great Decisions: For a Life Without Limits&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;TD Jakes&lt;/em&gt;. Bishop Jakes focuses more on relationship decisions than on life’s decisions in general. One key point I learned from this book is this: &lt;strong&gt;Successful people often envision themselves going through the intricate motions of their most exceptional performance&lt;/strong&gt;. I used to envision the outcomes, but what Jakes makes sense. You should envision the performance itself and not the outcome.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Slings &amp;amp; Stones&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Mike Rakes&lt;/em&gt;. An excellent book on David &amp;amp; Goliath. Summary:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;The giants you face define your identity.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;The &lt;strong&gt;greatest threat to your destiny is not the giant in your life but your own apathy&lt;/strong&gt;.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;The soldiers who lived in fear of Goliath were convinced that the image in front of them was the only possible reality. Yet &lt;strong&gt;David saw the same image and overcame it&lt;/strong&gt; rather than shrinking back in passivity.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;strong&gt;You are constantly morphing&lt;/strong&gt; either into what God has intended or what the enemy of your soul intends.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Reframing does not mean denial&lt;/strong&gt;, but discovering the future God wants.&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Psychology of Selling&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Brian Tracy&lt;/em&gt;. If you are planning to get into sales, this is good introductory book. Brain Tracy defines &lt;strong&gt;seven key result areas for sales&lt;/strong&gt; and  explains each of these areas in detail. Throughout the book, he emphasizes &lt;strong&gt;developing a positive self-concept&lt;/strong&gt;. Everyday is full of opportunities. If you have positive self-concept, then you will grab them and succeed. If you have negative self-concept, then you will be scared, anxious, and most-likely fail.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death &amp;amp; Life&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Don Piper&lt;/em&gt; with &lt;em&gt;Cecil Murphy&lt;/em&gt;. Shane Parrish mentioned this book in &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;twitter&lt;/a&gt; as one of the books that stayed in the NYT best-selling books list for 163 weeks. It is a true life-story of a pastor who died in a car accident (emergency medical technicians recorded that he had no pulse) but came back to life because another pastor crawled into his damaged car and prayed. Within that time he claims he went to heaven. In the latter part of the book he describes his recovery and how people helped him recover. It is an amazing &lt;strong&gt;story of prayer, advice, and personal growth&lt;/strong&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Whisky in a Teacup&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Reese Witherspoon&lt;/em&gt;: I loved Reese in the movie, “Sweet home Alabama”. So when this book turned up on my playlist, I gladly read it, though most of the content is not useful to me in any direct manner.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ol&gt;&#xA;&lt;h3&gt;Audio Books&lt;/h3&gt;&#xA;&lt;ol&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Audacity of Hope&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Barack Obama&lt;/em&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Case for Faith&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Lee Strobel&lt;/em&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;em&gt;Daniel Pink&lt;/em&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ol&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Best Movie I saw&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;All Saints&lt;/a&gt;: A new salesman-turned-pastor is sent to an almost bankrupt church to sell it. While he is preparing the church for sale, refugees from Burma arrive there seeking help. The pastor has a change of heart. He now wants to help the refugees and re-build the dwindling church.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;This is a true-story and shot on actual premises with some of the original congregation. It is a &lt;strong&gt;fantastic lesson on building a tribe, going forward in the midst of self-doubt, and accomplishing what one sets to achieve, through many setbacks and change of paths&lt;/strong&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Reason for productivity&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I have read and heard that quitting social media improves productivity. I didn’t believe it.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;This year, &lt;strong&gt;I deactivated my Facebook account&lt;/strong&gt;. When I was active on Facebook, my mind would be occupied with something someone said in it. Even if I wouldn’t reply back, it would occupy my mind for long. When I deactivated Facebook account, that amount of mind-power was available for other activities.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I followed it up with deleting the Twitter app from my mobile. I still used Twitter but only from laptop.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Reason for satisfaction&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As an young Christian, I admired St. Paul. Unlike the modern preachers, who always seem to scream “give me your money”, he supported himself by tent-making. He worked to make enough income so he can pursue his passion.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Years later, I read &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Anti-fragile&lt;/a&gt; by Nassim Taleb. Taleb talks about barbell strategy to build an anti-fragile life. He suggests to have a secure job on one end. On the other end, you follow your passion, like writing.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;This year I was able to do what the saint and the philosopher taught&lt;/strong&gt;. I have a job where I work for three days a week. I work intensively those days. Other days, I pursue my passion — writing, reading, coding, and preaching.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I was inspired by the saint and the philosopher. I didn’t know how to turn that inspiration into reality. There was no elaborate strategy or a “7-step plan”. It just happened. Guess, I’m just lucky. That’s why I will fondly remember 2018 for long.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Retros of the earlier years: &lt;a href=&#34;/2016/&#34;&gt;2016&lt;/a&gt; / &lt;a href=&#34;/why-2013-is-the-best-year-for-me/&#34;&gt;2013&lt;/a&gt; / &lt;a href=&#34;/an-award-to-end-the-year/&#34;&gt;2012&lt;/a&gt; / &lt;a href=&#34;/looking-back-at-2011-with-pride-and-satisfaction/&#34;&gt;2011&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry><entry><title>Seven tips to writing fantastic blog posts regularly</title><updated>2018-07-23T10:00:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;Amit Subodh[^1] asked a question that most bloggers struggle with — how to write good articles regularly.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I have been blogging for more than a decade now. Here are the lessons I learned.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;7 tips for blogging regularly&#34; title=&#34;7 tips for blogging regularly&#34; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;Photo by &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Emma Matthews&lt;/a&gt; on Unsplash&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;1. You don’t have to publish everything you write&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;In the initial days, I always wrote with the aim of posting. I spent a lot of time thinking about a topic. Then as I started writing, I spent a lot of time on each sentence. Obviously, I missed many days of posting. It was an unnecessary chain I laid on myself.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Now, I have unshackled myself.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;2. Write daily&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Nowadays, I write daily. The aim is not to publish, but to write something interesting. Every day, I sit down in the same place, almost at the same time and I write for half an hour.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I may write on apps I use, lessons learned from Twitter, the dilemmas I face in professional life, and so on.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;There are no rules on topics or structure. There is only one rule — write for a an half hour.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Obviously, some of these writings get into my blog or &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;newsletter&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;3. Write for one&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;When I write, I imagine having a conversation with a friend. Not an imaginary friend, but a real flesh-and-blood one. Because I have been writing for years, there are folks who regularly contact me with appreciation and questions. So it becomes easier and easier to imagine having a conversation with them. This helps me to write in an easy to understand language rather than hard prose.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I wrote this post itself as a conversation with Amit.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;4. Read widely&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I read widely - not just on topics I write. I read psychology, theology, biography and so on. I prefer to read books than vacuous articles.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As the saying goes, great artists steal. If you read well, it becomes easier to steal — ideas, sentence structure, and quotes. They bring life to your otherwise banal writing.&#xA;I have a file with catchy sentences from these books. I read them often and steal something or the other from these sentences.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;There is another exercise that I do often. I rewrite paragraphs from those books in my own style. The idea is to improve my thinking and writing style.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;5. Get feedback&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I post some of what I write in this blog and few others in the newsletter. Sometimes, snippets of what I write ends up in emails I send to friends and colleagues. Without shame, I ask for &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;feedback&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;6. Separate activities&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I separate the activities involved in blogging. Generally speaking, these are the actives involved in blogging.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;thinking &amp;amp; researching&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;writing&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;editing&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;publishing&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Because I separate these activities, I am able to block time in a day and do them. My mind is not jumping from one to the other.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;7. Quantity is the path to quality&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Usual debate on quantity &amp;amp; quality is wrong. We all have heard that “it is quality that matters, not the quantity.” As a consumer, I expect quality. But as a maker, I have to focus on quantity to achieve quality.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Makers suffer from two nightmares: fear of starting, and fear of finishing. How do you get rid of these fears? By practicing. Practice builds muscle-memory for makers.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;Read more of my thoughts on this question: &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;When quantity trumps quality?&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Since I don’t publish everything I write, I focus on the quantity of words I write. That way, I build a muscle memory for writing. Then when I sit down to write an article, it becomes a lot easier.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Conclusion&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;“I write for the unlearned about things in which I am unlearned myself,” wrote C.S. Lewis. This is the core idea behind my blogging. Blogging is one of the ways I &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;learn&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I encourage everyone to blog. It is a sure way to improve your career.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;Related Posts&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;After 300 blog posts...&lt;/a&gt;&#xA;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Seven Insights From Two Months of Blogging&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;[^1]: He asked in &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Blogging As Business&lt;/a&gt; Facebook group&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry><entry><title>Apps I use - Pocket</title><updated>2018-07-16T05:00:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;Pocket App&#34; title=&#34;Pocket App&#34; /&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;For most people, learning stops after college. But ways of doing business changes constantly. If we need to continue to grow in our career, we need to learn continuously.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;That is why I framed a &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;learning framework&lt;/a&gt; which consists of these phases — &lt;strong&gt;consume, produce, and engage&lt;/strong&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The &lt;strong&gt;starting point for continuous learning is consumption&lt;/strong&gt;. We need to learn from books and blogs.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;I schedule time for reading books. But articles come from many directions — newsletters, RSS feeds, twitter, and so on.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;It may not be possible to read an article immediately as soon as it comes to my attention. I might be in the middle of completing something I started. That is why an app like &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Pocket &lt;/a&gt; is absolutely important.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Whenever a good article comes my way, I store it in Pocket. The team at Pocket has excelled in creating an &lt;strong&gt;amazing set of integrations&lt;/strong&gt; with other every-day tools. There are extensions or bookmarklets for every browser. The Pocket app is deeply integrated with Firefox browser. I can e-mail an article to a dedicated Pocket e-mail id, &lt;a href=&#34;mailto:[email protected]&#34;&gt;[email protected]&lt;/a&gt;. I can also store an article in the iOS device using share extension. This rich ecosystem has made it easy to store articles.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Once stored in Pocket, the article is available in the web application and mobile applications.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Later &lt;strong&gt;when I get time&lt;/strong&gt;, like standing in a queue, I open the &lt;a href=&#34;;amp;at=1000lMsn&#34;&gt;mobile app&lt;/a&gt; and start reading articles. I also dedicate an hour every week to read articles stored in the app.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;One cool feature of Pocket is that it &lt;strong&gt;removes all the clutter&lt;/strong&gt; like ads. It presents the article in a clean page to read.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;After I read an article, I share it on social media sites via &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Buffer application&lt;/a&gt;. This leads, sometimes, to engage with other readers or even with the author.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;You can’t beat the price. It is free. Yes, all of these features are available for free. They have paid plans too, but you get all the sufficient features in the free plan itself.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;The Pocket app has helped me immensely to keep learning. I strongly recommend using the Pocket application.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;h2&gt;You May Also Like&lt;/h2&gt;&#xA;&lt;ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Self-Directed Learning (SDL)&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Learning Phases And Its Support Systems&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;li&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;How I Use Twitter As A Learning Tool?&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/li&gt;&#xA;&lt;/ul&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;Disclaimer: Link to mobile application is an affiliate link. That means, if you buy through that link, I get a very small commission.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry><entry><title>Abstractions are useful, if you know the context</title><updated>2018-07-09T05:00:00Z</updated><id></id><link href="" rel="alternate"></link><summary type="html">&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;&lt;img src=&#34;; alt=&#34;All Abstractions Fail&#34; title=&#34;All Abstractions Fail&#34; /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Since you are reading this post, I am going to assume that you know English reasonably well. Also, I am going to assume you are a non-native English speaker like me.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;English, like any other language, is an &lt;strong&gt;abstraction to share ideas&lt;/strong&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;It works well. Sitting in India, I am able to share my ideas with readers from Paris, London, and Madrid. Without this abstraction, I would have to write in French, English, and Spanish to share my ideas with readers from different regions. As an individual blogger, I can’t hire that many translators.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As an abstraction, it works well in general cases. &lt;strong&gt;It fails&lt;/strong&gt; as soon as I move out of that generic case into specific situations.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;As the Finnish comedian Ismo says, you think you know English. But when you move to America, you realize you don’t know English. &lt;strong&gt;It takes forever to understand the meaning of those little things&lt;/strong&gt;, like “ass”. Dumbass is just dumb, but badass is brave!&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;(Watch the video by clicking on the image above. It is hilarious.)&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Does this mean English is not useful? No.&lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;It is useful within a context. If you are in a different context, like a friendly chat with Americans, that context breaks down. You need a special variant of the language.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Same is true of technology.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Every technology is an abstraction. They are abstracted for a context. &lt;strong&gt;When you stay within that context, the abstraction is super useful&lt;/strong&gt;. You enjoy using that technology. As soon as you hit the edges of that context, you start to feel frustrated. You need a technology suitable for your newer context.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;At one time, you have to write software in C or in C++. Then Python came along. Python became the best language for many different tasks — scripting, web-development, desktop development, ETL, machine learning, and so on.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Python is the best language to develop a solution easy and fast. So it remains the darling of the startup world. Since 80% of startups fail, they never reach a stage to go beyond the capabilities of Python. But &lt;strong&gt;when a startup becomes successful, they need capabilities beyond Python. So they usually migrate their application to some other language&lt;/strong&gt;. Dropbox is a case in point.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Patrick Lee of Dropbox &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;writes&lt;/a&gt;:&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Dropbox owes a large share of its success to Python, a language that enabled us to iterate and develop quickly. However, as our infrastructure matures to support our ever growing user base, we started exploring ways to scale our systems in a more efficient manner. About a year ago, we decided to migrate our performance-critical backends from Python to Go to leverage better concurrency support and faster execution speed.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;/blockquote&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;This approach is true in &lt;strong&gt;developing mobile applications&lt;/strong&gt; too.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;If you can afford or your application demands capabilities like augmented reality, you should start developing in native languages. For the rest, a cross-platform framework/library like &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;Ionic&lt;/a&gt; and &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;React Native&lt;/a&gt; are the way to go.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;&lt;strong&gt;With these frameworks, you can iterate and develop quickly&lt;/strong&gt;. If your application hits a spot where these abstractions fail, then you move out into native languages.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Airbnb is &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;sunsetting React Native&lt;/a&gt;. They wrote 5-part series about their decision. If you are at Airbnb scale and  face the &lt;a href=&#34;;&gt;organizational and technical challenges&lt;/a&gt; they face, sure, move out. Otherwise, the abstraction of React Native helps.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;&lt;p&gt;Whether it is English or Python or React Native, your context should guide you to choose an abstraction. When you hit the edge of that context, evaluate again and choose another abstraction that fits your new context.&lt;/p&gt;&#xA;</summary><author><email>[email protected]</email></author></entry></feed>
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