• Building relationships, communities and ecosystems

    10:41 pm on September 2, 2014 | 0 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , communities, community building, ecosystem, entrepreneurship,

    I had a con­ver­sa­tion ear­lier in the evening with one of my co-founders, Jason, about how to mea­sure com­mu­nity engage­ment — or even — how are we even defin­ing com­mu­nity. We quickly breezed past this ques­tion in favour of get­ting to the more tac­ti­cal nature of our con­ver­sa­tion — but on my walk home, I was mulling over this con­cept and the dif­fer­ent lev­els of com­mu­nity. Thought that I would share some of my favourite readings/ dis­cov­er­ies on com­mu­nity and rela­tion­ship build­ing, start­ing from an individual’s per­spec­tive and how this rolls up into an ecosystem.

    Indi­vid­u­als

    1) Why being the most con­nected is a van­ity met­ric - Michael Sim­mons, Forbes.com

    Sim­mons talks about about the sci­ence of net­work bro­ker­ing and com­mit­ting to dis­cov­er­ing ‘new groups’ as a way of gain van­tage point and pro­vide value to your com­mu­ni­ties. I also enjoyed his more recent piece of the evolv­ing nature of build­ing relationships

     

    Com­pa­nies

    2) 1,000 true fans — Kevin Kelly

    A lovely way to think about the long tail, the impor­tance of acquir­ing fans and how it con­nects up to mak­ing a liv­ing. Bonus read: Kick­starter sub­scrib­ing to the 1,000 true fans philosophy 

    3) Tribal Orga­niz­ing — Seth Godin

    If you tee up the pre­vi­ous arti­cle, with this one by Seth Godin — it might give you some ideas about how to sep­a­rate out engage­ment points to gain ‘true’ fans. Seth Godin talks about effec­tively build­ing tribes around: con­nec­tion, com­mit­ment and conversation

    4) What to learn from the man who man­aged  Reddit’s com­mu­nity of mil­lions - First Round Cap­i­tal, The review

    I believe that there’s a pretty large dif­fer­ence in the way that you man­age in-person com­mu­ni­ties vs. online com­mu­ni­ties. The rules of the game are dif­fer­ent, and was struck in this piece, how the com­mu­nity man­ager bal­anced man­ag­ing time and cul­ti­vat­ing con­nec­tions. Worth the long read

     

    Ecosys­tem 

    5) How did Sil­i­con Val­ley become Sil­i­con Val­ley? — Endeavor Global

    Thor­oughly enjoyed this report about the power of alumni in cre­at­ing an ecosys­tem and how entre­pre­neurs can kick­start a community

    endeavor-insight-sv-3-retina

     
  • On Confidence and Growth

    10:31 pm on August 10, 2014 | 2 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: growth, , , mindset

    True self-confidence is “the courage to be open—to wel­come change and new ideas regard­less of their source.” Real self-confidence is not reflected in a title, an expen­sive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acqui­si­tions. It is reflected in your mind­set: your readi­ness to grow.”

    What are the con­se­quences of think­ing that your intel­li­gence or per­son­al­ity is some­thing you can develop, as opposed to some­thing that is a fixed, deep-seated trait?”

    Mind­set: The New Psy­chol­ogy of Suc­cess, Carol Dweck

     

     
  • MIT Healthcare Financing Lecture

    6:07 pm on May 14, 2014 | 3 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , MIT, ,

    mit_crest_logoIf 2014 had a nar­ra­tive arc, it would look like a series of sprints — from obtain­ing visas, start­ing a new job, mov­ing apart­ments to being in a new indus­try — all leav­ing me just enough room to catch my breath before the next leg begins. Amongst the many life-sprints that have occurred, one par­tic­u­lar sprint has been most unex­pected and reward­ing — both per­son­ally and professionally.

    It started in Dec, 2013 — when I received an email from a friend whose paths I crossed dur­ing my Nairobi days in late 2012. She offered the oppor­tu­nity for me to become a guest lec­turer at MIT Sana’s spring course on Global Health Infor­mat­ics to Improve the Qual­ity of Care. They were look­ing for some­one to speak about financ­ing in health­care in rural/resource-limiting set­tings. Truth­fully, it has never crossed my mind that I would be lec­tur­ing at MIT espe­cially at this stage of my career/life, but embrac­ing Sheryl Sandberg’s phi­los­o­phy of “if you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on!”, I accepted and found my way to the MIT cam­pus in the begin­ning of March to deliver my lecture.

    The course itself  “focuses on inno­va­tions in infor­ma­tion sys­tems to accel­er­ate improve­ments of health out­comes in devel­op­ing coun­tries. The course will focus not only on tech­nol­ogy and mHealth as it applies to global health, but also on broader issues nec­es­sary for the suc­cess­ful deploy­ment of infor­ma­tion sys­tems such as qual­ity of care, dis­ease bur­den, and project man­age­ment. This is the fourth iter­a­tion of the course, which is a col­lab­o­ra­tive offer­ing from Sana, MIT, Part­ners in Health, Har­vard School of Pub­lic Health, Har­vard Med­ical School, and a net­work of inter­na­tional part­ner aca­d­e­mic insti­tu­tions located around the globe.” — MIT Sana

    Dur­ing my lec­ture, 400 stu­dents were watch­ing from 45 loca­tions around the world. The lec­ture itself was a very basic intro­duc­tion to financ­ing as most of the stu­dents do not have finance or invest­ing back­grounds. It will also be turned into an offi­cial MOOC edX/MITx cur­ricu­lum in 2015! If you’re inter­est­ing in watch­ing my lec­ture, it is avail­able online.

    ****

    Thank you Sarah, for this amaz­ing opportunity.

     
  • Nairobi Terrorism and the Hierarchy of Trauma

    3:32 pm on September 30, 2013 | 0 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Conflict, , Kenya, , ,

    Talk­ing about evil is hard. It involves at least two para­doxes. Here’s the first. On the one hand, to denounce evil is an eth­i­cal act. It is to affirm our deep­est val­ues and to com­mit our­selves to pre­vent­ing acts that dehu­man­ize oth­ers. On the other hand, to denounce evil can be an uneth­i­cal act. It is a way of demo­niz­ing; it is, pre­cisely, to dehu­man­ize another. Here’s the sec­ond para­dox: On the one hand, we need to the con­cept of evil to philo­soph­i­cally and eth­i­cally dis­tin­guish acts that shock our con­sciences, acts that are not ade­quately encom­passed by words like bad, wicked, or wrong. The con­cept of evil clar­i­fies. On the other hand, the con­cept of evil con­fuses, pre­vents think­ing. We imag­ine evil is other than human, beyond under­stand­ing, almost mys­ti­cal. This lets us off the hook, lets us deny our own capac­ity for evil, and stops us from ana­lyz­ing the very human, very com­mon causes of it.

    - James Dawes: The Guts of Atrocity

    I have never quite known what to react in the wake of tragedy. Say­ing too much almost feels too opin­ion­ated, and say­ing too lit­tle almost feels to insin­cere. I remem­ber my first encounter five years ago with a per­sonal tragedy and death was uncon­trol­lable laugh­ter. Appar­ently my ‘cop­ing’ mech­a­nism then, was to try to see the humor­ous side of the story. Highly inap­pro­pri­ate. But now, over the past week, I am find­ing no humor that can help me cope as I watch Kenya bal­ance a grow­ing sad­ness of a nation, the anger of their cit­i­zens and the anguish of loved ones as ter­ror­ists stormed an upscale mall in Nairobi claim­ing over 60 lives.

    As emails, phone calls, texts and social media updates came pour­ing in, the irony is not lost on me on how tragedies hap­pen every­day around the world and yet, why is it that this one just seems so much more real. As my emo­tions slide between the con­tin­uum of “why” and “shock”, a strange ver­sion of this Hier­ar­chy of Trauma began to emerge. As I scroll through the news for updates on Nairobi on that day, and through­out the week, it dawned on me that hun­dreds of peo­ple die and are affected by con­flicts around the world. In Pak­istan, 81 peo­ple per­ished in a church sui­cide bomb­ing. In Nige­ria, over 500 per­ished in ter­ror­ist related vio­lence in the north of the coun­try, and the on-going Syria cri­sis has claimed tens of thou­sands of lives. Coun­tries and com­mu­ni­ties that I can’t even com­pre­hend who and where — are suf­fer­ing. Yet, why my heart aches the most for my Nairobi home and only for a fleet­ing moment of empa­thy for the news in Pakistan.

    And sud­denly it struck me, trauma and grief isn’t a com­pe­ti­tion or a hier­ar­chy. We each grieve for dif­fer­ent losses, in our own way and in time. There is no trauma that is supe­rior to, lesser, greater, less shock­ing, bet­ter cov­ered, or any other com­par­a­tive phrase, than the suf­fer­ing of any indi­vid­ual or com­mu­nity. All we can do, is know that even if your expe­ri­ence does not have a chap­ter in other sto­ries of con­flict and trauma, it still a part of our story as human­ity as a whole.

    Think­ing of you.

    ***

    Selected pieces that pro­vide dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives on the Nairobi incident:

    1) Gen­eros­ity of cit­i­zens in dona­tions for the victims

    2) NY Times on the Value of Suffering 

    3) A Trib­ute to a Friend: Ravi

    4) Aung San Suu Kyi: the Free­dom from Fear

    5) A beau­ti­ful piece in The Nation on forgiveness

    6) Nan­jala Nyabola in Al-Jazeera on Keep­ing the Nairobi inci­dent in perspective 

    7) An inter­view with author, James Dawes on his new book: Evil Men - a col­lec­tion of dia­logues with war crim­i­nals from the Sec­ond Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945)

     
  • How I Read

    4:15 pm on August 9, 2013 | 4 comments Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , reading

    7/365: Currently Reading

    This post is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to my nor­mal posts, but thought that I would share a very rel­e­vant on-going theme in my life and how I’m going about it: read­ing and writ­ing. The moti­va­tion behind this was spurred by the shut­ting down of my beloved Google Reader which has served me faith­fully for the last few years as my main por­tal of con­sum­ing infor­ma­tion. I ago­nized over what could take its place and after read­ing this post on on How to Read on Far­nam Street Blog (arguably my favourite go-to web­site), decided to improve how I am con­sum­ing and shar­ing my infor­ma­tion and to use some tools more inten­tion­ally than I have in the past.

    Tra­di­tion­ally, I’ve used my Google reader as my pri­mary Inspec­tional Read­ing method, and as a way to keep up with news and thought lead­ers in spe­cific indus­tries. I still read on aver­age a book per week (yes, some­times I do slip up!) but haven’t been very good at going a step fur­ther in Syn­topi­cal Read­ing. Also, in either case, I haven’t been the best at keep­ing track of arti­cles that I really enjoy, or dug deeper into them for more Ana­lyt­i­cal Read­ing. I’ve used delicious.com half-heartedly to save these arti­cles I like, but still — not good enough. Hence, in efforts to be bet­ter at track­ing and shar­ing, I’ve divided my infor­ma­tion con­sump­tion into the fol­low­ing three cat­e­gories based on the How to Read post:

    1) Inspec­tional Reading 

    - I’ve migrated over to Feedly in replace­ment of my Google Reader and although am still get­ting used to the inter­face, I do like the design, and the process of migrat­ing over has forced me to cut down about 20% of my RSS feeds so I can derive more focused con­tent. I still have WAY too much feeds for my lik­ing, so I need to cut down at least another 30% more.

    - My twit­ter feed also serves as a way for me to keep up with news that I skim through on a fre­quent basis.

    2) Ana­lyt­i­cal Reading

    - I’m going to start using Pocket a lot more to fil­ter through from my skim­ming of my Feedly and Twit­ter feeds to arti­cles that really catch my eye. (It helps that I am a speed reader so can skim very quickly through large quan­ti­ties of information)

    - Findings.com helps me cap­ture key ideas that I can revisit and cap­tures quotes that I really like for arti­cles online.

    - Tum­blr will do the same for for me as find­ings does, but for books that I read. I just to make sure that Read­mill is pulling infor­ma­tion con­sis­tently from my Kin­dle highlights.

    - In terms of ‘sav­ing’ arti­cles that I like, I’m test­ing out Potluck, which so far is under­whelm­ing, but what I like about it is that I can see what other friends are read­ing as well. I might return to delicious.com if the plat­form doesn’t pick up, as I like deli­cious’ hash­tag fea­ture (makes sort­ing and search­ing so much easier)

    3) Syn­topi­cal Reading

    - I find that this type of read­ing is best done when I force myself to pen down my thoughts and hence, will be blog­ging more about my read­ing and cross ref­er­enc­ing it with arti­cles that I read. I’ve debated migrat­ing over to Medium but haven’t reached that tip­ping point yet.

    - I’m cut­ting back on my One Book per Week and instead, mak­ing sure that I read more delib­er­ately and aim for a book per 2 — 3 weeks and inten­tion­ally what I’m read­ing on this web­site. I find that I’ve read so many books, but have missed out on the value that each of them pro­vide as after a while, they all blur together. I’m mak­ing it a habit to reflect after each book and write down my thoughts on the book while it’s still fresh.

    P/s: I’ve updated my What I’m Read­ing list, and am open to sug­ges­tions on how I am best tracking/sharing books that I want to read. 

     
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