Digital Marketing

What did you hustle today?

Today was different. The third day of my new found commitment. And there were learnings.

“What will you hustle today?”

My friend, from college, who jumped into his own venture announced “We will survive, now that is not the question. We are looking at expansion.” I was very happy for him. Took him 3 years of tumultuous journey, from one co-founder abandoning the ship, to funds drying out.

We figure out. We hustle and we survive.

“Never reduce a target. Instead increase action. When you start rethinking your target, making up excuses, and letting yourself off the hook, you are giving up on your dreams”
– Grant Cardone

We hustle and we make it a habit.

Digital Marketing, Personal Development

Deliberate Practice


Great advertisements make us reflect and leave a lasting impact. For many years, I believed 99% Perspiration and 1% inspiration was originally crafted by a talcum powder brand.

The ad was inspiring, Mr. Edison is more real.

Thomas Alva Edison coined this unforgettable phrase: “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration”. His life has been nothing less than inspiration for many. Mr. Edison has 1093 patents to his name and his creations laid foundations for a modern world.

Mr. Edison is right, genius isn’t special. Genius term is overused, more often for a God-like status and therefore such glorification becomes beyond human reach. In other context, genius is born and hence few are gifted and therefore cannot be acquired. We are comforted by the fact that “Geniuses” are born and not made.

Mr. Malcolm Gladwell’ Book Outlier proposes “10,000 Hours” rule for an expert. This is minimum time for you to acquire skill. Another book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, is another fascinating description of practice and perseverance, corroborates and extends Mr. Gladwell’s proposition. According to Ms Duckworth, “Grittier people typically stick with their commitment longer than others, and simply spent more time on task”.

She further states:

It is persistent desire to do better. It is opposite of being complacent. But it is positive state of mind, not a negative one. It’s not looking back with dissatisfaction. It’s looking forward and wanting to grow”

Genius and talent is overrated. Practice is tough, single-minded devotion to one goal is difficult.

Ashoke clocked his best time 3.23 hours in marathon last year, which was after 6 years of deliberate practice. In his first marathon, Ashoke limped back to the finish line. His 6 years of practice was towards one goal, to better the time and qualify for Boston, which I’m very confident, he will do so this year. In his pursuit to achieve his goal, Ashoke logged many hours of deliberate practice. Therefore it is not necessary that a 10,000 hours investment will make you an expert. Deliberate practice will. The purpose of the time defines the goal.

My previous organisation, would conduct a minimum of 100 experiments (A/B tests) per week with a fixed objective to improve the customer experience. This differentiated us from the competition.

Jiro, the Michelin Star Chef, has his apprentice marinate tuna till the apprentice graduates to the next level.

Experts spend thousands and thousands of hours in deliberate practice. Ms. Duckworth further qualifies how expert practice:

“First, they stretch a goal, zeroing in on just one narrow aspect of their overall performance. Rather than focus on what they already do well, experts strive to improve specific weakness. they intentionally seek out challenges they cannot meet.”

So, what we end of witnessing is a masterpiece which is equated to genius and wow. What we don’t see is the infinite aggregate of small packets of efforts put in, ordinary and commonplace through deliberate practice to shape the outcome.

High performance is small mundanes put together.

Here are my two suggestion for making the deliberate practice a habit:

  1. Have a daily ritual, which you stick with everyday (your goal in perspective)
  2. Challenge a specific weakness everyday (what is taking you away from your goal)

It is guaranteed to be bumpy ride, but at the end of it you would say “I LOVED It!” and won’t regret even a bit of it.






Personal Development

Personal Everest



I’m Robin Sharma’s latest fan. “Stay centered on your personal Everest.” was his last message on the first news letter. These are powerful words (thank you Robin Sharma) and have stuck to me since I read it 3 day ago. Big revolutions start small.

Spectacular success in any field doesn’t come by luck. The thumb rule says 10,000 hours or 10 years of minimum devoted time required to master any discipline. Overnight success is a misnomer. Motivation may provide the initial push; discipline and dedication will carry you through. It is hard but not impossible, what you like will define your purpose and you will find a way. I don’t remember much about my crossing my first marathon finish line, but by first 10k. My dedicated 2 months preparation to conquer 10k, is filled with inspirational memories. The terrain was rugged and I fell twice. The distance was the longest that I had ever ran. The glory of crossing the finish line led me to complete half-marathon, full-marathon and the ultra distance.

Personal and professional greatness is one step at a time and required discipline. It requires getting out of the comfort zone and honing the skill again and again till it becomes a part of your subconscious. This journey is a lonely one.

I have started with a few steps that have proved beneficial.

#1) 5 AM Club: Morning starts at 5.00 AM without fail irrespective of weekday or weekend. This time is what I don’t share with anyone.

#2) Meditation: 30 minutes of meditation and prayer, crystallize the thoughts for the morning

#3) Journal writing: Heeding to this advice by Mr. Robin Sharma, sets the mood for the day. The journal has challenges, guidance and affirmations.

#4) Exercise: On alternate days, I go for a morning run.

Careful not to do too much, and focus only on activities that add 1% to you everyday (and therefore your climb to your personal Everest). Take time to imagine, reflect, plan and think. Regularly, you would need to pull yourself out of your comfort zone and encounter melange of doubt, hesitancy, escape & limiting belief.

This is not impossible but difficult. “Stay centered on your personal Everest.” Thank you Mr. Sharma.



Digital Marketing

Spontaneity & Spectacles


Today I was pondering on thoughts: the best things in life have been unplanned; it happened when I least expected it to.

This week will be the celebration spontaneity. I’m unfollowing all my plan and schedules for the day and take it as it comes. The structure will be no structure; but what I feel at the spur of the moment. For this week my priorities are uncategorised; the instinct decides the course of action.

Result, it took me more time to write this post than any of the others. I realised being spontaneous is so difficult. Being with yourself is difficult and deciding what you want to do is more difficult. Spontaneity doesn’t come easy and naturally.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book wrote one needs 10,000 hours to be good at any new skill, a thumb rule. Though the rule has been challenged by many other theories, such as one needs to have a huge amount of emotional quotient, passion and drive to excel. But as a thumb rule, the number 10,000 suits just fine. You may not survive 10,000 hours if you are not passionate about the subject. Maybe it takes that much time to discover oneself (or even more.

Spontaneity is closely associated with Social media, which I must acknowledge that I’m not very good at. I think a lot before composing that tweet or post. The folks who are good at it, know have it on their finger tips. Perpetually on their phone they would know what to post and when to post. More importantly, these folks know how to cut across the noise which is there in the social space because they have their niche and stick to it.

The most that I’m impressed by and have started the 10,000 hours in my mastery of this Social mastery journey is Snapchat. The ephemeral medium and celebrates moments in life. The user experience in creating the stories is unmatched; Snapchat is creating newer experiences continuously. I know of few organisations who mandate Snapchat skills as the essential for recruitment ( I would definitely be under qualified for such organisations). Brands are benefiting from the great user experience that it provides.

The recent launch of Spectacles from Snapchat, is a demonstration that innovation is just not the forte for Googles and Apples of the world. Spectacles is a device that enables you to   grab memories and wirelessly transfer to Snapchat and share. The Spectacles charge when they are put back in the case. The launch reminded of Apple launches and the long queues before the product hits the store.


Snapchat is continuously innovating experiences and raising the bar of user experience. Maybe this will be my conduit to discover spontaneity!

Digital Marketing



Last Thursday was my “Unconference” day, through Meetup. My first opportunity to interact with Dubai’s startup community. The subject is a part of Lean Marketing principles.

It was great.

The venue was a boutique villa in Dubai knowledge village. The place is owned by Tecom  and provided to promising startup ups at a subsidised cost, even the license  comes subsided if the pitch goes through.

The organisers were consultants: Jorge Castellote & Francisco Lafuente. Though there were few participants, all actively partipated.

And thankfully we didn’t have pitches, which is usually the case with most of such conferences.

It is to be seen how this theme of “Unconference” and “Lean Marketing” shapes up. This region which strives for perfection, will it adopt lean marketing principles?

Decision is to meet every month. I will extend the next invite when I get an update from the organisers. Fill the contact form if you want to be on the list (For Dubai only)…

Digital Marketing



Today I’m reminded of the day when I first used a chopstick. The place was highly inappropriate; an uptown Chinese restaurant. Better still the table was right in the centre of the restaurant visible from a distance. I didn’t give up; it took me about an hour and a half to finish.

From how of “holding the chopstick” to “recovering from trauma of embarrassment”, I learnt it all that day.

Strangely, Snapchat is making me feel deja vu. I’m loving it though…

Also comes a firm resolution from this new milestone in my life. I’m going to be on mobile only. This would be my last post from desktop. As Gary says “We are not in Mobile first world, we are in mobile only world” and yearning for attention.

Bye bye Macbook, hello iPhone & Huawei!


Digital Marketing



One of the games that I often play with my 6 year old daughter Dhriti is “Make Up”. She and I take turns to provide the other 3 words all disconnected and the other person has to make up a story.

I love the game because this is one time that Dhriti likes to let loose and try to beat me with her little stories; her enthusiasm is infectious. I realise that I have so less of it; my storytelling abilities.

It is always better when we put some joy back into a banal ritual and let our passions engage. The single most important thing for success.

I was reminded of this when I was lying back in my apartment going over the rituals of the day. I was wondering if I had missed out on any important data or left out any opportunity to maximise conversion. It is measurable and hence we should maximise it.

Banal and boring. Where is the story mister? Said a guy sitting on my left shoulder. Leave out everything else, did the visitor have a good time on the site. Did you make him dream? Will he come back again?

Where the story of data ends, imagination starts and that’s the scary part because it is a rare commodity these days. Build engagement, start a conversation, zero moment of truth is rare because it is tough.

Data is an enabler, not the engine.

How do we rise above the mundanes of daily sales target, conversion optimisation and ROI maximisation? Feel from the heart, truly while conversing with our users. This is the only skill that cannot be copied. Experience is just one of the events in this funnel.

That is why this is the most difficult, because it requires imagination and faith. Not data, but true grit. This is not about Kaizen or Disruption, but about the age old way of doing business, which we may have forgotten. Was it lost while I was trying to uncover data?

Did you have a good time playing the game?