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 & powerhttps://www.sureshdinakaran.com/blog/2023/03/12/power-fool/

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, then..it 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!



Luck isn’t contagious…as luck would have it


Life is a gamble at terrible odds—if it was a bet, you wouldn’t take it.


We have all seen it- the ubiquitous post on LinkedIn wherein an executive from a blue chip company posts some mundane random stuff that begins with the customary ” stoked to be…” that attracts scores of likes, shares and comments as if it were to be a Nobel Laureate deserving accomplishment. The same kind of post by an individual with a non blue chip organisation gets the cold shoulder. As luck would have it…


Luck is never a strategy. At best it can be a tactic, provided its allies are you showing up consistently with tenacity and resilience and doing the work that matters and shipping it out to a minimum viable audience. Over time, the dice will roll favorably for you and you might want to attribute that (tongue firmly in cheek of course) to luck.


It’s dangerous to be presumptuous about someone’s success and offer luck the benefit of the doubt. A game of cards will be largely decided by luck. Get some good cards and you are well and truly in the game. Early luck has a massive impact. In the Canadian NHL(National Hockey League), which month of the year you were born determines your chances of playing in the League because as a kid where you play hockey when at age six adds up over the decades. Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers articulated this example beautifully.


As a society and culture we are guilty of under delivering or being sub optimal because we are not creating the conditions for consistent resilience till such time the luck comes along.


VCs build portfolios capitalising on early luck in some investments knowing fully well that a lot of the others will take time to realise the upsides from. A portfolio is a simple way to reduce the impact of luck (good or bad) over time.

Rather than punt on luck, it’s better to steel ourselves in building the resilience and the consistency that will help us meet it as and when it comes along the way. A flip of the coin does not lead to an inevitable outcome. It can go either way. Your being a victim or a victor- it could have easily gone the other way- was it your fault? Was it luck( good or bad)?


Sometimes we over index on our talent, skill, competence as against acknowledging that we were there at the right time in the right place.

(W)interaction Field: Creating high value for organisations, customers and society


If you allow me to state the obvious it would be that successful businesses create value and ignite smart growth.


Yet, most companies today focus on competition and disruption instead of collaboration, participation and engagement. The core endeavor is to optimise or extract value rather than share it. They hoard assets and thrive on unwieldy economics of scale and distribution, and fragile brand recognition. All this is fine till such time a new entrant or rival comes in that doesn’t care much about your brand and your other assets and whiz past you or mow you down. RIP!


The Interaction Field model is one where brands and organisations are allowed to generate, facilitate and benefit from data exchanges among multiple people and groups- from customers and stakeholders, but also from those you wouldn’t expect to be in the mix, like suppliers, software developers, regulators, researchers and even competitors. And everyone in the field works together to solve big, complex, industry-wide and unpredictable societal problems.


By participating in these interconnected groups, interaction field companies can achieve a kind of unstoppable momentum and wild expansion that one can term ‘ velocity ‘. It is a new form of multidimensional, constantly accelerating, explosive and smart growth that goes far beyond the traditional metrics of sales, profits, market share and market capitalisation.


Velocity-multidimensional, constantly accelerating, explosive and smart growth- is what all companies must strive for today, no matter their size or how long they have been in business. It doesn’t matter if the company is a start-up or an incumbent, or a leading player in an existing industry or part of a new and emerging category. So many of the business areas where traditional companies operate are being disrupted, disaggregated, and demolished by changing consumer habits, escalating customer expectations and the ever dynamic force of technological advances. The old business models cannot withstand or survive the torsion of these forces, but the new interaction field companies feed on them.

In retrospect, one would have imagined Accor or IHG or any of the leading hotel chains to have launched Airbnb but that was not the case. Or HMV(with over 80 years of content in their archives) to have launched something like iTunes or Spotify( Apple is a hardware maker mind you).


The interplay of companies in an interaction field has three significant effects:-


– the network effect sets in..more the number of restaurants on Uber Eats or Deliveroo means more options and choices and hence more customers and average ticket size


virality– value created by the velocity rings in more word of mouth and advocacy that are invaluable as against paid or coerced endorsements


-a learning effect emerges- with multiple stakeholders and higher engagements, data becomes more distilled and relevant that can be used to go with trends and predict consumption and behaviour patterns- Tesla collects more data through sensors and cameras than other manufacturers, which enables machine learning for its autopilot software, which increases driver safety.


No matter what customers buy today, they want everything at the speed of Amazon, the accuracy of Google, the ease of zero click convenience of Domino’s Pizza, the everyday low prices of Walmart, the personalisation of Netflix, the charm of Singapore Airlines and the availability and selection of Alibaba.com. Irrespective of whether they are buying a complex piece of medical equipment or a pair of sneakers.


Customers want companies to be responsive and human, socially conscientious and environmentally aware. They want innovation and delight delivered to a world-class standard. They want security and privacy and(not oddly) openness and transparency. They want the feel of a small local business with the capabilities of a global giant. A good share price would do nicely as well too, not to mention leaders who don’t get jettisoned or thrown in jail for fraud or bad behaviour.


Quite a challenge- it may sound ambitious and it is, unapologetically. But looking around, one should reckon that this indeed is the best(rather only) way forward for businesses today.

It’s a specialised world..but the generalists are triumphing!


You’ve probably heard of the 10,000 hour rule, which was popularized by Malcolm Gladwell‘s blockbuster book “Outliers.” As Gladwell tells it, the rule goes like this: it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials, like playing the violin or getting as good as Bill Gates.


There is also the famous Bruce Lee quote which goes like this ” I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times “.


The above alludes to the common perception that specialists are having a field day and they are the ones most successful, while the generalists are getting the wrong end of the snakes and ladders game. Yet, here’s another perspective worth considering- “A provocative generalization,” is what Anders Ericsson calls the 10,000 hour rule made famous by Gladwell. The first flaw of the 10,000 Hour Rule: It focuses on the quantity of time practicing, not the quality of the practice – and not all practice is equally helpful. More here on Debunking The 10,000 Hour Practice Myth .


Focusing intensely, racking up hours of deliberate practice, starting early, are the de facto calling cards for anyone wanting to develop a skill, play an instrument or be a leader in their chosen field. But what is more evident through research and real life examples of the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists is the fact that generalists, in most fields are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.


This might sound blasphemous but David Epstein in his seminal book Range makes a compelling case for inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.


A recent meta-analysis by Case Western Reserve University psychologist Brooke Macnamara and her colleagues found that deliberate practice and skill are related – but far from perfectly related. You can do a deep dive here to know more about the research conducted.


A specialist’s mind is a slave to his specialization. Intellectually curious men become generalists. Intellectually lazy men settle for being specialists- Mokokoma Mokhonoana




Leaders, Big Ideas and their ” we shall let this pass ” mindset !


Tony Hadell had a knack for building things right from the time he was four. His grandfather would ask him to fix and build things and he would take to it like a fish to water. Little wonder that he went onto build the iPod, the iPhone and Nest. He is now the CEO of Nest ( he co founded it with Matt Rogers) which Google acquired for US$ 3.2 billion. He also has over 300 patents(not just as an aside).


It wasn’t easy going though. When Tony first went with the idea of the iPod and the iPhone, some leaders did what they seem to do best- give it a pass. And there were some big names in there. Take a look :

PHILLIPS: Gave up on Tony, their VP of strategy and new ventures

MICROSOFT: Steve Ballmer, worth $41 billion—“There’s no chance!”

MOTOROLA: Padmasree Warrior, CTO—“Nothing revolutionary about it . . .”

PALM: Ed Colligan, CEO, worth $3.4 billion—“[They] are not going to figure it out.”

NOKIA: (market leader with 1 billion customers), Anssi Vanjoki, Chief Strategist—“With Mac, Apple remained a niche [expect the same] in mobile phones”and switching to Android would be like the Finnish boys who “pee in their pants”for warmth in the winter.

BLACKBERRY: Mike Lazaridis (worth $2 billion)—“[With Apple’s ads] customers are now coming to the store [and leaving with a Blackberry], and so what it’s actually done is increased our sales.”

Why did the market leaders dismiss the potential of such a revolutionary product when you and EVERYBODY else immediately realized the smartphone would be awesome? They were too comfortable and confident in their familiar paths. 


The paradox of success is such that new ideas look too awkward at first, thereby causing them to be overlooked . And by smart, industry leaders at that. Another brilliant example is that of Enzo Ferrari, founder of the iconic Ferrari brand. Actually a Ferrari rebuke, caused the launch of what you see today as Lamborghini.  Read the story below at Know More:


Smart people overestimate their level of control. Often the idea thats dismissed becomes the one that topples an empire. Ironically market leaders are at a greater risk of missing out. Enzo Ferrari wasn’t the first market leader to dismiss an innovative idea presented to him. History is littered with instances where a market leader couldn’t see the potential in a rivaling idea. Read on, you sure are to recognise a few of them:-


England rejected Thomas Edison’s light bulb and said it was “unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men.”

Western Union rejected Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone, saying it was “idiotic. Why would any person want to use this ungainly and impractical device?”

• The Kansas City Star fired Walt Disney, saying he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas”

Kodak invented digital photography in 1975 but didn’t adapt and went bankrupt

HP rejected Steve Wozniak’s computer ideas three times

Atari could have owned 33% of Apple for $50,000

EDS could have bought Microsoft ($60 million)

Excite could have bought Google ($1 million)

Myspace could have owned Facebook ($75 million)

Yahoo could have owned Facebook ($1 billion)

Britannica could have been Encarta, but they rejected Bill Gates

Encarta could have been Wikipedia

Blockbuster had three chances to buy Netflix ($50 million)

• You and I could have been a lot wealthier if we put all our money into Amazon


Almost every tale of disruption involves smart people dismissing a subtle new idea!  Successful companies often fail to see the potential of  new ideas outside their wheelhouse.


With the internet establishing its footprint in the 80’s, Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia set out to pitch investors on the concept of Hotmail. Imagine: a service where anyone in the world could get their own email address, absolutely free! It was a relatively simple business model, which could be funded by advertising. This didn’t seem as complicated as you might think, but investors hated it. Smith and Bhatia’s idea was rejected 100 times. Eventually, the private equity firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson cut them a check for $300,000. A year and a half after their launch, Hotmail was sold to Microsoft for $400 million. Not a bad return.


Sum summarum, being open to new thinking, new possibilities is the best default mode. But, we are more dependent on past decisions than we would like to think(or accept).

The Antagonists In The Script Of Life: For or Against?


The Hollywood Paradigm ( widely followed across both generations and geographies) of filmmaking | storytelling is about ‘ set-up, conflict and resolution ‘. Cast as central characters will always be the protagonist and on the other side the antagonist.


We can extract similarities of a film script even in our real lives. The thing about antagonists in real life is usually they are no match for our sheer will to create our happy ending. So that begs the question- reel life follows real life or the other way around? When we are pursuing a better life, antagonists and we ourselves can also be allies.


Your antagonist forces are not as obvious as what you might see on the silver screen- a vampire wearing all black, darting among Gothic architecture as he trails you through an overcast, evocative location while you are wearing the same ripped-up clothes for three days in a row. It will not be a surprise to note that most often our antagonist forces are often ourselves. They are the things we do and think that not only slow us down but also have the ability to stop our show. They could be a flaw or weakness on steroids.


We are familiar with these characters(forces) within ourselves which are of the personal | internal variety including fear, indecision, doubt, discomfort, uncertainty, an unwillingness to take action and so on. A classic set of examples of you stopping you.


On the screen, when faced with the ‘ ghost of the dark night ‘, the hero must take a leap, and a big one at that..otherwise you know it’s not a movie. Or, it is a sad and disappointing movie in which the hero does not obtain his goal.


Though it may feel that way but external antagonists don’t necessarily have evil intentions. They are whomever or whatever has a goal in direct opposition to yours. External antagonists might be a family member, a colleague, friend, an enemy, frenemy, a competitor, your boss, a loved one, the government, an evil empire, business..


Very often the thing that holds us back is the lack of support from people closest to us. Therefore allies can be our secret sauce. Even if that means the basics of someone who is listening, talking, validating. There is a parallel call here- where you might benefit from keeping a distance from those very people during the pursuit of your goal which in a way lessens the forces working against you.

So the questions we ask here are- is there a way to make an antagonist an ally on our specific path? Is it time to metaphorically kill the antagonistic force by disengaging or putting distance between you?


In this show called life, when looked at from the perspective of a scriptwriter, you will always find antagonist forces( be it a loved one or a competitor) who are prepared to derail your course unless you are prepared to take action.


Time to plot your go to mode!