Are You An Amateur or a Professional?

Today, I read a post by Shane Parrish on his Farnam Street blog and couldnt resist sharing this with you. He tries to explain why some people are ultra successful and some are not, despite having similar knowledge or experience.

He goes on to share that one of the defining aspect that can explain this difference – Mindset.

How we see ourselves matters Click To Tweet

If we consider ourselves professionals, our chances of success goes up significantly. So, what makes one an amateur or a professional. Below is his take on the difference between amateurs and professionals.

Most of us are just amateurs.

Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.

Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process.

Amateurs think they are good at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence.

Amateurs see feedback and coaching as someone criticizing them as a person. Professionals know they have weak spots and seek out thoughtful criticism.

Amateurs value isolated performance. Think about the receiver who catches the ball once on a difficult throw. Professionals value consistency. Can I catch the ball in the same situation 9 times out of 10?

Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures. Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.

Amateurs don’t have any idea what improves the odds of achieving good outcomes. Professionals do.

Amateurs show up to practice to have fun. Professionals realize that what happens in practice happens in games.

Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak.

Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice.

Amateurs focus on being right. Professionals focus on getting the best outcome.

Amateurs focus on first-level thinking. Professionals focus on second-level thinking.

Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance. Professionals understand when outcomes are the result of luck.

Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long term.

Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.

Amateurs make decisions in committees so there is no one person responsible if things go wrong. Professionals make decisions as individuals and accept responsibility.

Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsibility.

Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day.

There are a host of other differences, but they can effectively be boiled down to two things: fear and reality.

Amateurs believe that the world should work the way they want it to. Professionals realize that they have to work with the world as they find it. Amateurs are scared — scared to be vulnerable and honest with themselves. Professionals feel like they are capable of handling almost anything.

Questions we need to ask is the following:

In which area of our lives are we acting like a professional and where do we act as amateurs? Which areas of our lives do need to become a professional in?

Here is the original blog:

The Difference Between Amateurs and Professionals

This is one blog that I recommend everyone of us to read and follow. IF you do nothing but read everything that is written on this blog, you will end up much smarter than you start with.

 

The Role Entrepreneurs Can Play To Bring The AI Revolution to Work With Least Disruption

Premise:

There is a growing realisation amongst us in the world that we are currently just moving towards a future where most of the existing jobs will be taken over by AI and robots. While there are a lot of people who will say that the future where we will be either working along with AI or robots or even lose our jobs to them. There are already robots and AI algorithms which are helping do jobs that lawyers, doctors, writers, journalists, musicians, artists, accountants and analysts.

Accounting Standards & AI:

One of the things that was surprising to me when i read a post by John Sharp, that I realised the role that accounting standards could potentially play in the acceleration in the adoption of AI and robots in our day-to-day life.

He observes

Thanks to accounting conventions and tax laws dating back centuries, a robot doesn’t need to be better – or more efficient – than a human being at a task to make a business more profitable.  It just needs to be 34% as good, or 11% as good, depending on that business’s accounting and amortizations policies.

This is a standard practice that almost every entrepreneur around the world uses in order to reduce their overall tax liability. This means that for business who want to replace humans with robots and AI algorithms, the accounting standards that we follow around the world is a good thing in every way we can think of. So, I would not be surprised to see more and more businesses go to algorithms for automation and elimination of human labor, even if they are not very effective already, knowing too well, that they will get increasingly better with time.

What does this mean:

This means that as a race, we need to understand the implications of AI and robots becoming common place. There is a distinct possibility that this can happen much faster than we all expect. This means that we need to have a productive dialogue to discuss these implications and find  ways and means to ease out this transition for the people who will be affected the most by this transition.

There is already a section of entrepreneurs who are voicing their opinions and starting the debate. Bill Gates shares his thoughts about how and why should robots that replace humans should continue to pay income tax or Elon Musk calling for artificial intelligence regulation to combat ‘existential threat’ from robots.

I believe that as entrepreneurs, it is our responsibility towards our employees to take care of them. Human history tells us that mass displacement of labour with high levels of unemployment is a recipe for disaster. So, as entrepreneurs, we are in a unique position to not only talk about how this transition will take place, but also imagine the new kinds of jobs that could arise in the new reality that we are moving towards. It is then in our own self-interest to train our people in such a way that they can smoothly move into these new jobs that will be created.

We also need to think about the following – What use it is to increase our productivity by replacing humans with robots, thereby increasing unemployment for us as a business? If there is massive unemployment, who will buy the products that we are making so efficiently?

The reality is that right now, we are all speculating. However, one thing is certain. Robots and AI algorithms will arrive in the workplace sooner or later and disrupt the employment rates in our society. We need to be ready for this displacement. It is in the best interest of us entrepreneurs to help ensure a smooth transition and avoid anarchy in the market.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, us as entrepreneurs start thinking about this issue.

  • Lets start having a conversation about what could the different futures look like,
  • What could the jobs of the future look like?
  • What can we do to help our employees learn the skills that will help them transition to the new reality?
  • What kind of policies (taxation, regulation or limitations) need to be thought, discussed and decided upon.

It is in our best interest to bring this discussion in the public discourse and ensure that the transition that we are going to witness is as smooth and minimally disruptive as it could be.

Superconsumers – A Simple, Speedy, and Sustainable Path to Superior Growth

Everyone wants to grow their business – irrespective of the current size or the level of competition. This also means that growth is not easy. So, any strategy that can help grow our business is a welcome addition to all the material that we already have.

So, when I got my hands on the book – Superconsumers by Eddie Yoon, I was eager to read and understand the strategy.

I must say, that on the face of it, it doesn’t seem like much different from what all the literature around managing your most profitable customers and growing from there. However, I was pleasantly surprised by both the amount of thinking that the author has done and the different frameworks and strategies that he shares in the book.

Below is some of my notes from the book:

Why Superconsumers

A report by the auditing company KPMG and the Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that only 1 percent of 580 companies hit their forecast exactly over a three-year period, and only 22 percent were within 5 percent. On average, companies were off by 13 percent, an inaccuracy that had an estimated 6 percent impact on total shareholder value.

Super-Consumers can be your guide for simple, superior, and sustainable growth.

Who are Superconsumers:

Superconsumers are those customers who spend significantly higher than the rest of the customers and they are emotional about their purchases. Your product or service addresses a part of their life aspirations and hence they are attached to your category.

Characteristics of superconsumers:

There are five characteristics of superconsumers:

  1. High on Spend + High Engagement: They’re more than just heavy users with a new name. Unlike traditional heavy users, Super-Consumers combine big spending with high engagement and deep interest in new uses for a product.
  2. Prevalent: They exist in every business.
  3. Emotional: They’re emotionally invested. If you talk to super-consumers, you’ll learn that most have very logical reasons for their behaviour. They simply find more meaning and benefits in a given category than other customers do. In fact, just about everyone is a super-consumer of something.
  4. Easy to Find: They’re easier to find. Big data and social media enable you to identify them.
  5. Leaders: They’re willing to buy even more … and lead others to follow them.

Superconsumer Strategy:

The superconsumer strategy has four important steps, we label it the FUEL framework:

  1. Find Super-Consumers. You have to find them three ways:
    1. analytically in your data,
    2. internally within your team,
    3. personally among your family and friends.
  2. Understand Super-Consumers. There are four ways to understand them:
    1. rationally,
    2. emotionally,
    3. contextually, and
    4. Culturally
  3. Engage with Super-Consumers. You engage with 4 them in two ways:
    1. by having empathy for the heights and depths, joy and pain, of their super-consumer passion and
    2. by understanding your own role in contributing to their pain and joy.
  4. Lean into Super-Consumers.
    1. Create a community of superconsumers and and watch them riff off each other for new ideas for growth.
    2. Seek out how Super-Consumers have fun with your category. Understand the category’s challenges and chores.
    3. Look for bias, and shatter stereotypes of Super-Consumers.
    4. Look for ways that you can help your consumers a great deal but at low cost to yourself.
    5. Be generous. It’s the only way to start a real friendship.

The superconsumer strategy is simple, elegant and logical. Super-Consumers aren’t random oddballs who buy in bulk. They’re emotional buyers who base their purchase decisions on their life aspirations.

The key behind these lessons is to recognise that

  • Consumers are wonderfully complex and endlessly surprising
  • They’re humans, after all.
  • They have beliefs and preferences that are different from yours.
  • Their behaviours are complicated.
  • And most of all, they have rich emotions that even they may not fully understand.

So you need to find these consumers and listen to them. They exist in every category, and they have a lot to say and in most cases, are already saying a lot (on social media, blogs, review sites, etc).

Leveraging Super-Consumers.

The remarkable success of brands that have used this strategy to fuel their growth offer us a few great insights:

  • Consumers hire brands for a job, but super-consumers hire multiple brands for multiple jobs to solve a quest.
  • Multiple Super-Consumers near one another (be it physical or psychological proximity) create super-geos, where their passion spreads like a virus.
  • Quests enable breakthrough innovations in product offerings.
  • Super geos enable breakthrough business-model innovation. The presence of both Super-Consumers and super geos allows you to create new categories.

There are a few big differences between a job and a quest. A job is often something people have to do, whereas a quest is something people want to do.

Further Segments of customers (apart from superconsumers):

Apart from superconsumers, we can group all other customers based on the passion and-profit index as

  • Potential Super-Consumers: They are engaged with the category and have the potential to spend much more than they currently do. They need to be connected with superconsumers and will be led by them to become superconsumers themselves. Potential Super-Consumers are the clearest sign of emerging and latent demand.
  • Autopilots: They do spend more than average but dont see this as fun yet. They are also mostly loyal to a brand but may not be high on engagement.
  • Uninvolved consumers: They neither have fun with the category nor do they spend higher than average. They are probably the most price conscious as buying this category is a chore for them. They are extremely low on engagement.

To consumers, every category represents varying levels of fun and chores. If they find a category to be more fun than burdensome, then they tend to be more engaged and spend more. If they think a category is more of a hassle than a pleasure, they tend to be less engaged and buy less.

Once you have an early-warning system and precision map of how demand will evolve, make sure when making a business decision about Super-Consumers, you ask these questions:

  1. Do Super-Consumers care?
  2. Will our offering help them achieve their quest and get their job done?
  3. How much do Super-Consumers care?
  4. Will our offering make them want to use the category or pay twice as much, or do both?
  5. Is how much they care greater than the incremental price they will pay, and is that price greater than my cost to deliver?

If you can confidently answer yes to all three questions, then you should feel empowered to move forward.

Mistakes to Avoid:

One of the most common way that businesses lose out is when they stop respecting their customers and develop contempt for them. This is the case in every business that has grown. What needs to be done is to realise this and stop before it is too late.

Calibrating Your Contempt for Your Consumers:

  • How many companies have reduced the quality or size of a product but held the price the same because they believed that consumers wouldn’t notice?
  • Or which companies have made innovation decisions based on what they do well instead of what the consumer really wants?
  • The underlying, subtle contempt behind all of these decisions is that the company has more power than the consumer.

We need to understand and internalise that the primary focus of the business is to serve its customers and therein make a profit for itself.

In Conclusion:

Throughout the process, there are three clear steps that help you focus your efforts:

  1. Boil your superconsumer strategy down to as simple a statement as possible.
  2. Write your goals and principles down, and have them close by so your team can refer to them.
  3. Say them over and over again.

This is a good book to read if you have the responsibility of leading a business and realise that the best way to grow a business is by growing your customers.

The book is easy to read and has a lot of examples of how businesses, small and large have benefited from using the superconsumer strategy. I would give this book a rating of 8/10.

I had the opportunity to talk to Eddie Yoon. You can catch the entire video below:

 

Book Recommendation: Look by James Gilmore

One of the most important aspect of innovation is the ability to observe our customers or prospects in action in their own world. There is a lot of information about various stages of innovation but I always felt that someone needs to explore the process of observation in much more detail than has been done so far.

So, when I came across the book – Look by James Gilmore, I was excited to read on.

I must say that the James has not only done a fabulous job of going in-depth in the process of observation but has also used an analogy that each one of us can identify easily with, to describe the entire process of observation.

I would strongly recommend this book, if your jobs requires you to do any kind of observation (which is almost all of us) and more so, if you are trying to come up with a new product or service for a target segment.

If done well, this process has the potential to throw up so many insights for the team to build their new products/services upon.

As James says

Simply put: What you look at informs what you think about, which influences what you act upon.

Serious Creativity.

When one talks about serious creativity, I think we talk about bringing our own perspective to different things or topics.

Looking establishes this context for focusing our thoughts on a specific subject and then apply our perspective. It helps bring the world into focus.

  • The first rule of creativity: The easiest way to get a new idea is to think about something no one has ever thought about before.
  • The second rule of creativity: The easiest way to think about something no one has thought about before is to look at something in a way no one has ever looked before.
  • The third rule of creativity: The easiest way to create something is to combine two existing things in a way never done before.

So, the important aspect here is the following question:

Can we learn to look? Is this a skill? And if yes, can it be taught systematically to one and all?

James not only equivocally answers this and does this in a way that is not just simple but elegant.

Below are some of my notes from his book, that explains the premise of the book:

Learning to Look:

We look, but we don’t see. And we don’t see, because we’re not really there, looking as we are always distracted. We are so distracted that we now have words like pedtextrian (a term someone coined for a pedestrian texting while walking), or the screenager, which includes any of us using digital devices while not walking.

To look takes note of something as important or meaningful. It is the kind of observation that registers an “aha.” It is the kind of looking that sees something anew. It is an active process rather than a passive one. There is so much variation in the world to be compared. In making comparisons—within any field of study—greater understanding is gained. What matters does not just exist in a single field of study. There are worlds and worlds of details existing in many different disciplines. Just as value can be unlocked by making comparisons within an individual field, opportunities for new insights often only emerge when looking across multiple disciplines. Looking is pleasurable.

Looking as a Skill:

Looking can be learnt as a skill. In order to learn how to look, you need to learn to pay attention. One needs to stop, slow down and listen.

James talks about the metaphor of wearing different kinds of glasses in order to look in a specific way. Wearing these glasses can help us see the world in ways that we cannot without them. So it is with “wearing” the Six Looking Glasses—using each in different circumstances, based on the particular observational needs of the moment, we can make looking an active and derive all the different insights from the observation.

The Six Looking Glasses and the role that they play in the act of active looking are:

Six strategies to generate insights through observation. Click To Tweet

BINOCULARS LOOKING:

Binoculars looking involves taking a step or two back from the situation and picking a vantage point to better observe the overall scene. Find a place to take in all the action from the best vantage point. We do this so that we can decide what needs to be explored further.

BIFOCALS LOOKING

As they say, nothing is as it appears. Looking with bifocals compares and contrasts different aspects of what’s being observed, seeking to uncover various levels and layers of significance. Bifocals looking then alternates between these two different or opposing views.

MAGNIFYING-GLASS LOOKING

Once we have identified an area where we think there are insights to be gained, we use Magnifying-glass looking. This takes a break from other ways of looking to examine one particular feature in much more detail.

MICROSCOPE LOOKING

Once we have looked at a specific feature, it is also important to use microscope looking to slide up and down, left and right, seeking to identify yet more features worth examining. Using this, we look around. We explore the scene by shifting the viewed object itself—to observe even more details at the edges of the scene. Microscope looking involves scrutinising and studying the scene.

ROSE-COLORED-GLASSES LOOKING

Rose-colored glasses look ahead to improve the scene by uncovering hidden areas. This is when you look at the scene with your own layer added to the scene. This is also when we realise that there is much more that meets the eye.

BLINDFOLD LOOKING

Having employed the other ways of looking, blindfold looking reflects upon and recalls what was seen (or not seen) and how it was seen (or not). It serves to both summon what has already been noticed and to redirect further looking based on how and why something was missed or mistaken in the scene. This is when you reflect on what you have seen and what was absent that should have been there. This is an area which is often overlooked.

Strategy to Look:

James also shares his opinion on how to look and use the different glasses.

He says:

Observer might begin with binoculars to survey the scene, and then don bifocals to look at something in two different ways. Next, the magnifying glass spots something of significance, followed by microscope looking to examine more details. Finally, rose-colored glasses see something better than it is. And somewhere along the line, blindfold looking is used to recall all that has been seen.

Where to Look

He also shares his thoughts on where should one look at? There are four choices, depending upon what you would like to uncover.

  • Nothing in particular
  • Everything you encounter
  • Anything at all, and
  • Something of interest.

The book’s premise and the strategies being shared in this book will not only help us uncover hidden insights but also has the added benefit of allowing us to lead a much more engaged and an active life by helping us stay engaged in an activity that most of us are passive about.

So, please go ahead and pick up the book. It is worth you time.

20 Insanely Interesting People I Came to Know in 2016

One of the things I do over time is to discover new people and learn from new sources. I had shared my earlier list of 25 insanely interesting people in 2014. You can find that list here.

So, here is a list of some of the insanely interesting people that i came across in 2016. I do hope you will find some of these people and the great work that they are doing interesting enough to start following them. I must say that I was fortunate enough to discover these people online and learn so much from them.

I do hope that you will spare some time and try and follow some of these folks and the insanely interesting work that they are putting out into the world. They are changing the world as we know it.

Here is my list of insanely interesting people I came to know in 2016 (in alphabetical order)

Adam Grant – Super Power – Being Prolific at Original Thinking

I was introduced to Adam through a podcast episode that Srinivas Rao put out on his show – Unmistakable Creative (BTW, it was also one of the best episodes of the show). Then I went on to listen to his book – Originals on Audible. Loved the book. Then I went ahead and bought his other book – Give and Take and loved that as well. I have been highly influenced by both his books and hope I am able to put some of the learnings from the books into practise.

Adam is THE top rated professor at Wharton and a leading expert on finding motivation, meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognised as one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers and Fortune’s40 under 40.

You can buy his book Originals here and Give and Take here. You can connect with him on twitter at @AdamMGrant.

Anders Ericsson – Super Power – Expert on How to Become an Expert

He is the author of the book – Peak and the proponent of the concept of deliberate practice. I got an opportunity to read his book and have a conversation with him for my podcast and was blown away by the simplicity & openness of this expert on expertise & human performance. He had a significant influence in my thinking and understanding about how does one go about becoming an expert in any given field. So much so that I bought 25 copies of his book to give away to my customers, with the request to gift the book to someone they thought had the potential or the aspiration to become world class at their chosen field. You can find more information about him and his contact at his university page here. You can buy the book here.  You can listen to my conversation with him here.

Anthony Iannarino – Super Power – Inspiring Greatness – not just in selling.

I found Anthony through my search for good sales blogs. His blog is literally called The Sales Blog. This is one of the best sales blog that i have come across which doesn’t just talk about how to be great at Sales but also be a great individual. I had the opportunity to talk to him for my podcast. You can listen to the episode here.

He also has a YouTube channel and has started posting a video on his channel every day. He also launched his first book – The Only Sales Guide You’ll ever Need recently, which went on to become a best seller.

You can visit his blog here and find him on twitter @iannarino.

BJ Fogg – Super Power – Making Behaviour Change Happen

I don’t remember how I discovered BJ. He is a behaviour scientist and is an expert in behaviour design. Like so  many people, I participated in his online behaviour change workshop – Tiny Habits and was blown away by the results that I got from the same. You can look at his model of behaviour change here.

If behaviour design is something that you would like to explore, BJ Fogg is the person to go to. I do hope that i am able to get to talk to him for my podcast sometime soon (truth being said, I haven’t reached out to him yet).

You can find his work here and can reach him on twitter at @bjfogg.

Cal Newport – Super Power – Doing Deep Work

I came across Cal when I listened to him on every one of the podcasts that I follow and talk about deep work and its importance. Then I read (listened to his) book – Deep Work and my respect and admiration for him went up significantly. When Anders suggested that i should host him on my show, I reached out to him and he immediately agreed to be on the show. I am super excited to talk to him and get to understand him a bit more deeply :-).

You can find his book here, follow his blog here.

Dan Gregory – Super Power – Making the Impossible Possible

I came to know of Dan and his work through reading his book – Selfish, Scared and Stupid! He is the Co-Founder, President and CEO of The Impossible Institute™, a strategic think-tank that helps organisations understand what motivates the staff, customers and communities so that they can make impossible things possible.

I had the chance to talk to him for my show and was blown away by his calm, thoughtful and brilliant answers to my questions. You can listen to the episode here.

If you are running a small/medium sized business and want to explore how to significantly grow your business, Dan is the man to turn to.

You can follow his blog here and connect with him on twitter at @DanGregoryTII.

Daniel Burrus – Super Power – Connecting Present to the Future

I first came across Daniel when I read his book –  Flash Foresight. In the book, he talks about Hard Trends and Soft Trends and how if organisations that understood the hard trends can then align their strategies with these trends and benefit immensely.

He also runs a research organisation called Burrus Research and blogs every week. I have followed his blog keenly and have found that he is insightful and extremely well articulated. He has this uncanny ability to predict the hard trends and apply it to the current day-to-day strategy. You can follow his blog here and connect with him on twitter at @DanielBurrus

Dilip Soman: Super Power – The Power of Nudge

Dilip Soman is a Professor of Marketing. His research is in the area of behavioural economics and its applications to consumer wellbeing, marketing and policy. He is also the director of the India Innovation Institute at the University of Toronto.

He is also working with the Nudge team being created by the Indian government to implement nudge strategies in the policy making in India.

I had the opportunity to host him for my show (to be published shortly) and was super excited and influenced by his thoughts.

You can connect with him on twitter @dilipsoman.

James Victore – Super Power – Insanely Creative & Igniting Greatness

I found James Victore through his YouTube channel. He was introduced to me via Seth Godin in one of his interviews. James is a creative and hosts (used to host) a show on YouTube called – Burning Questions. He would take questions that his followers sent to him and answer them.

He was funny, personal, insightful and would push people to not settle for mediocrity and go for greatness. He just launched a channel on Patreon to allow people who need his advice to go to and get deep, long and insightful commentary.

You can find James’s work here and register to attend his workshops here. His YouTube channel is here & his patreon page is here.

If you are a creative person, I would strongly recommend that you follow and interact with him on twitter @JamesVictore.

Jessica Hagy – Super Power – Morphing Emotions to Charts

Jessica runs an immensely popular blog – This is Indexed. She is an award winning creative and has a very easy way to pick complex topics and show them in a simple chart. She has been doing this on a daily basis for a long long time. He has also illustrated – The Art of War, the quintessential book on strategy and living. She is another person whom I have not had the chance to talk to yet but would love to connect and host on my show to talk about her super power.

You can find her blog here and can reach her on twitter at @jessicahagy.

Richard Thaler – Super Power – Nudge You to do what is Right for You

Richard Thaler is the co-author of the seminal book on behavioural economics – Nudge. This book changed how I saw influence and started questioning a lot of my decisions. He recently released his book – MisBehaving which went on to become a best seller as well. He is probably the one guy who understands nudging and how can one design products or policies to help people do what is the right thing to do through choice architecture.

I think BJ Fogg is the guy for personal behaviour change and Richard is the guy for bringing about mass behaviour change. If you have ever seen a pricing structure with three options and where two of the options seem absurd or one is highlighted as the best option, you are seeing his work being put in action.

He has worked with the British government to set up their nudge unit which is a shining example of how governments now understand that just providing options doesnt move the needle when it comes to doing good – they need to nudge the people to do what is right for them and for the government.

You can find his books (Nudge & Misbehaving) here. You can follow his blogs here & connect with him on twitter at @R_Thaler.

RJ Shraddha – Super Power – Insanely Insane

Shraddha is a RJ at a radio station (104 Fever FM) in Bangalore, the city where i live. Her show – Mad mornings is one of the most popular shows in the city and she has a cult following among her listeners. To say that she is funny, hilarious, super smart, a bit mad, extremely creative and alive would be an understatement. She is just amazing.

I had the opportunity to speak to her in her studio and loved the interaction, warmth and the energy she brought with her. You can listen to my episode starring her here and connect with her on her Facebook page here.

Robert B. Cialdini – Super Power – Building Influence Through Presuasion

I first came to know of Robert when his book was referred by not one but many people who were on my list of 2014 insanely interesting people. I read the book and got to know why he is so revered in the marketing circles.

The book was a practical guide on how to influence people and their decisions systematically and definitely. Then he came up with his next book Pre-suasion. I got my hands on the book as quickly as i could and read it cover to cover – twice.

I was familiar to the concept of psychological framing but this book took this to a different level. He shares strategies about what one could do to create an environment which stacks the deck in your favour to influence decisions. I strongly believe that if your work involves you influencing people around (upwards, sidewards & downwards), you MUST read both his books. I do hope that i am able to convince him to talk to me for my audience sometime soon.

You can follow his work here and connect with him on twitter at @RobertCialdini.

Rohit Bhargava – Super Power – Finding a needle in a Haystack – Futurist

I discovered Rohit through his book – Non-Obvious, where he shares his method to curate trends. He calls it the Haystack Method. He also updates his book Non-Obvious every year and shares information about trends that he sees playing out in the near future. What makes him more interesting is that he also reviews how his predictions in the past year have played out.

He also has a weekly news-letter Non-Obvious insights, where he hand picks 5-6 stories that point towards a trend and are worthy of our attention.

You can find his blog here and he can be reached on twitter at @rohitbhargava.

Roman Mars – Super Power – Craft and Share Powerful Stories

Roman is a podcaster and hosts the immensely popular 99% Invisible podcast. Seth Godin introduced me to Roman Mars via one of his rants. Since then, not only have I not missed a single episode that he has put out, but I went back in time to listen to every single podcast episode that he ever released.

Even my 12 year old son loves listening to this show – probably the only podcast that we both like listening to. He picks his stories with care and is amazingly great at weaving the story in a way that you would want to immerse yourself in the story.

You can listen to his podcast here and sign up for his newsletter here.

You can listen to some of Roman’s favourite episodes of his show here. You can connect with him on twitter at @romanmars

Sanjay Manaktala – Super Power – Making You RoFL.

I came across Sanjay’s YouTube channel when someone sent me a link to his parody song –  IT Guy 2.0. Since then I have watched every single video that he has put up on his channel, including the senti Sanjay. I find him to be extremely funny and uncannily current.

You can find his YouTube channel here and connect with him on Twitter @smanak .

Stephen Dubner – Super Power – Story telling Economist

Stephen is the co-author of the Freakonomics series of books and hosts the hugely popular podcast – Tell me Something I dont know. The amount of trivia I have learnt on his show is just something I never thought I will ever know. His show definitely made me smarter.

He has the uncanny ability to weave a story out of any economic topic and captivate the audience. I do hope that I am able to meet him sometime and host him on my show sooner than later.

You can find his books (When to Rob a Bank, Freakonomics, SuperFreakonomics and Think Like a Freak), podcasts (Freakonomics Radio & Tell Me Something I Dont Know) and connect with him on twitter at @freakonomics.

Team Film Bilder – Super Power – Building Animations That Speak to You

I stumbled onto one of their videos through an email I got from Open Culture (you should so sign-up for their daily newsletter). This team based in Germany releases short animated films which have inspired me for sometime now.

The award winning team is extremely creative and use animations to share universal stories that have the potential to speak to each one of us in a very different way, based on our own mental make-up at that exact moment.

You can follow their YouTube channel here. My favourite video among them all is here.

Team Maati Baani – Super Power – Creating Collaborative Music Magic

I generally dont like to listen to songs and music with very few exceptions. One of the exceptions is when team Maati Baani (Karthik Shah and Nirali Karthik) put out one of their songs. What fascinates me is that not only do they release music that is mind-blowing, but are able to do so by collaborating with other musicians from around the world (like Michael Jackson Tribute or Jao Piya here).

I know from experience that it is hard work to produce high quality music, even more to do so by collaborating with other musicians, and sometimes from across the world.

You can follow their YouTube channel here and connect with them on twitter at @maatibaani.

Tim Harford – Super Power – Making Economics Make Sense to commoners.

He is popularly known as the Undercover economist and is the author of the book Messy. I had the opportunity to talk to him for my podcast (to be published sometime soon). He hosts a popular radio show – More or Less. The best thing about him is that he is able to pick complex economic concepts and make it simple enough for non-economic folks can understand and make sense.

You can find him on his website here and on twitter he is @TimHarford.