Information Overload

There is a deluge of knowledge today. On platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn, there are so many thought leaders who could be followed for great insights. But how do you absorb, retain and apply this knowledge? This has become the real challenge.

My 2 part system for knowledge management

1.Store and Index. No, I am not building a knowledge base, database, or even write things done (which I should!). I tend to commit things to memory. What is important is to be able to recall on demand.

Like in databases, where index point to the actual content making it easy to lookup, similarly, attaching the new knowledge to existing knowledge make it easy to retrieve. This is where mental models come in. These are ways you form a big picture about a subject and then link the new knowledge to it or refine the model itself.

This allows me to consume the knowledge and make it my own. I will not be able to quote anyone verbatim but my worldview is a distillation of the knowledge from gurus in their fields.

2.Read, Index, and Discard. Sometimes it is better to discard the info instead of trying to retain it. If something catches my fancy I tend to remember just the metadata and discard the actual info. When the time comes where this information is needed, I can look up the information based on the metadata I remembered like author, context, channel, keywords, etc. With the world’s information available at fingertips just knowing what to search for, is a win.

How do you deal with information overload?


42! Do I have all the answers?

As I turn 42, I feel that it is a significant milestone. I feel something unique and different about the number 42. Maybe that’s the reason Deep Thought computed that 42 is the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything“.

My life felt like 6 distinct phases of 7 years each. Was that true? So I sat down and recorded my life phases. I was almost right.

  • 00-07 The Forgotten Years
  • 08-15 The Student Life
  • 16-21 The Lost Years
  • 22-25 The Best Years
  • 26-33 The Globe Trotter
  • 34-42 The Guru

The Forgotten Years

I have a handful of memories of this phase. Some from Cuttack where I was born, some from Nagpur where I spent a few years. I am not even sure if those memories are true or just imagination.

The Student Life

This phase started as we moved to Hyderabad and I have my first true memories. Memories of the house I grew up in, the school I went to and of course the friends I made, few of them turned out to be life long friends. The careless years, which in some sense made me what I am today since I got hands on a computer in this period. I also look back with regret, as I made my dad buy a really expensive HCL Beanstalk PC worth about ₹95,000. He was going through a bad patch, yet he bought me the PC. Only when I saw someone take away our car, did the reality sink in.

I could never repay my debt to him. I owe my career to him.

The Lost Years

If there is a do-over, I would like to live this time period differently. I’d like to go to college, make friends and have fun. Instead, I moved to 3 cities helping out my Dad. However, not everything was lost. This period built my character. I learnt from both good things and bad. It instilled honesty, independence and a calculated approach to risk-taking. It also made me an introvert and cautious person.

The Best Years

After freelancing for a year, I joined MBA on my Sis’s advice, to get my career back on track. I am not sure what I learnt there but made life long friends. I also discovered my style of leadership. I co-founded startups with friends – twice. I also worked for other companies, including a startup, whose founder is one person I admire for his perseverance and wish I had even 50% of what he has. I also got placed from campus into tech subsidiary of a large global bank, which defined my career from that day on.

On the personal front, I got married and had my first child. Didn’t I say it was the best time!

The Globe Trotter

I got an opportunity to move to Frankfurt which helped me in several ways. The best is I could explore Europe with my wife and it felt like an extended honeymoon. It helped us understand each other and after some ups and downs brought us really close.

While on a personal level I was exploring Europe and it’s culture, at the professional level I learnt a great deal. I learnt work ethics from the best in the world. I also learnt good and bad processes at a Fortune 50 company. I also got to work on multiple systems working up and down the stack, years before full stack developer or polyglot programmer were trendy. I learnt how to build, manage and support true enterprise-scale applications.

It was a lifetime of learning stuffed into a 7 year period.

The Guru

I write this with great humility and wrestling with imposter syndrome. Only in the last year or so, have I finally accepted that I am expected to be a Guru with all the answers. It makes me realize, this is the phase of life where I consolidate my learnings and pass them on. I don’t think I have done a great job, but I try. I hope I have positively contributed to the lives and careers of the people I have worked with. At the startup I worked at, I made it a point to hire freshers and groom them.

Of course, to be a Guru, I need to constantly learn. This period taught me a whole lot. I learnt to build a product, run startup engineering, create a service line, create and execute go-to-market strategy and so much more. In other words, this Guru is also a disciple in some several areas. I am thankful to my Gurus who taught me so much throughout my life.

Special call out to all my managers. I have been unbelievably lucky to have such great managers throughout my career.

Every one of them has shaped me. At 42, if I have some answers, it’s all because of my Gurus.

Looking forward to what the next seven years hold for me!

Education Entrepreneurship

Be lucky; always!

Recently, I was invited to share my experiences with my alma-mater. I chose to talk about how fresh graduates can maximize their career success.

While several people will ascribe their success or success of others to luck; it is also silently agreed that success is much more than luck. Therefore I prefer Roman philosopher Seneca’s definition of luck.

Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation.


Therefore I focused on how one can increase their luck by working on creating opportunities and being prepared.

The luck factory

How to create your own luck
Create your own luck, consistently.

Create Opportunities


Networking that matters is helping people achieve their goals.

Seth Godin
  • Create a strong network though out your academic life and career.
  • Be aware of the strength of every individual.
  • Help out others. It improves the strength of the connections.
  • It is easy to help others, if you know them, their strengths and interests.
  • Never burn bridges.

Push yourself

You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Roy T. Bennett
  • The most dangerous place to be in is the comfort zone. It kills luck.
  • You can’t sit under a tree and wait for an apple to fall in your hands while others will be already selling apples from those same trees.
  • When you find yourself in a comfort zone, consciously come out of it. Talk to your manager, ask for a different challenge.
  • Or seek out. Not for money but to break out of a comfort zone.

Be Open

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Winston Churchill
  • Life happens, industries get disrupted. A pandemic like COVID-19 shuts down everything.
  • But opportunities always arrive in disguise.
  • Some companies and individual fare better than others. Because they are better prepared, and are open to change; to suggestions; to challenges.
  • The are open to move out of the comfort zone and do something new
  • Finally, never say or think ‘not my job’.

Give Back

Life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.

Tony Robbins
  • Give back, help your network; like you will expect them to help you.
  • Recommend. Refer. Connect. Share.
  • And give back to the community, society, nation.
  • The world is acknowledging good karma and talking about pay it forward

Being Prepared


When you kill time, you kill your opportunities for success.

Denis Waitley
  • Have time; be disciplined with it.
  • If you don’t have time, you’ll not be able to capitalize on an opportunity.
  • Everything has an opportunity cost – doing something mean not doing something else. So be selective on what you do.

Hard Work

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.

– Thomas A. Edison
  • Work hard
  • Take pride in your work
  • Always give your best
  • You’ll be known for these things


I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.

Stephen Leacock
  • You will develop skills with opportunities
  • And you’ll get opportunities based on your skills
  • Remember to say no to comfort zone and be open to challenges and learning
  • And then apply / demonstrate your skills

and finally..

Be Selective

  • Remember that you have limited time and measure the opportunity cost.
  • Be strategic on the things your work on, however not at the risk of being closed to new ideas and challenges.
  • Be decisive. Once you have decided to do something, give it your 100%.

Be Known

  • It’s not about hyping yourself
  • But also not in dark, you need to be noticed.
  • What do you want to be known for? Build a narrative.
  • Communicate consistent with the narrative.
  • Use the social media properly to build your personal brand


Git quick reference

git clone git:…
git add path/to/new_file
git commit -a
git pull
git push

# Showing branches.
git branch -a
gitk –all

# Checking out branches.
git checkout some_branch

# Creating and pushing a new branch.
git checkout -b new_branch_name
git push -u origin new_branch_name

# Checking out an existing branch.
git checkout -b some_branch origin/some_branch

# Merging a branch into your current branch.
git pull origin some_branch


The streamlined Volcker 2.0 can open new doors for banks

This post was first published on my corporate blog

The implementation of the new Volcker Rule has proven to be one of the most controversial and complex regulatory regimes to be introduced in the financial services industry in a long time. Now that the Volcker Rule 2.0 overhaul has received the final approval from the Federal Reserve and other regulatory agencies, financial firms will need to make necessary investments in technology infrastructure to comply with exhaustive reporting and monitoring requirements. Massive infrastructure is a requirement for most firms, and as such, banks have been evaluating how they want to streamline and arrange their trading accounts, trading desks, and hedging activities under the new Volcker rule.

Technology can become the salvo for banks in terms of hosting and building high-frequency algorithms for trading strategies, managing P&L, back-office, and risk functions. Let us first understand the implications of the new Rule and how preparing early can open innovative functions for banks.

Key highlights of the proposal

A centerpiece of the ‘Dodd-Frank Act’ (Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act), the Volcker Rule saw amendments proposed in terms of an approved 373-page notice of proposed rulemaking on May 30th, 2018. The FDIC and OCC approved the final Rule on August 20th, 2019.

The proposal is aimed at simplifying and tailoring the compliance requirements of the Rule, which was finalized back in December 2013 to prevent banks from being involved or engaged in prop(rietary) trading and from owning PE or hedge funds. Among other changes, the new Rule:

  • Creates categories of financial entities based on the size of their trading assets and liabilities
  • Tailors compliance requirements based on the financial firm’s level of trading activity
  • Modifies requirements related to metrics of reporting and streamlining of the data collection process

Optimizing your lines of defense

It is no big secret that in the changing regulatory environment, compliance, although necessary for a firm’s reputation, can be difficult to implement. Even then, banking entities must now realize and understand where they stand within the scope of the Rule’s applicability, as well as the needful across the six pillar compliance programs. For example, banking entities with the ‘significant’ or ‘moderate’ trading assets (in addition to the ‘limited’ trading entities), are sure to see some early benefits of an assessment. By identifying IT, complexities such as fragmented security frameworks, inconsistent and duplication of roles end up in slowing the time-to-market, as well as popping compliance and audit issues.

As such, financial and trading entities, big or small, can leverage risk, compliance, and governance solutions. Through this, they can create a perspective and then a plan around their current processes as well as potential modifications of the respective compliance programs. Early assessments tend to increase the risk tolerance of any organization, as they are able to accordingly embed, integrate, standardize, and automate digital infrastructure into their core business framework.

Furthermore, the outlook related to data privacy and cybersecurity continues to indicate strong regulatory developments, as many countries are already enhancing their existing regulatory requirements. They already see benefits of proactive risk mitigation, improved performance, and reduced cost of ownership due to early assessments, also contributing to business outcomes in the end.

Advantage of acting in the face of uncertainty

In the wake of sweeping digitization, regulators across the world are sure to continue to set high expectations intended towards maintaining a strong and resilient financial sector. These financial firms must secure robust operational and financial resilience, supported by strong compliance and risk management capabilities.


Banking on RPA

The combination of an evolving regulatory roadmap for the financial sector and the effects of modern technological developments have altered the way customers interact with banks and the services that they expect. Overall, this is a positive trend for the development of financial institutions in the digital age. However, consumers can find banking disputes to be a cause of frustration and inconvenience. As card transaction volume increases, so have the number of dispute-led transactions (as well as incidents of fraud), putting enormous stress on the operating backend systems and millions in cost.

Modern banking: The need to limit regulatory risk appetite

Today, compliance plays a significant role in how FIs (financial institutions) operate. There are norms for pretty much anything –  from how a bank should interact with its customers to the language they need to use. Some of the complexities and critical obstacles with banks still anchored in traditional processes are:

  • Complicated operating models: Many financial institutions operate with stringent budget controlled departmental structures that lack clarity in providing holistic dispute-management experiences. Disjointed models such as these lead to delays in the overall dispute handling processes. As disputes can be scattered anywhere across the world, this exacerbates the pressure on operational costs (especially if most tasks are manual).
  • Over-processing of disputes: Regardless of the dollar amount or the disputed history, banks tend to duplicate processes to solve conflicts end-to-end. As a result, the dispute volume rises, putting additional and unnecessary pressure on dispute squads, raising costs, and the number of regulatory infractions.
  • Over-dependence on case management systems: Traditionally, case management systems used to drive down costs for institutions. Yet, most FIs only realized negligible improvements in the speed and efficiency of the grievance redressal. Without effective integration, sole reliance on these systems can leave systemic blind spots and ineffective dispute investigations.
  • Growing regulatory scrutiny: Regulations in the United States are tightening timelines/TATs for resolving disputes – increasing pressure on dispute teams to resolve the issue and deliver credit faster.

Compliance norms such as Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) and Regulation E are now making banks rethink the way they manage disputes while being cost-effective, quick, and ensuring the same with lower regulatory risks. Moreover, from a legal perspective, given that Reg-E is a federal framework, Financial institutions would need to take this seriously.

Making the most of disputes with RPA  – Turning dispute compliance from weakness to strength

Traditionally, banks have tried to enhance their dispute resolution process through technological investments that enable process tweaks – something that leads only to marginal profits. If banks treat disputes as a patchwork or consider only firefighting issues to minimize it, they miss the opportunity to strengthen customer relationships.

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) serves as an intelligent (and virtual) workforce to automate redundant/time-consuming aspects of the resolution process. RPA deployment in banks has led to a dramatic reduction in the dispute resolution cycle and human errors, boosting operational efficiencies, and improving the overall customer experience.

Reduction in the average handling time of every dispute has three significant benefits:

  1. Ability to efficiently handle large volumes of claims within a given timeframe
  2. Freeing-up resources from manual processes to invest in other high-priority banking activities
  3. Increase in the accuracy of the operations without any penalties for non-compliance

Yet the most significant benefit is the overall improvement of the customer experience. Some have taken the process and improved them by 99%[1], while others have seen 100% accuracy with no manual errors, and a reduction of the average handling time from 9 hrs to 2 hrs a day. Mckinsey has estimated that almost $3 billion is spent (combined) by the top 15 banks in the United States on just processing disputes. At a macro level, almost 50-100 million disputes occur every year in the US. Deploying RPA and AI-led technologies have proven to reduce OpEx by ~25 – 40%[2].  It could, therefore, lead to a multitude of operational, resource and cost benefits

Banking on bots for a quality banking experience

Dispute resolutions are cumbersome and result in the loss of consumer trust. As the scope of regulations focuses on how quickly and efficiently payment disputes are resolved, the onus falls on banks to better manage their internal processes while maintaining end-to-end compliance. While banks seek to improve their dispute resolution processes, they can go beyond making incremental changes and re-evaluate the entire customer journey roadmap.

Critically identifying which processes to automate will not be a simple exercise, requiring everyone across the board to be invested in working with an AI-workforce. If the evidence from global success stories is any indication, the rewards, however, are sure to be significant.