Is your Network, really your Net Worth?

Men are born to succeednot to fail. – Henry David Thoreau

So far, the best definition of Success, I have come across is: Success is the completion of anything intended. In other words, success is finishing what you planned to do. It does not really matter what route is taken, as far as it is legitimate and does not hurt anyone.

On the 5th of November, 2015, in the early days of our entrepreneurial journey, my son & I attended a startup event organised by NSR Centre at IIMB. Sitting next to us were 2 gentlemen who were speaking in Konkani, which is also my mother tongue. A compulsive networker that I am, I struck up a conversation and learned that they too were in the process of setting up their venture.
Soon, Arvind Kamath and Chandranath Gadiyar went on to set up Vydik, an online platform for Hindu Rituals. Being passionate about spirituality, Arvind’s aspiration was to get the younger generation in touch with their heritage and culture. Also to educate them on the importance of rituals. To meet this objective he also started another platform Vydikshala.com (which is defunct now).

Birth of an Idea:

Interestingly the idea of Vydik was conceived during one of Arvind’s official travels abroad. During his travel, his chance meeting with 3 people firmed up his resolve to create awareness in the community about rituals:

  • A young taxi driver, who is a trained Hindu priest, who gave up his practice as he could not earn enough
  • A young Pakistani, who wished we lived in a visa-free world so that he could participate in the discourses of Sri Sri Ravishankar and understand Hindu culture more closely
  • A Bangalore based IT professional, who was more interested in talking about American soaps, movies and their way of life sounding more American than an American.

He narrates what he calls his life-changing experience in his blog.

When one door closes…

Things were going well, until one day due to ideological differences with the majority shareholders, Arvind decided to step down from his position at Vydik. It must have been a tough decision.

Henry Ford said, ‘whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right’, the opportunity came knocking on Arvind’s door for the second time.

I will put it in his own words – ‘You know that I am superb at networking. You too must have been receiving my mailers. I used to send regular updates to people who were in my network. Among them was also Mr. Arjun M Ranga, MD of Cycle Pure Agarbathies. I had met him during another event.’

To the uninitiated, Cycle Pure Agarbathies is a Mysore based company that was Established in 1948 that boasts of more than 500 fragrances that are created in-house and also of numerous awards including a slew of quality awards.

Once the mailers stopped, Mr. Arjun who was following Vydik’s progress was intrigued and reached out to

Arvind through his PA. What followed is nothing short of dream come true. Cycle brand in its diversification drive had plans of setting up an initiative in the spiritual space. Arvind’s meeting with Mr. Arjun helped him realise that what Cycle brand planned to do was a concept very close to his heart. Finding the offer hard to resist Arvind agreed to work with the Cycle brand leading the initiative from the front.

Lessons learned:

  1. When you are passionate about something and pursue it with all your heart, the universe conspires to make it happen.
  2. Your network is really your net worth!

 

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Art For Charity

Art For Charity – Celebrated Artists Participate to Commemorate the 35th Anniversary of the Nargis Dutt Foundation

PIGMENT – Colors with Purpose, a fundraiser exhibition is being held by the Nargis Dutt Foundation to commemorate 35 glorious years of the foundation’s service to humanity in Mumbai on June 11, 2016. Through this medium, participating artists lend canvas and lens for a noble cause. The funds raised from the sale of artwork will be channelled towards the support of cancer care, and rural development.

Showcasing over a 150 works including paintings, photographs, hand-knotted silk carpets and metal sculptures by around 35 artists. Revered artists listed below have put together their works specifically for the exhibition:

  • Nikita Padora,
  • Suvigya Sharma,
  • Rajiv Mennon,
  • Nayaana Kanodia,
  • Prakash Bal Joshi.

Other artists who have their work on display among many others are:

  • Brinda Miller
  • Nishant Dange,
  • Arzaan Khambatta,
  • Sudharak Olwe,
  • Ajay De,
  • Narayan
  • Charan Sharma

“The Nargis Dutt Foundation has always strived to keep my mother’s vision alive through collective efforts to provide improved cancer treatment and better quality of living to those affected in the rural areas. It has been 35 year since my father Sunil Dutt started this foundation and we have been trying to realise this mission and I know that my parents would be very proud of what the foundation has achieved today. PIGMENT –  – Colours with Purpose, uses art as a means to help us achieve our goals.  I would like to thank all the artists for very generously coming forward to aid our venture.” said Ms. Priya Dutt, donning the artists cap herself.

The exhibition will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2016, at Garden View, Taj Lands End,
Bandra (W) between 10 AM and 6 PM.

To know more about the Nargis Dutt Foundation please visit: http://www.ndmct.org

Source: PR Newswire

 

 

To the Top

Little kitty jumped

Attempting to climb

The compound wall

Failed, fell down

Not to be deterred

She tried, a second time

In vain

Not concerned,

Who watched

I thought,

Aww, don’t worry little kitty

Come again tomorrow

For now,

Go, play someplace else

Not one to give up

She tried a third time

Landed, successfully

Not concerned

Who watched…

Last Sunday My elder son and I were on our morning walk and near Bagmane Tech Park, when we saw an adorable white kitten. With the reassuring presence of her mother in the background, she was oblivious to the dogs lurking around. We watched her fascinated as she made her multiple attempts to climb the 2 feet high wall.

The kitten, unlike me, had

No self doubt

No fear of failure

No concern about passers by who might watch her fall

She had a single minded focus on her goal – of climbing the compound wall and playing on the other side.

Her attempts to climb were purposeful, energetic and enthusiastic. When she fell, her mother did not fuss over her, she was just there… probably to the kitten, a re-assuring presence.

Why am I narrating all this? Well,  that day  I learnt a beautiful lesson. These lovely animals whom we, humans consider inferior (to us) are so resilient. Inspired by this incident, yesterday during my coaching exercise with a co-participant, I decided to call my shine goal as the ‘White kitten goal’…

kindle at CCD

Today I was at the Koramangala CCD (short for Cafe Coffee Day) to meet a friend and was pleasantly surprised to see a placard detailing kindle paperwhite loaded with some popular titles like – I am Malala, The Election that changed India by Rajdeep Sardesai and a couple others.

kindle CCD 2Kindle in CCD

Responding to my query regarding the promotion, the store in-charge explained to me that there were 5 or more Kindles in the cafe and they encouraged the patrons to explore the product. She was of the opinion most people already had a kindle of their own, as was my case! She clicked a couple of my photos after taking my permission…

Pleasurable experience while waiting for a friend.

I would like to know details and  effectiveness of the campaign 🙂

An event with a difference!

Yesterday & today, I was at the InTech50 – 2015 edition at The Leela Palace, Bangalore – 2 days of action packed event with 50 innovative product companies pitching to 25 Global CIOs and an equal number of their Indian counterparts. The audience also had a sizable presence of VC firms! The enthusiasm of the entrepreneurs was palpable.

Organised by iSPIRT & Terenne Global Leadership  Network, InTech50 is not a regular conference, here each product company is given a 5 minute slot to pitch. Each of them was assigned a mentor or a Guru to help them sharpen their sales pitch.

While I enjoyed the event immensely and connected with many of the delegates, I also had an opportunity to understand what the CIO’s expected from the product pitches.

Below is the summary of my interaction with a couple of the CIO’s :

  1. A Clear understanding of your Target audience and their requirements help make a clear and precise presentation.
  2. Focus should be on the business issue or requirement the product solves. The founder who is in love with his or her product they tend to get into too much of detailing.
  3. Showcase a used case, while focusing on how exactly the product solved the business issue.
  4. While the CIO appreciates the superior technology deployed, the time given should be better utilized to explain the benefit to the customer.
  5. Be unique in your presentation, passion and humour help.
  6. Don’t waste time by being repetitive.

It was interesting to note that many of the VC’s and CIO’s were meticulously making notes of the products they liked and then went in search of the booth where it was demonstrated. The purpose of the was very clearly either to invest in the company itself or to procure the product.

While I probed further a CIO was patient enough to explain the way to win an order:

  1. Doing your homework by researching the delegate’s background and unique needs help to sharpen your pitch.
  2. The ability to respond to all the queries, the prospect raises, helps cinch the deal. Most often a deal is lost when the seller is unable to answer a query as he / she is unable to say ‘No’. It is ok to say that you do not have all the complete solution and to accept that your product may have some gaps, in which case the product can still be sold to solve part of the issue.
  3. Listen to the prospect and clearly understand his/her needs.
  4. Be sharp on your Marketing & Communication.
  5. Demonstrate your staying power, the prospect may be wary of investing in a company that may fold up his / her operation. Conviction in your product helps convince the prospect to invest in your product.
  6. Build a relation with your prospect; be in touch with your prospect on a regular basis. If the prospect remembers you and is convinced about your product, he will reach out to you when the need arises.

Happy selling people!

Karna

Though I’ve  exited most of the groups on WhatsApp, there are still one or two which keep my inbox full! People vie with each other to send messages, jokes or videos. I usually delete most of them after a cursory glance, but today there was one which held my attention and made me think… Let me first narrate the story (with small enhancements but without changing the story) that was shared:

Once Lord Krishna and Arjuna were walking towards a village. Arjuna was pestering Krishna, asking him why Karna should be considered an unparalleled Donor & not him ?

To pacify Arjuna, Krishna, turned two nearby mountains into gold.

Then he turned to Arjuna and said,  “Arjuna, distribute these two gold mountains among villagers living in the vicinity, but make sure that you donate every bit of it”.

Arjuna went into the village,  proclaimed he was going to donate gold to every villager, and asked them to gather near the mountain. The villagers sang his praises and Arjuna walked towards the mountains with a slightly huffed up chest.

For the next two days and two nights Arjuna shoveled gold from the mountain and donated to each villager. The mountains just did not diminish in the slightest. Most villagers came back and stood in queue within minutes. By now Arjuna was exhausted, but not ready to give up or accept defeat (let go of his  ego), told Krishna he couldn’t go on any longer without rest.

A bemused Krishna called out to Karna who was in the vicinity and told him to donate every bit of the two gold mountains.

Karna without any hesitation called out to the  villagers,  and announced “Those two Gold mountains are yours. share them among yourselves” and walked away.

Arjuna who was a mute spectator was dumbfounded. Why hadn’t this thought occurred to him?

Krishna smiled mischievously and told him “Arjuna, subconsciously, you were attracted to the gold, you regretfully gave it away to each villager, giving them what you thought was a generous amount. Thus the size of your donation to each villager depended only on your imagination.

But Karna has no such reservations. Look at him walking away after giving away a fortune, he doesn’t expect people to sing his praises, he doesn’t even care if people talk good or bad about him behind his back. That is the sign of a man already on the path of greatness or enlightenment”. Giving with an expectation in return in the form of a compliment or thanks is not a Gift, in such cases it only becomes a Trade!

Well! lovely story, I’ve not verified whether this story is factual. Because my belief is that these stories are the best method to get us to introspect or to look around us.

How would a typical corporate executive have behaved? probably he or she would have tried to prove his/her ownership… or would have installed maximum security, weighed the fold multiple times before giving it away…

Why was a Karna able to walk away from humongous wealth without expecting anything in return? Why was a brilliant Arjuna unable to resist the lure of gold? Is this story relevant in these times?

Repeatedly my mind tells me that it would be a very difficult test for most of us to pass today…

Karna, though born into royalty, was a child abandoned by his mother at birth. He was brought up by a poor charioteer in abject poverty and later was made a king by the proud Duryodhana (the eldest Kourava). Ridiculed by droupadi  that he was not a prince and so not worthy of marrying her. It is hard to imagine the kind of repeated humiliation he had to go through,  yet he retained his dignity.

As I’m signing off, I wonder what made Karna so noble and generous? May be some stories and some enigmatic characters are not to be deciphered…