Pick your battles

There are many bad people and bad situations I come across each day.  It’s like I am about to get out of home to go to Colombo, to find out two dogs are barking at me at the gate. What are my options ?  Take cover, ignore the beasts, carry on with my journeyBark at them, may be bite at them.  (How dare you two !) Most of the time I take option 1. It’s like 90% of the time. But there are 10% of those dogs who will not let me mind my business and don’t let me avoid them. Those are the battles I pick.  Yet remember all dog barking seems to be falling to that 10%. It is not. My biggest challenge is to find that 10%. 90% of the time you get people who don’t trust you, belittle you, say and do back biting. I have found the elixir to let go of them 90%. That

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Fake People

I am in the creative process of designing a community project that will help people to identify fake news. For the last 3 weeks, I have plunged in to the vast ocean of social media in Sri Lanka in the light of constitutional crisis, among other things. What struck me most is, fake people are more easier to identify than fake news. When I digged into the sources of the news, I was able to judge more effectively. Fake people are the ones who create a persona that is larger than life. They do not live by their broadcasted values. They jump on to any opportunity that come their way. They show that they care through words. Do you wonder why these fake people are been venerated by masses? Reason is, these fake people understand what the masses want. They give you something to believe in. They play with the imagination of the masses. The masses fuel that by giving

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Growth Hacking

Last week, I did an interactive session on Growth Hacking at a startup workshop. First thing I mentioned was that growth is a relative term. It means different things to different people and organisations. Massive crowd pullers like Air BnB, facebook and instagram heroic stories are plenty on internet and I hear them thrown around in forums very losely. Here’s the thing, most of us, will not build an Instagram. What startups need to understand is, ten customers who will pay you is a good start. I know a company housed in World Trade Centre that has only 4 clients, but their revenue is growing year on year. I know a sillara kade ( corner grocery shop) which is surviving despite flashy super markets popping up around it. Secret is this grocery shop does not try to be a super market. They know what their customers want and offer that consistently: giving good quality food items at a cheaper price,

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First AI Summit in Sri Lanka

My life has changed 180 degrees, when I did the data science coursera course from Johns Hopkins University, . That new learning cannot be undone. My understanding of the new world has changed. I started conversations with few of my colleagues and mentors on how Data Science, Machine Learning and AI can make a real change for a country like Sri Lanka. How can it help the common man, Siripala and Sumanawathi who are left behind. It was a very limited niche conversation for me, until yesterday. There were 350 people packed in to a hall in Kingsbury: developers, junior and senior Managers, CEOs, academics, and of course a fantastic lineup of speakers from across the world Although it was a full day event, which most of us find impossible to commit in this age, I was glad to see most of the audience staying until 6 pm. Kudos to Jeevan and SLASSCOM team for making this happen. I had

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I loved and hated Pecha Kucha

I did my first talk in Pecha Kucha format at Facebook South Asia safety summit.    I loved it.  Because I could use only 20 slides of 20 seconds each. Slides need to be mostly of pictures/diagrams and may be few words. Which means I have only 6 minutes and 40 seconds to tell my story. I immediately loved this format which induces brevity. I prepared for 4 days. Rehearsing over and over, removing all unnecessary words to get that perfect story. I have never pushed myself to a talk like this. It is hard to find time with all the work circling around. For that I am so thankful for pecha kucha format. I was so ready. I was excited. Until I went on stage and saw a timer ticking in front of me all the time. I hated it. It was not TED type, where they start the timer at 16 minutes. No, this was a 20 seconds

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What Yudhanjaya said

I could not attend this year’s TEDx Colombo. I was out of the country. When I asked my wife ‘what was the takeaway of Yudhanjaya’s talk?’, she said ‘He asked us to mingle with people outside our range.’ I smiled because it is absolutely true. It is astoundingly true and simple, that is exactly why we don’t do it. It is easier and fun to conform to a band of brothers/sisters. There are perks in that. But when I was 26, I stopped subscribing in to things that society asked me to. Because I did exactly what the society wanted me to. Go to University of Moratuwa. Do CIMA. Get a job. Your life will be taken care of. You will live a happy life. I was miserable after all those achievements. Why? I questioned. I started reading. Philosophy, religion, leadership, management, arts, technology, sociology, psychology and anything outside my Engineering circle. I started watching documentaries on true nature of

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Brevity and clarity is hard work

I’ll be speaking at Facebook South Asia safety summit in Delhi on Monday. Right now, I’m in Delhi and preping for my first talk in Pecha Kucha format. It’s simply creating 20 slides of 20 seconds each. Total speaking time of 400 seconds or 6 minutes 40 seconds. Slides should preferrably have images and may be few words. No bullet points. Brevity and sharpness is real hard work. I thought 400 seconds is easy. I am completely wrong and rudely surprised. There’s a famous story about Einstein. When he was requested to do a 10 minute speech he had asked for few days to prepare. The organiser then asked “how much time would you want to prepare if I asked you for a 2 hour speech?” Einstein had said “if it is a 2 hour speech I can do it right now.” Brevity and clarity is extreme hard work. I had to keep on removing ideas and thoughts until there

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There’s nothing original.

I was a participant at AK lit fest workshop by Dileepa Abeysekara. I went there primarily because I wanted to personally thank him for the fabulous Sinhala translation he did for ‘chinaman’. Big Fan. That was a very rare occasion a speaker/moderator got my 120% attention for all 90 minutes he spent with us. I wanted to write one big post about my learnings. But then again I thought some of the insights are worthy of short single blog posts. I will write a few. Here’s the first. “There’s nothing original” Yes, there’s nothing original. We think the thoughts crossing our mind or that music note glides out of nowhere is our divine skill. Dileepa says it is not. Everything that we create are a combination of things in our consciousness. Past experiences savoured from our six senses collide to provide something unique ( that we think) , but it is just a combination of some old patterns. He asked “

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Koombiyo – A Creative Dissonance.

Yesterday at the A&K literary festival, the ‘Koombiyo’ panel discussion was a revelation. The panel had the 2 creators ( Lakmal and Dhamitha), 2 actors ( Thumindu and Yureni) and the official from ITN (Wimal) who made sure Koombiyo got the air time. Wimal has played a major role, because Koombiyo was refused by many parties, because it was not main stream. They were brutally honest and candid with their responses. They appreciated the complex changes happening in society, attraction of online video streaming services and social media. Everyone could feel their energy resonate inside the dome of the Empire ballroom of Mount Lavinia hotel. The creators mentioned the fuel for their creativity was never the money or the desire to get it aired on a TV channel. Rather they wanted to do something ultra fun (අපි ආතල් එකට මේක කලේ). Come to think of it, ‘Koombiyo’ is the only Sri Lankan teledrama I watched again and again since ‘Palingu manike’.

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Uber Eats & Pickme Food : A new social dimension.

Yesterday I ordered my first Uber Eats. A vege fried rice got delivered in 35 minutes. Very impressive service. What uber and pickme have done to taxis, was not a thing until it was introduced. Now it is the new normal. Uber Eats and Pickme food will change food industry with in 2 years, that we will not be able to think of a colombo with out 30 minute food delivery. Right now, both are serving a very small area in Colombo. Testing times for both. Burning money for both, I guess. Because Uber eats did not charge me for delivery. Idea is to get more people try the service. These services need thousands of users to make it viable. Scale is the game. While we customers enjoy the convenience, most of us have no idea what a rough sea this delivery business is. Pizza hut do 30 minute delivery with their own cadre of delivery army. They do pizza

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