Q and A for 391 to 399 — Quotidian — 400

(Transcript of video originally posted on 14 Jun 2022)

Namaste! This is the four hundredth episode! This is an experiment that we started way back, on January 1, 2021.. Every time we cross the “century threshold”, we have tried to do something different, something extra. Starting from this four hundredth episode, we thought we could bring a variation to the Q and A format. Meet Hamsa Chandrashekar, a friend, a colleague, a Quotidian partner in crime! She is going to ask me the questions we have received over the past few weeks, and I will be responding to those questions. Let’s get started.

Hamsa:- There’s some feedback you have received for these ten episodes that you’ve done in the past month. I am going to be reading out some feedback pointers. As I read along, share with us some of the thoughts you must have had while you shot the episode, or even about what you think regarding this feedback.

Raj:- Sure. Sure.

Hamsa:- Varadarasan Shanmugavel says, “I was seeing your face throughout this episode, but no ‘sign’ of operation. Either you have fully recovered which might not be possible, or tolerated the pain; anyway, we wish you speedy recovery from the knee-joint problem. We know you love playing basketball!” So, the thing is, this is something that I have been wanting to ask you personally! I know how much you love playing basketball! And I know how much of …

Raj:- In fact, we have played basketball together!

Hamsa:- Yes, we have! So, I know it is not easy to shoot an entire video just after surgery. So, what kept you going, what motivated you to get this going consistently without taking a break…

Raj:- We can, of course, spin off a lush variety of answers to this! In hindsight, we can make it sound romantic, we can make it sound motivational, and all that. But, if we were to speak only the truth, if I didn’t shoot that video, I thought I wouldn’t have the motivation to shoot it any further. It was like, we had started something, it was having some kind of momentum, and if it had to continue at all, no matter what, … I had to do it! I had to have to do it! I had to create a situation where there was “no other go”. Otherwise, probably you may not be able to see another video! Only because of that reason, I think, I obsessed about it so much.

Hamsa:- Awesome.

Raj:- Thank you!

Hamsa:- The next question is pretty much related to the previous question. So, he says, “As we know, we should enjoy while doing. In your case, you were not in a situation to do a video recording. So, it’s not your mistake. Then, I don’t know why you got angry with yourself. If we are not enjoying or even we are not doing as we wished, then we can give a break and we can resume freshly in a better environment and in a better mindset. I wish you Godspeed and good health. Thank you!”

Raj:- It is the same answer I gave to the previous question. Four hundred times.. Without a single break in between.. Come rain or shine. Whether you have other pressing work or not. Be it a Sunday or a Friday. If you have been doing something consistently, … the pain and the regret of the discontinuation will be evident only to those who have been doing it consistently. It is a crushing feeling. The fear. And, that is what kept us going, I would say.

Hamsa:- They say, friction is probably what slows down acceleration… but don’t you think friction is also what probably increases acceleration and keeps that going..

Raj:- Yes, and friction is also important, because once in a while, you need to slow down, to plan things out… I am actually enjoying this Pi-value series more than the daily-series I did in 2021, because it gives me more time to think, strategise, and probably give you a better video!

Hamsa:- I am going to have to stop you right there because we have a very relevant question coming up later!

Raj:- Ahaan.. Ahaan!

Hamsa:- This is from Jeremy D’cruz. He says, “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Thank you, Mr. Dandapani, this was a very special episode, it sort of reminded me of my journey to Zoho.” So, we are talking about episode 392, Elastic Time — 2.

Raj:- Well, Jeremy is a colleague of ours. I just have a little warning note to share. Whenever I hear words like, “This concept resonated with me, this really drove home a point, it is like my journey TO Zoho”, etc… in the corner of my mind there is this echo: “Anybody who talks about journey TO Zoho, in a matter of time, there’s going to be a journey FROM Zoho. On to something else.” So, I feel we shouldn’t even be eyeing milestones like these. Enjoy the journey. Don’t obsess about the destination. Yeah!?

Hamsa:- It is like you say in one of your episodes, … the speed of light is the only constant.

Raj:- Isn’t that, isn’t that amazing?! Yes, Yes…

Hamsa:- The next feedback is, “Amazing sir! You rock and a lot of respect for you for sharing this wonderful episode with us. Disclaimer: Have some time and patience to listen to this episode fully, as it depends on how much you like this episode which is directly proporional to the amount of time which can seem like 22 seconds or 22 minutes. PS:- Dosa Kal vs Beautiful girl was amazing! Thank you again, sir!

Raj:- Yes, the quote from Einstein. Is this feedback from Shine and Glow, by any chance? She is one of my regular followers and commenters in my YouTube channel, and that’s crucial… When so many of you are sending me feedback that it is too lengthy, this is what occurs to me. If you can fill it, be it twenty two minutes or twenty two seconds, if you can fill it with meaningful content that kindles your thought process, and… there is something there for everybody to take home and chew cud and … just sit down and have a “thinking session”, if you can achieve that…, then the time isn’t too relevant. That’s what I would think.

Hamsa:- Makes perfect sense! So, Prithviraj has told us “Law 13 is brilliantly portrayed in the Tamil movie Sadhuranga Vettai”. Have you watched the Sadhuranga Vettai movie?

Raj:- Yes, I have watched that movie. And, another thought that occurred to me.. when I perused through those 48 Laws.. one by one.. That is probably the beauty of a Law. How relevant, in how many different environments and scenarios, how many different viewpoints and perspectives… I didn’t really have the guts to say “Ramayana will have 24 occurrences.. Mahabharatha will have 24 occurrences.. when I got started. But, once I had begun, not just 24, even 48 wasn’t too high a number! That is how confident I became. That is the elegance of a Law, I would think. So, Sadhuranga Vettai, the Master movie (if you are a Thalapathi fan!), the Valimai movie (if you are a Thala fan!).. surely, in any of these movies, if you just wear the correct lens and spectacles, you will be able to see a resonance between the Law and the Implementation of it.

Hamsa:- So… the next question is about the Powers of Rama! “Rama did not take credit for others’ efforts, it was built for Rama and hence his name “Given”.

Raj:- If you delve into this book, many things he says, they are ways for you to somehow thrive in a competitive environment, and not for you to get yourself a good name by following a virtuous unswerving path! The book is a strange kind of book. Someday, we will go back, in Quotidians, to revisit those Laws of Power. Some colleagues in fact were offended that I even deigned to bring Rama into this fray! Rama is after all “Maryadha Purush”! So, I don’t know if we should have even brought him here! But, get the work done, take credit for it, … is the Leadership Maxim that this author blatantly lays in front of us! Please read the book, and we will also revisit. I understand what Rajesh Kanna is saying, and I also agree, probably that wasn’t a stellar example to use Rama in this Law.

Hamsa:- There have been so many kings who built historical monuments, who fought epic wars. And then there have been so many soldiers.. And so, it is probably not possible to…

Raj:- Who built the Taj Mahal? Is it Shah Jahan? Or is it the cement contractor? Well, he took credit. He not only took credit, he took the thumbs of the marble artisans and sculptors too!

Hamsa:- So, I guess it all comes down to the leader.. who the leader was, what his vision was, and how loyal his followers were! Moving on to 394, Chitra Ramachandran has told us, “Amazing, must watch for kids who have read Mahabharatha from books”. This is regarding the Powers of Krishna.

Raj:- The reason I wanted to point this one out specifically? Well, Mahabharatha is not for kids. There are so many layers to that epic. If you peel the layers, onion-skin fashion, you will realise that there are many profound philosophies hidden inside, a hundred shades of grey between black and white, good and bad, … Kids may understand it at one level, but well beyond that, adults have to dig into this epic. That’s my humble request. You should get into that.

Hamsa:- That is also probably because both Ramayana and Mahabharatha have a lot of contradicting principles… so…

Raj:- Mahabharatha more so. Mahabharatha more so… If you were to look at the Ramayana, … and look for mistakes made by the protagonist, almost everybody would point to the killing of the courageous and powerful Vaali. But, in the Mahabharatha, where do we even begin? Who do we start talking about? Everybody has done great deeds. Everybody has done wrongful deeds. That beauty… It is a beautiful tapestry, to weave that… it is simply amazing!

Hamsa:- So, episode 395. Ammmmazing! Arul Kumar has told us that “Great example for this is Kodak. Like 3M Kodak is a legendary company but they failed to adopt the new innovation. Now they are just selling their brand name to other vendors and they are selling their TV in Kodak name.”

Raj:- Many companies… they seem to lose their vision only at their highest point.. The peak. Even our own CEO, Sridhar Vembu, he often says “I am not afraid that a Google or a Microsoft will come and destroy me, I am afraid of those three/four kids hiding in a garage, right? Dreaming up that next amazing startup…” That’s a message for us all! You don’t know where it is going to come from. You can never know. You can’t prepare for it. You can only be constantly innovating.. Constantly “obsoletising” your own stuff. Before your competitor makes your product obsolete, you make it obsolete yourself! Cannibalise it, shelve it.. So you have room for more ideas.. That is the way forward.

Hamsa:- Probably, when it comes to the Saas industry, innovation is the only constant.

Raj:- Correct!

Hamsa:- Here is one more for 395. Shine and Glow says:- “Couldn’t ask for more — Starting from patient money, …” Is it patient money or patent money..?

Raj:- Patient money. That is, invest and be patient. Don’t expect results on the double! Literally Patient Money! That CEO used to say, “Just wait. If you are having a gut feel that the idea is a good idea…Stay put!” He would protect the idea from all the board members and investors who would come and ask “Show me the action, or stop it!”

Hamsa:- She closes with “Innovation is when it touches the lives of someone. When innovation makes a difference”.

Raj:- That empty idea.. A thousand people can come up with one.. It is like… Edison had said, hadn’t he? Genius is 99 percent perspiration, just 1 percent inspiration. Anybody can get a good idea. But to nurture it, grow it, protect it, bring it to a level in a nursery, deweed the environment, implement it finally, bring it forth in front of the customer, and be able to make a visible tangible difference… only when the customer is able to proudly say, “I am living a better life now, I am able to do something better now, thanks to your innovation!” Only then, does it become an innovation in the real sense. That is a beautiful lesson that 3M can take full credit for in that book.

Hamsa:- When he knows it had an impact, when he knows it made a positive contribution..

Raj:- Yes, Yes.. When it has really changed the way people live their daily lives.

Hamsa:- Here is one for Episode 396, The Perfect Team. So, Suraj Siva asks you, “Please speak lit bit fast sir… Mostly I see half of your video only.. Because of too lengthy. Please speak in tamil only.. Half tamil, half English.. Tamil people ku puriyadhu, English Hindi peoples ku puriyadhu..” Actually, I don’t think I understand what he is trying to say.

Raj:- The point is, we have answered this question earlier too. Quotidians will be partially in Tamil, partially in English. Why don’t you just accept it as my style?! Why don’t you just grin and bear it? For speed-management, you anyway have a 0.5x play mode and a 2x play mode too, helpfully provided by YouTube! Leave me be, please, for godssake! :-) Let us move on to the next question!

Hamsa:- Here is the next one for 396! Arunkumar says, “He actually does nothing.. Just doing the formalities.. It is the players in the team who did well. That’s what made them the winners of the cup”. Gujarat Titans.. They are talking about the episode — The Perfect Team!

Raj:- I had appreciated Hardik Pandya and looks like this person didn’t like it. Well, that’s perhaps yet another hallmark of great leadership! “He has put together such a great team! The team members did amazingly well! And he just took all the credit!” — They would quip, about the leader! But, only the leader would know “How much I had to manage all the ongoing politics in this team… How hard I had to work to bring this together..” They have said this exact same thing about Dhoni too. About Kapil Dev too. Any great leader will get this tag. And, this tag is something to be proud of, in fact! If somebody questions, “What did you really achieve as a Leader?” — Well, that’s the thing! I needn’t have really achieved anything as an individual. My team will take care of that beautifully, and that’s the great thing about it. That’s what Davos adds as a comment. Gathering all the greatest people in your team is also great work!

Hamsa:- So, the next one is for 397 and 398. Again, Arunkumar asks us, “Didn’t we have only one video scheduled per day?”

Raj:- Hmm.. I think here is yet another victim who has fallen for the Pi-digits sequence conundrum. Well, in the digits of Pi, occasionally, one gets a ZERO. And, if we get a zero, I will have to launch TWO on that day! That’s the way it works! In a few months, we will be getting two consecutive zeroes! What would that mean?! Yes! On that same day, there are going to be THREE videos! Please be prepared, have some time set apart for that marathon moment!

Hamsa:- We have got one more for 397 and 398 combined. Mohan says, “Killing your darlings is one of the important but tough processes that any designer should undergo, to attain mastery.”

Raj:- I am sure you will agree! You are a creator yourself. You dance, you sing, you draw, in addition to the other work that you do, at our team here. How often have you created something and felt so connected to it that you don’t want to make any further additions, but then, when you overcome it and make those additions, you look back at the first one and say, “Thank God I moved away from you!”

Hamsa:- It happens very often..!

Raj:- It happens very often! That’s the creator’s First Hump. Only when you cross that first hump, true creativity even gets a chance to express itself, they say. Killing your darlings is so important! In fact, don’t even call them a darling! Because, killing them will become very hard! Kill the … whatever! Yeah? (I need to be modest, with this lady next to me!)

Hamsa:- Ha.. ha…ha…! So, Quotidian 399 — Angelina says, “Wow, amazing, watched the whole video, I understand some 25% of Tamil but your translations are amazing, Rajendran. The teacher side of you is superb. Just remembered my own days as faculty. Beautiful, touching so many topics. Ultimately, “Don’t do what you can’t undo”. “Put people first”.. my takeaways from the video. Only thing I didn’t understand is, what is the intention behind touching so many topics in one video! ​​🤔

Raj:- Right.. I am guessing.. Angelina is one of my colleagues in the Professional Speakers Association of India. And, I am guessing this is one of her first videos of Quotidian watching, and that’s why she is getting the feeling that I am touching a lot of topics. The style at Quotidian, the style that I have come to love, the style that many of our viewers have come to like, is we take one central concept, we beat around the bush, we take mythological connections, we take examples from school and college and corporate environments, I give examples from my own life, my upbringing with my father, with my mother, but they’ll always some little red arrow pointing to the central theme.. Which, by the way, would be conveyed in the original title, in this case, “Who is responsible!” We were talking about responsible innovation, so we touched The Mahabharatha, we touched corporate politics, we touched The Metaverse, and we left you with that question, “Are we opening another Pandora’s Box!?” So, that’ll be the way things will go, Angelina. Welcome to Quotidians!

Hamsa:- And with that, I think we have covered all the feedback we have received for the past ten episodes!

Raj:- Thank you, thank you! So, you’ve been associated in the .. behind the scenes work, at the Quotidians initiative.. I think for seven months? So, is there a question that you have been wanting to ask, but never got around to asking? We are live!

Hamsa:- I don’t think I can stop with just one! I think there is one thing all of us would love to know! What goes on in your personal behind the scene work when you prepare for each episode?!

Raj:- Okay, this is what I have found happening to me, because nowadays I have at least a couple of days gap between one Quotidian and another. It takes a while for me to get the next topic. The moment I get the next topic, I write it in a todo-list of sorts. And, I have noticed this happening to me. Probably that’s what happens to most writers and creators. From that moment on, the moment I nail that as the topic, anything that happens in my life, it could be a movie I am watching on Netflix, it might be a conversation I am having with a colleague, it could be a joke I read somewhere, I seem to want to do a dotted line connection with my theme. Okay.. I have a grab-bag of sorts, I keep throwing stuff into it once I have a label on the bag. And then, I typically work the previous night on the deck, and so, when I put the deck together, the presentation for the video, I look at the grab-bag, I take them out one by one, I look for visuals, look for text, and… that’s how. So, if Quotidians are going theme after theme, week after week, my mindset is also following those things. That’s something I have learned about myself!

Hamsa:- So, aspiring Youtube Creators?! This is what you’ve got to do!

Raj:- Alright then, thanks a lot, thank you for watching. And, thank you for hosting this, Hamsa!

Hamsa:- Thank you so much for having me!

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