Challenges, revenge bedtime and costs
Issue No 28
In December, several magazines look back at the year to identify people whose contributions impacted the world. The 15 year old Gitanjali Rao, was chosen as Time magazine’s first ever Kid of The Year. She certainly has the DNA of a Dreamer. A ‘Dreamer’ is inspired by complex problems. To solve the impossible, is a leadership trait.
Solving the impossible
That is what Gitanjali Rao (15) and Elon Musk (49) share in common. Elon Musk, the 49-year-old Tesla and SpaceX CEO (and Boring Co., Neuralink, and OpenAI cofounder) has made Tesla, the electric-auto maker one of the world’s most valuable companies. He sent humans into orbit from the U.S. for the first time since NASA quit doing so in 2011. Tesla’s addition to the S&P 500 puts an official stamp to declare Tesla as a Market Shaper.
I am most inspired by The Boring Company, that bores underground tunnels to create a parallel transportation universe. Its vision is to solve traffic jam problems. Musk says
‘…roads must go 3D, which means either flying cars or tunnels are needed. Unlike flying cars, tunnels are weatherproof, out of sight, and won't fall on your head. A large network of tunnels many levels deep would help alleviate congestion in any city. No matter how large a city grows, more levels can always be added.’
Do you think, we will bore our way out of a jam?
Santosh Desai on branding
Join me on LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook or YouTube (you have no excuse to say you could not find me :) today evening at 7pm i.e. 7 Dec 2020 at 7pm. I am talking about brands with Santosh - probably the most influential branding expert.
If you have read Santosh Desai’s books and columns, then you know, he is the best. His dry wit and insights make it a terrific combination.
If you have not read his book Mother Pious Lady I strongly recommend it. I love the cover design.
Delaying bedtime to seek revenge
While I admire Elon Musk’s desire to take on ‘impossible challenges’, I do not endorse his sleep schedule.
“The SpaceX and Tesla CEO has endured an “excruciating” year that sometimes drove him to sleep on his factory’s floor and work more than 120 hours a week. The billionaire says he has since pulled back to a more “sustainable” 80 to 90 hours a week.” Read this
When the boss works long hours, it forces employees lower down to follow suit. Working lesser hours than the boss would be viewed as a ‘career limiting move’ in most firms.
I used to have a colleague who took great pride in being the last to leave the office. He would taunt the others by asking them as they prepared to go home in the evening, “Half-day huh?” Do you think, this habit of hanging around the workplace (pre-Covid), is a problem of the Asian cultures? Is it a way of sucking up to the boss? Is there a way to seek a sense of control? Some people call it revenge bedtime procrastination.
報復性熬夜 (pronounced as ‘bàofùxìng áoyè’ ) is a Chinese term that roughly means ‘Revenge bedtime procrastination’ — when “people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late night hours”.
China’s notorious ‘996 schedule’: working from nine in the morning to nine in the evening, six days a week. Jack Ma of Alibaba fame had endorsed this model and said, “if you find work that you like, 996 would be a natural outcome.”
Feeling that you have choices and options is an important feeling. Health and longevity have long found to be impacted by the degree of freedom we believe we have.
The lucky ones can change their employer but the unlucky ones have to find an employer who respects their right to work saner hours. Many Chinese firms believe that working longer hours gives them competitive advantage over the West.
In a ‘work-from-anywhere’ setting, this is an important way to manage mental and physical health. Read more
Post-Corona: From Crisis to Opportunity
Prof Scott Galloway is known for his in-your-face style of analysing the business landscape and making predictions. While some of them are wrong (eg Tesla), he gets several right(WeWork).
He is politically incorrect and loves the shock value he brings to the party. He has a new book that explains how new opportunities will be created in the post-Corona world.
Covid has brought the mall to our doorstep through Amazon. Online grocery orders have increased by 90% post pandemic. The multiplex appears in the form of Amazon Prime or Netflix. Telemedicine is bringing the doctor home. Work and school have moved in home. The home is getting crowded. Or do you think life is becoming more convenient?
Scott Galloway’s new book suggests that firms like Uber that have lower variable costs have survived. But he also adds that firms like Uber, Ola are deeply exploitative when it comes to the gig workers. They have to work insanely long hours just to survive.
Listen to him read out from his book and decide if you want to buy it.
If you have enjoyed reading my book Dreamers and Unicorns, may I request you to leave a review on Amazon. <Buy It or Gift It>
Going to the circus was an integral part of my childhood. Gemini circus, Rambo Circus, Great Rayman Circus were some of the circuses that I have seen several times year after year. Read about top Indian circuses. (In Issue No 13, I wrote about The Tiger Woman, a story about a woman who was working with tigers in a circus)
I have fond memories of the circus. The jokers, the wild animals, the acrobats, the jugglers and the trapeze artists were part of the experience. The brass band used to announce the arrival of the next act coming up in the ring. The motorcycle riders going round and round in a metal cage... The clowns could sense the tension in the air and would step in for comic relief. They would whack each other with a small bat and the crowd guffawed. They were simpler times.
Do share your memories of watching the circus. What was your favourite part of the circus acts - the animals, the acrobats, the clowns, the fire-eaters… and oh, the cannon firing a human out into mid-air…
I learnt about the term ‘coulrophobia’ in a novel. It was the fear of clowns. Stephen King’s Pennywise, The Joker, John Wayne Gacy, a modern clown is more likely to become known for murderousness rather than tomfoolery. Read about why clowns evoke fear in many adults.
British clowns register their unique makeup patterns by having them hand painted onto chicken eggs. The eggs are then stored either at the Holy Trinity Church in Dalston or at Wookey Hole caves in Somerset.
Restaurants get Michelin Star ratings. These ratings are based on how much driving you should do to get to the restaurant. Not surprising because Michelin is a tyre company.
1 star = worth the stop
2 stars = worth the detour
3 stars = worth a special trip
Most cities plant only male trees because it’s expensive to clear up the fruit that falls from female trees. Male trees release pollen, and that’s one of the reasons your hay fever is getting worse.
You can read 51 more pieces of trivia here
What is the ABCD of podcasting ?
I spoke to Mae Thomas, one of the experts in the emerging field of podcasting. I asked her what makes a podcast a hit? She spoke about the “ABCD of podcast listenerships.” You have to listen to the ABCD bit that she talks about. She also explains why using a word like ‘vicissitude’ is a bad idea.
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See you next Monday at 9:00am IST. And if you want to let me know what you thought of this issue, email me at
Plausible. But what about the capacity to make capital investments needed.?
Mother Pious Lady sounds like a wonderful recommendation! Never heard of that one before! Enjoy the sketches as always!