Look down!

It’s Black History Month and I was thinking about the impact of historical decisions that impact my life today. Every single thing we do, use and or experience is the result of someone else who did it first. Someone who took the risk or had the dream and in pursuit of their dream, created a new reality for the rest of us.

Think about the greats we know .. Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and all the other amazing leaders who paved the way for my generation.

Its also important to note that before there was Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin. It was March 2, 1955, when the fifteen-year-old schoolgirl refused to move to the back of the bus, nine months before Rosa Parks’ stand that launched the Montgomery bus boycott.

I was thinking about the life I enjoy today and how the collection of decisions that created these opportunities for me, like my parents moving to Canada, my teachers helping to guide me, my mentors who taught me, the clients who gave me a chance when I had no references and the employees who choose to work for me for 20+ years! .. they all help me get to where I am today.

I guess my point with this post is that, in addition to looking back in your own history and being grateful, also look down and notice the path that has been paved for you.

What is your Product Market Fit? (PMF)

If you are in the tech space, listen up for a minute. I might be saving you millions of dollars!

Just because it is easier to build technology today doesn’t mean you should build something and hope customers like it. There is no need for another UBER, another FB, another Tinder, another Linkedin or any other solutions you are trying to be the ‘better’ version of. Focus on the real problem and create a better solution .. not a new version of what’s already in the market.

When meeting a new client, I always start with the same basic question “what customer problem are you trying to solve?” It’s surprising to see how many companies can’t give a simple and focused answer. They haven’t figured out WHY they exist.

Marc Andreessen defined the term as follows: “Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market.” Understanding PMF (Product Market Fit) is so important and I feel that step is seldom taken seriously. Stop thinking about your problems .. i.e not enough customers, not enough sales, not enough traction .. and focus on what is the problem you are trying to solve. If your solution actually helps customers and fits the market need, scaling your sales strategy is much easier.

While sales is never an easy process, having a product that fits the market is a great start and should be a key focus for any CEO or product manager.

Need some help in figuring it out your PFM? Let’s talk.

How full is your bank account?

Sorry about the clickbate .. I am talking about your emotional bank. I think of the moments when I was full of confidence, that feeling of being unstoppable and the world is right there for the taking. 

Tony Robbins said to ‘anchor’ those moments and hold on to them for the days when you don’t feel the same confidence. The funny thing is that its easier to bank the bad days. The days where you doubt yourself.

I was thinking about WHY it’s more natural to be attached to the ‘negative’ emotions versus the ‘positive’ emotions. Thinking back to the younger days.. how often did we get to celebrate the A’s in class with ice cream? How often do we celebrate the amazing relationship we have or our significant others. 

I bet its far and few .. and we tend to focus a lot more on the things we are not too good at or happy with. The bank is FULL of useless emotions. 

I think we are passing this on to the next generation. They learn by observing and reacting how we as grown-ups talk to ourselves and how we treat each other. 

To truly celebrate the wins in your life … small or big.. I mean, isn’t that the purpose for the struggle? To get to the other side? Why we do celebrate so little? 

Imagine if we did the opposite and celebrated EVERY SINGLE win .. no judgements .. Will our brain even keep track of the moments that don’t matter anymore? Here’s the experiment that I am on .. I want to bank SO MUCH amazing wins that when I am doing something new and FEAR creeps ups, instead of my brain pulling up memories of other failed moments and scaring me .. it will be forced to bring up moments where I conquered and won! .. just due to the ratio of good memories vs. BAD. 

Build your bank. I believe you have the power to program YOUR brain to be your ally .. Any brain hacks you have in place? 

Is scaling your business a good idea?

Not every business can be scaled.

Some businesses are organically built to be a small business and there is not much you can do. The CEO’s are owners and employees of their own company and they generate the majority of the revenue but need most of it to sustain their lifestyle.

I learned in my time as a mentor/investor, for these business to scale, the owners need to completely transform their purpose in the business. They have to be willing to take on bigger personal and financial risks. They also need to ‘let go’ and align themselves with other partners (or investors) who can help to break the model and look for ways to scale the business.

They have to want to do this.

There is also something nice about having a small, lifestyle business that meets your needs, allows you to live your purpose, work directly with clients you like and still enjoy the entrepreneur lifestyle.

I guess what I am sharing today is that .. the other side is not always ‘greener’ and picking the right side is key. While the growth looks and sounds sexy .. make sure you know what you are walking away from …

– With love

#BellLetsTalk

It’s only in the last 3 years that I have paid attention to ‘mental health’ .. I didn’t really understand it and I was quick to say .. ‘NOT ME!” .. “I am not impacted” .. well, my entrepreneur friends, it is something that you are dealing with and you just have different names and descriptions for it ..

(Sound familiar)

“Nobody get me.. “
“It’s always lonely at the top”
“I’ll grind it out”
“I don’t need any help”

If you have said any of the above .. you know the feeling. Mental health issues are VERY serious and they compound over time. Please.. reach out and connect and let’s talk.

Let’s share and let’s heal together.

– With Love hashtagBellLetsTalk

Take the lost and try again!

I spent the last two weeks hustling to sell sponsorship for desiFEST. Most days, I get nothing. No replies, no rejections .. just silence. I feel crappy and my ego takes a hard hit and I sit there upset and wonder “what am I doing wrong after 13 years of this ..” How do you pick up the next day and continue?

I remind myself that, I love the feeling of watching artists live their passion on stage and the opportunity we help to create for them. It’s addictive to see it .. I think about my team who work REALLY hard to put on an amazing 4-day event

I think about the PRIDE we feel as a community, standing united at Yonge-Dundas, breaking stereotypes and building new bridges with each other and I love exposing a new client to the culture.

I tell myself that “its ok to take the loss for today .. I have tomorrow to try again.”  When you take a hit, whether it is at work, or a new startup or in pursuit of your passion, don’t ignore that feeling .. its an opportunity to stay connected with WHY you are doing what you are doing and to find the courage and strength to continue .. tomorrow awaits.

– With Love

What is BEING YOUR BEST?

“Being your best is not so much about overcoming the barriers other people place in front of you as it is about overcoming the barriers we place in front of ourselves. It has nothing to do with how many times you win or lose. It has no relation to where you finish in a race or whether you break world records. But it does have everything to do with having the vision to dream, the courage to recover from adversity and the determination never to be shifted from your goals.”    Kieren Perkins, Olympic Swimming medalist

What a wonderful way to look “being your best” .. Schools don’t teach this attitude .. they SHOULD! .. at least back in the day, we had after school programs .. some of my best lessons in life came during basketball or the music program .. but now the kids get pushed out at 3:30 .. most parents don’t come home till 6pm and there is the gap that my generation (i.e over 40) needs to help solve.

Young people need a different version of being the best and academic success can not continue to the main measuring stick.

In the meantime, if you know a young person.. share this .. and coach them and help them see that “being their best” really means.

– With love

If you liked what you read, tag a friend that can benefit from this ..

Saying NO is as POWERFUL as Saying YES

Thank you for all the birthday wishes! It was a great day and I am thankful for everyone in my life ..

Today, take a minute to realize that the opportunities that knock on your door needs to be filtered through either a YES or NO filter. (If you don’t have one, use mine)

Say YES,

– when it gives you a chance to grow as a person

– learn a new skill(s)

– improve your finances

– expand your network

Say NO, if it doesn’t meet 2 or more of the list above.

This is my checklist. Maybe it’s not the best checklist for you, but having a NO list, IS the best way to ensure you say YES to the right opportunities.

– With Love

(PS .. the image is when I got my first bamboo tattoo in Thailand)

Happy Birthday To Me!

Happy Birthday To Me!

I turn 44 today.

This marks the 30th year in Canada for me.

I woke up reflecting about this incredible country we live in. Bringing us to Canada is the GREATEST gift my parents gave me.

There is nothing easy about being an immigrant. Especially when you had left India at age 4 and then Singapore at 14. The moves break any continuity you build and you certainly don’t make any life-long friends during these days. While weren’t poor, nothing was easy.

When we arrived in Scarborough, it was Jan 1989. I fell in love immediately with the people, the hustle and the diversity I saw. I found a new purpose and renewed love of life. Over the 30 years, I have made amazing friends, built 3 wonderful businesses, had the pleasure of hiring 100+ staff, built desiFEST, Canada largest South Asian music festival, married the love of my life and have 2 amazing kids.

I am thankful for everyone in my life and I am thankful I get to wake up in this amazing country and .. yes, happy birthday indeed!

– with love!