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Product Manager by day, Writer by night · Recovering Nihilist · ❤️ Books, Running, Humour, Philosophy, Elegance · dalanmendonca.com

Who we are, what we did, what we learnt, and sign up for Cohort 2 please?!

What is OnThatJob?

We run cohort-based courses targeted at working professionals in tech looking to level up in their careers. Jobs in tech are new and constantly evolving. Only a few companies can invest in proper onboarding and training. Everyone else must rely on self-learning (in some form, everyone does!)

Training yourself by reading a 100 articles is great in theory, but learning by yourself sucks! Why?

  • You have no idea where to start
  • You have no sense of progress
  • You have no idea when to stop
  • You’re doing it all alone :( without peers or mentors

For the motivated amongst us, this…


Image of man looking at hologram from the movie Her released in 2013
Her (2013)

For the class of people referred to as “knowledge workers”, the coronavirus pandemic is the biggest experiment in working remotely. Right from the 70s when computers first popped up, there has been talk of “tele-commuting”. We’ve come a long way from the days when this was a dreamy fantasy. Going to the office is increasingly unnecessary, you can get work done anywhere with just a laptop and an internet connection.

One of the focal points of the recent transition has been Zoom — the video calling tool that has exploded, both in usage and in the cultural lexicon. At this…


Super-apps in India— as powerful as LEGO superman? | Photo by Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Super-apps were in the news again in India. Facebook’s investment in Jio triggered immense speculation about the motives of the deal. One of the ideas going around was that this will bolster Jio’s push to be a “Super-app”.

Whatsapp is synonymous with the Indian internet with near universal reach amongst those who can afford smartphones. So, tech-nerds like me get delirious imagining the possibilities that could be unlocked if Whatsapp went ahead and launched a full-blown developer platform like WeChat did with mini-programs in China.

Beyond just Whatsapp, I was initially bullish on super-apps gaining traction in India but have…


The new newspaper | Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Recap

From Part 1 — The newspaper’s place in my life went downhill. The newspaper is a bundle, good on average but not deep on anything. We fool ourselves that we’re getting informed while we’re actually getting entertained. The industry dynamic of maximising circulation pushes newspapers to subsidise readers and milk advertisers. Circulation driven ad-spends happen in a power law fashion creating a winner take all scenario. Newspapers are information products, ripe for disruption by anything that makes information cheaper to acquire.

OK, so what changed? And where did we end up?

The Land before Internet


Photo by Md Mahdi on Unsplash

Hero to Zero

If my mind can be regarded as a neural net, the Times Of India can be regarded as the initial training data set. When I was 7-years old, my mother took me to visit her sisters office. I picked up a newspaper that was lying around and asked here the meaning of a word I didn’t understand. My mother (who I think also didn’t know the meaning) said something to the tune of “Don’t worry son, this is hifi newspaper english, forget about it”. Maybe it intrigued me or maybe it irked me, but a seed of curiosity was planted…


A classic PM interview question goes “Which is your favourite product and why?”. A common twist on this “Which is your favourite non-tech product?”. It checks whether the persons knowledge extends beyond the domain of screens and apps.

My answer to this has always been the HUL PureIt Water Purifier.

I saw it. Loved it. Bought it. Got my friends to buy it. And every time I see it, I feel awed by the neatness and simplicity of it.

For a lazy human who desires zero maintenance, PureIt is a godsend. It is super simple to setup and use. Tap…


A clash of universes | “Marvel vs DC” by Teo Gonzalez

Every few months I’ll end up in a classic product debate: Hey! Which do you think is better? Microsoft Office or Google Docs. The thoughts below aren’t about the debate per se but some facets of the industry surrounding it. Some broad themes we’ll cover — what triggers these debates, how product teams think and what systemic incentives drive them.

Two notes. First, I’m fully aware that the actual name for Google’s productivity tools is “G-suite”, but most people I know refer to the whole set of tools as “Google Docs”, so I’m going to stick with that. Second, I…


A look at the causes and potential solutions to India’s new form of discrimination

Tier 1 insititute ki jai (Original tweet)

Every month or so, a post like the above will fly past in my feed. Anyone without those credentials will react in an understandably angry way.

Can you fucking believe these people! Here I am, fully qualified for this job; yet they want only Tier 1 folks. RIDICULOUS. SO UNFAIR

An absolutely justified reaction. While Casteism 1 is still alive and kicking, in India, we’re seeing the rise of Casteism 2— A new hierarchy where people from a few fabled institutions enjoy advantages withheld from others. Be it job opportunities or startup funding, and even life partners; the “Tier 1…


Looking at Huawei’s battle for Android survival

Lock-down driven ramble #1

Avengers unite to battle Thanos

The US-China trade war forced Huawei to make Google-free Android phones. The Verge did a review of Huawei’s upcoming P40 flagship phone.

The result? Amazing phone (hardware) rendered completely undesirable because of a wonky experience in getting & updating common apps.

Some interesting side-notes.

Open-source Android myth & Google’s hegemony

Google effectively owns “open source” Android. This Ars technica article is a splendid read; one that will make you angry with Google.

My summary: Google essentially pulled off (formerly hated) Microsoft’s strategy of Embrace, Extend & Extinguish with Android. Initially, when Android was new Google offered lots of basic apps ( e.g…


Notes from doing 10 days of Vipassana meditation for the first time in my life

Photo by Emily KenCairn on Unsplash

This is the second of two posts documenting my Vipassana experience. For Part 1, click here -> http://bit.ly/2GKnZkG

Knowledge / Observations

At the end of each day, there would be a 1.5 hour discourse by S.N. Goenka explaining the meditation practice for the day and relevant philosophy of Vipassana. The discussion below follows from the same.

The nature of the mind and the goal of Vipassana

The mind is described as perceiving reality through a four stage process:

  • Cognition: The part that perceives the raw sensory inputs coming to your mind.
  • Recognition: The part that draws meaningful interpretations from the sensory inputs coming to your mind. …

Dalan Mendonca

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