Shah Rukh Khan and pasta

David Letterman interviewed Shah Rukh Khan (SRK), a popular/successful Bollywood star, on his Netflix show. As part of this interview, SRK shared an anecdote about how he spends time with his kids.

“But jokes apart, I spend a lot of time with them. They always want food at 2 or 3 in the morning. So I am learning Italian food. So whenever that nine number of the kitchen goes, I say ‘Yeah! What do you want? You want some pasta? And I quickly go and…’” 

So, when his kids come home, they go to their rooms and hang out. When they’re hungry, they dial 9 on their home phone to reach whoever works in the kitchen. And, SRK jumps into make pasta and spends time with them in the process.

I had multiple reflections after hearing this anecdote. Two stood out.

First, normal is relative. To some, dialing a number to speak to someone in their home is normal.

And, second, we often make too many assumptions about the correlation between wealth, love, and happiness.

This isn’t to say SRK isn’t happy or is deprived of love. I don’t know him and I have no idea. Instead, it is just likely that such moments of closeness and bonding with those we love are accessible to the many of us with far lesser wealth and fame.

Feedback and onions

Listening to and synthesizing good feedback is a lot like cutting an onion.

When we first start working with it, every chop results in a few tears.

But, once we get past that, cook it, and eat it, we realize we’re better for the experience. (We may even have enjoyed it more than we expected.)

To get all those health benefits, we have to make our way past the discomfort.


Over the past few years, my birthday posts have been product release themed. I copied this from a blogger I appreciate. Thinking of a birthday as a new product release is a lovely way to think about the evolution of our thought process.

As I look back on the year that has passed, I realize that the word of the year has been gratitude.

Over and over this year, I’ve been reminded of just how privileged I am to have the choices I have every day. My response to the “how are you doing?” question over the past months has been along the lines of “All problems are first world problems. For that I’m incredibly grateful.”

We’ve had our ups and downs as we pursued what we have pursued. But, those ups and downs are the essence of the human experience. As tempting as it is to wish for fewer challenges, it is a reminder that what we wish for is often not what we’d want. That pursuit of something bigger than ourselves is what makes life worth living.

The biggest sign of our privilege is the amount of choice we have in this pursuit. That choice shows itself in the kind of problems we get to solve. And, the problems I got to solve in the past year were often challenging, sometimes difficult, and never hard.

Never hard because they didn’t involve making choices that determine if we manage to have shelter for the light, to get food on the table, or to be able to afford medical care if we need it.

The absence of these sorts of choices have afforded me the time and space to attempt to contribute in areas that I thought were worthy, build meaningful relationships, and learn along the way. All incredible privileges.

I hope to make them count in the time I have on this planet.

Thank you for being part of the journey.

(Past birthday notes: 31, 3029282726252423)

Time it takes to brute force your password

A reddit user shared this helpful infographic with the time it takes a hacker to brute force your password.

TLDR: 10 digit passwords with numbers, upper + lowercase letters, and symbols are the minimum requirement.

Also, always a good time to reinforce the importance of 2 factor authentication on any account that matters.

See the source image

Hope you stay safe out there.

The LBLF check in

I have a note on my weekend todo list titled “LBLF + Learning check in.”

LBLF stands for “Look back, Look forward.” So, every week, I spend a few minutes thinking about moments from the week that had the biggest impact on me. I jot down my top takeaways.

Then, I spend the next couple of minutes thinking about my priorities for the next week.

It is a check in ritual that reminds me to clear the slate.

No matter what happened the previous week, it is over now. A new week has begun.

It is time to begin again.

Edging coal out

I loved seeing this chart of the mix of power supply in the UK. Coal is being edged out.

Every year, fossil fuel emissions kill millions of people – the estimate from a recent paper for 2012 was >10 million. Coal is, by a distance, the worst offender.

In the first decade of the twenty first century, investments in alternative sources were talked about in the context of being “the right thing to do.” The trouble with that narrative is that it only works with a few early adopters.

For mainstream adoption, we need it to become the obvious thing to do. We need it to be 10x cheaper and better. Even with all its negative externalities, Coal didn’t have many viable alternatives even ten years ago.

That has changed. We have an exciting couple of decades ahead of us.


I’ve begun making my way through Epictetus’ Enchiridion. “Enchiridion” is a short book or manual. And, Epictetus’ Enchirdion is a collection of his stoic teachings.

I am thirty minutes into the book now and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard some variant of “focus on what you control.”

I am listening to this book slowly. It is the sort of book that inspires more learning when you put it down. So, I listen to it for a few minutes every day.

As a result, I’ve started nearly every day this week listening to a reminder from Epictetus to focus on what I control. It has resonated every time.

Focus on what you control.

It is an idea that has the power to transform our lives if we make it part of how we live.

Focus on what you control.

It sounds so simple.

Simple is hard.

Flying a kite

Three observations from flying a kite recently:

(1) A kite needs to be launched against the wind.

(2) The kite stays in the air as long as its head (/nose) is pointing upward. If its head points to the ground at any point, it will likely crash.

(3) The kite is most unstable as soon as it is launched. Once it reaches a certain height, it becomes easier to control it.

Lots of parallels to attempting something new in our lives.