2017 is the year of Drones

2017 is ripe for disruption in massive proportions. One is definitely drones. People who whine about loss of jobs for technology will be in for more bad news. Yes, drones will take away traditional jobs, but if you carefully watch below video, you will understand there is emerging demand for people who can handle drones, make drones and deliver drones. Technology takes away jobs, and they create brand new jobs. Youth will gladly take these jobs, provided they get relevant tech education fast. But, if GenX or senior citizens can embrace change, educate themselves, the possibilities are endless.

Fear of other groups

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Politicians know this well. Higher echelons of structured religions know this absolutely well. If you instil fear in the minds of a group ( religion, caste, race, nation etc) that others are not good, you gain control over the group.

Carefully analyse all wars, riots, spread of wealth, or inequality in this world, you’d find this equation visible in plain sight. But emotions of fear is more real than analysis of facts. That’s why fake news thrive.

It is a weapon used by a lazy lethargic influencing few to take control of the hard working majority. Why most of the politicians, if not all, in this country are heavily un educated and non-sensical, but come next election, they win ? It’s through careful pollination of fear of other groups.

A Uber driver recently told me he’s Tamil and happily married to a Sinhala lady.

‘How hard is it?’ I asked.

‘No problem sir, We don’t think of it as hard, We don’t think of what others think, but we don’t do any harm either’

Wow. I was stumped.

A leader’s dilemma on team building

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We want teams to explore opportunities, yet we celebrate speedy delivery.

We advise people to think as a ‘group’ but treat ‘group think’ as a cancer in the organisation culture.

We want self motivated, initiative taking teams, but at the same time fear uncontrolled outcomes they bring in.

We want people to meet, discuss and make collaborative decisions, when in fact that decision could have been made by just one person, saving hours of meeting time.

Are we walking the talk ?

Where are ordinary people?

I scanned few newspapers and watched news on TV to realise ordinary people ( You and Me) have no place in media. Headlines are screaming rubbish statements from politicians. There are videos of gruesome murders and road crashes. Death counts from bomb blasts. Cricket scores. Beauty tips. Weather.

Where are news about the ordinaries? The ordinary champions who made it.

One rare news of an ordinary I want to share is this jaw dropping story of a  Sri Lankan lady. Her name is Nilushika Jayaweera. Please read.

Maid who left Singapore as a businesswoman

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Why people don’t create?

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People say internet is bad because  it makes people purchase items they don’t want. It feeds you tons of information you cannot process. It depress you because it feeds you celebrity stuff and you think you have to be a celebrity too.

All of this is true, if you are using internet 100% as a consumer.

What about you become a creator ?

  • A simple blog post that can help someone.
  • You do a research to check the cheapest and easiest way to purchase insurance.
  • You reduce usual time it takes for you to do a task, by learning from google fast.
  • You register to a course and learn how to play piano. ( You have to check Udemy, if you don’t believe me)
  • You open a Google doc, and invite collaborators from around the world to contribute to a working concept note. You get brilliant minds to work on something.
  • You hire and outsource brilliant people to get your leaflet or logo done for $5 in Fiverr.com. So you save many hours which you can spend with your family.

The choice of been a consumer and creator is with us. Why then people don’t create much ?

It’s this idea in our minds of producing a perfect product. The world does not care if it is perfect in your mind. They care if it fits their purpose,and delivered in time. If you stop been a perfectionist and start delivering version 1.0 fast, you may find something amazing happening to you. You have created. You have done  version 1.0, maybe the client will like it, and all you had to do was version 1.0.

I am not ready. I am not good enough. It needs quality time. I have too much work.

Let go of these thoughts.

 

Fake News : What can we do?

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This is not a step by step guide. Here’s the philosophy to deal with fake news. 

If you don’t read news you are uninformed. If you do read it, you are misinformed. ( This is a quote of Mark Twain, of course ).

So what do you do ? That’s a great question. What is the long term effect of too much information ? One of the effects is the need to be first, not even to be true anymore. So what is the responsibility you all have ? To tell the truth. Not just to be first. We live in a society that is just.. it’s first, who cares, get it out there, we don’t care whom it hurts, we don’t care whom we destroy, we don’t care if it is true. Just say it. Sell it. Anything you practice, you get good at, including …..BS.

You heard me? Does that make sense?

And Who said these words? Denzel Washington.

I searched the web for this video’s transcript. Could not find it, hence I typed it. It’s totally worth it.

Startup Depression or just Depression ?

 

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‘Although the truth is not always pleasant… it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome’ ~Grace Choi

Last week at Global Entrepreneurship Community , I learnt ‘startup depression’ is a common problem among startup founders and team members. We were in a circle, candid and open, our hearts swelled and poured on to the open floor. That discussion released many of us, and we gained strength from each other.

Depression is not a problem. It is a mental illness that needs serious attention. I was depressed few times in my life, and I know exactly how it affects.

When it happens to people in startups, it becomes ‘startup depression’. Developed countries are good at coining terms for just about everything. One good thing about this attention to detail is, it gets the attention it deserves. But of course, too much emphasis is not good either. Let’s strike a balance. Let’s get to the basics. Let’s deconstruct.

1. Startups get enormous attention, but it is nothing but a new small business.

Anybody heard ‘small and medium enterprises?”. Well startup is a one. Startups get tons of hype because of silicon valley glamour. It gives a false impression that startup is a guaranteed success, a pass to stardom. Reality is tough: 90% of startups die. So just stay cool. You are a SME, just that you are starting up in a hyped bubble.

2. Take care of yourself. World is just fine with out you.

Running a business takes lot of toll. Personal life also becomes work, and suddenly the success and failure of the business becomes personal. It is a bubble that we create inside our selves, and it is harmful. Going on thinking like that for many months is dangerous.

If you don’t agree with me. Take a week off. I mean it. Take a week off and see if anything major happens. It is us, who think that things cannot move with out us.

Once I took a 12 day meditation retreat with no phone and internet access. No connection to the world outside.  It was the best thing to happen to me and my team.

3. Depression is not a taboo. It happens to many good people. There are compassionate people who have guts to share it. 

Deepika Padukone took the mic and spoke her heart out. She has started a foundation to help people with depression.

 

There are now many people sharing about depression. Here’s the deal. They could have easily taken the therapy, the medication and go on with their lives. But they did not. To come out and share your story requires enormous guts. I know because I’ve been there. I was so blessed to have a wife , a boss, and a team who understood me for what I am. Also credit to me, I was candid about it and was more open about it as life moved on. Yet, early in the journey I was a closed book, because I could not figure out what was going on.

Sadly many don’t get peers, bosses and families who understand them. That’s why discussion, sharing and engagement is so important to help each other.

Each person is different on how they perceive challenges. So what worked for me, may not work for someone else. In the modern world, where everything is desired ultra fast, anyone can succumb to depression.

That is why I wrote this. I feel good. Cheers !

If you think this post can improve someone’s life, please share.

Can Social Enterprises attract millennials?

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Today at the Global Entrepreneurship Community conference, I heard 2 questions from delegates that stood out because of its relevance and intensity.

‘Why we have so much focus on tech startups, where are the non tech entrepreneurs ?’

‘Can social enterprises survive in a commercially oriented, non compassionate environment?’

One thing for sure- to thrive, or even survive, all kinds of entrepreneurs need technology. Take a handy crafts maker in a rural village in Sri Lanka. He cannot get a good price, because he doesn’t know how to place her products in a e-commerce portal. Even if she did, she won’t be able to receive money. Paypal is not providing inward remittances in Sri Lanka. There are alternatives such as Skrill, but very few people know it.

Social enterprises who can help the non tech entrepreneurs are struggling to recruit millennials who are good at tech game. Contrary to the popular belief that millennials are socially conscious, they are not dreaming about joining a social enterprise after graduation. It’s simple economics – tech, finance and services sector provide benefits that are too lucrative to say no. This is the reality and we should face it.

So how can a social enterprise attract good talent at a lower budget?

First, cut down the hierarchy. Make communication fluid and easy. Let their voices be heard loud and clear. Secondly, provide meaningful work for them to learn, fall and grow. Offer clear career progression. Thirdly, make sure you coach them. Of course, let them do the work, but don’t just see them trip over, be there to raise them up.

Finally, be lean in all things. Don’t get too many people onboard. Just get the right set of people . Throw challenges at them, so that your small team grows on each other, each day.

Global Entrepreneurship Community 2016 kicks off #GECommunity2016

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I am in Malaysia, as a delegate from Sri Lanka to be part of an amazing community. There are more than 100 delegates here from over 60 countries – entrepreneurs who in their own unique ways changed their societies for good. Bibop G. Gresta from Hyperloop is here. I am keen to listen to the humble success of amazing Dhabbawalas.

Yes, the spectrum here is crazy – from tech empires to mind blowing social enterprises. Audience I hear will be more than thousand.

What do these people have in common ? They have committed their lives to their cause. They do it for many conscious reasons, money is just one of it. They love to share. Their currency is ideas executed. Their vision is driven by scale and real impact. They are not doing things as side kicks or part time jobs to flip it at forums to ride an ego drive.

I feel like a tiny spec. I am part of a vibrant community. For these 2 days, I’ll be dropping everything else to learn from these doers, to ask questions, to engage so that our collective efforts can scale. You can follow #GECommunity2016 on twitter.

Thanks Dash & Vani: My own family, from another country.