Sleep of faith to leap of faith!


Before anything let me admit that this rant is not about jumping off from a plane and then figuring out whether you have a parachute and if so, trying to assemble it on your way down.


That said, your intuition is the best GPS app you can have in the operating system of your life. It’s that subtle tug in your gut that guides you, even when the destination isn’t mapped out. Leaps of faith get triggered by intuition.


The default guard rail fondly called the status quo is not the premise to grow, prosper, progress, explore, discover or invent. That is where you see entrepreneurs continuing to invest time, resources and energy into their ideas or projects that has gone sideways long ago. As they are burdened under the weight of the ‘ sunken costs ‘.  This is when you see someone continue to work in an organisation inspite of an acerbic culture and little chance for freedom of expression or career progression. Exactly the same thing in relationships which have gone bitter but you continue to hold on thinking that things will change for the better.


This should not be news to any of you. Our comfort zones are the domicile where our dreams travel to gather dust. As you take your plunge and that overdue leap of faith, you need to let go of the trapeze and trust that you will find your wings on the way down or find an handle to hang onto. The typical playbook will never encourage to disrupt the status quo. Put that playbook into the bonfire.



It is good to understand that the universe always has bigger, better plans and it’s the seemingly precarious leaps that often lead to the most exhilarating flights.


“Most of what I know I’ve learned from falling, from placing the brighter side of my hands against the earth and pressing until vertical. The ground has taught me more about flight than the sky ever could.”

― Rudy FranciscoI’ll Fly Away


Fear, apprehension, self-doubt will come and scream in your ear which is when you wear your noise cancelling headphones(metaphorically speaking) and distill the signal from the noise.

Trust or Attention?



Seek unabashed attention is the rallying cry. And get it at any cost seems to be the endeavor. By being over the top. Being controversial. By gross exaggeration. By misleading. By being opportunistic. By waving the flag on cancel culture. By tagging along with the powers that be.


The noise around is deafening. The hustle culture is omnipresent. The temptation to trade standards, principles, dignity, ethics and values in the quest for some attention is high. It might be an interim desire but that remains.



Simon Sinek called out to Start with Why– how about Start with Trust ? Trust is the basis for almost everything we do. It’s the foundation on which our laws and contracts are built. It’s the reason we’re willing to exchange our hard-earned paychecks for goods and services, to pledge our lives to another person in marriage, and to cast a ballot for someone who will represent our interests. It’s also the input that makes it possible for leaders to create the conditions for employees to fully realize their own capacity and power.


There is also the temptation to overlap and substitute trust with reputation but there is a clear divide and both are distinct from each other. The tripod of trust stands on authenticity, logic and empathy. People tend to trust you when they believe they are interacting with the real you (authenticity), when they have faith in your judgment and competence (logic), and when they feel that you care about them (empathy). When trust is lost, it can almost always be traced back to a breakdown in one of these three drivers.


So in the toss up between trust and attention, what are you willing to call out?

A Sorry Commentary- A Daylight Robbery Called The IPL


The caption above might be a misfit considering that most of the matches in the IPL(Indian Premier League), one the richest sports leagues in the world and the Board of Control for Cricket in India( BCCI)’s cash spewing monster( cash cow would be too tame a term) are played in the evenings from 7.30 pm onwards. But that is not important. I am here to rant about what must have dawned on a lot of people like me well before I am giving vent to my utter disgust and disillusionment.


Last evening, i.e the 25th March, courtesy the grace and kindness of my brother who booked premium seats, I had the opportunity to watch the IPL  match between between RCB and PBKS  at the over romanticized, over hyped, over sized backyard garden but (considered for a long long time good enough to hold international matches) cricket ground called the Chinnaswamy Stadium.


Having watched quite a few of the IPL games both in Bombay and Dubai, I had tempered expectations. My wife did not want to come but relented reluctantly. My uncle and aunt, on a holiday trip to Bangalore, were the others who made the fource. Tour de force would be more like it.


Irrespective of how you go to the stadium, by car, metro, auto, train, bus, foot, bended knees or whatever, getting in is the perfect inspiration for an ‘ against all odds documentary ‘. Unless of course you are considered the ‘ powers that be ‘, the select elite who have frictionless access and experience at every touch point at such so called hallowed venues.


Traffic cops( under motivated, under paid, over weight, over stressed, over worked) give you the get lost, why are you here glare within 500 metres of the stadium. And why not? The cost of one ticket that we had would be far more than the monthly salary they take home.


Neither the IPC(Indian Penal Code) nor the Constitution of India considers women or girls carrying hand bags a crime. As far as I know. The tickets issued for the match did not in anyway, anywhere mention that handbags are not allowed(Law abiding citizens don’t do all this. What will politicians do then? We can’t be upstaging them surely especially in election year). But, my aunt, my wife and several other ladies and young girls had the ignominy of being rudely told that you can’t go in with bags. And they provided an ‘easier‘ option- go out, walk another 500 metres, stand in line for another 45 minutes and deposit the bags at another gate and come back, rinse and repeat. Not to mention to be at the unwelcoming end of pushing, shoving and jostling because history has to repeat itself you see.


By this time, our enthusiasm was clearly turning into frustration, irritation and anger combined as we watched the absolute disregard and contempt of the authorities to the people who make the game ie the paying public. It was also a blatant exhibition of the absolute lack of coordination between the various stakeholders be it the IPL Organising Committee, the RCB franchise, the KSCA( landlords of the -for us atleast- infamous, grossly and hopelessly inadequate Chinnaswamy Stadium), local state police, the traffic cops, the on ground event coordinators and any|all stakeholders.


Somehow, having come to the end of our tether and found a good samaritan who understood our plight, we managed to get in after trading off a huge amount of dignity and self respect. Quid pro quo. Somehow the cricket buff in me still harbored hopes that the worst was over. But, we had another thing coming.


We discovered a new definition of premium seating- hard piles’ forming plastic chairs with the primary view facing the Jimmy Jib( camera mounted on a crane to get spectator shots) where you had to use Prabhudeva type of neck movements to watch the action on the ground. We realised later that we were in much better luck. We had another group of 6 who were in ‘ premium seating ‘ whose view was completely blocked by a suite of speakers belting the nonsense that the monster(read DJ gone wrong on barrels of adulterated Red Bull) whose only incentive was to pulverise the highest of decibels at its own game. I know it sounds gross and you bet it was!


Well, we have enough common sense not to expect Italian marble flooring at the stadiums especially in premium seating where ordinary mortals sink their hard working backsides but the floor there resembled as if a tsunami of garbage had just made a landing. Civic and civil sense made no sense. Can’t blame the paying public as there was zero provision for waste disposal of any kind as far as the eye could see. Waste disposal- ahh, what a waste, isn’t it KSCA| Chinnaswamy? Premium seating should be redefined as premium shitting.


Now premium seating would ensure that civility and basic decency would prevail- or so was the belief when we went in. Amidst families and kids, there were absolute hooligans( some of them unfortunately qualify to be fans of the franchise RCB) who after a couple of sponsor supplied beers, behaved as if they will outdo obnoxious English football fan behavior at all costs 8 days in a week and win hand over fist.


I saw kidney dialysis machines for the first time( sorry, just kidding). But I wouldn’t have been surprised had I seen some there. The washrooms were shit holes personified, literally. Dirty, unkempt, over crowded. So much so that most of the women and some of the men refused to use it. Bangalore’s water shortage was a willing ally to the well calibrated strategy of the powers that be of treating the paying public as ‘shit’.


The premium seating tickets came with food and beverage coupons served in the hospitality area(read Badminton Court of the KSCA)- there another racket ensued. A place which can accommodate at best 150-200 people was trying to feed and host ten times that number. But the net impact of this was that a lot of us learnt how to walk on biryani, trashed cans, disposable plates, garbage bags( yes I saw a few surprisingly) and plastic glasses among other things with aplomb. Alas, if we could have done likewise with our self respect and dignity!!


Stuffed with claustrophobia and disgust, we made our way back out of the stadium. That was our just desserts. Didn’t wait for DK and his histrionics. We had a different bitter experience.


Disappointed? Nah! Disillusioned, yes and how! I am aware that this rant will hardly make any dent in the vast universe of unabashed capitalism. Shame on you BCCI, IPL, IPL Governing Council, KSCA, RCB


I am not sure how Qatar Airways, the sponsor of the enclosure we were in( and Main Principal Partner of the RCB Team in the Indian Premier League) sees this from a branding lens. To me, this is worse than being next to acerbic content. And for an airline that has been an unprecedented seven-time winner of the “World’s Best Airline” voted by Skytrax (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022).


Love for the game is fine but being tortured and blinded is not! Wake up. Our silence is deafening.




So, what are you creating?


Status, affinity, convenience, power dynamics, return on labour, time, effort, the market opportunity, cheap signaling, sunken costs, the compulsions of economics, rewards, recognition, compliance and last but not the least what your heart and gut is asking you to build or create determines what we end up building or creating.


So, if the need of the time is to build a place that attracts people to share their ideas, a basic plain vanilla facility will do nicely. But what if the vision is to build something that has all the trappings to attract the best and the brightest, facilities and amenities that impress the most discerning, what if the objective is to signal your power and influence amongst key stakeholders be it the government, the social hierarchy and the sanctum sanctorum, or the inspiration is to bring in new audiences to your work and creation who hitherto have not been exposed to it, pulling out all stops to build the next next and the best best would be the go to.


MVPs are fine: that said, they are meant to be just that: a Minimum Viable Product– it does not bring the range and the entire suite of possibilities into play, nor does it fully exhibit or demonstrate the potential it holds and the depth and strength of your vision. Albeit, it gets created because, one can get away with that. It is passable and ticks a box. That also is a call out for a ‘ race to the bottom ‘.


The opportunities that we have to build something that creates a lasting impact and leaves behind an enviable legacy might be few and far between. But the good news is that such opportunities exist. And if we can show up and ship out the best possible version of what you are building that defies norms, defaults and expectations but something that really matters- so, grab that chance.



Sorry, you can’t have the cake and eat it too!


The cliche is well established yet makes immense sense- ‘ with freedom comes responsibility ‘ – the same can transcend to authority. If you want or have the authority, expecting that to come without its downside( or the expected norm whichever way you want to look at it) is not exactly prudent thinking.


If you have the authority to lead a team of people, you better be prepared to deal with diverse mindsets, temperaments, expectations and trigger points. The choice we make belongs to us. If you have the freedom of choice, you can be either leading or following. There are both upsides and downsides irrespective on which side of the fence you are on. If you are leading, you would be, in many situations be not in a position to control the people whom you are leading. It is not automated. You have to reconcile with that reality.


Once you make your distilled and educated choice, expecting, taking and addressing the resultant consequences of the position you have taken head on is a given. And that will include situations wherein you are in not in total control. So, as parents, teachers, law enforcers, tax authorities, political leaders etc, who are perceived as authority figures, they will be in multiple scenarios be in situations wherein they are not in control of their respective domains. There will be rebels, revolutionaries, contrarians in the mix that may or may not align with authority.


So, the downside of authority would be-If we make the choice to lead, we need to be prepared to own the consequences of our leadership, even (or especially) if we can’t actually control what others do.


You might see some relevance in an earlier blog post that I had written on authority & power

In your business are you an architect or a contractor?


In Hindu mythology there is a revered Goddess Kali who has eight hands. Alongside being the Goddess of darkness, destruction, and death, Kali is also a symbol of Mother Nature because she is believed to be timeless and formless, representing the creation of life and the universe as well.  The goddess is stated to destroy evil in order to defend the innocent.


Alas, as entrepreneurs, we neither have the divine advantage of eight hands like Goddess Kali nor the strength that the immortals do. The ground reality presents a different scenario of course. Entrepreneurs are relentlessly putting in 80 plus hour weeks in the hope that they will be able to scale their business to potential. They think they are scaling their business when in reality they are trying to grow the business. They think that being away from their business would be sacrilege. They have a team and think that they are delegating tasks appropriately.


Truth be told, entrepreneurs spend most of their time in ‘ contractor ‘ mode, wherein it becomes incumbent upon them to be deciding for others, what one call ‘ the deciding trap ‘ , where you are task rabbiting as outlined by author Mike Michalowicz in the updated edition of his book  Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself – Revised and Expanded . 


We have all heard this before but it is still worth reiterating- when a business doesn’t depend on the owner, it becomes more profitable and saleable. The inability to delegate effectively is a serious achilles heel amongst business owners. This applies to leaders in large organisations as well and hence not typical to entrepreneurs.


A growth mindset( more time, more effort, and hopefully better results) limits the possibility of the business realising its true potential which will come from having a scaling mindset, where they leverage resources to achieve the same or better results with less effort.


Working is Not Productivity. The message once(and even now) was loud and clear. Relentless self-optimisation was a way to cope, but is it really? Humans are NOT search engines !


There has been always something obscene about the cult of the hustle, the treadmill of alienated insecurity that tells you that the moment you stop running for even an instant, you will be flung flat on your face. Arbeit Macht FreiMeaning work sets you free. These words first appeared in an 1873 German novel. And later got adopted by the Nazis as a slogan. The mantra of work as freedom or a magical route to happiness has proved incredibly resilient. The reality is that for billions of people around the world , work is a tightrope walk oscillating between indignity and survival


Entrepreneurs suffer from the ‘ hero-trap ‘, a delusional state that tells them that they are Hercules +  Machiavelli combined. Sorry to disappoint the Type A Alpha, you are not. So, time to stop playing the Queen Bee role and start welcoming support and inspiring others to excel.


So, contractor, ready to enter into a contract with the architect in you? So that you can design, decide, delegate? Instead of only doing!

Brands need to look at ‘gray’ with a new lens(not coloured)!


The Age-Old ” Old Age ” Taboo- when will we grow up?  We are so youth obsessed, we remain squeamish frankly about the very notion of getting older. Aging, indeed is frighteningly close to…a Taboo Subject.


If brand owners and marketers had their way, they would market only anti slip bath mats to baby boomers because apparently they do not consume or need anything else( at least that seems to be the perception which for once is reflecting in reality).


I have long held the view that demographics( and the world-wide view it dominated) is dead. Long live demographics. Context, intent, psychographics and hierarchy of needs as defined by Maslow are the dominant spirit driving bucket lists, consumption and nice to have’s. Throw in some must-haves into the mix as well. Marketers are to be tapping into this.


In a culture and the Grand Marketing Narrative that continues to treat the youth as it’s hero, this rant is a shake me up wake up call to pick up the spilled beans and smell the coffee. Cold pressed or not, I don’t care. But marketers and brand owners are hard pressed more than ever to align with the new(knew) normal.


I for one is definitely in baby boomer territory (and very soon will get elevated to Geezer status happily!!)- will someone help me and many many millions like me as we continue our ” travels “? If so, we will shower you with riches. And, actually speaking, will do so for many years to come. Old is gold, has never seen a better time to re-express itself. And come into the spotlight(read worthy target audience with taste, disposable income and a willingness to spend | consume).


When was the last time you saw a communication imagery that respects the buying power of the baby boomer segment? Except for say health insurance? What about cars, real estate, cruises, gadgets, wellness, beauty, education..? Here is a segment that is willing to explore, experiment, expedite- why are they being ignored by brands and marketers especially when significant buying power is domiciled in them? Ivy League marketers and blue chip agency gurus, let us answer this question!


Extracting a summary from the Economist of some years ago- this is to do with car maker Ford. Most of Ford’s design engineers at the time were under 40. Ford came up with a concept called the ‘third-age suit‘ so that its designers grasped the needs of aging drivers. The outfit adds almost 30 years to the wearer’s age by stiffening the knees, elbows, ankles and wrists. It also adds material at the waist- a rotund stomach affects people’s ability to sit easily- and it has gloves that reduce the sense of touch. Ford’s lucky designers were also required to wear yellow scratched goggles so that they know what is it like to have cataracts. The exercise was indeed fruitful. Then on, the company’s cars have become easier to get in and get out of, their seat belts are more comfortable to wear, glare has been reduced, and the controls are more readable and reachable.


In a numbers obsessed profession such as marketing and branding, I encourage you to review the numbers, the market size, market potential. You get to see what has been missing9the wood for the trees). If a group controls the vast majority of wealth and discretionary income, is the market. No Noble(prizes) for guessing that.


Which is not to say the argument here is ‘ about ‘ marketing. Rather: it is about marketing..and product development..and distribution..and customer experience..and strategy. In summary, here is what we can conclude:


Think Boomers | Think Trillion$$$ | Think Brand Promise | Think Strategic Realignment


A quick dashboard view of the past and the present, then and now, was and is:-


Gray means “gray ” to Gray means green(money)


Retirement to Rejuvenation


” Borrowed Time to ” Decades to Go


Old=Decrepit to Old=Active


Marketing Mantra ” 18 to 44″ to Marketing Mantra ” 50 & up


” Older people don’t switch brands ” to ” Older people make brands


Fountain of “youth ” to Freedom of “age “


“Maturity” to Longevity


” Running out the clock ” to revving up the engine


Lost earning power to New spending power


” I am starting to clip coupons ” to ” I have not yet begun to spend” !


The old joke is being rewritten ” Age before beauty “- it is now “ Age and Beauty “. The boomers are not acting their age. They are screaming from the rooftops sayingI have a lot left to do. And I can afford to do it “.


Anyone listening? They have spend a lot on sophisticated hearing aids by the way!!!


Gray at the temple? It is the temple of bloom!