We wish to invite you as a judge for our hackathon / startup / other program in our college

One category of invitations I religiously decline are the ones to be on judging panels. I view my role as that of a facilitator and not soothsayer. I also believe that everyone is capable of navigating to good outcomes given sufficient time & required guidance. This can be viewed as a direct extention of our stated credo since Startup Village days of “We don’t judge ideas”. Given this context, I patently find it not fitting for me to be on judging panels. The answer hence is no.

I have an idea. What do you think of it

It doesn’t matter what me or anybody else thinks. You do not need permission. Skip talking to “experts” and find our directly from your customers. Nobody can know for sure whether something will work or not. Conviction is a luxury for those on the sidelines. Our world is also big and diverse enough for each and every idea to be seeded and developed. The only thing that matters is that you have customers and they are deriving value from your offering. Make it happen.

Accept this as a token of our appreciation

I don’t accept mementos. I acknowledge its a gesture but wish to respect the fact that its an inconvenience to me - just plain carrying it back, keepig it at my place and throwing it away at a later point in time. Different people have different prefernces and ways of viewing things. This is respecting mine.

Do you have a business card?

I don’t. I don’t intend to have one also anymore. One quick search with my name will get you my email. You don’t need a card anymore.

Can I have your number?

Ideally I prefer that one does not ask me that. Given the call friendly country that India is, I realised that its easier to just give the number and don’t bother about it than attempting to navigate that with a “No, you may not”. So yes, you may have my number. You might be able to get it from somewhere also. But that don’t mean you will be able to reach me on my phone.

Are you free sometime?

None of your concern. Let me know what its about and let me decide whether its worth my time or attention. And even if I am, most likely I have better things to do with my free time. I take efforts at doing things efficiently so that I can have the free time thus earned to myself. I loathe to sqaunder that away on unorganised souls or random conversations.

I tried calling

I don’t pick calls from unknown numbers. I just don’t. I also don’t save most numbers on my phone.

It’s urgent

People operate with different scales and thresholds for urgency. I also generally don’t work well with urgent requests. So instead of telling me its urgent I would rather you inform me what its about.

Please share.

I don’t care much for such requests. Tell me what its about, and let me decide whether to share with him and how. An image or video forwarded on WhatsApp with the message “please share” - that’s just plain nuisance.

Can you connect me?

I don’t do connects. You may mail the person you wish to connect to and mark me in cc. That also makes it easier for me to put in a word if I wish to.

Will you refer / recommend me

Not if we haven’t worked together enough for me to be able to vouch for your work.

Can we get on a call?

I do not prefer to get on calls without having sufficient context on what its about. Pique my interest. Or secure a reference.

Can we meet?

I do not prefer to do meetings without having sufficient context on what its about. Pique my interest. Or secure a reference.

I wish to have a meeting / call to discuss (idea, thoughts etc etc)

Do not prefer calls or meetings to start with. Email works best. Should you wish to speak still, for now I have kept aside three 20 minute office hours slots on Thursdays for Appear calls. Calendly

I have emailed and haven’t heard from you

I read all emails. I write back to the ones I feel like and when I feel like. Often, my processig rule is also that I don’t consider replying unless the person has followed up once or twice. I am also working on a whitelist for my email. Once that is also in place, most likely your email would come to my attention only few days down the line.