Gokul Nath Sridhar

Product. Startups. Productivity. Technology. Business. And a little bit of travel.

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(Throwback) Travel Diaries: Greece

Image from Unsplash

Timeless philosophy, large-than-life mythology, contributions to mathematics, science, sports, democracy. An intricate fabric of threads that tie together modern civilization as we know it. A torchbearer of socialism in the world’s most powerful commonwealth of mostly capitalistic countries. A teetering economy with a thriving tourism industry. A cacophony of contradictions.

That’s Greece for you.

The relatively cheap costs, wallpaper-worthy places, easy access to Athens from anywhere in the world make it an ideal destination for a 10 day getaway! Or your honeymoon. If you want to do the entire country justice, do consider spending at least 2 weeks.

TL; DR

  • Best time to visit: April to October
  • Currency: Euro (€)
  • Ideal duration of trip: 10 to 14 days (depending on how much you want to cover)
  • Our trip length: 9 days
  • Visa required for Indian travelers (need to apply via GVCW)
  • Our trip...

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The Math on Buying a House

Unsplash image

“Why don’t you buy a house now?” This is a question I keep hearing all the time. From parents, in-laws, well-meaning relatives, and others. Their intentions are right — they want me to make sure I’m putting my money to the best possible use. It’s their math that’s broken. I’m so tired of explaining why buying a house doesn’t make sense from an ROI standpoint, that I have decided to write an entire post on it. Here we go.

But before we look at why it doesn’t make sense today, let’s look at the common arguments for buying a house and deconstruct them one by one.

  • Instead of paying rent, you can pay the same amount as EMI for a house like this (Opportunity cost)
  • We bought a house for ₹5 lakhs in 1990 and it’s now worth ₹50 lakhs (Absolute returns)
  • Real estate never goes down (Past performance)
  • You can save on income tax by paying back your home loan (Added benefits)
  • Living in your own...

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Spreadsheets that changed my life: Part 2 — The (dumb) Habit Tracker

Habits. Some good, some bad, some healthy, some not — all of us have them, most of us are conscious of them, and very few of us try to shape them. Atomic Habits by James Clear says that the word identity stems from the Latin phrase essentias identidem, which means being repeatedly. And given that our habits are essentially what we do repeatedly, they form the core of our identity. (It’s a good quick read that I recommend pretty highly)

Like most people, I was conscious of the fact that I needed to improve my habits to hit my goals, but wasn’t sure how to make sure I was on the right path to doing so. One of the solutions that Clear recommends in the book is to define what our habits are and measure how well we hit them. You can use OKRs to define what habits you should be measuring, but that’s a topic for a separate blog post entirely. As for measuring your habits on a daily basis...

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(Really) Cracking the PM Interview

Anyone who has interviewed Product Managers (PMs) or interviewed for PM roles would tell you that it’s a pretty crazy role to interview for. You’re expected to be good at a lot of different things and at the same time, you are expected to influence a team of people where everyone is better at their respective functions than you are.

You are expected to ship software even though you can’t write code as well as your engineers can; you are expected to guide the design process even though you can’t play around with pixels as well as your designers do. You are expected to act as a leader to these teams even though they technically do not report to you.

Why this blog post?

I recently started a new role as a Product Manager. As I made the leap to product management from being a founder, I went through a set of interviews — some of which worked out and some of which didn’t. Like anything in...

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Spreadsheets that changed my life: Part 1 – Expense Spreadsheet

Anyone who has known me for a while would tell you that I’m someone who generally spends without thinking twice. I have spent ₹50,000+ on a weekend drive, bought a ₹35,000 watch on a whim, booked a ₹3,00,000 vacation in 15 minutes, and much more. I have never worried about money — always ensured I earned more than I spent and made sure my cashflows were steady. I never indulged in spending fueled by debt and also obviously had something as savings — just that I never gave it a lot of thought.

I’m not saying this as a matter of pride — in fact, the opposite. This spending-without-much-thought habit was a ticking time bomb that exploded when I got married in 2018. What happened? My monthly income didn’t rise substantially but my monthly expenses almost tripled. A salary of ₹X that enabled an ultra-luxurious life as a bachelor suddenly became table stakes to run a family. Both my wife and...

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Travel Diaries: Vietnam 🇻🇳

Given that this is the first travel diary I’m writing, I’m not too sure what an effective format looks like. However, instead of verbose prose that dominates most of travel writing, I’m going to take a bullets-first approach which will hopefully be skim-friendly, with some prose in between. Would appreciate feedback!

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tl; dr

  • Best time to visit: Year-round
  • Currency: Vietnamese Dong (1,000 dong = ₹3)
  • Ideal duration of trip: 1.5 weeks to 6 weeks
  • Our trip length: 12 days
  • Total cost: ₹2,00,000 for 2 people (can be way cheaper)
  • Visa required for Indian travellers (e-visa available)
  • Trip intensity
    • Relaxed ✅
    • Moderate
    • Intense
  • Regions we visited:
    • Hanoi (2D / 1N)
    • Sapa (4D / 3N)
    • Ha Long Bay (3D / 2N)
    • Ninh Binh (3D / 3N)
  • Other regions worth exploring:
    • Ho Chi Minh City
    • Da Nang
    • Ban Gioc
    • Phu Quoc
    • Hoi An
    • Ha Giang
    • Hue
  • Trip type:
    • Shoestring budget
    • Moderately luxurious ✅
    • Ultra luxurious
  • ...

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Messaging.

Messaging is obviously going to be much more than a category of apps. I never quite saw this coming, but it couldn’t be more obvious. Facebook, Twitter, etc. became platforms by their ability to broadcast things to a network, and messaging apps are the opposite.

For example, in the case of Meerkat, I could stream my friend’s birthday party to our private WhatsApp/Messenger group. Or, my sister could WhatsApp her Uber’s position to me and my dad – this happens via SMS now, but WhatsApp would just be so much better. Facebook’s foray into peer-peer payments is obviously a step in making Messenger a platform in itself. And I think that may well be the tipping point for apps & industries that leverage 1-1 comms a lot.

It maybe be hard to become the next WhatsApp but there’s a great chance to leverage these APIs, when opened, to become something very noteworthy because the same network...

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