Newsless for 9 days

I wrote in this blog about fake news, how to decipher fake news and how to broaden our view of the world in an endless distracted content rich world. Thameera asked me  “why you need news at all?” and shared this post on how I can go newsless. I thought it is not possible, because I thought I need to know what is happening. But then I realised most of the news I consume is not healthy for my sanity and have nothing to do with my circle of influence. They are some manufactured pieces of stories to keep my attention from real stuff that I can make a change. It was time for a strict diet. I unfollowed all media twitter accounts. Did same for Facebook media pages. There were friends who were sharing news content too frequently. I ‘muted’ them on twitter, and unfollowed on FB, so that their posts will not get on my feed. But I

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How could you?

I was accused of something I did not. Truly, I had no part of it. Because I wanted to be completely understood, I asked specific questions to see if what I think is the same what he thinks. I explained that it was a total misunderstanding. He did not believe a single word I was saying. I figured there’s no point, and also my blood is now pumping at a rate which is not healthy. I moved away. Physically yes, but not mentally. Here’s how it went in my head. “ How could he? Even after all my explanations? Does he think I am a liar? So,  he could only see this incident? And why he cannot see I would not do such a thing “ It is fun to be the right person in my head. But my blood is still on high speed. I remembered an advise from a book and sat down. Closed my eyes and quietly

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​Why is it hard to get news ?

With internet democratising the knowledge space, why is it I’m finding ever so hard to believe in news I get ? The world used to get joy from watching parody shows. It was not just laughter, but good education too on issues that mattered. The real news is now parody like.  First, most of the actual news is absurd and puke worthy.  Then Media giants make their recipe of  click bait headlines. Then social media posts. Then parodies. Then parodies on parodies. Then more social media.  Fake news , fake facts spread like wildfire. The collateral damage of omnipresent social media accessibility. In the morning I used to get my daily dose of news through Twitter and Facebook. I have given up on Twitter and Facebook as news sources. They are ( it’s actually us, our contributions make those news feeds ) now just about pushing things faster, more.  It’s absolutely excruciating to decipher facts.  So how to survive this

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The other side of ratings

I was waiting for my ride on Uber when I saw on app that the driver had a 3.5 rating. Only 3.5 ? A sudden irritation crept inside me. What could this 3.5 number mean? Is he a reckless driver? Is he bad with using maps? is he mean? may be his car is in bad shape? These thoughts circled my mind for the 5 minutes he took to arrive. Reflecting on my mind state, I questioned my self “what if I had not seen the rating?” I decided to act like I hadn’t seen his rating. I got in. I was welcomed to a wide smile of a young man in his mid twenties. To my surprise he drove exceptionally well. No crazy changing of lanes, no abrupt brakes, and he was very courteous. He had been driving for 6 days on Uber. There can be many reasons for his 3.5 rating. I judged him on his rating alone.

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Asking questions and fear of failure

I find audiences very peculiar. They don’t ask questions after a session is over. When I go to a session, an event, a meeting or to a talk,  there’s a good reason why I am spending my time there. Otherwise I don’t go. So when I am there, I want to ask questions to clarify and clear doubts. I want to learn new things. I am not afraid if I look stupid in front of others, because my biggest resource is time, and it needs better care. From experience I found, it is only my questions that can make my time spent worthwhile in many occasions. Here’s an example. Extra tip: I am an avid google maps user, but I stop by and ask from people about the place I am going. I am pleasantly surprised by the knowledge I get. I found most of the time, the reason I do not want to ask questions is the fear of

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How can I help you ?

At events, especially after completing a talk, number of people who network with me is high. It’s all good. But time is limited. At one instance there were 3 persons from different organisations around me. All want to talk about their work, but all want to leave soon as well, because it was already past 530 pm. Traffic is insane in Colombo. So this is what I did. ” How can I help you?” The conversation moved from what we do to why we should connect. We all were questioning each other with specific questions and sooner we understood each other. It took 10 minutes and we knew how we can help each other. Wonderful thing was with one person I  found he could help me more than I could help him. So, ” How can I help you?”

Focus on customer behaviour

Arguments about technology changing needs of the customer is exciting, winding and depressing, because our assumptions are based on popular all or nothing trends. No, people don’t queue up for change in straight lines. It’s messy. So instead of zooming in on trends, try to zoom out and watch behaviour changes of people. You don’t need to be a tech wizard to observe people’s behaviours. If tech changes everything, why there is still demand for printed books? printed news papers ? If tech makes old structures go down, why Uber struggles in China, Taiwan and many East Asian countries ? If digital music is the bomb, why still people call radio stations and request songs? Seriously? While tech changes behaviour, it is vital to understand it doesn’t completely change the world as found in excited speeches of futurists. Strike a balance when you do your business planning.

Happy Birthday, Time.

I am a digital nomad. Many of us are digital nomads – knowingly or unknowingly internet has changed how we live, work and play. Last year I received more than 300 birthday wishes. Most of them on Facebook, then twitter, Google + and Skype. For a single day in a year, I was flooded with wishes. I felt really good. I replied all of those wishes. Wow, this guy from Uni, who now lives in Australia, whom I had not talked in 10 years, remembered me, wished me. I saw the pattern. Facebook sends the reminder to FB friends, then all in FB gets excited. Then someone who’s on twitter sees the FB message, sends her wishes on twitter. Twitter starts loving me. Same in Google +, same in skype. My birthday is a piece of data FB cross sell. There I was, dissecting my emotions. I removed my birthday visibility from Facebook. I did same with Google+. I tried several

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Fake news is bigger than we think

This post I wrote gives a philosophy to face fake news. Yet it seems fake news is now beyond individual attempts to decipher. Take a look at video below. After watching this video, take a deep breath and reflect on the next news you see. It’s a fake world out there. Be careful of what you consume. It wasn't just fake news. Real news outlets failed in a big way in 2016. — Vox (@voxdotcom) January 3, 2017

Why increasing minimum wage is good?

I have heard enough stories on how badly the workers on factories, warehouses and supermarkets are salaried. I questioned the ethics of it. I mean, giants like Amazon, Walmart and Apple are ripping the low income workers. Doesn’t sound right. The stories are horrid. Here’s a sensible 3 minutes video explanation from a Silicon Valley Billionaire Nick Hanaeur, on why companies should raise their minimum wage. 19 states are raising the minimum wage today. This billionaire explains why that makes sense: — AJ+ (@ajplus) January 2, 2017