Normalization of Death

Manali Memes are all over the internet. You see hordes of people on the busy streets of Manali.

For the uninitiated, Manali is an famous hill station in North India. Currently it is in news because hordes of people are visiting the place after the lift of second lockdown. These tourists don’t really follow Covid protocols and put their lives at risk. This is a sign that an 3rd Covid wave in India is imminent. The second wave has proven fatal to millions.

Given the above scenario, the rational mind questions such behavior of people . Why are people even risking their lives?

If you reflect, this could be a direct consequence of the normalization of death.

Let me explain.

Death has been normalized in religious scriptures.

Mythology says you live and then you die.

However, acceptance of loss has never been easy.

Death is a rarity, you only die once.

Death is a rarity because in your lifetime you could only closely witness a few deaths.

You mourn and revive. You accept and move on. It is an organic process.

Death in that case is an event. Obviously a sad one.

Now let us have a look at the havoc unleashed by the pandemic.

The pandemic has claimed millions.

During this period, death was seen through the “mechanized lens”.

The sad event was reduced to mere operations.

Haste, quick, mechanized.

Book beds, allocate breathing devices, manage supply chain, optimize beds.

Prioritize the sick, decide who doesn’t need the bed and who does. 

Manage logistics for the deceased. Waiting lists and resource allocation.

Bottle-necks and workstations (pyres)

Does this ring a bell?

The scene was no different from the Auschwitz concentration camp.

If death is normalized then we might not really appreciate the longevity of life but the “shortness” of it.

A trip to Manali in that case is just a bet on life, now that it has lost some of its value.

It is okay to live grand and short life taking all the risks because it is okay to die as well. 🙂

The aftermath of the pandemic has significantly reduced the fear of death?

Do let me know in the comments.

#covid19india#death#life#wayoflife#fears

How do you feel when someone disagrees with you?

How do you feel when someone disagrees with you?

A few days back, I commented on an Instagram post.

The post had thousands of likes. The creator was a woman with more than 50000 followers.

She stated that “fitness” is subjective. It was her belief.

I usually don’t comment on Instagram posts. But that day I felt like doing so.

I said, “Fitness is objective, the world is moving in that direction. If fitness is subjective, no one is really fit.”

It was my worldview and belief.

“100% untrue”, came the reply. 

She went on to explain at length why she believes so. 

Now I had a choice, to leave the debate or push my point further.

I decided to push it a little further. This time with some more logic.

I said “if fitness is subjective, then why fitness tests for jobs, any gym, or sports are so objective? There are series of checkboxes. Hence, fitness is nothing but a checklist, hence objective”

I received no reply after that. 

The next morning, I received a notification. She had again written a long reply. Now she brought logic and scenarios that were confusing or simply beyond my comprehension. 

I decided to yield for two reasons.

The opponent was actually trying too hard to be right and win.

Reason two, it was her turf, with all the zillion followers, it was a hornet’s nest.

Here are few reflections:

The true test of your character will happen when someone disagrees with your beliefs and opinions and how you react after that.

Are you big enough to accommodate a thought, an idea, or a principle that directly counters yours?

Anyway, on LinkedIn such confrontations are rare.

LinkedIn is the world of “I agree”

We all live in harmony here, don’t we? 🙂

India’s COVID wave : Think before blaming the governments

Our healthcare system was always broken. Let us think before we blame the governments. 

It is our collective mindset at play here.

Let us understand why Healthcare or for that matter any industry thrives?

We all know the answer; strong demand drives industries and organizations to grow.

Healthcare is expensive. And only the rich can afford the best healthcare in India.

But what about the poor and the middle class?

Well, the truth about any service is that someone has to pay for it.

And no one is ready to pay for healthcare in India.

People prefer to delay treatments and avoid visits to hospitals. 

They believe in Jugaad. Or suffering. Or both. 

But here is a universal truth.

The backbone of any national healthcare system is not governance.

It is the health #insurance sector. 

The private health Insurance coverage in India is just 3%.

In the US it is around 70%.

With no insurance, people don’t prioritize their health concerns unless they are extremely critical.

So why invest in a #healthcare capacity, when it doesn’t make any business sense.

We as people of this nation never prioritized health.

The doctor-population ratio in India is 1:1456 against the #WHOrecommendation of 1:1000.

Why it is such a surprise that this covid wave is a shock to the system?

Netflix has a “No Vacation Policy”

Netflix has a “No vacation Policy”

No, it is not what you are thinking.

On the contrary, the policy empowers employees to decide when to work and when to take a break. In fact, they don’t need a vacation policy.

This morning I was listening to the Podcast where Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix was describing this policy.

The host asked him:

How come the policy is not abused by your employees?

To that, Reed said, you cannot micromanage and monitor and set so many rules for people.

Employees are just told “ Act in Netflix’s best interest”.

Come to think of it, what is the secret ingredient of culture at Netflix?

Well, it boils down to trust.

I believe that “trust” alone can solve many problems.

The sad part is people try to replace trust by active monitoring.

But in return, we are increasing our own problems.

Friction, burnout, setting wrong expectations, lack of work-life balance.

As humans, the moment we remove trust from the equation, we fall apart.

And I am sure, the best and the most innovative organizations across the world have a very high #trust index

The happiest families would have trust as a foundational value.

Happiest relationships and bonds are built around trust.

It is easy to be metric-driven, tell me how many organizations that are six sigma and process excellence champions make it to the most innovative list?

#Netflix

This is how I generate profits for Amazon

This is how I am forced to increase the efficiency of delivery guys.

I am making more profits for AmazonSwiggy, and groffers.com.

I not only contribute to their top-line but also their bottom-line.

I live in a gated community. Due to the pandemic, delivery guys are not allowed inside.

When Amazon, Groffers, or Swiggy guy reaches the gate, they call me on the intercom.

All I have to do is oblige and say yes sire, wait there, I am coming, allow me two minutes.

Sometimes they wait, sometimes they leave the package at the security gate.

It is an inconvenience.

Walk at least half a kilometer to and fro to get the order. Call the lift. Sanitize your hands. Exit the lift. Come home and wash your hands.

For hyperlocal deliveries in cities, more than 60% value is added in the last 300 meters.

I and many others pick their orders at the gate, which means more time for delivery guys to take more orders. Shorter turnaround times. Fewer errors, more efficiency.

I am sure Amazon knows this and so does Swiggy

Do you guys plan to reduce your delivery fee?

The paradox of the plenty

Since the Hippies landed in Goa in the 70s, Tourism in #Goa went on steroids.

Both metaphorically and factually.

A paradise was discovered.

50 yrs later Goa has the highest per capita income in the country.

2.5 times more than the national avg.

For those of you who may not know, the second pillar of the Goan economy is mining.

As a matter of fact, my very first job as an engineer was in a mining company in Goa.

That job lasted for a day, I will save this story for later.

Goa ranks highest on most of the development indicators in the nation.

Thanks to two cash cows; Tourism and Mining.

But here is the other side of the story.

Goa is a perfect example of jobless growth.

The government is not incentivized to create jobs but to support existing infrastructure for tourism and mining.

It is not the fault of any government.

It is a resource curse at play.

It is called the paradox of the plenty, Google it.

Rampant mining for years has done enough damage.

Well, I am trying my best to sum-up Goa for you.

Because I don’t see people talking about Goa in the popular news channels.

Sadly the mouthpiece of Goans are dumb Bollywood movies.

They depict Goans as funny happy people because the script has no scope to factor in complex economic concepts like the paradox of the plenty.

#economy

This will make you very insecure

Ankur Warikoo posted a special series of tweets last month.

Except for the fact that Ankur Warikoo did not write them.

They were generated by a bot.

It was an experiment.

Here is a sample tweet.

“People don’t change. They just reveal themselves.
It’s your responsibility to be with people who are worth your time.”

Could you make out that this was written by a bot?

I couldn’t.

These tweets also had a 12% higher engagement than his own tweets.

How was it possible?

The answer is GPT 3 an AI model.

GPT 3 is largely being recognized for its language capabilities.

It can write creative fiction, what else do you need?

Five years down the line you may not even figure out if the profile you are engaging with is a bot or a human.

And it is a need, why?

Only an Algorithm can beat an algorithm.

Over the last few years, I am observing that engagement on Linkedin has become more labor-intensive.

It is all hard work, frankly speaking, humans can do much better than simply posting “Thanks for sharing!” on some trending post.

Instead, they just prime a bot to say something even more intelligent.

How about the bot actually reads the post? And gives a meaningful reply to ponder upon?

Reflect and share your thoughts.

I built a chair!

I built a chair yesterday, it was long overdue

Well, I was left with no choice, who else would do it for me?

Thanks to Ikea

The estimated arrival time was 13th Aug

It was under-promised, over-delivered; a new way to delight customers

I was expecting a fully assembled chair

But I received a neat rectangular cardboard box with a jig-saw puzzle in it

I opened the box and first picked the manual

And I fell in love

The didactics were so impressive, they tickled the mechanical engineer in me

Allen Keys and Allen screws and an Allen drill bit

Ok, I will spare you the details

I sat down on the floor and started to assemble

Once in a while, there was a thought, what if Ikea failed to include a screw

Wouldn’t that be a pain?

But Ikea did not let me down

It took me an hour to assemble the whole chair

It was very satisfying

I am writing this on the very chair that I assembled

Ikea sells “experience” and not furniture

And it inspired me to write this

When was the last time a product inspired you to write about it?

Please reflect or comment

Imagining salaries in India

Here is an interesting exercise to estimate #salaries in India

Let us do some easy math, ready?

Let us take TCS as a use case:

Why? By far, TCS is one of the best #IT organizations in India with a global footprint

As of March 2020, TCS had 448,464 employees, the largest employer in India!

And its net revenues stood at 131306 crores

If you do the math, revenue per employee at TCS is Rs. 29 lac

Most IT organizations have 50% as employee expenses

Hence, for every rupee that TCS generates 50 paise goes towards employee salaries

50% of 29 lac is 14.5 L. A big chunk of TCS employee pool are young engineers

The average age of TCS employee is 28 years

Does that mean a 28-year-old employee in TCS earns 14.5 L? Not really, because we don’t have an age distribution

But you have a ballpark figure now

When it comes to rural India, a small marginal farmer earns approx 1L per year (link in comments)

The moment you decide to earn an engineering degree and move to the city you have an opportunity to boost your income to 14X as compared to a farmer

Fair game? Give your comments

Note: Used publicly available TCS data

#income#equality#education#career#economy

Does the Linkedin algorithm remember how your last post performed?

Does the #Linkedin algorithm remember how your last post performed?

No. *phew

I was trying to read and understand how the Linkedin algorithm works and here is what I have learned

Linkedin algorithm(algo) is like an Editor in Chief

But with a 0 memory

Every algo is a set of rules

The Linkedin algo sees you through an objective lens

That is beautiful, no biases and no prejudices

The moment you post, the algo does a quick hygiene check and makes your post visible to a selected few

After that, if you get engagement(likes and comments), it boosts your post

The process is so meritocratic

Budding writers can always experiment and start fresh, every post is a new beginning

The algo doesn’t allow expert writers to rest on their past laurels

Simple and neat

But here is the other part of the story: people, yes you!

People see, read, judge, have very long memories and are very subjective

People give signal to the algo to boost an engaging post

So whom should you care about the most? The algo or people?

In my opinion; no one

Write from your heart, be authentic, take inspiration but be original, be yourself

In my every post I just aim for one thing; trigger thoughts

Have I triggered yours? Pls reflect or comment

#writing#motivation