Charles Assisi
Articles by Charles Assisi

First Principles | How Indian telcos are cracking the 5G challenge

It appears that an altogether different business model may emerge out of India even after the recent hiccups faced by the Adani Group once poised to emerge as a significant player in the enterprise telecom space.

Indian telcos may just show the world how to work with tight-fisted customers and still make money. (Reuters)
Updated on Mar 25, 2023 05:32 PM IST

Why must we fight the good fight? Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Altruism has always been difficult, so why did humans evolve to make room for it? Perhaps because selfishness offers dwindling returns, and would have made us a short-lived species.

In every version of himself, Waymond (Ke Huy Quan) finds ways, and reasons, to be kind and good. This makes him the emotional pivot of Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Updated on Mar 25, 2023 03:37 PM IST

First Principles | Why SVB is an American problem and needs to remain so

The four-decade-old Silicon Valley Bank imploding has two simple lessons: One, ignore social media and two, one's loss is another's gain. Here's why

SVB loaded up on long-term government bonds when interest rates were much lower at close to 2%. Since then, the interest rates have more than doubled to rein in inflation. (AP)
Updated on Mar 17, 2023 06:15 PM IST

Switching from fight mode: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

Too many of us set out viewing each day as a fresh challenge, when the real battle is within. Can we find the strength to stay vulnerable?

‘I’m starting to see that the “brave captain on a burning deck” ideal is a hopeless one,’ says Assisi. ‘All our ships will eventually sink. Do we really want to “go down fighting”?’ (Shutterstock)
Updated on Mar 11, 2023 03:23 PM IST

First Principles | Cross-border data transfer needs a whitelist and a blacklist

Public policy professionals suggest all countries be whitelisted. And to create a blacklist only for those countries that India needs to be wary about.

 How would anyone know that the data shared is not compromised? (Shutterstock)
Published on Mar 11, 2023 11:04 AM IST

First Principles | On chips, Make in India may not be the way to go

While the current ‘blockading’ is one of China’s problems and explains the worldwide chip shortage, it is a pointer to what can go wrong with the ‘Make in India’ policy that hinges on an ambitious $300 billion electronics manufacturing goal.

Chips power practically everything in modern electronics and both countries would go to war to control them. (Shutterstock)
Published on Mar 03, 2023 09:15 PM IST

No buddy knows how it turns out: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

There are no rules or formal structures that govern friendships. It’s time to rethink how we imagine these bonds as enriching our lives.

An ode to broken friendships, the multiple-BAFTA-winning film The Banshees of Inisherin explores the fragilities of bonds that have run their course.
Updated on Feb 25, 2023 03:21 PM IST

First Principles | UP(I) and away

When Singapore integrated the Unified Payments Interface this week, there was much to celebrate, for this system moved one more step towards becoming a global payment system.

People now don’t bat an eyelid when sending money to each other on their phones — or for that matter scanning QR codes using apps such as GPay, PayTM or PhonePe. (Mint File Photo)
Published on Feb 24, 2023 07:05 PM IST

First Principles | Some hard truths about emotional chatbots

Last week, when ChatGPT was integrated into search engine Bing, it had an ‘emotional meltdown’, raising key questions: Can AI have a mind of its own? And should AI be brought to the decision-making table?

AI advocates such as Pedro Domingos, a researcher in machine learning, for instance, has, for long made the case that as this domain evolves, algorithms will evolve. (AFP)
Published on Feb 18, 2023 10:19 AM IST

Sulking won’t help. AIm higher, says Charles Assisi

It’s baffling to me that educational institutes and workplaces are trying to ban AI-driven language programs. They’re here to stay. That’s good news. One helped me write this piece.

A still from I, Robot (2004). AI has long been feared. That can’t remain our default response.
Updated on Feb 11, 2023 04:54 PM IST

First Principles | Future tense for ‘The Office’

Bob Johansen, a professional futurist, says that as a “technology”, current offices are on the verge of obsolesce.

Bob Johansen has been a futurist for 50 years now so the inevitable question comes up: How often has he got things wrong? “Almost 80% of our predictions have come true.” (Photo Credit:
Updated on Feb 10, 2023 09:09 PM IST

First Principles | How to disconnect from work (but read the caveat)

With work-from-home blurring the boundaries of office hours, countries are stepping in to help workers disconnect from work. But veterans have one piece of advice: Do this only if you can afford it.

With layoffs happening all over, most people feel caught in a bind and hear two conflicting narratives. The first has it that you do whatever it takes to hold on to your job. The second is that overworking is detrimental to people's mental health. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Feb 06, 2023 10:42 AM IST

Deep tech: Where India stands, and what’s at stake

The Cold Wars of the future will be fought over science and technology. Already, borders are quietly closing on intellectual property. As resources become scarcer and new challenges emerge, the world's major powers are preparing. Take a peek inside India’s race to catch up, and maybe speed ahead.

Updated on Feb 03, 2023 05:51 PM IST

Is efficiency the wrong answer?: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

There’s a growing movement in support of slack, which frees a person from busy-ness. There’s no ‘time to work’ and ‘time to play’. It’s all time in which to engage with the world.

‘Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities... That’s why a bear can rest at ease’: Baloo’s song from the 1967 Disney version of The Jungle Book is also about slack.
Updated on Jan 28, 2023 04:53 PM IST

First Principles | Bloodbath in Silicon Valley and its trickle-down effect

It appears that tech has hit the reset button, with layoffs in several large IT companies. What does this mean?

The chairman of an Indian IT major with a significant presence in the US had some pointers on how it may impact India. (Unsplash)
Updated on Jan 30, 2023 08:22 AM IST

What do they know about running, who only of running know

Mumbai Marathon might be a celebration of the spirit of the city but for many enthusiasts, who don’t necessarily make it to the podium, it remains a serious event and they don’t get the attention they deserve

Mumbai, India - Jan. 14, 2023: Participant of Tata Mumbai Marathon, participating Full and Half marathon, getting prepared for upcoming marathon, at Marine Drives, in Mumbai, India, on Saturday, January 14, 2023. (Photo by Anshuman Poyrekar/ Hindustan Times) (Hindustan Times)
Published on Jan 14, 2023 11:58 PM IST

How much time do you really have? Map it on a grid with Charles Assisi

New year resolutions are a routine reminder of the good news: We know what we must do to make our lives better. The bad news: We’re wasting time we really can’t afford to fritter away.

‘I turned 50 a few weeks ago. Assum-ing I will live to about 75, I’ve lived over two-thirds of my life,’ says Assisi. Above is this ratio represented on the time-life grid created by Tim Urban.
Updated on Jan 14, 2023 02:12 PM IST

First Principles | Seeking help from digital therapeutics

Applications are now being deployed to treat all kinds of addictions, issues such as Attention Deficit Disorders and mental health issues to include support and rehabilitation

When the mental health argument is extrapolated here, it is a matter of time before such entities underwrite the cost of the app for people who agree to use it. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Jan 07, 2023 06:32 PM IST

First Principles | 2023 could well be the year of this Musk-eteer

There is a view that while Musk may be a tech visionary, his competence lies in creating “hardware”. But to build and sustain “software” companies is a different game. The consensus view was that he is a bored, rich man. But bored, rich people aren’t stupid to blow up $44 billion to stay in the news

Contrary to what most people expected, Twitter, hasn’t imploded since the time Musk took over. This, despite Musk letting go of 50% of the company’s workforce in an ugly public spat. (AFP)
Updated on Dec 31, 2022 06:17 PM IST

First Principles | The cost of an idea is the courage to break away

While the internet made everything democratic, it also has become a place where the marginal cost of placing an idea or opinion in the public domain is zero

While the writing was on the wall, few were willing to bet against convention. (
Updated on Dec 25, 2022 01:54 PM IST

To move forward, try going off-track: Life Hacks with Charles Assisi

Step counters, sleep aids, oximeters, heart-rate sensors and fitness metrics will only take you so far. The human body isn’t a machine. So aim for pleasure, not a perfect score.

Scores of year-end wraps and annual activity reports do the rounds in these final days of the year. It helps to remember that we are greater than the sum of our stats. (Shutterstock)
Published on Dec 24, 2022 08:47 PM IST

First Principles | Hold on to jobs for life is dearer

The balance of power has shifted from employees to employers and will be more pronounced next year.

Between the stimulus packages and the start-ups offering gigs with perks such as work-from-home, the Great Resignation was perhaps inevitable. (HT File Photo/Representative Image)
Published on Dec 17, 2022 08:49 PM IST

Twitter and the trust thermocline: When a dip can mark the beginning of an end

In nature, a thermocline is a zone within a lake or ocean where the temperature of the water suddenly drops. See how this principle can take effect in the worlds of work and branding.

A company that has breached the trust thermocline is a bit like the ghost apple. It seems intact from the outside but is a shell of ice, the inside long since eaten away. (Andrew Sietsema)
Updated on Dec 10, 2022 10:23 PM IST

First Principles | Chat GPT is cool, but human ingenuity is cooler still

Chat GPT is not capable of independent thought or decision making. It is a tool that can assist humans in certain tasks, but it cannot replace the unique abilities of a human worker.

Chat GPT is a powerful tool that has the potential to assist humans in a variety of tasks, from customer service to data analysis. (Shutterstock)
Published on Dec 10, 2022 06:28 PM IST

First Principles | How the chips fall in the battle for semiconductors

Why doesn’t India manufacture semiconductors? Why this question matters is because as things are, we are in the midst of one of the fiercest battles since World War II. Here's why

Unlike conventional wars that most of us are acquainted with, the ongoing US-China standoff over control of the semi-conductor ecosystem is different. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Dec 02, 2022 08:55 PM IST

First Principles | Multitasking just got a new meaning

The world stands on the cusp of change driven by demographics, governed by a not-so-simplistic relationship between the rise of technology and jobs, requiring people to adapt to ‘newer jobs’.

Pearson’s models show that if people insist on sticking to what they learn as engineers alone, over 20% of jobs in the domain will shrink and the professional uncertainty will be as high as 68%. (Pixabay)
Updated on Nov 26, 2022 07:05 PM IST

Limiting loss: To live better, it may help to divest, says Charles Assisi

The concept of stop-loss offers lessons in how to walk away from any toxic situation, and invest instead in the things that really matter

Chris Hemsworth in the documentary series Limitless. After learning that he is at high risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the actor recently announced he will not sign any more roles. He plans to spend his time more meaningfully, with loved ones, instead.
Updated on Nov 26, 2022 12:49 AM IST

First Principles | Tech layoffs are the need of the hour

Why do funders insist founders let go of people in such large numbers? The answer depends on whom you turn to for pointers.

The unnamed founder-CEO, having done with the venting, says, “When you raise funding, you choose to sup with the devil.” (Shutterstock)
Published on Nov 18, 2022 08:34 PM IST

First Principles | Musk must smell the coffee

Twitter appears to be in chaos. Either Musk knows something most of us don’t, or he has lost the plot. To decode all this, we must begin at the beginning.

The good news for Musk though is that between the technology business going into a slump world over and his personal charisma, acquiring talent will not be an issue. (Reuters)
Published on Nov 11, 2022 05:46 PM IST

Not all decisions are one-way doors: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

In a world of almost-endless options, decision fatigue can eat up time and mindspace. It helps to embrace the possibility of minor regrets.

Rosita (voiced by Reese Witherspoon) goes grocery-shopping in a still from Sing (2016). Today, even picking a flavour of jam can feel overwhelming, as a landmark marketing study found.
Updated on Nov 05, 2022 02:28 PM IST
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