Thursday, October 8, 2009

MOP 5 Time to wake up, India

This time its a book. It was a book I had with me for a while before I read it. I had three copies actually, 2 of them signed by the author. I started it a few weeks back, and frankly, after many years, I have come across a big fat book, that I don't want to keep down. It has the power to draw you in. And specially if you are an Indian, you just can't help it.

Nandan Nilekani's book, Imagining India, is a must read for every Indian. Like Tom Friedman says, Nilekani is a great explainer!.

Initially I thought this book was about business. I was pleasantly surprised, this book is all about India, how we are, why we do certain things, and where we are headed and ideas that will help us. It has anecdotes and mentions on our history, culture, politics, religion, and just about everything that we see around us. All set in a casual, but genuine tone. Here is a random excerpt. (I just can't help but share it. It is just a random page I picked, and in no way is my endorsement of the policy or the political party involved ;))

"The big fear for the states about moving towards VAT was that it would reduce their independence, and the centre would appropriate their revenue and tax collecting powers. The UPA govt. took up VAT reforms where the NDA govt. left off, but the challenge in convincing the states remained. Dr. Shome tells me, "Chidambaram met the resistance from some states against VAT by offering to compensate them for any losses... At the meeting, I was sending him memos to stick to a 12.5% compensation. But he looked up and offered 17.5%! He then passed a paper to me, which said, Partho, sometimes in life, you have to take risks". These guys have their bit of fun too!

The book is set with numerous examples and interesting tidbits like how politicians were wary of Rajiv Gandhi and his team of computer boys, which included advisors like Sam Pitroda. Sam apparently told Nilekani, that he saw his first phone when he went to the US. We all know how that spark ignited the telecom revolution in our country.

The book inspires the optimist, and has the power to pacify and reason the pessimist in every Indian. Once you read this, your perspective on the pothole that you curse changes. You suddenly feel, you need to do your bit too. Not necessarily in repairing that pothole, but in the overall development of our country. The potholes are but an effect. Its the cause that needs to be mended.

And I take pride in the fact that Mr. Nilekani is no stranger. I had the opportunity to meet him along with Rakesh Varma and Kiran Gopinath, when we were on the road (literally), trying to raise funds to set up Webshastra. He gave us time at his office in Infosys, some advice, and also invited us to join a state Govt. seminar on IT, which was attended by the then CM, S M Krishna. Back then it was some advice and good wishes, now it is an inspiring book that has shifted my thinking. Thank you once again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

MOP 4 - A whack on the head

This is fourth in the series of Mind Opener Posts, I'd like to share.

The whack on the head is severe when someone close is involved!

Neethu is my niece, and this is her story.

Neethu came to Bangalore to enrol for a 6 month vocational training course at EnAble India, a charity that assists people who are challenged.

She was born blind. She has never seen how the world or even she looks! But she was a free bird. I picked her from the bus station and much to my surprise, rather than being apprehensive and nervous like most others, here she was singing in the car, trying to learn what was around, all excited about being in Bangalore. I have yet to meet a more optimistic and cheerful person.

It's not going to be easy, she stays in an apartment close by, she will need to walk across unaided. She will be staying with people she has never met. I was apprehensive when I went to hostel the very first time. And here she is, all by herself from the very first day.

I got my lesson. There's no room for complaints or excuses - play life like a game, using what you have. Play and enjoy or spend the rest of your life complaining! It will get you nowhere.

My best wishes to Neethu, I know she will make her mark one day!

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Tribute To Michael Jackson

I heard the news early today from my wife, Manju. As a big fan of Michael Jackson when I grew up, I am sharing my virtual experiences (we never met), of Michael Jackson and his music.

One of the first tapes I ever owned was "Bad". I still have the CBS audio cassette with me. I have bought all his albums since then. I am a natural smooth mover (really!) and love to dance, though i never learnt dancing or pursued it on a professional scale. Me and my sister used to dance MJ steps pretty well, we would go on for hours! I am a bit sad with my shape today, but with a little bit of effort, I think I can manage a few of his trademark moves even today! Save the zipper ones ;-). This continued for quite a while. I had a black cap (during college) on which I had "Bad" written in gold - in the same style as in the album.(We didnt have Myntras and Printos then!). I would frequently wear black leather shoes and white socks. I have graduated to color co-ordinating them with my shirts now!

And then, It was amazing luck to get premium front row tickets for the only MJ concert that took place in India, this was in Mumbai in 1995/96 (not sure of the year). Its amazing how things fall in place. A close friend, Iona Stanley, got me free passes as she worked with Wizcraft, the organizers of the event. That was 90 minutes of non-stop electrifying magic. He didnt take a break thru it at all! Full of goose bumps and the occassional tear. (Big men do cry!). Thank you Sabi (Iona). Atleast, I could see him live in concert!

Michael Jackson connected with his dance, his music and his fans in a way that is very intense & magical. I recall reading a quote of his, in the jacket of one of his tapes, where he talks about how he feels when he dances. He felt connected with a divine force, with the universe around him, it is like ecstacy for lesser mortals like us, and nirvana for the gurus!

I believe this is true for anything one does. And when people show that intensity in whatever they do - they connect with some force that drives them to create magic. Success just has to come to them. Some part of this phenomenon is covered in books like Blink. Sports, music, business - whatever. It is about passion, about super devotion to what you do. You enter so deep that it gets magical. MJ felt that in his dance and his music. And it is that power that connected him to his fans wherever they were. One of them, like me, in a small town in India!

Incidently I just spent a few hours watching some of his videos last sunday. Was it just a coincidence? I just get carried away with these small things. There are too many, and too often! BTW, heres' a killer one, I just got a call from Manju - as I write this, and I just realize that her name has the letters, M and J in them, don't laff folks, everything is connected. If you like stuff like this, you will enjoy Steve Jobs' Connecting The Dots speech at Stanford and Dr Jill Bolte Taylors' experiences following a brain injury. There's the scientific explanation for sceptics!

Dear Michael Jackson, Rest in Peace, you will continue to live in my heart through your music. Thank you for being part of my ride through the universe!

Back to deep dive into Position2, thats' my dance!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Global Village Really!

I was pleased to see a reference to "Kumbh Mela" in Seth Godins' blog. The world is getting smaller! Visit the blog

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another key milestone in the Position2 ride!

This week we launched a full suite of products that are designed to help marketers use the internet more effectively. At the core of the solutions is our framework of Surround & Intent Marketing (SIM).

A very common sense approach to solve marketing challenges in a medium that suits itself for it.

We are confident our clients will see amazing results!

Read more about this at

Monday, February 2, 2009

MOP 3: Appreciation is to people what water is to flowers. Pour it on and watch them grow.

I have this amazing desk calendar that just seems to know what i need to every week. It motivates, advises, punishes, and more than anything else - teaches!.
The title of this post is what it was for this week. (02/02)

In difficult times like these when there is overall pressure in organizations and people - what really keeps everyone going are optimism, confidence, a strong sense of duty, passion. And for someone who has the responsibility to motivate a group - this is good advice!