Do you really need a 10-minute delivery?

Zomato’s 10-minute delivery sounds like 2 minute Maggie noodles.

Can you really fix noodles in 2 minutes? 

But for decades we have had this on top of our minds. 2 minutes is something very quick. 

Noodle is a quick fix for your hunger pangs. Do I really need my noodles in 2 minutes? Not really.

Do I really need the delivery in 10 minutes? I don’t think so.

10 minutes is super fast. Hence Zomato can deliver something faster than the alternatives. Zomato equals speed.

I am limited by imagination when I try to think about how this is even possible, especially when there are humans involved in making this happen.

Nevertheless, 10 minutes has created the necessary buzz. A win for Zomato. 


The fridge Vs Hyperlocal Delivery

A recent ad by Dunzo, a hyperlocal delivery app goes as “Ab Fridge ka Kya Kam hai” (what’s the use of the fridge now?)

Time for a lesson on operations management. Here we go!

Seems like the 10-minute delivery proposition erodes the utility of a fridge.

It is a battle of inventory Vs JIT (Just in Time)

We hold inventory to eliminate variability. In short the vagaries of the supply chain. Do you sense a shortage? Hoard more!

Holding inventory requires some planning and accurate forecasting. You need to take into account the quantity and time factors here. When to order and how much to order. Needless to mention the active monitoring, how much garlic do we really have in stock?

Forecasting takes into account the trend of past consumption. All this leads to the frequency of ordering. I and my wife have set this frequency to once a week. We order on Sunday evening and get a Big Basket delivery on Monday morning. 

The downside of inventory?

Holding costs. We might unnecessarily hold items that might not be consumed immediately. What’s the point of ordering paneer on Sunday evening if I am not going to consume it until Thursday noon. 

The second big challenge is that human estimates are subjected to errors. I might order fruits that I might forget to consume. Or I might forget to order fruits altogether. 

Actually, inventory is a waste. We maintain inventory because we have not yet cracked the equation to match supply and demand in real-time. (at household level)

And that’s where JIT or just in time comes into the picture. Japan mastered this art in the 70s and attacked the west on its own home turf. Overnight eroding the competence of giants like Ford. But that’s a different story. 

Coming to the present.

The fridge is like a micro warehouse that holds inventory.

The 10-minute delivery is JIT.

Holding the inventory needs planning, forecasting skills, time, and effort to order many things at one go and at a set frequency. This also comes with slippages and waste.

JIT works on a whim, you are out of lemons and coriander? Just order it now! JIT gives you the power of now. Don’t plan, just order. 

So it all boils down to the human behavior of Planning Vs Impulse.

The power of now will win in the long term. Because the sticky behaviors are the ones that are easy to adopt. 

Attention is a limited resource, use it carefully

Attention is a limited resource, use it carefully. 

If you are reading this, I have grabbed your attention for a few seconds.

If not, you would have spent your attention watching or reading something else.

If data is the new oil, attention is your spending power or currency.

Every day you wake up with a fixed unit of attention.

You might spend this on Instagram, LinkedIn, reading emails, responding to emails, YouTube. 

You may listen to music or podcast. Or listening to someone in a meeting.

Anyway, the point is attention is limited.

When you consume your daily quota, you may realize that you are not able to be mindful. 

You might struggle to focus, show your presence while talking to someone, or struggle to comprehend a situation.

Are there any measures to control this?

In a world where everyone is hungry for your attention, there is limited we can do.

Being mindful that attention is limited could be the first step.


CTC Vs CTY (Cost to you)

When an organization offers you any position, they primarily pay you to be “organized”. 

You might not take into account the hidden costs of getting “Organised”.

It starts with waking up. Sounds simple, but trust me this is so difficult for some people who are always “running late”.

Collaboration comes at a price depending on the type of team and culture you are working in. You have to adapt, adjust, listen, respond in a certain manner. It takes energy. 

Difficult people consume more energy.

An open workspace might be more distracting for some. The commute and distance matter more than ever. 

The communication intensity and frequency matter. How many emails you might have to write/ respond to on average to get a task done. 

Needless to mention the several compromises that you have to make on your career, core values, and overall wellbeing. 

These are all the intangibles that contribute to the break-up of your (Cost to you) CTY.

When your CTC < CTY, that’s where difficult questions haunt you.

Unfortunately, there is no right way to objectively measure the CTY. And there is no good way to estimate it before you join any job. 

People are not alarmed as long as CTC > CTY.

Once the equation changes, the countdown begins.

How long until your “body says no” is just a matter of time. 

This is where career transitions happen. 

This is where sabbaticals happen. 

This is when we start reviewing our purpose and beliefs. The only difference is that some do it just in time, some take forever, and many reach a point of no return. 🙂

If we have a brain, we have a bias

7-year-old Aakash while riding his bicycle accidentally brushed the shoulder of 6-year-old Nidhi who was playing with her friends.

Aakash lost his balance and fell down. 

It was a Sunday evening, people were taking their leisure strolls.

Half a dozen people gathered around the scene including me.

Aakash had a minor bruise on his elbow, he was used to this.

Nevertheless, he had taken a fall and was slowly recovering to pick his cycle.

I know Aakash because he is my neighbor’s kid. Aakash is a hyperactive kid and is very expressive.

Everyone was around Nidhi asking her if she was okay. Nidhi seemed to be fine. 

Aakash on the other hand was hurt.

As the crowd started dispersing, Aakash shouted, It was I who was hurt right?

I could see the discontent in his eyes. How he did not get the required attention despite being hurt.

Aakash recovered soon and was found playing with his friends after some time.

Goes without saying that Aakash wasn’t seen as vulnerable despite taking a fall because he was a boy. 

Is there a moral to this story? 


If we have a brain, we have a bias. 

Can we get rid of our brains?


How do you perceive your problems?

A couple of months back, my password-protected door lock started giving issues. When I closed the door, the electronic mechanism just beeped and said “it’s intercepted” instead of the comforting “It’s locked”.

The best I could do to fix this problem was to change the batteries. But no luck. I assumed this complex mechanism has some deep issues pertaining to its software, circuitry, or mechanical linkages that rotate the lever with the help of battery power.

Nevertheless, the door lock remained functional. We could use the key to enter instead of the password. We got used to the “it’s intercepted” voice every time we latched the door.

All this while I dismissed my wife’s request to get the door fixed by calling the support. I began to procrastinate on the repair. In my mind, the problem was too big. First, it will need an expert. Two, the diagnostics will certainly demand a replacement and three the costs for doing this will be prohibitive. Who will explain the issue to the house owner who resides in New York? will he even agree to replace the lock? or do I have to bear the whole expenses?

On the other hand, security was paramount. We live in a safe gated society but the other day we were shocked to realize that our maid could simply walk into the house. Since the doorbell was off, she tried knocking on the door and finally just pressed the door lever and walked in.

We were no longer safe. “It’s intercepted” meant the door lock wasn’t doing its job.

It was an alarm to wake up and ask for support. A few more days passed. We longer relied on the locking system. We simply used the manual door latch.

Today we finally called the support. We raised a ticket and a technician was sent to us. I explained the problem. He quickly checked the batteries and pointed out that one of the batteries had leaked after getting fully discharged. The chemicals have entered the circuit and caused issues. He quickly dismantled the lock, sat down on the floor, sprayed some liquid, thoroughly cleaned the parts, and assembled them. This was done in 5 mins.

He told me, “If it works, you are lucky”.

He closed the door and I heard the comforting “it’s locked” after a long time.

He just advised me to change the batteries frequently and don’t let them drain.

I did not pay a penny, the ticket was closed, and he left.

I learned a big lesson. The bigger the problem in your head, the greater will be your tendency to procrastinate.

Most of the problems in your life need one small action step. A call, booking an appointment, writing an email, raising a ticket. Just take that step.

Mind Sweep

If you are really feeling overwhelmed at this very moment, just do two things.

1. Take a notepad and write down what is occupying your mind space.

2. Next to it just write down what you are going to do about it, just write an action step that you wish to take 

It will just take 2 mins, try it out. You will feel a little better. Incomplete tasks trouble us because they occupy a lot of mind-space. Once you know what you are going to do about it, some steam is released. You might change your action item later, but for time being just do it.

Simple tactics often work but we are quick to dismiss them.

Source: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Freedom comes at a price

There is a price attached to every form of freedom.

Ukraine is fighting tooth and nail against Russia. Someone is paying the price to be free.

Last year Afghanistan fell within weeks. No one was ready to pay the price.

We are free in this country owing to the sacrifice made by freedom fighters, youth, scientists, the army, industrialists, and other revolutionists. They paid the price. Someone is still paying the price.

Applies to individuals as well. Wish to be free? are you willing to pay the price?

Want to quit your job? have you already done the hard work to save enough?

Don’t wish to plan? pay premium

Let me explain. We usually have a breakfast routine on all 7 days of the week. When I say usually, there is always that odd day when we really don’t have a plan or raw material or will or combination of all three to fix a healthy breakfast.

When this happens, we are left with three options:

-Skip breakfast, just have tea/coffee 

-Fix something quick and not so healthy (toast, butter, jam, Nutella)

-Order or go out 

The first two options impacted us later in the day. I get hungry during work, lack of focus followed by a craving to munch snacks till I have a satiating lunch. 

The second option cost us 3-4 times more money. Drive all the way to the breakfast joint, eat something tasty, consume junk calories, and head back home.

All options are easy choices but cost us a premium. Additional decision making, more money, junk calories, and a big compromise on something healthy. 

Lack of planning demands a premium.

New city, new place? You have not planned where to eat? You might end up at a substandard random eatery that might serve bad food or simply charge you more. 

Booking a flight on a whim? Pay 3 times more.

Forgot to renew your passport? Need it urgently now that you have to travel? Pay a premium

The more unplanned life you live, the more premium it will demand from you.

Living life on a whim is what rich people do because they pay a high premium to get rid of planning and decision-making.

Most of us can’t afford that. 

Lending Your Ears

In one of the peer coaching sessions, my coachee took a notepad and started scribbling her thoughts on a notepad. 

It was a Zoom call. As time passed I became a little impatient.

I am supposed to ask questions as a coach.

I started wondering what is my role here?

Why I am even here if the coachee is taking so much time to think and arrive at answers on her own.

After 10 minutes, I started getting a little concerned.

I just waited like a curious parent observing his kid drawing a horse. Holding back his assumptions and thoughts around the five-legged horse that is slowly appearing on the canvas.

The silence was getting louder.

Alok, why don’t you interrupt? What value are you even adding here?

As we passed 15 min mark, she got some clarity and action items.

I asked what was the new realization?

She pointed out a couple of things that she needs to address before moving on to the next steps.

Sometimes you might feel you have nothing to offer in a conversation.

You are wrong, you can always offer your presence. 

It could be any conversation with your friends or close ones. Just offer your presence. Show intent, curiosity, and patience to listen.

If you lend your ear to someone, that is a service too 🙂