Gaurang's Blogs

The art of measuring your success

We all strive to become better version of what we are. The eternal chase of better life starts from the moment when our mind becomes goals oriented.

So how to measure the success and achieve goals eventually?

The secret lies in choosing your metrices of calculating your success.

Never measure your success on the basis of how much money you made / but how much value you generated for others.

Money is simply a facilitator / medium to how wealth / values are exchanged. Therefore the more the value you will share with others, the more value you will get back eventually. 

You should care about most competitive market in business to really test out your product’s competitiveness. Rest will follow.

Personal trait - you should be spontaneous, shorten the time required to achieve the goals.

Find more productive ways to do things since time is in limited supply. 

How do you plan to outstand?

Don’t just compete but be creative about solving problems in more efficient manner. That will help you in standing out from your competitors. 

The madness we humans are into - long hours commute to work

There was a time when I used to go to Gurgaon from Faridabad through Public Transport which used to take 6 hours bothways. It was crazy. It happened to be my first job and my excitement fueled me with energy to handle that extreme stress of taking an auto rickshaw to a delhi metro, a shared cab and in between the transitions an hour long walking. It was a tiring affair.

I managed to optimise the commute time by finding different routes and modes of transport and brought down that time to 4 hours but things were tiring and crazy.

In 5 months, I was convinced that I need a car to save my soul and hell lot of time so my parents bought one for me and I paid all the installments every month. It brought the time of commute to 2 hours. That was pretty relaxing comparing with 6 hours getting lost in public and public transport.

But Gurgaon has world's one of the busiest traffic which used to make the commute time very tiring as perpetually you have to accelerate and apply brakes. Besides losing time, mental sanity, you also utilise your cognitive resources way too much ( brain and other senses works too hard that they get tired and need resting period for coming back to efficient stage ).

In a year, the decision was made. I was absolutely convinced that I had to leave my job. It didn't matter how much I loved to work with my colleagues as they were brightest set of people I came across during that time.

That's nearly the picture of so many people like me. Majority of human beings who are aged between the 22 and 55 are indulged in some sort of employment in any part of the world. We are part of a rat race where we wake up every morning to get ready for the office, spend hours in commute and 8 to 10 good hours at work and commute back to home to have the final meal of the day and go to bed to sleep absolutely exhausted.

That's the life of millions around chasing their dream life, better life for their children, their family.

No time to keep up with the hobbies, a few nights can be spent reading. Can't really follow the gym routine due to irregular work frequently, social life is notion reserved for only weekends.

As a result, we not only get extremely busy minds but also deteroited health and relationships with families and friends as both needs constant attention, nurturing.

So, how can we design an ideal life for working professionals like me and many others in their mid 20s?

Best way is to find a job nearby the home. Ideally an hour to work bothways should be upper bound, 30 minutes would be just perfect.

So what are the other alternatives?

Besides finding a job nearby your home, you can start freelancing or private contracting ( if you are proficient enough with good networking and communication skills ). That will give you luxury of time and defining your working hours and the cost of services you offer.

You can also become a part time blogger who can generate some income from it. If you are a coder, you can start your side project which if takes off, can replace your full time job.

The catch there is to leave your full time job once your side project starts generating atleast 3/4th of your present salary. That will ensure that your living standard is maintained and you don't get desperate to join the rat race again.

One of the most inspiring books I read about side-projects is The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich.

It taught me how I could drop out of the mudane rat race and follow my passion while keeping my life financially sustainable. Perhaps you should see it a read as well if you are planning to hop out of your rat race.

I got inspired by following post(s) to write on this topic:

1. - It is a story of a lady who commutes for about 6 hours to work ( both sides ) and spends about 10 hours at work. She sleeps for about 4.5 hours a day and She is 60 years old. Surely you won't want that kind of life for yourself.



My observations about controlling Spam in your Drupal Website

So I have multiple Drupal Websites and controlling Spam is one of my jobs. Following are some of my discoveries while managing these websites and spams:
  • Whenever lots of illegitimate users used to create their users account, I became absolutely sure that either the core is out of date or are the modules. Updating them became my first priority. ( By far, the most important way! )
  • Then there is honeypot module which works like charm. The catch is that you don’t get form specific timing option out of the box so you have to choose the least common time for all the modules which can many of times defeat the purpose of having honeypot. 
  • ReCaptcha is another great way to keep your spammers occupied. It surely can defeat the purpose of having honeypot ( but all automated bots will get bypassed by this ). 

How to upgrade macOS without any trouble?

Apple has started shipping free upgrades for MacBooks which is a great thing and it really helps us get access to new features, a secured operating system. But while that's tempting, upgrading macOS can get a bit messier. 
So recently when I was upgrading my macbook's Sierra to High Sierra, something tragic happened. 
So always remember,
  • Always download/ initiate your upgradation process while using high speed internet connection or else you will struggle all the time. 
  • Have everything on cloud, these hard disks can crash anytime. These accounts and everything can get demolished but your cloud will stay. 
  • Have redundant backups of things around.

I tried to restart the machine 4 times but nothing worked out well. 

Thereafter I tried resetting the NV RAM of the Mac by following steps:

Shut down your Mac, then turn it on and immediately hold down these four keys together: Option, Command, P, and R. Keep holding the keys for about 20 seconds, during which your Mac might appear to restart. (If you have a Mac that plays a startup sound when you turn it on, you can release the keys after the second startup sound.)

And, that didn't work out either for me.

So I tried pressing following keys to reset ( have to google ) 

and it showed me the following screen ( which was less depressing ): 
And that was pretty movitating to me and selected the language, clicked on next button and then following screen appeared: 
I selected Time Machine Option and it was such a heavenly feeling that things will work out just well ( they don't normally work like that ) but it did somehow: 
But it asked for the password as my hard disk was encrypted which is okay, right? Well, the keyword wasn't working then - somehow I couldn't enter any input from my keyword and only my mouse was working. That was horrifying moment for me as I really thought that it will just work but it didn't. 

So I restarted the computer 3 times and tried the above steps over and over but it just didn't work.

So then I pressed following keys again:

and it took me to a screen, and i moved the cursor on the top and then default macOS menu appears with few menu items on the right and wifi icons on the left. I entered my WiFi details there to connect it with Internet just in case something works out well. 

Therefore I went to disk utility option and this time i took a brave yet stupid step and formatted my main hard disk. It just wiped out entire data from there and my macbook was data-less. 

Then it showed me the screen of Internet Recovery and since I was connected to Internet, it started downloading lots of data from Internet which will now help me in the recovery process: 

So this Internet Recovery Mode - took 40 minutes to download and load the packages it had to ( on 2 Mbps connection ) and finally showed the screen of great relief: 

which is similar to earlier one but then when i selected Time Machine option, it took me to following screen: 

I could enter my password which made me so happy as earlier I couldn't use the keyword ( not even the external one ). 

Then I selected the latest backup I had and clicked on restore. 

and it restored the backup in 5 hours. 

So, I typed this blogpost in a hope that it will save thousands in some heartaches as whenever my mac does this thing to me, i get a severe heartache :D

So remember: Never format your hard disk from the top menu ( in case you have chosen reset NV RAM ) as once you are done with formatting of your main hard disk then nothing is help in the hard disk and you will land into Internet Recovery Mode ( which might look a wrong option but only that took me out of the trouble. 

Apple/ macOS should fix the issue of keyword not functioning after resetting the NV Ram and getting into recovery mode.


Learnings from Vinod Khosla

Vinod Khosla is an Indian-born American engineer and businessman. Khosla is listed by Forbes magazine as a billionaire.[1] Khosla made his early fortune as one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems, where he was the founding CEO and chairman in the early 1980s.
Following are some of the learnings from him which were shared by him at the Stanford's Leadership Panel Discussion Session: 
Making things happen, things in which you believe. They wont always come true but many of the times they will. 
Things do work out! People are nice and they will accommodate and support you! 
Datadump was the first company by Vinod Khosla which also got funded. It didn't work out and that's okay. After that, he co-founded Sun Microsystems. 
The point is, people, don't remember your failures and willingness to fail gives you the ability to succeed. Anything worth doing is hard. Failure doesn't matter, success matters - everyone remembers the success.
Vinod Khosla started his first company in Delhi in 20. He was 19/20 when he was told that it would take 7 years to get the landline connection in Delhi ( there was a long waiting list ).  He sort of picked up and moved to CMU. 
He knew he had to be in the USA and he didn't have much money so he figured out how someone can pay for it, and that the scholarship which he got for his studies ( Bio-medical engineering department of CMU offered scholarship and further moved to Stanford after that. )
With enough persistence, most of the impossible things become possible. 
You can turn things around when you stop taking NO as an answer for things you want dearly. Whatever the goal is, have the conviction and work on it. 
When you can't convince them, confuse them. Identifying what you want, and getting it any how. 
Having a belief system - what do you actually believe in. 90% of people will do what they are expected to do as opposed to what they want to do. Considering your time as valuable and using at the places where you truly want to spend on or else you will wonder what the heck you are doing with your life. 
Having guts to believe in your belief system - he will consider his time well spent. 
Leadership is to know what you believe in. Follow that compass - of your belief system. 
Here's where are different and here's how we will go. Everyone, be it an individual or an organisation, everyone needs it. 
Doing irrational things which syncs with your belief system, Apple was struggling for years and then Steve Jobs came in and made Apple the most valuable company in the world! 
Having belief systems, and constantly pursuing it! 
Unqualified people shouldn't comment on things they don't understand or which is away from their circle of competence/ belief system. Like English Majors commenting on what will be top future technology. They just cannot understand things that easily. They need proper guidance and must work on their areas of strengths. 
Having the confidence to speak truth - people will appreciate that. 
Time slots of activities are divided into 15 minutes. Dividing whole day into chunks and then working on things at an optimal rate of yours.
Having the luxury of doing what you want by not having a job. Get to do things which you want to do. 
The learning experience of the startup whether it is successful or not is valuable. Learning the culture of the silicon valley and how it enhances the personality. 
Earning the right of advising by doing the things yourself. For example working as a Angel Investor and advising the entrepreneurs and startups while the Investor herself hasn't done/ worked with any startup. 
Writing off the investments mentally and then seeing the upside of earning in multiples out of your investments. 
Know what you want to do. Matching your activities with your personality. 
In startups, there are 90% chance of failure. Risk taking is absolutely important. 
In the edges where there are uncertainties, there is hope of evolution and all the interesting possibilities lie there! Unless you are there and learning fast to be there and that's where new things are happening. All that happens at the edge. 
Being in edges, the probability of failure is really high but it will give you exponential growth. People majorly reduce the possibility of failure to increase the success rate but the consequence of success is very little as compared to increasing the risk of failure to reduce the success rate. It is a lot fun!
Forecasting the future, being there! Being there the Puck is going to be at! 
The probability of getting the forecasts right by any analyst from McK, Bain is similar and small. Explore the edges yourself, what's going to be revolutionary in next 10-15 years and going there!
It's about having the point of view, belief system.
5% people are needed to make the change in the society. 
Less than 100 people will influence the entire society in different areas of society. They will have their internal compass and they won't refer the external forecasts. 
Support belief system - deciding what you want to do in future. VK was 16 when he started coding in IIT Delhi. 
Core belief system was to work on interesting things ( which has the major impact ) where ever he goes. Focusing on impact.
Keep on doing interesting things throughout your life, building, investing in great companies which are doing great impactful things and not just doing transactional investments. 
Being proud of your failures, as it is the stepping stone. Probably you will have more failures than your success but that one success will be memorable and no one cares about the data dumps. 
  • Try to fail but don't fail to try!
  • Only those who can fail greatly can succeed greatly! ( Example of Elon Musk )

Book Recommendations:

What matters to you: It is cook to disrupt things to impact. Taking new things/ projects. Knowing you can make impact the industry is rewarding.
Pursue hot challenges and working towards all odds. Having the possible impact! 
Family is important. Monthly report of all time spent on things, classifying time in different categories. Every month you need a report to check what's happening with your time! 
Decide the priorities and measure them. Be disciplined.