Funny Side Up

Learnings from June 30th to July 13th

July 13, 2019

These past 2 weeks have been wonderful for learning certain things and applying them. I have also realized that blogs are public diaries for future reference.

Building a brand via content

I was always fascinated by how brands were built in this modern era of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. As an engineer, I didn’t dwell too deep into it until now. I came across Gary Vaynerchuk (or Gary V as he’s usually called) via multiple sources and decided to check his videos out. In one of his videos, he talks about how “content is king” and “how it builds brands”. Based on the suggestion of a close friend and mentor, I also checked out Simon Sinek on TED.com. That turned out to be something mind-blowing for me. He talks about how great leaders inspire action. Do check out Simon Sinek’s talk here. Content is king and brand is born once enough relevant content is posted for your existing and potential users.

Write code for your future team-mates and your future self

I had started a project in May for something at work. I chose a particular stack with a good structure for the whole codebase and external dependencies frozen with version numbers. I kept working on until the end of last month. After a gap of two weeks, I had to ship 2 projects to production as they were time bound. To make sure I didn’t lose out time, I communicated to my boss that I am using parts of the project created in May to jump-start the development. I just had to install a subset of the dependencies via an identical setup script and deploy using a deploy/build script that was 95% identical. I also added nginx configurations and certbot setup as part of the setup scripts.

Understand things in depth

To understand things in depth, I came across this 5-whys technique (again?). That leads to the fundamentals of things and is used in First Principles Thinking. We should try our best to apply first principles wherever possible and not only apply in contexts that are useful for winning arguments and boosting the ego.

Using my own blog post as a reference

I managed to use my own blog post a reference point for an nginx related problem I was dealing with on Thursday. Super stoked to see how blog posts are essentially public notes for self-reference.

Social personas for social capital

I have come to terms that social personas and real-life personas aren’t the same for some people who claim the opposite. Using the 5-Whys technique, I understood that social capital and personal moats are the reasons why they do it. Not saying building social capital and personal moats are bad but claiming to be someone you’re not, says a lot about your ethical framework or lack thereof. :)

People are the underlying currency

I have come to terms that people are the underlying currency in any field/domain you operate. Being a “misanthrope” is not useful in the long run, especially in the Indian context. Understanding people unlock different avenues, personally and professionally.

Product-market-fit and feature-market-fit

Product-market-fit is getting the Right Product in the Right Package for the Right User at the Right Time (it is one of many definitions). It is not constant and can break after a period of time. Personally, product-market-fit is like telling a joke, timing and audience are very important. I also learned about something called “feature-market-fit” where your product features also need to have a fit with the market. Set aside Henry Ford’s and Steve Jobs’ famous quotes of people not knowing what they want for a moment and ask your users two very important questions - “How disappointed will you be if this product does not exist tomorrow?” and “Who else do you think would love the product?“. Both of them help find the right market for your product. Also, focus on reducing the inhibitions for using the product and not on rewarding them for using it. All these insights are gathered from a product-meetup I happened to attend today morning.


Santosh Venkatraman

Personal blog by Santosh Venkatraman.
Technology, life, and such.