My discussions with friends/ mentors generally turn out to be therapy sessions. Since I am blunt, people are also more open and vulnerable and I get to hear a lot of different perspectives.

Here are a few interesting observations from various people (not taking names).

Person A: A mentor with more than a couple of decades in the industry

Person A: “Manas, think about it. If these people who give gyaan all day on Twitter are actually this smart and their gyaan actually worked, why are they not the CPO at some hot startup themselves. Or running their own startup? Why are they selling courses and marketing themselves 24*7 here.”

I felt judged myself. I even stopped giving gyaan for a couple of weeks post this discussion.

Person B: A senior leader with more than a couple of decades in the industry spanning sales, product, GTM

Me: “You are smart. You have built GTM models for so many startups. I have not met a better sales/business guy. Who don’t you blog?”

Person B: “Blog likhke kya hoga yaar. Itna hi valuable hain gyaan then monetise it. I invest/advice startups. I will my startup soon. Far better.”

Person C: A friend who has moved to Europe

Person C: “At one point in our career we have to ask what is enough. I was out of the rat race when I realised I don’t want my boss’ life. I am okay being an SPM forever. Don’t want more. I just want a good work life balance. Being able to come home twice a year to meet my parents. My relatives in India who run small businesses are available for birthday parties of their kids. All family functions. They have delegated most of the work. They earn far more than what we ever will. You won’t see them on Twitter. As I grow older I have realised that we worship the wrong things. It is all hustle culture. I already earn more than my parents ever did. I don’t need more. What I want is time.”

Fun fact: I met person C on Twitter when he DM’ed me and we started debating whether starting up is worth it.

This discussion was very interesting as I am as type A as they come. If I am not working, I am trying to read on every topic under the sun. I just can’t shut myself. I always have to be ON.

Person D: A friend, senior to me, who is thinking of moving abroad

Person D: “I wish I had applied for Canada PR earlier. I would have got my citizenship by now. And with that worked in the US far more easily instead of getting into this H1B situation (highly uncertain). Whatever I would have lost in terms of career growth and money, I would have earned back in my late 30s by working in the US. You should live in a country that encourages innovation. All the uncertainties around crypto in India means that the Government is scared of competition. If crypto/metaverse is the future, even if the probability is less, I don’t want to stay in a place that won’t let me be part of it.”

Person E: A senior leader in my company

Person E: “Someone who is afraid of losing their job will never be able to do great work. Instead of speaking their mind and standing for what is best for their customers, they will always go with their boss’ opinion or majority consensus. It can be a good strategy for short term career growth but over long term they will be exposed as people without a backbone.”

Person F: A senior product leader

Person F: “Manas, your career length is not a decade. You will work multiple decades. Jisko jo bhi strategy use karna hain, everyone will reach the same destination at the end. What you have to ask is: what path you will choose.”

Person G: A friend who jumped into VC

Person G: “I am like Forest Gump. I jump from one interesting thing to another. Whatever catches my fancy. You are the kind who makes pros and cons lists for every decision.”

Person H: A friend who moved to FB London a few years back

Person H: “Manas, we used to be the smart ones at Directi. We used to think we know everything. Now imagine joining a company where everyone is fucking smart and you feel like the dumbest one in the room. The guy sitting next to you is an IIT top 10 ranker. All are overachievers. Imagine kaisa feel hota hoga aise situation mein. I used to get the best ratings at Directi. Now I always get Meet Expectations. It is very humbling. Join a place where the bar is very high. You will learn a lot. Think about it.”

Person I: A startup leader who sold his startup

Person I: “People overestimate the risks associated with starting up. There are 3 possible outcomes. Fail hoega, someone else will hire you at a far higher level that the one where you left. Everyone knows how hard it is to startup. No one will hold it against you. Mediocre outcome through acquisition. Paisa milega thoda and again title bump. Big outcome: Your life and career both set. Obviously you have to work hard and there are trade offs. But it is definitely not as hard as people make it to be.”

I am obviously paraphrasing. I had shared a few of these stories in a thread earlier on Twitter. I will add more to this list if I remember more.