Rohit Malekar

November 1, 2021

Porting Over to Obsidian

UPDATE – I am consolidating all my writings on Obsidian Publish and have stopped updating this blog. You can check out my online “notebook” here.
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October 3, 2021

Potential Perils of Web 3.0 Communities

I am convinced Web 3.0-driven decentralized communities will be fairer in more ways than any social platform of yesteryears. However, I also think that when you confer the tools to the individual to be at par with a sovereign, along with our best, our worst will amplify too. The potential of most communities, online or otherwise, will ...
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September 22, 2021

Most Challenging Work Experience

My wife and I had our firstborn in 2014 when we were based out of the Bay Area. After a 6 year stint in Deloitte Consulting, I decided to take a break from a traveling job. I joined a technology startup, Medallia, in Palo Alto soon after. Now publicly listed with a 5 billion dollar market cap and soon to be going private again, it was ...
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August 24, 2021

The Most Android Human

(The following was an assignment as part of a writing workshop to author a self-portrait in the third person, without using any adverbs, adjectives, and words with more than two syllables. Here's my fledgling attempt at self-deprecation in the form of an obituary from my wife's POV that she would read aloud to friends and family.) For ...
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August 18, 2021

A Story of a Note, a SAFE, and a KISS

This is a fictitious narrative without numbers and formulae between an investor and an early-stage startup founder. It discusses basic concepts of convertible notes, simple agreement for future equity (SAFE) and keep it simple security (KISS). The real-world conversations are a lot more nuanced and include complexities for events such ...
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August 14, 2021

If You Aren't Content Without it, You Won't be Content With it

If you aren't content today without what you chase, you won't be content tomorrow in spite of having it. How can I be content when I don't have what I seek? The source of discontent is often not the absence of what you seek. “It is the inability to accept your present. ” This is also why what we seek is often an ever-changing goal post...
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August 8, 2021

Don't Ignore the Fascists, They Won't Ignore You

This flyer was distributed at a rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on August 8th, 2021. It carries genocidal hate content in Hindi against Islam. You may read the entire report here. ““Hindu groups always protest against Muslims which shows their cowardice. They stay within constitutional and legal limits. This is possibly because Hin...
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July 31, 2021

The Irony of "I"

Ever since we are born, we are wrapped in layers of labels to identify ourselves. My name, my roots, my family, I am good enough at this, I am not good enough for that, my purpose...the list is endless. Most Eastern philosophies suggest that one has to leave behind the many labels we create for ourselves to see the world as is. Trying ...
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July 17, 2021

The Conformity Trap

Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery from Pexels And the people in the houses all went to the university Where they all were put in boxes Little boxes all the same And there's doctors and there's lawyers And business executives And they're all made out of ticky tacky And they all look just the same This is from the song "Little Boxes" writ...
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July 8, 2021

The Creator's Paradox: Unsolicited Serendipities

(Photo by Sergey "Merlin" Katyshkin from Pexels) How do ideas originate? As a creator, can you think of the last time an original idea flashed in the inner eye of your mind? It must have felt like a spontaneous spark out of nowhere. Are you always able to explain how you arrived at it? Have you ever felt that moment to be so abstract t...
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July 3, 2021

Equations for Building Products with Sanity

I would be the first in the line to contend that as a product manager in the making, you ought to grow a healthy skepticism to "best practices". Context is king and most often, there is always an exception to everything. However, the following should save you some heartburn in the long run. • User Experience ≠ Wireframes • User Experie...
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June 24, 2021

5 lessons from 5 years of building products

1. The Shared DNA A typical team on the ground in an end-to-end digital transformation program will look no different than a jigsaw puzzle. From designers who bring together the disciplines of psychology, behavioural science, and interface design to the engineers who build best-of-the-breed applications, it is a gathering of individual...
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June 18, 2021

Why Do Careers Get Stuck in Middle Management? - Part III

This is a third and final follow-up to - Part I: High quality and low quality problems Part II: Common traps in seeking high quality problems How can you expand your circle of influence? For the purpose of this article, let us assume you are at a place that you are comfortable referring to as your habitat, a workplace environment where...
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June 12, 2021

The Power of Healthy Skepticism for Popular Opinions

It was the end of 2015. I was in the U.S. and had been exposed to politics there for a few years at that time. The Right was clamoring that the biggest threat to their country is ISIS. The Left was bent that it is climate change. I thought to myself the gradual loss of unbiased, critical, and objective thinking in human minds will be t...
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June 5, 2021

The Holy Grail for the Enabling Tech for Cohort-Based Courses

Cohort-Based Course is the new terminology in town. Without going into the debate of whether the phenomenon deserves a new name, there are a few elements of this experience that are being enabled creatively by more than a few instructors. Specifically, this includes peer-to-peer learning by design, small coach to coachee ratio, holding...
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May 28, 2021

A Brief Look at Alternative VC Funding Models

More and more start-ups don't fit the casting required by traditional VCs (to earn 3X returns for their LPs), especially in economies like India where disparities are huge. There are a significantly diverse sets of critical problems that have capital needs but will forever lie outside the term sheets of traditional VCs. A lot is at sta...
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May 21, 2021

Three Revelations During the Pandemic

In some corner of my mind, I knew these conditions existed, but the deeper I dug, the more I have realized these as massive personal blind spots. 1. Skewed focus of "digital" India Digital technology in India is heavily biased to address first-world problems of the highest urban earners. At a maximum, this is 10% of the population. Par...
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May 14, 2021

Why Do Careers Get Stuck in Middle Management? - Part II

Continuing on the theme from the previous post, let's review common traps we face in seeking high-quality problems. Trap 1: Expecting (and enforcing) a linear career progression The academic experience conditions us for a linear annual progression. Real-world problems and solutions are hardly linear. The number of high-quality problems...
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May 7, 2021

Why Do Careers Get Stuck in Middle Management?

Hypothesis: Most high-performing careers hit a wall in middle management because practitioners shy away from taking risks to address high-quality problems, thus unable to develop skills to create clarity and define playbooks as a leader. Shifting a career from an individual contributor to a leader requires the ability to establish the ...
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May 1, 2021

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

"Every right comes with a responsibility". Amongst the few things I remember reading in school, this one stands out. The recollection has been rather frequent in recent times when our individual ideals and values have drifted further apart from those with who we disagree with. However, there may be one exception to this norm. There has...
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April 16, 2021

Decoding Quality of Life

What is Quality of Life? Once you have done enough to reasonably meet the basic needs of your lifestyle, the next jump in the quality of your life is not going to come from external factors. It will depend on what you cultivate inside of you — the quality of your thoughts. It is easy to assume that life in another country with better i...
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April 7, 2021

How Can An Engineer Transition into Product Management?

I get this question often in different forms, so I thought I would write this up in some detail. “"How can a software engineer transition into a product manager [role] without having any management experience?"” If anything, the commonly interpreted meaning of "management experience" will be more of a hindrance than help in becoming a ...
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April 2, 2021

Your "Reality" Has Zero Value for Anyone Else

Some labels we are born with, some we pick up. I have learnt they all have limited utility. Whenever oversubscribed, it has contracted my world-view. A common pattern increasingly repeating in my feed is "looking down the perch, my label is better than yours" finely crafted subtly condescending viewpoints. Code over No-code, Design/Eng...
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March 26, 2021

We Are Prisoners of Our Own Biases

Why do we have to choose between putting a person on a permanent pedestal for their noblest deeds or criticizing their entire identity for their worst choices? Sharing a few thoughts based on recent events on whom we choose to follow at work, in our communities, and personal lives. Mahatma Gandhi is accused to have worked with the Brit...
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March 19, 2021

A Litmus Test for Your Future Workplace

Over the years, I have had dozens of conversations with colleagues and friends who were at the cusp of transitioning their career paths. Almost always, the trickiest and the longest part of the conversation hovers around objectively evaluating the intangible benefits of the current job vis-a-vis with the new employer. This is where num...
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March 12, 2021

The Title Trap in Transitioning into Product Roles

I was recently asked this question: "I have 5 years of experience; however, transitioning to product implies taking up a job as an associate product manager. Should I pursue this?". My 2 cents - if the role is right for you, ignore the title, at least for the first couple of gigs as part of the transition. What's the difference between...
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March 9, 2021

Title Inflation in Product Management

Most fields are troubled with title inflation, sometimes out of necessity, however, often out of vanity. But it feels like product management is out of hand. I am sharing my personal 1-line litmus tests I use to ratify titles. I don't expect everyone to agree with these - use it or refine it as you see fit :) You aren't a Director/VP o...
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March 6, 2021

About

Building the culture, the craft, and the community at Deloitte Studios. Amateur poet, anxious parent, apprentice non-dualist, and an aspiring golfer. Father of two. Born in Kolhapur, Maharashtra. Living in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. I help design and build digital products for a living. Here, I share a weekly newsletter on my lessons...
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