Charles Assisi
Articles by Charles Assisi

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. Take a peek inside India’s race to catch up, and maybe speed ahead.

Updated on Aug 18, 2023 01:58 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 ‘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 Aug 12, 2023 04:37 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.

‘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 Aug 10, 2023 06:09 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

First Principles | Why the ‘10-minute-delivery’ business has legs

While it is true that a funding-winter has set the world over, conversations with veterans in Indian retail suggest that the India-narrative may have some other nuances to consider.

companies such as Dunzo and Zepto will morph into the logistics arms of the savvier digital-first players such as “Swiggy who have played it smartly until now”. (PTI)
Published on Nov 05, 2022 11:48 AM IST

First Principles | Clues to investing in crypto (or not)

The thing is, I’ve always been a crypto sceptic and have articulated that in as many words on these pages. So why bring it up again? Because of my conversation this week with founder, Anurag Dixit.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency and at its peak in October 2021, each coin was worth a little over $61,000. Since then, investors have pummeled Bitcoin and this week, it is worth between $16,000-$17-000. (Shutterstock)
Published on Oct 28, 2022 05:05 PM IST

Some moves to flex the mind: Life Hacks by Charles Assisi

What really holds us back from physical activity are conflicting emotions that go back centuries. Fight the good fight; get moving.

Updated on Oct 22, 2022 03:06 PM IST

First Principles | Turn on, tune in… Something’s afoot in the hemp business

Some of India’s wealthiest are interested in start-ups on cannabis-based products. The market appears ready, and the ecosystem is prepped. It is a matter of time before the penny tips.

What many people are unaware of is that cannabis has medicinal properties as well. (Representative Image)
Published on Oct 21, 2022 04:35 PM IST

First Principles | What the new Data Protection Bill might look like

Word in policy-making circles now is that a new version of this Bill will be tabled in Parliament by December. When fully implemented, all spam may end.

Over 90% of Indians use the Chrome browser built by Google to do that. While the browser is free, the data that Chrome collects about each user is used by another division of Google to serve users highly targeted ads. 
Updated on Oct 15, 2022 09:56 PM IST

First Principles | The jury’s out on @elonmusk vs @paraga

While Twitter’s investor relations team has acknowledged that it has received word from Musk’s lawyers about their intent to pay up, we don’t know if Twitter’s board, led by Parag Agrawal, will accept.

All of Musk’s moves since his initial offer to buy Twitter, including him later dragging his feet, would suggest they are carefully thought out moves to hammer his initial offer price down. 
Published on Oct 08, 2022 09:58 AM IST

Moonlighting is just unshackling by another name, says Charles Assisi

Don’t buy into the idea that all your time must be ruled by someone else’s clock. Every minute is not a resource to be plumbed.

Be your own fairy godmother; opt to sometimes ignore the clock. Above, Billy Porter is the godparent, Camila Cabello is Cinderella, in the 2021 retelling.
Updated on Oct 07, 2022 04:47 PM IST

First Principles | China’s long game, and the lessons it holds

Much like Silicon Valley, China's tech prowess wasn't built overnight. That China's big tech can compete with the West today is a testament to that. However, Xi's recent crackdown has indications of which technologies he will chase and why, and which he will discard.

Much of it has to do with Xi’s optics — that of an authoritarian leader who dictates what must be done. (AP)
Updated on Oct 01, 2022 04:21 PM IST

First Principles | Hold the hosannas for web3

If history is anything to go by, it appears unlikely that web3 will create a “new middle class”.

As things are, investors from across the world have poured at least $88 billion into almost 16,000 companies dabbling with web3. Of these, 79 are now unicorns of which at least three are headquartered in India. (Shutterstock)
Published on Sep 25, 2022 07:31 PM IST

Life Hacks: When is it time to choose between the things one loves?

Calculate life in weeks and the numbers drop to alarming lows. Are we wasting too much time, then, on things we enjoy that don’t enrich us, asks Charles Assisi.

Updated on Sep 23, 2022 07:58 PM IST

First Principles | AI and humans, well met

From writing political commentary to creating art, AI interventions have some interesting things to offer. And since its code is created by us humans, AI is – like we are — biased.

AI has now begun to make pretty good attempts to write political commentary (among other things) as well. (Thinkstock)
Updated on Sep 17, 2022 12:49 PM IST
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