Google Pay is missing the one thing Google is famous for — a UX case study

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the blog post is purely based on personal experience. It was not influenced by any external factor.

A sneak peek into the redesign of Google Pay Indias most famous payment app

When Google launched Tez (now 'Google Pay') in India during 2017, their primary goal was to design a simple payment app to replace cash. And, thanks to their rewards program that went viral among the users. The rewards program that involved the scratch cards, became a conversation starter. (You might have come across someone asking you "How much did you win in Google Pay?").

During their 3 years of existence, they've worked on several iterations to make the app better. They tried new technologies like the Audio QR code (AQR), which uses audio frequencies to communicate with nearby devices to enable payments, but later moved on to using traditional QR code.

But, in the process of making the app simple, the product team has made a few compromises on usability. For example, a product that has 67 million monthly active users does not have a search bar on its home screen! They missed adding some very basic features that could have enhanced the user experience by several-fold.

In this blog, I have analyzed the shortcomings of Google Pay from a user's perspective and have also designed mocks to show how we can overcome those shortcomings with subtle design changes.

What's missing?

Before getting to the solution, let's take a quick look at what's missing in the current version of Google Pay.

Too much Negative space

When you open the app, the first thing you see is the GPay logo followed by a subtle, minimal illustration of a landscape. The top 30% of the app screen which could've been used to house a ton of key features and functions is left blank. Why!

The most basic thing they could've done is added a search bar (something Google is good at since their launch in 1998).

Areas of improvement portrayed in this screen This includes too negative space and inability to add favorites

No Favorites

The next section after the landscape is where you see the contacts to whom you've sent money recently. But, the issue with this section is the arrangement of contacts.

There is no way to pin or favorite the most frequent contacts or businesses for quicker payments. And, when you click on the 'Show more' button, the list is endless. And, you can't search or alphabetically sort your contacts. It is messy and confusing for a user like me.

New Payment Button

The '+ New payment' button, which is the primary CTA, hovers over the contact icons which makes it difficult to see sometimes. And, Google did not make use of the 'long press' feature, which they've pretty much had everywhere on Android and some of their apps.

Imagine long pressing the '+ New Payment' button and you get options like 'self-transfer', 'scan QR code', 'money transfer', etc. That would've taken the user experience to a whole new level.

Other areas of improvements shown in this image This includes the mentioning of a primitive payment activity page

Referrals and Payment Activity

Google Pay focuses a lot on the referrals. I came across three CTAs on the main screen that nudges you to invite or refer your friends to Google Pay. Another area that I felt lacking was the payment activity section. The payment activity section doesn't give you an option to search for a specific transaction by month, date, or category. And, the option to share the receipt of a transaction is positioned behind another click. Instead, they could've had a share icon next to the transaction, or a share option when someone long presses on a transaction.

The Biggest Usability Issue

The biggest issue with Google Pay is, being a search giant, Google did not make the best use of search within the app.

The Solution

After considering all the usability issues, I asked myself

"How would I redesign the home screen of the app so that it is easy for a user like me!".

I put on my thinking hat and started designing the solution.

Search Bar and Shortcuts

First, I made a list of all the frequently performed actions in Google Pay and it came down to a short list. They are,

And, in the current version of the app, the home screen is blank and you find payment options like bank transfer, QR code, etc. only if you click on the '+ New Payment' button.

Keeping that in mind, I decided to redesign the first 30 percent of the screen that was left blank in the app.

I added a search bar and a couple of key shortcuts that we use more frequently. I added other frequently used options but hid them under an expand/collapse menu. The search bar allows users to search for a contact, business, or a vendor for bill payment.

This image shows how I came to a decision of creating the redesign of Google Pay

I placed the rewards icon on the top left corner making it easy for users to access their rewards. After the redesign, it looked something like this.

Highlights of the redesigned homescreen shown here


The second thing I worked on was the contacts section.

I want this section to allow users to pin their frequently used contacts as favorites. They can see up to 7 of their favorite contacts on the home screen. If they want to see more favorites and other recent contacts, they'll have to click on the 'Show all' button.

A mockup of the redesigned screen

If you wish to add a contact to your Favorites section, you can choose the 'Add to Favorites' option when you're sending money to a contact. Another way is to have a star icon next to each contact (like how we bookmark webpages) would also do the job.

An illustration showing how you can favorite a contact by clicking on the options screen

You can add or remove contacts from the Favorites section by clicking on the More icon (three dots) next to the Favorites section.

This way you can quickly send money to your frequent contacts.

I removed the 'Businesses & Bills' section from the home screen as I wanted it to be subsumed under the 'Show all' option.

Instead of 'Businesses & Bills' I have added the Promotions section followed by payment activity, checking your available balance and the banner to promote rewards for inviting your friends to use Google Pay.

Payment Activity

I've also made a few enhancements to the payment activity section.

The 'smart search' bar at the top of the page will allow you to look for a transaction based on the month, vendor, or the amount paid.

You can long-press on a transaction or select multiple transactions to share their receipt via WhatsApp, or email.

I've also tried to display the UPI ID of the transaction in the list making it easy to share them with vendors (some ask for the UPI ID after the payment).

Monthly Spend Report

When I sent this blog post to a couple of beta readers, one of the suggestions I got was, it would be nice to have a spend report inside Google Pay. A report that gives you a monthly overview of how much you've paid as bills, how much you've sent to your friends and family, rewards earned, account balance, and so on.

If you think about it, it need not be an extensive expense report like you get from Walnut or your bank's mobile app. It can be a simple report that tells you how much much you've spent through Google Pay and what's the balance left in your account.

If you're someone who uses Google Pay, then you will have all your transactions in one place. It could also refrain users from using other UPI apps and stick to Google Pay as it helps them visualize their monthly spending in one place.

I took the liberty to design a very basic mock of how this would look.


If I can design a better, usable version of Google Pay putting myself in the shoes of a user, imagine what product teams could do when they start listening to feedback from hundreds of users. Distilling them and putting them in action would be a great way to deliver an amazing product experience.

And, for a company like Google, if they made use of the elements and interactions that worked for them in the past (things they've learned while improving apps like Google, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, etc.), Google Pay would've created a far better user experience.

I'm not sure if they'd see it, but I am happy to have learned a thing or two about product design and user experience while working on this case study.

I hope you like it!


I've sent this blog to 23 professionals as part of the beta reading program and I got some amazing feedback. Special Thanks to Vishnu VardhanRohit ViswanathanGanesh, and Smriti. They have a huge part in how this article came into shape.

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What Makes a Sitcom Funny?

Sitcoms are great!

They’re the perfect choice of entertainment if you need to watch something short and funny. You can start or leave the show pretty much at any point and you’ll still end up having a great time.

And, if you’re from the Eastern part of the world, sitcoms are a great way to learn a thing or two about the western culture, especially American.

Sitcoms helped me a great deal in learning spoken English when I was in college. I even wrote a blog post a couple of years back where I talked about how watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S landed me a job in writing.

After watching a lot of sitcoms, I can’t help but see a common pattern among the shows. The way they’ve written, the type of characters, the theme behind episodes, and so on.

When I started thinking about this, I asked myself “Are sitcoms formula-driven?”

And, after digging around for a bit, and making observations from some of my favorite sitcom shows, I would say that the answer is “yes”.

Sitcoms follow a formula to keep us entertained.

How Sitcoms are Written?

According to an article in the Atlantic, a sitcom follows a template, and every episode is written based on that. It is similar to the ‘three-act’ structure that is commonly used while writing a novel or a screenplay.

According to the sitcom template, each episode will comprise of the following sections:

To explain each section of this template, let me take an example. I’m taking Season 5, Episode 11 of F.R.I.E.N.D.S (‘The One With All the Resolutions’)

The Teaser

This makes up the portion that comes before the title, i.e. the first 2–3 minutes in an episode. This section usually sets precedence for the theme of the episode or sometimes can also be a series of events/conversations among the characters written to evoke laughter.

In the Friends episode, the teaser shows Chandler and Monica telling Joey that they would want to kiss each at midnight of the New Year’s Eve. So, Joey makes arrangements in such a way that he kisses Rachael and Ross kisses Phoebe and Chandler kiss Monica and they wish each other a happy new year. The intro comes on after this part.

The Trouble

From minute 3–8, we get to see trouble or challenge faced by one of the lead characters. This can be anything from a long queue at the mall where a mom has gone to pick up a birthday present, a teenager being grounded but badly wants to go to a party, or a young man struggling to ask a girl out on a date. This portion also features subplots involving other characters.

In the Friends episode, everyone comes up with their new year resolution. Ross says that he will try one new thing every day. That causes a series of incidents later in the episode. This forms the main plot of the episode. Subplots include Chandler keeping himself from not making fun of anybody, Phoebe teaching Joey the guitar, and Rachael trying her best to refrain from gossiping.

But, the actual trouble that highlights the episode is when Ross buys a new pair of leather pants and goes for a date.

The Muddle

This is where whatever plan the character had in mind, goes for a toss. This usually happens between minutes 9 to 13.

In this specific episode, Ross is on a date and realizes that the pants are hot and makes him uncomfortable. When he goes to the bathroom, he can’t put his pants back. He calls Joey for ideas and it further messes things for him.

The Triumph/Failure

From minutes 13–18, the lead character(s) either succeed or fail in overcoming their obstacle. In this particular episode of Friends, Ross, Rachael, and Joey fail to stick to their new year’s resolution

The Kicker

The small funny portion after the credits. This is where Chandler comes to Central Perk and says every comment he’s been holding up. The episode ends there.

Common elements across sitcoms

For this section, I’ve analyzed three sitcoms: F.R.I.E.N.D.S, The Big Bang Theory, and Modern Family, and tried to find common elements among them.

The ‘Holiday’ Episodes

These episodes make 25% of an entire sitcom

No matter what genre a series belongs to, sitcom or otherwise, they will have episodes based on famous days and public holidays in the US. They are,

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas and
  • New Year’s Eve

Episodes based on these holidays are part of every season. If a sitcom has 240 episodes (10 seasons, 24 episodes each), roughly 60 episodes are written based on these days. That makes up 25% of an entire sitcom.

The ‘Less Common’ Episodes

Here is a list of less common episodes that you come across at least once in every sitcom. They feature scenarios,

  • Parents visiting the lead characters
  • Car breaking down somewhere
  • Football game
  • Trip to a cabin or a beach (Miami, Vegas, or some cabin)
  • Trying on wedding dresses
  • Bachelor party
  • Baby shower
  • Trip to Vegas
  • Childbirth
  • Hearing a baby say ‘mama’ or ‘dada’
  • Appendicitis
  • Objectifying firemen

Now, let’s get down to the fun part. Scenarios that are common across sitcoms. I’m taking F.R.I.E.N.D.S, The Big Bang Theory, and Modern Family as examples.

Somebody shaves their head

By accident or purpose, somebody shaves their head or other characters’ head.


  1. Bonnie, Ross’s girlfriend shaves off her head after listening to Rachael. This happens when they all stay up at the beach house. (F.R.I.E.N.D.S)
  2. Penny accidentally shaves off a part of Sheldon’s head when she is giving him a haircut. (The Big Bang Theory)
  3. Gloria shaves off Luke’s head in an episode where Luke wants to try on a Mohawk (Modern Family)
  4. Bonus: Marshal shaves off his head on the day of his wedding! (How I met Your Mother)

Grand wedding turning to a simple one

Another common theme among these sitcoms is, the characters spend so much time planning their wedding (for some reason they all want a wedding on a cliff overlooking the sunset. Is that a thing?).

They fight for the wedding dress, do an insane amount of thinking to choose between Roses, Tulips, and lilies; Think too much while choosing the best man and the bridesmaids; And, have a huge discussion about where to seat their parents at the reception. But, at some point, all of this would go to dust! They’ll be broken and miserable and later realize that wedding is not about the place or the grandeur, but about the person, they’re getting married to. This is every sitcom wedding ever!

Here are some examples:

  1. Emily wants a wedding at this old place, but the authorities tear it down and their whole plan goes for a ross (I mean toss!). But, they somehow manage to get married in what’s left of the place. Another example is Phoebe getting married in front of Central Perk. (F.R.I.E.N.D.S)
  2. Howard and Bernadette have big plans, but they get married on the terrace of Leonard’s apartment before Howard leaves for the International Space Station (The Big Bang Theory)
  3. Cam and Mitch have big plans, but they constantly run between wedding venues as they face several issues. Finally, they get married at Jay’s club! (Modern Family)

Petting Birds

I think Sitcom creators have a thing for birds. There’s always an episode where the lead character(s) have a friendly/fearful encounter with birds.

  1. Chandler and Joey have the ‘Chick and the duck’ which spans across several episodes. There is an episode where a pigeon flies into Monica’s apartment when Rachael is alone. (F.R.I.E.N.D.S)
  2. A Blue Jay flies into Sheldon’s apartment. He’s afraid of it, but later loves the bird and takes a picture with it. (The Big Bang Theory)
  3. Phil brings home three duck eggs and they hatch in one of the episodes. (Modern Family)

The Prom Connection

Prom plays a major part in Sitcoms. The lead characters either attend prom or asked for one later in their lives (when Mitch asks Cam to be his prom date on Modern Family); Organize prom when they’re grown (The Big Bang Theory) or think about their prom which is shown as a flashback (F.R.I.E.N.D.S).

There are a ton of other similarities like one of the lead characters get married or find out about their pregnancy in a season finale, they stand in line for hours to watch their favorite movie, have an issue with a newly moved-in neighbor in the apartment, one where there is a blackout, etc.

I could’ve found more, but I don’t want this post to get super-lengthy. The point I’m trying to make here is sitcoms have a lot more in common than you could think.

But, despite their similarities, sitcoms always make us forget everything and laugh our hearts out. If that’s based on a formula, I am happy somebody had cracked it!


  1. Cracking the Sitcom Code —
  2. How to Write a Sitcom That Sells —
  3. A Basic Sitcom Episode Plot Template For TV Screenwriters —

Have Cities made Us Insensitive?

Last week, I thought of tweeting about what happened to George Floyd. It was heart-wrenching to see someone getting killed in public. I wanted to point out and say how cruel it was, to take a human life for granted.

But then I paused for a moment and asked myself,

“When have I ever raised my voice against something cruel that happened in my country or in my city?”.

The answer was never.

I was quiet when there were occurrences of caste-related violence, honor killings, rapes, the CAA-NRC protests, etc.

The only reason I wanted to write about George Floyd was because it happened in a country that is thousands of miles away.

Whenever I felt like writing something that happened in my country, I let the thought slip because I say to myself “What good is this going to bring?”

There is also this other question that pops in my head.

“Why talk about it when you’re not affected by it?”

I know it is sick. Maybe it has got something to do with my upbringing.

It is Okay to be Selfish

I remember my parents saying, “It is okay to ignore something unless it affects you directly.”

Once, my dad told me “If you see someone getting hit or get into an accident, it is not mandatory to go and help. If things get serious, you’ll have to go to the police, court, etc. It is okay to let it go. Somebody else will help them.”

I bet he wasn’t the only parent who said this. Most of the Indian households preach the same.

The mantra is “It is okay to be selfish sometimes.”

The word “sometimes” is very subjective. And we were never taught when does this “sometimes” applies.

In a typical Indian family, being selfish is considered a good trait.

People were graded as good and respected when they say “Naan undu en vela undu nu iruken” (It translates to “I have done nothing, except minding my own business”).

“Study well. Pray to god. And take care of yourself and your family” are words by which we’re living by. Caring for a fellow human who is not family and caring for society were not part of the commandments.

But, when people read the headlines in the newspaper or watch the news, the first thing you hear from them would be “The world is becoming such a bad place…”

I had come across many uncles in tea shops making statements like “People have become heartless and everyone is acting selfishly”. This would be the uncle who would’ve told his kids that it is okay to take care of themselves and not help others.

We’ve also been taught a lot of other things.

“Study hard, get a good job, and then watch TV! Now is not the time; Why do you want to go on a trip? Get married and explore the world with your spouse”.

There was a time my dad read the newspaper and said “Look at this kid! He’s got the first rank in the state. And, in the interview, he says he has no friends. That’s how you should be”

I was like “What does having friends have to do anything with marks?”.

Also, I knew that even if they’d locked me up, I wouldn’t have scored more than what I was capable of

I got good breaks, landed a good job, and got some great opportunities only because I went against the advice my dad gave me.

If all those people who had helped me had been selfish, I wouldn’t have become a product marketer. I have this career because some people went out of their way to help me.

If you think about it, we’ve become a generation of people who have been taught to not care about anything until we’re directly affected by it.

Cities have made life Transactional

It might look like I am blaming my parents. But I am not.

I’m sure it wouldn’t have started with them. It goes way back. This phenomenon started when large groups of people started settling in cities to make a better living.

Cities make people perceive everything as a competition. It gives them the idea that one must be selfish to move ahead in life.

I came across a fantastic essay “ Metropolis and Mental Life “ by Georg Simmel when I was doing some research.

In his Essay, Simmel talks about cities and what it does to the individuality of people. He says that,

“Modern mind has become more and more calculating.”

According to Simmel, as a city grows, it starts to depend on the economy and everything we could think of becomes transactional. He also mentions that this behavior is very different from the small-town life which rests more upon deeply felt and emotional relationships.

In cities, everything around us is designed in a mechanical way making us more calculative and less instinctive.

“Punctuality, calculability, exactness are forced upon life by the complexity and extension of metropolitan existence and are not only most intimately connected with its money economy and intellectualist character. These traits must also color the contents of life and favor the exclusion of those irrational, instinctive, sovereign traits and impulses which aim at determining the mode of life from within, instead of receiving the general and precisely schematized form of life from without.”

He says that people who are living in the city get agitated for the smallest things, they run out of energy to gain strength and often feel the incapacitated to react to things with appropriate energy. I was able to relate to it.

We get irritated/agitated about the smallest issues on social media. It could be an actor saying something in a movie, or the latest movie trailer. But we never show that level of agitation when it comes to important issues.

Everyone who is speaking about George Floyd on social media, I appreciate you raising your voice against racial discrimination. But do you know how much discrimination exists amongst us! If you have no idea, check this page that has a chronological timeline of all the incidents that happened due to discrimination. And those are just the tip of the iceberg.

Our generation has shown immense progress in a lot of areas. We’re achieving a breakthrough in technology; we’ve embraced sexual orientation of all kinds, and we have developed an open and broad mindset towards dating and relationships. But that’s not enough.

We should be more vocal about the social issues that shake the foundation of our society. We should set an example for the next generation. It is our responsibility to teach them to raise their voices against injustice. Imagine your kids saying, “Back then, my parents raised their voices in whatever way they can when something went wrong” instead of saying “They used to share memes and mock each other on social media all day.”

The last few lines of Simmel’s essay say,

“The metropolis reveals itself as one of those great historical formations in which opposing streams which enclose life unfold, as well as join one another with equal right. However, in this process the currents of life, whether their individual phenomena touch us sympathetically or antipathetically, entirely transcend the sphere for which the judge’s attitude is appropriate. Since such forces of life have grown into the roots and into the crown of the whole of the historical life in which we, in our fleeting 12 existence, as a cell, belong only as a part, it is not our task either to accuse or to pardon, but only to understand.”

That’s what I am doing here. I am not accusing anyone. What I have done is, tried to understand what made us who we are today.

And, I felt that the least I could do is embrace my cowardice for not raising my voice against all the issues in the past.

I know it is not easy to overcome the inhibitions as I’ve been living with them since I was a kid. But, I consider this as my first step.

I express my heartfelt respect for those who are fighting for all the right causes. I aspire to be one of them someday.

Pen to Paper: The Benefit of Offline Productivity

When I worked as a Technical Writer, the biggest problem I faced was I couldn’t write product copies when I was away from my computer. I was able to think and write only if I had access to a word processor or a notes app. Several times, during meetings, I would often run to my laptop or ask the designer for his laptop so that I can type in the product copy.

Spending so much time documenting my thoughts on a computer has minimized my ability to formulate my thoughts when I don’t access to a device.

Somewhere in between the classic Notepad and the modern apps like Notion and Google Docs, we’ve lost the habit of formulating our thoughts without relying on a device. For many of us, it would’ve at least been a decade since we wrote something using pen and paper.

I am not saying that it is a bad thing.

Writing has evolved in the best possible way. We now have apps that help us document all our thoughts in a structured way and provides us access to them no matter where we are. And all it takes is just a few seconds to take these thoughts directly to your target audience. It is fascinating.

But the downside of this is, we become too dependent on our devices and we end up spending too much time looking at our computer or mobile screens.

Last week I did a personal audit of how much time I spent on my laptop or smartphone each day and I found out that it was around 12–13 hours (combined). Assuming I slept 7–8 hours a day, I spent 80% of the time I am awake looking at a screen.

With every aspect of our life getting digitized, it is hard for us to not look at a screen. Be it reading a book, or writing something, we spend a big part of our day looking at some sort of a screen. But, how come nobody is talking about this?

Ignorance is Marketing

Despite knowing the ill effects of increased screen time, we are not spending enough time to discuss this issue. Instead of encouraging people to reduce their screen time, some companies and startups are coming up with new ways to promote products that increase our screen time.

One good example is blue-light filtering glasses. Despite these glasses having minimal impact in protecting us from the harmful blue light emitted from the screens (proven by studies and advised by ophthalmologists), these glasses sell like hot cakes. And there are a range of other products that convey the message that it is okay to use smartphones as much as we want.

Two years back, I went to Bangkok, and on the train, I saw a commercial for a Vitamin A undereye cream that prevents dark circles that arise to due to prolonged exposure to mobile usage.

Instead of telling us to throttle down our screen time, we’re often shown that it is okay to spend that much time on our phones and computers.

So, what should we do? How can we stay productive and at the same time reduce out daily screen time? We need to go old school. We should learn to be productive in the old pen and paper way.

Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword (I Am Not Kidding)

The old school way of documenting your thoughts on a paper, or reading a physical book stimulates the learning centre of your brain compared to typing or reading something on a gadget.

According to a 2015 study, people who wrote using a pen were better at recalling the words they had written. The practice of physically documenting our thoughts increases our ability to remember them.

Another study conducted in 2014 concluded that students learn better when they take notes on paper. Slower speeds while taking handwritten notes helps students to process and retain new information. When students who used laptops were asked to consolidate information in their notetaking, they used more words and did not reap the benefits of the handwriting group.

According to a CBS news story, “In an experiment conducted in Norway, people were given a short story to read either on a Kindle or in a paperback book; when they were quizzed later, those who read the paperback were more likely to remember plot points in the right order.”

So, the best way to stay sharp and remember more of what we learnt is by practicing offline productivity.

Offline Productivity = Limited Screen Time

The term ‘offline’ is often related to working on the computer without the internet. But being offline should be about being completely off the computer.

Identify everyday tasks that could be accomplished without the help of a computer and start doing them offline. This involves reading a book, taking notes, planning a monthly budget, making an itinerary for a vacation, outline for your next book, etc.

You can also partially switch to offline productivity when you’re performing certain online tasks.

For example, if you’re on a Zoom call and if your video is turned off, turn away from the screen and take notes using a notebook and a pen (Don’t tell me Apple pencil. It attributes to screen time again).

If you are planning to write a blog, work on the outline of your blog on a notebook. I used a notebook to write the rough draft of this blog post.

Use a physical journal like Benjamin Franklin's (he carried around a journal with him to track his thoughts and habits) to document your thoughts and whenever possible read a physical book than buying a digital copy. (I still could not come out of this one).

Even getting as much as 1–2 hours off your daily screen time would improve your health, help you remember more of what you’ve learned, and will keep you away from distractions.

Try practicing offline productivity for a week and let me know how it is working for you.

Liked the blog? Show some love by sharing it with your friends. Every week, I write about productivity, product management and technology. Follow me on Twitter for more content.


Zoom Score: A Metric That Could Define the Future of Remote Work

Last week, I spent 21 hours on Zoom meetings. 

Lately, I realized that I am spending a lot of time on Zoom, so I decided to track it. I used Toggl to track the number of hours I am spending on Zoom meetings. At the end of my work week, I found out that I spent over 21 hours on zoom meetings with an average of 3.75 hours each day. That is almost half the time of my entire workweek (considering a 45-hour workweek.) 

As every IT organization moved remote over the past month, employees spend more time on video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Webex, Jitsi, etc. Off all the video conferencing apps, Zoom is making headlines for good as well as bad reasons. Despite their security and privacy concerns, Zoom is growing at a rapid pace. As of April 22, 2020, the platform reported a user base of 300 million participants each day. 

In my opinion, Zoom has the resources and the potential to monopolize the entire video-conferencing market. If they do everything right, in a few years, Zoom will be a synonymous name for video conferencing like how Google is for search.  

This situation made me think of a crazy idea. What if organizations start evaluating candidate profiles based on their behavior and the number of hours they had spent on Zoom! 

If you’re surprised, I must say this is not uncommon. The number of hours you spend on doing something is taken as experience in certain sectors. One good example is flight hours. The experience of an aircraft pilot is measured based on the number of hours they spent in the sky. 

But, that’s not it. A lot of other industries also use a similar approach to evaluate people. Let me give you a couple of examples. 

Credit Scores and Car Insurance

If you’re a credit card user, you must have come across the term credit score. 

A credit score is something that defines your creditworthiness. Based on your historical credit spending and repayment behavior, you’ll be given a score out of 900. This score is considered when you’re applying for new credit cards, loans, etc. The higher the credit score number, the better are your chances of getting a loan or a fancy credit card. Companies like Experian, CRIF, etc. specialize in reporting consumer credit scores. 

Similarly, in the US, insurance companies have started using Telematics insurance or Usage-Based Insurance(UBI) for automobiles. The insurance premium you pay every year will be based on your driving distance, mileage, location, time, and driving behavior. 

If you are a rash driver, you will be paying a higher premium because the insurance companies will know that the probability of you getting into an accident is high. On the other hand, a disciplined driver who follows all the rules will end up paying a lower premium. The cars today have enough technology built into them to track driving behavior and communicate the same to car manufacturers and the insurance companies. 

The amount of data available on something can change the way a business works. Now imagine! With a ton of audio and video data collected with each Zoom call, it can change the way organizations recruit people. 

The Theory of Zoom Score

Similar to a credit score, what if each professional is assigned a Zoom score. Each person is given an aggregate score out of 100 based on various parameters such as, 

  • Hours spent on Zoom calls that had more than three people (to track collaboration)

  • Number of times you have initiated a team meeting

  • Number of times you’ve turned on the video for meetings

  • Eye contact during a meeting when the video is turned on (an AI model can track and see if you were using a phone during the meeting)

  • Facial expressions

  • Parallel tasks carried out during a meeting

  • Number of minutes on mute

  • Number of minutes you speak during a meeting. (To know if you’re an initiator. Can also track voice and tone)

  • Number of times you interfere or interrupt another person during a meeting. 

Collecting all this information is fairly simple. I am not a techie, but I am pretty sure building an AI model to track these things from Audio and video data is highly doable. And, the model can be made very accurate as there are 300 million active users on Zoom every day. 

Imagine every LinkedIn profile with a badge for the Zoom score, and you need to have a specific Zoom score if you wish to apply for a job in a remote-first company. 

This would totally change the game. Your potential employer would know more about you the moment they see your profile on LinkedIn. They can understand what kind of person you are and whether you a culture fit or not even before they establish the first contact with you. 

And, companies have already started figuring some of this. In fact, the Zoom marketplace has a couple of apps that track user data for better business insights. 

For example, has a Zoom integration that can help organizations track the total time spent by their sales reps on customer meetings every month. 

So, the day when you’re asked for your Zoom score might not be that far. 

Soon, companies will build apps and integrations to display your Zoom score. These apps can also go a step further and offer you an analysis report of what kind of a person you are! 

Another thing that might happen is, these apps might also cross-reference your Zoom score and personality traits to compare with the employer database and show you a list of companies you could get into. It can also offer you the probability of you getting into an organization when you tried to apply it. 

Even though most of this sounds like something right out of a sci-fi book, the possibility of this happening is not very far. 

Maybe I’m imagining too much. I should stop now!

Take care and have a great day!

I Was Making Someone Rich by Allowing Them to Cryptojack My PC

Two weeks back, I came to know that my PC was secretly being used by somebody in the US (could be a proxy location) to mine cryptocurrency. What started out as an unexpected PC shut down on a Saturday morning, quickly snowballed into me knowing the fact that somebody hacked my computer.

Let me rewind a little and tell you what happened

I was spending my Saturday morning the usual way. I woke up at 6:00 AM, got freshened up, made myself a cup of coffee and started watching a movie on Netflix.

When the movie was over, my wife walked into the room and asked me to set up a VPN on the computer so that she can work from home the following week.

I was working on setting up the VPN and my computer shut down without any warning. My OS threw me an error and started rebooting.

At first, I thought it could be a glitch in my OS. But, when the computer rebooted I got a pop up where the Windows Firewall asked me to provide public access to file in the System32 folder. It looked a little suspicious. I quickly Googled the file name and found out that it was a malware.

What is malware doing on my computer! I should run a virus scan!

When I clicked on the system tray, I was surprised to see that there was no Antivirus on my computer. It was shocking because I was sure I installed Antivirus software on my computer. That moment I knew something was wrong.

I knew this could’ve happened because of two reasons: First, one of us in the house would’ve mistakenly uninstalled the Antivirus program from the PC. Second, someone used a backdoor or a virus to gain access to my computer and disable any and all security measures. I struck off reason number one as I am the only person who uses the PC all the time. My wife uses her phone and my mom switches between the iPad and the Kindle.

If an Antivirus is already in place, how would someone snoop into the computer and uninstall/disable all security measures in my computer? Does my OS have something to do with it?

Until then, I hadn’t given much thought about the OS on my computer. The computer vendor (who is no longer operating shop), installed a version of the OS when I bought my computer. What if the OS on my computer was pirated?! I quickly tried to check and I was right. The OS on my computer was a pirated version.

Also, I found out that my PC name was changed from my name to some gibberish. This is a clear indication that my PC was hacked.

The pirated copy of the OS could’ve had a backdoor and injected malware into my system.

I quickly installed an Anti-Malware and an Antivirus software and ran a quick scan. The reports showed 132 malware infections on my PC. I quarantined all of them to the virus vault.

When I finally gave out a sigh of relief, I got a bunch of popups from the Antivirus software. It said some programs are trying to access an IP address. I ran the name of the program and the IP address on a lookup website and I found out that it belonged to a company that mines cryptocurrency.

When I did further research, I found out that it is common for websites to hijack your PC and use its computing power to mine cryptocurrency. The process is known as “Cryptojacking”.

Why do people need so much computing power to mine cryptocurrency?

The answer is simple. Mining cryptocurrency requires an extraordinary amount of computing power as it involves solving complex mathematical problems. In order to do that, hackers either use malware to take control of several host systems and later use them to compute smaller chunks of mathematical problems to mine cryptocurrency. The malware is usually disguised in the form of attachments, links in emails, and pirated software applications, OS and games that we download from the internet.

Another way people can exploit your PC for crypto-mining is by using APIs. When you visit certain websites, the site’s code will have an API or a piece of embedded JS code that will use up your computer’s resources as you browse the website. But, some companies and websites also ask for volunteers to share their CPU power for mining cryptocurrency.

This takes clocks up the CPU and RAM usage, which can lead to reduced machine performance over a period of time.

Cryptojacking is one of the fast-growing computer threats all over the globe.

In 2018, a crypto mining bot affects close to half a million machines and helped anonymous parties generate close to $3.6 million worth of Monero.

The first half of 2019 alone saw 52 million cryptojacking attacks all over the world. Crytojacking has become popular among hackers as it is the best and cheaper alternative to ransomware. Those who don’t know ransomware, it is a form of malware that encrypts the victim’s data and will restore access only when the victim pays a ransom. Crytojacking is preferred over ransomware because with ransomware a hacker might get money only from 3 people for every 100 infected computers. But, in case of cryptojacking, all the machines work for the hacker and helps them mine cryptocurrencies.

That’s enough details and stats about cryptojacking. Let’s come back to the story.

I took some quick steps to restore order.

In order to prevent my computer from any future vulnerabilities, I got a new copy of Windows 10 and did a fresh install on my PC. I also installed a new antivirus and an anti-malware system. I’m not entirely sure if it will protect my PC 100%, but I was happy that I took the necessary steps to overcome the current situation.

Even though I was a little shocked at the fact that I was making someone rich by letting them use my PC for mining cryptocurrency, I was not angry for two reasons.

  1. It was my fault not to verify the authenticity of my OS. It was my fault downloading and installing an unverified copy of software and games on my computer.

  2. The websites I browse and the social media platforms I use collect more data about me than the random dudes who were using my PC for mining some coins. So, if I’ll have to get angry, I’ll have to get angry with the entire internet ecosystem that thrives on user data.

All we can do as individuals connected to the internet is safeguard ourselves from the rising threats.

If you’re using a pirated copy of the OS or used to download a lot of software applications and games from torrent websites, it is essential that you run a system diagnostic to see if it is malware-free. Use free tools like Malware bytes, Avira Antivirus, or AVG, etc. to run a system-wide scan. If you detect any vulnerabilities, take a back up of your data and fix them immediately.

If a similar incident happened to me ten years back, I wouldn’t have worried so much. Back then, I wasn’t using the internet for everything. All I did back then was watch movies and listened to songs. But, in today’s world, we do a lot more on the internet. We share pictures, videos, buy stuff and do a ton of other things that contain sensitive user data. So, please be aware of the rising online threats and stay safe.

Rebranded Tea Shops Are Increasing Tea Prices by up to 100%

Photo by Swastik Arora on Unsplash

How much impact can branding have on the price of a product? The answer is anywhere from 100% to 1000%.

The other day I went to Chai Kings, one of the fastest-growing tea shop chains with my friend and we had tea and two pieces of cake. The total bill came close to Rs.100! I was surprised because if I had had the same items in a normal tea shop, I would’ve paid 70% lesser. So, it got me thinking. I observed the shop and tried to understand what had changed.

The answer was simple. It was branding.

The whole place had a smooth finish to it. The walls and the background had a white and green theme. The guys who worked there wore a uniform. There was a touch screen POS system for billing and an illuminated menu board that displayed different types of chai you can order. Also, every glass they served tea in, was branded. I was amazed to see how a company had taken such great care in branding and creating a consistent experience for the customer. But, the size of the glass and the taste of the tea was more or less similar to the tea I have in my regular tea shop. But, the price I paid for that tea is 100% more than what I pay at a regular tea shop.

The tea shop I go to these days is not as fancy as that of a fancy tea shop. In fact, it is the exact opposite.

It is a small space with dull, paint-stripped walls. The space had two counters and the rest of the place is left empty for people to stand.

The first counter is where the owner of the tea shop sits. The counter is filled with huge glass bottles that had biscuits and tea cakes arranged in them. There is a rack behind this counter that has cigarettes, mouth fresheners, magazines, bananas, lighters, ball pens, shampoo sachets, Gillette instant razor and a stereo system that plays devotional songs in the morning, radio during the noon, and Ilayaraja songs at night.

The second counter is where the magic happens. The small stainless steel counter has a gas stove, boiler, and a few dozen tea glasses. A guy in his dirty vest and dhoti will hum to the song that plays from the speakers and his hands would be creating magic mixing decoction and milk into small tea glasses.

There is a third section where another guy who we refer to as “the vada master” will be slipping small chunks of Urad dal batter into a hot iron pan that has boiling oil. There will be an aluminum tray on a table where the hot vadas will be kept. The distance of this tray will be at the midpoint between the tea counter and the iron pan where the vada is fried.

The tea shops I know don’t just serve me a glass of tea. Instead, they serve me an experience. An experience I can get for just Rs.10!

Why Tea Shops?

Tea shops are the lifeline of our country. It is the equivalent of bars in western countries. It is a place for people to hang out, form friendships, discuss topics, close land deals (happens more often than you think!), look for jobs, etc. According to an analyst report, in a city like Chennai, there are close to 20,000 tea shops, each serving a minimum of 150-300 cups of tea.

An average tea shop makes 1.5 - 2 lakhs in profit every month. If they sell snacks like Bajji, Bonda, etc. they can make more than 3 lakhs a month.

Companies like Chai Kings and Chaiwaale have understood the market, and the potential it has if customers were offered more than tea. They bring more to the game by partnering with food delivery services like Swiggy, UberEats, and Zomato. They have special flasks for delivering tea and they also offer a range of specialty cookies, cakes, and Maggi to lure the audience. Even though it comes at a price that is a little higher than what you pay for a normal tea shop, people like that experience.

Result? An average Chai Kings outlet makes twice of what a normal tea shop makes. And, with 40+ outlets and $1 million in funding, they’re on a steady growth trajectory.

The Rebranding Fever

Brands like Chai Kings and Chai Waale are a classic example of how branding disrupts a largely untapped market. They identify the right niche instead of building a fancy coffee shop, and they identified the right persona to go after. The goal was to attract college, IT and the upper-middle-class crowd. And, within 3 years, they’ve become successful at it. They’re rapidly expanding to cities like Coimbatore and Hyderbad and have made a name for themselves in the market.

But, I have recently observed a lot of smaller tea shops following the path of Chai Kings. They change the name of their shop to something that starts with the word ‘chai’ and they remodel the shop into a fancy looking one. Result? The price of the tea they serve is now Rs.20 instead of Rs.10. This trend is more prominent in areas that are closer to IT parks and large gated communities.

I am worried about this becoming a trend in other parts of the city as this can increase the overall price of the tea that still satiates the hunger of several working-class people and people who are below the poverty line. I’ve seen people who live on just tea and biscuits. Several tea shops don’t increase the price of their tea even though there is an increase in milk prices. They believe in sales by volume and also make enough profits selling cigarettes and snacks. With the increase in prices, the amount that is spent on tea every month will double up and might burn a hole in customers’ pockets. Every fast catching trend also has a downside. But, businesses should try to understand the impact it will create on their customers before attempting for a renovation or a rebranding. They should ask a lot of questions like whether their customers really want such an experience? Would they be willing to pay the revised price?

I don’t know what the future holds for all the 20,000 odd tea shops out there. But, I’d not want to miss seeing a tea master make tea. It is nothing, but a work of art.

I ordered chole bhature and received customer experience in return

It was late at night when we were driving back from the beach. My mom and wife were hungry and badly wanted to eat something. When I suggested some places, they turned it down. They strictly said no to fine dining places as they take more time to bring what we ordered and is also expensive. So, they wanted me to look for something simple where they can have a good South Indian dinner.

I started looking for restaurants as I took a right at the SRP tools junction. After driving a few hundred meters, I stumbled upon a small restaurant that was decently crowded. It also had a decent amount of space to park my car. So, we went in and ordered dosas. It was delicious!

But, that was not the part where I was impressed. The incident that followed made me think about how some small restaurants think from the shoes of a customer and provide them a unique customer experience.

After having a dosa each, I and my wife were still hungry. But, ordering one more dosa for each felt like too much. So, we decided to order something and share it. We called the waiter. He was a tall, dark guy in his mid-forties. He was wearing a faded saffron shirt, a maroon-colored lungi, and a faded purple towel hung on his shoulder.

“Anything else, sir?” he asked

“What else do you have?” I asked

“Masala dosa, onion dosa, uthappam, onion rava, plain rava…” he said all the possible combinations of dosa.

When he came down to “Chola poori” I stopped him and looked at my wife.

She said “Let’s have Chola poori”

For those who’re confused about what a Chola puri is, it is the South Indian name for chole bhature.

In fine dining language, it is a handpicked dough made of wheat flour rolled into a thin sheet and deep-fried to golden brown perfection served with a lip-smacking chickpea gravy with a pinch of coriander.

In layman terms, it is a poori the size of an inflated car airbag served with channa masala.

I said to my wife “Okay, we’ll order one chole bhature and split it.”

The waiter nodded and went inside the kitchen.

After a few minutes, he came with the Chola poori that was already cut in half. He had informed the chef that we’re planning to share it among us and the chef decided to cut the thinly rolled dough in half before deep-frying it. Also, we might have looked like the couple who would fight over an unevenly split poori. So, the waiter didn’t want to give it that chance.

So, we were served two pieces of a perfectly split Chola poori.

I was surprised and delighted with the whole experience.

The waiter understood that it would be difficult and messy to tear a full poori in half. So, he told the chef to cut it in half and fry it to make our lives easy.

I thought it was a great example of how to nail customer experience.

Caring makes all the difference

The incident that night reminded me of several past incidents where I had experienced a delightful customer experience from small restaurants, tea shops, and street food joints. They don’t offer a great customer experience in return for a 5-star rating or an amazing review on Google or Zomato. Most of these restaurants won’t even be on Google.

They offer a great customer experience because they care.

Last month, I went to Yercaud with my friends. We visited a waterfall that was located seven kilometers from the city center. As we got down from the car, we saw a lot of shops outside the gate that led to the waterfall. They had bread omelette, lemonade, instant noodles, carbonated soft drinks and a lot more. But, they did not directly sell it to those who come to visit the falls.

Instead, each vendor (mostly women) assisted visitors in whatever way they can. For example, the woman who ran one of the shops told us where to park our car. After we did, she said it is a two-kilometer walk from the gate and the path has steep staircases. She advised us to carry our water bottles. When we were about to leave, she said: “If you are thirsty or hungry when you’re back, we have lemonade, bread omelette, and instant noodles”.

We thanked her and went to see the waterfall. On our way back, we were hungry and ended up eating in the woman’s shop.

Instead of looking for a sale first hand, she helped us first. That made a world of difference.

Customer experience is not a tradeoff

Companies that are trying to build a loyal fan following can learn a lot of things about customer experience from small brands. How they take care of their customers. How they learn and understand the needs of recurring customers and how they manage to serve with a smile.

Sometimes, on the way to stardom, big companies often forget what drove them there. Companies that once focused on customer experience often shift their priorities to growth, revenue, competition, etc.

In Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog, so much was said about the early years of Nike. The salesmen who worked in Nike stores used to maintain a personal relationship with every aspiring athlete — be it someone who is part of the university running team or a professional athlete. They knew every athlete’s requirement, their upcoming races, etc. Some even send a postcard to the athletes to know about their race.

This was one of the reasons for star athletes to endorse Nike when they were at the peak of their careers. Nike cared and the athletes reciprocated it when they become famous.

But, we don’t know if it is the same with Nike now. Their shoes are still great, but aspiring athletes will miss the customer experience that was delivered a few decades back.

So, instead of focusing on things that would create a delightful customer experience, companies end up focusing on selling more and bridging the gap between the competition. Companies should try to grow and make money without compromising on customer experience. Companies like Amazon understand the importance of customer experience and continue delighting customers.

The key to delivering great customer experience lies in putting ourselves in the shoes of a customer, understanding what they want and delivering it. This will make them feel valued and will give them stay loyal to a brand like how I would always think of the restaurant when I eat a Chole bhature.

Baldness Survival Kit

I was thirteen when I knew I am going to be bald in my twenties.

It was a Sunday evening and I was sitting in the living room watching TV. My dad was getting ready for his evening walk in the park he usually meets his friends and talks about politics. I saw my dad get ready, and for the first time, I realized that he is bald. Not that I didn’t know it before, but that was the first time I realized I might become bald like him in my mid or late twenties. I also realized why my granddad was wearing a cap in the photo that hung in our living room for several years.

The thought of going bald was scary, but I started to accept the fact from a very young age. That had helped me a great deal in my twenties when I started losing my hair. I did not feel ashamed or feel bad about myself. I started to embrace the condition and made peace with it. But, that is not the case with other men who are going through or went through a similar situation. They’re often depressed and resort to drugs and drinking to cope up with the stress.

Baldness and Depression

According to an article published in the Telegraph, more than a quarter of men under the age 35 turn to drink and drugs due to hair loss. In a survey conducted by ASDA pharmacy, 41% of men said that they can cope up with losing their home or losing vision in one of their eyes than losing hair. Many reported that hair loss has had a huge impact on their social and romantic lives. And, men globally spend about $3.5 billion every year hoping to reverse hair loss.

Hair loss is really depressing and it puts those affected in a great deal of emotional stress. They start to feel less confident about themselves and often come to the conclusion that their social and romantic life is doomed. But, with the right support system and mental preparedness, you can make peace with it.

Confidence is the key

Even though I was prepared to handle baldness from a very young age, the actual sight of the thinning hairline and visible scalp did put me through a couple of sleepless nights. I googled about possible remedies and tried every natural recipe my neighbours and relatives had suggested. But, I never stopped going bald. That is when I realized that I should not try to control something that is beyond my reach. I understood that baldness in my case was hereditary and subjecting myself to treatments might improve the situation, but might not bring things back to normal. I decided to become the most confident bald guy out there.

And, I eventually became the most confident bald guy out there. I was not ashamed to address the fact that I was becoming bald. I did not do something to my hair or wear anything to hide it. I learned to carry myself the way I am and people around me slowly started getting it. People stopped making jokes because they knew it won’t have an effect. I was bald and proud.

Turn baldness into a trend

Like every other thing, baldness has also evolved according to the new age. When I decided to shave off my head in 2015, I was a little skeptical. But, I also did not want a lot of side hair as it made me look older than I was. So, I decided to shave off my head and have a french beard. To my surprise, it was well received among my peers and family. Everyone around me started looking at baldness as a style than a condition. It gave me a lot of confidence and made me think “baldness isn’t such a bad thing.”

Sometimes you’ll have to change the way people are used to seeing something. You need to package things in a better way. Presenting them with something new can get their attention and sometimes even get them to follow your style. I’m not kidding! After I shaved off my head, a few others in my workplace (who had great hair) shaved off their heads to try on the look.

And, this has also been validated by research. Shaving off your head can make you look attractive.

According to a study published in 2017, bald men are considered more confident and attractive.

When researchers at The University of Pennsylvania asked students (male and female) to rate photographs of men according to attractiveness, confidence, and dominance — and men who are bald trumped in all three categories.

Things have changed

Baldness is not a deal-breaker in today’s relationships. Things have changed. Studies suggest that women find bald men masculine and attractive. So, there’s no need to be worried about your baldness being a hindrance to your love life. Always remember to be yourself, and good things will follow.

If you’re looking to go for an arranged marriage, things are still a little old-fashioned, but it has started to change. When my parents started to look for someone ( heard that right), a lot of families have did not get back after seeing my picture. Even though the girls were okay with it, their parents were not really into having a bald guy as their son-in-law. But, I did not do anything. I stayed the same and looked for someone who accepts me for who I am.

My logic was, “What if I had so much hair today and I go bald in five years? What if she had married me for my great hair?!” (just a hypothetical situation. Don’t take this seriously). If I let the world know I am bald today, my potential partner would know I will stay bald for the rest of my life. If she likes me now, she’s gonna like me for the rest of our married life. No surprises there.

And, when I met my wife, she knew I am bald. But, she wanted to know the person in me. As we spoke, she liked me for being myself, and we recently completed our first anniversary. So, be yourself, and the rest will follow.

Baldness is depressing. There is no doubt. But, the key to going through it, is confidence. If you pair that with a great support system (family, friends, girlfriend, colleagues, etc.) there’s nothing like it. Think of it as a new chapter in your life. A chapter from where you’re gonna look more confident, masculine, sexy, and badass for the rest of your life.

If you’re feeling low or depressed, feel free to talk to your close friends and family. Do not hesitate. Talk to other bald men. Or, feel free to send me an email. I am always here to listen.

How my previous generation built and lived the Indian dream

When the old uncle said “one more vada and a coffee”, I knew it was his third medu vada. He already had two pooris and two medu vadas at 6:25 AM in the morning.

My intention was not to count how much he was eating. When I walked into Vanitha Tea Stall, all I wanted was a bit of nostalgia with a glass of hot tea and a sweet bonda. I left Ambattur four years back and I have a lot of memories tied with the tea stall.

But, I got curious seeing an old man in his seventies eating pooris at 6:10 AM in the morning.

When I was thinking “Does the shop serve poori this early? Can he eat poori at this age?” he ordered two medu vadas.

The uncle was dressed in a worn out, grey-colored shirt and a pair of bermuda trousers. He was thin, bald, and wore thick-rimmed glasses. His shirt pocket was heavy with an old mobile phone, some loose cash, and receipts for purchases that dated back several years. There was an old cloth bag that hung from the backrest of the chair he was sitting in, and it had freshly bought milk packets.

The uncle looked happy and content as he ate the vada.

When I looked around, I saw several old men eating vada, sipping tea, and having a nice chat about current affairs and politics. They did not seem to worry about the lack of money, regretting their decision to not follow their passion, or worried about their unpredictable future.

That is when I realized how the previous generation of Indian men are living the Indian dream, where they achieved everything in life before they retired from their jobs. Something we wouldn’t be able to achieve when we were at their age.

The Indian Dream

Most of the previous generation men, who are retired now, achieved everything that is believed necessary for a happy life. They worked hard for several years, built their own homes, saved up, educated their children, got them married, and now enjoying a peaceful retired life having vadas, occasional beers at clubs, talking politics during morning beach walks, and interesting conversations at the park.

This also applies to previous generation women. Some worked hard at their jobs, while a majority of others lived their lives as homemakers. Either way, they had a strong impact on the family and the society. They saved up gold, had a firm say in a family’s financial decisions, and went out of their way to support their kids’ education.

They imbibed principles and values in their kids and made our society a better place. And, after retirement, they spend their free time watching TV, taking walks in the parks, visiting friends in temples, and going on tours all over the country.

Both men and women didn’t seem to worry too much about money. They saved enough to live a content, peaceful life.

When I look into our future, I seriously doubt if we’ll be able to experience what retired people are experiencing today.

A lot of conditions favored them when they started their careers.

They joined a job and forgot about it

Previous generation men hardly changed jobs. They usually join a job and by the time they thought about switching to another one, they turned sixty. They hardly worried about job security. Also, they were able to predict their future. If a person got a job in Chennai, he pretty much knew that the rest of his life is going to be in Chennai. This allowed them to make a few bold decisions like buying a land, building a house, etc. Also, they forged stronger bonds with their colleagues and neighbors and a lot of them found friends for life.

But, today, we switch jobs every 2–3 years. And, people are hesitant to buy a flat because they’re uncertain if they’ll be living there for the next five years. Sometimes, they buy a flat with a 25-year EMI schedule and get a better job offer in another city. In such cases, they often move to the newer city, get a house on rent, end up paying both the EMI and the rent. This would not increase their savings, which would’ve been the first reason to move to the newer city.

Savings was paramount

Our fathers have started their careers at a very young age. Probably during late teens or early twenties. And, the best part is they started saving at a very young age. So, even though they made less than what they we’re making today, they were far ahead of the savings race than us. Also, the money they had saved helped them when their family grew bigger. They were able to address the increase in demand without going for a loan or EMI.

The newer generation on the other hand hardly have any savings. We believe in ‘carpe diem’ and were told that it is now or never. So, we often spend our salaries on stuff we’re attracted to. Most Indian men and women did not think about savings until they get married, which has now been pushed to 30 today.

And, it is a widespread fact that the age until one can work in IT is roughly till 45 (or less). So, the newer generation is posed with an impossible challenge of meeting the demands, saving up enough money for retirement and educate the kids that currently involve more money than what cost us our college degree.

What our dads saved us for 35–40 years have to be achieved in 15 years.

They believed in retirement

Our parents believed in retirement. And, since they managed to live a healthy life, they were able to successfully go through it. Us, on the other hand live in a world of uncertainty. The rise of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, cardiac diseases, diabetes, cancer, etc. play a huge role in our lives. Most people I speak to say they won’t live till their sixties. All they want is to live their lives bigger and care about the present and not the future. In spite of all the medical advancements, we might end up living shorter lives than our previous generation.

It is okay to be a little old school

I’m not saying we should stop living the ‘carpe diem’ lifestyle. I believe in living a life without regrets. Go to the country you want, find a job you’re passionate about, start the business you always wanted to start and live the moment. There’s nothing wrong in it. But, we can also borrow some old school principles from the previous generation.

Apart from seizing the day, saving for the future is also equally important. Because the job market is not as stable as how it was a couple of decades back. We can be out of jobs anytime. And, the amount of money one needs to take care of his family has exponentially increased in the past decade. The education and healthcare costs have increased so much and so is our monthly EMI payments. Only a proper spending and savings schedule can save us out of this.

Also, living a healthy lifestyle should also be part of our lives. We’ve seen a great shift in culture with an increase in social drinking, smoking, and eating junk food. As we keep doing that, we also need something to balance them out and keep our health in check. Create an exercise routine and follow it everyday. Because, in today’s world, living healthy is a great way to retain your savings. Because, one trip to the hospital can wash off your entire savings. So, don’t forget to go for a walk or a run.

And, forge stronger bonds and better friendships. Because at the end of the day, we all need a circle of friends to share our success of failure.