An Expensive Lesson: How I Wasted Thousands on a “PRO”

An Expensive Lesson: How I Wasted Thousands on a “PRO”

We knew when we got the idea to make our course that we wanted to do it right. I thought of all the videos I had watched from Ramit Sethi and wanted to be like him. So we rented an all brick studio. Hired a professional video guy and filmed it all in one day. We even had a teleprompter. When it wasn’t perfect, we even took off another day from work and filmed again. This time we rented a house by the beach.

Do you know how much of those videos we used in our final course? One segment. Five minutes out of the countless hours that we filmed. We lost thousands including the time we had to take off from work.

There were a ton of lessons we learned, expensive lessons. So you guys can learn from them. First, we were trying to do too much at once. Peter Kim and I are both physicians, so we had a little money saved up for the project. We decided to do it the best we could afford all at once.

Instead, we should have thought of the project as a startup. We would have tried to do it the best we could with limited resources. What people often call a minimal viable product. The best we could do at the time. And then try to improve it over time.

Affordable video than thousands wasted on pro

We didn’t need to hire a professional videographer. And actually, we didn’t even know what qualities make up a good one. We realised there were different types of video professionals. And that we had hired the wrong one. Some of our other friends started with their phones. They filmed themselves. We ended up wasting money and more importantly time.

Once, we did some more research, we found out that most people do their courses with voice over slides. We wanted to be different for the sake of being different. In the end, that’s what we did too. There was no good reason to have us in the video. This way we could make a new video at home. Our course would be a living, breathing class that we could update in real-time. There was a reason the industry standard was to do things a certain way.


To summarize:

1. When trying something new, limit your resources. Try to come up with a minimal viable product.

2. Look at what resources you already have and try to use them

3. See what others in the industry are doing, try that at first, and then innovate.

How Airplane Mode Boosted My Productivity 10x

How Airplane Mode Boosted My Productivity 10x

We normally take 1-2 long plane rides a year, and I actually look forward to them. I’ll have my trusty Turtle neck pillow, eye mask, headphones charger, kindle, laptop, and of course phone. I’ll even often bring a hardcopy of a book that’s been gathering dust on my bookshelf.


Why do all this?

Because the time spent on an airplane feels magical. I know what you’re thinking. No, I don’t travel first-class or even business. I’m always in economy seats. Those hours are magical because I’m in a productivity flow state. I get more done in a few hours than the rest of the week, if not month.


That comes down to one reason: no distractions. No text messages, news alerts, no emails. And importantly, no internet. Yes, I know that planes have the internet these days. But if I had gotten it my productivity would plummet. I would check Reddit or Facebook and lose myself down a rabbit hole of unproductivity.



Instead, I’m able to do some light reading, listen to a few podcasts, even watch an episode or two of a show I’ve been putting off. I’ll even have time in the middle for a nap.


Often, I’ll get more done in those 12 hours than I had gotten done in the whole week before. I’m energised when I land. I had gotten so much done that I could enjoy the trip with no guilt. And there was still the return trip!

Airplane Mode Boosted My Productivity 10x - Reading | Pranay Parikh

After my last trip, I thought there had to be a way I could recreate this feeling and productivity. There was! It’s called airplane mode. I wish it was as simple as turning it on.

I try to mimic the experience best I can. Instead of sitting on my sofa with my laptop, I’ll go to sit on the desk. I made sure to not have a desk chair that is too comfy. I’ll turn off the wifi to not give me any temptations and set the clock. The clock could be an hour or two depending on how much I need to get done.



I’ll have my kindle and laptop and even a physical book. I can’t say I can be productive for 12 hours straight like I can on a plane. But an hour or two that acting like I’m on a plane is often more productive than a full day otherwise. Like my brain tricks me into thinking I need to eat that cookie, I trick it into being productive.

Technology Addiction

Technology Addiction

If you meet me before, you know I love sweets. Chocolates, gummy bears, cakes, cookies. Yum. I could be sitting working on a blogpost or at work and all a sudden get a constant craving. Some days I’d give in. Go out of my way to get something sweet. Other days, I’d have some willpower and be able to resist. Over the years, I’ve been able to get better at resisting the sugar fiend inside me.

I can still feel it though, deep inside. Even now, I’d love some toffee or some hot chocolate. Now imagine instead, my phone was vibrating. Of course, I’d pick it up. A text message. Let me do a quick reply. Oh, Instagram notification. Who posted something? And so on. All a sudden I’ve lost track of time and it’s an hour later.

Worse yet, at least with my sweet cravings, I’ll know that I should stop and not eat the whole box. With my phone or laptop the various notifications, beeps, vibrations are almost endless. It even sometimes feels productive. Let me reply to this email. Oh, a new article on my favorite blog, well that’s a productive use of my time. Let me read that too.

It’s late afternoon and I haven’t gotten a single thing done on my to-do list. No emails to reply to though! Yep, and all those new blog posts, read! In a sense, technology is worse than sugar. At least after the first few bites of anything sweet, I realize I shouldn’t be eating too much and am usually able to stop. My use of technology could be endless and that guilt is rarely there. I’m not usually doing anything that unproductive. There’s usually some benefit in my interaction with technology.

But that’s the problem, there’s no negative feedback loop. If anything, there’s a small positive feedback loop. I’m getting stuff done. And I keep going. But that blog post I wanted to write sits there as a blank word doc. I’ve let the world make my schedule instead of sticking to what I want to have done. I’ve been able to re-wire my brain a bit with my technology use. Before I sit down on my laptop or phone, I try to think of what I need to do with using it. I turn on do not disturb.

I try to be a little more intentional with my time. Rarely will an email or text need a reply right away. I’ve actually found that people are appreciative of this: if I respond right away then they feel the need to as well. I changed the ringtone for a handful of people in my phone so that it rings even on do not disturb. My wife. My parents. Just in case. I’ll send a quick text saying I’m busy though and ask if I can call them back in a bit.

Like with sweets, I’ll put my phone a little further away. Out of arm’s reach. This helps me resist the urge to grab it when there’s a second of downtime. I just got an email. It can wait. Let me finish this post.