The Story Rules Podcast Bonus: My Conversation on Causality with Harish Bhamidipati (Transcript)

5. General

The Story Rules Podcast Bonus: My Conversation on Causality with Harish Bhamidipati (Transcript)

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Intro Hook

So, as a storyteller, you have three things in your hand to make an appeal right, you’ve got the data or the logic. You’ve got the emotional appeal to your audience. Most importantly, you’ve got your Ethos, your reputation, your credibility. 

And if you make a series of wrong recommendations basis on you know, quick, I’m very, very sharp and I have got this great intuition. It. It may go on well for some time, but eventually, you know it, probability will catch up with you and when, when that happens, then you will realize that, oh, the audience will also realize that ‘We can’t rely on your word anymore. We’d like to see more evidence, please’. 

Hi everyone.

This is a different kind of podcast episode.

In this one, I’m the one being interviewed – and the interviewer is Harish Bhamidipati, a good friend, and the co-founder of Choose to Think and Align by Design. His firms do some unique, highly valuable work for startups and big companies – and you should check it out through the show notes.

In the conversation, Harish talks to me about my recently published long-form essay on the crucial role of Causality in storytelling. We talk about two broad topics:

1. A deeper dive into some of the key messages of the essay and the implications for different stakeholders. 

2. My process for writing this long-form piece. The initial idea to write it, the research process, structuring the piece, actually writing it, adding visual elements and finally editing the write-up.

So – in case you haven’t had time to go through the essay and would like a quick overview – or would like to know more about my reading, reflection and writing process, go ahead and listen to this deep-dive on: ‘Causality: The Elusive C at the Heart of Story’.

0:00:20 – Ravi

So okay, let me actually set some context before and then we can, you know, because this is technically the Story Rules podcast. 

0:00:35 – Harish

Thank you. 

0:00:35 – Ravi

Thank you so much, Harish. Actually, this, for our listeners, is an interesting experiment that we are trying, and this was an idea suggested by Harish, a great friend.

So I wrote this very long post on the concept of causality and how it is central to stories, stories that we tell all the time. And the post was something that I’ve been thinking for a long time and we’ll, of course, talk about it. And I posted and Harish then reached out to me saying how’s the post doing? You know, how’s the traction? And I was like it’s okay, it’s not as good as I expected and stuff. 

So he said maybe there are some people who’d like to engage with it from an audio point of view. And that was very intriguing, right, and I immediately love the idea because I know that there are some people who love audio more as a form. 

But, more interestingly, audio allows you to go above and beyond the actual content of what you’ve written through the process of dialogue, right, and dialogue is one of the most ancient ways of you know of coming up with new knowledge. Socrates, famously, you know, created (came up with ideas) with that. So I’m hoping to kind of continue in that tradition and super excited. So the moment Harish said can we do this? I said let’s do it and tell me the time and place, right? So thank you so much, Harish, for you know taking the time out to do this. 

0:01:56 – Harish

And thanks Ravi for letting me turn the tables on you because you know, for a change, this time you are not going to be the one who’s going to be asking all the questions. I’m going to be asking you the questions and you’re going to try and let me. Let’s see if the enlightenment happens at my end or not. 

0:02:14 – Ravi

I think it will happen at both ends, hopefully, Harish. I think I’ll also learn more, so I’m really looking forward to it. Thank you so much. 

0:02:21 – Harish

Yes, so you know. Coming back to the topic, you know that we are trying to discuss here at Causality, I was one of those lucky, fortunate ones to have had a you know sneak preview, not just a sneak when I actually read the entire essay much earlier than the rest of the world before you actually shared it, and one of the reasons why it caught my attention was it’s more of a personal story, right? 

So my wife’s nephew, when he was around three or four years old whenever we would ask him, or whenever he would ask us to do something he would just say ‘because’. So Pragya would say ‘because’, and just leave it there. 

And we used to find it very funny. But he just assumed that, yeah, just because I’ve said, ‘because’ it’s now you know you are beholden to do whatever he’s asked for, so he would not fall for it. 

He would just laugh at it. So you know, I thought I’d just start this with that. So, Ravi, you wrote this essay because … 

0:03:26 – Ravi

I love that, you know. 

It reminded me of something my I mean, I think our elders, and even sometimes we do know, when I was, when we were young, and we would ask why should I do this? So the standard answer from my mom and other elders would be because the sky is high, and that’s it right. 

You know, it’s not just a simple question and that’s it right. You know nothing beyond that, and we sometimes use that with our kids. 

No, so this is, this is an important one, right? And I’ve been writing for about six and a half seven years formally on the concept of, on the topic of storytelling, and most of my writing has been short blog posts, some really short, some a bit long, maybe thousand, two thousand words, newsletters, some writing around the podcast, descriptions, etc. And so that’s that’s been (my approach so far). 

So I’m going to kind of answer this question of yours in two ways. Right, I’ve written this why? Because of one the format or the form, and two the content. So let me come to the format first, which is long form. So I’ve never done something which is long form, and during my conversation with the Sajith, the VC, who’s a partner at Blume Ventures, I remember him telling that you know he, he’s also been writing about, about business, about, of course, the investing industry for a long time now, and he said that you know you should always take out time to write some really long form pieces where you’re putting very in-depth thinking about the topic, and those are the ones that stick, they are something that you can refer to again and again and those are the ones that will get you readership for a very long time. And that’s an idea that kind of stuck in my head that you know I must also take out time to write something long form because it’s okay to keep writing something every week or every few days, but then it it’s very ephemeral, right, it goes away in some time. We may, nobody will refer to something I wrote four years back in terms of a newsletter, but (they would read a long form piece that is old)… so that was one, I think, trigger that I must try something which is long form. 

And now the topic right, and there are … this was not the only topic that I wanted to write on, there are a few others that I want to write on. In fact, there is one where I’m already kind of, you know, putting the, the bricks in place. But why Causality first?

I think, when I’m seeing stories all around me, and you know that’s if you look at my the website description that’s one thing that I write that I see I see stories everywhere, whether it is a cricket analysis by Harsha Bhogle, whether it is political analysis by Shekhar Gupta, whether it is a Jeff Bezos presentation or a or a shareholder letter, a political speech made somewhere. 

So for me, all of these are forms of stories and, of course, in my day job as a corporate trainer, I see lots of examples of storytelling at the workplace and in a lot of those examples there are, of course, errors at a superficial level. 

You will find issues and errors that hey, the slide is not clear, or you could have used a better chart here, or, you know, the flow between these two points is not there. 

Those are, I think, important but slightly superficial. But what I would see in a lot of these stories is that people were coming to – not I mean, wrong (which) is a strong word, but yeah – not the true or the right conclusions to many of the points they were making, because they were not really thinking deeply about what is the point we want to make, what is the core argument or core action we want to make, and how is the data that we have found lining up to support that final core recommendation, and so I think that it was something that I’ve realized, that it’s it’s a very deep, foundational element of every story and it is something that a lot of people don’t even think about, or they think about very, very intuitively and so in a very ‘System 1’ sort of a way, and not really strongly from a ‘System 2’ point of a way. So I wanted to kind of apply a very strong System 2 lens to the concept of what is really a story and why is causality so important. 

0:07:38 – Harish

And then I’ll interrupt you there, just for your listeners. Can you just briefly explain what System 1 and System 2 are? 

0:07:44 – Ravi

Yeah, that’s a great one. It’s kind of Curse of Knowledge comes into play all the time. So Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky the famous Nobel, Daniel Kahneman being the Nobel Prize winning economist and his collaborator Amos Tversky they came up with the concept of System 1 and System 2 thinking, to tell us that when we are thinking on any topic, there is one part of our brain or one system of our thinking which comes to quick, snap judgments. A simple word to use is to call that as intuition that is based on many years of experience, that is based on our quick gut feel of whatever we think is the right one. And it’s quick, fast, lazy, and, you know, mostly it tends to be accurate, which is why we use it all the time. And then there’s System 2, which is more slow, deliberate, where we are very deeply weighing the pros and cons of every option and then, you know, coming up with a very thoughtful answer. And the problem with System 2 is that, while it tends to be more accurate than System 1, it is also more effortful, and our bodies and brains are designed to conserve energy, and so we tend to not use System 2 as much as we should or as we can. 

So, which is why, even in telling stories, you know, I’ve often seen when I ask somebody to give a quick, real example of a System 1, system thinking. In fact this example I’ve used in the article also. So there’s a gentleman who was heading a business unit at an airline services company. His sales had seen a huge spike, 4X spike year on year. And so I asked him, hey, what caused this spike? He’s like of course it was a pricing change. That was a very System 1 answer. 

So he has not actually gone through and looked at the data saying is it really the pricing change? What has caused this? Could there be other causes where there are other contextual factors? None of that thinking has happened, and it’s not that a System 1 is wrong all the time. Often that System 1 comes to his rescue when you know important decisions need to be made quickly. But in this particular instance, as the you know the math demonstrated, he was wrong. And so these kind of mistakes of, you know, quick, snap, System 1 judgments happen all the time, and one big reason for that is, you know, the causality of underlying the story has not been thought through, and so this essay was essentially a way to give people a guiding light that you know. These are all the possible traps that can happen when you’re trying to arrive at the right causal inferences and how to avoid them and how to hopefully come up with the right cause for any outcome. 

0:10:24 – Harish

Okay, thanks, that’s excellent, Ravi, and great preface for the rest of the podcast, because I simply wanted to, you know, ask you questions on two sort of areas or segments. One was the whole topic of your essay and the other one was the meta process of writing that essay. So, you know, thanks for sort of briefly covering both, but I’m going to go deeper into, you know, the topic first, right, and thanks for bringing out the System 1 and System 2 thinking like you said, System 1 is less resource intensive. 

So, people tend to go with System 1 quickly because you know it can give you a quick answer. Is that a sign of our times today, that people want everything quick? So as soon as the question is asked, you want to react rather than respond, because I can quickly say yeah. It’s a price change, because if I have to say that, no, you know, let me get back to you after doing a thorough analysis. 

Maybe I’m, you know, I’m conveying that I’ve not thought through or I don’t know my stuff, so maybe I just want to go with that. And you know, I’m not even being questioned whether I’ve, you know, thought through all the causes. 

So I get away with it. So is that a function of the times that we are living in, that where people ought to actually do a System 2 level of thinking they are not because you know it’s not being appreciated or they don’t need to do that. What’s the take? 

0:12:03 – Ravi

Interesting one, Harish. So I would say, yeah, definitely time. In terms of what is happening in today’s time, there are two factors that are impeding our ability to go deep. One factor is just the explosion of data. Right, even five years back, working for a media company would not have the level of data that they have today. So I, you know, I remember this example of a Data Scientist from Zee, and so she was saying that we used to get BARC, which is, I think, the you know agency which collects data once a week, and now I’m in Zee5 (their OTT Platform) and now I can get second by second (info), how the person is (consuming the content). You know, how viewing patterns are changing etc., right, so I think that is one factor. In every industry you’re seeing a larger amount of data. The second factor is the shortening attention spans, also driven by this large amount of data. So I think those two are there which are impacting our ability to go deep. 

But now let me kind of, you know, take System 1 and System 2, from a dual point of view. Right one (point of view) is the presenter and the audience. Right, so now the presenter is the one that we’re talking about. Right, my focus is on the storyteller, and the storyteller in some cases does not have time to go deep and System 2, and especially if the data has just come in and his boss asks him what happened, he or she would not have the time to go through it, right. But I’m kind of focused on what I call as high stakes meetings, which are, you know, quarterly business review or, you know, a client presentation, which is two weeks from one week from now, kind of a thing for which you do have time or you ought to create time. It is important. 

So I feel there’s kind of no excuse for you not (go deep). (But) the temptation to do System 1 and always be there, even in that situation, even if you’ve got two weeks, you know that price is a key factor there and make a slide around price. 

That should not come right, so you actually (have to) take that time. So there’s a nice line that that I kind of you know keep using in this – that the presenter or the storyteller should use System 2 so that the reader or the audience can use System 1 in processing it, in understanding it. And that often we do the opposite. Right, we use System 1 and we do it very, very quickly and we have slides which are so dense that you’re expecting your audience to, you know, grapple with that data and try and use their System 2 figure it out. Some, you know, senior leaders are very sharp, so they’re able to do it, but it should not be done. It should be very easy for them to actually grasp it right, almost like a System 1 kind of a thing. So yeah, I think that that would be my kind of response, to say that, yes, time is a constraint, but for crucial meetings, kind of no excuse, you must do that System 2 thinking. 

0:14:42 – Harish

Right and coming back to the general sort of theme of the essay, right. 

Why do you say causality is the missing sea. Why is it the heart of the story? There are so many others, what? Okay, just for the benefit of our audience. What are the other Cs and why do you think this is the missing ingredient? 

0:15:03 – Ravi

Yeah. So let me kind of step back and ask a more fundamental question as to what is a story really right? And then, what are the other pieces and why is causality one of the more important pieces in a story. 

We’ve talked about stories for a long time. Humans are storytelling people and we’ve told stories since you know cavemen times. We were living in caves. But formally, stories have started to be kind of understood and studied in the last maybe century or so, right, and you’ll find definitions such, you know, actually older than that, because Aristotle has kind of said that a story must have a beginning, middle and end and something like that. I mean, I hugely, hugely respect Aristotle for everything that he has come out with, but even today I see people teaching that I feel that’s kind of not very useful. Like, what does that even tell me? A beginning, middle and end doesn’t help me. So I’ve kind of gone deeper in saying a story is really a vessel for carrying information right, humans have prospered and grown by learning from others and that learning has happened usually through stories. So you know, imagine a person living in a cave coming back from a hunt and then saying hey, you know what, I went to this part of the forest and I heard some noises behind a tree and I quickly climbed up a tree and I was, you know, quiet there, and then a bear just walked by and I waited for it to go and I came back. Now I’m not coming back and telling you five things to remember when you go into the forest, right, it’s not like a bullet point presentation. I’m telling you a story and you’re absorbing all those lessons. So we have kind of absorbed lessons like that, and so, if I take this small instance itself as a story, for me there are kind of two, three components, right. 

One is that the desire, which is the most fundamental component of any story. What do you want to achieve? What is the goal you want your audience to achieve? So the goal here is survival, that you know, not to die in the forest, as basic as that. The action what is the action that you need to do to meet that goal? In this case, you know, multiple actions. Maybe keep your wits about (in the forest), climb up a tree, be silent, wait for the danger to pass etc. 

All of those are actions that we’re kind of trying to, you know, imply, even without formally kind of saying it. And so the missing ‘C’ here is that you know why am I saying this, and so I don’t need to tell that to you. This is quite obvious. I’m telling you to go up a tree or to be silent, because if you don’t go up the tree, the bear will find you. If you make a noise, the bear will climb up a tree, and so on. So that because is there, it’s hidden. We don’t formally need to say it in most stories because it’s kind of implied. It’s like your nephew just saying because, and then you kind of know, but in a lot of work stories that should be spelled out more formally, because then you will find that the, the foundation on which you’re basing the recommendation or the action, may not be as strong as you think. So so that to me is is why causality is kind of the hidden, the core thread that connects the two most important parts of the story, which is what do you want to achieve and what do you need to do to achieve that? 

Now the other ‘Cs’ you had asked about. So the other Cs are, essentially, when you’re trying to find the real cause, often we come across elements which seem like the cause but they are not the cause. And that is where some of the other Cs come. Maybe I’ll just quickly say the names of the Cs and then later, as we converse, we can talk about them in more detail. So I’ve called the other three sites imposter Cs, because they like masquerade, as the real cause. 

So one of them is Correlation, the second one is what I call as Context and the third one is what I call as Chance, and you know, as we go ahead, we’ll discuss more deeply for each of these. 

0:19:03 – Harish

Yeah. So what struck me here was in the story of the bear and the man going to the jungle. I think it is quite obvious, like you said, right the cause very obvious – what is the reason why I’m teaching you the story…

Can you give some examples of stories where the cause ought to be there, maybe more from a corporate setting, things that you have seen in your experience where the cause, or the cause was missing in the story that was originally drafted, maybe where you work with somebody, with the storyteller, and you actually added the cause and it sort of came out much well. So I just give that context because context again because otherwise it seems like “Am I stating the obvious” right? Maybe people have that curse of knowledge and they know the cause very well, but the audience doesn’t understand that cause and maybe that’s why the miss out again. I’m trying to just, you know, ask questions here. You probably better place to judge whether that’s the case and, if that’s the case, if you can give some examples for people to understand. Okay, this is why you say that you know people typically end up, you know cause and it is missing, and adding the causality will embellish the whole story. 

0:20:33 – Ravi

Yeah. So I can give examples where it’s there but not very clearly stated. And I’ll give one example where it is there but mistakenly stated, Or you know it’s not there and right now I’m not able to immediately think of something where it’s not stated at all, but it will come, probably. So let me start with an example of where you know the causality was stated. 

So this is the Coinbase pitch. Coinbase is the crypto exchange. You know, crypto has (currently) gone through a huge reckoning, especially post FTX, but Coinbase is still surviving and doing well, right? So at the time of its launch, the initial public offering, or the IPO, it was one of the largest IPOs – a $100 billion IPO – and so the pitch of Coinbase was basically a story, and the story had again, if I kind of take, the three main ingredients what is the desire, what is the action and what is the causal underpinning. So it’s not very obvious if I just tell you that, Harish, if you want to benefit financially from the rise of crypto, you must invest in Coinbase stock. So the desire and the action, both are there, but you’ll be like why? It’s not obvious to me, right? So in this is an example and there are several such examples where it’s not like the bear story, where you know if you want to be a safe from a bear, just climb up a tree. That’s kind of very obvious. But here you’ll want to know more as to why. 

And so the way they kind of made the pitch was that they made the pitch at two levels right. One, Why Crypto and then second, Why Coinbase. So the why Crypto pitch was quite straightforward that it is growing and it is going to be the future. And so they give you several examples of you know how the growth is happening, why is it going to be the future, how some countries have already adopted it, and so on. 

The second pitch that they make is why Coinbase, and so they kind of focus on three key factors for their platform. So one is that it’s safe… as compared to others which are not safe, which unfortunately they have proven (now, about other platforms) to be not safe.

(Two) it can be trusted by the user. They could have also said it is cheap, but that’s not a pitch they made. They could have said that it is fun, not a pitch they made. The third thing they made was it was easy to use, convenient or flexible or whatever right. So those were the three things that they made. 

Now you may agree to disagree, but that’s the… Why that they used. 

In case of another example where the Why was not clear was I’ll come back to the example of what I’ve used here (in the essay, about a person) I’m calling him Ankit. 

So Ankit was a division head in an Indian company which is into the airline space, and so the desire was if you wish to increase revenue, you must do a dynamic pricing strategy, because they had done a dynamic pricing strategy in the previous quarter and the revenues had grown fourfold. Now there is again. It’s not that it’s not that the causal underpinning has been stated clearly, but it was mistaken. It was not there. So often, yeah, I mean, people do state the reason. Again, it might kind of escape my mind in terms of a specific example. If it comes I’ll share. But even when they state it, it’s often not correct. So I think even stating a reason is one thing, but to actually stress test it is more important. 

And then in terms of examples where we don’t even think of the reason – these are the intuitive calls that we take in the proverbial blink of an eye… the kind of examples that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his book ‘Blink’. For instance in one vivid example, an experienced museum curator looks at a seemingly ancient Greek statue and knows (in a flash) that the statue is not an original. She cannot point the reason why, but she just knows it.

So you could have 3 levels of knowing the cause of any decision:

  • You arrive at a decision without even knowing the reason, the Blink example
  • You arrive at a decision after knowing the reason implicitly, but not stated explicitly on paper somewhere
  • What I am saying is that for critical decisions, we need to go to level 3 – you need to explicitly state the reasoning for your decision. You can then stress test whether it is really true and holds up with other evidence

0:24:04 – Harish

Right. So you can’t basically get away with saying this guy is fine. So, coming back to the, I’ll just try to coin this thing in my mind so imposter-C-yndrome, if you want to call it. That’s lovely Correlation and context. So why do you say they’re imposters? 

0:24:28 – Ravi

Yeah. So I know that when you’re trying to find the real cause, there are other factors that will interfere with it, and so there are multiple ways to structure or to classify these non-causes. And so why the word imposter? Just because it looks like the cause, nothing beyond that. But I grappled with, actually, what would be the other forms of things that look like a cause that are not the cause, and correlation is something that we all understand very you know, ‘correlation is not causation’ is something that we have all been taught. So that came quickly, and then I’ve got this tendency to try and make things easier to remember, right? So, which is why I said okay, can I look at others (starting) with the same letter with C? And in fact in my original draft of this article, I had, apart from correlation, I had three more. I had complexity, context and chance. So somewhere I said complexity is very similar to context, because in context you can have complex set of factors, so it’s not really something different. So I kind of merged those two together and so, yeah, so I even here. It’s not completely MECE according to me. 

There are some factors where you might feel, oh, this chance is very similar to context and so on. So I’ve kind of just kept them separate to say that, you know, context is something that can be seen and kind of isolated, sometimes even measured, but a chance is something that it’s there as invisible context. You don’t know what will happen. It’s, it’s the role of the dice, it’s probability, right. So and so, yeah, that that was the reason why I kind of looked at these three as different ways in which you might get confused and ascribe, a different or a wrong reason for something that’s happening.


You referred to MECE, so MECE, is …? 


So MECE is Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive. 

It’s a way of thinking where, when you’re trying to explain something, answer a question, break down a problem, more often you want to make sure that nothing is missed out. That means it’s collectively exhaustive and you want to make sure that the groupings that you make are reasonably separate and watertight so that it’s not all getting together and getting mixed up. Why does MECE, why is MECE important? It’s because when, let’s say, if you know you want to make a decision on which, which car to buy, right, and so I can just tell you, hey, I should go and buy this car, you’d be like no, but you just give me one (option) right, so you know, give me more choices. So the one of the predominant emotions that will be going in your mind while you make that decision is am I missing out on a good option? Right, and so that missing out thing, the emotion that is under add to play here, is, for me, fear, ‘fear of missing out’ on the best option. And to beat that, so I, the word I use, the line that I use in my workshops, is that a FOMO is a strong four-letter word that stops us from making decisions… FOMO of which is fear of missing out on the best option. 

And the four-letter word that can help you beat FOMO is MECE, because if I come to you with a MECE list of car options, in that you know how each okay you’re looking at, (list like) a “okay in India currently these are, you know, all the types of cars that you can, you know, divide this market into three categories. 

There is a mid-sized sedan, premium sedan and this sedan. Now, within this, there are these categories, so I can kind of make it into categories which are mutually exclusive and they’re collectively exhaustive, and then keep filtering down till I arrive at whatever is would be the right decision. You’ll have a better comfort, better sense of the decision  that Ah, nothing is missed out. Now I can make the decision with peace right. So that is why MECE works. So even when I’m trying to break down what are the other imposters or other you know elements that can make you feel that this is the right cause, I’m trying to make sure I’m not missing out on any element and I’m not mixing up elements together. And I’m still kind of thinking ‘Did I do it completely’ or ‘Can I do it better?’, so that fight will always be there. 

0:28:52 – Harish

So that’s the concept of MECE – great so thanks for explaining that so well, because that was going to be my next question around how you bucketed complexity under context, because in the in the context of MECE, I think they’re just making too many self-referential comments here. So, in the context of MECE, right, you always have to balance this. Am I making things too complex am I listening too many options, like you said. Are you giving me this seven, you know ten varieties and it just becomes cognitively heavy for me to you know pass and the on the other side. I’m wondering if I’m missing out on something right. So, similarly, how and why did complexity get sort of subsumed under context and we understand correlation very well. Chance, something which is come to next and we understand very well … Context if you can slightly expand that and then explain how complexity got subsumed under context in the essay 


So, yeah, I think the example that I used to talk about context is something that we can go into, and then that probably helped, right? 

So let’s say you go to vacation and then in the vacation you get a cough, bad cough and cold, and you take a cough syrup and then in a few days you’re better, right? So now what will you tell other people? Hey, this cough syrup really works. You should use it, right? So now, that is one cause that you have ascribed that taking the action of taking this cough syrup will give you the desire of taking your cold and cough away. 

So why could it be wrong? Because one way it could be wrong is that taking the cough syrup was just a correlation and it had nothing to do with the actual thing being treated. Right. So you, even if you had not taken it at all, nothing would have happened here. I mean, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. So why? What could be the other things? Right? So the other things could be that there are multiple contextual factors that could have caused it. Now, we don’t know. So one contextual factor could be that you went to vacation in a, in a dry, relatively dry, hillside town and you came back to your home in a more wet, humid kind of city, which was the coast. So altitude change, the humidity changed. These are contextual factors and maybe they would have had an impact on the cold going away. If the same cough syrup is had by a person in the same city, maybe it may not impact in the same way. Another contextual factor could be your own immune system. Maybe you are built in such a way that the specific brand of virus that you got had a better likelihood of your immune system treating it versus somebody else from the same family who got the same virus but took a longer time to. So multiple contexts, such contextual factors, could be there, the dust in the place, and you know we can keep adding. 

So when you add a lot of such factors, especially in very complex business decisions, like you know, I’m going to launch a new product and I want the launch to be right our mind can boggle with the amount of contextual factors. Right, you know what was the timing of the launch? How was the economy at that time? Which celebrity did you use for the launch, how? What was the popularity of the celebrity at that time? Was there any controversy that happened with that celebrity? The amount of money that you put in the channels that you use, the amount of decisions that you have to make are mind boggling, and so the contextual factors that can influence are also accordingly so, in a way when, in a simple case where it is just okay, one cold cough, one place, maybe lesser number of contextual factors, in a maybe a product launch, many more so. For me, complexity was just a matter of degree. It’s just you’re increasing the number of contextual factors, whether it is internal or external, but otherwise the conceptually it is the same. So, which is why I kind of, you know, subsumed that in that category 


Great, I think that that was well explained. 

So we talk about all these different kinds of things that can change our businesses, right? In the context of say a new product launch, how often, do you think, do companies have the luxury of you know, (applying) some of the ideas that you that you’ve written about in the essay, to actually cope with that flawed causality. 

One example could simply be A/B testing it. So a lot of times people just don’t have the luxury of doing A/B testing then what do you do?

In ideal Circumstances, yes, people get that. I did that. That’s, that’s much. Every everyone gets it, I get it. 

But there are times when I say, I know this has to be done, but I just don’t have the luxury of either time, or maybe I don’t want to, you know reveal the whole thing. So what do you do in in that situation? 

0:34:12 – Ravi

So, I completely agree, right. So the, the idea or recommendation or the, the message of this essay is not that you must use detailed causality-finding techniques in every key decision. Forget about the fact that you should not even attempt to do it in a, in a random decision, but in every key decision. Also, it’s not possible, because of various hurdles that come in, especially in a very complex decision like a product launch or whatever right. So there the idea is, or one should not feel bad that I’m not able to use it in this particular thing, but at least be aware of the fact that this is what an ideal situation would be like, and so (realise that) ‘what I have with me is not the ideal way to find the true cause. So I am experimenting’ … and I think that humility is super important, and curiosity that to go with it. 

If you are humble, then you’re also kind of aware that, hey, I’m probably missing something.  Okay, let me try this or let me try that.  So maybe you might still be able to run some small A/B tests on some elements of it in some markets, in some context, etc. Right? So, even though you can’t do like a full-fledged entire, you can’t run, you know, launch two products side by side (as an A/B Test). It has to be just one product at one time, but even within that, there are multiple smaller decisions that can be done and that that you should still be curious about and try and do and at least, if it succeeds or doesn’t succeed in both situations, be supremely humble about the fact that you may not really know what is a true cause and you know it’s that that’s human tendency, right. If it succeeds, then we try to find reasons that you know we did, that that went well, and if it doesn’t succeed, then we are happy to find external factors that probably impeded it. So keep that humility and the fact that you know it may be something that you don’t really understand, but you will still try your best to keep, keep looking for. 

0:36:13 – Harish

So, using the focus of the essay, is the storyteller right. In the audience there may be somebody who’s taking a decision based on the story that this storyteller is telling.

So is there a case for the corporate environment to be changed such that the storyteller should not be demanded to have some kind of conviction in the story, which probably is not there.

Where I’m coming from is ‘Are these storytellers being expected to be very convinced about saying that ‘this is the cause’, though he or she knows within that, you know there are probably tens of other reasons that you’ve not really tested and it could just be chance, but no, that is not accepted, as you know as a reason, I have to pick something and I have to then devote my entire you know time and energy to say that that is the cause, because that is how, that is what is expected from the decision maker. 

So is there some you know message there for us to sort of tone down the environment in such a way that ‘be a bit more humble’, ‘Accept the fact that there is going to be chance’, ‘Accept the fact that we may all be wrong’ and not penalize the storyteller, because you know, if you or she came up with a cause which is not really tested. 

Everyone is working with a lot of high stakes is what I feel when I witness some of these you know presentations. Is that the case? 

0:37:52 – Ravi

That’s a great point, Harish, and that if the environment doesn’t change, then you can’t expect the storyteller to change. I completely agree. And what, actually, to add one more level of complexity to this scenario, often the storyteller is also the story maker to explain that is the person who’s leading the business, is a person who’s responsible for the numbers. And that complicates matters significantly, because now I’ve got a incentive to, to make a narrative that, you know, shows me in good light. 

And this is unfortunately supported, is a strong word but influenced by the fact that the audience is always looking for a scapegoat or looking for saying, okay, you know, numbers didn’t get met? Okay, that means you have done something wrong and you know, okay, how can I, you know, pull you up so that you don’t make that mistake again? So there are, of course, you know, companies on different ends of this spectrum of being very, very performance and number driven versus being very curiosity driven. Amazon is probably on one end of the spectrum, where they are curiosity driven. They will, you know, take a lot of effort to go deep into the topic, write six-page narrative, spend time reading it and really, really questioning… Although even there, Jeff Bezos is known to really fire his associates for performance not being met. 

So I think there is some, some of that balance required that sometimes you may say ‘I don’t care what the causes, you just get me the numbers’. So that’s, that’s one. You know. Sometimes you need that stick. 

But it would be nice to see, especially at the senior leadership level, a little more of that, the words that you say, a little more of that humility and that curiosity to say that you know, hey, maybe even though this person is running the region, maybe even he or she doesn’t know exactly what could be the cause.  

Let’s apply our thinking hats together, right? Let’s, like you know, write that DECA statement that you know: What are we trying to optimize here? What is the objective of the organization? How is the environment changing in this context? What is the action that he’s recommending or we should be doing? And therefore, is there a causal link that we can find between these two? Can we look for evidence from other companies, evidence from a past, from our own company? How have things changed? What are contextual factors? All of these elements right? So it’s almost like, instead of becoming like a judge and a lawyer, it becomes like a detective game, where, or a treasure hunt, where everybody is working together to try and achieve that real treasure of finding, finding the real cause and from the real cause, hopefully, the action and everything else will come. So it’s, yeah, it’s, it seems, wishful thinking to, to expect that to come, because it we kind of, you know, expecting human nature (to change)… but I think yeah directionally also, if organizations are able to go there, if review meetings are able to go there, that will be, I think, quite transformational.

0:40:44 – Harish

Have you seen such meetings? 

0:40:48 – Ravi

Not really. I mean, yeah, I wouldn’t say not seen at all.

In some of the meetings that I have been part of – of course, I’ve been like out of the corporate world for like 12, 13 years now… – so there have been moments when people are not judging for whatever numbers are there and are genuinely trying to find out that, even for good news right, oh, we did this, how did we do this? What was the real cause here? And that would lead us to some interesting insight which will then be able to be replicated. So I think it’s possible, but, honestly, like I want to see more of this, I want to help organizations see more of it, and you know that I’ve written about that also, right, that I’ve got a dream for having better review meetings, narrative-driven review meetings, and in those review meetings, this, some of these ideas, is what we need to kind of come in. So I honestly, my answer to your question is I don’t know, I’ve not really seen too many of these. 

0:41:49 – Harish


0:41:50 – Ravi

But yeah, we always have hope. 

0:41:54 – Harish

So we live with hope, and sure there are. You know, there are teams, there are companies which must be doing this better than the others, if not in the perfect way. 


Oh, sure, 


Yes there will be, you know, other factors at play. There the hand is being forced, but still, I’m sure, if they know that ‘maybe this is an exception, this meeting is an exception, and we will not do every meeting like this’. I think that’s also a great start.

0:42:18 – Ravi

That’s a great point, great way of putting it. 

0:42:23 – Harish

So, you know, let’s talk about chance, given that you’ve spoken about correlation, given that you’ve spoken about context, and why did you call out chance as a separate section in the essay? In my mind, sometimes you know chance could also be as under correlation. It could be one of the causes. You know lots and I can just say that it just happened. But why did you call out chance as a separate section. 

Why do people not acknowledge or understand the role of chance, and what happens then? How does it affect people’s behavior and the way they make decisions? Tell us more about chance. 

0:43:17 – Ravi

This was a tough one for me. Even now I’m not 100% convinced that should it be categorized separately or somewhere coming under the contextual factor. So the correlation (factor) for me is kind of relatively easy, because correlation means it’s not pushing (the effect), it is not a causal factor. So in chance there is a causal factor, you don’t know which one. It keeps changing kind of a thing right. So you know, I’ve used a visual of in a simple world there’s a bell and there’s only one rope from it and you pull it and the bell will ring. But in the real world it’s like there is a rope hanging from the wall (ceiling) but it’s kind of messed up with a huge array of strings and you don’t know which string to pull to kind of ring the bell. And so in a way that was the visual that comes to mind (for me). Contextual factors are something that I feel can be relatively easily identified and said that, okay, hey, we thought it was because of the medicine, but it is because of this other context. We thought that this person, this leader, did really well as a CEO because of his people skills and his business acumen, but no, he was actually helped by the tailwinds of a very strong economy. And so sometimes you can very easily identify and then say that, hey, that means anybody else in that situation would (also get the same outcome). I think contextual factors to me give some sort of predictability that in a similar situation with strong tailwinds, anybody with a similar kind of background would be able to do a similar performance. But even as I’m saying that, I’m realizing no, you cannot say that because you don’t know. So that’s where I think it’s somewhere contextual factors and chance merge into each other and it’s kind of difficult to draw the line where that line comes. But somewhere it becomes messy to be able to predict based on what has been seen in the past, because of what you cannot think of as…  the Black Swan event, right, as Nicholas Nassim Taleb talks about. So chances is essentially the fact that… you know, there is beautiful line that I read in a post explaining another post by Swanand Kelkar, and so the line is from Michael Lewis, the famous author. So he says that “man is a deterministic device thrown in a probabilistic world”. And I actually I love that line. I’m going to probably put that into my, into my essay. So that’s our problem, right, we want autonomy, we want to be able to be in charge of what we’re doing. 

If you just tell me that you know we do this and we don’t know, it may or it may not work, let’s leave it to chance. It feels disempowering, it feels like I’m not, I’m not in charge of my own fate, and so I think that is the reason why we all struggle with, you know, figuring out what else could be the reason and why is this happening, despite me doing something, etc. So, and lots of examples of you know, especially the…  I talk about the Indian cricket team almost every captain has said this line several, several times that you know we just do our process and then the results will see. But I think Dhoni started that and all of them after him have kind of said that, because in these high-performance kind of games and life events, they realize that you cannot have everything in your control. So, but in real life also, I think that applies a lot. 

0:46:47 – Harish

I think it’s similar to the heliocentric, you know view of the world, where we want to take more than you know justified importance. In fact, that reminds me of this cartoon that I once you know saw, where this Louis Pavlov sitting with two dogs right and the dog is actually telling the other one “look, as soon as I start, doing something he will start noting down in his notebook”. 

So we want to assume that ‘yeah we figured out what the dogs response was and what is the Pavlovian reaction’… Yeah, but maybe the dog was just playing (with) Pavlov


Fascinating so you’re right, yeah, so we’ve got a very strong self-centric way of looking at actions and we want our action to be the defining cause. 

0:47:49 – Harish

Irrespective of whether it is or not. And, so let’s talk about more ideas that you’ve written about for coping with this flawed causality. What are these ideas? What can I do to protect myself from this flawed causality? 

0:48:14 – Ravi

So I think, yeah, there are formal techniques that people have used, people have figured out over time, and those are the techniques that we can use. So the holy grail of these techniques is what the medical world has figured out, which is a double blind randomized control test, and normally you would have thought that’s it, you know it’s only, can only be done in medicine, because you know it’s like a natural experiment. But I don’t think we would have thought in the 1950, 50, 60, 70s that it can be also replicated in the social science, like economics, right, and despite all its flaws, it’s being done and that’s fascinating to me, and I think it kind of tells organizations that maybe you should have a division which can do some of these experiments and then see how things flow, and maybe they’re doing it also in some way. So of course, the one way in which they are doing it is A/B testing or online control experiments. So they all flow from that same thing. So I think that is one, you know, a set of modern tools that are available which flow from this double blind randomized control trials. Just to explain that for people who are, you know, not read the essay, medicine essentially has always been a question of saying if I do action X will it lead to outcome Y? So if I give medicine X, will it cure this cough or the disease right? So for the longest time it was through trial and error. And from the 1950s they realized that we need to do it in a more smarter way, and so one of the core techniques that they brought in there was randomization. So it was to separate out the contextual factors, that we’re going to take two sets of populations randomly chosen, so you might have people who are immune systems are different in both, have contextual factors that are different in both. So you’re kind of eliminate, trying to eliminate as much as possible with a statistically significant sample. So first, they randomized the populations, so one, there are usually two sets of people. 

The second, the C stands for control, where one population is given the medication, the other population is not given the medication. It’s usually given a placebo so that  they get the feeling that they are given a medication test, of course randomized control test, so you’re testing it out for a certain period of time. And the word DB, double blind, means that both of the populations don’t know who is getting the placebo and who’s right, so that there’s no psychological factor at play… So the DBRCT is a gold standard for finding causality and it has been adopted into economics through RCTs and in the real business world through A/B test. So that’s one kind of a thing, implication or you know thing that people can try and do. 

But even there, you know, you, your business leader, just running a business, you have the quarterly business representation. You don’t have the opportunity to do an A/B test. So what can you do? 

I think that two of the recommendations that have written are, number one let’s be humble and being aware of the fact that it is incredibly difficult to find the real cause of something. So I, when I do these data storytelling trainings, I will always tell people that as a data storyteller, you’re trying to ask questions of the data and you start not with why did something happen, you start with what happened. So if I’m talking about attrition, for example, I might say what happened? Oh, attrition happened. How much was it? Maybe 17%? Then you kind of try and see was it a high number, low number? Let’s say it was high compared to industry. Don’t start with why was it high? The next two questions are when did it happen and Where did it happen? So the when is, of course, a hygiene question. Where would mean that – Oh, which division did it happen? In which team function? Geography, so many cuts that you can do right. So you’re essentially like a doctor trying to isolate the pain and then say, oh, you’re having a pain, oh, is it happening this part of this part of the body? And so you’re isolating the location of where the pain is the most acute. 

Then you ask the why, as to why, for example, you might say you know, where did it happen? In the Bombay office. Within the Bombay office, where? In the sales team. Within the sales team, Where? Among new joinees. Where in the new joinees? Okay, now, all the new joinees. Ok, Why did it happen among the new joinees? 

Now, here is where things get tricky, right. So how do you know the why? You may have to rely on an exit interview. Have people given the real reason in the exit interview? You may have to actually have to ask them. Will they tell you the real reason when you ask them? Maybe, maybe not, maybe you’ll have to go and find what they’re actually doing. So some people may say, hey, we wanted to take a break and or join another company. Maybe you go and see that they’ve, all you know, taken up a new education, an MBA program. Or they say that they want to go for further education, but they have joined a competitor. So some cases you may be able to find that over the competitor, why did the competitor hire them? Then you know, to go and find so these Whys are almost never ending. 

The five Whys, as a Japanese is to call it you may still not reach the, the true cause, till you go as as deep as possible. So you have to be humble that in a lot of situations I can go up to Where relatively easily. But to go to the real Why is not easy. And so one recommendation I’m kind of giving people is that pick your battles, you know. Don’t expect that you will know the Why for everything in your life, especially some of the people who comment on every political event that happens, on every sports event that happens. You know ‘hold your horses’, because you might be having a very narrow area of expertise on which you can actually give your input on the on the Why. Otherwise you may not really be able to know. So that is one. 

And then now let’s come to the core areas of your expertise, where it expected to know the true cause. There, the recommendation I’m giving is to have a formal statement that you write down, which I’m calling as a DECA statement,  DECA so the DECA stands for 

  • Desire, D for desire, 
  • E for the environment. What are the environmental factors that are changing? That you need to keep in mind. 
  • C is, of course, a causality that is connecting the desire, the environmental factors, with the 
  • A, which is the action that you need to take. 

So it it seems like a almost theoretical exercise, but it’s actually it’s a very like Deliberate System 2 approach to what will come very naturally to you in terms of, hey, we must do this, so just make it go through this filter of the DECA. And you know, do we really want this desire? Are we really sure what is happening on the environment, the contextual factors, are we really sure of what is the cause? And therefore it is the right action to take? Right, and so you’re just stress-testing that if you go through that, then you’re in a stronger position to make those recommendations to your audience. 

Finally, another point that I kind of leave people with this, which we have discussed a few times in this conversation that Be aware that whatever you come up with may be fallible, may not be right, and therefore be humble and yet be curious, right? 

So this ‘beliefs, loosely held’ is a good, ‘strong opinion, weakly’ held is a good way to kind of think of some of these things. So, yeah, that’s where I you know in terms of practical suggestions, that that’s where I kind of you know, tied together. 

0:55:37 – Harish

So, again, coming back to this distinction between you, know the kind of persona that is spoken about in terms of how you should be humble and curious is what if, if I search it right, because the research starts with the question is perfectly okay with, you know, not having a Hypothesis, or even if that hypothesis is there, is okay with that hypothesis, okay with that hypothesis being proven wrong and probably sometimes they’re just willing for that Hypothesis to be proven wrong, right, but and that’s what is seen, as for your to academic, you’re not cut out for the business world. 

In the business world, we need conviction, we need people of action, we need to know that. Then to go with something, how do you, you know, reflect on this right, because a lot of times exactly what is seen as the difference between this researcher, who is intellectually humble, is looking for the reasons, doesn’t take it personally that you know his or her Hypothesis has been proven wrong, whereas on the other side, in the you know cut-throat world of business professionals, they’re saying, yeah, this is how it is Right, irrespective of whether they have, you know, suffering from flawed causality or not, and they will try to make that no work. What’s your reaction? 

0:57:04 – Ravi

Yeah, I would. Yeah, I think it’s just a great point. We should not, you know, make everybody into researchers, and it is, it’s not practically feasible. Also that you will not have the time, inclination to do that and on the other hand, you do have, over a period of time, developed a strong System 1 right. So, you know, please, use that strength, don’t, don’t ignore that. But be cognizant of this is a kind of you know, awareness is, I think, super important. 

Otherwise, when, when your System 1 is serving you so well, you kind of tend to not use some of these you know ways to find the true cause. But there is the flip side to this right. The flip side, or the the danger side of not being intellectually curious and humble, is that when you are making recommendations right, and of course a lot of these are to completely dependent on the results that they bring, if you are getting the results, then actually nobody will question you, which is great. But because of flawed causality, if you make a recommendation that does not go through and the result doesn’t come out, and then later it is found out that, hey, you know what, if you looked at the data, this was quite reasonably obvious if you kind of looked at it. For example, I’ll go back to Ankit and the dynamic pricing strategy. Right, let’s say, says that and it gets recommended and it is not working out because it was not the true cause in the first place. 

What will happen is that Ankit loses his Ethos. So, as a storyteller, you have three things in your hand to make an appeal right, you’ve got the data or the logic. You’ve got the emotional appeal to your audience. Most importantly, you’ve got your Ethos, your reputation, your credibility. 

And if you make a series of wrong recommendations basis on you know, quick, I’m very, very sharp and I have got this great intuition. It. It may go on well for some time, but eventually, you know it, probability will catch up with you and when, when that happens, then you will realize that, oh, the audience will also realize that ‘We can’t rely on your word anymore. We’d like to see more evidence, please’. 

So I think, for your own long-term ethos, reputation, credibility, especially areas where you yourself are a lot, not hundred percent sure, it’s I think that’s where you must maybe wear the hat of that intellectually curious and humble researcher. 

0:59:17 – Harish

Yeah, I think it’s about finding that balance right, because you cannot veer to either of the extremes, especially in the context that we are talking about. So you don’t want to go completely blind as well, and you don’t want to 


Completely, balance is, super important, in all elements of this aspect. 

59:35:00 Harish:

Yeah. So let’s move to the next section, and I’m sure we’ll keep coming back to you know, referring to some other thing that you’ve spoken about, because you already seeded so much for me to think about and I’m going to, you know, keep going back to some of those things, but I wanted to talk to you about the process of writing. What was the process of writing, and you mentioned Sajith Pai saying, that was the trigger for you and here’s a sense of excellent, you know, long-form article, some of which you can use in some of the other things that you’ve done as well. But from your perspective, what was the process of writing, if you can talk about how long did it take? Did you say that, ‘oh, I’m gonna write about Causality’ and it just get started or were you sitting under the tree and something fell on your head that you said, ‘oh, I should write about causality’… What happened?

1:00:38 – Ravi

So, honestly, I don’t remember the specific trigger which apple fell down on what day that that made me, you know, start thinking…  but your (question), you know, the fact that you want to talk about the process, made me actually go back and see when did I start thinking about this, right? So this has been kind of, you know, slow burning for a very long time, and so you could kind of think of it as broadly three phases, right? 

I think phase one I would call as the collection phase, where I’m not really bothered about a narrative or building or writing anything. I’m just collecting interesting nuggets, and the analogy I use is you know, I need to make a house. I’m collecting bricks, so this is an interesting brick. Well, that’s an interesting brick. So you just need one place to dump it, all it, and so I use an app called Evernote, and in Evernote, I’ve got a note called Causality, I call it the piece on causality or something like that, and I started collecting somewhere in June of 2022, so it’s about what – One year, four months, five months (before publication). That’s, that’s when the process kind of started. Yeah, I, I knew it is going to be a long-form piece on causality and so the Note, Evernote, was for the long-form piece on Causality, and I didn’t know what shape it will take, how long it will be. None of those, so, and now, initially, I just put on some thoughts, so it was like a like a thoughts dump that hey I want to talk about actions and desires. I want to talk about the fact that correlation and causality can be mixed up. And then this collection (of ideas) happens in two ways, right, one is that I actively look out for stuff that, hey, I’ve read books, let me kind of search. So some of this is… what helps is that I’ve gone through this course called ‘Building a second brain’ by Tiago Forte, and so he tells you simple things. Like you know. Connect your Kindle to Readwise, and Readwise is another app that connects to Evernote. So my, all my highlights in my Kindle can be accessed from Evernote. So I tried searching there and I found some highlights from a few books which I kind of pulled out and put it there. So that is kind of more and more of an active search. But majority of this has happened like a passive search. Passive as in that I’m reading something and then it triggers the thought oh, this is also tying into the one of the points that I’m making. So at that time all it takes is like a copy of the content, if required, or a link to wherever it is, and dump it in the thing, right. So? So this process I think went for many months, I think about six, seven months, because I remember one particular day so you were talking about the sitting under the tree, right? So it was not a tree, but I was sitting in one of the ledges in our house, which is, you know, it was a December or a winter sun, that’s all I remember. 

And I said I need to start creating some sort of an outline for this. So I would call that as phase two. So the outline creation is something that I teach in my courses. It’s based on the pyramid principle by Barbara Minto, and so I call it the 1-3-9 Story Spine. 

The sense that whatever you want to say can you condense it into a one sentence or a one line summary further supported by three sentence or a three line summary and further support by a nine sentence summary. 

So forcing yourself to put it in in such a short thing will help you to kind of see what are the three, four broad buckets that I want to convey. So for that I just had all these pieces. So I would kind of look at the Evernote pieces and somewhere you just need to let it all kind of assimilate in and it will come out, and over a period of time I trust that it will work. So I, the one you know practical thing that I did there was not to do it on my computer. I had a notebook. So with a pen and notebook I just wrote it down and even within this there is a a specific tip that don’t start with the nine or the one. 

The three is a good place to start where you’re trying to breakdown everything that you’re (trying to say) – net, net. I’m trying to make these three points. So somewhere it was like okay, causality is super important, but we tend to make a lot of mistakes in finding the true cause. In order to find the true cause, there are something that you can do. So. This broad structure kind of came and now it things become slightly easier to me to say that, okay, how can I, you know, strengthen the part one, part two, part three? Now, if I look back to the original one, three, nine, versus the revised one, it’s not a massive change, it’s not like there’s no connection at all, but it’s not exactly word-for-word, obviously right. So I would say like a 20-30 percent change has happened. But even 70 percent being there is not bad. 

So I would like highly recommend that and this is something that (I teach) in all my workshops. The main point I make is don’t start your presentation on PowerPoint. Start it on Word or pen and paper, and kind of write your messages in in this 1-3-9 format and it can transform your thinking. So I think that’s, that was a foundational piece. 

Then I kept kind of, you know, even after that I didn’t start the actual writing, so the actual writing started (later). One step that I took in 20 23 was I reduced the size of my newsletter. I used to have a longer newsletter and that used to take up a lot of time. So I reduced that to a shorter newsletter and I said you know, this will give me more time to write my long-form piece and I thought I’d be ready by March. And March came and went, and then June came and went and it took me a long time to write. So the writing had been happening since many, many, many months. So I would call this phase two, as you know, outlining and you know writing it down, and writing would happen in kind of bits and pieces. I would say, okay, now let me write about the DBRCT, you know, let me write about Ankit’s case and so on. 

And the third phase is, I think, super important, which is editing. 

And so for the editing I used two techniques, right. One was, you know, friends like you, where I actually sent them once (the essay) was a little relatively, a little cleaner. So before even sending it to friends, I took print out and went through it. So reading on print is very, very different from reading on the screen and you can find so many errors, so many mistakes, so many (areas) where the flow is not happening and so on. So all those you know, I think rereading and editing must have happened six, seven times at least, if not more, in addition to separate from inputs from others who I’d sent it to right. I sent it to about five, six people, got detailed inputs from at least three, four of them, and so pretty much all of that went in. And then so, yeah, it kind of went in till last. One more time a full print was taken and you know, okay, and it’s a mid, and then, yeah, that’s when the final thing was ready.

1:07:59 – Harish

Yeah okay, so many questions come to mind. 

First one, and I hope I remember the other ones as well. So the first one is at any point of time did you think this content and messages is great (but) can I compress it to a newsletter or an article or or expand it to a full-fledged book? Was there a thought or you thought this is the right sort of size? 

1:08:25 – Ravi

Yes. So I said I mean I don’t think naturally in terms of the, the form or the medium so much. I just knew that I want to give it full justice. I want to do full justice to the topic, so I want to go as deep as I want to. Does that mean that it can be (shorter or longer)…? Did I cut down things that I felt was too much? Yes, so, for example, one thing that I cut down completely was you might notice that I use an acronym called DECA statement D-E-C-A. 

So originally it was ABCDE, so to make it easier to remember, it’s A for Action, B was for Belonging. And I tell you why. C was Causality, D was Desire and E was Environment. So I thought that belonging to other people is an important element and I don’t know why, Originally I thought. And then I said of course it doesn’t make sense as a separate thing. It’s one of the desires that you have, so it doesn’t need to be there separately, right? So there was a whole section on that that got locked off. 

The ‘complexity’ (part), some additional elements that are got locked off. So, like this, you know, fair amount of edits were done to to knock it down Once it was done to this level. Maybe if I look at it from fresh eyes after some time, I think I can knock off more but to add more also, nothing of substantive element that kind of came to and maybe I can add more examples and you know, make it relevant for saying, okay, implications for a technology leader, implications for a finance leader, that level, but not at this stage. I thought this stage this was kind of fairly standalone and complete as it as it where, and yeah, the cutting down, maybe one more read later can, can do that. 

So I wasn’t really trying to say, okay, I need to bring it down under so many words or so much. This format like whatever it is, whatever is you know I think it comes out to, I’ll do it like that. 

1:10:24 – Harish

Okay and what about the process of writing? Was there a routine that you would follow that every day morning, you know, heard about all the tips and tricks from every writer, from Stephen King to you know, Chetan Bhagat, about how they write? Was there a routine that you followed? What worked best for you? What should we drink before writing? 

1:10:50 – Ravi

I can tell you what you can drink after writing. No, I schedules are difficult for me to maintain. I’m a morning writer. I struggle to write in the afternoon. No, actually I cannot write in the afternoon. I will be able to write in the evening, but evening with the kids it becomes difficult. 

So, morning, and it’s not like I’m an early morning writer or whatever like normal after 10. So for me, of course, there’s the actual work of trainings, and when trainings are there, so almost nothing happens on those days, or preparation for training, nothing happens. So I’ll try and find time in between where there are no training scheduled and there is no preparation to be done, and on those days it’s essentially my target time is about 10 to 1. Right that this whole morning period and I will not really try and do anything beyond anything beyond that is kind of complete bonus and I would have some broad sectional goals to say that. You know, okay, let me write this part of this section a little bit, but beyond that, nothing really in terms of saying that so many words for today, this section have to complete etc. 

Yeah, see, I wish there was somebody above me, you know, pushing me to say that you know, I don’t care, Ravi, I need this by the end of this week. It was nobody, so I had one boss that was me, and very lenient boss at that, so also very it’s a huge, a guilt-inducing thing, right, that you know it’s not, I’m not writing, I’m not writing, I’m not writing, so that that’s something that I have to live with. So, yeah, I don’t think that there are too many productivity lessons or this I can give about writing is just that you know, slowly it happened over a period of time. It’s like building the bricks, where there we are, slowly kind of building the house and yeah, that’s about it. 

1:12:40 – Harish

Okay. And while writing, was there any aha moments about the topic or about yourself? Right? And then did you find some oh, I never thought of this, or oh, I found out this about myself. You know whether any of those aha moments? 

1:13:00 – Ravi

Nothing that’s like about myself, but about the content for sure. Right, and in terms of you know the chapters themselves. They underwent a lot of back-and-forth thing and you know this. The word chapter is a slightly tricky one to use. As to this essay, it’s not like it’s actually meant to be read as one long essay, right, the chapters are just there for you to know, ‘Okay, broadly, these are the sections’. And one of the things that I always try and do while writing is to make sure that the end of one section or chapter will take you logically to the next. So I’ll end in a way that you know will preempt the next one that is going to come. And I remember talking about this also in the conversation with Sajith Pai, where he had talked about this from a course in IIMA (IIM Ahmedabad) called WAC (Written Analysis and Communication), a very famous course, a lot of people who go through a lot of torture in that, and there it’s something that they teach (to link two sections or paras), although I didn’t remember them teaching about that. So, but when he said that, it kind of triggered something that even I try and do in every piece of writing and the fascinating fiction example that came to mind was a Tamil form of poetry called Antadi, of which one famous example is Abhirami Antadi. Abhirami is a goddess, so in that, literally, they follow it right. You know, if there are stanzas, the last word of stanza one will be the first word of stanza two, then the last word of stanza two will be the first word of stanza three, and so on, right, which is very interesting. So it’s almost like I’m not losing you or your attention. So that’s something that I kept trying to do, and when I would do that, I would realize that, hey, the flow here is not working at all. I think I have to completely take this section and put it somewhere else, and so that’s, I think, something that I really encourage people to do, that actively try to connect two sections, two pieces, two slides that you’re trying, that you’re building. If it is completely disconnected, disjointed, that means your flow is not there. So, yeah, I think that helped me to rewrite portions significantly to rearrange portions better. I think that that was a huge help. 

1:15:23 – Harish

Has this experience of writing this long essay changed the way you write your shorter form articles or your presentations? How has that impacted? 

1:15:38 – Ravi

Not really. So. It’s not that I have not written something reasonably long before. I’ve written, not not as long as this, but one long piece on, when I was doing a series called 40 Stories at 40, so my 40th story was about my experiments with Ikigai and how I kind of you know, have been lucky enough to have found it. So that was a relatively long piece. A few other long pieces that I’ve written, so not really (the first time). 

For me it’s really a lot of almost standalone short pieces that are connected really well to form like a coherent full point. But it’s a good question. Actually I’m not maybe reflected enough on it that you know how is it changed my writing per se. Nothing that I can think of immediately yeah, 


Maybe six months later, we will be able to tell you how it has changed




So would you recommend that more people write such long pieces?


So I mean I think more people should write long essays is great, I mean, if you can, nothing like it right. And I’m glad that the people who take out time to write it, they do it because it gives a lot of value right, and it’s essentially the where is the value? The value is in the bricks that you’ve collected over a long period of time. So a long essay is not just a long time that it takes you to write, it’s the unseen part is the much, much longer time that it has taken you to research. So there’s a fascinating, by the way you know, it triggers this memory of a talk given by this VC called Bill Gurley, I think Benchmark Capital I forget the name of the firm, silicon Valley and so he gave a talk about regulatory capture in the US where he used several examples of how, in many, many industries where regulation has happened, it’s actually killed innovation, it has increased prices, consumers satisfaction has gone down, etc. etc. Of course he was making a strong narrative around that. He didn’t really offer too much contradictory pieces, but anyway. What was interesting is that when people asked him, it was like about one hour talk or so or lesser, and people asked him. You know this is brilliant and very … How long have you been working on this? He said about 15 years. So he’s been collecting evidence on that for 15 years, right? So I think that is valuable. 

So, when people take that amount of effort to, to to give you their unique perspective on the world but that is something that they have been kind of, you know, ruminating and collecting for such a long time I think there’s a lot of value for anybody. So so, in a way, if you ask me about what has changed, it is definitely changed my desire to do more of this, and so I’m, as we speak, as I was mentioning, I’m already collecting the bricks for the next big piece that I want to write, and hopefully more that will come. So I think that I find joy and value in that process of, you know, thinking deep and collecting all these pieces so that you know, in the end, you come up with something that is really a value. 

1:18:46 – Harish

Can we trick you into some social pressure by asking you to you know? Give us the name, what topic is it and when is it going to come out? 

1:18:54 – Ravi

So the when I cannot answer 100%, I cannot answer that, but the topic, of course. So this is the concept of Framing, or, you know, forming, taking the right perspective in your stories, with your data, with the points that you’re trying to make. How do you frame an argument or a point better? And so what people do about it, and you know what are some techniques, lots of examples. This is this one is going to be for me, filled with examples, because you know, around all of us, people are using examples of framing. Well, so that’s the topic I want to write about next. 

1:19:37 – Harish

Okay, great so you spoke about why you think people should write…should write more, should write longer pieces. I have a slightly different take to the research.  But I think it’s not just the research that is important. It’s the time that you spend wrestling or engaging with that topic, which helps you sort of you know, form those, you get those aha moments and that sort of and (impact it creates?). 

So I think that’s what we both sort of refer to. But yeah, it’s not just the researching bit, but it’s also the time you spend actively engaging with that topic, which I feel is the real value for me when I read a book, or you know when I read essays like this right, 

So what would you recommend to say different personas let’s just now try to be, more specific about people right so let’s just take the person of a CFO or a VP engineering right. What should they do in terms of writing more, which will help them get better at building a better view with better world view, and get better at telling stories? 

1:20:52 – Ravi

No sure, absolutely. I just want to comment on a very important point that you made. It’s not just the research, but also the thinking through, right. And you know, one analogy that I keep using here is that sometimes when we write, it’s just like a collection of stuff that we found, like in chemistry, a mixture. So air, for example, it’s just a collection of nitrogen and carbon dioxide and oxygen or whatever right and it’s you can actually easily see whatever it is once you have some instruments… so what are these components made of.

But often the value comes, the thinking value comes in converting these elements into something that looks completely different to what you collected, because that is where the insight part comes through, right. So instead of a mixture, you have created a compound that. So oxygen is very different, hydrogen is very different, but combining them when you get water, that’s magical, right? So your ability to generate such insights that may not be apparent for a person who’s (even) got both the elements with them … (it) is magical. So I completely agree with you. 

And so you know I kind of segues into the question about the CFO or the VP of Engg that you know because of your experience and expertise in the specific sector that you’re being, you do have that ability to see that water when you’ve got all these elements in front of you, right, so that that is huge value I can kind of, you know, guarantee in the minds of all these senior leaders, mid-senior leaders who are all kind of keeping it inside there, and so many ways in which I try and appeal to them, right, one, do it for others, if not for yourself, that you know there are others who can benefit from, from your expertise. So if you’re a CFO who understands the pharma sector really well, you know why don’t you write a short post – don’t worry about, you know, long essay – on a recent merger that happened in the pharma industry for which there was a very interesting, maybe financial angle, right, and maybe other CFOs from pharma would know that, sure. But what about other CFOs who are not from pharma? I’m sure they can learn from that. How about non-finance people? They can learn from that, right. So the audiences who can learn from you, including audiences who you know might want to eventually, you know, engage with you, maybe a CEO from another rival pharma company who loved the way you thought. I think the the value there is huge right. 

So I think, the ability to to think deeply about whatever your area of expertise is and you know, if you want to make it formal, you can kind of keep some of these elements like the what is the Desire of your audience? What do they want to optimize for? How is their Environment changing? What Action should they take and why? What is the Cause that supports that action. You can keep some of these in mind, but it’s not something that you know, I also don’t like have a checklist, say, okay, what is the Desire here? I don’t do it that way, but it’s always there at the back of the mind, right, and Once I have put something down, I’ll just say, hey, this is good, but I think it’s missing the Optimization. What desire am I optimizing for, let me add that here. So it’s just like a final thing to make sure you’re not missed something crucial out. So, yeah, some of these formal thought frameworks can help you to write better, but, yeah, I think, starting off writing about your take your opinion on what’s happening in your area of expertise… Nothing you know, nothing (can be a reason) to not do that. 

One interesting source, for people who are more interested in this element, a good resource is My conversation with Karthik Srinivasan, the Communications expert and also personal branding expert, and he’s shared some brilliant thoughts or great suggestions on how to build your personal brand and, if you’re more interested, you can listen to that conversation. 

1:24:43 – Harish

Anything that people should be wary about. One reason that I’ve often seen people hesitating from posting or from writing more is that they want it to be good. So they have this internal censor board. Which is ‘this not good enough’. And you know, this will show you in a not so great light. 

You could have done more, but I don’t have the time and effort, you know, to actually do this over a period of time, I will lose motivation or whatever you know. He needs to build his brand as a story teller. So he needs to read and do it. But I’m a CFO. Nobody, you know, expects me to write stories, so I don’t need to write. So what is your take on this? And how can you know, What should people be warned about, to not fall into this trap? 

1:25:36 – Ravi

Yeah. So in everything, the balance is important, right? There is, unfortunately, a whole bunch of folks who just try and do a lot of click-baity stuff and that puts off… 

I know a lot of friends, good friends of mine who when I tell them to do this are like ‘no, no, but you want, you want me to become like that guy who keeps writing these, you know 10 things I’m grateful for kind of very superficial pieces?’ 

So you have to careful about that. So at the same time, don’t worry because you’re on the other extreme. You’re not writing at all, so don’t worry about that, ‘If I just write one step, I’ll go to the other extreme’. Coming to the middle is also good, and if you’re not sure about the quality, maybe write it in for a smaller audience – immediate family, close circle of friends, where in a small WhatsApp group, you’re able to share your colleagues, immediate colleagues and at least go to people who will give you unbiased and honest advice. And if they are also telling you this is actually useful, I think you should post more of it. Then put it out there. 

And again we come back to the whole Gita thing. Right, that don’t expect that, I’ve put up something out there and now I’m going to be inundated with likes and comments and this it may not happen, right? And even if the content is good sometimes, especially if the content is good, so you have to, you know, have that thing of saying I’m gonna try and share this and if, even if one person gets benefited from it, it’s, it’s great, and one person is definitely getting benefited from it, which is you yourself, because your thinking is becoming clearer and anybody else getting some help is a great bonus, right? So, yeah, I think that’s something that people should strongly consider. 

1:27:18 – Harish

But trust the process. 

1:27:20 – Ravi

Yeah, always. 

1:27:25 – Harish

Yeah, so one last thought on this.  How do you see things like Chat GPT in this whole space of writing. Do you see it as an aid? How do you see people using something like Chat GPT again, what should you be wary about? How can you use it well, what is it take on this? 

1:27:50 – Ravi

Honestly, I wish I was better at using Chat GPT, I’m still like a complete novice.  I’m still struggling to figure out how and when to use it, because in my teaching I tried in a few parts, but the ideas that came there, like you know, I was, like, I think I know better. In writing, yes, I have used it and again now, if, when I write my newsletter, right, it’s tempting to say, okay, here is a, let’s say, article and what, what, what is a good summary, but then I’m like you know what is my role then? So in my newsletter I don’t use any of this, right, I completely it’s, whatever is written is written by me. When I’m writing my LinkedIn posts, it’s 100% written by me. So I just feel that it’s me and my voice. I should write it completely. 

Where have I used it in the article is to give me ideas or suggestions for inputs like research inputs. Like, for example, I wanted to know which are the business books which have done the best. So I don’t want to do that research on Google. I just, you know, I asked ChatGPT, and it gave me. There is a point I make in the article where I say that you know a lot of people attribute success to hard work and hard work only. So instead of me just making that point, I wanted some evidence. So you know, I just wrote that prompt on ChatGPT – give me examples of where success is driven by hard work and it gave me some great examples. And I don’t think a Google search would give what ChatGPT could give. So some of those things. It was very useful. So I think on the research side, it is useful for a lot of people. 

Of course, in the research I would be extremely careful about sourcing right. In my case it was, in that particular case it was not a problem for a lot of people. ChatGPT is great for a first draft. I personally don’t use it for even a for a first draft for my post. But my wife runs a children’s museum in Pune and so she has to write a disclaimer statement for customers who come in right and even a year back should have ask me to write it, but now she doesn’t need me, which is great. So she just puts a prompt in ChatGPT and (the outcome is) brilliant. It’s actually very, very good. 

So for people, I think, where writing is just a means to an end, it’s not the main core of what they do. I think it’s a great, great alternative. So you know, paradoxically, my wife uses ChatGPT much more than I do, although I’m more in the business of writing, you could say.  So it is how it is. So I’m still kind of trying to struggle on the writing front. 

But I’m quite excited about Copilot, right, Microsoft Copilot, which is slowly getting rolled out, and in data storytelling I think it is it will definitely play a strong role because once you are able to integrate ChatGPT, power through Co pilot with your Excel, with Word, with PowerPoint, and it’s able to get data from all the sources. Then we all have to up our game in terms of the research, the insight generation and the storytelling process, right. So, which is where you can’t just kind of look at the data and then, you know, make a slide out of it. Actually, you can start asking ChatGPT Okay, tell me, what are the how is attrition changed in the last six months? Which divisions has it been the highest at which teams within that division? You may not be able to ask it the Why question yet the why, it will probably just give a where answer unless you’ve got a exit survey somewhere. So, but it will give you some really … it will cut down the analysis time significantly. So your ability to know the right order of questions, to know the right framing of questions, all of those become important. So, actually, you know, I created a small video around this that you know, when this comes, how can you keep up your game and ask better questions, better prompts to ChatGPT. There’s a video on my, on my YouTube channel, so I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. So, yeah, it’s that I think will probably be more of a game changer for people like me or the data storytelling business. 

1:31:54 – Harish

So, if you come to almost the end of this before I ask you the last couple of questions that I had in mind, is there anything else that you would have? You know wanted to cover the essay on the process that we missed out 

1:32:11 – Ravi

So, okay, maybe one point that I want to add here is that. So there was the, the bricks gathering, or the research, there’s the outlining, the, the writing, which was the longest time consuming, and the editing. The one area where I tried to add, as a you could call it the Hindi word ‘tadka’  which is, you know, adding some spice to it at the end was to think in terms of some visuals, right. So I absolutely adore the way Tim Urban writes his, his long form pieces, right, and kudos to him, he does all his visuals himself, right, and including the stick figure men, the, the two by two charts and everything right. So I think Show don’t Tell is one of the most powerful lessons in storytelling, and if you’re able to show something visually, it can add a lot of value. So I tried to do a little bit of that, and I’m not 100% happy. I wish I could do more. I wish I had a stronger visual sense, I could draw better, I don’t know. So if people who’ve got a stronger visual sense, I think can get better readership, and there’s no one way to necessarily approach it. There is, of course, the Tim Urban way where he hand-draws everything that you won’t find anything (not in sync) which also gives a lot of consistency to the look and feel of the article. I love that right, and I struggle with that. 

Another approach is go nuts on the memes and gifs. So a great example of that is Mahima Vashisht, who writes this brilliant newsletter called Womaning India, and her ability to come up with the funniest of Bollywood memes with some really hilarious captions, is brilliant, and you know I hardly kind of find something (boring in her work)… and her ability to actually break down or to shift gears from a very serious topic to a funny meme, is brilliant. So, yeah, I think I in my own way, I’ve tried to do a bit of, I would say, everything … some some visuals that have made our, our self-made on on just a simple PowerPoint (slide). 

There are some funny memes, that which I generally found funny, and it’s not that , “Let me add something for the sake of it”… So I feel that it adds value there. Some cartoons here and there. Am I 100% satisfied with what I’m done? No, but would I prefer this over a completely text-based thing? Yes. I would want some visual elements so that it breaks a monotony, it adds a bunch of value. So I would kind of you know, suggest to people that also, that once you’ve written something, think how can you visualize it also, so that the other, the visual sense, also gets, gets into play. 

1:34:57 – Harish

Okay, perfect. So, yeah, I mean keeping up with the current times, that we have right, so if you were to do an Insta reel or a YouTube shorts of the whole essay and if you were to give me a one minute summary of what the essay is all about what would that be? Maybe you can just use the 1-3-9 I mean that that will be a hack. But yeah, what does this essay all about if you, if somebody asks you that question. 

1:35:25 – Ravi

Yeah, so the 1-3-9 Story Spine is exactly made for this. Of course, it’s more of a text-based summary, so I cannot I mean the whole Insta, YouTube shorts is not something that naturally comes to me, but yeah, it’s essentially. I’m actually you know, the hack is something I’m going to use.  That causal connections are really at the heart of all our stories and decisions, and we make a lot of decisions and we don’t even realize that we’re using some causal connection there. But it’s incredibly tough to find the real cause of any outcome, because cause can get confused through either correlation based events, through contextual factors or by sheer chance, luck, probability, right. 

So in order to make sure that we find the right cause and therefore find the right recommendation and therefore take the right action, get the right outcome, we need to first be aware that causality is implied in a lot of our statements, and so we need to be aware of that. We need to be humble that these connections that we imply may not be right. So we really stress-test the strength of that and be curious to keep testing and finding till we arrive at, hopefully, the right most cause and the right connection for our actions and decisions so that in the end, we are able to take decisions that are better, actions that you know lead to better outcomes. So, at the end of the day, the story is the vessel, but it has real implications in what we do all the time. So if you want that outcomes to be better, our stories need to be better, and for the stories to be better, the causal connections need to be better. 

1:37:11 – Harish

So I’m going to put you in the spot here I’m going to ask you for a very practical implication of this vessel that we’re talking about. So your younger one is my best friend and she basically has everyone wrapped around her finger. So is there a way in which I can get her to do stuff using lessons of causality. 

1:37:34 – Ravi

Hahaha… This is a, so Harish is, of course, talking about our daughter, who’s five years old and oh my god, she can be amazingly cute but also amazingly bringing our patience down and yeah, so she also uses that the (word) ‘because’ so frequently that you know why are you doing this? Because I want to, or because me like it? 

So, and yeah, I mean how much ever I teach outside with her, a lot of these things break down and we have to use, unfortunately, ‘Sam-Daam-Danda-Bhed’ (any means possible), so ‘If you don’t do this, no TV time today afternoon’ or ‘we will not take you to your Paati (grandma’s) house’ or something like that. Unfortunately, we end up using that. 

But I was actually coming across an interesting experiment that I’m not yet tried I don’t think it will work. In the book. I’m just reading it. I mentioned that book earlier to you, called ‘Magic Words’ by Jonah Berger, and he talks about an experiment done in a preschool in the Silicon Valley area where they had a bunch of four-year-olds and five-year-olds and they were giving them a task to clean up after they made a mess of Lego blocks and stuff, right. So two groups again. So one group, they said I’m just trying to remember the exact words, ‘Please help us in cleaning up’, or ‘if you clean up, you’ll be helping us’. That is one group. The second group they said ‘if you clean up, you will be a helper’ and, and you know….so can you guess which one would be better? 

1:39:15 – Harish

The second. 

1:39:15 – Ravi

Yeah the second one. The difference is the first one it’s like a verb right ‘Help us’. In the second, It becomes a noun or helper, and so that becomes a part of your identity. So, instead of saying that Rahul runs every day, if you say Rahul is a runner, it’s a stronger implication. So maybe I should try and use some words of identity for her  see if that works. It worked for some (kids). I mean, it was not like a major difference, I think one third higher in the second group, but maybe I should try that again. It may work, it may not work, there’s always chance which will come into play, and with this one it more likely will not! 

1:40:02 – Harish

Like you said earlier, we’ll always hope. 

1:40:05 – Ravi

We’ll always hope. 

1:40:06 – Harish

Yeah, on that note, thanks a lot, Ravi. I think this was a good deep dive into the essay as well as the process that we used for writing, and we, I think, covered different aspects and different areas of that whole topic. 

Like I said, this was just it was, I had a very selfish motive of you know, engaging with this topic with you in a more formal sense you know for sit down kind of a manner. So there was no altruistic motive, purely selfish motive from my side in order to actually get you to do this. So thanks a lot for this opportunity to host you here on your podcast and, yeah, it was great talking to you. 

1:40:53 – Ravi

Thank you so much for doing this. For me also, it was quite a selfish thing to be able to talk about something that has been in my head for more than more than a year and a half now. So and for I think there is hopefully going to be a bit of value for the people who have already read the essay and want to know a little bit more, and maybe also the folks who have not read it, who are on the fence but who are more enamored by audio conversation, right? So it’s interesting. Often, before buying a book, I will listen to a podcast about the book, because it’s not the price of the book, it’s a time that you want to spend in the book, right? So In this case, maybe it will appeal to those folks also. And yeah, and I’d love for the conversation to continue. So any listeners, if they’ve got any further questions about either the content or the process, feel free to reach out and, yeah, happy to dive deeper into that. Thank you so much. 

And so that was my conversation with Harish on the role of causality in storytelling. I hope you found it thought-provoking. For more on the topic, head over to the show notes where you can get the link to the essay and other related material.

Show notes

  • Essay link:
  • Ravi’s YouTube video on how to up your storytelling game post ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot:
  • Harish’s work – Align by Design (a transformative leader alignment program that  enables organisations achieve unparalleled growth) and Choose to Thinq (enables companies and individuals to continuously build future relevance)

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