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Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

Improving online users’ well being

Recently there was an article on Axios that “several of the biggest social media platforms are beginning to test changes that cut down on scorekeeping, discourage harassment and aim to improve users’ well-being.” A step in the right direction.

The article also noted that for many years social media companies aggressively focused on driving and creating engagement within their platforms. Some researchers now believe that those tactics have led to an over-use in social media, and may have had a negative overall impact on users’ health and wellbeing.

There is a lot that needs to be done to improve online users’ well being and social media companies seem to be taking few critical steps towards it. Let’s hope we continue to see improvements in the coming days.

How interesting is your book?

Each person’s life is a book. It’s a journey. You write the chapters.

When you write the different chapters of your book, how do you feel? How are you going to write the next chapters of that book? Will it be more of the same from before or are things going to be different going forward?

Many of us are fortunate to write an interesting story-something we could be proud of in the long run. We are writing a page of our book each day. If you were to look back on your autobiography in 20 to 30 to 40 years, are you going to be proud of the journey or wish otherwise?

First impressions

First impressions are very powerful. We always remember those first times when we experience something. For a new employee joining an organization, their first experiences with the people they meet, tasks that are given, the tone they are communicated with, everything matters.

Focus on the employees’ first impressions when they do get hired for the job.

Some of my favorite Nepali brands

Here are a few of my favorite Nepali brands (brands that started in Nepal that cater to the domestic or international market or both) in random order:

Himalayan Java – Love the ambience, food/coffee, and service

Mheecha – Love the simplistic design, look, and style. I have two Mheecha backpacks.

RedMud Coffee – Love the burgers, coffee, and overall vibe

Dulla – Love the look, color, and style of their hand made leather products. I have a
Satchel office laptop bag from Dulla.

What are some of your favorite Nepali brands?

Information overload

With the advent of the internet, information is now at the tip of our fingers. There is (almost) no lack of information on any subject from any part of the world. With so much information on the web, it is becoming harder, challenging, and almost unmanageable to get to the right information from a credible source.

Questions arise on this information overload:

Would it be better to have a centralized single country specific or global specific credible authority on a subject?

Is the web benefiting more the people/companies with resources (fast processing computers, larger capital etc) because they can afford to generate more attention, engagement, and reach than others with less resources? Additionally, when a person/company builds strong SEO, algorithms, and other tools to attract users to a site, are the web/search engines chasing the noise than anything else?

As more data gets generated with more access to smartphones and processing power, would we as humans become better decision makers with more data or become more confused/numb?

We’ll have to go back to how the web started in the first place. What was the purpose of the internet? With changing times, has the purpose of the internet changed as well? Where is the web headed to?

Being present

Every now and then, there comes a moment that changes everything.

We all have those moments. They don’t come too often and once they do, we need to really be aware and take full advantage of it. Just showing up is a step forward. Most people don’t show up-they get lazy, complacent, or not aware of the opportunity in front of them. Being present and in attendance can open doors, unlock opportunities, and literally change your life for the better.

That seagull

Jonathan Livingston Seagull was not your regular seagull. If Jonathan was a regular seagull, I probably won’t talking about him neither would you. Jonathan Livingston Seagull loved to fly, loved it so much that he went against its own flock to reach for the sky. An outcast to its own flock, he chased his dream to fly until one day it was soaring high in the sky like no other seagull had done it before. Then gradually the flock started to embrace Jonathan’s courage, perseverance, and come to understand his dreams.

Yes, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is a fictional story. The above scenario is all too common in our societies. We talk about change, highlight it/glorify it but at the end of the day very few of us go out of our way to chase something bigger. We stick to what the “flock” is doing, what they would say/think/feel, and our dreams/goals never get any legs.

What if we resisted limiting others’ dreams/goals by criticizing it or doing unnecessary harm? What if we found “that seagull” among us who is daring to fly high in the sky and gave them all the runway that we possibly can? What if we helped create more seagulls like that?

“AI for Transforming Business” conference


The British College is organizing an international conference titled “Artificial Intelligence for Transforming Business” on November 5th at Kathmandu, Nepal.

The main aim of this conference is to create a platform to bring together academics and industry experts, and allow them to share their research findings, experience, and expertise in the field of AI.

Logo taken from AITB International Conference website.

Value of time

Time is an abstract concept. We can say that our watches and phones say the same time. Our interpretation of time is more important and built around our habits, culture, environment, and so forth.

In the Nepali culture, we are becoming “accustomed” to a Nepali time. Nepali time is like taking a certain time as a reference and using it to plan the arrival. For example, if you are invited to an event at 11am, you will be okay to show up around 11:15am or so. You arrive late because of your habit, the organizers start the program late because a lot of other people are also late, and the cycle just keeps repeating event after event. Who’s keeping track of how many hours we are all losing? How much productive would we have been if things started on time and finished on time? Are we realizing the value of time?

What if we all feel the value of time? When we are invited to an event and need to be there at 11am, let’s just show up before 11am as an attendee. As an organizer, let’s start the event at 11am no matter who is running late. This way the cycle will improve a little bit, one event at a time. We all win when the event starts and ends on time. The collective gain is far bigger than waiting on a few “key” individuals’.

What’s your ‘mandu?

Kathmandu is an oasis.

Here, you’ll find what you are looking for. Jazzmandu. Bookmandu. Shopmandu. Cafemandu. Bikemandu. And many other ‘mandus. We have our groups and communities based on our interests, age, gender, backgrounds and so forth. It’s hard not to find what you are looking for. Reach out to the community that’s already out there or build one.

The city is yours.

What is the default culture?

According to sociologists, culture consists of the values, beliefs, systems of language, communication, and practices that people share in common and that can be used to define them as a collective.

There is a culture within families, places, companies, societies etc. Everything cannot be covered in a “culture” document or a manual. There will be many things that won’t be covered and it’s essential to have a compass to guide decisions when needed. That’s where the culture is most tested. When there are no rules, manuals, or guidebooks, it’s you making the decisions within a certain environment. If the culture within the company or place is built around trust, cooperation, and accountability, it will function much differently than a culture built around fear, hierarchy, and free will. The default culture carries over from the culture you have set in the first place and will be helpful when there are new circumstances/choices/decisions to be made.

What is your default culture set to?

The L!BRARY Initiative

Having attended a New York City public school, I can still vividly remember our school library. It consisted of a few hundred books but was hardly a place where most of us went to. Coming across this video on The L!BRARY Initiative, I was energized and inspired.

Best things to do in New York City

Here are a few things that I loved doing in New York City. If you’re going to be in New York, check them out:

Museum & Gold Vault Tour This was one of the coolest things to experience in New York. Here’s what the tour is about: The Federal Reserve Bank of New York offers guided tours to school groups and the general public. Visitors will learn about the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve. I don’t know how I first found out about this tour but it was definitely something that I really enjoyed and was thrilled to be a part of. It’s highly recommended that if you are interested in this tour, you must make a reservation 30 days in advance to your preferred date as seats are very limited. They also give you something to take home at the end of the tour. I won’t ruin the surprise for you! Pic: New York fed website.

The Roosevelt Island Tramway: The Roosevelt Island Tramway is always a treat because of the wonderful skyline you get to see of Manhattan (especially at night). Here’s what the Tramway is about: The Roosevelt Island Tramway provides the most modern aerial tramway in the world, running every 7-15 minutes from 59th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan to Tramway Plaza on Roosevelt Island. The tram connects Manhattan with Roosevelt Island. With a single metrocard ride (one way), this experience is something that often gets overlooked when there are so many other attractions in the city.

Visiting Dumbo: Dumbo stands for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. Here’s what Dumbo has to offer: Just a couple of decades removed from an industrial past in which few people lived there and there was little reason to visit, it’s now a hotbed of dining, recreation and shopping with great views of the Lower Manhattan skyline.  Dumbo has always been one of my favorites places to hang out. The views of Manhattan are spectacular (especially at night) and there are many spots to take amazing pictures.

More local examples

To make people grasp the content and easier to understand, it’s best to use local examples, people, and context. Yes, the world is moving fast and there are plenty of examples that can be picked up and used to explain an idea or point. However, it’s best to use local examples where possible.

Chief Review Officer

Each startup or business should now have a Chief Review Officer.

The Chief Review Officer will need to look after all reviews that the company gets in their websites, social media pages, and any other public platforms. The officer will need to correspond with the right person/department as needed and address the customers’ concern/queries. As businesses face an ever increasing amount of customer feedback and love/hate messages on their platforms, it’s important to be proactive, prompt and professional in replying to them. These days a lot of people read reviews of a particular business before deciding to spend their money or time or both in it. When businesses spend more time creating new posts/stories and not enough time on replying to the customers’ queries, then the trust and businesses’ reputation will wane in the coming days/months/years.

Does your business have a Chief Review Officer?