Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

Decision memos

I love this productivity tip.

A Fast Company article cited how former President Barack Obama made decisions when he was in the White House. The article stated how the former president preferred written advice to spoken ones and how “decision memos” get delivered to his desk with three checkboxes at the bottom:

  • agree 
  • disagree 
  • let’s discuss

This simplicity allowed the decision maker to make decisions easily while understanding the context. The decision maker can then spend more time solving the problem than spending time trying to understand the problem.

Nepal’s First and Biggest AI EXPO: AI Expo Nepal 2019

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. The expo will be a platform that fosters active collaboration between experts and learners from industry and academia. The goal is to discuss opportunities and challenges in the industry, come up with practical/ethical solutions, and help Nepal’s AI ecosystem to grow.

Event Details: August 24, 2019 at Soaltee Crowne Plaza 

Sign up here for free registration: https://aiexponepal.com


Staying ahead

If you want to stay ahead, you have to constantly challenge yourself. Taking on challenges keeps you hungry, humble, and in a learner state of mind. The hardest part is not just getting to the mountain top but staying there as long as possible.

Do your goals scare you? If they don’t, then it’s time to change your perspective and your goals.

The weight of awards

At a recent award ceremony, one of the pioneers of taking wireless technology to rural parts of Nepal, Mahabir Pun was honored with the Pioneer ICT Award. On stage, he gave a short speech where he made a humble request to the media and people present in the audience to not nominate him for any other awards going forward. He said the weight of the awards keeps him from moving his work forward.

A very interesting perspective. My hats off to him. It takes courage and guts to say that on stage and also makes us aware of the significance of awards to the work we do everyday.

Why go to college?

At a time when technology has enabled most of us in the world to take online courses and workshops from anywhere plus colleges are an expensive investment, we need to reevaluate the importance of physical academic institutions.

For colleges, the questions to answer:

What is the value proposition of a college in a world where online courses and workshops have taken off and students have abundant resources (YouTube, learning platforms etc) to enhance their learning or increase their knowledge/skills?

How does a college justify that huge cost (or investment) for students to attend? What is the return for the students after 4 years of classes, late nights, weekend projects etc?

How can a college coexist with the growth of new and abundant online learning platforms?

For the US colleges that attract a lot of international students, how will they navigate the new landscape where domestic colleges start to offer quality, less expensive, and more industry driven education to its students?

As technology continues to make certain current courses outdated, how frequently will colleges update their course curriculum, keep teachers trained, and stay competitive with other colleges?

For prospective students, the questions to answer:

Why is attending college important?

What value will the college degree have once I graduate or if I want to start a business?

Will I get the expected return on my 4 year investment in a college degree?

If the job that I’m planning to get does not require a degree, how important will that college education will be?

If I am already very self motivated and have big dreams, will college actually be a hindrance to starting my freelancing business or entrepreneurial journey?

Lots of questions and they are more relevant than ever.

The beautiful struggle

Each journey in our personal and professional lives will take us through the highs and the lows. If we only decide to celebrate once we get to the mountain top, then we’re not realizing the beauty in the journey itself. The joy of reaching the mountain top is a feat in itself. To make our lives more happy and meaningful, we should take the good with the bad.

I remember a time when a speaker at an event I attended many years ago said “People are like plants: we need both sun and water to grow.

Take a walk

Walking has so many benefits. Walking can instantly lift your mood—especially when you go outdoors. A recent study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience found that walking improved both convergent and divergent thinking, the two types associated with enhanced creativity. In a large meta-analysis of sleep studies, researchers found that regular walkers had longer and better quality sleep. Science says one of the benefits of walking is it’s one of the fastest, most effective ways to calm down.

The above sentences are from the Reader’s Digest website.

the valuable intangibles

Caring for the people as well as the project

Showing up and being present

Giving respect to others’ ideas and thoughts

Learning attitude

Working to make the world a better place

Are you ready?

Well…one is never “completely” ready. Launching a new project, starting a business, or something major in our personal or professional lives, an individual is never completely ready. We can prepare ourselves to be ready as much as possible.

From the outside, the new project or the new venture or the new change in personal or professional life can seem to be smoothly executed. The reality is that most people who start new projects and businesses are anxious, nervous but equally thrilled to venture into the unknown. Circumstances favor those who go through the “challenges” and “problems” and come out on the other side. Being ready is just a state of mind.

The success curtain

Biswas Dhakal, founder of F1Soft and eSewa said in a recent The Kathmandu Post interview that “everyone sees our success, but they don’t know our failures.”

Behind every success story, there are plenty of stories of “brilliant ideas” that never saw the day of light because of timing, execution, lack of funding, among others. It’s easy to fall in love with the success story and hope that we all have our own version of one hit wonders. But that’s rarely the case. Actually I’ve rarely seen an entrepreneur whose idea just took off in the market. It’s always important to understand the backstage preparation and work that took place before the curtain opened.

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AI Expo Nepal 2019

I’m thrilled to be a part of the organizing team for the upcoming AI Expo Nepal 2019 happening on Saturday, August 24 at Soaltee Crowne Plaza. The AI Expo Nepal 2019 is organized by Fusemachines and Artificial Intelligence for Development (AID).

The topic of AI has garnered a lot of interest from academia and industry globally. From movies, books, magazines, to conferences, workshops and talks, we hear of AI being talked about in all these places. Now for the first time ever, we’ll see what is possible in Nepal through AI prototypes that will be on display at the expo.

AI Expo Nepal 2019 will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, display of AI prototypes, networking to name a few. If you are interested in the field of AI, want to see the possible AI implementations in Nepal or want to network with like minded individuals, hope to see you on August 24th at Soaltee Crowne Plaza.

AI Superpowers China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order

A couple of my friends are currently reading AI Superpowers China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order. By hearing them talk about the book made me want to read it as well. I’m really looking forward to reading this book.

If you have read this book already or are currently reading it, do share your thoughts on the book.

To learn more about AI Superpowers China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order, visit https://aisuperpowers.com/

Eisenhower matrix

I found it very useful to put all the activities that needs to be done on a project or a day on the Eisenhower matrix. By having everything up there on the matrix, we’re able to prioritize and work on them efficiently and effectively. There’s a web app of the Eisenhower matrix that I have recently started using – https://app.eisenhower.me/

Eisenhower matrix

Leading with vision

Dr. Sanduk Ruit is an ophthalmologist on a mission to restore sight to Nepal’s blind. He is the executive director of the nonprofit Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology in Kathmandu, Nepal, and has operated on more than 130,000 patients. He has adopted innovative surgical techniques for cataracts and often travels to perform operations, walking up to seven days hauling surgical equipment to reach patients who live in Nepal’s most remote villages. Why does Dr. Ruit do this? He lost family to treatable diseases and knows what it’s like not to have access to healthcare.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVCfYGJV_2s

Action is your competitive advantage

The internet has created an almost level playing field for individuals, companies, and countries. We can access information, get insights and find just about anything we are looking for with internet access. The competitive advantage now is not just information but taking action on that information.

You could be living in Silicon Valley, California, US with a billion dollar idea but if the motivation and action is not there, nothing happens. On the other hand you could be living in Hattisar, Kathmandu, Nepal and if you are extremely hungry to make a global impact, things happen. Yes, certain types of financial and networking access comes with being at the right place at the right time. However, the competitive advantage now is in the action.

Actions speak louder than locations.

Podcasting is the new blogging

I love Seth Godin’s thoughts on podcasting so I’m sharing it right here.

A podcast helps us think hard about what’s next, about how we describe what’s now, about what’s worth sharing.

A podcast is a great chance to find your voice, and a marvelous excuse to reach out to people and have important conversations.

Not as a way to make big dollars (blogging didn’t do that either). But as a way to share your ideas, to lead your community, to earn trust.

Podcasting is a proven technology that is still in its infancy. It’s an open mic, a chance for people with something to say to find a few people (or perhaps more than a few people) who’d like to hear them say it.

And podcasting is the generous act of showing up, earning trust and authority because you care enough to raise your hand and speak up.

I took The Podcast Fellowship last fall and loved it. I recommend you look into it if you are interested. Visit Podcasting is the new blogging

Fundamentals of success

Success is followed by the application of key fundamentals. For me, the fundamentals are hard work, vision, execution, focus, humility, commitment, team work, fun, and some luck. Hard working people get lucky. Success can mean different things to different people. However, the fundamentals of becoming successful are mostly the same.