3 Days Bachelor Trip to Diu

Are you still close friends with people with whom you went to college?

If yes, and if you’re still looking forward to creating new life experiences with them, you’re fortunate.

“Friends are the family you choose.” ~Jess C. Scott, The Other Side of Life

In friendship, you don’t “have to” take any actions. You take particular actions because you “want to” take them.

In friendship, there are no social boundaries, no looking good, just pure you … Imperfect and vulnerable.

And that’s the beauty of it. I am fortunate enough to have a few such friends who have been with me in thick and thin times and my words always fall short to describe our friendship.

Though physical distance has increased over the years as I relocated to Ahmedabad 9 years ago, there hasn’t been any mental distance whatsoever and we have always enjoyed spending time with one another.

For last 3 years, at least once per year, we choose to spend time … just 2-3 days … alone. Without anyone’s spouse, children or any other family members.

Idea is to recreate the carefree and stressless life experiences again without much worrying about Bank balances, the decreased amount of investments or increased size of the belly.

2nd weekend of July 2016 enjoyed one such trip. On Friday, we started from Rajkot, drove to Diu via Sasan/Gir, and returned on Sunday.

While the places we visited were good, the memories we created together are priceless. Here is a PhotoLogue of our trip:

My website has lost some weight – feeling lean!

Let me confess this – I wasn’t very excited about how my website looked in 2014.

utpal-vaishnav-2013-website

I knew that my website didn’t look bad. It wasn’t too cluttered and it was based on Genesis, an industry standard WordPress theme framework upon which I built a custom child theme in early 2013.

My website looked okay (except my photo in the middle as I was carrying 8 kg more weight than what I am today). It was mobile responsive. It loaded fast. It was search optimized and it just worked.

But I was feeling that the UX of my website could have been better.

“The more you know, the less you need.” ~ Yvon Chouinard, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman

Obviously before two years, less I knew so more was needed!

If we don’t feel super excited about something, it ought to change. What’s the point of having something in our life that we’re not excited about?

I needed a more minimalistic and cleaner UX for my website that would look just cool on different devices … desktops, laptops, mobiles and tablets.

And, here comes this wonderful quote from Dylan:

“Life is more or less a lie, but then again, that’s exactly the way we want it to be.” ~ Bob Dylan

Earlier website was the way I wanted it to be earlier but now, I wanted to change it.

Yes, I’m attracted towards minimalism, lean and zen ways of experiencing life. I got exposed to it via Leo Babauta who made it big through his Zen Habits blog.

But I did not want to merely “copy” Leo’s blog theme, which he has made available for free. If I would copy anything from Leo, it would be his philosophy of life and bringing positive change in habits like he did. Inspiring!

Then last week, my friend Tanmay Vora, sent me this message:

utpal-tanmay-message

I not only loved the new look of QAspire.com, I immediately knew that this is the look my sites have been waiting for so long.

Enter Independent Publisher WordPress theme and its insanely clean look.

Independent Publisher theme was result of countless hours spent by Raam Dev, a nomad engineer who has exposed himself to diverse experiences of life. Know more about Raam here.

And guess what? I changed the look and feel of my both the websites to Independent Publisher Theme.

utpal-vaishnav-blog-new-look

Not only that, I got the site logos changed to a simpler, consistent and zen look thanks to KreativePencils, a graphic design studio, which my better half runs.

So yes, my website has lost weight. It feels lighter and leaner. And I’m excited about it.

Thanks Tanmay, Raam and Kavita for making my web assets more minimalistic. I hope to pay this debt sometimes later in my life.

Reading Books Vs. Collecting Books

I used to do it wrong.

I was investing my energy in collecting books rather than in making something remarkable out of reading them.

It was so dumb.

And, I thought I was smart: I knew how to acquire the gems from which I’ll learn one day.

The thought of “Learning One Day…” was fascinating but not very helpful.

Better thought, as it turned out, was to pick one good book, read it till you get the crux of it, apply what you have learned from it in your life and let the book go.

Once the right thought picked my attention, I immediately aligned myself and altered my book collection habit.

Any guess what would have happened?

I saved over 300 hours last year from merely skimming through and collecting books.

I invested those hours and learning from select few books. And applying them.

Collecting more books is a bad goal to have. Making something remarkable out of one that you own (or even don’t own) is good!

Same logic applies to bookmarking blog posts, saving videos for later views, or buying more shirts than we really need.

If we invest our energy in collecting, we’ll end up being a good collector. But, if we invest our energy in applying our learned knowledge in the day-to-day challenges we are dealing with, we end up being a good executor.

I made a choice between being a better collector vs. being a better executor.

What about you? Better late than never.

How to Find Out if Your Behaviour is Right?

Every behaviour gets something done …

… or delays something that is to be done.

Every word you speak, every sentence you write, every piece of code you test, every story you tell has only one purpose – to get something done.

Purpose of your behaviour is NOT to showcase your skills, your knowledge of the facts or standards to be confirmed to, or whether you’re smart or committed.

Purpose of your behaviour is also not to prove if you were RIGHT or wrong.

Purpose of your behaviour is simple: it is to figure out/carry out/push forward/facilitate what you are going to do to get the ONE, most important thing done. The most important thing is the ONLY thing that matters out of hundreds of things that lie with it on your (and your organization’s) to-do platter.

If you want to argue, argue about how you can make it better.

If you want to disagree, show the value that your disagreement would bring.

But if your expression brings the negative energy in just to PROVE your point, then everyone loses.

It is a waste…it is a waste of your time; and it is a waste of the receiver’s time. It’s a waste for a simple reason: IT DOES NOT GET ANYTHING DONE.

If your expression does not get things done, it is of no use.  Since it is of no use, how can it be right?

The ONLY right behaviour is what contributes in making the most important thing done. At least in the start-ups, and did I mention that YOU are also a start-up called YOU Inc.?

 

 

My Views About Honesty Published in DNA Newspaper, 15th August 2013

I have said it time and again that to build a remarkable career, company or country, one has to subscribe to what is called the continuous learning.

Still many of us believe that if we study for 15 or 18 years, take a good degree that has high potential of getting a highly paid job, we will be safe.

Gone are those days. The world is moving at unprecedented speed and I feel that anything but continuous learning attitude will be a minimum acceptable standard.

Yesterday, reporters from DNA NewsPaper approached me  and asked my views about honesty. Here’s what I said:

“The problem lies with our education system. In a race for degrees, we have stopped educating ourselves. Education empowers us with execution capabilities. Lack of execution skills gives way to shortcuts and getting into a vicious circle of doing things faster and compromises honesty…”

utpal-in-15aug2013-dnanewspaper

Here’s the link to DNA’s ePaper edition.

Dishonest self, families, society or countries convey just one thing – our definition of “right” is wrong!

Good news is that, it can be fixed with continuous learning.

Continuous learning and reflection are only two ways to challenge our dominating premises, learn from the experiences and make corrections that are required.

It doesn’t seem that hard to do business in the UK, at least on paper!

Thanks to Jatin Chaudhari of eChai, Visited Confederation of Indian Industry, usually known as CII, via Yi Interactive to attend an interactive session with Kumar Iyer, British Deputy High Commissioner along with Rakesh.

Purpose was to get exposed to the possibilities of doing business with UK-based businesses. The session was informative.

Yi Interaction with Mr Kumar Iyer, British Deputy High Commissioner to India and Director General of UK Trade and Industry

Some Notes:

  1. Out of 1250 projects that go to Europe, 900 goes to UK.
  2. The process of establishing a company in the UK is easier than the process of establishing a company in India
  3. There is no minimum capital investment required
  4. The time to start opening an office could be as quick as less than a week
  5. It is easy to set up any size of office. Right from just a desk space of a space than can accommodate 20-30 people.
  6. Milind Godbole, Head of Gujarat Office, who accompanied Mr. Kumar Iyer can be contacted for any help including for securing an office space to help in identify networking opportunities and more.
  7. They also organize 3-4 days program in the UK at a subsidized rates
  8. UK is an open country. Only a few trade restrictions if any
  9. It is also possible to get government buildings which are unused at a very low-cost to set up initial operations
  10. There’s no specific criteria or qualification needed to establish business in the UK
  11. Getting Visa is comparatively easy
  12. There are a million Gujaratis out of approx. 2 million Indians settled in the UK
  13. Tax rates are just 20%, No tax up to 10,000 GBP. General trend is to lower taxes
  14. There aren’t any apparent pattern in setting up offices there. “The only challenge is that it is extremely easy,” Said Mr. Godbole.
  15. Life Sciences, ICT and Infrastructure are UK’s current priority. Also the UK is interested in investing in renewable energy
  16. In the UK, unemployment is very low
  17. It’s a matured, informed economy where people are ready to pay premium prices for quality services

At Space-O, we primarily serve US and Australia markets. We were wondering if it would be good to explore a possibility to set up marketing and sales office in the UK. Although the session was informative, still a lot to be thought.

When you work with different countries, you need your people to adapt to the working style of your clients. Working with people from the US and working with people from the UK is very different.

Maybe we’ll open our offices in the UK later in the due course, not immediately though. When business is growing, it is easy to lose focus and start exploring opportunities that are horizontally spread. Most important is, the way I see it, is to focus our energies on one area at a time and do our best there.

Nonetheless, sessions of this kind provides overview of what business looks like from the economic and political perspectives. Good to know, at least.

So, it does not seem that hard set up business in the UK, at least, on paper but there’s a difference between “seem” and “is” so let’s see how we deal with that in its due course.