reading list

Highlights from my Reading List – Week 12


  1. The Skilled And The Schooled – Caravan magazine
    India’s GDP has grown at a rough average of 7 percent per year over the past two decades, social aspirations have risen with it. There have been significant improvements in education in many states. Not long ago, most adult workers had no formal schooling, and hence no hope of formal employment, whether in the public or the private sector. Now, their children increasingly have high school certificates and often also college degrees, and with these the expectation of permanent jobs.

    But the number of decent, stable and well-paying jobs, whether private or public, have not increased in keeping with the numbers of new entrants to the labour-force, let alone to accommodate those leaving agriculture and other traditional occupations in search of better employment. This phenomenon has popularly been termed “jobless growth.”

    Surveys by the ministry of labour show that only 15 percent of Indian workers have regular, salaried jobs. The same surveys also show that 67 percent of Indian households report a monthly income of Rs 10,000 or less, and only 2 to 3 percent of households earn more than Rs 50,000 a month. These trends have given us a generation that feels cheated by the system.

    But the problem is two-fold. While educated young Indians cannot find good jobs, employers cannot find good, educated workers.

  2. Hire a Top Performer Every Time with These Interview Questions
    Hiring the right people is extremely hard. Not only is the market tightly constrained — especially for tech companies, but the unwritten rules for how to hire are often plain wrong. With more candidates who “look good on paper” going on to flounder at startups, it’s time to rethink what qualities actually make someone a great employee.

  3. Tobi Lütke of Shopify: Powering a Team With a ‘Trust Battery’
    Our hiring is almost completely built around just going through someone’s life story, and we look for moments when they had to make important decisions, and we go deep on those.

    I find the strongest predictor of people who do well at Shopify is whether they see opportunity as something to compete for, or do they see opportunity as essentially everywhere and unlimited? It’s a rough proxy for pessimism and optimism.

  4. I can’t get a job because I can’t get a job – Justin Gage
    It’s really hard to get entry level PM jobs, and I think it’s representative of a broader issue in how software companies hire.
  5. Book Review: Competing on Analytics – Ribbonfarm
    You should read this book if you don’t have a ready and clear answer to the question: “what are the differences among the concepts of business intelligence, data mining, analytics and six sigma?”

  6. How a Unicorn Is Being Grown in Egypt
    Instabug is based in Cairo, Egypt and was founded during Omar Gabr and Moataz Soliman’s last semester at Cairo University. From graduating college in 2012 to graduating from Y Combinator in 2016, the duo built a team, launched an MVP aimed at customers abroad, developed the core product, expanded into an adjacent vertical, grew Instabug’s user base, and secured larger and larger investments.
    This article is part of a series of blog posts about Instabug’s startup journey — the struggles behind the scenes of the company’s “wins” and lessons learned from overcoming them.

  7. Robinhood’s Exceptionally Clever Business Model = Arbitraging Privacy
    Robinhood offers free trading, but free doesn’t mean costless.
  8. The 3 product principles Uber, Instagram, and Robinhood used to build a killer app
    They’re fairly simple and when you think about it, they are common sense.
    1) Your application must save your users significantly more money than any of your competitors
    2) Your application must save your users significantly more time in their day-to-day lives than any of your competitors
    3) Your application must be significantly more entertaining than any of your competitors
  9. The “fearless entrepreneur” is a myth: why you don’t have to take risks to build a successful business – Jotform
    In fact, not being a risk-taker:
    Has enabled me to build a business with over 110 employees
    Allows my startup, JotForm, to serve nearly 4 million users
    Explains why I still own 100% of my business
    Underlies our great company culture
  10. Gell-Mann Amnesia – Epsilon theory
    “Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
    In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.”  
    – Michael Crichton (1942-2008) 



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