Monday, May 30, 2016

Reading List for an aspiring Product Manager

cc: Ben Ward

While at a event yesterday, discussing what an aspiring product manager should read, I mentioned the list of blogs I usually read. It ignited a lot of discussion. So here I am sharing the list of all what I usually read. Please take your pick.

VC Blogs:
  1. Fred Wilson Blog : AVC 
  2. Benedict Evans:
  3. Mark Suster:
  4. Hunter Walk:
  5. Sam Altman:
  6. Paul Graham:
  7. Chris Dixon:
  8. Brad Feld:
Product Management Blog:
  1. Silicon Valley Product Group (SVPG):
  2. Stratechery:
  3. Accidental Product Manager:
  4. Good PM, Bad PM: Ben Horowitz Seminal paper on Product Management
Technology News:
  1. Global (Primary):
  2. Global (Secondary):
  3. TechCircle:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

What I am reading this weekend (23 April 2016)

cc: Katy

  1. While Google promptly fixed it, MS took its own sweet time and previously generated OneDrive shortened URLs are still vulnerable - LINK

  2. Not all productivity tools yield productivity. Slack turned it upside down for Agilebits - LINK

  3. Yes, you can build a sustainable income from apps. Here's how - LINK 1 , LINK 2

  4. Looking a HackerRank like solution for podcasts. Here it is - LINK

  5. An open source project is revealing salaries at MS, Google and Amazon - LINK

  6. “Your performance is tied 100% to your attitude.”. OR as Coach Katia Verresen says, Abundant Thinking - LINK

Monday, March 28, 2016

Right way to read PDFs on Kindle

cc: alienratt

I have been hearing since eternity that how bad is Kindle for reading PDFs. The fact is everyone who says is has been doing it wrong. They transfer them directly via USB and grumble how bad PDFs look on Kindle.

As far as reading PDFs on Kindle is concerned, don't transfer them directly. 
Instead, do the following:
1. Go to your respective Amazon website ( or etc)
2. Sign-in with the e-mail id you have registered on Kindle
3. On the Top Nav, under Hello, drop-down, go to "Manage your content & devices". Quite, like this:
 2. In "Settings" tab, look for "Send-to-Kindle E-Mail Settings" - you will have an email id with

3. Send your desired pdf to this email id from your registered email id as an attachment, with subject of email as CONVERT, nothing else in the email
4. You will have the book in your kindle in few minutes automatically, if the wi-fi is on, on your kindle, and it will look the way you will really love to read!

Happy Reading! Let me know on Twitter if you have any other such Kindle challenges.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Do what scares you

CC image by Rosmarie Voegtli

Fear is actually a funny thing. The biochemical reaction of fear always prompts you to "fight or flight" while emotional response is very personal to everyone.

One of the my personal fear has always been cooking.

Yes I know it may sound silly to a lot of wonderful cooks out there, but phobias have no reasonings.

Now this is despite of me being a foodie and blessed in my life with wonderful cooks at home, from my mom to my wife now.

What's more I have role models in the form of my father and father-in-law to my brothers who all know to how to cook and cook wonderfully!

I don't remember now where it started. I don't know if it was because I have always had a extra sensitive skin towards heat. Or whether because I feel I won't be able to end up with the perfect dish.

So here is my 2016 to-do:

I will look my fear in its eyes. I will learn how to cook. And it starts today!

Together with Shweta, we have come up with a plan:

1. Do things that don't scale: Learn the battlefield first. Learn the kitchen. That is what is going to happen in the induction period. I will (actively) spend a lot more time in the kitchen with Shweta now, doing ancillary stuff like holding out ingredients to her, washing veggies. What it will do is that firstly, it will break my mental block. Secondly, it will make me familiar with the lay of the land - where things are kept etc. The latter is very important for people like me, who want to feel in control when executing.

2. Sweat the small stuff: The plan is to move to the next level once I get comfortable chopping the veggies. Then make the soup. Make rasam. Make daal-rice. Make sukhe-aloo. As per Shweta, if I can spend 70% of 2016 doing this, I have already won the battle. Because that would mean that I have perfected my basics to the last bit.

3. The Minor League: This is where it gets interesting. Now Shweta wants me to pick one cuisine (apart from Indian), dip my toes in it and eventually perfect it. I will most probably pick Italian, because that's what she loves.

What I am doing here is trying to methodically break down my 2016 to-do; my phobia for cooking, so I am not grappling for the next steps. Also by putting it in public domain, I am making myself accountable to the whole deal, so that there is no way to run away for me from my fear.

What's your fear you are going to deal with in 2016? Let me know on Twitter.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

How I managed to read 72 books in 2015, despite being a slow reader

CC image by Pietro Bellini

2015 was a year of hits and misses. But one of things I love most - Books, was a real hit for me.

I discovered the joy of reading while passing out of college but got real infected when I was married another book lover.

I read 72 books in 2015.
Yes, that's 6 books a month, approximately 1.4 books a week.

And this is apart from the blogs and articles and what nots.

Now before you think I am some crazy speed reader, let me tell you that unfortunately, I  read really slow and hence I am writing this blog. I want others to understand that how I end up growth hacking my reads, so that it can help others too.

I truly believe that you can live many lives via books.

So here's what I did to read more and hence learn more:

1. Slot time for books: Reading books like any other good thing, is a habit. The easiest way to form reading books as a habit is to put a specific time on your calendar for it. I said books specifically, because in today's world they are competing with long-form articles, Facebook/Whatsapp messages and news.

For me that time is in the morning- 20 minutes right after I get up; and at night - 20 minutes before I sleep. In the whole of 2015, this "time slot" helped me keep my date with books despite all the happenings around me

2. Audiobooks: If you are like me, living in a cosmopolitan city, you sure are commuting. What do you listen to when you commute? Radio/FM cluttered with advertisements or something that feeds your brain?

For me, commute can be as high as 2.5 hours on the road (yes, I stay in Bangalore). Hence I started listening to audiobooks in 2015. I experimented with a lot of different genres in audiobooks to understand what interferes least with cognitive load of driving in Bangalore. I read (listened?) to long literary fiction, non-fictional biography/autobiography, science fiction and scientific non-fiction.

I have come to the conclusion that any kind of fiction and biographies in non-fictional, long enough (400+ pages/15+ hours) work best because they keep the story coherent as you commute from one day to another. Also scientific or data non-fiction audiobooks are a complete no no, since they point to a lot of external references which you can't do while driving. They also put a lot of cognitive load while driving.

3. Read right: At the beginning of 2015, when I decided to read a lot of books. One of the first things that I did was to go back to my past reads and build a framework to understand what genres I wanted to read for my personal/professional growth and what genres I love. This helped me stay focussed on the genres I committed to, when I went full steam reading. This made sure that not only was I reading a lot, I was reading right.

Secondly, I started consolidated my reading on Kindle. It happened by chance when we moved to Mumbai 3 years back and realised that we can't take our beloved 2000+ books with us. Cut to 2015, I am a Kindle power user. Being on Kindle, also helped me stay mobile without thinking of the size of a book.

4. Cheat a little: Just because you have committed to genres, doesn't mean you can't cheat. In fact you *should*! What I have realised is that when I keep reading specific genres for quite some time, a boredom starts to set in. So I refresh my brain in between by reading comics (Chacha Chaudhary FTW!) and short stories. Helps get you back on your feet pretty fast.

5. Think ahead: While you are reading your current book, it helps if you are also thinking what you want to read next. It makes sure that momentum is on! I do that all the time with the help of It doesn't have the best recommendation engine but it gives you a great glimpse on what is new/best-selling/best-critiqued in the market in the genres you are committed to, and I use that to the fullest extent.

I am already on the third book in 2016, on the 2nd day of the year. What about you? What are you planning to read?

Books read in 2015