2021 was weird to say the least. It started with promise, fears on covid redacting, everything seeming to get normal. Unless it didn’t. It took a sharp U. Anxiety, loss of loved ones and complete chaos. Orientation of the mind changed, things that felt important changed, the way I perceive things changed. A lot of good news towards the end, bunch of friends getting married, moving on with their lives; restored semblance of normalcy.
But this is not me trying to make sense of 2021, this is me writing objectively about what happened with me, the good, the bad and what are the aspirations going into 2022. If all these apps can do a review for me, why can’t I myself?
This year was tough to rationalise professionally. Not because I struggled at what I was doing. In fact in terms of success, this might be one of the most successful. Ended up launching a couple of new platforms to engage people on Flipkart. Building a news platform and a community management tool with friends and couple of cool kids who are in the third year of college. To see how good our people are with code and computers is amazing.
Left Flipkart in the journey as I think I needed to shift focus from e-commerce. Flipkart is a gem of a place to work at. You try whacky ideas, you work with smart people, you get loads to learn both in terms of hard and soft skill sets and it is the company where I bought all my books from (all JEE and college books). It was a dream working there, and I felt great building things that helped our people satisfy their needs better. My ride with Flipkart is over, but if I have to bet on an organisation that can stand the test of time in the crazy market like India, Flipkart will always emerge. Not because of systems or tech, but because of people and the passion to make it better everyday.
Started working on a couple of products. Details on them soon. Felt great, will keep on building.
I am planning to join Groww. I have always been fascinated by markets, money and how tough it has been for people to manage all of it traditionally. I believe there is a lot to be done here and Groww has found a market which needs it most.
Then why was the year tough? Taught me a lot of lessons. Its easy to start working on things, but very hard to wake up everyday and keep executing. It is hard to sell and hard to get people on board on zoom calls. Regular outflow of funds becomes hard. Tried my hand at getting funded by Angels and VCs. Its exciting but feels pointless before you actually get people to love your vision at the bare minimum. This might not be the most efficient way to build, but well, everyone has their own way of getting to things. This might take longer, but I am at peace. Trusting my gut, lets see where it goes.
I had a lot of time to spend with myself. Honestly, I had to consciously snap out of it because it was getting too much fun. Long bouts of self assessment and thinking about topics like impact, time, happiness, spirituality and future. A lot of perspectives hidden inside and it was cool to unwrap the way our mind thinks when we put ourselves in the spot. It has its downsides though.
There is a reason we want to be engaged most of the time. The thought spiral can get intense and usually ends at questioning the meaning of everything. I have understood that the meaning is not be found, but to be lived and the principle of life has shifted to doing whatever makes sense in that moment, in that period of life. Future is a cumulation of present and the past has led to the present. So no point thinking too much either way.
Pandemic was tough on the personal front, because I live my best when among people I like. Screens and books are good only to an extent. I need to start going back to meeting new people, understanding more from real experiences and finding ways to constantly live out of my comfort zone.
After all I work for money to buy time to spend it with close people. I need to do the last part more.
Being indecisive at many places was my undoing multiple times this year. The problem with being too analytical sometimes is that you find faults with everything, because everything has faults. Analytics is good only with data not in life. Life is irrational. This is not a new learning but I need to remind myself of the way I was in 2019. Playing measured feels intelligent but playing with the gut feels exciting and alive. Duniya mein aye ho toh LIVE kar lo.
I need to step out of playing the “safety-net game” next year. Need to get away from people playing the “status games”. Need to stay away from ideas that lure me into “comfort-games”
I read a lot of great books this year. My top 3:
- Siddhartha: Herman Hess
- Misbehaving: Richard Thaler
- Never Enough: Judith Grisel
I discovered some great content creators. My top 3:
- The Grade Cricketer (YouTube)
- The Making Sense Podcast (Spotify)
- Monish Pabrai (Youtube+books)
I continued to mentor some younger kids on how to go about product management. Some of them got through their favourite roles and it was a wonderful learning experience for me on how to make sessions fun. It takes a lot of effort to make presentations and classes interesting and I can sympathise more with my professors now being at the other end of the spectrum.
A lot more to do in 2022. A lot of professional and personal checklists. The guiding principles to keep me in check will be the following:
- Be more active: at least 12 hours of Physical activity a week.
- Travel more: Visit at least 4 new places in 2022.
- Spend more time with close people
- Don’t stop writing. At least 2 blogs each month. (BIG ASK)
- Do more. Just do more.
- Say “No” more. Generally. Learn to say “No” more.
More misses than Hits in 2021. It was that kind of a year. Lost some close senior family members in life, and it was not due. We remember them, live by their principles and teachings and for their aspirations. We live to make this world a better place for ourselves and others. These are the times which force us to inquire, investigate and end up defining our lifetimes. Hope we keep learning and evolving as better souls.
Thanks for coming to this blog.
Wish you all a very happy 2022. Lets be happy and at peace together.
A graduate from BITS Pilani, class of 2019, I am currently working as a Product Manager at Flipkart. I like to write about things that get stuck in my head. By writing I make sure everyone knows what absurd thoughts I have :P Thanks for visiting.