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Monday, August 15, 2016

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.”

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” - Margaret Mead

TYE (Australia) 2016

The inaugural TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) Program has proven to be a successful first local edition of the international initiative. We are currently halfway through the program, aimed at fostering a future generation of entrepreneurs, hosted in partnership with Digital careers at Swinburne University in Melbourne.

The participants may vary in age (Year 7 – Year 12) but share a distinct drive and enthusiasm. The desire to discover the rewards and challenges of being an entrepreneur is not everyone’s cup of tea, and certainly spending hours on end with mentors and business plans would shy away the more common teenager in today’s pokemon-world.

During the program, students participate in classroom session modules focused on different aspects of business and entrepreneurship, then write and present their own business plans. The winning individual / team will win a trip to the USA to present their opportunity to the Silicon Valley to many of America’s leading tech entrepreneurs.

It has been a great experience watching these young kids think differently, see things from a fresh point of view and being fearlessly innovative about their ideas. When asked about the outcomes they expected from this program, participants showed their maturity with responses such as “developing an entrepreneurial mindset”, “learning to handle failure”, “understanding risk”, “thinking and acting differently”, “helping the larger community” amongst others. With no preconceived notion and judgement, they are like free souls to explore the world with their honest intention and zeal.

Our instructors

Dean Mason, Instructor – TYE (Australia) 2016, has worked with business leaders to create new businesses in new local and international markets. Creating a business plan, crafting the pitch to customers, crafting the pitch to investors, establishing supply relationships, securing distribution partners, forming teams to deliver financial, logistics, customer service and other support are some of the many areas Dean coaches and facilitates leaders to do well in.

Adrian Jobson, Instructor – TYE (Australia) 2016, has worked with owners including; export, financial & legal services, manufacturing, transport, hire, retail, local government, tourism, and personnel. He is also keenly interested and currently engaged in developing online services to the educational sector.

About TiE

TiE is one of the world’s largest networks of entrepreneurs. It is a not-for- profit organisation dedicated to fostering conscious entrepreneurship by providing mentoring, networking and education opportunities to entrepreneurs. TiE is a group of 63 independent, well-connected chapters around the world, with 12,000 members. We the whole TiE family have consistently delivered high quality monthly events for the past five years, and TiE Melbourne won the 2010 TiE Global award for “Best Implementation of a Mentoring Program” from amongst all of the Chapters of TiE Global.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

"Jailbreak" by Goutam Basak

I am very excited and sharing my happiness that my book is published and available for you on amazon.

Jailbreak : Unblock the friend within to conquer this big small world

In this book you will uncover insights into the four quadrants of life:

•Human - everything in the world is by us, to us, for us.
•Migration - human migration and the cultural mix, a global topic.
•Mental health and well-being – just as vital as physical health, whole person healing is the new medical science.
•Commerce – social responsibility, giving back, building lives are the mantra in this capitalistic society.

Its available in both kindle and hardcopy format.

Amazon web link : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1523828560?keywords=jailbreak&qid=1454892974&ref_=sr_1_3&s=books&sr=1-3

Monday, November 9, 2015

'Durga Puja' in the city of joy, Kolkata

After a decade I visited my home city Kolkata during the biggest festive season, the Durga Puja, held in October.  Although I have lived for 15 years outside of Kolkata, the essence of the city and the Puja thrive within – emotion, culture, love of life, joy of celebration, warmth of relationship, power of intellect and, yes, the cult of the Goddess Shakti.

Visiting Kolkata in this age of ideas – where one idea can change the world – made me nostalgic for those times when Bengalis were the source of big ideas. One hundred years ago, Gokhale, a prominent Indian leader, said about Bengalis, "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow." Westerners who see India as great potential think first about Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad but would do well to include Kolkata in that bracket because as Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Wise men put their trust in ideas and not in circumstances.”

This year a group of journalists, travel writers and travel agents from France, Spain, Canada and Switzerland visited Kolkata during the Puja and they are calling it the world's biggest open air exhibition of art.

Spending on Durga Puja touched around $8 billion this year with an estimated growth of around 30 per cent. Spending is on temporary construction (pandal) idol making, food industry, clothing, tourism and many other areas for four days of the festival. Corporate sponsorship, engagement of celebrity brand ambassadors are new ways of marketing, making the experience more engaging to Bengalis around the world.
 
Five Nobel Prize winners have been associated with Kolkata: Sir Ronald Ross (1902, Medicine), Rabindranath Tagore (1913, Literature; first Asian to win the Nobel Prize), C V Raman (1930, Physics), Mother Teresa (1979, Peace), Amartya Sen (1998, Economics).

Other great names from my home town include Satyajit Roy (film director Oscar winner), Satyendra Bose (Bose–Einstein theory), Purnendu Chaterjee (TCG group), business leaders Lakshmi Mittal and Vijay Mallya, cricketer Saurabh Ganguly (Cricket legend), Ravi Shankar (musician and composer).

Most modern Indian cities take pride in rising above ethnicity - Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai will tell you that people from all over the country have gone there for careers and personal aspirations. But Kolkata remains Bengali. It therefore continues with the Bengali love of culture, the triumph of intellectuals over greed, a transparency of emotions, a disdain for hypocrisy and warmth of humanity. If a city is more than bricks and mortar, Kolkata is a shining light as the sum of its people.

Kolkata was nicknamed the ‘City of Joy’ after the 1985 novel by Dominique Lapierre. The city’s culture continues to inspire poets, writers and ordinary people all over the world. Cultural heritage can provide a sense of unity and belonging within a group and allows us to better understand previous generations and the history of where we come from.

Bengal had a glorious past and it is a pity that the state has slid into mediocrity and protesting has become a way of life. But search a little deeper and you will find the deep well of ideas, belongingness, collectiveness, openness, unity and culture are alive today, as shown in the Durga Puja.

In science, in literature, in patriotism, in every sphere of life, Bengal was at the forefront one hundred years ago and this still simmers today. The revolutionary fire that had spread across India, the fire that would eventually force the British to leave India, had originated in Bengal.

One hundred years ago, a young saint from Bengal went to America to spread the glory of Hinduism in the heartland of Christianity. By virtue of his vast knowledge and courage, he was able to spread the essence of Hinduism and won universal acclaim from the delegates of the Congress of Religion. He was our own Bengali Swami Vivekananda, and he told the congress: “I am proud to belong to a nation which has taught the world both toleration and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true”.  As I was able to reflect with friends on this return home, these heroes make us truly proud.

The leading Indian TV and print commentator, Vir Sanghvi, said: “Calcutta is not for everyone. You want your city clean and green, stick to Delhi. You want your city rich and impersonal, go to Bombay. You want them hi-tech and full of draught beer, Bangalore’s your place. But if you want a city with a soul, come to Calcutta”.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Can’t you live peacefully?

As a species, we human being are social beings who live out our lives in the company of other humans. We organize ourselves into various kinds of social groupings, such as nomadic bands, villages, cities, and countries, in which we work, trade, play, reproduce, and interact in many other ways. Consequently, the patterns of human society differs from place to place and era to era and across cultures, making the social world a very complex and dynamic environment.

There is conflict in all human societies, and all societies have systems for regulating it. Conflict between people or groups often arises from competition for resources, power, and status.

• Family members compete for attention.
• Individuals compete for jobs and wealth.
• Nations compete for territory and prestige.
• Different interest groups compete for influence and the power to make rules.
• Often the competition is not for resources but for ideas—one person or group wants to have the ideas or behaviour of another group suppressed, punished.

Social conflict is a Marxist-based social theory which argues that individuals and groups (social classes) within society have differing amounts of material and non-material resources and that the more powerful groups use their power in order to exploit groups with less power.

In family groups and small societies, laws are laid down in their own terms by recognized authorities, such as parents or elders. All group also have formalized procedures for making rules and arbitrating disputes. But conflict happens all the time which is nothing but confrontation of powers. Power can assertive, altruistic and manipulative, coercive and physical, and so on. Some are intentionally directed, as are assertive and bargaining powers; one is directed wholly towards a person's body, as is force; and others are directed through another self, as are inductive and intellectual powers. All these powers may conflict; all can manifest conflict.

This is conflict is more prevalent where social hierarchy is more prevalent. This is a major issue in non-profit or community group because mostly group hierarchy has been created by mutual understanding. Typically when everyone is operating voluntarily in a group, during operational conflict the sense of hierarchy become faded and individualistic ego kicks in big time. In individualistic society people are more prone to see the alternative solutions. In collective society how others will think, friendships in the group, logical and emotional differences in the group make the situation very suffocating.

Conflict is particularly acute when only a few alternatives exist with no compromise possible. The need to decide one way or the other can drive people into extreme positions to support their decision as to which alternative is preferable.

We all know any conflict can’t lead to sustainable and successful future. Some way or the other we have to reduce it. If we all do the right things rather than doing things right, be responsible and concentrate our own little job, feel responsible there will be less conflict. This small steps can change you and you’re surrounding and your society or community. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”- Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, September 6, 2015

"Screw It, Let's Do It”

It just fascinates me to discover some of the weird things people are doing as businesses. In a networking event last week, one speaker mentioned an unusual business about clothing - costumes for pet birds. I never thought this type of business could really exist. More surprisingly, the speaker suggested that the annual market value of this business is a couple of million dollars globally.

It is well known that human beings prefer to live in an environment where everything is predictable or follows preconceived patterns. Sometimes, as a result of our need for security, we forget to see what’s on other side of the fence. The title of this post, which is Richard Branson’s famous statement, is a reminder of some of the unusual businesses that have been started by entrepreneurs who dare to experiment with far-out or unusual business ideas.

Prompted to ‘look over the fence’, I searched the internet and found some more outlandish businesses to add to the list. Here are the first ten:

1. Professional Mattress Jumper – they conduct endurance tests on mattresses
2. Professional Ethical Hacker – they hack organisation systems and find flaws
3. Professional Snuggler – they snuggle you for a good sleep
4. Professional Urine Farmer- hunters often use deer urine to attract their prey, so they collect urine to sell to hunters
5. Face Feeler – they analyse how soft and smooth a person's skin is after using a shaving or beauty product
6. Chicken Sexer - when chicks are born they all cuddle together in masses trying to stay warm, so they separate chicks according to their sex
7. Waterslide Tester – they test slipping down water slides in theme parks
8. Professional Presidential Poison Taster – they work as ‘food tasters' to see whether any poison is in the food of high profile leaders
9. Pet Food Tester - they eat everything from doggie treats and chewy bones to liver mixture
10. Professional Golf Ball Divers - when golfers mis-hit a ball into a water trap they collect them
Here are some of the additional discoveries I made:

1. Videogames Adventure Services - This company arranges fake kidnappings and other customised real-life adventures for thrill seekers
2. Anger Room – you can book a customized room that you can then destroy (apparently it's good for relieving stress)
3. Prank Candles – the candles burn for approximately 30 hours and smell wonderful for the first 12 hours. After that, the awkward smells start!
4. Triple Threat Socks – this company sells socks in three-packs because if you lose one you don’t need to worry
5. Customized Romance Novels - inserts any couple as the hero and heroine in their own personalized romance novel
6. Mobile Wedding Chapel - provides a full wedding ceremony out of the back of a van so that you can choose any location for your big event
7. An Ancestor Detective Service - helps to build your family tree
8. Snake Milking – milking snake venom by hand for medicinal purposes
9. Lucky Break Wishbones - This revolutionary company sells plastic wishbones (because turkeys and chickens only have only one wishbone)
10. Clothing for Pet Birds – you can buy anything and everything for your pet bird

It made me think that the unusual was the new usual. Businesses always start with an individual or group having a realisation about a need, no matter how unusual. It could start as a weird, uneasy, uncomfortable feeling before it develops into a full-blown vision and plan. After that, people keep pursuing their vision and make a mark by establishing a new market for their products or services – often leaving people to wonder why they didn’t think of it first.

‘The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary’, said Vidal Sassoon. So if you have an idea, just go for it. "Screw It, Let's Do It"

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Living a normal abnormal subnormal … life

There are two factors which impact and shape us in young age. These factors are your immediate surroundings and next outer layer of networks. Immediate surrounding is our family, relatives, neighbours. Next outer layer dominated by people from our schools, social groups, activities.

When it comes to family it is important to note that family for one person may not be the same as family for another. There are two main cultures when examining family: the individualist cultures and the collectivist cultures, where roughly 20% of the world’s population (mainly in western world) is Individualistic, according to Chris Smit. The individualist cultures typically develops those more assertive and strong, characteristics helpful for competing. Whereas collectivist cultures is trustworthy, honest, generous, and sensitive, all characteristics that are helpful to people working in groups. Generally speaking people in individualist cultures are more susceptible to loneliness, and people in collectivist cultures are more likely to have a strong fear of rejection. We learn these established values and way of life subconsciously.

We are all being educated to various levels of obedience in young age. Our schools are designed to breed conformity, which means to accept most things as they are and repeating it. As Ivan Illich said “School is the advertising agency which makes you believe that you need the society as it is.” This conformity where failing is bad, it’s a shame mindset actually breeds mediocrity. This status quo of mediocrity breeds more mediocrity, poor leadership which inevitably support poor performance or blind loyalty to keep the air pumped into their overinflated egos.

So up until adolescence the majority of information we receive is on the subject of the current state of things, normality, and following the perceived normal. Then suddenly when you are an adult, you’ve confirmed and given up your creative expression and ambition to do what you love, you are hit with the ideas that normal is no longer the desired outcome, that it is boring, suffocating and stops you from being who you are.

Psychologist Robert Riggio explains that as social animals, we can easily fall into dominance based hierarchies where we are prone to follow the leader with the highest push to control. We then tend to regulate our behaviour in consequence. This is fundamentally a desire for protection. In this mentality often create biasness which influences our perception in both positive and negative ways.

Brene Brown, a Texan academic showed in her research that we are living in a scarcity culture. Scarcity is the "never enough" problem. Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. It makes harder than ever to show courage and be vulnerable. And showing courage, in the name of meaningful relationships, is hard work. People who don't have the capacity to apologise, are normally people who never saw their surroundings to apologise, and grew up in an environment that relied on shame rather than guilt. In guilt, we feel that we have done something bad. With shame, we feel we are bad. "Guilt is just as powerful, but its influence is positive, while shame's is destructive. Shame erodes our courage and fuels disengagement."

The mandate is not to be perfect (which is a myth) but to be happy and human, a normal human. ‘To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.’ - Ralph Waldo Emerso

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Living in the Age of Social Comparison …

Social comparison theory, initially proposed by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954 states that there is a drive within individuals to gain accurate self-evaluation.

Social comparison is when we determine and compare our own social and personal worth on the basis of how we stack up against others. We are constantly making self-evaluations across a variety of domains (for example: attractiveness, wealth, intelligence and success).

So what methods do people use to self-evaluate and how does it affect us?

“Keeping up with the Joneses” is nothing new, but times have changed, where once we compared against only our immediate surroundings, our view to the outside world is now more reaching than ever before.

We are living in the information age…..internet, social network and mainstream media are constantly bombarding information at us, information which will make others look successful, prosperous, happy, generally like they’ve “made it”. The more information we are bombarded with the more we have to perform our comparisons. "Social media is basically social comparison on steroids," says Ramani Durvasula, psychology professor at California State University. But is the image portrayed by other really a true picture? And furthermore is the portrayed image attainable?

The more you compare yourself to others, especially via social media, the more negative headspace you create for yourself. Psychotherapist Daniela Tempesta states, “The art of what makes life awesome and interesting is learning from the talents of others. Instead of trying to be as good as or better than others, focus your energy on being the very best version of yourself.”
Some research already point out …

1. People who constantly compare themselves to others tend to be less happy. And frequent comparisons experience more destructive emotions and behaviours.

2. People do social comparison in a simple, straightforward fashion: if they are better off than similar others (downward social comparison), they feel satisfied, if they are worse off than similar others (upward social comparison), they feel dissatisfied.

3. Unhappy people, make frequent spontaneous social comparisons. Happy people had less vulnerability to the available comparison, they simply did not pay as much attention to how well others were doing.

4. We have become so focused and so obsessed with creating the perfect digital versions of ourselves that we forget to nurture ourselves in the real, three-dimensional world.

5. Smiling depression means to appear to be happy, smiling and positive, but in reality, be miserable. This is sadly becoming more common occurrence. With social media, people are able to focus on key aspects of their lives, highlighting the positive and putting a curtain over anything and everything they want to hide.

We’re so busy continuously scrolling, curious about what we’re missing out on and what everyone else is doing or looking like, in such pursuit we neglect ourselves. Steve Furtick was once quoted as saying “the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel”, there’s something in that………don’t you think?