Digital Enablement vs Digital Empowerment

If your business is still struggling to go online, you are very late to the party.

Businesses which took that route 5-6 years ago and are now enjoying the afterparty. Data they have collected over the time is now ready to be read, analysed and made ready for better, smarter decision making. Machine Learning, AI, Data science and other upcoming technologies will thrive and suggest better and smarter ways to grow businesses, which is clearly going to be the next wave of computing.

This is what I now call “Digital Empowerment”.

If you are an entrepreneur, think about it – Are you still struggling with digital enablement or are you ready to embrace digital empowerment?

How much do we actually work?

At the workplace, we are used to hearing how life is so hectic and everyone feels so stressed and overworked all the time. So I set out to do some basic mathematics to find out if that’s really true.

I’ll take a general case.

Number of working hours a day: 9 hours

Number of days in a year: 365
Number of weekend offs (Sat and Sun): 104
Number of permitted holidays: 12 (On an average)
Number of public holidays: 10 (On an average)

Actual number of working days in a year: 239

Total hours in a year: 8760
Total hours spent doing actual work: 2151

Percentage of time in a year we actually work: 24.5%

Still feeling overworked?

Time dilation

I fondly remember my childhood days where I was up till 6am in the morning coding something or trying to get something to “work”, not caring what I had eaten or if I had slept.

As I’ve grown older and life has gone busier, the need to collaborate, stick to schedules, attend meetings etc. means I’ve to now conform to my schedule as per the world around me, not in the way that I want to.

But I still believe that to do great things, the whole idea of time has to take a backseat. When your mind stops caring about “what date/time is it?” and starts to focus only on “the task I’m trying to do”, new ideas are born and breakthroughs happen.

Magic rarely happens during “working hours”. It happens when you lose track of them.

My thoughts on firing people

There’s a lot of gyaan (knowledge) on how to build startups, and entrepreneurs (who usually don’t have a clue on what’s right and what’s wrong), usually tend to fall for it without questioning any of it (almost like religion if you ask me). One of the craziest things I’ve heard though, is this philosophy of hiring quickly and (if they don’t work out the way you expect them to) firing quickly.

Basically, what this means is that entreprenuers shouldn’t think too much when they are hiring because if things don’t work, there’s always an “Undo” button.

@Entrepreneurs, here’s what I feel:

Amongst all this gyaan, it’s easy to forget that the people whom you are “hiring and firing quickly” are also human beings. Remember back in those days when you were an employee somewhere and changing jobs? You were hopeful of a better salary, a better manager, a better office and maybe a better life? Maybe you had to relocate to an entirely new city? Your family wanted to know what’s next for you, so did your spouse and your friends? There were a lot of expectations around it and it was no easy decision.

A new job still means a lot to most people.

If a new employee doesn’t turn out to be a good fit for your organisation, you should learn to take responsibility for that decision too. It was not the employee’s decision alone to join the company, you were a part of the decision as well. You interviewed that person – You should have known what he is capable of what and what he isn’t. And if he wasn’t good enough, you should never have hired him in the first place. You also made a mistake so why should the employee suffer alone?

Firing people is important. By all means do it when you need to. But none of it needs to be traumatic. Give your employee enough heads up so that he can plan his next move. Clear all his pending dues. Celebrate whatever he did for the organisation when he was around and end it with a polite thank you note and handshake.

Firing can be graceful too, if you treat your people like human beings.

An appeal to make rear seatbelts compulsory in India

How many of us promptly put on our seat belts when we sit in the drivers or co-driver’s seat but never bother when seated on the rear? Do you also believe in the myth of the soft front seat acting as a cushion in case of an accident? Probably this video will prove you wrong.

P.S. On a related note, cars have mandatory front seatbelts, bikes have mandatory helmets for both riders. All good. But what about autorickshaws which is still a very popular mode of transport? Neither.

5 reasons why the Polo GT TSI is the perfect car for the Indian car enthusiast

Update (12 Dec 2018): I am selling my Polo GT TSI. Color:Red. Odo Reading: 20,000 Kms. In perfect condition (No scratches or dents). If you are interested, drop me an email on

If I told you that there’s a car which gives you a bite-sized package of all the tech you get in luxury cars like the BMW and Audi in an affordable price point of under 10L, would you be interested? Hell, yeah. Read on- The Polo GT TSI is the car you should look out for.

What you’ll love:

1. Great engine – 175 Nm of torque which kicks in as early as 1500 rpm. If your engine is idling at close to 1000 rpm, you can imagine that getting it to 1500 rpm doesn’t take much effort. VW says it has a 0-100 time of under 10 seconds but the car definitely feels faster. Infact, here’s a video that proves that it can be done in about 8.8 seconds. It’s an absolute rocket. With an engine like this, you can compete (and win!) with cars maybe 2-3x the price.

2. Fully loaded – Packs all the goodies including front airbags, ABS, steering mounted controls, voice command, Mirrorlink, bluetooth stereo, rain sensing wipers, alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, turning lights, cruise control etc. The dashboard feels extremely premium and feature loaded. Only the very high-end features like electrically adjustable seats, sunroof etc. are missing which I’m personally quite OK with.

3. Dual clutch transmission – This is the highlight of the car, by far. Here’s an amazing blog post on how to play the “DSG game” and win 😀 The gear shifts are seamless and you’ll be surprised to see your car in seventh gear by the time you barely come out to the main road from your locality. The sports mode is awesome but the real fun is in the tiptronic mode with traction control off.

4. Understated timeless designs that never go out of style – A signature of all cars from the VW group I feel. They never make the headlines when it comes to styling but their classy designs never go out of fashion either.

5. Affordable – At around 10-10.5L on-road price, I think it’s a complete steal. I don’t think it’ll ever be possible to get your hands on such a piece of technology at this price point. Maybe VW is doing it intentionally to give everyone a flavour of what they have in offer and then sell us the Audi’s 😀


1. VW sub-standard sales and service experience. The Gurgaon service center is literally next to a sewer and almost impossible to locate. The dealerships and showrooms are no better.

2. Rear seat space is almost non-existent. Even a four year old kid will find it difficult to sit if the front seats are occupied.

Suggested viewing:

1. Hidden features of the Polo (2 part series)-

2. Polo GT TSI 0-100 –

The Uber and Ola menace nobody seems to talk about

It’s more than 3 years now since I wrote my blogpost on my Uber cabs experience in Delhi. Ever since then, the post became wildly successful (my referral code was used to the extent that I did not have to pay for taxi’s for more than a year) and so did Uber and other companies. But with all this growth and success has come a lot of chaos. Even though we are all affected by it, nobody seems to talk about it.

1. Idle drivers have started forming “taxi stands” everywhere they can find some space to park cars. Residential areas are turning into parking lots for drivers and cab owners.

2. Drivers who have just got a booking request wander around their designated pickup points and often park at wrong places to wait for their customers. They are often seen driving while talking on the mobile phone, presumably with their next customer on where to meet them etc.

3. Moving cars often have drivers who don’t even know where they are going. All they are doing is matching their “dot” to the “route” on their GPS navigations. Unsure drivers drive slower, reduce the average traffic speed and also take sudden unplanned turns.

More than half the cars I see around me these days are commercial cars carrying passengers of some app based taxi service or another, so there’s no denying that these services are here to stay. But Uber, Ola and others – Please train your drivers on the above points and prevent our already choked roads from turning into a complete mess.

Simple trick to make your Uber rides safe

In light of the recent rape case of an urban metrosexual girl by an Uber cabbie and the rumors following the incident about the lack of verification records etc., here’s an easy way to keep yourself protected against such incidents from happening in future:

When you’re looking for a cab, don’t book it yourself. Ask a friend or a family member to do it for you.

See how this helps:

1. The friend knows the name and number of the driver and the car which has come to pick you up.

2. He can keep a watch on the movement of the taxi and see what route the driver is taking. Incase anything seems out of place, he can instantly call you and check if everything’s alright.

3. Incase you are in trouble, he knows (atleast to some extent) your exact location and could rush for help.

4. He can immediately inform the police about the car’s number and location even if you may not be in a position to do that yourself.

Yes, there are some hassles of letting your friend pay for you and then getting that money back etc., but the safety benefits you get in exchange definitely outweighs that.

How I lost 27 kgs in 18 months

Sick of the food I was served everyday in my college mess, me and my friends made it a routine affair to go to the “dhabas” near our college for our meals. But I did not realize that it slowly took a toll on my health and I eventually swelled up into a 110 KG monster.

Needless to say, readymade clothes no longer started to fit. No brand had my size of t-shirts and jeans. I had to sometimes ask relatives to bring t-shirts from US because my size was only available there.

Soon enough, I got determined to lose that fat. And here’s what I did:

1. Got a treadmill – I was so fat that I used to find it embarrassing to work out in gym’s. Plus, gym equipment is used by hundreds of sweaty men and women everyday and hardly ever sanitized. If you’re the kind of person who would rather have some basic equipment at home, just go and buy one. 45 minutes of rigorous workout every evening – I made it a habit that stuck with me for nearly 18 months.

2. After dinner walks – A small 15 minutes of slow walking after dinner does wonders to your digestive system. You feel “light” in the morning since that dinner has digested better. Plus, these 15 minutes are a good opportunity to call up old friends and relatives whom you’ve lost touch with.

3. See what you pop – This is probably the biggest one. Stop popping in food mindlessly. Be conscious of each and every bite that goes inside your mouth. Quick snacks between meals? Stop. Went shopping and got a candy instead of change? Don’t pop that in. Getting bored so planning to have a cup of coffee? Stop. Eat food when you are hungry, not when you want to.

4. Diet control – I intentionally decided not to “quit” eating anything but I simply reduced everything by half. Eating 4 slices of bread for breakfast? Make that 2. Eating 4 roti’s for your meal? Make that 2. Desserts after every meal? Make the portion smaller and take just 1 serving. Going out? Eat a sandwich instead of pakora’s. Order roti’s instead of parantha’s or rice. If you feel hungry, add plenty of salad to compensate for it. If you’re a foodie like me, it’s hard to resist good food anyways. Have everything, just moderate the amount.

4. No cold water after meals – Drinking cold water after a meal just kills your digestion. The stomach needs to function at a specific temperature to break down the food you’ve eaten into it’s nutrients. Having a glass full of cold water after that meal completely destroys that process.

I don’t have a before/after picture (I wish I did!) but believe me, losing all that extra flab does make you feel more confident. People started asking me for advice on how to lose weight! Answering those questions is such a lovely feeling!

The more important part is to maintain that weight and that’s a struggle in itself. I’ve been conscious of my weight ever since I reduced. Though I have gone up a little bit since then, I swear I will never go back to my “original” 110 KG self ever again. I really never will. Nobody can.

My guide to buying and using a treadmill

Here’s my experience and tips on buying a treadmill which you may find useful.

Most important factors to consider when buying a treadmill at home:

1. Motor capacity – This is by far the most important factor you should consider. However, if you’re buying a non-branded treadmill, shopkeepers would usually lie to you to close their sale. Which motor capacity you should buy depends on how much you weigh – A 130kg man would need a stronger motor to keep the belt rolling compared to a 70kg guy.

2. Padding – When you run on a treadmill, your knees absorb the impact on every step. If your treadmill has a moderate amount of cushion support underneath, it’ll greatly help in reducing the impact. Some amount of cushioning is a must, otherwise your knees will give up after a few days.

3. Jerky or smooth stop – What if you’re running on the treadmill at 10kmph and there’s a powercut? Does the belt stop with a sudden jerk or does it gradually slow down?

4. Belt slips – This is something you want to avoid at all costs. A slippery belt will mean that you will always be scared of losing your balance while you’re running. That could cause a serious injury and could even be fatal. Good quality branded treadmills usually don’t have this problem, but cheaper ones get slippery after just 1-2 months of use!

Less Important factors:

1. Running area – The longer and the wider the running area, the more comfortably you can run without the risk of accidentally stepping outside and falling.

2. Incline – If your treadmill has electronic incline, you can adjust the angle even while running on the treadmill. But inclined treadmills are much much harder to run on and cause far more pain in the knees later – Evaluate carefully if you really need this.

3. Displays and Programmable workouts – The last thing that should be on your list but unfortunately this is what you see first! Fancy LED’s and plenty of buttons on the front console give an appearance of a “high-tech” treadmill and it’s easy to fool a lot of people with that. Hi-tech stuff is a nice addon, provided everything else in this list has been checked off already.

4. Commerical or personal use – If you’re buying a treadmill for home, you need not buy treadmills that are meant for gyms. Gym treadmills are heavy duty and are meant to run for hours together. Home treadmills are usually supposed to be run for a maximum duration of 45-60 minutes per session. If multiple people at home need to share a treadmill, maintain a gap of 30-45 minutes before each use.

Using a treadmill the right way

The number 1 mistake I’ve seen people making – Buy a treadmill => Run at full speed => Have a body ache next day => Blame the treadmill => Close it down and use it for drying their clothes.

Don’t be that guy. Your body will take it’s own sweet time to get used to a fitness regime. Start with speeds of 2-4 kmph and with as little as 2 minutes a day. Go up by 5 minutes after every week. Personally, I took about 2-3 months to warm up myself to my peak running speed of 10 kmph.

Are you buying the treadmill for weight loss?

Then is the biggest trick I learnt – Blindly running on a treadmill day and night will not cause weight loss at all. If all you need to do is reduce a few kilograms, you need to do “interval training”.

You can Google around for details or I’ll explain here in brief – Once you’ve got used to your treadmill for 1-2 months, do one minute of slow walk at around 4kmph and one minute of super fast running at 10kmph or so. Keep doing this in alternation for about 45 minutes. Of course, take 5 minutes to warm up and 5 minutes to cool-down on the treadmill before starting the intervals.

Personally, I bought a Treo 103 from Proline Fitness and I was quite happy with my purchase. It worked well without any belt slips or any other issues. I used it for about 18 months and reduced by 27 kgs. Of course, I also kept my diet in control, but I’ll leave that for another blogpost.

Impressed? 😉