dileeps

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 “ Have you ever tasted a cheese popsicle?”

We: “No”

Dileepa: “Cheese popsicle is a novel idea. It may not be palatable. But this new idea is a combination of cheese and popsicle, both of which we know very well.”

He concluded, “ We are not gifts of Gods as we are trained to believe from our childhood. Creativity is a learned journey as we toss and turn through life. What we make of it, and create is what makes us creative.”

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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’. Fun fact: ‘Palingu Manike’ was created in 1985.

I was particularly impressed with answers the creators gave to the question; “ When will we get to see Season 2?”

Dhamitha said “I don’t think we will do season 2. It is nearly impossible to do a sequel when this much fandom has been popped up. When we did season 1 we had nothing to lose. Back then we were kicked in ass and we could not even stand up. But now, we have everything to lose. If we do not do something better, we will lose all the hype we created.”

Lakmal said “I have to tell you something. I want to do season 2, but this guy ( Dhamitha) pushes me down.” ( Laughter from both)

I think what made ‘koombiyo’ that much entertaining with a script that is almost made in heaven is due to the creative dissonance, the tension the two creators have for almost anything that they say and do. In normal life, we think agreement is better. But I found out from them that healthy argument is what makes something beautiful.

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One last thing. The actors were humble and very approachable for the fans to get selfies and to do small talk. We never felt they were celebrities. Their individual brilliance have been collectively driven towards a dream that is “koombiyo”. No wonder they have created ripples in TV and social media.

I would like to see Season 2. But I am ok if they decide not to.

The hype about information economy is everywhere. The headlines scream some audacious thinking.

Information is the new crude oil.

Data is driving business.

Information is everything. Manage it or die.

The thing is- information is now in abundance. We create enormous amounts of data. No one, even machines can not keep track of the amount of data we create. We create more than what we can consume. So we consume more.

Here’s the catch. If information is the new crude oil, why we are not paying for 99% of the content out there in the internet ?

We trade our attention for the abundance of information. The more information we get, the more attention we give. More the attention, the more income for the tech industry. The big brothers of information tech ( mainly facebook, Google, and Amazon) are courting for our attention. The battle is fierce. The more time we spend browsing them, the more income they get. Which is why these tech is so smart. We don’t pay, right? Someone else is paying. But our attention? They take bets on our attention.

So, in effect, what is the most scarce resource out there now ?

Our attention.

Not sure yet ?

Look around you. Who can stand at a queue, travel in a bus or be at a meeting with out taking a peep in to their phones?

Can you ?

min of happiness

I saw a small boutique type M.D.Gunasena store in Fort, in front of the World Trade Centre. Been the book worm I am, made a mental note to visit it after the meeting.

They provided the same discounts they provide at the book fair. That tempted me to browse the books inside. ( At Book Fair, all I could do was to browse through a puddle of humans).

I came across “The ministry of utmost happiness” by Arundhati Roy. It was a wonderfully designed hard cover wrapped in a thin layer of polythene. I thought it would cost a lot, might as well get it on kindle. Yet to my surprise, it  was just Rs.1300 (with 15% discount). As of now the kindle price is $19 ( Rs.2900 +).

min of happiness 2

 

I read a lot on kindle, multiple books at a time. Mostly management, technology, and leadership genre. Yet this book, with its’ exquisite hard cover design, shiny papers with a nostalgic aroma, and eye soothing blend of multiple fonts – got me to throw away all other books, kindle and distractions- to sit down, to switch fan on, to sip water,  and read it like nothing else mattered in this world. Every sentence in the book feels like hand made and mind crafted. sometimes I read a sentence twice or thrice to capture the beauty of words creating a magical landscape of characters and their surroundings.

This is the first time in , may be , I don’t know like in 5 years, that I’ve sat down, completely ready to immerse in a novel. Funny thing is, been an avid kindle reader, I go to the reviews and comments section of books. I could remember there were many negative comments for this book by readers and reviewers. That’s why even with the heavy discount, I hesitated for a moment to purchase it. I realised how much I am now conditioned by the internet comments.

Back to my old ways. Reading a book completely.

Back then, I used to read a book or an article, underline all the words I don’t know, jot down all those unknown words in an exercise book one after another. Then I’ll take Malalsekara dictionary and find the meaning of each word, write it on the exercise book. Rather than memorising (COPY PASTE), I would read the book again, pausing at each underlined ( unknown) words. I would pause because I wanted to check if my mind can come up with the meaning. If I could not, I’ll look at my word book and would INSTALL that new word in my mind.

Here I am after 15 years, doing the same – learning new words and new rhythms of story telling – sharpening my linguistic saw.

Most of us, when we hear about “innovation” tend to visualise staff retreats, having fun and been creative by expressing ideas. Then come up with that ‘aha’ moment, and go and work on it. Once in a year routine, may be twice a year.

Far from it. Innovation in reality is loads of hard work, an emotional drainage, and a creator of many awkward and uncomfortable moments. If not driven well, it can derail even the most honest intentions.

Right now, in this age, if the head of organization is not leading innovation process, nothing will happen differently. Discussions may happen, but changes won’t be there. From next week, it will be back to old stuff.

So, then what is the role of the leader? Instead of thinking I have to give the grand vision and inspire people to follow, a leader must co-create space that people on their own generate new ideas, test, get it right, fail, generate ideas again, repeat.

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.

create

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.