Saturday, June 19, 2021

ভালো থাকিস বন্ধু ভালো থাকিস


স্কুল জীবন থেকেই আমি একটু আড্ডাবাজ ছিলাম। বিভিন্ন সময়ে বিভিন্ন হোস্টেলে থাকার কারণে এ জিনিসটি যেন আমার রক্তের সাথেই মিশে গেছে। বিস্ববিদ্যালয় জীবনের শুরুতেই এ জিনিসটি আরো প্রগাঢ় হয়ে দেখা দেয়। আড্ডার কারণেই পরিচয় হয় আরিফ, রাসেল, তামজিদ, কিশোর, শামীম, ফয়সাল, ফাহিম ও পাভেলের সাথে। আমরা নয় জন প্রতিম বর্ষ থেকেই যেন হয়ে যাই এক প্রাণ। এমন কোনো দিন নেই যে, আমরা অর্থনীতি বিভাগের চায়ের দোকান কিংবা সেমিনার অথবা ক্লাস শেষে ক্লাস রুমে বসেই ২/৩ ঘন্টা আড্ডা না মেরেছি। অনার্স পরীক্ষার শেষে ক্লাস বন্ধ ছিল বিধায় (অনার্সের রেজাল্ট না হলে মাস্টার্সের ক্লাস শুরু হয় না) , আমরা সপ্তাহের নির্দিষ্ট দুটো দিনে টিএসসির স্বপনের দোকানে আড্ডা মারতাম। সেদিন ছিল ১৯ এ আগস্ট বৃহস্পতিবার। ক্লাস শেষে আমরা বিভাগীয় সেমিনারে বসে প্রায় দু'ঘন্টার মতো বিভিন্ন বিষয়ে গল্প ও একটি বিষয় নিয়ে তর্কও করি। তারপর সবাই যার যার বাসার দিকে রওনা হই। সবাই চলে যাওয়ার পরও আরিফ, রাসেল ও আমি যাই টিএসসিতে স্বপনের দোকানে চা খেতে। সেখানে প্রায় ১ ঘন্টা থাকি। শনিবারে দেখা হবে বলে (বিদায় বেলায় সব সময়ই আমরা পরে কবে দেখা হবে সেই দিনটি স্মরণ করিয়ে দিয়ে বিদায় নেই) আরিফ চলে যায় উত্তরার দিকে আর আমরা চলে যাই হলের দিকে। শনিবার আরিফ আর আসেনি। রাত দশটায় খবর পেলাম আরিফ অসুস্থ। রাত বারোটার দিকে ওর বাসায় গিয়ে জানতে পারলাম বন্ধু আমার ঢাকা মেডিকেলের লাশ কাটা ঘরে ডোমের নির্মম হাতের কাটাকাটির অপেক্ষায় আছে। আজো আমরা আড্ডা মারি কিন্তু পাঞ্জাবি পরা আরিফ আর আসে না। 

(এ বছর ১৯ এ আগস্ট উত্তরার কাওলা নামক স্থানে ঢা বি অর্থনীতি বিভাগের ছাত্র আরিফ বিকেল ৪ টার দিকে ট্রেনে কাটা পরে মারা যায়। আমাদের সবাইকে হতবাক করে বড়ো অসময়ে চলে যায় সে। )

আলম 
৭২, এসএম হল, ঢা বি 

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson

 Last weekend I finished Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson. This was a much anticipated book for me as I have been a big fan of Jordan's talks after reading his earlier book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. I have not been able to make up my mind which book I liked more and have given 5 stars to both in my goodreads reviews. Unlike traditional self-help writers, the writing style of Jordan is distinct as combination of scholarly, dense, profound, and filled with allusion. As was the case with the earlier book, Peterson starts each chapter with a broad life rule, meanders off onto a somewhat long-winded but very well-backed dialogue about said rule and why we should implement it, then finally, finishes by stating the said rule again. Peterson’s personal style and philosophy are on full display here, and he has cultivated them almost perfectly in the years since his last release. His ability to willingly take the inevitable darkness of life and spin it into a motivating force is something that I admire very strongly.  


Here are the 12 new rules he described in this book. My top favorite, although I like all of this dozen, is rule#4.
  1. Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or creative achievement
  2. Imagine who you could be, and then aim single-mindedly at that
  3. Do not hide unwanted things in the fog.
  4. Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated
  5. Do not do what you hate
  6. Abandon ideology
  7. Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens
  8. Try to make one room in your home as beautiful as possible
  9. If old memories still upset you, write them down carefully and completely
  10. Plan and work diligently to maintain the romance in your relationship
  11. Do not allow yourself to become resentful, deceitful, or arrogant
  12. Be grateful in spite of your suffering

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Godzilla vs Kong 2021 Film

I have been waiting eagerly for Godzilla vs Kong for the last several months. It's finally going to be available in HBO Max and US Theatres simultaneously tomorrow. I anticipate it will be the biggest hit film after the pandemic broke out. I won't be surprised if it crossed a billion dollars in revenue.  Needless to say that I am in the camp of Team Kong!  I have asked Wali bhai to come to my house after office so that we can watch the movie together in my projector-based home theatre.


Some of the memes and buzzes around this film are noted below.

  • What is KING to a GOD? - #teamgodzilla
  • Kong bows to one. - #teamkong
  • We need Kong. The world needs him to stop what's coming.
  • One will fall.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

No Rules Rules by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

 Finished reading the newly published No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Netflix Co-founder Reed Hastings and Professor Erin Meyer (the author of The Culture Map) yesterday. I pre-ordered this book last month in anticipation and started listening as soon as it was available in Audible. This book narrates a fascinating view of the Silicon Valley giant Netflix's radical corporate psychology and culture. I got my share of shocks when I first read Netflix Culture Deck a few years ago for the first time, the document that was claimed by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as probably the most important document ever to come out of Silicon Valley. Before being hired by an ex-Netflix leader at Marqeta (Manish Pandit), I worked at Roku for one and half years which was a spin-off from Netflix. There a big chunk of my team-mates I worked day-to-day were from Netflix including my hiring managers (Ken Chu, Shobana Radhakrishnan). Hence Roku not only shared the same building with Netflix but the culture and principles to some extent. For example, Reed Hastings touch-based on a story in this book where an employee got an offered lot more than what he/she asked. But in reality, this happened to me while I joined Roku. So I know that each of the stories told is not only real but very frequent or common practice as a matter of fact. 


A few months earlier I read Netflix's other Co-founder and first CEO Marc Randolph's That Will Never Work. That was more about insights of the initial formation of Netflix as a viable business, which was amazing on its own. But in No Rules Rules, Hastings tries to share the unfolding of some of the most controversial and bold moves on how Netflix makes decisions on how to hire, build, compete, fire,  and expand. Unless we know how successful Netflix as a business is, most of these counterintuitive rules would be frowned upon (and even now it does) by any reasonable person. As of now, Netflix is worth 220 Billion USD market cap, with 8600 employees serving 193 million paid users (including 73 million in USA)  in 190 countries. Let it sink in first, before you think what do they know. 

In this book Hastings talks about Netflix's culture of Freedom and Responsibility. The idea is to optimize for innovations via risk-taking instead of error prevention.

  • No Vacation Policy - Employees decide when, how long, how many days a week they work or take vacations. Hard work is not appreciated at Netflix, only the work that brings results and/or learnings.
  • No Expense Management Policy - Whether employees fly by first-class or economy, it's their own judgment. Employees are supposed to work in the best interest of Netflix. If any audit finds something that is done in a questionable spirit, the person in question will be immediately terminated, so second chance.
  • No Decision-Making Approvals Needed - There is no hierarchy of decision makings. Every person is supposed to know their job best as informed captains. They have to make their decisions and move forward. If things don't work out and fail, they need to capture the learnings out of it.
  • Say What you Think - Employees are not supposed to please their bosses. They are supposed to say what is right, again in the best interest of Netflix.
  • 360 Degree Feedback - Instead of yearly or half-yearly goals, performance reviews, it is encouraged to give frequent candid feedback to each other. For a Netflix employee, it's very common to receive 10 to 30 feedbacks every year as part of 360 degree feedback from all across the board. Hastings himself received 71 feedbacks in a year.
  • Lead with Context, not Control - As part of empowering, managers and leaders are supposed to give context to their direct reports instead of controlling them on how to do their job.
  • The Keeper Test - The compensation philosophy of Netflix is to pay top of the market, often substantially higher than the best other possible offers an employee may get in the market. This is to attract the best talent to fill up for each of the openings. Instead of thinking Netflix as a family, Hastings developed the motto of a sports team where the best players will always be selected. Anyone less than that will be given a severance package and told good bye. To make sure only the best remains in the team, managers are strongly encouraged to ask themselves about each of their direct reports whether if they get a better offer to move to another company, will the manager do everything possible to try to keep them in the team. If not, then don't wait to say good bye to that employee right away!
  • Going Global - Hastings touch based on their collective learnings as they went to different countries with different cultural, behavioral misalignment with a very American Netflix style. So the company collectively learned how to synthesize it with time.

Here are some of the highlights in Netflix's journey.

  • 1997 - Netflix is launched as an online DVD rental
  • 1999 - digital distribution launched
  • 2000- Blockbuster refused to acquire Netflix
  • 2002 - went IPO
  • 2007 - launches video streaming
  • 2010 - expands outside the US (Canada)
  • 2011 - launches and then kills Qwikster
  • 2013 -
    • entered the content-production industry with House of Cards
    • Anthony Wood launched Roku taking the Netflix in-house streaming player, with investment from Netflix
  • 2020 - Ted Sarandos Named Netflix Co-CEO Alongside Reed Hastings



Friday, January 01, 2021

My Year In Review: 2020

Like many of you, I am looking forward to a better 2021. So happy new year! But I want to also acknowledge that 2020 brought some good things to me despite the Corona Pandemic across the world. While we are safe, many of our friends and relatives lost their near and dears during this pandemic. We are still in lockdown and counting days to get over this pandemic in the new year.

I, along with my wife, son and daughter came back from 3 weeks of Bangladesh trip in the first week of January 2020. I am glad we could go for the trip in as the Coronavirus pandemic and eventual lockdown started within a few weeks of our return from Bangladesh. It was so refreshing to see my parents, brothers and their families, and my in-laws along with my school/college/university/chess friends back home.

 


I successfully hosted an engineering meetup at Marqeta that many bay area engineers attended; it was a lively tech talk from Roko Ruze on Cockroach DB at our Oakland office. 

Shusmita and I got our US citizenship in February. This enabled us eventually to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in November's US Presidential election.

Apart from the coronavirus for which year 2020 will ever be remembered in human history, the other bad thing that happened was George Floyd. I have been personally in pain for weeks, particularly as I have many good friends from Atlanta with whom I used to play chess when I first came to the USA, and many colleagues at our Oakland office - I could relate to their pain.


Professionally I made very good progress in my career growing a few engineers team into multiple teams. Marqeta raised further funding and became one of the most attractive pre-IPO companies to work for in the Bay Area. I saw my team expanding and several of the engineers and managers grow, some successful project completions that I was responsible for. I have been expanding my network as well via LinkedIn and a new AI-driven professional networking site LunchClub where I met some very interesting people across the globe. 

I also attended a 6-week live program this summer on software startup formation with Shawn Kung, Venture Partner at AV8 Ventures, a VC firm based in Silicon Valley. He’s also an angel investor at Y Combinator Demo Day as well as a Stanford Lecturer. I partnered with 2 of the 45 participants and pitched the idea of Social Homes to the group.



I gave a talk on the role of issuer processors in the payments ecosystem at JUGBD Virtual Conference in June. It was nice to catch up with
Mojahedul Hoque Abul Hasanat
,
A N M Bazlur Rahman
,
Mozammel Haque
,
Sazzadur Rahaman
, and
Oronno Abdullah Al Mamun
in the panel discussion.



My chess took a back seat this year as I focused more on reading and reviewing books. Despite that I drew with GM Enamul Hossain in Philadelphia Open, defeated WGM Carla Heredia in TNM, gave simultaneous chess in Marqeta Talent Show and thoroughly enjoyed Queens Gambit - both the Netflix series and the book.

Amongst friends, I spent lot of times with
Waliul Islam
,
Sumit Rahman
,
Suman Hossain
and their families. I exchanged countless ideas with
Nody Rashid
,
Rijwane Islam
,
Russell Syed
. Thank you!

But the best of this year for me was the fact that I finished at least a book every week (sometimes 2 or 3 books) all throughout the year. My Goodreads challenge for the year was to read 60 books, but I ended up finishing 70. My audible subscription helped me a lot as I find it faster to listen to audiobooks than reading the paper copy or kindle books. While I read various topics including philosophy, outer space, history, religion, biography, fiction, technology, science fiction - my major focus this was was leadership and management science. I not only read but researched the authors and wrote down the key takeaways from those books in www.dragon-bishop.com, my book review site. I have also been using podcasts, Udemy courses to learn on different topics. So I am very happy with my progress in gathering knowledge and sharing with my small networks many of these. I look forward to continuing this.





ভালো থাকিস বন্ধু ভালো থাকিস

স্কুল জীবন থেকেই আমি একটু আড্ডাবাজ ছিলাম। বিভিন্ন সময়ে বিভিন্ন হোস্টেলে থাকার কারণে এ জিনিসটি যেন আমার রক্তের সাথেই মিশে গেছে। বিস্ববিদ্যালয়...