Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Back of The Napkin

This book is a must read for anyone who wants to:
  • Break himself/herself from the power-point-bullet syndrome (funny! I use bullets to negate bullets)
  • Develop visual thinking
  • Bounce off complex ideas in a clear, concise, and memorable way.
After a very long time I am reading a book, which is sharpening my visual thinking, in addition to being a fun read :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Entrepreneurship: Passion + Persistence

I admire two people for their great entrepreneur spirit:
A) Kiran Sawhney
B) Liza Chawla.

What is the common thread?
Both Liza and Kiran, in spite of their successes are very down to earth and lively people.

Kiran Sawhney
I have known her for some eleven years now. Some 11 years back, she traveled the world in pursuit of fitness certifications and fitness skills. At that time, she was beginning to explore her passion of exploring the fitness world.

Every time I visit Delhi (after a gap of two-three years), I notice a change in her clientele, her fitness studio, and her fitness approach. About two years back, I went Kiran's fitness studio - I was very impressed. The studio's layout was very energetic, bright, and happy :)

Kiran is a regular on many news/fitness channels in India.

What is so impressive about her?
Well, what has not changed over the years is her observant eye to explore opportunities and turn them into something/anything she is passionate about! Some eleven years back, Kiran recognized that fitness will revolutionize the world.

I read her blog ( yesterday and realized that Kiran has come a very impressive way from when she was a fitness novice to when she started giving group fitness lessons to being a personal (and probably the most expensive) fitness trainer to the selected few in Delhi today!

Another interesting thing about Kiran is that she has a great eye for design - she designed my wedding and reception dresses over emails! Both the dresses were very well acclaimed.

I'd be very interested to see the level to which Kiran takes her Design passion in the coming years.

Liza Chawla:
Liza and I have known each other since childhood - our families are close friends.

Liza - a very successful professional quit her very well paying job in California in 2005.
What has Liza been doing since then?
She returned to Chandigarh in India to help the street children of sector 17 get vocational training so that these children would stop begging on the streets. Liza's blog - talks about her journey.

Liza's journey reeks of patience, kindness, and acceptance. She took a long time to understand the circumstances, which make these children beg. She spent endless hours with these childen accepting their way of living and trying to get them to kick the habit of begging.

Liza was able to bring these street children to the level where the children want to go to school themselves - they want to undergo vocational training.

What is so impressive about her endeavor?
The street children of sector 17, Chandigarh picked up the vocational training's skills - the children became so good that they designed my wedding cards! Every card was hand made and unique. Each card was made by a child, who instead of begging on the streets spent his/her time utilizing their valuable skill.

Every time I opened one of the wedding cards, I could not help smiling and feeling content.

Liza recognized the opportunity to help man-kind - I bet it took a lot of courage to trust these children to make someone's wedding cards :)

In today's world, we get so engrossed in earning money that we forget to breathe. If we stretched overselves like Liza did, we'd be able to bring a smile to someone else's life the same way Liza did.

Well, this blog entry is a reminder to myself that I am fortunate to have people in my life who make this world a better place to live in: whether they do it by keeping people fit or by taking them off the streets and providing them with training does not matter.
What matters is that these people are doing good

Thank you Kiran and Liza for your entrepreneur and kind spirit.

Finally! Success

I have been chasing DesignWorks - Rotman's Innovation Lab initiative for more than a year now.

I wanted to intern with DesignWorks. Somehow I landed myself another job before DesignWorks posted internships at Rotman. Needless to say, I was extremely bummed.

Earlier this week, finally, after a year of expressing and re-expressing my interest many-many times, I was offered to work with them! I am thrilled to be a part of DesignWorks initiative moving forward. I start soon.

Earlier in September, we worked on a exercise in Innovation class, which asked us to take steps to discover and start our journey to the time where we see ourselves happy.

I can happily say that I am starting that discovery in the next week.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Networking/Donations = 99% Luck

I had a very interesting "networking" conversation with a very resourceful person at school today.

I am heading up Rotman Photography Association (RPA) this year. RPA is in its second-year of running - it is a constant challenge to live up to its members expectations and to diversify the activities/workshops. We have a great team - very artsy people, who are genuinely interested in photography. We had 35 members sign up for the club, which is absolutely awesome!

I have been trying to get my head around different ways I can make this club exciting enough so that the members think - "wow! I am glad I joined this club". The biggest challenge is that being a new club, we have yet to prove ourselves. The second challenge is getting funding for RPA.

A few weeks back, I mentioned to my resource (let's call this person - Windfall) that RPA needs some "aha" factor to engage its members. Windfall promised to do something about it. Today, I ran into Windfall and it was mentioned that Windfall can fly in last year's National Geographic Photography's winner to Rotman (at Windfall's expense) to give a workshop on landscape photography!

WOW! was my response and I could not stop jumping around :)

Then, there were two other options:

  1. Studio Photography from another reputed guest speaker.
  2. Lighting Techniques from yet another guest speaker.
Today's conversation was all about luck! I will be so very grateful to Windfall is I can get this National Geographic person to Rotman for RPA.

Not only does Windfall know this National Geographic person, but Windfall also knows this Rotman alumni whom I have been trying to connect with since last year! I know if Windfall sees a fit, I might get connected to this alumni for a full-time opportunity within the industry I want to work in.

Getting a job, getting a donation, and getting connected to National Discovery people is all about being at the right place at the right time. 99% of times it is about luck, remaining 1% of times it concerns voicing out what and why do you want something :)