Declaration of Independence – Here is to the Crazy One’s

 

One of my favourite ads of all time is the Apple ad – “Here’s to the crazy one’s“. This advertisement is a call to action to all of us who have a creative spark, an idea, the yearning to do something good, the frustration that we are wasting our lives the way we are living them. A lot of us are making a living not living the life that we truly want to live.

I am not calling all of us to leave our jobs or to start a company or to disrupt everything. No. That is not the idea. And yes, if that is what we want to do, by all means we should be free to do so.

The idea is that we should not restrict ourselves and our creativity but embrace and celebrate our creativity and be comfortable with our weirdness or our onlyness. As James Victore says – “What made you weird as a kid is what makes you great now”

The idea is not to conform to a specific stereotype, just because it is the safe thing to do.

The idea is to bring our full selves to whatever we are trying to do and allow or inspire others to do so as well.

The idea is that we allow our ideas to come to life in whatever shape, form or factor that they want to come out.

The idea is about bringing a lot of energy and having fun in whatever we are doing for the majority of our lives (work).

Declaration of Independence:

So, here is the Declaration of Independence for the crazy one’s:

  1. We believe that it is our fundamental right to have fun, be creative and be happy at work.
  2. We believe that it is our right to bring our ideas to table irrespective of our race, colour, sex, designation, experience or sexual orientation and get a fair hearing.
  3. We believe that it is our right to do work that is meaningful to us (as part of our regular jobs or outside of the jobs).
  4. We believe that it is our right to be treated based on the merits of our ideas and actions and not based on any other criteria.
  5. We believe that it is our right to question the status quo.
  6. We believe that it is our right to attempt to change the world – one person, one idea and one day at a time.
  7. We believe that it is our right to question & stand up against things that we believe are not right.
  8. We believe that it is our responsibility to create this culture ourselves and stand up for other creatives and crazy ones.
  9. We believe that it is our responsibility to promote other crazy one’s in their journey.
  10. We believe that it is our responsibility to spread the word and help every crazy one sign-up to unleash their creativity and craziness on this world.

This declaration of independence is as much important for each one of us, the crazy one’s, but also to every one of our family members,  friends, colleagues and the managers. If you know someone who wants to unleash themselves and their creativity in the world, allow them the freedom to do so. Instead of convincing them to take the safe and secure way and to conform to a sterotype, encourage them take their own path to their own future.

Lets go change things!

Lets go change the world for the better!

Most importantly, Lets start doing and being !!

PBTO58: Hunch – Where Insights and Foresights Meet! With Bernadette Jiwa

Credits: Opening music credit goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

Who is on the show:

In this episode, we host Bernadette Jiwa. She is a best selling author of multiple books and writes one of the most popular marketing and branding blogs – The Story of Telling. Smart Company named as the top business blog in Australia of 2016Seth Godin listed it as one of the marketing blogs he reads.

Why is she on the show:

She just released her most recent book – Hunch. The book talks about how we can turn our everyday insights into the next big thing.

What do we talk about:

In this episode, we talk about how this particular book came about. She shares her insight about how entrepreneurs – small and large are getting deluded in the barrage of data and using it as a crutch to not decide and work on their hunches. She shares some very interesting stories about how Richard Turere (all of 12 years old) helped save his cows from Lions and in the process invented the “Lion Lights“. She also shares the story of how one doctor (Dr. Ravenell) leveraged the popularity and the sense of community in a barber shop – Denny Moe’s to change the lives of thousands of black men by converging healthcare and haircare.

She defines Hunch as below:

Hunch = Insights + Foresights

Simple yet elegant way to define something extremely complicated, I must say. She also talks about the fact that in order to get these hunches, we need to look at the intersection of three things.

Hunches are formed at the intersection of Curiosity, Imagination and Empathy.

There are opportunities all around us if only we stop and notice them. She shares her way of getting these inspiring stories from the everyday walk of life. She says that these stories are all around us, if only we can stop and look for them, if we find them, slow down and think about them.

We also discuss how important boredom is and how crucial having distraction free time for us to think about stuff that we have learnt and allow it to sink in and come up with our own perspective and a lot more. She shares how Sara Blakely founded Spanx with 5000 USD and she takes the long route to work, so that she can get some quite reflection time for herself almost everyday.

This is a short episode but one filled with a lot of insights and learnings.

How can you connect with her:

I strongly recommend that you buy her book – Hunch. The book is packed with a lot of such stories and also has a lot of prompts that can nudge us to practice all the three things that she talks about (curiosity, imagination and empathy) that are important for coming up with our own hunches. Also,  subscribe to her blog. She blogs every single day. Her blogs are an oasis in the middle of a barrage of blogs that dont speak to you. They are short but insightful. They speak to us in a way not many blogs do. You can also follow her on twitter @bernadetteJiwa.

PS: You can watch the TED Talks by Richard & Dr. Rayenell.

Credits: Opening music credit goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

PBTO54: The Fuzzy and the Techie- The Important Role of Humanities in a Tech Driven World

Credits: Opening music credit goes to Riju Mukhopadhyay & Pavan Cherukumilli

Who is on the show:

In this episode, we host Scott Hartley. He is a venture capitalist and author of THE FUZZY AND THE TECHIE , a Financial Times business book of the month, and finalist for the Financial Times and McKinsey & Company’s Bracken Bower Prize for an author under 35.

Why is he on the show:

Apart from being a VC and having written a good book, he has also served as a Presidenhttp://amzn.to/2rAeUmWtial Innovation Fellow at the White House, a Partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures (MDV), and a Venture Partner at Metamorphic Ventures. Prior to venture capital, he worked at Google, Facebook, and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He has been a contributing author at MIT Press, and has written for the Financial Times, Forbes, Foreign Policy, the Boston Review and others. He has also finished six marathon and Ironman 70.3 triathlons.

What do we talk about in our conversation:

In our free wheeling conversations, we speak about:

  • His upcoming book “The Fuzzy and the Techie”, the reason why he wrote the book and the places from where his insights come from.
  • How do we know if one is a fuzzy (Arts, humanities, economics, political science, etc) and who is a techie (engineering, computer science, etc) ?
  • How it takes both of these skills to do good work in real life?
  • Examples of how some of the well known techies are also fuzzies or surround themselves with people who are fuzzies.
  • Why did Google and Apple have a “Philosopher-in-residence” at some point?
  • The combination of a fuzzy and a techie at the helm of Apple..
  • The thoughts behind the Design of the New York Central Park by Frederic Law Olmstead and how some of the same principles are being used to design at Apple
  • What is the reason for a single narrative of AI taking over the world? Is there a different narrative playing out in the world as well? What are the other conversations that we need to be thinking and debating about?
  • How could automation by machine learning or artificial learning potentially play out? Will machines replace humans completely or will they automate parts of the jobs that humans do and thus enhance the capabilities of us humans?
  • The importance of the skills of a fuzzy in identifying where and how can technology be applied?
  • The story behind Stitch fix and its success. The role that the M Algorithm (Machine) and H algorithm (Human) play in their success.
  • The good, bad and ugly of recommendation engines…
  • How Facebook used user behaviour to drive user engagements
  • Tristan Harris and his movement – “Time Well Spent
  • Persuasive technologies and the impact it is having on us and our world.
  • The story of Sean Duffy and his company – Omada Health
  • His advice for entrepreneurs to take their businesses to the next level…
  • The importance of continuing to learn technology using tools like General Assembly and humanities.
  • Transforming From Full stack developer to a full stack integrator
  • Prototyping with Framer.
  • The growing importance of imagination
  • What did he learn from running marathon and 1 Ironman 73?
  • What Scott does to learn continuously and stay relevant?

How Can you reach him?

You can reach him on twitter @scottehartley or on LinkedIn. You can buy his book here.

Patreon:

If you like what you hear, I would request you to head over to my patreon page and become a patron for the show. You could do so by contributing anywhere from a single dollar to about 1000 USD depending upon how much you like the show.

Think of it like the following – I will bring thought leaders to your door step and in return all I am asking is for you to spend just enough get us a cup of coffee.

I would like to keep this podcast ad-free and need your support regarding the same. You can also find some very interesting artists whom you can also contribute for. I myself support James Victore as a patron. If you are an artist yourself, consider becoming a patron for James as well.

 

4 Simple Questions That Can Re-vitalise Growth for Your Cash Cow

Every organisation that has seen some success has some form of a cash cow, which continues to grow and provide the fuel necessary for the organisation to invest in new products or services, which can bring in the next level of growth for the organisation.

It is also inevitable that at some point in time the growth in the cash cow would slow down. If by that time, the organisation doesn’t already have another product/service that can take the place of the cash cow, then the organisation is in troubled waters, when it comes to continuing to grow.

The general response, in this scenarios is for the leaders to do one of the following:

  • Spend more money in advertising the cash cow, assuming that by spending more money (in the form of advertisement or offers), they will be able to continue the growth in the cash cow for some more time.
  • Go out to acquire a product that can provide the growth for the organisation. Unfortunately, most such acquisitions don’t pan out well for the acquiring companies.
  • Start an innovation project with the intention of creating the next high growth product internally.

Unfortunately, almost all of these efforts, while may work for a short term, will eventually come back to a stalled growth.

In their book “The Power of Little Ideas“, David Robertson shares his perspectives on how answering 4 simple (but extremely difficult questions) can solve this dilema. 

The questions are as below:

  1. What is the key product?
  2. What is your promise for the key product?
  3. How will you innovate around the key product to satisfy the promise?
  4. How will you deliver the innovations?

He goes on to share how organisations as diverse as GoPro, Apple, Disney, SAP, Lego, CarMax and others found answers to their growth by finding answers to these questions and how they can lead any organisation to create a set of complimentary solutions that not only help continue the growth but can also lead to significant competitive advantage as your product strategy is no longer uni-dimensional but becomes multi-dimensional.

He also goes on to share some of the mines that organisations would need to be careful of when engaged in this approach and shares how to do so.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, I think that most of what David shares in his book, is applicable to any organisation which has seen good success in a product category and wants to cement their growth and presence in their category. What is great about this approach is that this doesn’t require the organisation to bet their entire organisation or strategy on a new, untested product or service but find growth through existing, well tested products or services.

If you are tasked with growing an existing product or service that is showing signs of slowing down, do take some time and read the book – “The Power of Little Ideas” by David Robertson. He has a lot of insights that will benefit you in finding growth again.

Apple Does it Again!!

iPhone 7 + AirPods

 

I just finished watching the replay of iPhone 7 launch event. What is most interesting for me is that the way the Apple team has been able to keep their user at the centre and used technology to deliver some amazing features, some solving issues or problems that the users had forgotten all about, as we were so used to it that we were practically blind.

I am a big fan of Apple products – I use a iPhone 6, iPad Pro 12.9 and a MacBook Pro. I share this so that you know that are aware that you are listening to someone who obviously loves the products that this company puts out. So, if you want, take everything that I say with a grain of salt.

What Impressed Me

While increasing the processing power of the main chip, retina display, Ultra fast WiFi, new games (Mario) and all the other technology led features are important; addressing the competition with a new improved camera and including stereo sound is critical, What I am truly impressed by is the AirPods.

I have dabbled with some bluetooth headsets in the past with my iPhone, I have always been uncomfortable with them sticking out of my ears. When I tried the bluetooth headphones, they seemed too bulky for me to travel with.

So, I, like most of my friends and colleagues finally ended up settling on the iPhone wired headsets. They were the most convenient addressed our need the best among all our options.

These headsets come with their own challenges.

  1. At least with me, they get entangled every time i take them out of my box of wired accessories that i carry (including the charging cables and the laptop chargers).
  2. They have been more than 1 instances of me dropping off my iPhone due to sudden movement, as I don’t realise that they are connected to the headphone that i am wearing.
  3. While I have been satisfied with the sound quality that i have from these headsets, that is what i have experienced – satisfaction. No signature Apple “wow” since they were originally launched years ago.

The new AirPods solve most of the problems:

  1. They are wireless and will work seamlessly across my Apple devices, without me having to configure it to work with each device separately – with just one click. This in my opinion is not only great design, but great user centered design, as apple knows that most of the customers who will buy these AirPods will most likely also own other Apple devices. So, they designed the AirPods in a way that will not need their customers to separately pair them with the devices separately.
  2. They charge while stored in their box and not in use. That is also an elegant design. You will not only carry the case to keep your AirPods safe, but the same case will also charge the AirPods so that you never run out of charge.
  3. There are no buttons or interface on the AirPod. The claim is that they just work. You could use one piece to make a call or use both the pieces to listen to your favourite music or podcast, it just seamlessly knows this and adjusts sound accordingly. Another design element that clearly shows how deep the apple team understands their users world.
  4. The iPhone box comes with a 3.5 mm connected to the lightning cable and the regular headsets. So, they have also realised that not all the iPhone 7 users might be willing to go wireless and start using a AirPod, so they have provided maintained backward compatibility, out-of-the-box, which is a first of sorts.

In my opinion, if you think it is worth ordering your iPhone 7, it is worth ordering it along with the AirPods as well.

In addition to all these points, there could be other strategic motives for Apple to have taken this strategy. Matt Weinberger in his piece for Business Insider shares what he thinks Apple is doing with the AirPod strategy – Apple is moving beyond smartphones by creating a world where you never take off your headphones.

What’s Next for Apple

Having said all of this, I think Apple finds itself in a Rat Race, one that it doesn’t necessarily want to stay in but cant get out of either. All this talk about them not able to out – innovate their competitors the way they did with all their products in the past, with Steve at the helm is still troubling them and also in the long run will affect their stock performance.

They can create breakthrough products once they are able to identify a space where they want to play and put in their best minds to work on that space. Currently most of their energies seem to be targeted towards safeguarding their current investments and not on the next generation of products.

There are many rumours ofApple building an Augmented Reality platform (I do think it has to be a platform) and we will soon hear from them on this. This would be the next frontier that Apple needs to go and if their track record is anything to go with, I am sure that they could potentially bring VR/AR to mass adoption.

All said and done, I think if I held Apple shares today, I would not sell them in any hurry.