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Morning Walk #54
Timing your books and films
Hi. I’m Stepa Mitaki. I’m a product person and an entrepreneur. I’ve been working in 🏙 govtech for eight years and currently work at a UK-based 🏦 fintech startup Silverbird while building a new company in 👩🏼⚕️ healthtech on the side.
Morning Walk is a personal weekly newsletter where I share some musings on tech, digital healthcare, working on startups, productivity, some nerdy stuff and an occasional share of reflections on the Ukraine war and how it feels being Russian at this moment in history.
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📚 Timing your books and films
I’m a big fan of letting the universe do its own thing and embracing the unknown. One example of that is timing books and films. There have been several instances when I started reading a book, and throughout the whole book, I couldn’t stop wondering that the timing couldn’t be better.
This July, I started reading Ayn Rand’s masterpiece Atlas Shrugged. I’ve heard a lot about this novel and have been meaning to give it a read for about a decade. But something wasn’t quite right. Every time I had my reasons. I wasn’t feeling like it. I wanted to finish something else. I wasn’t in the mood for fiction; last year, I wanted to start with Rand’s first breakthrough, The Fountainhead. After The Fountainhead, I wanted to give myself a short break from Ayn Rand.
This July, I finally decided to give it a try. I was hooked from the first pages, which rarely happens to me. My first thought was, “if I’d read it at 24, I wouldn’t get it at all”. All the life and professional experience I have gained so far helped me appreciate this book much better.
But it wasn’t just mere appreciation. The most important part was the story itself. Those familiar with the book remember that the story centers around the strike. The strike was even the original name of this book. The strike starts with just a couple of people but then progresses to involve every single person who makes something meaningful, innovates, and pushes the progress of society. And without these people, the country is screwed.
The thing is, this is precisely what is happening in my home country, Russia, right now. Well, the fourth wave of Russian emigration started about 30 years ago, and the concept of brain drain is nothing new, but it has grown to an extreme level since the beginning of the invasion. The scale and the long-term effect it will have on my country are mind-boggling. Naturally, it’s impossible to notice the parallels with what happens in Atlas Shrugged while I progress through the book. I would have noticed them anyway, even if I read the book a year ago, but it has gotten to a grotesque level. You can’t imagine the same happening in real life, but it does.
Ultimately, I’m glad I haven’t read Atlas Shrugged before, and yet again, I accidentally picked the best timing possible for a work of literature which makes it just a tiny bit easier to bear through this tough time right now.
This beautiful quote from the book could be easily said to the Russian government by any brilliant mind who left Russia during Putin’s regime:
We have granted you everything you demanded of us, we who has always been the givers, but have only now understood it. We have no demands to present to you, no terms to bargain about, no compromise to reach. You have nothing to offer us. We do not need you.
Recommendation of the week
Again, amazing video to stimulate your brain and crack on a challenging creative question. The video shows a demo Google PM interview where they interview a real Product Manager from Google with a difficult strategy question. At the end of the video, they break down his answers and explain why he did so well.
I highly recommend you spend 10-15 minutes on your own to try to answer this question yourself before watching this guy’s answer. It’s a fun challenge to test your business models, pricing, and go-to-market strategy skills.
Let’s say that you’re the CEO of a startup that just figured out how to build a teleportation machine. And the way this machine works is when you step into it you can determinate any coordinate on the planet Earth you go to, you type it in and bam, you there. It costs $10 million to build this machine and $100,000 to use it every single time.
As the CEO what target market would you go after, what is the business model that you would use, what are some of the use cases that you would look at after you have developed this technology?
This channel have other similar videos with interview questions from Apple, Uber and Amazon but I haven’t seen them just yet. So probably worth a watch as well.
That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Until next week 👋🏻
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