Sri Lankans did not like excessive netflix ads placed on youtube, right at the start of each video. This happened around new years eve. That felt like a nasty friend who goes and stand up right in-front of TV every time I start playing a video.

Direct disturbance of user, especially when that user ( me) is already a subscriber, is the polar opposite of permission to ask and sell. There’s no permission given in this forceful ad. I have waited in irritation for 4 seconds to pass to hit ‘skip ad’.

Throwing tons of ads on face of a user is not a good tactic. Not in 2019.

In-fact funny thing happened afterwards. I have unsubscribed netflix and subscribed to prime video. I am not saying those ads was the sole reason to switch, but I can safely say, that irritation was a trigger for me to find an alternative. Price wise it was a $12 to $5 switch. That made it more easier.

Both mega budget movies from Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan at the end of 2018 have failed at box office. Usual thinking of big Khans pulling crowds have come to a grinding halt.

Because of social media. The early adopters ( first day viewers) posted negative comments on social media and the audience got thinner ever since.

Quality realistic movies like ‘Baadhai Ho’ have done surprisingly well at bollywood Box office. ‘Sacred Games’, the Indian Netflix series have done well. Internationally ‘Bird Box’ was a sensation.

Goes on to say, in social media driven age, our online opinions drive the demand up or down. Digital content is freaking transparent . No fake news can get you to go in to a cinema hall and make you pay.

We like to get the answer to the question ‘What am I ?’

It’s a loaded question. And the answer changes from time to time.

What I thought I was at 15, was a laughable stock when I was 25. And at 35, I am struggling to define what I would be.

Then I realise, rather than looking for a definite answer for What I want to be, I can easily find answers for ‘what am I not?’

What am I not?

The answers to this question validates my values. When I peel away the things I don’t want to be, I am getting closer to What I want to be.

It’s easier and clarifying.

Gone are the days when vacations meant relaxation. These days vacations are another stack of ‘work to be done’. Get togethers, trips, dinners, maintenance stuff and all of a sudden, the vacation is over.

I can’t think of any generation that was time deprived as this generation. I can only predict it would get only worse.

I would hope and wish that we all would have a slot of time to just relax and take a breather with out having anything to do. Time to be just be with oneself.

An enough time to reset the mind.

I wanted to reflect on 2018 and write a whole picture story. I wanted to bullet point the brilliant things I did and things I messed up. I wanted to write a story about things I achieved, those things I thought I would never be able to do in this year.

I wanted to do a photo collage. Share it in this blog. I wanted to cherish it with some inspirational quotes from some big names. I wanted to really pat my self in the back and motivate for the next year.

Instead I am so contented to say ‘thank you’.

( To all who believed in me. To all who doubted me)

Yesterday I completed Digital Transformation, my 9th course online. It is on LinkedIn Learning. 

It is an amazing journey. With in last few months I was able to get tutored by world class experts with in my own terms. That is, whenever I had free time, from the comfort of my home, at an insanely low cost. Learned from Ram Charan ( the leading business coach in the world) about how to coach high potentials. Learned from John Maeda ( a world authority in design and tech) about business, design, and inclusion. Learned from Tony Schwartz why managing my energy is far more better perspective than managing my time.  

All of these courses have been life changing. It helps me and the people I work with in organisations. It gives me better insights and helps me to  build enriching relationships. It trickles down in to happiness of my family and other communities I interact with. 

Also this keeps me at the edge at all times. That I need to get updated. That I do not know everything. This isn’t just about getting a certificate tagged in to the linked in profile. (Of course it helps to be motivated and showcase my skills), it’s about using that knowledge in everyday practice. I can use that knowledge today, right now. This is the most liberating thing about internet for me. 

I am a fan of note 9 stylus and apple pencil. It makes my life easier with getting notes on the go and creating eye catching diagrams. Sharing them is so easy because the notes are already in digital format. I do not lose the notes and no need to carry note books to meetings. I have everything with  me when I open my phone. 

But lately I’ve found out for creative long haul work, like writing a book, is better on real physical note books. Real pencils and pens are therapeutic tools in situations I need long time duration focus. It is obvious because when I am on real note books I keep my phone away. And that is a good thing because when working on phone, some notification pops out and even for a fleeting moment I will lose focus. Getting focus back is a strenuous activity. The more disturbances, the more it gets harder to come back to the work at hand. That is why we cannot get creative work in an office, because there is so much distractions going on. Our attention gets divided in to small time chunks. 

I had a hard time understanding discipline as a leadership value all my life.

It was shown and demonstrated something in the lines of : obey, patience, obedience, aligning, code of behaviour and punishment for disobedience.

Then I saw this explanation of discipline by Jim Collins. ( the world famous author of best sellers like ‘Good to great’ and ‘built to last’)

Discipline is not the same as regimentation. Discipline is not the same as measurement. Discipline is not the same as hierarchical obedience or adherence to bureaucratic rules. True discipline requires the independence of mind to reject pressures to conform in ways incompatible with values, performance standards, and long term aspirations.

That is discipline I can work with. 

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 ? 

  1. Take cover, ignore the beasts, carry on with my journey
  2. Bark 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 elixir is asking my self each time a dog barks ” Is this a battle worthy of my time?”

Done. 

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 them the attention and their power.

You may think I am talking about the politicians. Not just them. I am talking about fake people everywhere. Fake people in government, private sector, NGO’s,entertainment industry, clergy, academics, media institute owners, sports men and women, and the list is endless. I have encountered fake people in our families.

These fake people create messages that speak to your heart. They steal your emotions. They create a persona that seems invincible. They are actually not.

Ask questions. Test their motives. Throw away blind fandom. Find that fake person behind a fake news. Have a critical thinking mindset.

Cheers.