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Nirmal's Blog

Nirmal's Blog

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?

Not an underdog story

What’s it feel like to win your first championship?

Listen to Kyle Lowry talk about his team, Toronto Raptors winning its first championship. It’s insightful, introspective and inspiring.

Google Project Oxygen findings

Google Project Oxygen is their internal mission to build better bosses.

The findings showed that a high-scoring manager:

1. Is a good coach 

2. Empowers team and does not micromanage 

3. Creates an inclusive team environment, showing concern for success and well-being

4. Is productive and results-oriented

5. Is a good communicator – listens and shares information 

6. Supports career development and discusses performance

7. Has a clear vision/strategy for the team 

8. Has key technical skills to help advise the team 

9. Collaborates across Google

10. Is a strong decision maker

Taken from re:Work with Google

Realize

You prepare. You take action. At times, the results do not come out as you hoped. Realization of what you could have done better is a very important skill. Failure is a great teacher. It teaches us so much more than winning (not to say winning is not important).

When the results are not good, do you look around for someone/something to blame or do you do a self assessment and realize what you could have done better?

A future beyond traffic gridlock

Kathmandu faces an acute traffic congestion problem. As thousands of people face this problem on a daily basis and more vehicles being added to the capital’s roads, I’m researching how cities around the world are managing their own traffic congestion. I found a related/useful video on Ted which is worth listening to: Bill Ford talking in A future beyond traffic gridlock. Bill Ford’s great-grandfather was Henry Ford.

teaching is art

To teach is to learn twice – Joseph Joubert

I had a wonderful opportunity to listen to an experienced teacher share his experience on teaching. It was inspiring to hear his perspective on teaching. He talked about the importance of stories to get students interested in the subject matter, how to get started in the beginning of class, and engaging the students.

I also learned that it’s very important for teachers to be very prepared for each class. It’s important to make sure the teachers are not just dumping information to the students but helping them understand the concepts/ideas along the way.

Celebrities speaking up

When celebrities speak up on contemporary issues, is it good or bad for their “personal brand”?

Do all celebrities have the luxury to speak up on contemporary issues and voice their opinion(s)?

What current or potential sports endorsements would be affected for the athletes if they speak up (or not speak up)?

Do consumers today believe that athletes should be more responsible and use their platform for the greater good of society? If they don’t use their platform “properly”, would we support them any less?

What topic(s) should the athletes stay in or can they comment on issues related to global events?

Seize the day

Maybe good things come to those wait, but the best things come to those who seize the moment and make it their own.

Taken from No Limits But the Sky

The discomfort zone

Overtime, we build a comfort zone to a lot of things-from the books we read, to the people we hang out with to the sports teams we support etc. That’s the easy way to do things. We don’t have to battle within ourselves and choices are pretty simple. Yet, I believe the “real” growth, learning, challenge, excitement, and most things in general is best to be in the discomfort zone (most of the time). The discomfort zone is where you challenge yourself to be the best and to be the best, you have to push your own boundaries. Instead of “I can’t do this” to “I’m looking forward to doing this.” You become a lifelong learner and constantly seek knowledge/wisdom. The world becomes that more beautiful around you.