Inverted Passion 2018 in Review

Last year in December, I decided to take two months off for a sabbatical. What I wanted to do in that period was to write a book on my experience and learnings bootstrapping Wingify to a multi-million dollar SaaS company. What I ended up doing is starting this blog and a community around it. A year later, it's a perfect time to reflect on this thing which was never planned to be.

How to become a leader in 10 hard steps

Wingify, a company that I founded, turns 8 today. Over these years, I’ve seen myself evolve from a silly little punk doing a side project to the Chairman position where I’m responsible for creating future leaders within Wingify.

Wingify’s office in 2011. We had one long table where everyone sat back to back 🙂

In my career, I’ve observed a few people rapidly rise in their careers within while most others simply drift along. What distinguishes leaders from non-leaders?

Our eighth anniversary is as good as any other day to reflect on the subject of leaders. So here goes my advice and observations, listicle style. ...  Read the entire post →

The metathinking approach to making big decisions

Big decisions in life are gut-wrenching. Who to marry, where to work, who to hire, how to fire, which subject to major in, how to make a career change, which car to buy, where to invest, et cetra. We stall and brood over those because all such decisions represent major forks in our life. Usually (but not always) these are one-way roads. After all, you don’t buy a house or choose a company to work for every other day.

Given the importance of big decisions in our lives, it’s a surprise that nobody teaches us how to handle them. We’re taught solving for lever and pulley problems (something we’d never encounter in real life) but we’re not taught how to choose a career. ...  Read the entire post →

Review of Life

There’s a new multiplayer game out in the market. It’s called Life. I’m half way through it, so thought of reviewing my experience of it so far. I’ll try publishing the full review once I’m done playing.

It’s hard to pick a genre to categorize this game into. Its open ended nature means it can be action, adventure, fantasy, horror or all of these combined at once. I’m told that the gameplay differs from player to player, and in fact it could change while you’re playing it. (Honestly, I’ve never seen a game before where the genre changes all the time) This fluid nature of the game is definitely confusing and that makes it hard to box into a label. It really is a genre-busting game. ...  Read the entire post →

I turned 30 and here’s my scorecard

Last week (on 3rd June 2017), I turned 30. I don’t have any bittersweet emotions about ageing and I certainly don’t feel old. In fact, I feel really good. Now I know more about the world and people than before. I have friends and family around me. Most importantly I married my best friend. So no qualms about turning 30. None at all.

But this date is semi-important to me for two reasons. One is because I recently realized that my life has been been blazing through and I haven’t been doing enough reflection on my mistakes or experiences. Sure, I used to (and still do) think about questions such as what is money, what philosophy is about and why freedom is important. But I haven’t reflected enough on my own life experiences and mistakes. I thought reflecting on my 20s will be a good start. ...  Read the entire post →

Best books that I read in 2016

Happy New year folks! Someone asked a question on Hacker News on best books read in 2016. I put up my answer there and am cross posting the same here. Do check out the thread on HN, it contains a lot of interesting suggestions.

2016 was the year I ended up reading most books that I have ever read in any year of my life so far! I read a total of 60 books and you can find all of them on here (it has 59 books, one book that isn’t there is called Ray Dalio’s principles). The books I read in 2015 (a total of 34) is also on ShelfJoy. You can check out my all lists here shelfjoy.com/paraschopra...  Read the entire post →

Welcome to India: a land where passion comes to die

I’ve lived in India all my life, and I’m not proud of my people. But I’m not giving up.

Here’s why.

Reality check for 1/7th of the world’s population

We Indians are 1.2 billion people on Earth. Yes, many of us are still extremely poor. But a lot of us in that fat middle and upper class have means beyond survival. Hundreds of millions of us have disposable incomes, we have weekends for ourselves when we go to movies and eat expensive popcorn. Yes, we have cars and ACs. Heck, now we even have Netflix, iPhones and Macbooks.  ...  Read the entire post →

Should I publish this on my blog?

It’s not depression, it’s sadness
I know by morning, I will forget
But for now, I’m pretty sure it’s sadness

Why be sad when the world’s beautiful
That’s lame, you know that, but it’s true
And it’s not depression, it’s worse than that

There’s nothing I’m searching for; zilch is what I seek
I have everything I wanted; I should be happy, but I’m not
But I know by morning, I will forget

A happy death is the one that’s sudden and unexpected
Not just for me, but for everyone I love
You shrug your shoulders, but I know you understand

What words do is the curing bit
It’s temporary, that’s okay
At least, you exist

I don’t want to die, I don’t want to live
It’s sad and amusing
But ultimately of no use

So what if this doesn’t impress you
I’m tied up, choked
I deserve a break

People talk, people plan
I, here, existing – endure
Wish it were depression, not sadness

Cheap laughs, grand plans
My life’s become what it always wanted
And yet here I am, writing about sadness

Must save the poem on my computer
All the emotion in the world doesn’t make this universe bother
Whether these words are spoken or not, it doesn’t care

Must save it once again – CTRL-S
Because I’m a paranoid
How ironic that I call myself a nihilist

I might forget all this tomorrow
But people come, people go
Stuff happens, we die – await a miracle

PS: World’s mathematical, math exists
For all that Nihilism, one laugh is enough
It’s not depression, it’s absurdity – sadness and love combined into one

The real use of money is to buy freedom

As the founder of a profitable software company, I happen to make more money than most office-goers of my age. There’s no shame or pride in admitting that. I don’t dislike money. Having quite a bit of it is simply a fact. Though there must be many thousands of people who have enormously more money than me, I consider myself lucky to have more than I need right now.

However, more than the money, what fascinates me is the nature of money, its ubiquity and how our behavior gets unknowingly influenced by it.

The insecurities attached with the money

I have grown up in a typical middle-class household where one is rightly nurtured into not being extravagant. I was taught to value money (which I thoroughly appreciate). Even though, in my childhood, I always got whatever I wanted, the truth is that I never wanted big, expensive toys. That attitude has lingered on to the present day. Now I know what matters and what doesn’t. I firmly believe that material possessions may end up owning my life rather than I owning them. I would certainly be not happier if the entire day I worry about my new scratch-less Porsche, my next investment or whether my portfolio is currently showing positive or negative returns.

A life spent mostly hoarding money and possessions is a wasted life

Keeping the things you own in a good condition and actively managing and cleaning them is one aspect. The other aspect is the constant worry of losing it all.

Isn’t it funny that one first works hard to earn some money, and then worries constantly about not having it anymore? This insecurity keeps even the richest people actively working to make even more money, while they sweat away their only life, working extremely hard while deprioritizing their friends / families (which of course they will regret at their deathbeds). All this hard work is for the future, though. When will this future arrive, they don’t know. With enough money in the bank, they will feel safe. Except that rarely anyone defines “enough” and no body ever is really safe. A bus could run over you tomorrow, and no amount money could save you if you were destined to die.

It’s true that having money is a good thing, and that if you happen to afford good (and probably expensive) medical treatment, chances of you surviving a crash might be higher. However, I can bet that this life-saving amount would be much lesser than what most people aspire for to “save”. And there’s always medical and disability insurance to take care of this scenario.

Then why do we run after money?

I feel there is an irrational attraction which humans have for security. They are inherent afraid of their mortality and subconsciously or otherwise, will do anything that assures them of a meaningful, comfortable existence. Money is perhaps the best proxy for this permanence that we desire. It might also be related to our evolutionary instinct of hoarding food for the rainy days. Better to have more food than less food, right?

Luxury lifestyle and the hedonic adaptation

People who make a lot of money too soon such as entrepreneurs or lottery winners usually end up increasing their standard of living. Consider how going to expensive restaurants, watching movies on a bigger TVs, or moving into a larger home would make you happy only for a while. After that initial rush, it’s back to normal. This is called hedonic adaptation and I’m sure as we reflect, we can see that this adaptation has happened many times with us, yet we keep falling into its trap.

Some might argue that even the initial rush is worth all the money, but there are many unintended side affects of significantly changing your standard of living. You end up not hanging out with your friends that often because they won’t go into that expensive restaurant. You end up spending a lot of time managing whatever things you’ve bought. You end up feeling bad about yourself because now your comparison is with houses much bigger than yours. But worst of all is that you end up feeling out-of-place at all the places that your earlier avatar once considered luxury, say an economy class airline ticket to Europe because now you prefer traveling business class.

Isn’t it ironic that just because you’re used to a better standard of life, you’ve suddenly excluded so many potential joy-bearing experiences? Sadly, some people never experience this non-correlation between money and happiness, and they end up dedicating their lives to making money while they could have had been much more happy chasing experiences. Money in the bank has rarely given anyone any happiness. All it has given is a false sense of security.

Is money such a bad deal? ...  Read the entire post →