The Infinite Power of Finite Time!

Time is what we want most, but what we use worstWilliam Penn
We, as a culture, are yet to call time on the above reality.Though I have not read the book yet, I came across this Oliver Burkeman title ” Four Thousand Weeks “. That’s the number of weeks in the average lifespan. Some years ago, Dr Robert Cialdini wrote his seminal classic ‘ Principles of Persuasion ‘ in which he argued about The Scarcity Principle– Simply put, people want more of those things they can have less of.
Without meaning to read out the morbid act, let’s remind ourselves that we all have a finite amount of time- no matter whatever situation or stage of life we are in. If we are ready to wake up to this smell of the coffee, the temptation would be very high to extract the maximum, do more, zero in on efficiency hacks to up the ante and all and more of that. That said, if we aim to do that, we might be on the wrong track.
Most of us live with the stubborn idea that we’ll always have tomorrow. But sooner or later all of our tomorrows will run out. It is finite.
Let the above not become a debilitating thought. Rather, use that as an invigorating tool to design the life that you want to liveTo distill the trivial many to focus on the vital fewTo amp up courage to take the outrageous moonshots that you were afraid to take. To give you the spunk that can go down to your every bone.

Probably, the route to take would be the  ‘ disciplined pursuit of less but better‘. What author Greg McKeown calls ‘ Essentialism ‘.


We have: One life to live. One life to die. One life to learn and practice what you have learnt. One life to learn multiple skills, arts, hobbies, sports…multiple professions. One life to experience joy in what you perform. One life to share, give, pass on, teach and donate so that you die empty but Rich every which way.


“ The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”- so said Les Brown. And what a telling commentary that is on the ‘ ground reality ‘ .


Contemplating your own mortality can help you prioritize what’s truly important and live with greater purpose and meaning. Time to move the needle from living a life of endless efficiency and start living a life that really matters.


I had the good fortune to interview Todd Henry, author of the book ‘ Die Empty ‘  for BrandKnew and if you are interested you can watch the interview here .






Placebo, take a bow!


To begin with a look at the definition of the noun Placebo:
– a medicine or procedure prescribed for the psychological benefit to the patient rather than for any physiological effect
– a substance that has no therapeutic effect, used as a control in testing new drugs
– a measure designed merely to humour or placate someone. A placebo is a prompt for our subconscious to do the hard work of healing our body, increasing our satisfaction or maximizing our performance
I am enamored by the last one as it ultimately serves us better.
Several years ago, on my first ever overseas trip, I carried back a pain balm for my grandmother who often suffered from severe ankle pains. It took exactly 90 odd seconds between my giving her the balm, her applying it and her claiming instant relief. The Doctor’s prognosis of her excess weight and varicose veins be damned.
In a make believe world, placebo does the hard part of well..making us believe. It’s manifestation of a slightly different lineage, with some tangibles thrown in.
Status roles are defined by the culture we live and function in. ‘People like us do things like this‘. Wine collectors, sneaker aficionados, pimple creams, energy drinks or herbal remedies all surf the placebo wave. As it creates maximum impact amongst the purveyors targeted.
We offer sub optimal credit to the stories in our lives and we seem to have persuaded ourselves that our brains don’t matter much. But, increasingly, we have increasing evidence to the contrary.
Stories are the salve, the balm, the therapy and our brains, powerful as they may be, might or might not be under our conscious control.
If you find a better domicile for our stories to reside(other than inside our heads), let me know. We can recalibrate the GPS. Till such time, let us live with our placebos.
If you want some inspiration on how placebos work, take a look at this link
The above is a link from a post shared by One Minute Bass (@oneminutebass) 

Getting labellious!


Caveat: No, I don’t think there is a word called labellious, but I took the liberty of being rebellious.Yes, since there is a word called rebellious.


Since judging others is a full time profession for many, most of the world is a well employed place. Unemployment is only a myth. Though, the jury might be out on that one!!


” I am not an optimist. I am a realist. And my reality is that we live in a multi faceted, multicultural world. And maybe once we stop labeling ourselves, then maybe everyone else will “- Octavia Spencer


To me, labels were all about what we stuck on our notebooks and textbooks in school to establish ‘ ownership ‘ in the otherwise sea of sameness. When we grew up we were either at the giving or receiving end of labels like ‘ She is a prude ‘, ‘ He is an introvert ‘.’ Oh no, he is a stick in the mud ‘. ‘ She is a go-getter ‘. ‘ He is a rare talent ‘.


Then marketers entered the zeitgeist gleefully labelling people as ‘ Millennials ‘, ‘ Digital Natives ‘, ‘ Baby Boomers ‘ and what have you. Labelling makes ‘ targeting ‘ easier. Apparently!! That said, to me Demographics is Dead. RIP Demographics !


The thing with labels is that it can be both empowering and self-defeating. ‘I have tech phobia ‘. ‘ I am a misfit in social circles ‘. We are all multi-faceted at most times but the weight of a label buttonholes us into a default mode of the ‘ prescribed mode of conduct ‘. When the label description becomes the dictating narrative of our lives. The hunter becomes the hunted.


Modern day lexicon is not helping certainly. If everything is ‘ awesome ‘ as used by most digital natives in normal conversation, is anything? Not getting the latest fast fashion style at the brand store cannot be  ‘traumatic ‘. But it ends up being so. By attaching the label of “trauma” to run-of-the-mill challenges, we risk amplifying their significance, making them appear insurmountable, and potentially hindering our healing journey.



We are all nomads here. So, the way out is to take advantage of the fluidity of life and adapt accordingly. Labels need not come with permanent glue. Treat them like Post-It Notes. There today, not there tomorrow. You can stick them on and peel them off, as and when you please.


Show it who is the boss- you are the landlord, the label is only a fleeting tenant. Use them like tools and not get bound by them as rules.


Obsessing over your own labels stops you from being an authentic version of you. You’re living up to a label someone who doesn’t know you as much as you do has given you, which is pretty weird when you think about it.


As an aside, before I conclude, for those interested, Labelling theory was developed by Howard Becker and is most associated with the sociology of deviance.






Writing It Right !


How do you get it write?


” Our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable ‘I.” —Joan Didion, “On Keeping a Notebook “.


Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing said Benjamin Franklin


Write something. There is no greater agony than an untold story inside you. Write something. Then improve it. Then write something else.Then repeat it till such time you have enough matter to constitute a post. Then ship it out. Rinse and repeat the process. Throw caution to the winds and to things like ‘ writer’s block ‘.


On the freeway of consistent bad writing is the convenience store that comes up- that of good writing. Fuel up there. 


And as you do that, you will simplify, clarify and amplify your thinking and strengthen your stories. When you are writing, you are looking at your own freedom. Nothing more empowering than that.



Please yourself. Pick up a few words. Stick your neck out and string them like a necklace.Open with a question and don’t answer till the end. The world will wait for an answer..then read out the riot…write act. Rinse..repeat.


From writer’s block to writer’s blog. The Separation Anxiety that we have in our heads is only a myth.


” The first draft is you just telling yourself the story “- Terry Pratchett

Did you get it write?





Are You Putting All Your X In One Basket? Y?

Do pardon me. For disintermediating the age old adage ” Putting all your eggs in one basket “. The X is just a chance I took with phonetic liberty.
If you put all your eggs in one basket, any fall will be a messy one. Any time you put all your eggs in one basket, you’re just one stumble away from catastrophe.
There are so many creators out there. And it’s a prosumer world, an increasing tribe of people who do both, i.e. consume and create content, art etc. And now what has become de rigueur, social media appears to have become the be all and end all of any content articulation, community engagement and community impacting. 
The number of platforms available is also tempting. The recent launch of Threads (Meta’s version of Twitter, now X) saw almost 100 Million sign ups within a matter of days. The new kid on the block was the hottest thing in the social media world. Even within its threadbare duration of existence.
Meanwhile, other social-media platforms are losing steam. Twitter users(and advertisers) have been leaving the platform in droves. Average engagement on Instagram has plummeted. Overall viewership on TikTok is down, and the company faces the possibility of an outright ban in the United States. Facebook is being referred to in the past tense already.
Change is the only constant. A lot of these social media shiny objects are losing steam. Sustainability is hard to come by beyond the thrill of the chase and the incidental afterglow. Remember MySpace, AOL Messenger, Netscape etc- from red hot, warm, lukewarm, cold, beyond back burner, to dead and buried.  All of them were huge, until they weren’t. Here today, gone tomorrow.
That said, a lot of brands still continue to lean into these platforms in the hope that they will deliver their manna from heaven and get them their place in the sun with their audiences. Lulled and lured by the convenience and promise of ‘ quick gains ‘. That’s meaningless ‘  sole searching ‘ – putting all your eggs solely in the social media basket. 
As you decide to fire from a social platform’s shoulder, because it has audiences at all times of the day or night, that freebie comes to you with a Faustian bargain. Which is you giving up control totally to the intermediary, the platform. This intermediary dictates who sees your posts and how often, and it can unilaterally change policies, tweak algorithms, and generally do whatever it wants—even if it puts an end to your business or influence.
Vanilla metrics don’t work. And engagements on social media are predominantly superficial.  A small statistic as a wake up call: Of the 95 million photos and videos posted every day on Instagram and the 500 million tweets shared every day, how many linger beyond a fraction of a second?
We look, like, and promptly forget. And yet, we keep chasing these fleeting ideas that have the shortest of lives.​ Gone before they are born
The way to go is to be a master of your space– create your own blog, your own newsletter, your own email list, your own website etc. The Great Resignation is happening from social media platforms. But nobody is giving up on email. Well written emails with the right subject lines can fetch you upwards of 50% open rates and a significant click through rate(CTR). Never will you get this kind of an engagement on any social media platform. Yes, the web and email seem unexciting. But time to put your money where your mouth is.
If the idea you have in mind is to make things last, run away from the latest fad. Seek things that age well. Ozan Varol calls it ” the George Clooney Effect* “.
The Gorge Clooney Effect is a term used to describe the phenomenon of people looking better as they age. It was named after actor George Clooney, who has often been described as looking more attractive as he ages.
How about aging as an asset rather than a liability?

There is more to a job than meets the I !


job description can never exactly give you the full picture. Just as the map is not the territory or working is not productivity, your job and your work while being connected has more to it than meets the common criteria.


Your work far supersedes the job you do. Here’s a hint: your work might not be what you think it is. A chef might think his job is to focus on the food. Or the Doctor who thinks her job is to cure patients. But the cure is only a goal and a subset of the work that has a bigger narrative. Of community upliftment, of healing, of teaching, of giving.


It’s the famous story of the two workers – one said his job is breaking stones at a construction site, while the other worker on the same site was proud to say that his work was about building a beautiful cathedral.



The technical tasks are important, but the work involves more than that. There’s always more to the work than what’s in the typical job description.


The intangibles that are never part of your job description matter a lot. Delivering a great culinary experience for patrons is what a chef’s work would entail. Which goes far beyond the job of focusing only on the food.


A web programmer’s job description would be to write codes so that the site visitor gets to see what she is searching for. But the work at hand would be to offer a seamless, frictionless, engaging experience, that keeps her on the site happily for long and brings her (and her friends) back again and again and again.


Doing your job is not always the same as doing the work. There’s far more to it than meets the I.


The job description default is a constraint. Work goes way beyond that brief.


So, if you are in a job, you have your work cut out! Let’s not miss the wood for the trees.








React or Respond? Thermometer or Thermostat?


Thermometer: an instrument for measuring and indicating temperature, typically one consisting of a narrow, hermetically sealed glass tube marked with graduations and having at one end a bulb containing mercury or alcohol which extends along the tube as it expands.


Thermostat: a device that automatically regulates temperature, or that activates a device when the temperature reaches a certain point.


No, we are not here to debate the functions and benefits of these devices. Rather, we want to look at the inference we can draw from both.


A thermometer is limited by the fact that it has only one function- that it reacts to the environment. We have used it many a times when someone in the family is sick and it is the go to device for measuring the temperature. The learning here is that a lot of us are like the thermometer, conditioned and restricted by beliefs, people, situation, leading limited lives in the bargain. Reacting in a constrained way to the environment.


On the other hand, let’s look at the thermostat. What it does is it gauges the environment and conditions the environment to react to it. If a thermostat notices that a room is too cold or too hot, it changes the environment to fit the ideal for which it is set. We do encounter internal and external attempts at putting constraints on us, which is when we can respond like the thermostat to reject those limiting beliefs and create an environment that aligns with your most ambitious goals.


Our attitude precedes the outcomes we desire. Have a reason before you expect a result.


All of us know about the oft used adage ” With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility “. Now turn that on its head and make it ” With Great Responsibility Comes Great Power “.


To quote Jim KwikIf you fight for your limitations you get to keep them. Drop excuses. You can’t get upset by the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do. Accept responsibility for your thoughts & actions.


The worst place to be, more terrible than AuschwitzNazi Germany’s largest concentration camp and extermination camp, is to be a prisoner in our own mind.





The Might of a 5 Letter Word Called Might

The Might of a 5 Letter Word Called Might
The natural law is tooth and claw. All else is error.
When used as a noun, might means a person’s power or strength, like the might it takes to get a stuck lid off a jar of peanut butter, or the impressive power of a group, like a country’s military might
Might is also a verb used to express possibility, like when you might go for a walk if it doesn’t rain.
Here, the discourse is the latter- the one that expresses possibility.
The ‘might’ in “this might work.” An approach designed by hope, optimism and wanting to take the leap of faith.
The propensity to take a call, embark on an initiative, make a generous assertion about things you can’t be sure of.
Many hands make light work. Extending the analogy, many a ‘ might ‘, will add up, compound and make things work.


Was it Bismark who quoted ‘ Might is Right ‘? Though he was referring to the other might, when used as a noun. We rather use might as a verb

Making up for the folks who don’t!


All around us we experience this on a daily basis.


If you are a member of a team or community, and given certain goals and responsibilities, you would feel dejected because you feel that others are not bringing their fair share to the table.


It could be a splitting a bill at a restaurant or delivering on their promised part of the bargain or doing something to change the culture or create community impact. It could be taking initiative or appropriate responsibility at work. The reasons could be many- one could be that they are selfish but that being said , it is also likely that there is a distinct lack of skill or resources or a feeling of inadequacy that they have.


So, the arithmetic is simple- many people do far less than what they should. As long as we are calibrated for that, and prepared to bring more than our fair share to the table, your goal of making things better stands a good chanceBecause, we MUST make up for all those don’t.



How is your brand performing in the economy of feelings?



Ever since I can remember, marketing has focused on the USP, the unique selling proposition, and the product’s/service’s features and benefits. This is a traditional theory and applies to a rational, analytical view of value. In an oversupplied market with more, and often conflicting information, rational decision making becomes a myth.


Instead, start paying attention to what people do (which is the best indication of how they feel), not so much to what they say.


The more choices there are and the more complex life becomes, the more people make decisions that “feel” right to them, and NOT on an objective truth.


So, how is your brand performing in the economy of feelings?


Changing behavior is a herculean task- ask any newspaper brand or cigarette brand or an Operating System brand..


You would have heard of this brand called Betty Crocker fabled for their Cake Mixes– when they launched, it was launched as a plug & play product, get the mix into the oven and voila, the cake is ready! Guess what? The brand bombed in the market.


They went back into the market wherein they gave only a 70% ready product and got the customer to participate and work on the remaining 30%- now guess what?? Betty Crocker was a roaring success.


Same thing applied to Ben & Jerry when they launched their Lavender flavor- it bombed..comeback kid was twinned with a more familiar to the audience Vanilla flavour and presto..


Creative pursuits that aim at changing consumer behavior should be hinged on layering the novel on the already familiar.


Caution: The value of marketing is not where you have been told it is.


Analytics inform , emotions compel.


In an era of quantum marketing with 5G, IOT, AI, VR, AR, MR, Meta etc, connecting hearts and minds is a great opportunity.


So, Marketing 101 would somewhat go like this:

-Identify which audience you want to be serving

-Examine what they need or want but don’t have

-If you can help people get to where they seek to go, when they’re ready to get there, the stuff called marketing gets significantly easier

-Be happy with serving a MVA(Minimum Viable Audience) rather than try to be all things to all people. Delight the daylights of your MVA

-Instead of finding customers for your product or service, find a product or service for your audience


As I conclude, may I direct you to this article from BrandKnew on how marketing has changed over the last half a century