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Posted on: Saturday, February 19, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Risky - Part 1.

Doing anything is risky. Doing nothing is riskier.


Roll the dice.

Take a chance.

The downside is you might fail. The upside is you get smarter and stronger...

even if you fail.

posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 6:02:25 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Friday, February 18, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Being Different Or Fitting In - Part 2.

Why is every occasion in your life just like everyone else's?

Why do you celebrate your birthdays in the similar restaurants as everyone else?

Why do most parties you invite us to follow the same predictable patterns?

Why are most of your conversations the same when we meet for the first time or every time?

Why do you strive so desperately... to fit in?

Most of the times you fit in and settle for boring safe mediocrity because you have the fear of the "different" letting you down.

The irony of it is, its the mediocrity that almost always let's you down.

Your desire to "fit in" is why you throw boring parties, engage in boring conversations, build boring applications and above all lead a boring life.

Do you really want to continue trying to fit it or embrace the different? If your answer is the later, start by not being afraid of the different when you see it.

After all, different is a way of life and once you embrace it, different shows up in just about anything you do.

posted on Friday, February 18, 2011 5:28:59 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Sunday, February 13, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Fixing Genuinely Kickass Software Development Teams.

Most HR, PR, Managers and organizations like to pretend they know how they can recruit and drive the best of the employees.

The fact is, that a whole lot of it is just luck.

Most managers and organizations around the world, get lucky....

And then they blow it.

A fully functional team is shipping kick ass version after version... yes, but they aren't updating the low level design documents, or punching their time cards.

Someone high up in the pecking order feels like scratching an itch and scratches it.

Tweaks are tried, policies are made, rules are created and before you know it, you are trying to fix something that is not even broken.

And then all you can do is read articles on how to hire the best and bitch about why its difficult to retain the best of the best.

All I can tell you is that you are just wasting your time.

posted on Sunday, February 13, 2011 10:40:55 AM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Friday, February 11, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Being Different Or Fitting In - Part 1.

You really want fit in and gain acceptance from the most people around you.

Simultaneously you really want to show them how wrong they had been all along.

The thing with the seeking acceptance is you almost never prove anyone wrong while seeking acceptance (and you don't get much acceptance either).

The thing with proving them wrong is that you have a strong possibility of gaining lot of acceptance after you have proved them completely wrong.

Here is the really ironic part:

If there is a voice of a misfit disagreeing with the crowd and a conformist struggling to fit in within you, your best chance at gaining acceptance in the long run is listening to the misfit.

posted on Friday, February 11, 2011 7:58:01 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [1]
Posted on: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Writing - Part 1.

I have nothing to say... I am really busy... I don't believe in writing... I don't have the time.

Lame lies people tell themselves (and others) about why they cannot don't want to write.

In order to write you need to:

  1. Accept and face the deepest of your fears.
    (you have a boring product, a boring life, a boring personality, an abnormally powerful lizard brain, problems you are too scared to accept).  
  2. Overcome these fears and find your own voice.

These are the two real reasons why most people do not want to write.

Of course, these are also two very important reasons why you should write...

Even if no one reads your blog.

posted on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 8:30:00 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Sunday, February 6, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Unreasonable - Part 1.

"Be Reasonable. Be Practical. Grow up. Be Professional" -- this or just another form of this advice is what you probably received when your teachers and acquaintances wanted you to stop playing around and tow the line.

Seth Godin's recent blog post, is a slap on the face of people who want you to toe the line and act "reasonably":

It's unreasonable to get out of bed on a snow day, when school has been cancelled, and turn the downtime into six hours of work on an extra credit physics lab.

It's unreasonable to launch a technology product that jumps the development curve by nine months, bringing the next generation out much earlier than more reasonable competitors.

It's unreasonable for a trucking company to answer the phone on the first ring.

It's unreasonable to start a new company without the reassurance venture money can bring.

It's unreasonable to expect a doctor's office to have a pleasant and helpful front desk staff.

It's unreasonable to walk away from a good gig in today's economy, even if you want to do something brave and original.

It's unreasonable for teachers to expect that we can enable disadvantaged inner city kids to do well in high school.

It's unreasonable to treat your colleagues and competitors with respect given the pressure you're under.

It's unreasonable to expect that anyone but a great woman, someone with both drive and advantages, could do anything important in a world where the deck is stacked against ordinary folks.

It's unreasonable to devote years of your life making a product that most people will never appreciate.

Fortunately, the world is filled with unreasonable people. Unfortunately, you need to compete with them.

Fortunately, being unreasonable is not as hard as it used to be. Fortunately you can be a guerilla entrepreneur where you practice the unreasonable, experience the sex part of your development life and let your day job handle the reasonable realities and the cash part.

That or become a part of or build an organization where being unreasonable, is totally reasonable.

If you are one lucky son of a gun, you can end up doing both too.

Either way, you have no excuses for towing the line and living by the rulebook.

I wish you good luck.

posted on Sunday, February 6, 2011 6:15:59 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Saturday, February 5, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Getting Started And Getting Over The First Hump - Part 1.

Most engineers who are passionate about what they do love programming and yet only a few venture out of ship anything outside of their work life.

Extrinsic Motivation is probably not a problem here.

The bigger problem is developing a critical mass where you can see something take shape.

Fitness experts will tell you that there are really two states in which a human being can exist. Sedentary and moving. The biggest challenge you face when working on fitness is moving from sedentary state to the moving state.

Once there, you will probably get addicted to working out and you will not need extrinsic motivation to hit the workout room.

Most of what you do at work, is driven by deadlines, fear, consequences and pats on your back.

Unless you have tasted the joy of owning and working on a small side project, you are in, what I call the sedentary state of the software development world. If you really want to experience the state where you are moving and loving every bit of it, get out of that couch and push yourself to build something.

You don't need years to build something huge. Just ship the first sprint.

Build just enough to have a critical mass of something which has a life of its own and an ability to morph into something gorgeous. What I can tell you, is that you wont need this blog or any extrinsic motivation to keep you working on to it.

You will look forward to your weekends, fantasize about working on your project, squeeze out hours during late night, tweak and optimize your life and even get more productive at your real job.

Shipping the first build, publishing the first few blog posts, doing the first few workout sessions, reading the first few books. The first few attempts at anything that is worth doing, are going to be pathetic, tiresome, depressing and sometimes even downright frustrating.

All I can say is, Keep jabbing.

You might not become the best boxer out there, but you might find out what you truly and genuinely love doing.

posted on Saturday, February 5, 2011 9:30:00 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]
Posted on: Friday, February 4, 2011 by Rajiv Popat

Surviving As A Guerilla Entrepreneur - Part 1.

You have the venture funding covered.

You have an exit strategy.

You don't mind getting sold to a Google or an Amazon. In fact you have already thought about it.

Here is the bad news: Your venture is going to fail.

You are going to wait for your first million users to show up, and they wont.

You are going to wait for your first five, million dollar clients to show up, and they won't either.

You are going to wait there hoping a Google or an Amazon buys you and Google or Amazon is not going to give a shit about your product.

And that is not because you are a looser who could not start an organization or take it to a successful completion. That is just because you are playing a game where you are the rules are designed to help you loose.

When your organization is lean enough to survive on just ten hours a weekend, a tiny desk in a tiny corner of your home and less than three digit dollar amounts for hosting charges, you are on to something.

That is when you suddenly, you don't need your first million users to show up within a year or your first five million dollar clients to show up, or Google and Amazon to drool over your product and buy it.

Now suddenly, you are working on something that is gorgeous and has a life of it's own.

And the most amazing part of it, is the realization that you don't want an Amazon or a Google to buy you.

You have an organization, that can survive without a whole lot of users, without a lot of clients and without any venture capitalist and that my friend, is a gorgeous thing.

You are what I call, a Guerilla Entrepreneur, working for an organization that does not need a whole lot of capital or external confirmation to stay afloat.

I cannot tell you if you will be sold to a Google or not, I cannot tell you if a million users will show up or not, I cannot tell you if you will bump into the first five of your million dollar clients.

I don't know enough about that part. I haven't played that game yet and I have no intentions of playing it in my life because it is designed to make you lose. I can't tell you anything about that game. I'm sorry.

What I can tell you however, is that you will be happy, because every weekend, month after month, you will get to work on something you really love working on. And that in itself it a gorgeous feeling to have. Anyone who has experienced that feeling hardly ever talks about an exit strategy.

If you do, chances are, that you just don't get it.

posted on Friday, February 4, 2011 8:30:00 PM UTC by Rajiv Popat  #    Comments [0]