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Vatsap? 2020 Aug 02 Newsletter

Belated Eid mubarak to those who celebrate it. This week was interesting. Modiji made a claim – India is doing better than many other countries in managing this whole Covid situation. My instinctive reaction was – what is he smoking? But then I tried to analyze. You may be surprised by what I found. Check out this VATSANALYSIS video that I made.

If you don’t want to watch the video, you can also read the same analysis here. Verdict – India is doing average and when you are doing average, you can always claim that you are doing better than many!

By the way, if you are new to my VATSANALYSIS, here is the Youtube link to watch all the 8 episodes. First one came out in Oct 2018.

My weekly Covid death projection is out too. This week the total deaths grew by just a little over 1% by the way (from last week), while total new cases grew by 20%! I wonder if this reflects the reality or with time, the hospitals have just become better at hiding death numbers! The total death toll stands at 36k+ as of yesterday and as per my forecast we would cross 1 lakh deaths anytime in September.

If this whole Covid situation is making you a bit gloomy, here is a short news byte to cheer you up!

Book of the week

I received my copy of Overdraft this Saturday. The book was published last week. Here is an article on what to expect from this book. For those who may not know, Urjit Patel was the RBI Governor who succeeded Rajan but resigned before the end of his term.

Various innovative “smoke-and-mirrors” schemes had been hatched, Patel has said. In 2019, government-owned LIC and State Bank of India (SBI) were directed by the Finance Ministry to “pony up” Rs 15,000 crore for a fund to provide financing to already over-leveraged, problematic real estate projects that were ‘close to completion’.

The Indian Express, 25 Jul 2020 – on Urjit Patel’s Overdraft

Video of the week

Saw this super cool video.

I have no idea how music gets produced from the hair-dryer thing that they have (or is it some bar-code reader)? But whatever it is, it’s just so cool! If I were into EDM, I would have had an orgasm! If anyone has any fundays on how this works, do email me.

Talking about emails, I have this feeling you already saw the below exchange between Mark Zukerberg and his once CFO David Ebersman. But if not, then it’s umm – something!

The last email (in the above tweet snapshot) is just so funny – almost like an afterthought (possibly advised by some lawyer kind of guy). For those who have no context, this Verge article would be a good read. Or may be just check out the below video.

Heard of the Cargo cult?

This week, I discovered a new concept – the Cargo cult. Do read the linked blog-post if the term fascinates you; it’s a weird sad intriguing story that references to WWII and primitive islands. It’s just outright absurd.

Before I sign off, one last thing – it is only for storytelling nerds though. I discovered this one and a half hours long brilliant video on why some movies have amazing endings. The narrator is the writer of this super cute movie – little Miss Sunshine. If you haven’t seen it, do watch – it’s cute and funny (the movie I mean). Watching the ‘explanatory’ video has inspired me to look at some Bollywood movies from a new storytelling lens. I will probably make a video this week on how the ‘story-structure’ for some of these films works (have already taken notes for Gully Boy and 3 Idiots). Anyone looking forward to that?

If you want to ask some of your friends to subscribe to my newsletter, you can share this link with them.

Also, if you are into blogging yourself – do email me your blog-site and I will subscribe. I use Feedly.

That’s it. Bye for now. Will come back next Sunday. Have a great Sunday and then a great week and then a great Saturday. Stay safe.

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Vatsap? 2020 Jul 26 Newsletter

There is only one way to start this week’s newsletter – by telling you a joke.

Since May, I have been looking at Covid deaths data and doing some basic forecasting. As per my latest forecast, we will start seeing 1,000 avg daily (reported) deaths in a week or two (this week 720+ died on an avg per day, reportedly) and by early Sept, total reported death toll will cross 1 lakh (31k+ have died so far – again – reportedly).

Yesterday was my birthday by the way. You can still wish me! Belated than never as they say!

So this week, I finally finished editing a new 3MS. It’s on a day in the life of a DJ.

I had shot it last year. With this, now I have completed three stories in my Being an artist (BAA) series.

I am looking forward to documenting more artists – want BAA to represent as much variety as possible, in terms of art-form, gender, experience etc. The idea is to put together enough videos so that when a child, especially from class IXth to XIIths sees them, they realize that being an artist is not as far-fetched a life choice as their parents / teachers / acquaintances typically make it look like.

Most artists are freelancers and talking about that, my advice this week on surviving the pandemic as a freelancer, became my most liked or shared post on Instagram ever.

BREATHE. SURVIVE. CREATE.

I guess many freelancers could relate to what I had to say (some even pinged me to let me know my words helped them). The strategy that I’ve preached, has definitely worked for me.

One of my early admirers – who like literally found me via this blog over a decade ago – asked me if there was a way for him to contribute towards my existence as an artist. I pointed him to my Patreon page and with him joining the list, I now have 3 patreons who support me every month! Yay!

If you are new to the concept of Patreon: watch this short video made by its CEO.

In short, if you are someone who has a decent source of income, and there are certain artists whose work you admire, you can offer to pay them a fix amount of money every month (with the freedom to stop the payment whenever you feel like). This way your loved artists will not have to keep looking for ways to make money from their art (at least when enough number of patreons put together a decent monthly inflow for the artist).

It’s almost like subscribing to a paid magazine except here, the magazine is typically free for all. What I create is for everyone to consume. With three patreons, I make USD 36 every month now. At this rate, with just 300 patreons I would be able to make USD 3,600 per month (INR 2.7 lakh per month). What happens when I reach there? I can stop doing all commercial work and only create work that I feel the world needs. See the beauty?

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I created my first podcast this week. In here, I explore what explains China’s behavior towards India lately (have also blogged about it). What does China have to gain from this? There are essentially three theories that exist:

  1. The theory of unity – by creating common enemies (India, US etc.) the Chinese Communist Part (CCP) can unite its citizens who otherwise are likely to start civil protests in the country (as the economy falters)
  2. The theory of message – China wants to give India a message that it is the big boss; it is agitated with the infra development along the border that India has been undertaking since some time.
  3. The Middle Kingdom theory – Xi Jinping probably believes that the time for China to become the global leader (akin to the days of Middle Kingdom) has now come and there is no point in pretending to be nice anymore.

A reader pinged to share few additional reasons that explain China’s behaviour.

If you read my blog, I have also linked few books on China that I’ve been reading off late.

Video of the week – Camera-vala beetle

And before I end, leaving you with some gems from the “I have a joke” series trending on twitter this week (no idea why)!

Ok enough I guess. That’s pretty much for this newsletter. If you would want to ask your friends to subscribe to me – you can send them this link.

Saw my DJ video-story? Like the BAA concept? Drop me a reply on email na. Just don’t tell me any more jokes! 🙂

-Amrit