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Arif and Ali podcast, now available

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As if you haven’t had enough of us already, we’re now also offering the Arif and Ali Podcast. These podcasts are not talks given by us, but these are talks that we ourselves are looking forward to listen.

The Problem:

There so much to learn from the web specially from lectures, seminar etc. but don’t get chance to listen when we first see it. And when we do get the time (say when going back home from work) when don’t have access to those same lectures.

The Solution:

So now, whenever we come across a speech, lecture, conference that catches our fancy, we add it to the Arif and Ali Podcast. That way when we get back into our cars on our way home, we first dab into the Arif and Ali podcast and listen to the next interesting lecture from there. It’s been working really well for us so far. We have been collecting lectures in here for a while now so it has a really good collection of talks.

You can subscribe to the podcast via the RSS Feed here. If you have an ipod but never subscribed to a podcast before, you can learn how by reading this or better yet by watching this.

Dream Come True – Reflections of the GTD Road Map Seminar, London

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Note: This post has many references to jargons that would be familiar mainly to implementers of David Allen’s system of productivity called Getting Things Done or GTD. To Learn more about GTD, you may read this post, 5 Steps to Begin Learning GTD – A Guaranteed way to Save Hours from your Workday.

Some People like Rock Stars, others adore Movie Stars, My Hero is David Allen. It’s because of David and GTD, that I am getting so much done (exercise, blog, work, study, spend time with family), yet feel relaxed. David and GTD has helped me prioritise and feel good about my priorities. Ofcourse I am not always in that zone. But when I am not, I am able to recognise that and I know what I need to do to get there. I have written oodles about GTD on this blog. Those on my mailing list have received several emails coaxing them to climb on to the GTD Bandwagon. I have even compared David to Einstein. He is a Genius. Genius is looking at what everyone is looking and seeing something different. Then to codify that difference so that it changes the world is indeed Einstein-ian indeed.

Imagine my thrill and pleasure when i finally get to meet David Allen. I had the privilege of attending his seminar in London earlier this year. It’s a seminar that I was hoping to attend for years and finally so many different factors came together that I could attend it.

The take backs from the seminar were plentiful. Here are the top few:

1. If you are still Bothered/Stressed that means subliminally you feel you can do something about it. Maybe you Should. God thinks you should.

This is huge. May seem obvious when typed out, but it was much needed therapy that I needed. GTD suggests that when anything is bothering you, first step, you write it down. Next Ask yourself, 1. What is the Successful Outcome?, 2. What is the Next Action? After practicing GTD for years, I have got most of these things nailed. Whenever something bothers me, it’s so automatic that I write it down, define the Successful Outcome, the Next Action and just move on ahead. But as you keep practicing GTD, you uncover subtler aspects of your self and psyche. And even after you identify the Successful Outcome or the Next Action, you are still left uneasy. The fact that you are feeling uneasy is your intuition (or God) nudging you that you can do better. There is a better Outcome that you can envision and achieve. Your Next Action could be more effective. And most likely it’s fear that is holding you back. And we all know we should Fear nothing but fear itself.

So next time you find yourself uneasy about an Outcome that you have envisioned or a Next Action that you need to take, congratulate yourself. Pat yourself on the back. Because you are officially capable of doing better than what you have just worked out. So take the Bold step and take the action that you are okay and comfortable with. It will all work out in the end.

2. If you keep paying attention to what has your attention, were do you eventually reach?

David’s main mantra is “pay attention to what has your attention”. If you are bothered by your kids education, pay attention to that, write it down in a trusted place, you’ll immediately feel relaxed. Next your attention will move to something else, perhaps work or exercise , notice that. Write it down in a trusted place, you’ll again feel relaxed about that. Since I’ve been practicing GTD, and I have been doing that. My question to David at the Seminar was, when you keep on paying attention to your attention where do you eventually reach? I loved the answer I got:

“You move from Distraction to Calling”

You then start listening to your voice, your intuition, your calling. You begin to hear, listen and move towards your destiny as human spirit on the planet. And that is your Only Project. If all the other Projects are helping you get there, keep ’em on, otherwise dump ’em.

But you’ll only know once you Pay Attention to what’s Pulling your Attention, capture that, get the distraction out of your mind/psyche so that you can truly hear your God’s voice within you.

3. You eventually get what you focus on.

We did a brilliant exercise within the seminar that deals with Focus. You see what you Focus on. You eventually get what your Focus is on. It’s The Secret all over again, but without the airy-fairy bit to it. Pay attention to your Focus. Keep asking yourself two questions:

– What are you focussed on?
(Extroadinary Fitness or Mediocre Health, Spiritual Enlightenment or Material Pursuit, Being An Active Change Agent in this World or a Helpless Consumer)

– Would you want your focus on that?
(There is a choice here. And it’s your choice.)

Conclusion:
Overall a brilliant seminar indeed. Really thankful to God for the opportunity. It’s something that i had my attention and focus for a long time and glad that I have it checked off. Hope to make the most of what I’ve learnt there. Oh yeah, another couple of take backs. Boy, it was inspiring to see how amazingly fit David himself was. Furthermore, poor guy had a cold. Yet, because of his professionalism he didn’t let that stop him from delivering an awesome talk. Even though he had to take swigs of cold-cough syrup in between to keep going. Thank you David. Truly Awesome of you.

My mindmaps from the and Some pics from the Road Map Seminar 2011 in London:

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Behold. A terrible campaign that is being aired.

*puke*. My apologies but gosh please excuse me. I haven’t seen worst ads in my life, okay I may have, but these are bad. As an advertising buff, I passively keep an eye open for good, catchy advertising be it in print, tv or web. And OMG, I fail to recall when I have seen horrible ads. A good ad entices you to use the product so much that you are willing to pay for it. An poor ad is one that leaves you ambivalent and you don’t really care much for the product shown. The ads shown below, make me want to run away from the product as far as possible. Infact these ads are so terrible that if I was in a situation that I HAD to use the product, I’d pay money not to use it.

The pity is that Tata Telecom is a good company that provide decent products with decent service. Infact I am currently typing this blog post while using a TATA Docomo 3G dongle and I have been getting decent speeds. However, when it comes to advertising I don’t know why but TATA seems to always miss the mark. I blogged about TATA’s Telecom poor advertising several years ago here as well. Anyway, I am a fan of TATA Products and I hope someone senior enough in their organisation sees this and makes the requisite changes.

Here are those horrible ads. Don’t view them.

And this is suppose to make me subscribe to a Tata Docomo service? Next time I’m getting an operation, besides checking the Doctor’s experience I’m also going to check who is his Telecom Service Providoer.

Yes, I can just see mothers spotting those Tata Stores so that they can take their babies as far away from them as possible.

This is the worst of them all. Profiling domestic workers.

Excellent Talks that I have heard over the internet – October Edition

Leading at Google: Tony Hsieh on Delivering Happiness

Truly MUST-HEAR for every entrepreneur, marketing, customer-care and HR department. Tony Hsieh, retells his heartwarming journey on how he took Zappos, once this unknown company, to become the darling of the American Shoe Shoppers. When Tony joined Zappos, it was a sinking company with sales of a grand total of $0. Over 10 years he turned it around for it to earn $1 Billion in 2008. Subsequently, Zappos was acquired by Amazon for $1.2 Billion. The best part is how he did it. It was not by hammering advertising down customers throats. It was instead by focussing on the Culture of the Company, the Employees and Staying True to it’s mission of providing Outstanding Customer Service.

There were several take backs that I got from this talk some of which I remember are:


– The Vision, Mision, Values (you know the stuff you find in lobbies of Companies) are not as important as the commitment and dedication to living up to them. Don’t spend eons and oodles of money on retreats to come up with grandiouse mission statements. A simple one off the internet would do just fine, as long as you believe in it and are committed and dedicated to live up to it.

– Encourage employees to spend more time on the phone with customers, not less. They don’t have written scripts nor fixed time during which to complete a call. A complete opposite of the Call Centre Culture.

– Long term happiness is obtained by being part of a movement that is larger than yourself. Focus on that first and then top it up with the other forms of happiness such as the Flow experience and Momentary Pleasures.


Top Secret: The Battle for the Pentagon Papers

Wow. What A Brilliant Play. Infact I have a good mind to hear it all over again. The play is on Washinton’s Post decision to publish excerpts of The Pentagon Papers, a top-secret document about the Vietnam war, which “demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration had systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress, about a subject of transcendent national interest and significance”.

The play beautifully brings out issues of how much freedom of press should there be in a democracy and how responsible should they be. Very timely in today’s era.






Twelve Angry Men

Court Room dramas don’t get more exciting than this. I highly recommend clicking the link and hearing the sample audio available. I did. I was hooked and bought this audio drama. Boy, was it well worth it. I later bought the DVD and watched it all over again. A brilliant court-room drama that exercises one critical thinking and questioning skills. How do you look at a situation impartially. Devoid of emotion, prejudices and give your view completely based on facts. You think you can do that? Would you test your theory/view before airing it? Hear this play to know where you stand.


The play is about a boy who is convicted of killing his father based on overwhelming evidence. The jury battle out their views over the course of this play till the reach a conclusion.

Will Miss you Steve.

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I still remember my awe at my first ipod. It changed my life. I was never one for much music. However, the number of lectures, podcasts, speeches I began to listen to thanks to the ipod, multiplied several times over. I was benefitting so much from it, that eventually each and everyone of my family members (my brother, my mom, dad, wife) began to own one (sometimes two or more). That has been the story with each and every Apple product that I have owned. After I got my Macbook, I began blogging, podcasting more than before. With the ipad I have been reading more than before.They have helped me become more me. The “i” before each Apple product is not misplaced. It does indeed help each reach into or express one’s truly self.

What a briliant individual to design tools that work seemlessly well across ages, generations and cultures. Wait a go Steve. Will miss you dearly.

I have been watching Steve Jobs videos over the past two days. Here are a few of my favourite short ones:

Focussing is about saying NO.
Brilliant Video. Just 3 mins long

If you enjoyed that there’s another 5 minute bit from the same gathering that’s worth watching here.

Steve Jobs Tells us a Secret
That was interesting, never knew that’s the way it happened.


Death is life’s best invention
A one minute excerpt of his famous Stanford Speech

If you have not heard his Speech, drop everything and do it now from here.

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