News, news, news

One of the best essays I read last year was a case on why you shouldn’t read the news.

It’s amazing how much more productive you become when you aren’t constantly trying to fill voids of time with consumption of news, articles and tweets  You instead become a producer rather than consumer.

Ofcourse it’s not that ideal to be completely oblivious to the the world around us, but a good rule of thumb is that if there is something important happening, you’ll hear about it somehow 🙂

The shortened version of the essay (by Rolf Dobelli) is here:

3 things I learnt from not reading a book

I’ve been wanting to read a ‘A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose‘ by Eckhart Tolle, as people have said amazing things about it for a while now.

Someone once told me their takeaway from the book (thanks Babs) in 3 points and the advice has helped me in my day-to-day.

1) Be free of judgement of others
You don’t know what situation or circumstances the other person is going through, there’s no point in drawing brash conclusions, chances are you were probably in the gutter at some point. They could probably use a friend who smiles, encourages and listens to their problems. Be that person. 🙂

Note: Having opinions is fine, otherwise life is boring. However there is a subtle difference between opinions and judgement.

2) Be free of materialism
Things shouldn’t define you, soon you’ll no longer exist and the only things that will matter are your relationships with people around you and your legacy.

3) Be non-resistant
The only constant we can depend on in life is change, there’s no point in resisting it, embrace it and leverage that change for the better. You’ll look back at that inflection point in a few years and it won’t matter anymore!

One day, I’ll get around to reading the book….

New year resolutions

So it’s that time of year where people have figured out that they were guilty of certain things in 2013, which they are giving up for a few weeks in 2014 (i.e. new year’s resolutions).

I’m guilty of not reading as much as when I was a kid, so I’ve decided to take the ’52 book week challenge’ for 2014, on average a book a week. I’ll be keeping track of my progress in this post, and hopefully as it’s public I’ll try and complete the challenge!

Only time will tell…

Current book count = 3

1) Choose Yourself – James Altucher
2) Bloomberg by Bloomberg
3) The 4-hour body – Tim Ferriss
4) Eleven Minutes – Paulo Coelho
5) No Exit – Gideon Lewis-Kraus

EDIT : As it’s nearly midway through the year and I’m busy, this target has been changed to 20 books!

The end of structured life

Today is the last day of my second last term at Imperial College London. We operate on a trimester system with engineers usually doing a 4 year degree so I’m done with 11/12 of my degree or more than 90%.

Since we are around 6 years old our life has a structure. We know that there is nursery school, followed by primary, secondary and finally university education. Within this time frame all the experiences we have are not really appreciated until we make a jump. When making these discrete jumps, for example from high school we are nostalgic about our friends and experiences, but we know that there is still a while to go and university still awaits us with all that it has to offer…

The jump from university to life however is a different one. All my peers have had a very similar trajectory within our structured lives and the only variation has been grades, internships, holidays, girlfriends/boyfriends.

It’s quite a challenge to describe all the adventures and learning experiences that university has taught me. I learn’t much more outside of my lectures and department and have come to believe that paying for university is worth it just for the life outside of academics. Everything else can be learnt on Khan Academy or YouTube!

Silicon Valley comes to Cambridge (svc2c)

I visited Cambridge on the 18th of November 2010. I took a train from London Kings Cross at around 19:30. The evening was spent roaming around Queens’ College and Cambridge.

In the morning I rushed to the Judge Business School to attend the Silicon Valley comes to Cambridge conference. The first keynote speaker was Mike Schroepher (Vice President of Engineering at Facebook),  where he gave an inspirational talk about his past at Stanford University, Mozilla and Facebook. He mentioned that young people should constantly look at the things that they enjoy as future career plans as opposed to doing something for financial or other motives.

A panel on how to endure startups was particularly fascinating. Adam Nash (Vice President of Search & Platform Products at LinkedIn) was of the opinion that flexibility in employees is a key element. Mike was of the opinion that hiring employees that can solve problems surpassing specifications was what he looks for. He also gave a very different outlook on life and how the theory of flow is something that is so vital and fundamental in the short and long term. Tackling pertinent problems rather than entire industries was the advice he gave to budding enterprenuers.

A keynote speech by John Lilly (Venture Partner at Greylock, outgoing Mozilla CEO) focused primarily on how to handle a work / life balance. He mentioned how his contacts had an impact on his life, and advised the audience to look 10-20 years down the road and visualise people you would like to be and work with.  Exposure to random social activities and meeting lots of people was a good way of networking he said. Treating people well who resonate with you is another key element he mentioned.

Top commandments for entrepreneurs given by distinguished Silicon Valley guests are as follows:

  • Hire the right people
  • Be loyal to your markets
  • The ‘if’ factor is the most important
  • Talk about your ideas to as many people as you can
  • People need to think for themselves rather than be lectured
  • Making your own mistakes is a key experience
  • Questioning authority
  • Find mentors
  • Change the world

The conference ended with a speech from Reid Hoffman (Founder of LinkedIn). His vision for life was to build human ecosystems through Technology, Finance and Business. His tips to entrepreneurs include making decisions in a time compressed situation whether you want to or not and to look at your business competitive edge in the industry.

This was followed by a networking session.

I got some dinner at Queens’ College and headed for London at around 20:45.