You can also
– Watch this update on Youtube
– Listen to this update via a Spotify podcast

Job Offer

In December I got a Job offer at an SF-based tech company that is hiring in Toronto, which proved a useful pause for reflection. 

It seemed like the natural thing to do was take the job – it was financially a better compensation, they liked me, and the company is probably growing faster than my current one. 

Ultimately I decided not to take it.  My thought process was:

  • My north star feels starting my own company, running my own thing, and spending time in spaces I haven’t explored and am curious about (be it productivity, online dating, connecting people, etc.).
  • The decision became — how do I feel about giving up some time being very focused on the ultimate goal, in return for a higher salary/career growth.
  • I decided rather than postpone again, I wanted to at least use the flexibility I have in my current role, to try more actively to go for the ultimate goal. 

That in mind, lets talk about some of the side project ideas I’ve had or started working on:

Ismaili Dating App

Over the holidays, I was able to find two other people (through an Ismaili Professionals Network Slack channel) who were interested in collaborating on a dating app for Ismailis.  This had been my own problem for many years until I met Zahra!

Within weeks we had developed an app called Chai Meets Biscuit that is now available for download on Android / iOS.

The app saw some great initial growth and has now levelled off at around 350 daily active users. 

A few things I took away from this is:

1) Just putting an idea out there on what you want to do (in the right forum / with the right people) can build momentum.  Just put it out into the universe first!
2) I believe the key to this was a wonderful technical co-founder.  When it comes to an app, they can really put something on their back and make it happen. 
3) Working together on something vs. going at it alone can really help progress.

App Ideas

I want to continue building apps that are useful, as a way to practice running something on my own. 

Here are some ideas I have:

  • Social net worth comparison App – help people understand – how does their networth compare to others like them? Do people my age have a house, if so how much should I spend on one?  What are the people who are doing well investing in? 
  • Birthday Reminders app — Have a family put in all of their birthdays, and everyone gets an email reminder when its someone’s anniversary, birthday, etc. so no one forgets and its a chance to reconnect to celebrate, or share a memory.
     
  • Virtual Event planning – Select the kind of event you want to host (Games Night, Birthday Party, Work Team event), and this app will put something together instructions on how to run a Zoom to do it.

Please reply with your feedback and let me know if any of these resonate with you!

Lasik

Lasik

After years of going back and forth, I decided to go forward with getting Lasik eye surgery over the December holiday break.

I wrote my whole experience here on Reddit but after surgery, I noticed a lot of shifts in thinking and I could see the effect on how I felt

  • The first few days were fine, vision wasn’t great but I was expecting it
  • After a week it still hadn’t gotten better.  Mentally I started not feeling great.   I started comparing my stories with friends, who had good experiences and they were surprised I hadn’t recovered.  This made me more worried.
  • I started doing more Googling, and wondering if I had made a huge mistake and had made irreparable damage to my good vision.
  • After 2 weeks more, one day while I was cooking, suddenly it didn’t seem so bad anymore. 
  • Since then it’s been improving
  • I had never done eye drops, and I made excuses about how it’d be hard, but after doing it 100s and 1000s of times, I realized (like anything) you can pick it up with practice

What I took away from this is:

1) Reading anything about health online can scare you. 
2) Don’t over think some things, sometimes you just leave them.  Worrying about something didn’t really improve my vision.  If you notice a scary hole that you can spend hours thinking about, don’t go in the hole.  You can say – nice hole, but I’ll pass thank you! 
3) You can feel really lousy one day and then feel fine the other, but its important to try and press through those troughs/valleys knowing that there will hopefully be a coming out on the other side

If you’re considering Lasik, happy to talk through my take with you!

Bitcoin / Investing

As I’ve been watching bitcoin grow, I’ve decided to try to allocate some percentage of my savings to more speculative investing including:

The hope being that by taking some more risk, I can get some high returns.   I’ve always been a passive investor, doing my retirement investing in index investing with Betterment (a roboadvisor), but I thought it would be good to try something a bit different.

What I would dream of is having enough money to stop working and just focus on other interesting pursuits in life:  Write a book, plan a bunch of fun family events, and just generally share love with people.  I know I would still want to work and keep myself driven on a goal, but the idea of just having some freedom and not having to go into work on some days, is appealing.

If you have any suggestions on interesting alt-coins, stock investments, or others, let me know!  I’m maintaining a current list of alt-coins I’m checking out here.   Or if you’re interested in learning more and want some introductions on any of the above, let me know as well. 

Goals for this year

Meal
Weekly Meal Planning

You’ve probably noticed themes of my goals and aspirations throughout this post.  I’ve been trying to put together a full list for this year and for life in general.  What I’m finding is that it shifts.  But here is a running list that feels about right:

1) Health – exercise regularly and eat well
2) Start a business / find ways to generate income without working as much
3) Start an Ismaili dating app (see above)
4) Just “be happier” (be it mindfulness, battling your inner voice)
5) Share more about what’s going on in your life, and stay connected to people

I have a few other things (like write a memoir, go through all my old notes, cook better), but I think staying focused and starting with these is a good start.

As part of thinking about a productivity coaching business, I put together this blog on how I try to schedule my days.
http://imransaleh.com/how-i-ensure-no-tasks-get-missed-on-my-to-doist/

Zoom Birthdays

Zoom

I’ve planned several Zoom events recently and thought I’d share some tips on what’s worked for me well in case you have something coming up:

For most birthday parties, I usually pair a zoom call with something interactive like:

1) Kahoot – Make a fun trivia competitions with questions  about the birthday individual
2) Quiplash –  A fun game where you can create prompts about the birthday person and then have other people make funny answer.

If you don’t want to do a zoom call, I recommend these two tools:

3) Tribute — Put together a video of people’s well wishes (takes care of collecting and compiling it for you)
4) Kudoboard – Invite people to post video, text, or photo wishes for someone’s birthday on a joint canvas

I recommend #1 and especially #2 for fun virtual games nights with friends, it doesn’t have to be a birthday. 

No travels for now.  Here in Ontario, Canada, we are at the early stages of rolling out a COVID vaccine.  Right now registration is happening only for 60 year olds+.  I’m hopeful in the next few months things will start to ramp up.  

Until next time – Take care,
Imran