Happy 65th, India!

Image

 

As a generation that was born post independence, our lack of appreciation for our birth right is…understandable, I suppose. As is our scepticism, our anger, our apathy, our utter disbelief at how things happen in the world’s largest democracy.

And yet, there is something so promising about her potential. There is so much that a nation as special as ours can achieve.

We just need to give her a chance. We need to give ourselves a chance.

On this day, I salute India’s potential. I salute those who believe in her. I salute those who believe in us.

Happy 65th, India!

Because I’m bored

Image

Does anyone else think Friends and How I Met Your Mother [HIMYM] are quite alike?

I watched an episode of Friends the other day, immediately followed by one of HIMYM and it got me thinking, ya know, about how awfully similar they are. So I drew a bit of comparative-chart to identify some of the obvious similarities.

By chart I mean prose, and by drew I mean typed.

Friends

How I Met Your Mother

Ross commits to relationships too quickly.

Three divorces.

Image

Ted commits to relationships too quickly.

Says “I love you” to Robin on their first date.

Image

They hang out at Central Perk and sit on the same sofas every time.

Periodically, anyone apart from these six seen sitting on the sofas is asked to leave.

Image

They hang out at MacLaren’s Pub and sit in the same booth every time.

I think the Robin and Lily got into a silent-fight / stare-down with a few other girls who were sitting in their booth.

Image

Ross and Chandler have known each other since college.

Both were…interesting back then.

Image

Ted and Marshall have known each other since college.

Both were…interesting back then.

Image

Chandler and Monica are married. One married couple in the group.

Image

Lily and Marshall are married. One married couple in the group.

Image

Ross is a professor and tells the most sinfully boring stories.

Image

Ted is a professor and tells the most sinfully boring stories.

Image

Joey is a ladies’ man.

Image

Barney is a ladies’ man.

Image

Everyone hangs out at Monica’s grandmother’s apartment.

Image

Everyone hangs out quite a lot at Lily and Marshall’s apartment. Or is it Ted’s? Well, one apartment is frequented the most.

Image

Ross’ Halloween costume

Image

Ted’s Halloween costume

Image

Joey is of Italian origin.

Ok so this one was a long shot.

Image

Robin is Canadian.

Image

So they’re not identical *rolls eyes*. But you’ve gotta admit that that’s still a pretty decent number of similarities in the plot.

What did I miss?

*Note: None of the pictures used in this post are mine. They’ve all been taken from various sources across the internet. Most of them can be found by using these keywords: Friends, How I Met Your Mother, names of characters from both shows.

I Like Your Flaws [Re-blog]

There are some things you come across and just can’t help but share.

I do wish I could write like this. I also wish someone felt this way about me. =)

You can find the original piece by Stephanie Georgopulos here.

*****

“I like how you mispronounce words sometimes, how you fumble and stammer and stutter looking for the right ones to say and the right ways to say them. I appreciate that you find language challenging, because it is, because everything manmade is challenging. Including man, including you.

When you sleep on your side, I like to map the constellations between your beauty marks freckles pimples, the minuscule mountains that sprinkle your back. I like the tufts of hair you forgot to shave and the way you smell when you haven’t showered in a while; I like the sleep left in your eyes.

I like the way your skin dies in the middle of the night, how you die from embarrassment the next morning; how you writhe in the snake casing you’ve left behind. I like that you think pillow snowflakes carry more weight than pillow talk; that you think my opinion of you is so fickle that it could change overnight. (It’s not.)

I enjoy seeing you insecure, vulnerable. I like to watch red steam light up your cheeks, a spreading mist of shame when you think you’ve done something unacceptable like missing a step on the stairs or not having the perfect answer to something I’ve said. It’s like you honestly don’t know how wonderful you are, it’s like you have no idea.

The burns, the scars, the black and blues on your face body heart, I want to know their stories. I want to know what hurt you, who hurt you, how bad the damage is. I like your hard, ugly toenails and the layer of fat that lines your belly, the soft parts you try to hide. It’s okay to be soft, sometimes.

I appreciate your ability to get inappropriately angry as much as I appreciate your willingness to apologize afterward. I like how your passion manifests unpredictably and uncontrollably, how your feelings cannot be caged or concealed, how you’re incapable of apathy.

I like how you can’t dance, how you have pedestrian taste in music, how the worst song on every album is your favorite. I like how enthusiastic you are when you hear it, it’s like you don’t know how terrible it is, it’s like maybe how you’re able to love someone like me. (Perhaps that’s your biggest flaw, perhaps that’s the one I love most.)

Your flaws single you out, set you apart, make you different from the rest, and thank god. I don’t just put up with settle for accept your blemishes, I like them. I like them because they make you human, and humans are easier to love than photographs and illusions and ideals; humans fit more easily between arms and between legs; humans are welcome to their imperfections because if there’s one thing humans can do perfectly, it’s love. Humans can love, they can do it flawlessly.”

The 100 Social Enterprise Truths – a ‘reblog’ of sorts

I’ve been siffing through a number of emails I’ve ‘starred’ in the recent past. Some of them are related to literature that I need to read up on, but most of them are on potential (suggested?) blog posts for myself. It is during this browsing-spree, if I may, that I changed upon this post.

I don’t even remember when I came across the post about The 100 Social Enterprise Truths. I don’t remember when I came across it online, I mean.

Now that I’ve gone through it again, I see why I’d starred it. There’re a lot of interesting points here. And now that I’m on the brink (or almost!) of taking baby steps into (social) entrepreneurship, I have a few things on these points. The reason I keep ‘social’ in brackets is because I’m still trying to figure out if I can officially term what I want to do with Aham Asti in that category.

I’m sure some of my comments below might change over time, especially once I actually start with the venture. But for now, this is it. =)

So without further ado, here’s the list of 100 Social Enterprise Truths. And incase you didn’t catch it earlier on, you can find the original post here.

 

1. Measuring social impact is about improving what you do, not just proving how well it works

2. Choose legal structure after getting clarity on mission, activities, financing, governance

3. It’s not the size of the profit, it’s what you do with it that counts
My comment: I absolutely agree here. Although…hmmm…the word ‘profit’ does make me a bit wary.

4. More-than-profit is better than not-for-profit (profit’s not a dirty word)
My comment: THERE IT IS! Ha! Those are my dad’s words. Exactly! Last time I spoke to him in depth about Aham Asti, he said to me, “Beta, why does it seem to me that you’re feeling guilty about making money?” My response was a mix of ummms and errrs. *shrugs*

5. Successful social entrepreneurs build trusted, authentic relationships

6. Social entrepreneurs aren’t individual heroes; they build teams, create networks, mobilise movements
My comment: Absolut-o-mundo! Not that I would ever want to catergorize myself as one or the other, but I do want to make a change. I’m not sure about a ‘movement’, but a change, yes.

7. Social entrepreneurs can work at community, local, national and international levels
My comment: I think it’s almost vital for that to happen. Growth invariably equals more number of people being reached. Reach out and think big!

8. If a pound was donated each time a social entrepreneur quoted Gandhi, no-one would need to fundraise

9. Teach too many men to fish and you screw up the entire marine ecosystem and deplete the fish stocks

10. Scale of impact is more important than scale of organisation (or scale of ego)
My comment: Bulls-eye. Get the self-interest out of the picture, and you’ll do fine. But I s’pose it’s important to keep in mind that you’ve gotta feed yourself and handles finances, keeping daddy dearest’s words in mine.

11. A particular legal structure doesn’t guarantee an organisation won’t be rubbish (or that it will be brilliant)

12. You don’t need an MBA to be a social entrepreneur; you need a JFDI
My comment: Well, I’m getting my MBA and I’m hoping in some way it helps me. Also, I’m just fucking doing it. So yeah, best of both? =)

13. Successful social enterprises have a ‘network mindset’ not an organisational one: focus on the mission

14. All money comes with strings attached; that’s fine as long as you know what they are

15. Social enterprise isn’t a panacea; but it can provide a treatment for some social ills, and help prevent others

16. Social entrepreneurs’ work has a ripple effect: mobilising and inspiring others to get involved
My comment: And I do hope I get that going once I get where I want. During the initial stages of me conceptualizing Aham Asti, my mom said to me, “Don’t talk to everybody about your business idea – they might steal it!” I responded to her by saying, “If they steal my idea, I’d’ve won. If more people do what I want to, I’ve achieved what I sought out to do.”

17. There is nothing more tedious than a social enterprise definition debate (apart from two of them…)

18. Not everyone is a changemaker (FAO Bill Drayton)

19. The thing that connects most organisations that have successfully scaled is length of time
My comment: Hang in there – it’ll happen!

20. Social enterprises overestimate what they can achieve in the short-term, and underestimate it in the long-term

21. Organisations are powered by people, and they should be trained, supported and invested in

22. Networking is important for social entrepreneurs: be generous and genuine, and it will be reciprocated

23. Even if you call them a client, an end-user or beneficiary, the customer is still king

24. Social enterprise leaders need to look after themselves; if they burn out, often so does the organisation
My comment: I suppose this is where partners come into the picture. People who’ll be by your side and work with you and help you share the workload. These people, to be honest, have to be people who share your vision (if I may). Else, it’ll just spell disaster.

25. Populate the organisation with radiators not drains

26. Before you get the right people in the right seats, be sure you’re driving the right bus

27. Enjoy it: it’s not called “earnest-and-worthy-and-dull” enterprise; humour is allowed (& often necessary)
My comments: I completely agree! Humor’s the flavor of life! Enjoy it while you still can. =)

28. All organisations live or die by the quality of what they deliver (at the price they do it)

29. Buy from other social enterprises, and get them in your supply chain: but only if they deliver
My comment: Absolutely. Make the change…but also help others make a change. That’s always a refreshing feeling. =)

30. Underpromise and overdeliver: all too rare in social enterprise

31. A crisis might be a terrible thing to waste; it’s also a terrible thing to cause (#bigsociety)

32. There are more holy grails in social enterprise than in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

33. When talking about asset transfer and finite resources, don’t forget the most important assets + resources are human

34. For ‘niche in the market’, read ‘need in the community’ (and vice versa)

35. Addressing market failure probably won’t have a commercial rate of return

36. Learn by doing, learn from others, learn from failures, keep learning
My comment: The day you stop learning, you stop growing. Period.

37. A 3-year government contract is no more sustainable than a 3-year grant

38. Sustainable financing comes through not being over-reliant on any one source of money
My comment: Yes! Diversify your income channels. For instance, write a book. =)

39. Optimistic pragmatists and realistic opportunists flourish

40. There a lot of good social enterprise business plans, not many good businesses
My comment: Deliver what you plan. Deliver what you promise. Deliver deliver deliver. That’s what it’s all about.

41. If the motivation isn’t really there at the start, it certainly won’t be when times get hard
My comment: Yes, believe in what you’ve set out to do. If you don’t believe in it, no one else will.

42. Charm and ‘being nice to people’ are enormously underrated

43. Edison was right (1% inspiration, 99% perspiration)

44. The “Facebook for social entrepreneurs” is Facebook

45. Newsflash: your social network for a niche community won’t fund itself by advertising
My comment: Yes, but it sure will help you identify people who’re worth associating yourself with. Know how to work various channels.

46. Honesty builds trust builds credibility builds support: ‘calculated candour’ is the way forward

47. Diversifying too early usually means doing lots of things averagely rather than one thing well
My comment: I believe that. Jack of all traits isn’t the best thing to start with. Aim for being the king of one, at the beginning at least.

48. Don’t scale up before the model’s proven, however much noise & encouragement there is

49. There’s more truth spoken over drinks and meals at a conference than on the stage
My comment: Couldn’t have said it better myself!

50. BigSociety, Social Enterprise, Civil Society, Third Sector: it’s more important what we do than what we call it

51. Believing your own hype is the start of the downward spiral

52. The biggest challenge for spin-outs is not technical but cultural

53. The UK is a pioneer in the field; but first mover advantage also means first mover mistakes

54. If the government created an investment fund for construction, it would be called BuilderBuilders

55. Measuring social impact is where financial reporting was 200 years ago (so don’t beat yourself up)

56. Too many people confuse innovation with novelty; an idea is easier than continuous improvement

57. It is possible to go to a social enterprise conference or seminar every working day of the year

58. There is a difference between having great contacts and actually making use of them

59. Work is needed on better exit strategies for social entrepreneurs (no more ‘life president’ stuff)

60. More than 146,000 new species have been discovered since the first Social Investment Task Force began

61. UK social enterprise debate is too internally-focused: huge amount to learn from international models

62. Mission isn’t about a nice statement: it’s for decision-making, communication & planning

63. Beware the ‘self-styled’ social entrepreneur; normally means it’s more about ‘self’ and ‘style’ [see Melody on the Apprentice]

64. Empowerment means giving power to and equipping with skills, not ‘asking a few questions’

65. You can’t really solve or change much from your desktop #slacktivism

66. Entrepreneurship is a mindset, an attitude, a set of behaviours (so is social entrepreneurship)

67. You can’t teach entrepreneurship, but you can learn it; learn it by doing and from others

68. Look back after you leap, and work out how you might leap differently next time

69. There are many social impact measurement tools, with more in common than they care to admit

70. Social entrepreneurs are often ‘biographical’: powered by a personal injustice or experience

71. The word ‘synergy’ should be outlawed from daily use

72. Risk literacy and risk awareness are where we need to get to (not just risk vs risk aversion)

73. The best CaféDirect coffee is the Machu Picchu: not too strong, but smooth + robust

74. (Social) entrepreneurs are a little bit born and a lot made

75. A group of social entrepreneurs always ultimately revert to gossip

76. Bad partnerships mean muddied thinking, a multitude of meetings, & compromised delivery

77. There are a spectrum of replication options: it’s not ‘open source’ vs ‘command and control’

78. Social enterprise blends outlooks and approaches; so a blended return makes sense

79. Understanding the problem is part of the solution (tackle the causes, not the symptoms)

80. Imperfect action is almost always better than perfect inaction

81. BigSociety is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma (apols to Churchill)

82. Financial management matters; you need to know your way round a P&L and cashflow
My comment: *sigh* My biggest fear! Maybe this is where my MBA will help!

83. Investors and social entrepreneurs don’t speak different languages, they speak different dialects

84. There are as many social enterprise support agencies & networks as actual social enterprises

85. “Build it + they will come” only works if you build it right (& listen to the people you’re building it for)
My comment: I was chatting with a friend of mine recently and he said something that really stood out. While talking about a venture he’s created recently, he said to me, “Go out there and do it. Commerce will happen. Commerce always happens.” Do it well, is all I’ll add, and the money will definitely flow.

86. Social enterprise isn’t an easy option; starting a business never is

87. Finding a good social enterprise web designer is like finding a needle in a haystack
My comment: I’ve already started my research on finding web designers and website creatorthingamajigs. Wish me luck, especially since I’m a total doofus in that area.

88. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’: with fewer ‘deep’ quotes and more doing

89. If London-Edinburgh trainline was a social enterprise, it would stop outside Newcastle when it ran out of funding

90. Most investors, funders, policymakers to do with this space are in London (it’s not an anti-Northern conspiracy)

91. The dark Divine Chocolate is a bit full on: go for the (lovely) milk / mint / orange / hot chocolate

92. Sectors are diverse + contain multitudes; don’t talk about the public or private sectors (or social enterprise sector) as if they are uniform

93. Survival rate is meant to refer to the business, not the social entrepreneur

94. There is an over-supply of loan finance already, with not enough organisations fit, able or willing to take it

95. Social entrepreneurship isn’t a career, it’s a calling (do something before you take the label)

96. Secretly, most social enterprises are still pursuing the “hope for a sugar daddy or mommy” business model

97. The first social entrepreneur was a Sumerian who started the first library / tax system in 1500 BC

98. Enterprise support agencies are often amongst the most un-enterprising organisations around

99. Despite the cynicism + in-fighting, there are great orgs, great people, real change happening
My comment: I can see that too. And lots of people out there who’re not only trying to do something, but who’re actually bringing people together from across the globe to help each other. If you don’t know them already, you must check out the guys at Make Sense.

100. Don’t believe anyone spouting supposed social enterprise truths at you; they clearly don’t know what they’re talking about ;0)

 

I do hope one day I can say “I knew what I was talking about!”.

I’ve been meaning to blog about what Aham Asti is and what I want to do with it, but haven’t had the time. But I will get down to it soon enough. And when I do, I’ll add a link here for those of you who might be interested.

For now though, I’d just like to say that I’m going to start my MBA in e-commerce in the next month and once I’m done, I hope to jump right into Aham Asti. During this next year though I plan to implement what I learn.

Here’s hoping things fall into place.

Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 6.0

Damn, this one took a while!

Not to say that it took me a while to compile it, but for some reason I just couldn’t get around to blogging this edition. For almost two months. Now that’s just wrong!

How, what, when, where and why are questions that’re prolly running through your mind. This is in case you’re not yet aware of my #AweseomHandles hashtag on twitter and my previous blog posts.

As I always say, instead of going into the narrative all over again, imma just let ya go over the previous editions of Twits and their #AwesomeHandles: first edition, second edition, third edition, fourth edition and fifth edition.

Moving on, then, here’s me giving a big up to a few tweeps who helped me put this edition together –  @prempiyush,  @probabilism,  @TheHumerus,  @parthans,  @kaalicharan,  @SparklinGuy & @panku_

Thanks for your recommendations, guys! Y’all rock! =)

Okie-dokie then. Here goes the next edition of the point-oh #AwesomeHandles:

  1. @_deadphoenix
  2. @2S8
  3. @ArchDouche
  4. @bioismypassion
  5. @ceetee
  6. @chotudochai
  7. @CrypticNode
  8. @Decloned_iTaz
  9. @deleteG – updated
  10. @EvilMegamind 
  11. @fernfly 
  12. @Foolosophical_
  13. @Fraud_Mallu 
  14. @freestyleoss
  15. @funkeyguhl 
  16. @god_and_dog 
  17. @handlechange – updated
  18. @HelloMeHippy
  19. @IareVaboon
  20. @IbneBattuta 
  21. @Jack_and_Spades
  22. @Korrectamundo 
  23. @kryptonitenicky
  24. @Kuch_Bhi 
  25. @kuch_bhi_nahi 
  26. @Kuch_Nahi
  27. @LazyByDefault
  28. @ManwhoreManohar
  29. @MasalaPapad 
  30. @menhandled 
  31. @meterdalakya
  32. @oldmonklives – updated
  33. @paaaaaam 
  34. @phulkadots 
  35. @riceplatesays 
  36. @RoaringCrab 
  37. @RockIshtaar
  38. @SaafSafai 
  39. @salty_chips 
  40. @ShrootyNair
  41. @skinnylatte 
  42. @Soul_Taxi 
  43. @StrykarX 
  44. @tanejamainhoon 
  45. @TheBarBlade – updated
  46. @thebongbabe 
  47. @TheManWhoSmiles
  48. @TwiterkiMa 
  49. @XeroxRahman 
  50. @youngpikasho 

And that, boyz and gurlz, was Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 6.0.

I’m almost halfway through my 7.0 list.

If you think you have an AwesomeHandle and want to be on here, then drop in a comment below or gimme a shout on twitter: I’m @silv3rglee.

Also – these lists are compiled purely on the basis of recommendations from tweeps, so don’t hesitate to let me know as soon as you spot a funky handle and think it should make this list! It needn’t necessarily be yours, but hey, you know there are some really #AwesomeHandles out there!

So yeah, comment away! =D