Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Bunch of Thoughts

How much thinking do you need to do in a startup?

You dont need to be a rockstar product developer.
You dont need to go for the ultimate sophisticated features needed.

You need smart customers, who can tell you what they need. Once you have a base product ready (which people call minimum viable product - MVP), you just need to go get those smart customers, and they will tell you what all they need, what all you should prioritize for development, and what all you can leave for future.
The end users know their requirements far better than we can estimate, and this need-driven approach really helps in quickly getting out a broadly usable product.

Of course, there is a flip side, that you should know which feature request you should take in, and that you should be able to realize what is the common underlying theme behind all such requests.
But my assumption would be you are smart enough to do that analysis, and gritty enough to resist the pressures.


How big can you grow?

I said, I want to expand the horizons of my thought,

This is because of an important lesson I have learned recently.
You can only grow as big as you aim, as big as you dream.
In life, you will always be limited by your own capacity, to think of a solution to a problem.

Let us take an example.

Think of the biggest writable number you can instantly think of. Thought it?

Now give it a thought, can you think of a bigger number than that? The answer is of course yes - say you thought of the number for 1 minute, now try thinking for two minutes. You are bound to be able to think of a bigger number.

You can counter me, that its the result of time, that during the second attempt, you had more time, so you could come up with a bigger number. But imagine if your brain could come up with numbers faster, then what do you think would be limiting the answer? The limitation will still be the ability/ rate at which brain comes up with the number.

And that is true for almost everything in life.

We are limited by our own abilities to achieve whatever we want to achieve. While it may be true, that all our abilities are not limitless, and that we are bound to hit a glass cieling sooner or later; Fact is, most of the times, we don't push ourselves enough - We stop a lot before we hit that ceiling.

And that's where all the difference starts coming in.

If you have heard, inches win matches, this is the kind of scenarios in which it matters the most to have the inches on your side.

If you shoot for the stars, you might end up on moon at least.
But no man who shot for the moon can ever land on the stars.



So the civil services prelims exam was held this last Sunday. One of my wingie came to Bangalore to appear in it. Another wingie, and a current flatmate has started preparing for it as well.
On the other hand, UPSC released the results and detailed marks/cutoffs for previuos year's exam last week.

If anything, there are two things I can surmise.

The UPSC cutoffs showed that a guy with score 1107/2300 made rank 7, a guy with score 1197 made rank 1. That's a clear cut difference of 100-150 marks from last years, when the topper would score around 1290 marks, and by around 1230 the top 10 ranks would be gone.
What this tells us is this - UPSC is trying to remove predictability from scores needed to clear its exams. Score from last two years are enough to create uncertainty  about how high you need to aim. So all those coaching classes that tell you to score minimum 1050 in mains can screw themselves

Its what the IITs did during my times with JEE. The rank I got at my marks, would have been the rank someone from previous year would have got if he scored some 30 marks lesser than me. And in the subsequent attempt, I would have to score another 15 more marks to get the same result I got in my first attempt.

Combined with the fact that UPSC has reduced the number of optionals from 2 to 1 this year, and has made some more pattern changes with respect to mains, there is no way to predict how high you need to score to get throughOne just can't risk aiming low.

The other thing is about the decision, of when should I appear for CSE. For now, I know the answer is 2015.

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