Studs and Fighters

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by Karthik Shashidhar on Saturday, February 9, 2013


Session type

Technical level


"Studs and fighters" is a framework for understanding the difference between two common paths to success in professional life. An understanding of the fundamental differences between studs and fighters is likely to enable you to understand people better and will enable superior planning of team composition, division of tasks, etc.

It will also help you understand why certain kinds of people are good at certain kinds of things, and can be an invaluable tool in understanding what kind of career to pursue and how to best maximize the returns on your potential.


There are basically two kinds of people in the world – studs and fighters. At the outset, let me clarify that they are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. Those that are neither stud nor fighter usually end up as losers, so let’s leave them out of the analysis. People who are both stud and fighter are special. Found extremely rarely. Hence let’s leave them out too.

So we shall confine ourselves to people who are either stud or fighter. For a start, I guess we need to define the terms. Let me find a way to define them without sounding arrogant (obviously I’m in one of these two categories so I’m biased towards that so getting unbiased definitions of both is tough).

Ok so studs are people who have the knack of finding the easy way out. Who have the ability/knack of figuring out the shortest/easiest path. Who have some god-given ability to do things quicker than others, or the ability to get their work done by others, and the like. You get the drift right? They are basically smart people who can do things more easily than others.

Fighters are those who realize that they don’t have the innate studness that studs have. However, they are extremely ambitious and don’t want to be left behind because of the lack of studness. And they try to make up for it by sheer hard work. They regularly burn the midnight oil, cut down on their “other activities” and focus on the task at hand. And by putting maajor fight (as we say in IITese), they make it.


The shiva purana (correct me if i’m wrong – not sure which text it is) gives us an excellent example of studs and fighters, when Shiva and Parvati ask their kids to go round the world. Subramanya, the eternal fighter, quickly jumps on his peacock and slavedrives it to go round the earth as soon as possible (don’t you pity the poor peacock?). Ganesha, the stud, just convinces his parents that they are his world and goes round them (lucky rat!).



Speaker bio

Karthik Shashidhar invented the concept of Studs and Fighters in 2007, and since then he has spent a considerable amount of time researching the framework. Having been a topper in school and attended some fancy-sounding colleges, and having been fired from three consecutive jobs, he can claim to have some experience of what it takes to succeed (or not) at the highest level. His experience with a large number of organizations (he worked for four different companies before starting off on his own as a management consultant) means that he has got a fair opportunity to test out and refine his theory as time has gone by.