Manav Kataria's Blog

Posts tagged “Self-Development

Why do I want to startup?

David Cohen, TechStars

Are you planning to startup yourself? What’s motivating the switch?” — a friend recently asked me.


I believe this is a fundamental question that all aspiring startup enterprenaurs should ask themselves. It took me a while to articulate my feelings in this.

I’ve always loved the ideology of a startup. Partly because my dad is an enterprising businessman and I’ve always looked at it positively. Also, because holistic development has been ingrained in my way of life.

For me, the journey of startup is an exercise in learning. It teaches you not just tech, business and design but also how to be a better team player, communicator, visionary and a better leader.

The (difficult) process of making a company, a product and an organization successful forces you to iron-out your rough edges and hones you to become a stronger, better, and a more capable individual.

If done right, its an ideal exercise in self-development.

If you ever dream of starting a company or are fascinated by the idea of having a startup, do some soul searching and ask yourself: “Why do you want to startup?” 

JK Rowling’s Speech at Harvard Commencement 2008

One of the best speeches I’ve ever heard.

Talks about the Benefits of FailureImportance of Imagination, and the influence that individuals like us have over the future well being of the world(An apt listen after last night’s terror activities at Pune.)



The Triple Filter Test

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A very interesting story that describes how people waste their time and energy in (observing/performing) useless activities. (src: email)

In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything, I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
“Triple Filter Test?” asked the acquaintance.
“That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. That’s why I call it the triple filter test.

The first filter is Truth. Have you made sure what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man said, “Actually I just heard about it and…”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not.

Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of goodness. Is what you are about tell me about my friend something good?” “No, on the contrary…”
“So,” Socrates continued, “You want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left.

The filter of usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “If what you want to tell me is neither true nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?”

Banish your fears

Banish your fears.
This is the biggest obstacle for most people – self-doubt and fear of failure.

How can you face it or banish it? Here’s how …

  • First, acknowledge it rather than ignoring or denying it.
  • Second, write it down, to externalize it.
  • Third, feel it, and be OK with having it.
  • Fourth, ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Usually it’s not catastrophic.
  • Fifth, prepare yourself for doing it anyway, and then do it.
  • Take small steps, as tiny as possible, and forget about what might happen — focus on what actually is happening, right now.
  • And celebrate your success, no matter how small.

Adapted From: The short but powerful guide to finding your passion:

Note Taking System

Here are some interesting insights on how to take effective notes. This can be applied to college class notes or even business meeting notes:


Why scientists aren’t so famous today?

Richard Hamming

Richard Hamming

I wanted to share this article “Why No Famous Scientists or Engineers?”:

I especially liked the answer in comment #4: “I think the problem is the lack of revolutionary and easily understandable science/technology”

It reminded me of the legendary talk by Richard Hamming on “You and Your Research” (Video | Transcript)

To summarize what Krishnan said in his reply to the above article (see comment):

  • The work of today’s scientists is not less important than what it used to be.
  • There is a bias in the author’s note.

I agree with both his points. But I also agree with the author’s central point – Today there are lesser scientists who are famous or their work!

Why is that? Where are we going wrong?

The article raised a beautiful point I wanted to share with you – simplicity.
Writing papers or patents today is an Art. Write on everything around the object and nothing about the object! Specifically hide intricate details to avoid leaking your intellectual property.Obviously this makes it difficult for the reader to comprehend the science being described! I have an impression that “in those days” a general scientist wasn’t so insecure about his idea being leaked or stolen. In defense of my very own scientific community,

It wasn’t so commercial, you know!
~ King Julian, Madagascar

What can we do to avoid it?

Why does science have to be difficult to comprehend? Nature didn’t intend it that way. Lets keep our work as simple as possible. To quote the smart guy:

Theories should be as simple as possible, but not simpler
~ Albert Einstein


My first Tabla lesson – a lesson in philosophy

My first lesson started today. Abhisekh is leaving tomorrow for France and was kind enough to spare his precious time. He sure is a man of his word!

We started with basic tabla atonomy, basic strokes and their names – bol. He further introduced and demonstrated various taals and rhythms and expressions of tabla music.

The experience was entertaining and enlightening. Entertaining and awe inspiring as to what depths of expressions can a tabla convey – its like reciting a story or a poem Abhisekh says and he demosntrated it!

Enlightening as to what I like about it and am already conditioned to — understand the emotions and expressions of music.  And revealing as to what I need to concentrate on and work on – rhythm, timing and stroke conditioning, strength, power and technique.

I discovered that I am totally into Western-Classical Fusion. I mentioned it as I realized I love combining music in harmony with an external musical input. Abhisekh adds driving independently and being driven – having both skills is equally important.

But just like being a good listener is not enough to be a good communicator, I realised that I would have to learn to “speak” the language as well – that is play it as well.

Inspirational Videos (incomplete):

  • the speaking hand
  • Zakir Hussain 4.30 min teen taal on Doordarshan
  • samir prasad?
  • ahmed (?)


Homework — Practice (from Wikipedia-Teental) :

Teental has this characteristic pattern of bols (theka).

The Theka for Tintal
dha dhin dhin dha | dha dhin dhin dha |
x 2
na tin tin ta | tita dhin dhin dha |
o 3

Note the bols used for the first beat of each division: Dhaa, a bol involving both hands, is played at the beginning of the first, second and final divisions; for the khali section, Naa – a right hand bol – is used to indicate that the division is open. There are some pedagogical variations as to the actual syllables pronounced when reciting the bol, most of which occur in the final two vibhags.

Tolerance of my Ego

My identity is important to me. I generally find it difficult to let-go of a self-image of myself.

I’ve seen people, like JC and Abhisekh for example – who have the ability to win the crowd almost like magic. To an untrained eye, it might be magic but for an observant communicator there is more to it – The ability to let-go of ego.


My Orkut Homepage

I use Orkut. Every other day I see people playing with their display names and treating their identity like post-it! I don’t really like it. Today after reading about Michael Jackson, I felt like giving him a personal tribute. I changed my display pic and Orkut status msg and dedicated it to him.

How does it feel? Not having your Identity?

I was disobeying my own principles! And mind you, I detest hypocrites! It took some time for the feeling to sink in … Not having an identity for a day. People reading my scraps would be confused! When they visit my profile they might get annoyed not being able to figure out who it was!

There was turbulence, but a mild one. I’ve recently had an attitude shift. Thanks to the great examples I see around me – both fictional and real, I take it up as a task for personal-development. An exercise, to sober down… 🙂


PS: Tolerance, I will win you…