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Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

Beginner’s Mind

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. – Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

The Sixth Man: A Memoir

Just found out that Andre Iguodala, the sixth man of the NBA champions Golden State Warriors has a book “The Sixth Man” coming out on June 25, 2019.

Andre Iguodala is one of my favorite NBA players and I have followed him over the years. I took a keen interest in his tech investments and The Players Technology Summit. Iguodala partnered with Bloomberg on the creation of The Players Technology Summit which convenes top executives and leaders in the technology, venture capital and sports communities to exchange ideas and share expertise in an educational and empowering forum. He was also instrumental in creating the National Basketball Players Association’s first NBPA Technology Summit held in 2016.

I’m really looking forward to reading “The Sixth Man.”

Do it

If you want to start a business, do it.

If you want to travel the world, do it.

If you want to make a difference in the world, do it.

Most of us spent a lot of time just talking and planning and not enough time on actually doing it. Start today. Make it happen.

The math of effective communication

80/20

I strongly believe a good manager or a good leader is a great listener. Listening skills are one of the most important skills someone can have. A manager or leader has to make decisions and they need to hear as many perspectives/the most important ones to guide their decisions. If their listening skills are poor or their team perceives the manager/leader as having poor listening skills then it can have a tremendous impact on the success of the leader/manager, the project, the company etc.

Managers or leaders should spend more time listening than talking. I believe for effective communication one should spend 80% time on listening and 20% time on talking. When you create an environment that encourages people to speak up, you empower them and they are likely to rise up to the opportunity/challenge etc. By listening, you hear new ideas and perspectives. Some ideas might support your own and others might differ from yours. Once the team has provided you their input/insights/suggestions, then the manager/leader has to make decisions accordingly.

Nepal’s First and Biggest AI EXPO

AI Expo Nepal 2019 is a joint initiation by Fusemachines and Artificial Intelligence for Development (AID) aimed to showcase the best AI projects/papers from academia and industry.

Prerequisites for participation:

1. Minimum team members: 3
2. Maximum team members: 5
3. Each team fills out only 1 form with all the team details.
4. Status of project/paper must be disclosed.
5. Application form must be filled within the deadline.

Application form deadline: June 14, 2019
Selection announcement: June 24, 2019

AI Expo Nepal 2019 Application for Exhibition

For more information on AI Expo Nepal 2019, visit https://aiexponepal.com/

Technology and jobs

If a new technology comes and replaces people, do we consider that a great leap forward or backward? Do entrepreneurs have a moral obligation to build products and services that makes the revenue pie larger for the stakeholders or build them to keep all the pie to themselves? What role would the government play if the technology replaces people completely and lose their livelihood to sustain a decent living?

Technology that makes people productive, efficient, and our lives better are great. We deeply cherish the benefits that technology brings to our personal and/or professional lives. However, some products or services replace the human component and the economic pie only benefits the entrepreneur or a few middlemen. If a tour guide earned his/her living by providing a personalized experience to tour groups, would he/she be okay if a new app comes to replace this work completely? How can we create an environment where new products and services grow but also do not replace humans completely? Is the impact of innovation in economically tight societies creating more harm than boon?

Sightseeing with a guide

For almost all of my travelling journey domestically and internationally, I did not consider using a travel guide. I overlooked the value that a travel guide can bring to my travelling experience. One time just for the sake of it, I decided to hire a travel guide on a visit to Bhaktapur Durbar square in Nepal. I did not know much about Bhaktapur and taking a chance on a guide was totally worth the investment.

The benefits that I found of having a travel guide are:

-better knowledge and information about the area

-time savings

-choice and flexibility of activities

-local access to places and people

-a richer travel experience

When I visit a new place now, I would at least explore getting a tour guide.

And if you are travelling to Bhaktapur in the near future, reach out to me. I will recommend the guide that showed us around Bhaktapur Durbar square.

Degrees and experiences

Nepal’s current job market is filled with college graduates. We have a lot of college graduates with degrees but with few or no work experience(s). The labor supply of college graduates is higher than the current demand.

We need college graduates with degrees and work experiences. Some solutions to this are encouraging students to start doing internships early, colleges playing a more active role in finding placements for students, and companies understanding the value of interns. At current, most students are doing an internship in their last semester and graduate with a work experience of less than 6 months. Students should actively search for opportunities and start doing internships as early in their college career as possible. This initiative will open more doors for students in the future. Colleges are currently doing just enough or a little bit to help their students get internships and jobs. They need to provide plenty of opportunities for their students to explore different career tracks, orient them about the job search process, and prepare them for job interviews. Companies should take interns and look to build their team if there is a right fit. It’s better to give the right intern a full time position than just hire someone out of the blue.

Long term asset

As information becomes omnipresent, it’s doesn’t matter whether you’re in Nepal, Rwanda, or America. What becomes more important for the long term success is your network. What are you building today? Do you have mentor(s) to keep you going? How involved are you in the community and ecosystem? If you are doing everything independently, time to build the right network.

The asset that will yield major returns in the short term and especially in the long term is your network. The network will help you achieve more in your personal and/or professional life. No one achieves a lot on their own; it takes a team. Start building this asset today.

Beautiful travel quotes

Travel makes one modest, you see what a small place you occupy in the world.

Travel opens your heart, broadens your mind and fills your life with stories to tell.

Let’s wander where the wi-fi is weak.

Once a year, go somewhere you have never been before.

Wherever you go, go with all your heart.

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.

Travelling-it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

Visit Nepal 2020

To make Visit Nepal 2020 a definite success, all the stakeholders should consider how to attract, engage, and wow the tourists in their Nepal trip.

The easy part is for the government to announce Visit Nepal 2020. The real work happens before the flock of tourists start coming in for 2020. I believe first we have to really understand why tourists come to Nepal. Is it the mountains, the lakes, the culture, the food, or the people? Or it could be something else? Understanding why most tourists come to Nepal, then working to highlight those experiences will take Nepal to the next level. Second, we need to make the travel experience much better for the tourists. From the time the tourists land at Tribhuvan International airport to the time they head back to their native country, we have to deliver a WOW experience throughout their time here. Third, the Visit Nepal 2020 is a great opportunity for the government, private sector, and the public to work together to show the best that Nepal has. Let’s all do our part to make Visit Nepal 2020 a grand success.

Think long-term

I’ve come to realize that thinking, planning, and working on a long-term basis is the best way to go. Making decisions that are best just for the short term won’t be much fruitful. Anything great that has been achieved takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

How many hours do you think Stephen Curry spent in the gym practicing those 3 pointers?

How many years did it take Kevin Hart to make it in the movies?

How many decades did it take Warren Buffet to be great at what he does?

A purposeful company

Companies exist to make money. They also should be responsible contributors to the community. Besides creating jobs and contributing to the economy, companies should have a social component to their existence. Some ways for companies to start contributing to the local community/city are to ask themselves a few questions first:

What local problems can the company help solve?

What areas do the employees want to contribute in?

What are some current challenges in the community where the company can provide their expertise in?

If the company could focus on solving one issue, how much of a difference can they make in the short term or long term?

What are the expectations of the company from the community, local leaders, and other stakeholders?

Some valuable wisdom…

I love this paragraph from Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog. It’s about the time when he wrote about the long-term prospects of Blue Ribbon and how he saw the future.

“This last line was wholly truthful. It was worth shooting for. If Blue Ribbon went bust, I’d have no money, and I’d be crushed. But I’d also have some valuable wisdom, which I could apply to the next business. Wisdom seemed an intangible asset, but an asset all the same, one that justified the risk.”

Industry ready college graduates

There is a lot of talk at colleges, meetups, conferences, and other venues that college graduates in Nepal are not job ready. Although there seems to be an effort to bridge the gap between academia and industry, a lot of work still needs to be done. In the meantime, I want to share my thoughts on how college graduates should/must be ready for the job market in Nepal.

College graduates should really develop or hone these skills/attitude:

  1. Proactive-Students with a proactive attitude will get more opportunities because they are taking more chances and will be noticed. Potential employers can easily spot if you are proactive or not. Show your proactive attitude by highlighting the activities you did in college/outside of college/in the community etc.
  2. Creative-Be creative in your job search process. Don’t just rely on easy methods like applying online. Use a mix of job search approaches-apply online, email the company, visit the company, talk to friends/alumni etc. Get noticed.
  3. Prepare-Be prepared for each opportunity that comes your way. There are too many graduates waiting for an opportunity. No matter how good you were in college, being prepared for job interviews requires plenty of practice.
  4. Hungry-Stay hungry. Sometimes it can feel like forever when you apply for jobs but never hear back from the companies. Don’t be discouraged and keep following up. All you need is one YES and then you’re good.
  5. Start early– Don’t wait till your 8th semester to apply for internships/jobs. Start as early as possible.

on the calendar

If you really want to make things happen, start by putting them down on the calendar. Once the task or activity or plan is in the calendar, you will most likely address it. If you don’t put it down on the calendar, you will be busy doing things that you did not even plan for or was not even in the priority in the first place.