1/ One of the psychological and spiritual effects of concentration of talent (which is what large scale urbanization ultimately is about) is the "rat race".

Large urban areas don't give us space - the sheer physical room, and young children acutely perceive that lack of space.
2/ If you are talented and caught in that rat race, moving to a smaller community may cure it. You will simply stop caring about many of the "prestige traps" that afflict our minds - what brands of clothes, shoes, phones, cars and so on and on. That is profoundly liberating!
3/ From that personal transformation comes other good things. Your talent has a much better "return on psychic effort" in a village because these places have suffered from decades of talent erosion (I call it top soil erosion). Your talent can make a big a difference there.
4/ Over-concentration of this top soil of talent in very large urban centres turns it toxic as well.

The future of civilization may depend on us reversing the top soil erosion, both the physical top soil that helps grow our food and the metaphorical top soil of talent.
5/ Currently fashionable economic doctrines celebrate large scale urbanization as the ultimate good. The spiritual and psychological consequences are not part of the model. Alienation and rat race are subjects for sociologists to study and prestigious economists won't touch them.
6/ I have low respect for academic economics for this reason, and I have enough mathematical background to understand them.

I have the deep conviction that we can build alternative models that nurture the human spirit holistically. Figuring that out is what I am trying to do 🙏

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More from @svembu

3 Dec 20
1/ The Salesforce - Slack acquisition demonstrates
the "operating system" of the technology industry.

The assumption is that professionals in Slack and professionals in Salesforce can nicely blend together to produce awesome results for customers and shareholders.

2/ Slack and Salesforce grew up totally differently. The org cultures cannot be more different. "Culture eats strategy for breakfast" as the saying goes.

Yet somehow in the romantic excitement of the deal, all that is forgotten. Money is blind after all.
3/ Very soon we will see an exodus of talent out of Slack as cashed out engineers and product managers and marketers rush to the exits. Leadership waits discreetly till the check clears.

And new professionals have to come in and make good on the old romantic premise/promise.
Read 5 tweets
11 Oct 20
1/ Yesterday our high school age students, our teachers and I agreed on a concrete goal: students should be able to write a short essay in Tamil without error by Jan 1 2021.

"பிழையில்லாமல் தமிழில் எழுதுவோம்" as the goal reads in Tamil.

I have a deeper reason for this goal.
2/ Tamil is an ancient language where Spoken Tamil (ST) has diverged substantially from written formal Literary Tamil (LT) and in effect every Tamil student learns two languages side by side. LT is very strict.

This is known as Diglossia among linguists.
3/ Literary Tamil (LT) has a strict grammar (probably the strictest among Indian languages apart from Sanskrit ) and is unforgiving about error.

Guess what? Computer programming languages also have strict grammar and are unforgiving about error.

As I explained to the kids ..
Read 5 tweets
9 Oct 20
1/ There is a Tamil sign we used to see in shops: கடன் உறவைக் கெடுக்கும் (debt destroys relationships). It means "Please pay for your goods, don't ask us to postpone your payment".

That quaint sign of course is against modern practice where we are encouraged to charge it up!
2/ The entire global trading system, in fact much of the global economy, now runs on the "charge it up" principle.

Countries are encouraged to become "prosperous" by promoting consumption without local production.

It does feel prosperous because we got all these goods.
3/ Here is the problem: global free trade is fundamentally incompatible with ever-expanding global debt (as measured by global debt to GDP ratio).

The old Tamil saw is right after all - debt does destroy relationships, and that's true in the village and true across nations.
Read 9 tweets
9 Oct 20
1/ Silicon valley used to have slogans like "we code for food" and "ramen profitability" - all before the Fed bubble era when billion dollar Series QE funding rounds became common.

It may surprise people that Google only raised ~$25 million VC in total and that was common then.
2/ That old silicon valley experience is very relevant today for rural and small town India.

We have to roll up our sleeves and invent our way out of poverty and achieve "idli profitability" quickly.

That's the path to rapid capital development and durable prosperity.
3/ The raw material is our youth that longs for an opportunity, the vast latent talent pool of India. The key initial investment is skill development, in a setting of real world projects as opposed to conventional college education.

That is the idea behind "we code for food".
Read 4 tweets
8 Oct 20
1/ I recently visited a textile spinning mill, one that converts raw cotton to yarn. The yarn goes to weaving mills which weave the yarn to fabric. The fabric eventually becomes clothing - that last part is where most textile jobs are, with the earlier parts highly automated.
2/ The spinning mills and the weaving mills have highly sophisticated machinery, most of which are made in Germany, Switzerland and Japan. These countries have had a long tradition of engineering focus and excellence.

India has a lot to learn and catch up in this area.
3/ We need to revive our tool making culture and build a strong machine building focus in India.

The economic impact of tool making and machine building is enormous. I will discuss that now.

Under socialist dogma, India assumed "we only need labour intensive industry". Wrong!
Read 8 tweets
30 Sep 20
1/ When we attempt to do anything new - and often when we repeat something we have done before! - it is inevitable that we will make mistakes. I have made plenty in life and I continue to make them.

So many that I came up with "how to make mistakes" and I will infict that now!
2/ First, try to make small mistakes and learn bigger lessons from them. That way you make the mistake pay for itself.

What is a small mistake? Anyone that doesn't kill you or permanently haunt you is a small mistake. Now it is obvious why I like small mistakes.
3/ Second, try not to make the same mistake twice. That's not as easy as it sounds because to be sure we don't make the same mistake twice, we need to accept that we made a mistake in the first place.

For most of us, even accepting that we made a mistake to _ourselves_ is hard.
Read 6 tweets

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