Part – 1 Taking many first steps to learn programming

Why it important to start with the Why of any task

Technically speaking Day 0 – Halo Django World (link) was my first day of programming. I had done quite a bit of reading, exploring, and practice on that day but when I sat to journal it, the activities that I performed took a backstage, and the Why of getting into programming especially Python and Django took center stage. As Simon Sinek in his book Start with a Why (link) explains, if you are clear about the Why, the other How and What easily fall into place.

Many first steps you can take towards learning to program

Coming to the topic, I had no idea where to begin. I didn’t know what my first step should be so I took many first steps to learn programming on Day 0 and Day 1. Let me list them for you.

  1. Read blogs, watched Youtube videos, and tried to find an answer to any question that entered my head.
  2. Tried to make notes and this journaling is part of the effort and bookmarked or saved the content for revisiting.
  3. Bought a Udemy course (Link) to get started and started soaking the information as much as possible.
  4. Followed step-by-step process to install different software packages required to learn Python and Django like Python, Pycharm, and Django (links).
  5. Tried to keep me motivated by reminding myself about the Why of the whole exercise.

Why you will not succeed in the first attempt most of the time.

Did I succeed in everything I set out to achieve on these particular days? Of course not. First of all, I have a regular job. Although it’s in the Information Technology sector, my role is on the business side. On top of it, I got moved from my Sales role to a new role in Marketing. This made me extremely busy as I had to provide KT (Knowledge Transfer) to the new member who was replacing me and take KT from the person who I was replacing. It was busy hectic and stressful.

All through this, I kept asking myself, is following my dream of learning a programming language worth the effort at this stage of my career where nobody expects me to write code. The only thing that helped me carry on was the Why of the whole endeavor. This effort was going to give me the personal and professional satisfaction of being close to my industry, technology, and product and learning about what is happening at the product level. What would you prefer, buying the car from a person who designed it and is passionate about it or the car salesman who is there just trying to make a living?

Don’t seek clarity but seek engagement.

After going through the five tasks listed above did, I get any clarity? No. Did I make the right decision after realizing my confusion? No. Did I get off track because of my hectic schedule at the office? Yes. Did I lose motivation and drop the idea? I almost did that a few times. I thought since this is not going to make me any money why put the effort. Sometimes I am amazed at how many decisions are purely a function of money.

The more I learned the more confused I got. At a certain point, I decided Fu** the decisions and let us start. I was in a hurry to learn as much as possible in as little a time as possible so I took the following decision. I said to myself since I already know the basics of programming languages (I am an engineer in Information Technology) let me start with server-side programming. This is what happened next.

Hitting roadblocks is good new

I skimmed through the Udemy tutorial videos on the subject hoping it would at least explain the basic architecture. It was a painful and tasteless exercise. I was absorbing not more than 20% of what was being said but I pushed away. Then I hit the wall. I was not just starting with Django and my understanding percentage dropped to maybe 5%. I couldn’t watch another second of the video. Why I am sharing this is not to tell you what to do but to show you what to expect. Maybe this is part of the process and everybody is expected to undergo the initial resistance or there could be better ways of attacking it like starting with an easier topic like Python.

As mentioned earlier I wanted to strike at the heart. I wanted to understand the framework, the tiny details could follow later. Udemy was not working for me any longer for another reason. To do programming you need to install IDE (Integrated Development Environment). The IDE used in the course and the IDE that I had installed were different so to even blindly follow the instructions required double the effort.

Going back to the basics

At this point, I pulled myself back and asked which is the easiest course on the subject of Django. Note, I didn’t scale down the topic, I just chose an easier material to get started. A few years back I had scrolled through W3 School (link) materials. I found them super cool for two main reasons. Firstly they are explained in very simple language and a few sentences. Secondly, you can run small code snippets on their website itself. I just tried my luck to check if they had a similar course on Django also and Bingo !!! W3 School did have a course on Django.

I immediately dug into it and started implementing the instruction line by line on my system. The only challenge with W3 School is that you cannot have immediate feedback on the mistakes you are making while running your code, something you would get on a professional course with a tutor. Also, some of the topics are too simplified and you end up missing the actual message. But if you asked me if it is a great starting point, my answer would be an emphatic Yes!!!.

Another mistake that I did earlier was to start typing the code instead of cut-copy and paste when I was running them on the system. Of course, a programmer who types his code looks sexy and in the process absorbs more but I failed to remind myself of my objective which was to quickly understand the architecture like in this case MVT (Model View Template), and run the code to see if you can run it or not. 

Learning from other’s mistakes is a smart thing to do.

In programming when things get difficult it is usually a misunderstanding or a syntax. Let me list out my mistakes and suggestions which you can look into if you run into a roadblock.

  1. Always try to follow the sequence prescribed in the course. It helps your understanding of the subject. You need not go too deep but complete the cycle. Believe me, it will give you great confidence when you complete one cycle.
  2. If you copy-paste code, copy the complete code not only the additional code for that part of the execution. Sometimes other parts of the code would have changed which might not be very obvious.
  3. Always save your work so that changes are affected.
  4. Make notes. Make notes about topics you have researched and which you think you might require running the code again.
  5. Don’t expect the course like in this case W3 School to not miss any details. Sometimes it is expected that you know Command line instructions, and how to navigate files and directories both through User Interface and Command Prompt. Google, note, and practice and you will be bound to improve.
  6. In my personal opinion, programming is an art. It’s not about millions of lines of codes but how elegant those codes are. Don’t worry about it in the beginning.
  7. Your most time would be spent on debugging (at least for me it was so as I made a lot of mistakes especially when I am typing the codes or commands). Be prepared for finding 10 different ways to attack the error.
  8. Take a break. It will be difficult to leave the program/ error but you can’t ignore other personal and professional responsibilities. Also when you attack the problem the second time you are more relaxed, and confident and you already have the experience from making the mistakes earlier.
  9. Always be planning. Take the biggest objectives and tasks first. Even if there is a break don’t give up. Plan after office hours and weekends to move to the next steps.
  10. Don’t forget the Why.

Well, I am happy to have implemented the W3 School Django course on my system. It is ironic that even if you understand the whole architecture, implementing it takes time, patience, and persistence. Debugging will throw a light on your misunderstanding of the topic or your silliness (syntax error) but each bug will make you a better programmer and take you closer to your goal.

Do you want to guess what my next step is? I would love to hear about it before I share it in my next Day 3 blog. Don’t forget to share your comments, subscribe, and also share on your social media. Let us bring out the programmer within ourselves together.

Part 0 – Halo Django World


They say “You can’t teach old dog new tricks”. Guess what you can. Learning is a lifelong process. Every moment of life teaches you something as long as you are aware of it.

Learning new things has always excited me. In my 15 year career, I have donned different roles in different types of companies and have enjoyed my learning everywhere. Learning is of course not new but journaling my journey is. If you want to peek into my shortcomings, frustrations, and motivations that are leading me to take up this new journey, then hop on and enjoy the ride.

Photo by Monstera on

Past and Future

I am excited to be starting on a new journey and I am going to blog it away. When I was growing up as a teenager, I sometimes came across advice that you should “keep a diary” in other words journal every day. If you are a ’90s kid you would also have come across the idea of having a ‘pen pal’. A distant friend in some faraway country whom you could write to without knowing if you were ever going to meet the person. It was a crazy idea for me back then. But in the last 25 years, the world has changed so much. Of course, the idea of traveling to a different country and meeting someone is still a far-fetched dream (especially if you are a middle-class person in an economically developing country like India) but you can of course write your heart out and share it with the world and connect with whoever cares to read it.

Internet through its social media, blogs, Youtube, and various other applications has made the world a much ‘smaller place’ thereby connecting everybody to everybody. Most importantly it has made the idea of “keeping a diary” and “having a pen-pal” enormously convenient. In this new journey and various other future journeys, I am going to share my thoughts, views, and opinions with anybody who cares to read them, comment on them and share them.

I am an Engineer in Information Technology and an MBA. I was starting out in the right industry at the right time. I had taken Computer Science in college and School. I even worked in a large ITES company Wipro Technologies back in 2005. Somehow, I never fell in love with the subject. As I look back it could have been several different reasons or a mix of them. Maybe I was distracted with partying, getting bogged down with earning a salary, not having the skills and hence the confidence of excelling or it could be 10s of other factors. As I look back 15 years from now, I realize that apart from the focus it was also a lack of guidance. The Internet had taken off but Youtube, Facebook ,etc were yet to be born. The only source of guidance was your family, friends, relatives or maybe colleagues but now the world has changed. You have guidance from a 16-year computer prodigy to a 60-year retired veteran who has taken up the same skill development that you are interested in. Watch Learn Practice Flourish and Repeat seems to be a mantra.

I have taken up blogging several times in my life. From eBlogger to WordPress to my website Somehow, I couldn’t sustain it over a very long period consistently this is what I am going to try and overcome this time. Wish me the best of luck.

A new journey begins

So finally coming to the topic of this blog series. I am going to journal my journey to becoming a full-stack developer starting at the age of 40. I have fidgeted with some code in my years at Wipro Technologies but that doesn’t count. Firstly, it is 17 years back and secondly, it is on whole new programming language ie. Python and Django. I am banking on my knowledge gathered in school and college and also my curiosity about building a real-life project from scratch.

This blog will be my journey highlighting Objectives, Challenges, Methods, Victories and Losses along the way. I am sure there would be many of you who would connect with this and share your stories.

What this journey is not about

There is no real expectation, monetary or otherwise but looking forward to the satisfaction of applying my knowledge, skill ,and time and sharing it with whoever can benefit from it. The quote from Steve Jobs about “connecting the dots forward” has stuck with me.  I realized you cannot always logically and rationally justify the things you do and the decisions you make but in retrospect, they somehow connect. Also, as Blaise Pascal writes “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of…”, I don’t know why I am so excited about developing this skill but know I want to.

“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.” ― Blaise Pascal

Also please note that this blog is not going to be something like 5 Quick ways to Learn full-stack development or 3 Reasons Why you should take up programming. I will try to keep it in a very conversational format sharing what I experienced and learned during my journey. Also as highlighted I am not an expert programmer. I am not a programmer at all so there is nothing right or wrong with what I will be sharing in my posts. You might even find something that may be technically incorrect and, in that case, I would be happy to get your feedback. Wish me luck.

Small Request

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4 Customer Questions to prepare for great sales conversation

To sell is to be able to answer the following 4 questions the customer has in their mind. These are not earth-shattering questions but what you answer and the way you answer them hold the answer to whether you make a great sales conversation and make the sale.

  1. Why?
  2. Why You?
  3. Why You Now?
  4. Why You Now at this price?

Let’s dig deeper into them.

Why do I need this product or service that you are selling?

Whether you have reached the customers through outbound reach or they have reached out to you through inbound channels this question needs to be answered first. The need needs to be established very early in the process. If not done so, the process may take its course but both parties would be left without any gains at the end of it.

The customer may or not may be aware of whether they need it in the first place. Before presenting the solution, it is very important to lay bare the problems and discuss their impact.

Let me take an example of my own company’s software solution. We sell B2B software to help and manage statutory and regulatory compliances of organizations. Before I present the solution, I need to get deep into the challenges currently being faced by the companies. Are they paying penalties or interest payments due to non-compliance? How serious is the risk of license cancellation and imprisonment to the senior management? How much time and resources are spent on manual data entry and follow-ups by the team members? If the negative impact of the non-compliance is not significant enough for the customer, the chances of the customer buying from you are significantly less.

As a salesperson, we should be in a position to establish that if you use our product or service you will be generating x amount of extra revenue or saving y amount of cash, or minimizing z amount of risk. The dollar value of the problem being solved should be 10x (times) the cost of the product. Start with the Why?

Why should I buy from you and not from somebody else?

This question will and should arise only after the Why is answered. This is a tougher question to answer. Unlike in olden times, the information disparity has tilted in the favor of the customers. Earlier the salesman had the product and the market knowledge but with the internet, the customers have become more informed and hence smarter. It has been reported that the customers connect with the salesman after they have already done 67% of their research. They know what they are looking for, what is available in the market, and what is the price of different solutions available.

As a salesperson, we might have gone through competitor analysis reports but it is never going to be as up-to-date as what information the customer may be having. The customer can just pick up the phone and ask any relevant question to the different vendors, a luxury not be available to the salesperson. Despite this disparity, the salesperson must keep a close eye on its competitors.

Another thing a salesperson can do is to differentiate itself better. They can let the customer know why they are ‘different’ and what makes their customers loyal to them. Share information and success stories relevant to the customer. They can also win the trust of the customers gradually, with the full intention of maintaining it, and assure them that they are looking at the long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.

One important thing to keep in mind is not to bad-mouth the competitor. It is ok to differentiate your product and sell your unique selling point (USP).

Why should I buy from you now?

Ok now that you have established that the customer needs your product or service and that you are the right person to help them with it, their next concern would be why should I buy it now.

There are various excuses you are likely to face.

  1. Let me think about it.
  2. The management will make a decision.
  3. It’s not a priority now.

If the customer is replying on these lines then the chances are that the salesperson has failed to establish the need clearly and create urgency. They did not go deep enough into the first question of Why they need your product in the first place. It could also be, in some rare cases, that the product does not solve a significant problem. We will assume that this is not the case.

Now is the question of time. Coming back to my example, I would ask if the customer ( a company in this case) has paid any fine? What was the total amount paid? Did they know the total risk of penalties due to non-compliance for their organization? If the savings is greater than the cost of the software solution then the software pays for itself. The skill is in getting to that cost-saving or the additional revenue number and comparing it to the price of the software.

Buyers are most likely to avoid the pain of negative impact rather than improve an existing system. The thought is “Why mend if it ain’t broke?”. It helps them save money and effort. An effective salesman is a person who is highlighting the pitfalls of not buying now and nudging the prospect to make a decision.

Why should I buy from you now at this price?

If the sales conversation has reached this stage, price is usually not an issue. In B2B sales, multiple quotes are requested from different vendors which are analyzed, discussed, and then decided. This is again a situation where the salesperson will be dealing with lesser information than the customer. Ethically they are not allowed to share quotes from other vendors, so it is really about differentiating yourself and showing value and success stories.

The important thing to note is that if they are talking to you means they are still giving you a chance to improve your proposal or show them more value. The salesperson needs to grab this opportunity by focusing more on value and less on price. If the product is good and the first 3 questions have been answered correctly then the price will be negotiated with a win-win mindset.


As you may have noticed the questions are basic and are a part of any sales conversation. The trick is in answering them in a manner that positively impacts the customers into deciding in your favor. A lot of the sales conversation will happen non verbally. The salesperson needs to be confident about their product, company, and themselves and treat the customer as an equal (not superior). The more such situations the salesperson faces the better they get at answering these questions. The 4 customer questions framework is a good way to have a great sales conversation.

Do you prepare for any other question that you frequently encounter in your sales conversations? Do share.

Also if you want to learn How to qualify leads for higher sales then click on the link and don’t forget to leave your questions and comments.

My top 5 reasons for buying Bitcoin


“The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of… We know the truth not only by the reason but by the heart.” – Blaise Pascal

My heart wanted to own Bitcoin and then my mind found reasons why I would be right in doing so.

So allow me to present to you my top 5 reasons why I ended up buying some Bitcoin even though it is a highly volatile asset/currency, not authorized by any government body (not legally banned either), and intangible (you cannot touch it as it is just a ledger entry on a set of computers).

Reason 1: Curiosity and Learning

My interest in Bitcoin was piqued a few months back when Elon Musk started making news in this space by allowing Bitcoin for Tesla purchase and then started dipping his toes in the Dogecoin crypto. I wondered if Bitcoin was that big a deal. I had to dig deeper.

I started with the Youtube video and online articles. The AI behind these apps helped by feeding me more articles with a more diversified point of view which expanded my learning in the process. I could understand the insecurities of the governments, the faith of the technocrats, and the mistrust of the public in general.

The world’s second-oldest profession (finance) was undergoing another tectonic shift and I wanted my knowledge to be a little better than that of a layman.

Reason 2: Technology behind the application

I followed the videos and articles with a book called Blockchain Revolution by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott. The book is a flag bearer of the underlying technology of Bitcoin which is Blockchain. It was not easy to understand the application without understanding the need which gave rise to the application and this is where the book came in handy.

Bitcoin is just one of the applications of the underlying technology called Blockchain. Ethereum which is another blockchain with its crypto currency is developing other applications called Dapps.

According to the book if the first wave of the internet-enabled the exchange of information the second wave of the internet lead by technologies like blockchain will enable the exchange of value on the internet. Just like you could exchange emails, pics, and information in the first wave, the next wave will allow you to transfer money, property, and assets without worrying about the intermediaries like government or banks.

Reason 3: Didn’t want to miss the bus

Well actually, I have already missed the bus. The first bus left somewhere in 2007 when Bitcoin was released. I just don’t want to be on the last bus. The Bitcoin value has appreciated from nothing to Rs 26 lacs approximately and it is expected to grow even faster as the word spreads and the adoption increases.

Yes, it is a highly volatile and risky asset. Yes, it doesn’t have the approval of government bodies. And yes there is nobody to watch your back as a regulator. But these are the exact reasons why it is a unique and high-risk high-return business.

My strategy which is adapted from what I learned online from really smart people like Elon Musk and Michael Saylor is to invest only that much money which you can afford to lose. Never make it more than 2-5% of your portfolio and sit tight. Period.

Reason 4: Community of shared beliefs

Do we trust people or machines? Do we trust banks with their greedy promoters who are ready to bet your life savings on risky loans? In poor and underdeveloped countries would the average Joe trust his government with his money, the government which will devalue the lifetime savings by printing an obscene amount of money at the drop of a hat?

I believe the value of money cannot be trusted by a single person or even a group of people. As long as these people are not God, they are bound to have biases and compulsions. Crypto currencies don’t. Why? Because they are computer codes on a machine and the Bitcoin supply is not controlled by one single person or even a group of people. It is fixed.

I also believe people should have the right to decide who they want to lend. Why would I give that authority to bankers? Well given a choice I would like to have partial if not complete control over who the money goes to. The subprime crisis and corruption in the banking industry have taught me that bankers cannot be blindly trusted with your money. Since Bitcoin can’t be “stolen” from you, why should I put the money in the bank, I wonder. Internet is going to be your new bank!!!

Reason 5: The Impact on the Future

When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s as a child, I remember using 5 paise coins to make purchases. Now there are Rs 10 coins sitting in my drawer which I haven’t touched for a couple of years. Why? Because I don’t need to. UPI and Digital wallets don’t require me to carry clunky coins in my pocket.

Fast forward 10 years from now or maybe more. International travel will not require you to carry any money at all. Bitcoin works seamlessly across borders and you don’t have to pay hefty commissions buying foreign currency.

A truly global currency is the only way to envision a global village and Bitcoin and Blockchain seem to be the key contenders towards achieving that dream.


The top 5 reasons I have mentioned above are highly personal opinions and not investment advice. There are several challenges facing Bitcoin and Blockchain as a technology and the world’s best minds are working on it. I would put my Bitcoin (read-money) on them to solve them as we move along.

Blockchain is a subject as vast as the Internet itself and we are just seeing the birth of the technology. I would recommend wait and watch strategy rather than jumping in head-on especially if you are thinking of putting your money in it.

If you have invested in any of the crypto currencies or have an opinion about them do share in the comments below. Also if you haven’t registered for the Newsletter, you can do so at the bottom of the home page of

Forrester Report (Excerpt) : Death of a (B2B) Salesman

Death of a Salesman is a famous 1949 stage play written by Arthur Miller. The title has been partially used merely to create an impact and has got no relevance to the content of the report discussed here.

Death of a (B2B) Salesman is a famous report that was first published in 2015 by Forrester, a leading marketing research company. Since then it has been reviewed and discussed multiple times and tracked very closely even today.

Being a B2B Salesman myself, I was curious to study and understand it. I came across a half an hour audio discussing the report featuring Andy Hoar, Vice President, Principal Analyst in 2017. The report is particularly important in times in 2020-2021 because it brings the focus back on the role of B2B salesman in bigger scheme of ‘business’ things.

Following is a list of important points, according to me, from the half an hour audio interview

  • B2B Buyers are deciding how they want to interact with companies. They don’t want to be forced into a channel company is comfortable with. Term is called CONSUMERIZATION.
  • Norms that are prevalent in B2C are being expected in B2B space.
  • Increase in customers wanting to do their own research at their own pace online grew from 53% in 2015 to 68% in 2017. It doesn’t make sales rep irrelevant but only directs their profile to more value add tasks.
  • B2B buyers want easy getting-in and getting-out like B2C users
  • 2012 to 2020 will see ‘displacement’ of a million sales rep. (Assuming the speaker is talking about US alone). Number of ‘order takers’ will decrease but the number of consultants will increase.
  • Digital or omni channel strategy leads wider markets and higher customer satisfaction.
  • AI / ML will get better at suggestive selling. Amazon in 2006 got 35% of total revenue came from computer generated recommendations.

These are important pointers to keep in mind by both the businesses as well as the B2B salesman because the general direction of the trend suggested is correct. Businesses and individuals need to introspect, adapt and then apply these ideas for gaining strategic advantage.

You may also want to check the link to the Forrester Audio clip and my Youtube Vlog on the subject.

I would love hear your comments on the topic so please leave a comment below. Also if you haven’t registered for the Newsletter, you can do so at the bottom of the home page of