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Monday, February 29, 2016

PERSONAL IDEAS SPECIAL ...............3 Ways to Train Your Brain for Bigger and Better Ideas

3 Ways to Train Your Brain for Bigger and Better Ideas

For starters, you need to stop overthinking it.

Organizations and entrepreneurs are looking for ways to encourage more innovative thinking. But, according to John Assaraf of The Secret and, thinking is the problem -- the process of thinking actually "by definition cancels out the neural process of creativity," effectively killing innovation. Here he sheds light on the brain processing required for greater innovation as well as the secrets to encouraging and invoking innovation.
"Creativity, imagination and innovation are a part of a neural process that occurs in some of the newest evolutionary structures of the brain. Creativity is a whole-brain phenomenon that takes a totally different level of complexity." Begin with the prefrontal cortex, which Assaraf calls the "Einstein Brain: the CEO; Executive Director; the GPS system -- the part of the brain where you can think of all the possibilities and then activate the occipital part of the brain to imagine an outcome." This brain process allows us to disconnect the frontal lobe "thinking" portion and tap into our intuition and imagination, which "Einstein believed to be more powerful than knowledge."
Assaraf defines intuition as "what you know before you think." So what are the secrets to intuiting versus thinking?
1. Stop thinking and let it go.
When you are in the shower, sometimes you get a "spark of genius when your brain radio is open to accepting external frequencies." Getting into a free flowing, mind-wandering state allows the mind to go into a semiconscious daydream where you can access a field of information and patterns outside the regular neural network.
Only 40 to 50 brain waves are active at any given time and lists and busy lives keep the mind too crowded. Purposeful activation of the intuitive frequency requires "mindful stillness." Slowing down, sitting quietly, and being present help bring on a relaxed state to give your creativity a chance to rise above the noise.
2. Speed your way to innovation.
Comedians and musicians familiar with the concept of improvisation are capable of being in "a state of flow, turning off an over-thinking brain, and turning on the creative flow." For those who went to art school, gesture drawing is the equivalent, forcing the capture of just the essence of what's important. Any exercise that uses speed works to tap into what you know before you think, getting the "thinker out of the way." If you don't have time to think, you can't overdesign or overthink, and you can ignite the innovation process.
3. Practice the creative flow.
Innovative imagining is natural for kids. It is schooling that forces a young child to turn on the developing left prefrontal cortex and focus, disrupting the imagination process. Although not scientifically proved, it is believed that the majority of our creative neurons shut off by the age of 30, so "we have to work harder to disinhibit thinking brain and turn on the flow of intuition." Through meditative practices and other mind-stilling brain exercises, like MyNeuroGym's Innercise, brain retraining can occur, "forming new connections and growing new brain cells."
Trying to think innovative uses the state of the familiar within the brain and cannot possibly achieve creative, truly innovative solutions. Flow into intuiting your way to innovation instead.

GADGET GIZMO REVIEW Nikon CoolPix A900 and B700

Nikon CoolPix
A900 and B700

The new A900 is not just another point-and shoot -Nikon is getting serious about ultra HD video, so it's their first compact with 4K video.It has a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor, 35x optical zoom, 3-inch tilting screen and is capable of 4K movie recording at 30 fps. The high zoom lens folds into the body of the camera when powered off, making it quite a portable camera.
Just to give you an idea, the 35x optical zoom equates to a 24 to 840mm lens in 35mm lingo. In addition, the screen can tilt all the way to the front to help you frame those crucial selfies. It should be priced at about US$300.
Next up with the DSLR-styling is the B700 (US$500). This has the same sensor as the A900 and retains the 4K video but it shoehorns a massive 60x optical zoom. In 35mm parlance, that means a 24 to 1440mm zoom. Notably, both have WiFi and Bluetooth. .
Ricoh WG-M2
This is Ricoh's latest waterproof action camera and it has an ultra-wide 204-degree field of view so that it captures all the action around you as you run, jump, ski, snowboard, climb, skate, bike, swim or whatever else catches your fancy. As you might have guessed from its appearance, it's a fairly rugged design: it can survive falls from 6.5 feet and works underwater up to a depth of 32 feet. As for the images, it can capture stills at 8 megapixels but video is where the game is at -it does 4K video at 30 fps. If you want higher frame rates, you will have to drop the resolution. It does 1080p video at 60fps or 720p video at 120fps. The controls are all designed to be easily operable, even with gloves. On top, there's a 1.5-inch colour LCD to help frame your shots. If you want to stabilize your video, there's a built in mode that will narrow the field of view and use that extra information from the lens to stabilize everything. It should retail for US$299.




·         Summary written by: Alyssa Burkus
"In order to win the loyalty of their users and create a product that's regularly used, companies must learn not only what compels users to click but also what makes them tick."
- Hooked, page 2
Ever wondered why some products earn millions of dollars from passionate user communities, while other products fail to get traction? In Hooked, author Nir Eyal outlines everything you need to do to get your target customers hooked on your product. It isn’t enough to create a product that catches their attention; it needs to fulfill a fundamental need and ultimately change their behavior. By working through a series of steps, or “hooks”, you can reach a point where users come back to your product again and again, and eventually become rabid fans.
Through consecutive Hook cycles, successful products reach their ultimate goal of unprompted user engagement, bringing users back repeatedly, without depending on costly advertising or aggressively messaging.”
In the Hook Model, the behavior change starts with a Trigger, an action (whether external, such as app notification or email, or an internal prompt from the user themselves) that the new behavior is required. This is followed by the Action, where the user completes the behavior prompted by the trigger.
The difference with Hooked is the importance of understanding that behavior change doesn’t stop with completing the action. Instead, two additional steps are needed, where the user receives a Reward (enticing enough to create a craving, or need to repeat it), as well as makes their own Investment in continuing to use the product. This investment could be taking time to improve the user experience in future interactions (such as customizing an interface, adding data, etc.) or by inviting others to join them (such as invitations to connect on social media). The investment step is particularly important in increasing the likelihood that a customer will become a regular user of your product.
In order to get your users truly hooked, let’s take a closer look at key elements from the Hook Model.

The Golden Egg
Scratch That Itch
". . . the experience we are talking about is more similar to an itch, a feeling that manifests within the mind and causes discomfort until it is satisfied."- Hooked, page 33
If you think about the websites, apps or tools you have only recently started using but can’t imagine living without, you’ll be on the right track of understanding the point Eyal is making here. For me, an example of this is Evernote, software that lets me store all kinds of information seamlessly across my devices. It solved a significant issue I was having with managing a massive overflow of data, in a way that was intuitive and simple, and has become a tool I use every day.
As you think about launching a new product, or reexamining the ones you currently offer, think hard about the “itch” you’re solving for your customers. Eyal encourages companies to think about the following key questions:
·         What habits does your business model require?
·         What problem are users turning to your product to solve?
·         How do users currently solve that problem and why does it need a solution?
·         How frequently do you expect users to engage with your product?
·         What user behavior do you want to make into a habit?
Many product developers think about the problem they are solving, but not always about the new user habits they are trying to create, and how best to reinforce and support these habits into becoming long-term behavior changes.
Once you’ve solved the habit question, you need to think about the reward and investment elements as well.

Gem #1
Get Them Hooked
"Our brains are adapted to seek rewards that make us feel accepted, attractive, important, and included."- Hooked, page 103
It’s easy to get seduced by the “likes” and “follows” that our tweets or blog posts generate, providing us with instant validation of our efforts, and enticing us to repeat the cycle over and over again. If your product doesn’t involve a reward step for its users, the interest is likely to wear off.
Similarly, product developers should not ignore the investment step of the Hook Model. Users spend time customizing their apps, or inviting others to join their community because it improves their own enjoyment of it. As Eyal notes, “[t]he more effort we put into something, the more likely we are to value it”, a concept which extends to changing behaviors in the workplace too, as program engagement levels can increase dramatically if employees are involved along the way.
Product companies looking to reach millions in sales need to push further along the adoption curve though, and create products that inspire their customers to tell others about their purchase.

Gem #2
From Habit To Evangelist
"Users who continuously find value in a product are more likely to tell their friends about it... Hooked users become brand evangelists."- Hooked, page 22
Remember my example of Evernote? I have told lots of people, particularly other entrepreneurs, of how my business has benefitted from Evernote, putting me squarely on the “evangelist” side of the commitment spectrum. What’s the ongoing value your product provides to users? What makes them take the investment step to stay connected to your product, and ultimately upgrade, renew or recommend your product to others? These are key elements that need to be defined for long-term success.
I found the Hook Model and its underlying research fascinating, as I think it pushes us to look beyond the typical habit/action models to understand the steps needed for more lasting behavior change. This matters not just in product or service sales, but extends to any situation where behavior change is needed.
The author provides lots of compelling examples of products that have dominated their markets as a result of having elements of the Hook Model in their solution. Thinking about the new habits you wish you could have in your own life might be the first step you take in creating the next million-dollar winner.



How Ringing Bells, founded by the husband-wife duo of Mohit and Dhaarna Goel, plans to make the cheapest smartphone in the world

Talk can be cheap. Especially when you audaciously claim to be hatching a plan to make a smartphone for `251. From being accused of relabelling an existing brand (Adcom Ikon) to plotting a Ponzi scam, Mohit and Dhaarna Goel heard it all over the past week. The cynicism and suspicions were perhaps justified the company the Goels have founded, Ringing Bells, and the handset they tom-tom as the world's cheapest, Freedom 251, is an outrageous gambit. The cheapest smartphones in the world today -Chinese handsets, of course -are priced at `2,200-2,500. Selling one for almost a tenth of that price is either a lie, a delusion -or dazzlingly disruptive.
Talk can be cheap, but it may well be the Goels' mantra -or, more precisely, the handset that you talk into. The husband-wife duo who got married in January this year allude to their lack of pedigree and profile for the dollops of scepticism directed at them.
“Jisne Nano banayi uske paas achha support thaa, maine `251 mein smartphone banayi, mere paas support nahin hai (The one who made the Nano had ample support, but I am making a smartphone for `251 and have no support),“ rues 29-yearold Mohit, who was born in Uttar Pradesh's Shamli district and comes from a family of dry-fruit traders. “I am with my husband and support his dream,“ pipes in Dhaarna.
He'll need more than that. After all, the man who, at different phases in his youth, contemplated cricketing and acting careers, is now talking about “bridging the digital divide in India by making smartphones accessible to all“. A recent PEW research report placed India at the bottom in smartphone ownership, at 17% of the country's adults; Brazil is at 41%, China at 58% and South Korea is on top with 88%.
On Saturday, PTI reported that the Enforcement Directorate had begun a probe into Ringing Bells' financials, although company officials told ET Magazine that no summons or notices had reached them at the time of writing. The company has also come under the scanner of the Income-Tax department, and the Telecom Ministry had sought a clarification from the firm for marketing the Freedom 251 smartphone without the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification. The Goels say they have replied to the ministry's queries, although they did not share the details of those replies.
Where's the Office?
To send a message that they're not fly-by-night operators, on Saturday Ringing Bells said that the company would refund the online payments for some 30,000 orders that poured in on the first pre-booking date (after which the company's website crashed). The mode of payment now will be only cash on delivery. The Goels hope to begin deliveries of Freedom 251 by April, and keep at it till the end of June.
Keeping the Goels and their dream unlikely company is a 65-yearold astrophysicist Ashok K Chadha, who has been busy doing the rounds of ministries to convince bureaucrats that they are indeed serious players, also takes out a fair bit of time to convince ET Magazine of the same in a freewheeling chat with the trio at Ringing Bells' corporate office earlier this week.
B44, Sector 63, Noida. The Uber cab driver is unable to locate the address. “Aapne sahi address daala tha booking karte (Did you enter the right address while booking)?“ he asks. Reports of a “fake address“ in sections of the media flash before this writer's eyes, until a tea vendor by the roadside offers: “Wo 251 waale? Paas main hi hai. Aagey se seedhe haath ko (The 251 guy? It's nearby, take a right).“
In a double-storey building, the top floor is occupied by Ringing Bells. As we take a spiral staircase to the office, we are greeted with a flurry of motivational quotes plastered on the walls. “An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it,“ says one. Another one reads: “You are not responsible for the past, but you are for the future.“ A third goes: “Self-control is knowing you can, but deciding you won't.“
The office is sparsely populated. A Tricolour flag, a statue of Lord Ganesha and a receptionist constitute the welcome committee. There is a coffee machine on the extreme end of the floor, a few cubicles with executives working on their laptops and a conference room.
Around 5.30 pm, Mohit, Dhaarna and Chadha arrive. Mohit checks his mail and messages on his Samsung Galaxy S Duos mobile. “Do you know how much I paid for this handset,“ he asks. “`28,000 a year back. And now it's available for `17,000.“
His short point: Margins in the handset business are mind-boggling.
Sure, you agree, but that doesn't mean a smartphone can be put together at the cost of a pizza. “We are not making it for `251, but selling it for `251,“ clarifies Mohit.
One Crore Phones
And therein hangs an audacious business model that takes shape only after a huge assumption: that Ringing Bells will be flooded with demand that will justify placing an order for one crore handsets.
The cost of assembling a smartphone with the specs offered by Ringing Bells is `1,584. If 10 lakh of those handsets are made, the cost of assembling per unit falls to `1,495. And at 1 crore handsets, the economies of scale kick in big time, with the cost falling to `1,165.
Bagging one crore orders, feel the founders, isn't unreasonable at all in the light of the 7.5 crore registrations on the Freedom 251 website in the first two days after it was opened to the public.
Mohit reckons he needs to earn around `1,000 per handset to be comfortably profitable. And he's chalked out multiple revenue streams, from pre-installed apps to a marketplace model, to bring home that bacon. Also, Freedom 251 is just one of the four models Ringing Bells plans to launch; the other three will be priced at `2,999, `999 and `799. It also has a power bank for `399. Deliveries of the `2,999 phone (called Smart 101) are expected to begin in a week.
Investment? A Measly Rs 17 crore
“The business model is disruptive, unique and radically different from the trodden path,“ says Chadha. There are four mantras he swears by: low marketing costs, economies of scale, use of technology and roping in partners to help subsidise the product cost. A reasonable margin, according to him? “`30 or so per phone.“
Chadha claims the company has invested `17 crore so far -peanuts considering that handset makers are spending over six times that amount to put up a single factory (in December, Micromax reportedly had committed to invest `300 crore in three factories).
But then make in India -or anywhere else -is the last thing on the minds of the founders. Rather, the game plan is to ally with assembling units, which will put together components imported from Taiwan. Mohit claims to have tied up with a handset assembly unit in an industrial zone in Greater Noida, and takes this writer to the factory that's an hour's drive from the corporate of fice. “You will see it (the `251 smartphone) soon,“ grins Chadha.
Impossible, Say Experts
Tech analysts don't share that optimism.“We don't think it is possible to breach such a low price point,“ says Tarun Pathak, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, a global tech research firm. There is no doubt that the smartphone hardware ecosystem in now mature and scaling down to lower price points, but it's still not mature enough to breach the sub $20 price point.
Pathak explains that there are several costs attached to a product from the production stage to the end-channel level, which are quite complex to understand.Moreover, there are many variables that can impact the cost advantage, a few of which even the manufacturer can't control; these include currency fluctuations, change in policies, duties, certifications and royalties. So different sourcing operations, whether importing entirely or assembling in India, may not offer as significant a cost advantage as the one envisaged by Ringing Bells.
The Ryanair Model
The tech view is circumspect, but those who swear by low-end disruption may be willing to give Ringing Bells a chance. And there are precedents of low-cost innovators thriving on the purchasing power of those at the bottom of the pyramid of their respective markets with a cut-throat price offering. Example: Ryanair, which created an entire new market of budget travellers by pinching customers from the full-service carriers. It not only offered fares that competed with trains and buses but also flew routes no other airline did.
All market disruptors are viewed with disbelief at the start, says brand strategist Harish Bijoor. “In the beginning, you distrust them, then you criticise them, then you hope to scuttle their idea altogether, and then you hope to push them into depression. But eventually, if they actually make it happen, you will praise them to the skies,“ he says, adding that the lobbies love to raise the decibel of debate even before action has begun.
“Guys, wake up and smell the coffee of a whole new world of possibility. This is not predatory pricing,“ adds Bijoor. This price point can create a tectonic shift in handset makers' mindsets, profits, margins and more. “If they do deliver, the tel ecom sector will have a Baba Ramdev (with his Patanjali range of ayurve dic products) of its own,“ he con tends. Deepak Kumar, a former ana lyst at global market research agency IDC, points out that the buzz -even the negative vibes -has done Ringing Bells a huge favour on the marketing front. With the message having gone viral and millions of potential buyers now aware of the brand, Ringing Bells has saved itself millions in advertising money, adds Kumar, who has founded the research firm B&M Nxt. “The `251 pricing is a brilliant marketing move.“ He, however, does concede that advertising will have to be a significant revenue stream for Ringing Bells, which could end up compromising on user experience.
The buzz factor notwithstanding, the entire process of assembling millions of handsets, delivering them across the country -and then contending with after-sales service -is enough to give even the most plucky of entrepreneurs sleepless nights.Alongside, Ringing Bells will also need to focus on earning revenues from other streams. The marketplace model that it aims to pursue, for instance, is a highly competitive one with all the big ecommerce players jostling in that space.
Another potential risk can be termed the disruptor's curse: even if Ringing Bells is able to pull off what most believe is im possible, what's stopping a deep-pocketed rival from copying the business model, wreaking havoc on its economies of scale and putting it out of business?
To be sure, disruptors getting disrupted isn't unheard of. In the mid-2000s, the Flip video camera was hailed as a case study in product innovation, as it disrupted other brands with its size, simplicity (footage could be uploaded into one's YouTube account after plugging in a USB key), features and resolution.Then Flip itself was disrupted by smartphones led by the iPhone, which offered everything that Flip did and more. By 2011, Cisco, which had acquired Flip just two years ago, decided to pull the plug on it.
What Freedom 251 has in common with the Flip, perhaps, is the simplicity of the strategy. And it is simplicity combined with a jaw-dropping price tag that is often the key to mass adoption. Mohit, who reckons he can “still play Test cricket for my country“ and had in the past enrolled in Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms' acting academy in Mumbai, has always been looking for that “one chance“. This may be it. But, unlike in cricket or on the silver screen, Freedom 251 may be an all-ornothing spin of the wheel.
Rajiv Singh


FOODIE SPECIAL......... A Toast to the Local...

A Toast to the Local...

Bengaluru's Toast & Tonic becomes the first big `pop' brand to debut in uber-stylish international cooking, using all regional and seasonal ingredients

I am the first diner to step inside Toast & Tonic (T&T), on Bengaluru's Wood Street, one hush-hush evening. The promise has been of many (unusual) Negronis and some easy conversation.And I am determined not to pay close attention to the food. Instead, just “sit back, relax and enjoy“, as I replay in my head (strangely) the muffled, clichéd instructions of the Jet Airways pilot, on the flight from Delhi, just a couple of hours earlier.
That flight of fancy should have taken me much further. It begins to do just that once the food arrives on the table.But first the drinks... Unlike that last disastrous experience of the Negroni at Santo Spirito, Florence, having drunk the deceptively innocuous cocktail out of plastic glasses to bitter results, this one is immensely sophisticated. The Campari, gin and Martini Rosso hard-hitter comes with a hint of strawberry shrub. In beveragespeak, “shrub“ is an acidulated concoction of fruit juice, sugar and vinegar; the last often made in-house by determined “shrubbers“, using local fruit and natural yeast -at the best artisanal international bars, at least.
It is a far more complex (and arty) touch than using a syrupy flavour in your cocktail, like most Indian bars tend to do. And it is exactly touches like these -that may in fact escape the scrutiny of the average drinker and diner in middle India -which define T&T, one of the most sophisticated culinary and bar experiments in the country, toying with the local and the artisanal, making all these accessible to a younger, casual audience.

International yet Casual
T&T, which launched this Monday, has been quite an under-the-wraps brand in the making. Chef and restaurateur Manu Chandra, its architect, who also helms Olive Beach in Bengaluru and the Monkey Bar and The Fatty Bao brands pan-India, has been quietly working away in the space (which was the first Monkey Bar), experimenting, developing a formidable supply chain and back kitchens. All, to cater to a restaurant that uses -almost exclusively -locally grown and sourced ingredients to arrive at food that is international yet casual, fit for a younger, democratic audience instead of the fad-driven elite, or the “causerati“.
T&T surprises in many ways. Not the least because it is “Monkey Bar for grown ups“ -just like the tonics and gin it toasts! Gin bars, of course, have been quite the international darlings for two to three years now. Gin has been overtaking its colourless, odourless competitor -vodka -in popularity, at least with discerning drinkers, who prize the complexity of juniper notes, and of other herbs and “botanicals“ that mixologists and artisanal distillers have been putting in to produce different types of gins and tonic waters (G&T).G&T in fact is no longer the afternoon drink of prim old ladies. Such is the image makeover.
Though T&T does not claim to be a gin bar, G&T is a must if you visit it.The tonic waters are made in-house and flavoured with such things as cin namon and pomegranate, strawberry and clove, jasmine tea and elderflow er, balancing the tinge of quinine in subtle ways.
There are no cheap thrills by way of foam and smoke guns; no syn thetic, sweet, teenage flavours. Just a den downstairs and a leather couch to sink into with a complex, slow drink... “I like those European liqueurs like Chartreuse,“ says Chandra, in a separate conversation, “because of their complexity“. The French, of course, make that with a legendary 130 herbs and flowers. But it is the same complexity, the same “layering“ of notes and inspirations that makes up everything at T&T.There's not a doubt in my mind that this is the most sophisticated bar space in the country just now. The bar however comes second to the food, still...

Prizing What's Ours
If “artisanal“ is a strand running through the restaurant, “local“ is its biggest theme. For those who see food as lifestyle, local gastronomy is not an unknown concept. Restaurants like Noma and almost all of Californian, Italian, French and Spanish gastronomy celebrate the idea. Chefs have made it their style statement to be working closely with farmers and foragers, sourcing crazily elusive ingredients (even harvesting “local rainwater“ in one instance), putting them on expensive plates. But if this is an entire “lifestyle industry“ in itself globally, in India we have contended with the other extreme -a premium on the imported, a vanishing of the local.
This is, in part, because of low consumer receptivity and abysmal supply chains. As also because of lazy chefs who often do not know what grows in their own backyard.
“I sent two of my chefs to the mandi to get everything they did not recognise. They came back with things like cholai and zimikand (elephant foot yam) and even red carrots,“ says Chandra, before asking me if I remember the “kachche makhane“ -or lotus seeds before processing -that could be found by the riverside on the drive from Delhi to Ghaziabad till a decade or two ago. Some plates in some restaurants have been changing in the last few years. But the experiments have been sporadic, insufficient, as also more confined to “Indian“ restaurant formats. Now, Chandra has gone the whole hog and built an entire restaurant to prove that not only can supply chains be built but also that the food can be sophisticated yet “cool“.
When the food starts arriving, my flight of fancy takes me to California, to Sacramento, the hub of the farm-to-fork movement, where the likes of The Kitchen take dining with local ingredients and kitchen theatre to exceptional levels. The original Randall Selland restaurant (the chef is one of the fathers of Californian gastronomy) is spread out like an arena. Diners sit around an open kitchen, where chefs cook live, dinner is served in five “acts“, and people regaled with insider knowledge on ingredients. It made up a $500 per person, three-hour meal. That's the kind of set-up one imagines for the food that streams out of the T&T kitchen. Chandra however wants to keep it all firmly mid-market -`1,000 per person, “resto-bar“.

Boho-chic, Spic-and-Span
His inspiration is Manhattan's East Village, with its boho-chic-ness. The menu does have the sense of a pop art work or even a Rushdie (early) novel. There are references and details that may not be immediately apparent to everyone, but the whole is enjoyable.
On the other hand, for those who look for intricacies, this is cerebral entertainment too.With salads, soups, tostadas, poke bowls, barbeque, tempura, ramen -and of course the homemade breads -the menu can be loosely dubbed “international“.
But if generic “international“ menus are the bane globally, this one showcases its Indian context cleverly, including in the flavouring.So, the tostada comes spread with kathal, or a tender “kathali“ cooked in a familiar way, with smoked cheese; the jackfruit sourced from a neighbourhood tree. There's a tuna poke bowl with sticky Gobindobhog rice, fried onions and chia seeds, sourdough toast with soft eggs, Creole Andouille sausage (made inhouse) and smoked Bandel cheese (from Kolkata). There's the highly seasonal ponkh (from Gujarat and Maharashtra) with fishcakes. And an absolutely brilliant take on fish and chips, with tempura-style baby mullet, sweet potato chips and beer batter being referenced with hops (local) infused tartare! This is uber stylish cooking that could have taken centrestage at a “lifestyle“ restaurant in any of the global dining capitals. To find it in a Bengaluru bar, particularly one that hopes to replicate itself in other cities, is surprising. The labour-intensiveness, for one, is colossal. The pastrami done in-house takes 16 days; including brining it for 15, then smoking for six hours and slow roasting for four to five hours. The “very slow“ smoked BBQ ribs use a Louisiana technique of smoking, finished with a char siu glaze. Skill, exposure and imagination intersect.
If context is important to art, fashion or writing, it's important to food as well. By using everything local -from chocolate sourced from Annamalai to ajwain (caraway) leaves, bathua (Chenopodium album), cherry radishes from a Mysuru farm, noren gur, all seafood and meats -Chandra manages to speak a confident, nuanced, globalyet-desi language.
Anoothi Vishal


BOOK SUMMARY 27 When Millennials Take Over

BOOK SUMMARY 27 When Millennials Take Over

·         Summary written by: Alyssa Burkus
"Millennials may not be the first generation to be frustrated with bureaucracy and hierarchy, but they are the first generation to have been given the tools, on a huge scale, to get around them."
- When Millennials Take Over
We are hearing more and more about the increase of millennials in the workplace today. This generation, born between 1982 and 2004, is often derided for being too highly influenced by their parents, too demanding and needing to learn a thing or two about the way the working world “really” works. But as we read in When Millennials Take Over: Preparing For The Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant, it’s the older generations who have something to learn from millennials. With their natural affinity for rapid pace, and ability to optimize the tools and resources they have grown up with at their fingertips, it’s the millennial generation who will lead the way for truly transforming the way we work.
In their book, the authors outline the disruptive changes impacting organizations today, and describe how millennials are one piece of a three-part “perfect storm” influencing significant changes in our workplace. The authors argue that when the changes to “century-old management styles” combine with the juggernaut of the social side of the internet and the millennial mindset, we have the catalyst that will finally create widespread changes to the way we work.
By adopting the millennial mindset, organizations can greatly accelerate the pace of work, with changes to the way we control, access and share information as a key element influencing our overall pace.

The Golden Egg
Make Speed A Competitive Advantage
"If you feel in control, then you’re not going fast enough."- When Millennials Take Over
Throughout the book, it’s clear that improving pace within organizations is a critical factor in achieving success in today’s rapidly changing world. Fast pace is something that millennials have always had, as they get quick answers from Google or immediate responses from their network via social and digital channels.
The authors identify four key capabilities that, when leveraged, can have a significant influence on an organization’s ability to increase the speed of work, from idea generation to decision-making, to how quickly individuals can respond to customers.
At a high-level, these four capabilities include:
Digital  Optimizing the use of digital tools to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
Clear  Adding visibility and transparency as information moves through an organization to improve decision-making.
Fluid  Extending power from centralized control into all levels of the organization, so that important work can happen at all levels (not just at the top).
Fast  Releasing the control, whether of information or activities, without increasing risk, in order to allow work to happen when, where and as quickly as needed.
“Remember that true organizational speed is a deep capacity, not just a momentary focus on moving more quickly,” the authors remind us.
At the core of each of these elements is information; specifically, improving how people access the information they need, and are able to incorporate it into their work.
However, adopting a millennial mindset won’t be easy for everyone. As we learn from the book, there are existing factors that may hold some of us back.

Gem #1
The Myth of Control
"Millennials have always had access to more information than they could possibly handle, and they are confused by organizations that control it tightly, since that approach just didn't produce results in their world."- When Millennials Take Over
We need to accept the fact that limiting, controlling or hiding access to information is a significant barrier to increasing speed in organizations. Many leaders have wrongly held on to information, thinking it makes them more powerful, but this outdated way of thinking is holding people back from making fast decisions and quickly implementing solutions to problems they face.
According to the authors, “Fast organizations leap ahead of the competition by releasing control in a way that does not increase risk.”
Millennials have never had to wait to receive information; instead, the skill set they’ve learned is how to process information effectively, given the abundance of information they have always had available to them. Limiting the access to information, or delaying when they receive it, is frustrating and unnecessary.
In the book, the authors give the example of General McChrystal, retired general of the United States Army, who declassified a significant amount of military information so that army personnel at all levels could use it. If the army can let go of control, undoubtedly we can too.

Gem #2
Don’t Wait For Permission
"Millennials have blurred some of the traditional boundaries between themselves and authority figures."- When Millennials Take Over
As a customer, when you send a tweet to the CEO of a company about an issue with their product, and they reply, you’ll expect a similar response from the CEO when you raise an issue as an employee. Our old notions of limited access to leaders are rapidly disappearing, and we need to be prepared to offer the same degree of access internally as you do externally.
I loved the rallying cry from the authors towards the end of the book. They encourage us to stop waiting for permission, and understand that we have the ability to influence organizational change ourselves. Yes, the CEO needs to “actively choose their culture, or it will be chosen for them”, but we can’t sit back and wait for change. Let’s do our own analysis, and figure out how to improve the flow of information needed to accelerate change within our work, and begin to influence widespread change from there.
This book is a wake up call for organizations to recognize that the workplace changes we’re desperate to create in this age of disruption are also what come very naturally to the millennial generation. Let’s start by learning from them and acknowledge that guidance and influence can happen at any level of an organization.
Too often, we see leaders today who are dismissive of the millennial generation, or worse, that some of their preferences are simply fads. Instead, we need to look at this group of new leaders as innovators, and leverage their ideas to improve the way we work. Organizations that learn from millennials in order to embrace disruption, release control, and focus on improving the flow of information are the ones who will truly be successful in this next wave of change.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

PERSONAL ANXIETY SPECIAL.................. 5 Things That People With Anxiety Want You To Know

5 Things That People With Anxiety Want You To Know

A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. This is anxiety – sounds like something we’ve all experienced multiple times in our lives? Anxiety is completely normal; it touches on many of our emotions which characterize us as human. However, when you have too much anxiety it’s known as an anxiety disorder, and it’s a lot more common than you would imagine. Roughly 18% of US citizens over the age of 18 have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, in the big picture 1 out of 13 people worldwide have anxiety.
Here are 5 things people with anxiety want you to know.

1. Have some patience

Having someone close to you with anxiety can really be confusing. You may ask, “why do we have to avoid certain places, situations, and deal with irrational logic?” It Isn’t their fault. Anxiety doesn’t have set criteria, it uses to choose the target it preys on, anyone can develop this disorder at anytime in their lives. Trust me when I say they didn’t choose to live with the extra burden of impending doom lurking around every corner.
Emotionally, anxiety takes a lot out of you, as the victim or someone close to them. Anyone with anxiety will be first to tell you how much they appreciate you sticking through the bad times and the good. It means a lot to have the emotional support of friends and family, especially for times that are worse than others. As they say,” You’ll find out who your friends really are”  – this is such a good example of the saying. Anyone who sticks it out through it all, really is a true friend, and they really appreciate it more than they admit.

2. Don’t try to fix them

Anxiety Isn’t something you can fix, pushing someone too hard will make things worse. The last thing someone suffering with anxiety needs is someone close to them trying to solve their disorder with brute force and persistence. Let them use coping skills and work through the problem at their own pace, make them feel comfortable, without being overbearing.
Most importantly, never make a big deal about a panic attack or irrational behavior. The more you talk about or bring up an episode of anxiety and try to diagnose the issue, the more frustrated they will become and ultimately lead to further episodes. Lastly, don’t talk about their anxiety with other people, it can be embarrassing, and make them feel more uncomfortable than they already are. Let them disclose their personal issues for themselves.

3. Know that anxiety is often misunderstood

There are so many social misconceptions on anxiety, I’ll cover the most common, which are also the most frustrating. People are lead to believe that anxiety always stems from a poor childhood, fear, or trauma. This isn’t always the case, more common than not it’s genetic, and your family has a history of anxiety, some cases more severe than others. Another big one is that people seem to believe you can just fix “it”. Anxiety disorders don’t evaporate with the morning mist, although that would be nice, it isn’t a that easy.
For many people anxiety will be with them for their entire life. With proper coping skills and conditioning you can still achieve a more than decent way of life with time. The capital offender of misconceptions is thinking you can tell someone to “just relax.” Sadly, there isn’t a switch you can use to turn off someone else’s anxiety, you’re going to have to sideline yourself and wait for them to cope with it on their own.

4. Understand that anxiety doesn’t make you “weak”

Anxiety has plagued mankind for our entire existence, overcoming adversity is one of humanity’s most valuable skills. Some of the most iconic people in our history have had anxiety disorders, even without modern medicine they didn’t give up. In modern days we have social figures with these disorders and they overcome and succeed on a world stage. Assuming someone with anxiety are weak, broken, or wortrless is ignorant. Here are a few familiar faces you wouldn’t have guessed cope or coped with anxiety.
·         Abraham Lincoln
·         Leann Rimes
·         Johnny Depp
·         Kate Moss
·         Emma Stone
·         Joey Votto
·         Kim Basinger
·         Charlie Beljan
·         Scarlett Johansson
·         Adele
These are some of the public figures that aren’t shy about their condition and openly talk about coping skills and how they overcame anxiety and achieved their dreams. Many people are affected by anxiety, and achieve great things. I doubt you would consider any of the listed people above as “weak.”

5. Learn how to relate to an anxiety you don’t have

Plain and simple: you don’t have it, so how could you understand something that someone with the condition has a hard time making sense of for themselves? Anxiety can make those affected be irrational, and hard to reason with. Especially when they know they are being irrational and still can’t cope with anxiety.
When you experience something like a panic attack it triggers the famed “fight or flight” response, which releases chemicals in your brain such as adrenaline and cortisol. When these chemicals are released it slows digestion, increases heart rate and pushes blood into your major muscle groups. Leaving you feeling faint while your limbs go numb due to an influx in blood flow, and autonomic nervous functions, when this occurs you can push your muscles to the absolute maximum and achieve a great burst of strength and energy you normally wouldn’t be able to achieve maximizing survivability, hence the “flight or fight response”.
If you’ve ever experienced this before you can get a glimpse into what many people live through everyday. Don’t lose hope, many have dealt with this in the past and many more will deal with anxiety in the future. Try to understand them.