Showing posts from October, 2020

Empathy & Strength

(written as a series of 'note to self' messages) I was thinking about empathy today. I have been trying to do my best to be empathetic and kind to people in the last few months, and despite that, I get frustrated often, like I did again this morning with a security guard, or with my mother last evening over something silly. And maybe its because I realise that being empathetic to others does not conform their empathy towards me. For some, its how they are and I dont worry about such people. I filter them out. But the kind of people who frustrate me are the ones who know that I am an empathetic person and who try to take advantage of me for being who I am. There have been quite a few who have tried to use me as a doormat. So, just a thought here — maybe all the dots are not connecting with this empathy equation. You need a counterbalance to prevent yourself from becoming a doormat frequently. And, I think, that counterbalance is not mental or emotional strength. It has to be phy

Founder Learnings

I learned a very important lesson as a founder this week — a lesson in optimal stopping, but generally about the psychological temperament I needed to have. People will always want to take you for a ride. You can't escape it by being too defensive. You can't either be too naive all the time and let others take advantage of your good. You need to look at every opportunity in terms of its cost to you and the trade offs that you're willing to make to take that opportunity cost. You need to learn to evaluate at which point this opportunity cost becomes sunk cost. And when that happens, you need to stop playing the game. Empathy is very important. But don't let your empathy be a reason for people to treat you as a doormat. And they will do that. Don't blame them for it, its only natural. You can see other people's biases, but you can't see yours. You will always judge yourself by your intentions while judging others by their actions. If you're woke at this le

Baba ka dhaba and the curse of virality

I’m very happy for Baba Ka Dhaba and that its proprietor was able to get his small business back on track because of the power of social media virality.   I’m also thinking about how much his business would have increased due to the viral effects, both in short and long term. I’m afraid, not very much. We saw a huge queue of enthusiastic foodies at his shop, but most of them had to return because they ran out of food pretty quickly. Why was that? Because there probably weren’t sufficient cash flows to acquire raw material, there wasn’t enough labour to meet the demand and there probably wasn’t a credit line either.  Now people are trying to make other such dhabas viral, but those efforts likely won’t reach that critical mass. That’s the curse of virality. It becomes a victim of its own halo effect. Even if these effects do become viral, it will again lead back to a similar situation like Baba ka dhaba where there will be unmet consumer surplus.  Social impact entrepreneurs must think