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Townhalls, Tennis, Travel & TenX | Report 285

25 Oct 2022 . category: report . Comments
#houseware #startup #bengaluru #jaipur #pilani #delhi #bombay #fitness

Welcome to 285, a two-week report spanning Bengaluru, Jaipur, Pilani, Noida and Bombay!

Spent the first week in getting a v1 of a proof-of-concept around Product Analytics up! Good chats with the whole team around this quarter’s focus as we teed up to the Townhall. Learning: need to get better at identifying when we’ve hit a roadblock, when we’re changing strategies and sharing the rationale of that with the broader team. Ls need to be surfaced as much as Ws. Worked in person with a bunch of folks, which is always good for the energy levels and pumping me with the fuel for the coming two months - where i plan to hibernate in “build mode”. We were announced as one of the semantic layer partners in dbt’s latest annual conference, quite the journey for us from last October where we were figuring out the right fit for dbt in our stack. LFG!

Was flying on Friday night, and decided to head to the airport early and worked from the BLR airport lounge. Reached Jaipur to meet up with our alumni tennis team as we drove around the town till 2 in the AM, eventually leaving for Pilani on Saturday morning. Adrenaline pumped through all of us as we (re)explored the campus like freshers, probably walking >10KM that day!

i was in campus for the first time after convocation in 2017, and it was the first time i was playing BOSM after 2015. So many memories came back, as our team won an easy pool match against IIIT-Kota in the evening, and then crashed late in the night at a room in Gandhi Bhawan. The weekend was heavy on nostalgia as i woke up on Sunday for a nice morning walk around the mess and gym grounds, watching basketball, football and tennis matches. We migrated our bags to Ganpati Niwas, a third-grade guest house outside campus – Pilani is one of those places where living third-grade doesn’t matter just because it’s Pilani. i’ve been listening to BalajiS on Fridman where he talks about the concept of a network state, and Pilani doesn’t sound very different. A place which has its own rules, its own politics, its own people, its own territory, disconnected from the rest of the world, average age ~ 20, and the people who work there full-time are so genuine. Meeting Nagarji on VK redi, and so many others makes me realize how fun life can be if you just let go and live the moment. Time slows down in the town, meals are a communal activity in the mess, and meals are followed by leisurely walks around campus, weird mix of happiness.

Back to the game, we lost our pool match to BITS-A on Sunday evening(i lost my singles 6-2) but still moved on to the semis. i played the first singles in the semis on Monday night against a second-year student in BITS-B, and choked quite badly. i was up 6-2, 5-1 and had to close out with just one more game - eventually giving away too many unforced errors to lose the set and head into a super tie-breaker. There was quite a lot of hooting going around which got to my head as well, but edged me on to bring out my best game at the end. Won the tie-breaker 10-8 with a forehand winner down-the-line and didn’t celebrate. i was drained out, i was at my aggressive most during the match with a few staredowns towards the crowd and pump-up shouts towards my team. We eventually moved to the finals, and playing this competitive match made me realize how no individual sport like running can match up to the intensity of team sports like these. Having your team behind you after every change of sides, there to shake your legs and give you that pep talk makes it worth every bit. Closing matches is hard, but it’s the most important part of the game. Watched the Ind-Pak match a couple days ago where the Pakistani spinner choked in the last over, and i could relate – so much mental.

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Having meals at the mess, Cnot, IC and ANC was so much fun, as we tried out all the famous dishes once again. i worked from FD-2 from Monday-Thursday and i can’t quite explain the experience in words. Going back & working from the place which shaped us as engineers and more importantly as men, and cutting the one-year Houseware birthday celebration cake with the team on Wednesday – quite the mindfuck. We eventually lost the finals to BITS-A, and settled with the Silver, not a bad performance for us though! Left Pilani on Thursday night, with the promise of getting back here soon enough – i owe it to the place.

Crashed in Noida and headed to WeWork with Divyansh on Friday, overlooking the Yamuna from the 18th floor. Quite a view, enjoyed the day and the weekly demo with a couple Carnatic dosas for lucnh and dinner. Working with Divyansh in person always fun, as we parted again on Saturday and i flew back to Bombay for Diwali. Travel has been on the uptick in October, but a good change of pace as i’ve been in festival mode these last few days at home. Festivals are a good reminder of what matters in life, heightened daily dopamine with all that sugar flowing around - enough rest for the body as we head into the last 16% of the year.

A theme active in my head right now as i’ve been listening to some Frank Slootman and Lex Fridman recently: ruthless focus on execution while being unafraid of any confrontation whatsoever. i’m going to make this a conscious part of my thought process - everytime i feel a pull internally around preventing conflict, i’m gonna make the extra effort to confront. Ferriss was recently talking to Brian Armstrong, and i noticed the quality among strong leaders that stands out is the ability to take unpopular decisions that turn out right in the long term.

Fitness log:

  • Week 1: 3 tennis sessions, 2 runs, 2 rest days
  • Week 2: 2 tennis matches, 3 rest days after and then a couple runs on the weekend Will be heavy on runs this week as i try to hit a 7-day continous running streak.

It’s been long-distance with Anukshi for the better part of this month, but hasn’t felt very distant. She’s been my constant around all the flux, and i’ve been incredibly lucky to have found her – was recently thinking how i’ve legit dodged a few bullets in the past. Crazy!

Making big decisions, or making steps towards big decisions is probably the most important thing in life. Finding the right role, finding the right person, finding that hobby that gives me joy and struggle – solving these is the solve for an easy life. Makes day-to-day decision making simple. At the same time, important to be patient and let these things unravel in front of our eyes - the dichotomy! For example, i had the option of going visiting a lot of properties in Bangalore as my home lease was nearing 12 months and that would involve a lot of decision making. However, after thinking through it for a bit, we realized that staying put at the current property is the wisest decision - and this solves for everything downstream. At the same time, i would like to wait and watch and let the future unfold itself before figuring where in the world i would want to settle down.

Long one this time round, but needed to get it out. Can’t harp on the past too long. Past glories are poor feedings. Back to the log. Get hammering. Keep hammering.


Shubhankar is an awesome person. He's Co-Founder & CTO of Houseware, building the command center for modern revenue teams. In his spare time, he likes to go out on runs!