Delft Diaries – Day 100

May 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

100 days completed here at Delft. Some reflections are in order.

How are things?

Things are good. Better than before.

Academics – Am scoring near or exactly the top of class in individual assignments, and fairly well in group work – overall efficient. In initial days, there were some fears of academic overload, but they are allayed. Academics are not my goal, but good to know that they don’t obstruct my way.

Weather – Way better. The days have become longer and warmer, and I ride a bike now. Fun and good cardiovascular exercise.

Internship – Being a bit hyperactive in initial days, I got an internship in a digital design company in Rotterdam. Feels good as I will be able to skill-up during July and August, and also learn more from pro-designers.

Dutch Culture – I have grown to like Dutch people and their style. Open and relaxed and easygoing and direct. Coming from startups where directness is valued, I feel more at home here. I particularly enjoy talking to Dutch Design professionals – they are straight-talking hard working no-bullshit people.

Also, I have not yet learned much of Dutch, but that’s never been a big problem.

Traveling – Have been traveling around a bit, and of course, many places are like pictures cut out of a postcard.

Work – Am able to resume design work with the awesome Indian-language startup Pratilipi. Remote work is not that tough if you have a good relationship with existing team.

What did I learn?

Ideas Matter – Yes, we all know execution matters. But you know that ideas create impact when you meet people who have no ideas. I love reading – this helped me sail through in assignments here.

Networking is the (probably) the best time investment – Maybe in today’s world ‘What you know’ is more important than ‘Who you know’ but I am not talking of networking in sense of pulling strings – but of exploring different perspectives. The more new people you meet, the more ways of thinking you have, and again, more ideas.

And connecting with people helps you create enormous leverage in output – you can do things which you never could have done alone.

Humility Matters – especially in design – it is very easy to fall in love with your work, it is your creation, your baby. But that closes your mind to other people’s ideas, and you cannot grow as a creator if you cannot receive new ideas. Being Indian, I also suffer from a sort of IQism, a bias for smart people, but some people need not be fast, widely read thinkers to create great output. They do it simply because of their love of the craft.

Keeping on the Treadmill – Sometimes, brute time investment produces far better results. Especially in design, iteration makes output dramatically better. Something like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 7.14.15 PM

It is quite easy to fall back on just-do-it attitude, and being satisfied with whatever result comes out. But even in other areas, like meeting new people – keeping the push on gives great results which make complacency look scary.

Social Interactions are like games – When I was new here, I could clearly see how so many of the social interaction were like little games. Little power games. Emotional gymnastics. Now that the relations are more stable, I don’t notice it that much, but initially, the observations were stark. Needless to say, people who are good at this have an easier time overall.

Concretization – While it is good to write read or discuss ideas on  digital tools, it helps a lot to use pen, paper and colored printed material to do serious work with ideas. The more physical the process, the better your results.


So, yeah, overall, things are fine. I am worried about relaxing too much in the good weather, but maybe this post will help me keeping on the learning and growth.  Looking forward to more fun ahead !

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