One of the stated objectives at Founding Fuel is to discover new ways to keep learning. Because there is no taking away from that the world is changing at a pace unprecedented in history. Sure, that now sounds like a cliché. But to put that into perspective, consider this: In the 19th century, it took Great Britain 150 years to double its GDP per capita. That number declined dramatically to 50 years for the US in the 20th century.
Now, if we are to ignore all headlines for a moment, China and India will accomplish the same feat in 15 years in the 21st century. The implications of this kind of growth on what policies to frame for the economies and societies we live in are staggering. The issue all of us are grappling with is, we haven’t quite understood where to begin on how to deal with the implications.
Some pointers emerged on what may be possible because the all of us at Team Founding Fuel are riveted by Project Aadhaar, the many debates around it—the most recent one on the future of privacy being a case in point. Just that we may understand it better, we turned to Rahul Matthan, a fine legal mind with whom we have interacted in the past.
Now, there is another cliché that there is much “wisdom in the crowd”. Is there any truth though in that cliché? There was only one way to find out. Try and find out from the real world. Eventually, it turns out, there is.
If there is a fine mind like Matthan who has expended much time and thought on the theme, there are a lot many fine minds out there whom we hadn’t heard of, but who have spent as much time studying the theme and learning as much as they can.
So, what was originally intended to be a conventional Q&A between a few of us at Team Founding Fuel and Matthan was opened up on Slack as a free-for-all. We didn’t know what to expect. The only house rules were that everyone stay curious, open minded, ask questions, and not be afraid to sound foolish.
I write this note to tell you how delighted all of us are with the outcomes. Because the people who converged to converse and ask questions of Matthan on the theme were exponentially more knowledgeable than the few of us on the team put together. What was originally intended to be an hour-long Q&A with a legal eagle turned out to be a day-long affair.
What emerged is a vibrant community in excess of 100 people and the numbers continue to grow. Matthan fielded questions on that day and conversed with people from domains as diverse as user interface design, healthcare, technology and venture capital and media to name just a few. Left to the internal team, we may have looked at it from a far narrower set of lenses.
We’ve put up some snippets of the conversation on Aadhaar Effect, a sub-domain to Founding Fuel. The full transcript of this conversation, which is as good as any authoritative book on the theme, will be made available to registered members of the community as a download.
But equally important are the kind of resources that members of this community have shared with everyone in the form of documents, hyperlinks, pointers to interesting articles, podcasts, compelling thoughts, questions, and vibrant discussions around multiple themes.
Going forward, we plan to make this a regular affair and invite interesting people like Matthan who can help us navigate the world we live in so that we continue to learn—and in doing that, not be afraid to ask foolish questions. Because by now, we know it’s all right. Only the young have the gumption to do that. That is why they stay young and thrive. If you like the sound of this, may I invite you to join the community by clicking on this link here? https://bit.ly/joinprivacy.
And if all this gets your attention, you may want to subscribe to this newsletter and share it with those whom you think may be interested.
My very best,
On behalf of Team Founding Fuel
[By WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM/swiss-image.ch/Photo Moritz Hager (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0), via Flickr]
Without a doubt, Ray Dalio is one of the richest men in the world because conventional wisdom has it, he is the smartest hedge fund manager on the planet. His book ‘Principles’ is scheduled to be launched later this month. My understanding though is that he isn’t as smart as he is made out to be. At some point in time, he stopped learning. He is wedded to his ideas, and that I don’t think he stands a chance in the long run. (Read Time: 11 mins)
What sort of legal framework ought an economically poor, but data rich nation ought to have? When you agree to an entity accessing your data, ought there be a time limit? And what does it mean to have a fundamental right to privacy? (Read Time: 10 mins)
Like I articulated at the outset, the motive to learn drives all that we do at Founding Fuel. That is why my co-founder Indrajit Gupta has constantly stayed engaged with the finest minds from across the world. Basis these conversations, he tries to answer a dilemma many enterprises face. How do you discover new frontiers on one hand without losing sight of current operations? (Read Time: 4 mins)
What we are reading
At the outset, I had articulated the world is changing at an unprecedented pace. Why is it happening? Peter Diamandis, the chairman and co-founder of Singularity University, has put it down to seven forces. It’s a short and succinct read. You may agree or disagree with it. But I think it is worth thinking over.
I stumbled across this book and I’m not entirely sure on the back of whose recommendation. This is not a new read. It has been around since 2005 and did not make it to the bestseller lists as far as I know. But once I started to read it, I thought this one of the finest books I have picked up in recent times. A pertinent book to read right now because everything around us seems chaotic and complex. But Gribbin deploys one question we often do not ask: WHY. And in doing that, he manages to navigate complex territory and bring order to chaos.
From Our Archives
The pro-privacy debate has become an anti-Aadhaar stance. Are we missing the forest for the trees?