Tag: visual

What has worked for me in building wealth

Wealth flywheel


Building wealth has been a learning process for me. I tried being an independent consultant before it was popular. I designed systems for cardiac surgeons and cardiologists as well as trained doctors in using computers (in 1995). However, marketing was not one of my strongest areas. So, I became an employee.

In 2009, I returned to consulting and explored various paths—product development, entrepreneurship, coaching, and community building. What worked best was focusing on one stable revenue source like consulting. I honed my skills to command premium fees.

I invested my earnings in two main ways: real estate and stocks. Stocks were a better fit for me because I could start small and adjust my investments as needed. Over time, my portfolio grew by 182%. Even though I still own some properties, I didn’t get the same returns as stocks.

Investing in stocks also taught me valuable lessons about management and running a business. This knowledge has come full circle, helping me improve my revenue generation capabilities even more.

Finally, I learned about tax planning – not avoiding them, but planning for them. When I started, I knew nothing about tax-saving options. A CA enlightened me on how to plan my taxes efficiently, whether through an LIC policy, home loan repayment, or other means.

By combining these aspects – generating revenue, investing in compounding assets, and planning taxes effectively – I’ve built wealth and grow my career without any leaks.

Who are the best teachers?

Best teacher

The internet enables you to learn from anyone, anywhere. You can learn anything you want, even archaic subjects. After learning multiple subjects via the internet, I’ve found that two types of teachers are the most effective; and one type to avoid.

Those who practice their craft and teach it well, like Dr Alan Weiss for consulting, Naval Ravikant for entrepreneurship, and Richard Feynman for physics. They’re skilled communicators who know what to do and what not to do in their fields.

Next are collaborations between practitioners and writers, researchers, or academics. Take Roger Martin and A. G. Lafley, P&G CEO, or Ram Charan and various CEOs. In order to create insight-based body of work, the academic uses deep research methods and interviews to extract the best insights from the practitioners.

But beware of smooth-talking marketers lacking deep knowledge. They churn out fluffy content without personal experience or genuine insight. Don’t fall for their tricks.

Writing tool stack

Digital Tool Stack

On day 50 of my writing journey, I thought I’d share the tools that help me maintain this creative flow.

An idea can hit at any time, sometimes in the form of a few sentences or a big idea. Even while reading something else, they might pop up. I use two frictionless tools to capture these thoughts.

One tool is the voice recorder on my Apple Watch. Always on my wrist, it’s ready to capture any sudden idea. The recordings are stored in iCloud, so I can transcribe and process them later on my Mac. Second is Drafts, which opens lightning fast for quick notes. Drafts lets me type immediately, unlike other apps.

On designated days, like Saturdays or Mondays, I sit down and process these thoughts from the week. The ideas may have grown and developed by then. It’s not always easy for me to star at a blank screen and type. That’s when the AudioPen comes in handy.

Despite the friction – it’s not as quick to open a website and start recording – AudioPen captures my rambling, letting my ideas flow freely, and creating an initial draft.

WordTune is my go-to editor. I use it to polish and refine my work. Once it’s ready, I go to WordPress, where my common log entries live. With just a few clicks, I can schedule posts quickly and effortlessly.

Buffer is my go-to hub for distribution. The app sends my words to LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon. I tailor the text to each platform.

Finally, I use Substack to send those words as a newsletter.

I love these tools, they make writing easy.

My Learning framework


Learning framework

In the ever-changing world of software, staying updated is crucial. That’s why I’ve embraced a learning framework I call Consume, Produce, and Engage. This approach has served me well over the years.

During the Consume phase, you absorb knowledge from books, workshops, seminars, and courses. However, you only retain about 40 to 50% of what you learn at this stage.

To deepen your understanding, it’s essential to move on to the Produce phase. Here, you create something based on what you’ve learned, such as a note synthesizing new information with prior knowledge, a presentation, or a video. Producing something highlights any gaps in your understanding of the topic.

Next comes the Engage phase. By sharing your work with others, they can offer feedback and reveal different perspectives on the subject matter. Engage with genuine people who can provide valuable insights and help you grasp the topic more holistically.

This cycle of Consume, Produce, and Engage is an ongoing process; as people point out new sources of information, you consume that knowledge and continue producing and engaging. This repetition helps develop a comprehensive understanding of any given topic.

Underlying this cycle is another sub-cycle: It starts with you. What’s your attitude towards learning? Are you curious and open-minded? Or do you think you already know everything or can’t learn anything new? Your mindset plays a significant role in how effectively this learning framework works for you. Embrace curiosity and humility to truly reap the benefits of Consume, Produce, and Engage.

Your environment plays a crucial role too. As the saying goes, walk with the wise and you’ll become wise; walk with those uninterested, and you’ll follow suit. If your surroundings don’t encourage trying new things or embracing failure, then you’re bound by its limitations.

Access to tools matters. Can you afford them? Are they available for you to learn smarter and tap into the world’s knowledge? Tools can spark different thoughts and satisfy your curiosity, creating a cycle that fuels learning.

Take my experience learning coding, for instance. I used this approach for learning new software languages as well as project management. Let’s say I’m learning Deno – I’ll watch a video or read examples, consuming information. Then, I’ll start producing something by working on a sample project or recreating an example. This solidifies what I’ve learned from books, videos, or code samples.

Next, I share my work with the Deno community and ask for feedback. Although not everyone will respond, a few people might offer suggestions for better APIs or algorithms. This sharing process feeds back into my learning cycle.

As a CTO, I believe in learning by doing and coding myself. However, another CTO might focus on helping their team learn instead of continuing to code personally – that’s perfectly valid too. Our paths will differ based on our attitudes and environments, but the key lies in embracing learning as an ongoing journey.

When I need to code, I seek an IDE or surround myself with fellow coders. I immerse myself in that world, ready to learn. Sometimes, I’ll even pay for tools like chatGPT or the Code Whisperer to help me write code.

How do you keep learning? Share your process in the comments.

Snowball, not slot-machines


Over the past years, I’ve been crafting my personal flywheel, a wheel of interconnected components. With each improvement, the wheel spins faster, gaining momentum. My flywheel consists of wealth, insights, network, and self-control – WINS.

We all have different starting points; some with more money, some with more knowledge, and others with a vast network. When you have wealth, you can access better courses, buy books others can’t afford, and attend exclusive workshops. These experiences provide insights that connect you to more people and opportunities, increasing your wealth. But this flywheel needs an axle: self-control. Without it, the wheel spins out of control and crashes.

As I pondered my focus for 2024, I stumbled upon an article by Justin Jackson. Though it’s about marketing, I found a personal catchphrase: “Snowball not slot machines.”

A snowball starts small but grows larger as it rolls, gaining mass and momentum. Slot machines are one-off events that give fleeting satisfaction but no lasting success.

In 2024, I’m focusing on building snowballs rather than chasing the momentary thrill of slot machines.

What are the examples of slot-machines?

  • getting lost in watching random YouTube videos
  • drifting aimlessly through Twitter
  • playing video games mindlessly

These activities give you a quick hit of dopamine, a fleeting sense of pleasure and satisfaction. But they don’t help you in the long run. They don’t build momentum or give you any lasting advantage.

Now picture snowballing assets, starting small and growing larger over time.

Take writing on LinkedIn as an example. You craft a great post and share it with the world. As the days pass, it catches more eyes and gains momentum, providing leverage and benefits. The same goes for meeting people and building a network. It begins with little significance but grows into something valuable with time.

Consider investing in a mutual fund. You can start small, but over time, dividends accumulate and can be reinvested, creating a snowball effect.

In each area of your life, you can build these snowballs.

As I look toward 2024, I’m going to focus more on snowballs than slot machines. I’ll try to curb my phone usage and aimless scrolling through YouTube videos – I know I can’t stop completely, but I’ll strive to control these fleeting desires. Instead, I’ll work on growing my snowballs to see where they lead me.

What are you focusing in 2024?