Untitled - 28 Oct 2016

A few days back I promised myself (and everyone around me) that I will write a 1000 words a day.

And I have failed. I did write 3 or 4 times but last I wrote, it was the 21st. And its been 7 days and I havent published a single word.

In my defence, I have written. Every day. But not a thousand words. But I have written.

However, unless I publish, there is no meaning to the promise of a thousand words. As one of my clients say, "indeed there's a lot of noise in the kitchen but nothing is coming out of it and as long as there is nothing served, there is no proof of actual work to have happened."

I have written some words but they aren't published yet. May be they were half-baked, may be they were not good. May be they dint deserve to see the light of the day. Whatever it were. I did not publish and I am guilty.

Anyhow. Starting today (not this post - the one after this one), I will try to get back to the track.

So sorry for having let the faith down.

P.S.: Maybe I am too harsh on myself - hell yes! I am. But thats how it is. Life is too short. I cant wait on the sidelines as the world goes by. Have to slog hard. I have to err on the side of action. Over and out.

400050 to 400079

Day 5 / 100 of the 1000WADv3. I am writing this a day late. Last night a combination of factors made is tough for me to post it. All of those will sound like whines from an old man but I'd rather focus on "create" than "crib." So here goes. Also, read this as a continuation post to the one I made when I moved from Nahar to Bandra.

So, about a fortnight back, I moved from Bandra to Vikhroli. And everyone I tell this to, they are surprised shocked. One of my colleagues says and I quote, "the dumbest idea I've ever had" 

Of course it is a dumb idea. Of course they are shocked. Bandra is where all the hipsters are. Vikhroli is where all the lukhkhas are. Bandra is cool. Vikhroli doesn't even qualify to be included on the continuum of cool to drab. 

Unless, you are BUYing yourself a home in one of the new high-rises that are dotting this side of the town. In fact lot of friends from MDI have made homes on this belt. And since these folks and others buying a house here are the rich ones, the area is "upgrading" with new fancier restaurants, salons, cinema halls et al coming up. Of course its getting expensive. Ok, I am digressing and trying to sort of defend Vikhroli. Cut. Back to the move.

So, why did I move? One simple reason. Money. I have a limited budget in terms of rental that I want to pay. And I have unlimited expectation from the house I want to live in. Marrying the two is impossible in a city like Mumbai, especially when there are greater fools around. So I had to look for a place where I compromise a tad on both (pay a tad extra and get a tad less amenities). 

My list of expectations include (and is not limited to), a gated compound, a place with enough space that the two people living there dont bump into each other while walking, an ample view of sky, a newish building free of pests, access to public transport, proximity to a Starbucks (and a Starbucks only), home delivery of groceries, minimal interference from neighbours. There is more but these are like SUPER essential. To give context, Nahar offers you all these things. Think of Bandra - it offers transport, Starbucks and groceries at best. Rest, well...  

My budget, lesser said about it, better. I am doing great financially but I am still far from a car and I cant even think of a house. Chasing your dreams and treading your own path is the worst thing that you could ever do, if you want to make it big. Digressing again. Back to move.  

So, I had to move away from Bandra because I found it too claustrophobic - there was the sea and the old world charm and cute women and fancy restaurants and clubs and restaurants and performance venues and celebrity spotting and Shameem's studio and Jai Jawan and all that - and I had to move away. Its an amazing place but not for me. May be once I have made enough money to afford the kind of house I want to live in, I will reconsider Bandra.

After a ton of permutations and combinations, I realised that it had to be either Kandivali (Thakur Village etc.) or Vikhroli. Both are far from the places where I chill at - office (which is close to Andheri Station). And no, I dont want to travel in train (or metro) on an average day. And since Vikhroli is close to two or three friends I have in Mumbai and to Powai (the best part of Mumbai after the queen's necklace), it made sense to choose Vikhroli. 

So I moved here a couple of weeks back. And like each time I have moved around in Mumbai, the experience with brokers was far less from pleasant (there is SUCH a BIG need for a professional brokerage services that it's not funny - more on this sometime later). In fact I am still sleeping on the floor and the AC's dont work and... No, I shall not crib. Back to the move, Mr. Garg.

Now that I am here, let me look to the future. Life has been kind in the last few months. Work has more or less fell into a rhythm (I still am a part of two growing organizations),  I have saved some money and I can now take time off to think on a wider canvas. 

So, here's the offer. Wait. Lemme copy-paste from the old post.
... if you live in / around Bandra Powai / Ghatkopar / Vikhroli and would want to catch up for coffee / drinks / something, please do let me know. While I have varied interests, I can hold interesting conversations on startups, marketing, branding, poker, travel, writing and self-improvement. Up for it? I am @saurabh on twitter.
The focus is on media and entertainment business, especially live events. And of course starting up. I dont have an expertise to offer, but I am pretty handy with seeing the larger picture, working on communication / marketing / brand-building et al. After all that's what I've done for the last 10 or so years! I am on saurabhgarg.com/contact

That's it. Do let me know next time you are at 400079. Till then,  over and out. 

P.S.: Apologies for the delay on post and I know that this is not 1000 words but I dont have anything else to add. And I stand by my words. The kitty is 1000 bucks. And there will be a post for 21st  

Untitled - 19 Oct 2016

Day 4 / 100 of the 1000WADv3.

So its 7:40 PM and I am staring at a mile-long todo list. And I have to do all those before tomorrow morning when I have a really important meeting that I cant miss for anything. If there is a day when I am going to miss my 1000 words, its going to be today. And this is when I chose to prioritize and put everything on hold till I got these 1000 words out of the day. 

The other thing is that I dont know what to write about. I dont lead a very exciting life and apart from the two Uber rides to and from work, all I do is stare at a computer screen and sleep. And there's as much I can fill in. 

So let me call this untitled and just vomit my thoughts. Let me use bullet points. 

A. The highlight of the day is a ten-minute long chat between Shekhar Gupta and MDA (cant embed and thus just the link). I am told that the man and the company are manipulative and all that but the interview is such an eye-opener into how that man thinks. The entire thing is not online but I am super impressed with the way the man thinks and the kind of people he is connected to. In ten minutes of the interview, it was clear that he is very methodical, very particular, very articulate (he did make some mistakes and all that). No wonder he's THE MDA! 

B. I just got a new tnks sticker on the new laptop. And today at a meeting, a client asked me about the next book. In last few days, the number of people asking me for the book has gone up considerably. I need to get the writing game going. And I think these 1000 words a day will go a long long way in helping me do that. 

C. I've rediscovered my love for the music of film Taal. The entire OST is super amazing and super conducive to work. The music helps you get to flow faster. Try it. 

D. I spent bulk of the day in the meetings. The mile-long todo list that I spoke about is a side effect of that attempt to meet as many people as I could. I thus get stuck with delivery and the client that cries harder and or pushes shoves me farther gets his things done faster. Of course this is not a great way to get things done. I need to hire people. And for that I need budget. And for that I need money. And to make money, I need people. Vicious circle you see. 

The point of D is that I need to be able to put a team that helps me deliver. Or may be, if delivery is my thing, a team that can get me work. At C4E, I am trying a bit of both. There are people that I am paying to get my leads and intros. And there are people I am trying to get on board to deliver on projects that we are on. Read this longish post I wrote yesterday. And to make it clear, I mean EVERY word of that. I stand by all the promises I've made in there. Of course, time shall tell. 

E. Continuing to talk about work (have you noticed that I talk of work lot more these days), I made two hiring blunders and I dont know how to fix those. I dont want to fire. I know that the said person is not capable of delivering what I expected them to. I dont know about others but a business has to fundamentally make monetary sense. MDA even acknowledged it on a public forum that you have to sense for shareholders to invest time and all that. So, while the obvious way to go is to let go, the non-obvious way is to let the mistake linger on, let it fix by itself and then evaluate after a while. I dont really know the right way to go about it. But thats the point of doing your own shit - you learn each day. And you better do - or else these 100-week hours are meaningless. Oh, I got the 112-hour week from this amazing advert by Ram. I can watch this all day long - I often do! 

F. Just looked at the watch. Its 9:52 and I am still on this. The mile-long list is still around. Staring at me in the face. And in the last two hours I have called a friend, chatted with a couple of colleagues, posted 10-odd tweets and opened and closed 20 old browser tabs. I've ordered my dinner, gossiped with a colleague, heard some Backstreet Boys (yeah, am a dilliwallah like that), saw a few YouTube videos (cant post links here), discussed a business idea with a friend and then, checked 200 times about the length of this post. 

And this is where I will end this. If the purpose of writing it to get the word count going, no point doing it. And on the contrary, thats the purest chase. The chase of a deadline and chase of a goal. It helps instill dedication, confidence, goal-orientation, focus and all these positive things. 

So yeah, this is it for today. May be tomorrow I will write that will add value to you as a reader. Till then, over n out. 

P.S.: I am still accepting "invitations" to be a part the list of people that I send these blog updates to. All you have to do it, tweet at home, write me an email. Either works. Preferably before 7 - thats the time I try to read all my mails from the previous night.

It's a sign!

Day 3 / 100 of the 1000WADv3. I will use today's update to get some work done. I run C4E, a full-service, live-entertainment business and I need people to help me build it. This post is a JD / requirement doc for the same. Here it goes. 

Boys and Girls, Ladies and Gentlemen and children of all ages, if you are young, have a fire in your belly, an uninhibited ambition, the mad streak, passion to create world-class businesses, hatred for a regular 9-to-5, quirks that make you who you are, I need you!

Heck, we need each other. And more importantly, the world needs you, needs us!

P.S.: Mad as in Jack's mad. Look to your left. 

Who am I?
I am Saurabh. 34. MBA from a decent business school. My LinkedIn profile is here. I am pretty active on twitter. I am @saurabh there.

I run an events agency and a social media / digital marketing agency. Right now, both are small, but will be big. I am very sure. So sure that the question is not "if," but "when." And when that happens, the team to make it happen will probably be the greatest set of hustlers ever gathered at one place. And I am building that gathering right now!

Why this "JD"? What am I hoping to achieve? 
One thing and one thing only. Gather a set of great minds - people of thought and action. People who are smart and yet can slog. People who are intelligent and yet hardworking. People who are articulate and yet eager to learn. People who think they are inherently lucky and yet are ok to work to get the lady luck to shine on them. People who know they'd get if they set their minds to a task. People who can pick a discipline and naturally excel at it. People who do not have boundaries. People who are mad. People who have the streak in them that makes them stand out. Alphas. People who get things done rather than mere pushing paper.

More than that, people who believe that life has larger plans for them and all they need is someone, something, an opportunity, a platform to launch themselves.

Ladies and gents, this is a call. The is the fucking sign that you've been seeking all this while. For you to spot others of your ilk and get together. To create something Utopian. Something that puts a ding in the universe. Something that you can be proud of. Something that you know that requires you to do it. Something that is an extension of you. An expression of how you think, how you work et al. Something that no "JD" can describe.

What kind of work will you do?
Right now, we are in the business of entertainment. Tomorrow we could be making spaceships. Or grazing cows for that matter. Or maybe continue to remain in the entertainment business. We dont know of tomorrow and we dont really know how to plan.

So, for the time being, you will be part of a business that entertains people. We do so by creating, producing, managing live events. Soon, we'd have other avatars. Right now, you will be part of the team that sits together and racks brains to come up with things that can blow people's heads off. Things, events, experiences that make people go, "awwww" or "woooow" or I say, "O! faaaaaaaak."

And as and when we change direction, you would be a part of the decision. Not collective per se but you'd have a say! After all, its going to about you and me and everyone around us.

So, what is the grand plan? What is the mission statement? 
Wait. What you to mean by mission statement? If you are looking for the grand plan behind all this, there is none. I have vague ideas about where I want these businesses to go. More importantly, I have a clear idea about the kind of people I want to build this business with.

What kind of people? Who are you (aka, the ideal "candidate")?
We dont care for degrees. Or amount of hair on your head (I dont have too many). Or the number of endorsements you have. Or the connections that you father as - your last name for that matter.

But few things are super important to us. Long-term thought and approach to life. Honestly. Loyalty. Meticulousness. Confidence. Clarity of thought. Conversation skills. There is more but to shorten it, you believe in the "treat others the way you want them to treat you" maxim.

And most importantly, you have the ability to hustle.

So, what is hustle?
Hustle is defined as... wait. I want you to tell me your interpretation of hustle should you decide to start a conversation. 

What can you expect in return? 
Of course money. Limited to start with. And if things fall in place, enough to take care of every whim of yours. And the ones around you. Think wealth. Not money.

Apart from that, you will work with me (not for me). You will work for yourself (not for the "company"). You will be an owner (not just figuratively but on paper - of course after we've vetted you out and your have taken the oath of Omerta). You'd be part of family (the Mafia kinds).

And here are two promises. From me, as an individual.
  • I will ensure that I am as much invested in your success as you are in yours. After all thats how you define a clan!
  • SUPER IMPORTANT. I know that each person has a world-view and a way of doing things. I respect that. And each person has an idea about what s/he wants to achieve in life. I will ensure that we work with you to achieve that goal of yours. Or I'd die trying. Promise. 
Why should you NOT take this up?
If you want to reach home at 7 PM, this is not for you.
If you dont have ambition, please refrain.
If you cant handle ambiguity, things will be tough for you to manage.
If you see yourself retiring at the age of 40, please dont bother.

Team / who else is in?
In no order, Kunal, Rajesh. Ritika, Rahul. Paras. And friends. And mentors. And giants. In fact, before you decide that you want in, how about speaking to one of us? Do share your details and we will buddy you up with someone from the team.

Thank you for reading this!


P.S.: It would help if you read consumed following pieces... 

Untitled - 17 Oct 2016

Day 2 / 100 of the 1000WADv3.

Day 2. The toughest of them all. You've just announced a new habit that is anyway tough to keep up to (1000 words is no mean feat - easily a 2-hour job) and it hasn't met with the mass hysteria that you hoped it would create. You dont have any motivation to do it. But you have to. If you dont, you risk public ridicule. If you do, you'd have to kill the procrastination dragon. You dont know which is the lesser evil. Irrespective. You have to do what you have to.

So, today, its been a busy day. Lot of errands to run at home. Lot of small meetings at work. Both require a lot of attention and are unproductive in the long run. The kind of chores that you ought to outsource. Not that you'd do great things with your time but its your time nonetheless. You can damn well sleep at that time. Its your time.

I did get some time to read a few things. The one that topped the list was this article that dissed Chetan Bhagat. But then apart from talking about Chetan Bhagat, the article also talked about this set of Hindi authors (Ashish Chaudhary, Nikhil Sachan and Divya Prakash Dubey) that are apparently as big as Chetan is. These guys write in Hindi, for an audience that is Hindi and like Chetan Bhagat, are a bridge between the classical, literary authors and mass, colloquial readers. I hadnt heard their names but a tiny investigation revealed that they actually exist! And exist they do. They are kings and princes of the Hindi heartland. May be I need to look at that as a market! Or may be not. I am not sure I have time to create things. Or talent for that matter. I remain mediocre at best. A persistent one at that. And I've learned that a persistent and mediocre dude is always better than a lazy exceptional man.

The other highlight of the day is the renewed focus on being efficient and effective. For a change, I could focus on things while I worked. Not that I got more things done but I am hoping I would retain lot more than previous times. The theory by definition will take some time to test but I shall keep at this focus bit.

Other disjointed piece of information that I have started to settle down at the new house. And my luck continue to remain fucked up with the house. Guess its a sign, that I am going to get a place of my own pretty soon. And going by the going rates of realty prices in the city, my first million is just around the corner!

I got into a bet with a colleague that I would be 30" same time next year. So #in2017, I will be 30". Super tall task and considering the fact that I've struggled with weight all my life, I will need to put in super-human effort to do so. And you know what? I will. I am already off Coke (and all sugarless variants, Red Bull and coffee). I need to cut on processed food and add some sort of work out. And once I get into the groove, it should be easy. Look at this guy. If he could, I can. Of course he ran a half-marathon. I am sure I can do it as well.

And the last yet another thing for this update. I continue to have the regret that I dont get time to read as much I want to. I recently got an Agatha Christie - that has made me restart reading. I am seriously thinking to reactivate the Kindle that I dont use. But may be, I dont need a Kindle. All I probably need is an intent to read! I'd may be take a 100 books a year challenge once I am done with these 100 posts. Or may be I will find a better way to work and make out more time for reading?

Brings me the last thing for this post. Thing is, I am just vomiting out all the unconnected thoughts and threads that I have in my head. Anyhow. SO today I sat and thought about how I want to work. And I realised that I suck at how I work. I spend a lot of time in actually doing things. Which is not cool if you ask me. At this stage in life, I have to manage things. I have to find people to help me do shit. In fact I just posted about the kind of person I want to work with. You know of someone I could work with? Please help me with some direction. I will really appreciate it.

Thats about it from this post.

Oh, one more thing. Do let me know if you want to be updated as I post the daily 1000 words. You have my email address and twitter handle (@saurabh). :)

P.S.: Not checking for copy and grammar. May be will edit it tomorrow or day after. Or a weekend. Or may be never. That's the point. No? 

P.P.S.: Not very happy with how this post has come out. But, for the time being, the struggle is to churn out those 1000 words a day and not worry about the quality. 

Introducing #1000WADv3

Today on, I am starting #1000WADv3. 1000 words a day, version 3.

In simple words, I will write 1000 words EVERY day for the next 100 days (at least) without fail. In case you want me to email you when I publish the post, let me know and I will add you to the list. There are 4 people on the list already. The day I dont write, I'd donate 1000 bucks to my poker kitty. Sidenote: I did something similar about #book2 and I never got around to keeping my word. Let me take this up in a bit. 

So, lately I have been super busy with work and travel and shifting the house. And as a result, I havent been reading, havent been writing, havent been exploring ideas, talking, meeting new people, growing or anything that has made me who I am. So, there is this void in life. I am not happy - I mean I am happy most days, most times. If I look back at this phase of life ten years from now, I will consider myself happy. But that thing, that magic that we seek from life is missing. I cant put a finger to it but hope you guys get the drift.

Anyhow, so, I need to reclaim life and what better way to do so than getting back to writing? For as long as I can remember, writing has given me pleasure and I've never had any issues with churning words -- I am very fast writer -- but I have had issues with sitting down to write.

I have had phases where I've written for days non-stop and then there have been phases where I havent written a single word (this one for example - the last time I wrote, it was septemberthe23rd. Almost 15 days, if not more. If I were Suketu Mehta, it makes sense to not write for this long. But I am not. Thing is, it takes serious effort for me to write something that is half-decent. And unless I write copious amount of words, I wont be able to leave behind a body of work that keeps me alive after I am gone.

Wait! Do I want to leave something behind? Something to be around when I am gone? I dont know. As I grow older, I feel that the impending end of time is closer than ever and the reality has started to hit home. No, I am not scared. No, I am not suicidal. No, I am not depressed. Its just that with every passing day the frivolity of life is getting more evident (may be its all the reading around death that I am onto lately - When Breath Becomes Air, Chasing Daylight, what else can I read?). Its disappointing that you live through all these years, hoping to make a dent in the universe and in the end it amounts to nothing. There is no grand plan. There are no white lights at the end of the tunnel. All is useless.


Except things that keep you going, before you die.

For example, something that you are attached to. People in most cases. Family, friends etc. I live away from my folks and I hardly have any friends per se. Or for example routines, things, disciplines, beliefs that you get attached to. You get so attached that you want to live forever on one end of extreme. And you want to kill (or even get killed) on the other. Religion is a case in point. Or may be the blinding chase of a passion project that wakes people up in the morning and like Warren says, makes people tap dance to work. There is no passion project for me except writing. There are few other things that I want to take up but I am not consumed by those yet. For example, there is this thing in my head where I want to impact a large subset of humanity but I have no clue how to go about it.

Even with writing, because of all the useless action around me, I have been postponing writing. Actually come to think of it, since I can remember I have postponed things, procrastinated to the next minute. Next hour. Next day. Next month. Next year. All the time keeping things pending for the tomorrow that would be brighter and better and see me more richer, more famous, more comfortable and God knows what all. Funny thing is that, none of it is true. Tomorrow is as useless as yesterday is. The worst thing you could do, ever, is to put things off to tomorrow. Of course, there is a "right time" and there are things that require deliberate practise before you master them - say, learning guitar, or running a marathon. Its ok to invest time to learn things. But the lessons can NOT wait. You have to do them while you are awake. There is jack shit on the other side of the sleep.

The point is, the "better" world is not coming anytime soon. Ever. All you have is today. The now. You cant fuck the tomorrow for whatever may be trying to fuck it for you. You've got to be that unstoppable force that is willing to collide with an immovable object. I've learnt that friends often arent around when you need them most, families tend to engage in petty politics more than they care for you, bosses and colleagues tend to be assholes. The day you are getting late, you will get red light on each intersection. Shit goes wrong. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. Of course there are exceptions but you cant let anything affect the steady rock in your head. Funny that the person with mood swings larger than the Foucault's is talking about being stable. Being sane. Being immovable. Gyaan is easy. No?

But, as I go along, I will make sure I become stable. I dont know what could help. But there has to be something.

I think it all starts with one small thing - the resolve to do things now. Keyword is Now. Its ok to make mistakes. Its ok to pay for action. Action trumps everything else. And things = writing, getting out of the bed, putting on those running shoes, saying no to that last piece of jalebi and so on and so forth. Action. Things. Now.

And to kickstart one of the things, I promise that I will write 1000 words a day. For the next 100 days atleast. Follow me as I do this. Help me do this. Reprimand me if I falter. And may be, just may be, take up the challenge? 1000 words a day for you too? Or may be 10000 steps a day? Or something else that you thought you wanted to do but havent had the time to?

Oh, one more thing. This one, on promises.
So, through my life I have made promises and more often than not, I tend to deliver on those promises. But lately, since I've got busy with things, I havent kept my word. I have promised things and I havent delivered. With clients, friends, colleagues, people etc. I even made a similar promise about #book2 and I did not keep it. And it sucks! I want to avoid this suckiness in my head as I go along. I want to sleep in peace at night.

I know I cant fix what is broken but going forth, I will not make promises that I cant deliver on. My word has to become Gold standard. People have to put enough faith in me. All that will happen if I start delivering. Most times I do. But then I need to aim for perfection and ensure that I deliver on EVERY promise. My zubaan has to be respected. After all zubaan is what makes the world go around. I am nothing if I cant keep my word.

As I start afresh, the first promise going ahead, is to write 1000 words a day. Starting today. Godspeed Mr. Garg.

The Nidhi Kapoor Story

Did you like this post? May be you want to read my first book - The Nidhi Kapoor Story.

Check it out on Amazon or Flipkart?