Think Straight – Book Summary

Think Straight Book Summary

Book Summary of the book Think Straight by Darius Foroux

  • You need not let thinking on autopilot affect your productivity. You can get better at controlling your thoughts and decide what you think.
  • Truth is what works. You can believe in thoughts and things that support you.
  • Thoughts should serve a useful purpose. If they don’t, they’re useless. That’s straight thinking.
  • If you don’t tame your thoughts, you might face anger one day, happiness the next and sadness later on. With learning and experience, you can get better at controlling the thoughts.
  • It’s better to be aware of your thoughts and decide what you will ignore, and what you will give importance to.
  • If you want to have useful thoughts, here’s a rule of thumb: Only think about things you can control. That automatically eliminates about 99% of your thoughts.
  • Thinking straight is only focusing on things you can control. Things like your:
    • desires
    • actions
    • words
    • intentions
  • A useless thought is any thought that is out of your control and without a useful purpose. Do you ever think about the past? That’s the perfect example of a random thought that lacks a purpose, unless you’re reflecting on a past decision or mistake you made.
  • The attentional bias states that our perceptions are affected by our thoughts. And naturally, our perceptions determine our actions and decisions, which make up our lives.
  • One key way to not overthink in a particular direction is to remove assumptions from your system. If someone does not reply to your email, it does not mean that they don’t care about you. It only means that they didn’t reply to your email. If you want to think straight, you have to discard all assumptions, and only look at facts.
  • At some point, you may hit a big wall. You may reach a point at which you want to give up whatever you’re trying to achieve: Writing a book, starting a business, changing your career or leading a group of people. When you hit a wall, you can train your brain to take it as a positive moment. Many a times, taking a break here helps, as you might actually be close to the next stage of development. You can take a moment to rejuvanate, listen to your favorite music, watch your favorite movies, perhaps go out and play. When you get back, you might feel your energy back with you.
  • Daily journaling is meant for reflection and learning. If you don’t know what to write about—write your life story. You’ll learn more about yourself with every paragraph you write. It helps:
    • uncover your mistakes
    • measure your progress
    • get your thoughts in order
  • Take thinking out of the equation. Improving the quality of your thoughts, automatically improves the quality of your actions.
  • It is good to have an imbalance between thoughts and action. Because Action > Thinking. The best way to make sure you act more is to rely on habits.
  • We have limited time, and everyone figures that out one day or the other. Once that happens, we start being more conscious of the way we spend our time. Thinking is a double-edged sword. It can help you. But it can also destroy you. The outcome depends on how you use your thoughts.
  • On a parting note, we can aim to have effective thoughts. Effective thoughts lead to effective actions. Examples of what effective thoughts would aim towards:
    • Making your life better
    • Growing your career and business
    • New ideas and solving problems

Review of the book Think Straight

Top 10 Digital Marketing Interview Questions in 2020


So you applied for that job. And now you are wondering about the probable questions for your digital marketing interview. You know the basics of digital marketing but you hope to work and learn more in the next few years. Your mind is on the first step. Crack the interview and get into the company you have applied at.

Though thousands of questions flow around in digital marketing interviews, there are a few common ones, that are asked often. The answers to these often come out of experiences. For many a questions, there might not be a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. Hence what follows, is answer to each question, that should prove you know your digital marketing. Let’s go!


Top Digital Marketing Interview Questions


1. What is Digital Marketing? How is it different than traditional marketing?

This is a fairly straightforward question and kind of a conversation-starter. You can say digital marketing is marketing that can happen online or through digital media. Then you can elaborate if the interviewer expects you to expand. The main ways digital marketing could be different that conventional marketing, would be that digital marketing is more personal in nature, and more ROI-focused.


2. What all can digital marketing help you achieve?

The honest answer here would be that digital marketing can help you achieve almost all of marketing goals that your company might have. It might help you achieve brand awareness, traffic to your website, installs of your app, leads for your business as well as product sales and thus revenue!


3. What all comes under digital marketing?

This question is a test of understanding your breadth of knowledge in digital marketing. The interviewer wants to know if you know different areas of marketing. In younger companies, this will be valued as you might have to don many hats as required.

To answer this question you can use the following table:


4. What have you worked on?

Here, you will be expected to flesh out the different campaigns that you have worked on. Everyone is going to talk about what they did. The way you can stand out, is by talking in terms of results first. Imagine the two answers:
A: I worked on SEO and content marketing.
B: I grew organic traffic by 2X in 6 months through SEO and content marketing.
(Hint: B sounds better.)


5. Which is the one area that you are really good at in digital marketing?

You are now entering deep end of the interview. Answer this question with the area you are thorough with. You can expect a string of follow up questions on this, to assess the depth of your knowledge in the one area you mention as your best. So, go prepared for this anyhow.


6. From all the projects you have undertaken, which would be your best project, and why?

This is another test that is going to assess three things:
1. How good have you been at your best project?
2. How much of a contribution of yours was present in making it successful?
3. The ‘why this’ is to determine, if you are able to tie down stronger business objectives with marketing objectives. (Example of a good answer: I think increasing the organic traffic by 2x was good, because that helped us get 1000 extra leads and close 50 extra sales eventually.)


7. Which was a project would you say did not do that well?

This is a tricky digital marketing interview question. So, you should think of an answer for something like this in advance. You can ideally be open about a failure because failure goes on to show that you experiment, and experiments are needed in digital marketing. You could elaborate one of the more advanced failures here, also spending time explaining what you learnt from it, and how you plan to avoid it in the future.


8. What KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) would you track as a digital marketer?

Here you can mention the most meaningful of KPIs first and explain how they were tied close to the business objectives. For example, it might be tempting to speak out KPIs like Clicks, CPC, Traffic, etc.. But it can beneficial to speak of the more meaningful ones first, eg. Cost per Acquisition, Engaged Traffic, Return on Ad Spends, etc. A higher-level answer goes on to show you understand business too, apart from plain digital marketing. If you would still want to check what all can you mention, here is master resource on digital marketing KPIs. But note that you SHOULD NOT speak of KPIs you don’t fully understand.


9. How do you keep up with digital marketing trends? What sources do you refer to?

This is a question to gauge how interested are you in digital marketing in general. I’d suggest you list down the blogs, the marketers, the podcasts, etc. that you follow, in advance. If you don’t follow these, it’s time you started. Digital marketing is a rapidly evolving space, perhaps in the fastest evolving 5% amongst all the professional disciplines. So the company interviewing you would hope that you do your best to keep up, and that you are actually passionate about digital marketing. If you’re unsure whom to follow, you can check out the top digital marketing blogs to follow in 2020.


10. What do you think about our digital marketing right now?

This is another question that needs to be handled delicately. First things first. You should do some level of digital marketing audit of any company that you are interviewing that. If you have done this, it shows you are really interested in the company. If this question comes up and you haven’t checked even the company’s social media profiles, let me tell you, it is going to be tough here on. So do a check beforehand and if possible have a mental list ready of top 5 things you would do, the most impactful first. I’ll say it again, the most impactful, first. Lastly, of course, any feedback for the current digital marketing performance, should be polite and courteous. Don’t forget to say a nice thing or two . Things to be improved or to be fixed can be called as opportunity areas instead of something like mistakes.

So, yes. That’s it. Digital marketing is a vast topic. A quick tip would be, to not try to memorize things you haven’t done. Instead, know thoroughly well about what you have. And don’t forget to research about the company you are interviewing at!

Good luck!

Best Blogs about Digital Marketing in 2020

You want to keep up with the latest in digital marketing and are considering following a few blogs. But as soon as you Google for blogs around digital marketing, you find hundreds of them, all promising to be better than others. How then, anyone in their sane mind, follow a few online publications that will provide the most value?

I faced the same question and hence, drilled down through 70 blogs from all around the Internet. To find you 10 that will probably offer you the most value for your time. Ready to go on a quick ride? Here we go!

1. Hubspot Marketing Blog

Hubspot’s blog is one of the few digital marketing blogs out there that cover modern marketing in its entirety. With a wide range of topics from ‘how to make the your buttons more clickable’ to ‘the ultimate guide on product marketing’, following Hubspot is surely poised to make a person an all-round marketer.


2. Neil Patel’s Digital Marketing Blog

In a sea of internet marketing companies, perhaps there is no personal brand that stands out so distinctly as Neil Patel‘s does. And with the immense value that Neil’s content offers in each post/video, he is probably the first digital marketer you should follow. He also runs a snackable-content-podcast with Eric Siu called Marketing School.

3. Moz Blog

Set up and run by the charismatic Rand Fishkin, Moz and its blog is a go-to place for anyone who wants to learn SEO. With reports like the Moz Domain Authority score, and content like The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, Whiteboard Fridays, etc. if there’s a company that gets SEO and content marketing, it is Moz. Special Mention: The MOZ Bar for Chrome.

4. Marketing Land

In an age where marketing blogs and companies have come and gone, Marketing Land has been a rare resource of reliable content for long. Marketing Land covers industry trends, breaking stories in digital marketing and more. Search Engine Land is another notable blog that is nested under Marketing Land.

5. Search Engine Journal

Search Engine Journal provides you reliable news, happenings, tips and tricks around all things SEO. The Guides on each of the topic it covers like PPC, Social Media and SEO, pack plenty of punch.

6. Social Media Examiner

Social Media has been a rapidly evolving territory and what worked yesterday, suddenly doesn’t work today. Despite this, Social Media Examiner is a thorough resource of content, giving you clear actionables, to up your digital marketing game. With hundreds of guest bloggers, Social Media Examiner is a treasure of constantly flowing high-value content.

7. Convince and Convert’s Digital Marketing Blog

Convince and Convert’s blog focuses on ROI-driven actionables and strategies across a myriad of topics within online marketing. Some of the topics covered are content marketing, influencer marketing, Martech and more. So if you are looking for advice on different aspects of modern marketing, Convince and Convert makes a pretty good read.

Of course there are more blogs out there. But if you could keep up with even just these 7, you should be a digital marketing pro too in no time.

If you are starting to follow these blogs as you are are starting marketing for your business, there’s something more you might like. Here’s how to spend your first $100 on ads for your business.

Happy marketing!

The ONE Book That Will Change Your Life


The ONE book that will change your life, doesn’t exist. Yes, you read that right. I’m sorry, but that’s the truth. Too many of us have been searching for the one book that would change our life for good, and there have been authors peddling the hope that their one book would change our life.

Of course, I’m talking in the context of non-fiction books that try to help you get better.

So yeah, there’s no quick fix, no shortcut, and no silver bullet. If there was a quick fix, that would have been our bible already.

Does that mean all books are useless? Nope. Exactly the opposite.

Good books help you get better by, let’s say 0.5% in the area that it serves. A great book probably helps you get better by 0.7%. A decent book, by 0.3%.

So what do you need to get as grow to your 2X? Read about 15 good books (1.05x^15 = 2.07x). Wait, what? That feels totally doable, isn’t it? World domination, here I come!

But wait. You might have gotten to 2X of you, but there would still be people at even 10X of you. Learning-wise we are all on a very hugely spread out scale.

Also, books aren’t the only medium of learning or growing yourself. You probably wouldn’t reach 10X by reading 49 books as per our formula. But books will give you reliable results consistently, unlike most other sources (as long you keep choosing thoughtfully. Chetan Bhagat ain’t helping you at nothing.) And at times, books will even help you discover areas outside of the books, where you can find your next lessons.

So yeah, that’s it. I would have said this ONE article will change your life. But it will not. It’s probably your 0.01% for today. Keep reading stuff on the Internet. And yeah, also some books.

How to Focus When You Don’t Want to Focus


It’s one of those days. You need to get a lot of stuff done and it’s going to be a long haul. Probably the entire day, or maybe even a couple more, to finish off the project at hand. And that’s when a block hits you.

You seem to have lost steam, checking social media, browsing through Instagram stories maybe. Distracted by every single notification you receive.

How to get back in the zone?

After having gone through this a gazillion times myself, and having tried tens of things, I found this to be the easier of all solutions. Let’s not think about the 4 hours of work that is left. Let’s not think about the entire project to be finished. But can we think about the 25 mins? Ask yourself, can you promise yourself to focus on a 25-minute all-focus distraction-free sprint? Yes? I guess so. 25 mins isn’t a lot. Reward? You get 5 mins to chill, check social media, or do whatever you want after the 25. But here’s the ultimate condition: You are going to mute all distractions for these 25 mins.

Deal? Deal.

This is called the Pomodoro technique. And in most cases, it pretty much works. Why? Because it breaks down a complicated and indefinite task into a short definite commitment. And of course, there’s a promise of reward after that. To be honest, you might not even be in the mood for a reward once you are in the flow. And that’s what this is about, to get in the flow.

There are plenty of Pomodoro apps out there in the market, but here are the ones that I have used and would recommend.

Android: Focus To-Do
iOS: Be Focused
Web or Omnichannel: Pomotodo

Try this out the next time you lose focus, and let me know if it works for you!

How to Spy on Your Competitor’s Ads (FOR FREE)

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Fun Fact: The fastest way to build a car, is by not reinventing the wheel.

If you have a new advertising project at hand, if you are a little short on time, and if you already have a few sort-of-successful competitors in the marketing, guess what?

Spy on your competitors’ ads already!

Why? Because this includes access to whatever ads they have found to work for them, or whatever experiments they are running right now.

How to do it, and do it for free? Let’s get to it.

1. Facebook Ads

It’s not spying really, if it’s out in the open. That’s what Facebook Ad Library is.

Head over the Facebook Ad Library, search for your competitor’s name and start exploring the ads they have set up. As simple as 1-2-3.


2. Search Ads

Search ads are probably the most important ads for most businesses because they have the strongest intent from your potential buyer. Wouldn’t it be great to see what keywords your competitor is bidding for and what their ads look like?

The Go-to tool here would be SEMRush (Freemium). Here are a couple of quick examples of with respect to Amazon India:


Keywords Amazon India has been bidding for

Amazon India’s Search Ads

Bonus: SEMRush will also help with Display ads. However, to make the most of SEMRush, you’d have to get on a paid version.

3. Display Ads

What’s the point if I can’t see what my competitor’s ads exactly look like, right? Head over to Moat (Freemium) and enter the brand of which you would like to check out ads of.


Hovering on an ad also gives you the duration during which the ad was running, where the ad was running, on what platform and the image dimensions. Note that all geographies might not have ads from smaller brands. But you can always rely on bigger brands from your industry across geographies, for inspiration.


So there you are. Bookmark these sites if you like, and start checking out the best of ad ideas that your competitors might have cracked so far.

Do you have a favorite competitor-ad-spying tool that’s not on this list? Add in the comments and let us know!



Pros and Cons of Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency


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What you need to know before you hire a marketing agency

So, you have a new product or project coming in and you need to get started soon. But you realize you are understaffed, and you clearly need more people to work on the new project. What do you do? Hire a small team of sorts for the new project? Or just look out and hire a marketing agency that would fit the bill?

This dilemma is not uncommon in the modern world. This article does not answer the question but sheds light on the aspects of each side of the coin.

The Pros

1. It is a quick fix

Hiring an agency takes a lot lesser time, than hiring a team of professionals. The usual flow is somewhere around this:

  1. Reach out and share the project details
  2. Invite pitches
  3. Assess and choose
  4. Negotiate (if needed)
  5. Close and get started.

Usually, this can be done in as short a duration as a couple of weeks. Hiring individuals though takes a longer time. The assessment of candidates itself would take at least around a couple of weeks, if not more. And then the chosen candidates have to resign, serve their notice periods and then join. You’re also never sure if they’ll join or shop for better offers until they actually join. So, about a couple of months on average for this.

2. The risk is lesser compared to hiring

Hiring is often a more complicated and intimate process for any organization. The person not only has to be qualified to do the job, but also should fit in the existing culture. Also, the assessment, if not good enough, shall lead to parting ways. Letting go of an employee and hiring again, is a much harder route to go through, compared to switching from an agency that didn’t work out.

3. You can tap into a broader experience and expertise

Agencies come with an experience of working across lengths and breadths of marketing because they have 10s of businesses as their clients. This can help in testing between things like different platforms, etc. faster.


The Cons

1. The understanding of the brand’s tone and communication is built only gradually

It’s true. Any external agency is at the end of the day, an external agency. It will take time for the agency to grasp the voice and tone of your brand. If you are only staring out or a startup though, this shouldn’t matter for you.

2. It might not be cost-effective in the longer run.

As Marketing Charts rightly points out, the cost is a top challenge with external marketing agencies. Marketing agencies are for-profit businesses. If proper deliverables and briefs are not set up, it can be more of costly than it is beneficial to your business.

3. Lack of business understanding

Your marketing agency is basically an extended team that doesn’t share the same workplace and conversations. So, naturally the understanding of the softer aspects of the business, the ins and outs would be missing. Also, this same team that works for you, works on at least one more client, in most cases. Hence with the divided attention, you can’t expect much depth in learning they’d take up of your business.


All being said, more often than not, I’ve seen companies try recruiting digital marketing agencies at least once. To see the kind of expertise and creativity they bring in. So if you are considering hiring one, do weigh out the pros and cons without a miss.

Happy marketing!




Where should I invest my first $100 (or first Rs.1000) in online advertising?


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So, you are starting out with online advertising. Or just on a shoestring budget. The question is, can digital marketing really work for your business if you’re spending small?

As long as you have at least a website, the answer is YES. (This is 2019. If you don’t have a website for your business, well, hello dinosaur!)

Set up only these two ad campaigns if you are on a minimal advertising budget, and see things work.

1. Retargeting Ads

Consider an example of someone who had a look at your website, but did not buy what you were selling. Or did not give you their email ID. For whatever reason, they closed your website. Could they be nudged into buying from you after a while, yes? Do you have better chances than you had before they even knew you? Also yes. What are you going to do about it? Run Retargeting ads.

Retargeting ads get 10 times the clicks of regular ads.

Source: Wishpond

In short, retargeting ads work. If you don’t run these, you are clearly leaving out money on the table. I hate when people leave money on the table. Don’t do that.

2. Search Ads for your Brandname

You met someone at an event or conference and exchanged business cards. Someone noticed your company’s name from your FB or Linkedin profile when you made that insightful post. Maybe your product was recommended to someone.

Do you know how this someone is going to try to reach you?
Hint: He is not going to type in ‘’
In fact, he is not even going to type in any link at all. He is going to Google ‘punny tees website’.

If you are a new business, you are going to find it a little hard to rank at No.1 even for that search term. So here’s what you do. You sneak some pennies to Google, for it to place you at 1st. Yes, that’s the way it works. Also because in the long run, Google gets data, that your website in fact is where the person wanted to go in the first place. So Google will give you the 1st rank for pennies for that search results. If your website is shitty, though, your ad is not going to get shown on Google, nowhere nearly for pennies.
Again, it’s 2019. Have a slick website for God’s sake!

Brand search ads are likely to give 633% ROI compared to other ads.

Source: PPC Hero

Run these two kinds of online ads and you’ll get possibly the best bang for your 1000 bucks. Go on. Let people know what they’re missing out on.



People don’t buy products, they buy feelings


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People don’t buy products, they buy feelings.

New car for Rs.12 Lakh – Happiness, pride
Health Insurance at Rs.10K – Security and mental peace
Healthy food for Rs.300 – Satisfaction of treating the body right
That Suit from the aspirational brand for Rs.20K – More confidence
Nothing from the beggar knocking on one’s car’s window, for Rs.50 – Relief from the guilt of being privileged.

We keep buying feelings.

Why does all of this matter? Because there’s a clue in there, a direction.

Too many times we get busy building products and businesses. Too busy to realize, we are in the business of delivering feelings. The product is only a medium.



Four Quick Ways to Deal with 1 Star Reviews for your App on the Play Store

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If you’re a developer or an app-marketer, there’s nothing you hate more than 1-star reviews. Unless it is Google’s fault that you have got unintentional 1-star ratings (the suggestion to Google for which has been written by Deepak Abbot here), it is upon us to deal with the 1-star reviews that affect our app and business. Here are four of my favorite techniques that have proven to help me across apps:

1. Be on-your-feet to fix problems or at least to express genuine concern

For all the frequent problems that have a quick fix, it’s advisable to be ready with the fix. If it is something that can’t be handled in the review’s replies, have canned responses ready. Not just plain canned responses but those that are always personalized for the addressed person and case, before being posted. And of course, not just having 1 or 3 canned responses handy, it’s recommended to have at least 20. You don’t want to come off as a bot while talking to a disgruntled app user.

2. Have a turnaround deadline of 10 minutes.

This is a must and your best chance of getting 1-star reviews converted or removed. People have rated 1-star as they’re angry or disappointed because the product hasn’t fulfilled its promise. Fix their problem or at least mood right away and they’ll always respect you as a brand that cares. Here’s how to ensure you get notified of every 1-star rating you get:

  1. Go to Settings on Google Play Console on your desktop

2. Click on Preferences


3. Choose to get notified of 1-star reviews on web as well as email.


3. Have a direct conversation with these people if possible. Listen and empathise.

This is especially possible if you are an e-commerce company. If you can identify these people by their names against their reviews, nothing like it. Have a good customer success professional call them up or email them. Note that the purpose of this is not to tackle the rating. This is not about the rating. This is about the experience they have had which has led to the rating. Call these people and hear them out. In painful detail. Let them rant. And do empathize with them at every step. Half of people’s grievances disappear just by having someone to hear them out. Once they rant it out, they’ll be at a little more peace. And mind this, never defend your app or company on this call. Apologize if you were wrong. Empathize even if you think you weren’t.

4. Spot the problem areas and work on them

It is easy to lose sight of what the review system is, once you are neck-deep into the process. The Play Store rating system is a feedback mechanism, for the app and the business. Use the bad reviews to figure out what your valued users are getting affected by. And always take negative reviews seriously. This Groove customer support blogpost says quite aptly, 1 complaint means 26 angry customers.

5. Bonus: Get more positive reviews!

Don’t forget to nudge your users just after every delightful experience you delivered, to rate you on the Play Store. Remember, that an overall rating does not drop just due to the bad rating given by disappointed customers, but also because of happy customers who never thought of leaving a review.

If you have used any other effective techniques to better your Play Store or App Store reviews, I would love to know. Feel free to add them in the comments!