Book Review – Ramayana : The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince

I am sure that most us would have watched [if not read] the Ramayana that used to be tele-casted on Doordarshan. I used to thoroughly enjoy it but for some reason I could not strike a cord with mythology as it was not my cup of tea !!! So how can someone re-tell the age-old Ramayana in a tone that co-relates to the modern era & still does not dilute it’s core i.e. learning’s we get from the great epic  ??

The book “Ramayana : The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince” by Shubha Vilas is one such commendable attempt to re-tell the Ramayana for Modern Audiences.

Ramayana : The Game of Life: Rise of the Sun Prince

About the Author

Shubha Vilas is a motivational speaker, spiritual seeker with B.E in “Electronics & Telecommunications” and L.L.B specializing in Patent Law. You can find more about him here

Detailed Review

This is the first part [Bala Kanda] of the six book series that Shubha Vilas has come up with & takes us through the divine story of Lord Rama from his birth up-to his marriage. The narrative closely follows Valmiki’s Ramayana, gently weaving in the folk tales as well as the beautiful analogies of the Kamba Ramayana.

The narrative throws fresh perspective on how Valimiki came up with the Ramayana, insights into Ayodhya, Lord Rama’s life, His relation with Sita, tales of Dasaratha‘s leadership, Dasaratha’s 353 wives, Vishwamitra‘s quest for power, origination of the island Lanka, Life of Ravana & intriguing story of a little-known stone maiden. Well, the list goes on, as the book details into each & every aspect of the Ramayana.

The author had to make sure that the reader finds the story interesting [and can co-relate to it] else it would have been “Me-Too” book on the epic. Shubha Vilas has succeeded in that task where each page is followed with foot-notes where he connects the content [from Ramayana] with real-life traits i.e. Leadership, Mentorship, Greed, Spirituality etc.

Honestly, for readers [including myself] who have less idea about the Ramayana, the footnotes added as “catalyst” that generated interest & gave us handy-tips on how we can apply the age-old principles of Ramayana in our day-to-day lives !!!

Key Takeaways

As mentioned earlier, each page has some “key” learning from it & that in our opinion is the highlight of the book. Some of the interesting excerpts from the book are mentioned below:

Mentorship, Failing & Learning

An advisor is like an able doctor who does not prescribe before diagnosing the disease. To lament from one’s mistakes is important, but far more important is to learn from that mistake. To make mistakes does not imply lack of intelligence but a lack of foresight. Not repeating mistakes is a sign of intelligence.

Building an Effective System

King Dasaratha’s brilliance & foresight could be gauged from the way he made systematic arrangements to make the kingdom self-sufficient. Ayodhya had two type’s of water-storage systems – Devamatraka i.e. entirely dependent on rains sent by demigods & other nadimatraka i.e. dependent on effective water storage systems. Ayodhya depended on nadimatraka system which facilitated rain water harvesting to ensure abundant water supply. Today’s society adopts the nadimatraka system of irrigation which is heavily dependent on rains.

Leadership Traits

Foresight is the hallmark of a leader; it enables a leader to build effective systems. The leader’s quality lies not just in building such systems but also in ensuring effective functioning of those systems. An interesting type of leadership is “servant leadership”, where the leader feels that being anointed leader is a gift to serve more people. Such a leader finds every opportunity to serve as God sent. Dasaratha had created a flawless system but when it was not as effective as anticipated, he considered it as his responsibility to rectify it at any cost, even at the cost of his life !!!

For a leader, four things are essential – physical strength, intellectual strength, emotional strength & spiritual strength. Physical strength is acquired by having a powerful army; intellectual strength by studying the scriptures and being guided by a wise counsel; emotional strength by being kind, generous and sensitive towards the weaker; and spiritual strength by taking some time off from the worldly pursuits to pursue one’s goal in life and taking refuge in higher powers.

A good leader knows the “Art Of Delegation“; in addition he delegates himself the most demanding role, that of being an inspiration.

Teamwork

Dasaratha’s leadership model

Dasaratha’s strength was his Big M – a council of ministers [mantri's or mentors] carefully chosen by him. He had eight ministers – Drishti, Jayantha, Vijaya, Suraashtra, Raashtravardhana, Akopa, Dharmapaala & Sumantra. These eight ministers were men of pure mind & great integrity.

Their love for their country and it’s people, along with their loyalty to the kind, encouraged them to use their foresight in devising policies and plans to help their country progress. Their words completed their actions.

Tangible & Intangible assets

Success is to follow a leader if he can create tangible as well as intangible assets. Tangible assets are essentially his abundant treasury and an unconquerable army. Intangible assets include the confidence of people in the leader’s power and ability.

It is the intangible asset that is the soul of leadership, which leads to loyalty and unquestioned co-operation. To capitalize on the tangible and intangible assets effectively, the leader has to depend on a third type of asset, known as “Big M” [Ministers, Mentors & Mantri's of the king]

Be in “Better than yourself” company

However great an individual may be, it is impossible to achieve any kind of success alone. Those who do not believe in a team are afflicted by the disease of Insecurity. Deep insecurity about working with those stronger than themselves stems from the fear of being over-shadowed. Such people surround themselves with weaker people. When one dreams of a big goal, the team one chooses must be bigger then the dreams envisioned. Else, it would only remain a dream. Surely, you could co-relate this to the “Art of Recruiting” by Guy Kawasaki :)

Law of “Dependence”

Rather than being engaged in one-upmanship, one should focus on how combined strength can enhance individual capabilities. When one engages in competition, it results in destruction of the other & one becomes oblivious to the pain of the other.

Capitalizing on mutual strengths leads to success. The law of dependence states that one’s real strength lies in realizing the strength of another. Dependence releases one from the burden of being an exclusive controller & leads to the freedom of accepting higher powers to realize one’s goal.

Taking shelter in one’s own strength leads to taking pride in being the controller. By being amiable enough to depend on others strength, one can focus on achieving the goal. Vishvamitra realized that for so long he had exclusively depended on his own strength. He learnt his law of dependence from his mother Kaushalya.

Guided intelligence leads to the right direction. Personal choices have to be sacrificed at the altar for the good of the whole.

Closing Thoughts

Rise of the Sun Prince is very interesting take on the Ramayana. At 252 pages, it is an good read & definitely there are learnings in it for everyone i.e. be it leader, mentor, entrepreneur, teacher or any other individual…

We complete this review with the following thoughts from the author Shubha Vilas

Rise of the Sun Prince reveals to us the range of principles that underline the healthy relationships in our lives – between parents & children, between husband & wife, between brothers, between a leader & his followers, between a teacher and his/her students.

The Ramayana is not a book; it a way of life !!!

Thanks to Blogadda for sending us the review copy of this book :) This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books !!!

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Citrix Startup Accelerator Innovator’s Program

The Citrix Startup Accelerator Innovators Program is launching in Bangalore. The focus of the Innovators Program is on accelerating business solutions & openly sharing approaches that have been integral to Citrix innovation.

The three-month residency at key locations around the world, cultivates breakthrough mobile, cloud & collaboration technologies by leveraging the expertise of Citrix and key corporate council members.

The Innovators Program successfully concluded in Silicon Valley last month & is now scaling globally.

citrix-logo

About the program

Twelve teams will be selected to receive support, in-depth training and a workspace at the Citrix Bangalore office. The modern space includes high tech meeting rooms and workstations and is a fitting place to design the revolutionary mobile work-style technologies of the future.

The Program blends leading-edge collaboration, design thinking and lean startup approaches. Innovation teams will learn to develop & bring to market business technology offerings that focus on user needs and helping people work better. Nascent entrepreneurial teams will learn alongside new corporate product teams, and will also receive seed funding.

Participants will receive mentoring & guidance from seasoned business executives, industry leaders and venture capital investors. Citrix will partner with the NASSCOM 10K team on the program.

How to apply

The Citrix Startup Accelerator Innovators Program is looking for great teams ready to test their business model. Applications for the program are now open.

Selected teams will be revealed at the NASSCOM Product Conclave on October 30, 2014.

For more information

Please visit Citrix Innovator’s Program to learn more about the program & how to apply.

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Accelerator Program : Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific

Applications are now open for financial tech start-ups to apply to an accelerator program backed by a group of 10 leading financial institutions & Accenture.

About the program

Companies selected in the Asia-Pacific-wide competitive search for the region’s top financial technology innovators will participate in the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific, a 12-week program that helps early- and growth-stage financial technology innovators accelerate product development and gain exposure to top-level financial industry executives.

Who can participate

Entrepreneurs developing potentially game-changing technologies for financial services – particularly in the areas of Big Data & analytics, mobile & wireless, payments, risk management, security, compliance and social media and collaboration technologies – are invited to apply.

Applications will be accepted until July 31, 2014.

More about “Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific”

The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is modeled on a similar program that was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City in 2010. The New York Lab’s 18 alumni companies have raised more than $76 million in venture financing and created approximately 150 jobs after participating in the program; one participant was acquired for $175 million.

In 2012, the FinTech Innovation Lab London was launched by Accenture and a dozen major banks in London, with support from the city’s mayor and other government bodies. The majority of the participants in the inaugural program have gone on to sign deals with banks and collectively they have raised $10 million in new financing since participating.

According to a recent report by Accenture, Global investment in fintech ventures could more than double to $8 billion by 2018. Global investment in fintech ventures has more than tripled from $928 million in 2008 to $2.97 billion in 2013. During the same period, investment in Asia-Pacific fintech ventures has increased nearly fourfold to $104 million in 2013.

For further information, please refer to their website

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Review: Mobikwik Android App [Recharge, Bill Payment & more]

If you are on the lookout for All In One solution to Bill payment, DTH/Phone recharge, Online shopping etc. than Mobikwik could be the destination.

Mobikwik_new_logoWhat is Mobikwik

As mentioned on Mobikwik website, it is a Prepaid wallet powered by Zaakpay [Payments gateway founded by Upasana Taku & also Head of Merchant Operations for Mobikwik]. Adding money to your wallet lets you pay for your services and recharges in just one click, or even via SMS or by dialling a number.

User can register via their website, Android App, iOS App or Windows App.

In this article, we review the “Mobikwik Android App” & look at some of it’s interesting features …

Review of “Mobikwik Android App”

User Interface

The UI of the mobikwik app is simple & elegant. The color combination is very good. Navigating between different sections in the app is very simple. Just like other recharge applications available on the internet, in this app as well you can keep a track of “Recharge History”, “Recharge Status”, “Refund/Transfer status” etc.

Mobikwik_Combined_1

As mentioned before, user needs to add money to the wallet in order to use the services. For reviewing the app, we recharged the wallet with Rs. 100. The overall process of adding cash to the wallet was very simple & the entire transaction took around 20 odd seconds to complete. Once the wallet recharge was done, it took us merely 5 seconds to do our airtel online recharge

1-Click

As mentioned before, user can navigate through the “Recharge/Transfer history” so that “repetitive tasks i.e. recharging same mobile number” comes very handy & is a “great time saver”.

Mobile Recharge & Transfer of money

Another feature which was interesting is “Transfer of money from the wallet to another mobile user/email-id/Mobikwik user”. For testing the feature, we transferred around Rs. 50 from another Android Phone to our Mobikwik account for doing vodafone online recharge. Just like a banking transaction, the initiator receives an OTP [One Time Password] to complete the transfer. The transfer was smooth & completed within few seconds !!

Mobikwik_Recharge_Combined

Email snapshot & Mobile Update

Mobikwik_Recharge_Combined_Upload

Improvement Areas

Mobikwik is primarily a “Digital Wallet Based Application” that facilitates bill payment, recharge etc. but there are couple of features which we still feel are missing:

1. Direct recharge

Recharging Phone/DTH without maintaining balance in the wallet i.e. direct recharge option is required. This feature is available in other recharge applications like Paytm, Freecharge etc.

2. Added perks

It would have better “more appealing” if Mobikwik could provide user’s with perks on every transaction i.e. discount coupons from e-commerce companies, deals etc. There is a “Deals” section in the app but we could not find only limited number of merchants… may be it is work under progress :)

3. Special Recharge

For special recharges eg. 3G recharge pack [all packs apart from top-up's] Mobikwik does not come handy !!

Closing Remarks

Keeping improvements aside, Mobikwik is very user-friendly, simple & handy application [my favorite feature being money transfer which I have been using it very frequently since the time I installed Mobikwik :)]

Do give Mobikwik a spin & share your experience in the comments section …

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Event : “Jugaad-a-thon”, Jugaad Hackathon in association with Glocal Healthcare & GE Healthcare

CAMTech INDIA —a new United States Agency for International Development [USAID, India] funded public-private partnership to accelerate medical technology innovation for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) in India—announced its first medical technology hack-a-thon in Bangalore on July 18-20, 2014. This inaugural hack-a-thon is being organized in partnership with Glocal Healthcare and hosted by GE Healthcare India.

About Jugaad-a-thon

“The Jugaad-a-thon is a new way of elevating the experience & know-how of local experts, and using strategies from not just engineering, but also public health and business, to develop new tools to improve health,” said Elizabeth Bailey, Director of the Consortium for Affordable Medical Technologies (CAMTech) at Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Global Health. “We’re focused on finding impactful, marketable, and innovative ways to provide care to women and children in India.”

Event highlights

CAMTech INDIA’s inaugural Jugaad-a-thon [derived from the Hindi word jugaad meaning an innovative fix or work-around] will be a 48-hour event where 250 clinicians, engineers and entrepreneurs collaborate on disruptive, new solutions for unsolved clinical problems.

Cross-disciplinary teams addressing specific clinical challenges will work late into the night to develop functional prototypes and explore new business models to commercialize their innovations. Teams present their innovations to a panel of judges at the end of the event, and will be awarded a variety of prizes to help take their innovations forward.

Applications for the July 18-20 Jugaad-a-thon are due by July 7, 2014.

For more information, please log on to Jugaad-a-thon website or hop on to their Facebook Page

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Book Review : “Become an Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate”

How many of us out there in the crowd have the following feeling:

  • “Sigh, I am in the wrong profession”
  • “After engineering, I wanted to go into Web-Development but I am currently working as an Embedded Engineer”
  • “I should have been an Entrepreneur instead of working in an organization”

When I completed my engineering [and that too not from a well-known college & I only played Cricket :)], the only aim each one of us had is ” To have a STABLE JOB in TCS/Wipro/Infosys irrespective of the kind of work that might be assigned” without knowing what we wanted from life after Engineering !! And as you might have guessed, I was not selected on any of these companies from Campus !!!

On a lighter note this post is not about my “Life History” [and surely readers would be least interested in it :) ] but to stress the point that “What if as STUDENTS, we would have received proper GUIDANCE from industry insiders i.e. If you need Entrepreneurial guidance, you would turn to an Entrepreneur/ If you want to work in a startup, you would be turn to a startup employee”;  Mantra being “Turn for an advice/guidance to someone who has been there, done that !!

“Become An Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate” by Mr. Sivakumar Palaniappan is a book that acts as a “Holy Grail” for engineering students/fresh engineers.

About the author

Sivakumar Palaniappan is an Author, Motivational Trainer, Key Note speaker, Career Coach & Happiness Consultant, a hands-on engineer who has worked in companies like NXPQualcomm etc.

Detailed Review

“Become An Engineer not just an Engineering Graduate” is written with the aim of encouraging engineering graduates to be passionate engineers, help them enhance their employability potential & enable them to sculpt their career as an engineer. Please note, it is not a placement guide but it is a culmination of research done by the author through analysis of engineering education, discussion with placement officers, HR managers, parents etc. & trying to solve a pain-point – “Don’t be an Engineer for the heck of it but be a PASSIONATE engineer“.. doesn’t this sound like the 3-Idiots dialogue “Beta kabil bano kabil, Kamyabi to sali zak mar ke tumhare piche ayegi..” [Source - Galmsham]

Combined

Is this book for “YOU” ?

The book [Around 150 pages] is a breezy read with the message that “the reader i.e. engineer/student” should act on the tips. The book is structured in a nice manner where every chapter starts with a “Student Tale” i.e. a real-life incident that triggered the need for that particular chapter.

The book acts as a guide for “would be engineering students” to select the right stream of engineering so that when they are done with engineering, their interest/hobby also becomes their “profession”. Every chapter ends with a “Mantra” so that the reader can bring the “words” in each chapter into “formidable action”.

Key Chapters

As mentioned above, right from basic things like “Why choose an Engineering Degree” to “Why be a Student Entrepreneur”; the book tries to answer those tricky questions. Some of the notable chapters from the book are:

Chapter (5): Why should I develop a Useful Hobby - Having a USEFUL hobby [not sleeping, watching TV etc.] is very much important and you never know when your hobby becomes fulltime profession when you are bored of your day job.

Chapter (8): How to do What I Love to Do -

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life – Confucius

10 steps approach to do what you love to do:

  1. Find your passion
  2. Find your finances
  3. Find your core strengths
  4. Find your weaknesses
  5. Focus on your strengths & improve upon your weaknesses
  6. Have the commitment
  7. Don’t ignore the present
  8. Get ready to give up
  9. Have a strong belief in yourself
  10. Have a big dream

Chapter (10): How to Use the Power of Social Media in Career Crafting

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, question is how well we do it - Erik Qualman

5 ways to use Social Media for Career Crafting

  1. Use the power of top three social sites i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook
  2. Build a positive online identity
  3. Learn through social media
  4. Demonstrate your expertise & credibility
  5. Use your online presence effectively

Read More »

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Hands On : Nomad ChargeKey Review

How many times have you have been into situations where the phone has run out of battery & you had wished that there was “charging cable in your bag/pocket” :) Well, a US based startup HelloNoMad is trying to solve that problem with their innovative charging solution – ChargeKey & ChargeCard. We received a review copy of the “ChargeKey for Android” & today we do a hands-on review of the same.

ChargeKey for Android

Design

ChargeKey is a 2.5″ key sized charging cable. It is made up of flexible rubber components with two plastic ends. The cable can be connected to a PC, TV or any other device that can act as a “Host” and supply +5V for charging.  In case of “ChargeKey” for iPhone, the other end of the device includes “Lightning Connector” for Charging & Sync functionalities.

MainCover_ChargeKey

Portability

“Charging on the Go” is the primary concern that HelloNoMad is trying to solve & the “Size” is the main USP of the ChargeKey. One end of the ChargeKey provides the flexibility to the user to connect the ChargeKey to a key chain. In all the scenarios, the user would have their home keys with them, so ChargeKey ensures the phone is never out of charge.

I personally faced this issue the very day I received the ChargeKey & I had forgotten my Charger in the office; so I connected the ChargeKey to the TV to ensure my Android phone remains charged & I don’t miss any important calls :)

ChargeKey_WithKeyChain

Durability

As mentioned before, “Size” is makes ChargeKey unique charging solution & after using for around 2 months or so; there has been no issue with the cable. However, there there was one question [and I am sure any ChargeKey user would have this question in their minds] – “Why there is no mechanism i.e. caps to protect the charging plug”.

Charging_With_ChargeKey_ReSize

Well, HelloNoMad started with their KickStarter campaign [their funding goal being 29,000 USD] and that provided us with the answer [Source : HelloNoMad on KickStarter]

The lightning end of the cable is water resistant. You can wipe it clean with confidence that it will not corrode. That said, we did strongly consider a cap but it boiled down to the premise that we felt it wasn’t necessary.

Rubber quality is quite good and even after heavy usage, there has been no damage so far which makes ChargeKey a compelling proposition !!

Conclusion

Priced at $29 [with free shipping worldwide],  ChargeKey is a very interesting solution to end user’s charging needs !! If you are a die-hard traveller, ChargeKey is the one-stop solution to all your charging needs !! Please note that this review was done on “ChargeKey for Android”, if you are looking out for “Charging for your iDevice”, please head over here

If you have any questions about ChargeKey, please leave them in the comments section. If you are a blogger and interested to review ChargeKey, please leave your details in the comments section & I would send across my ChargeKey to you …

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Exit strategies for SME’s in India [Guest Post]

Every now and then, several SME’s have been thinking on the exit strategy from their business. The most common exit plan for SME’s is the out-and-out sale of the business.

There could be various reasons for which the owner decides to sell the business. Irrespective of the reasons [why's] or motivations, the business owner should be confident that the real object is met – the business is sold.

Today we have a guest article by Priya Bhagat; Co-founder of Indiabizforsale. Indiabizforsale is an online platform for Business buying, selling, Business valuation and leasing. Before starting Indiabizforsale, Priya had a successful career in UK and India working for companies like Suez group, Nestor healthcare, Billdesk.com in various capacities in finance. Also, she has gained masters in international finance from Middlesex university & masters in commerce from Mumbai university.

In this article, Priya highlights “Business Selling/Exit Strategies for SME’s in India”.

IndiaBizForSale

The likelihood of business being sold successfully rises when the business for sale is marketed carefully; business valuation is genuine; internal factors are promising & external elements are beneficial.

Market carefully – Sale of a business is a life-changing scenario; the business owner should very diligent in promoting the business opportunity for sale in the market. The business owner’s main concern while marketing the business for sale is to maintain confidentiality [so that competitors & employees are not aware] at the highest level.

Hence, using the right medium to sell is very crucial to maintain privacy and at the same time generate prospects. Offline advertising like newspapers can be expensive & has a short life span. Many online classifieds provide a good channel to advertise the business for sell, however, one needs to chose a premium platform & avoid websites that have junk listings. The business owner should also be careful of any hidden fees or commission that such listing websites charge.

Genuine Business Valuation – If the valuation of your business is done on a realistic basis, the chances of closing the deal successfully increases. The value of the company should be estimated before marketing the business opportunity for sale. There are various methods used for business valuation, it is ideally important to seek help from professional expert to get the valuation of the business done properly.

Promising Internal factors – Internal factors like financial performance of the company, management team and employees, technology, suppliers and customers have to be dealt delicately as these internal factors increase the success of the Business for Sale. It is better to inform the employees after you have reached to advance stage of the business sell. about the decision to sell and address their concerns.

Beneficial External elements – External elements like market conditions, trends in the industry, legislations, competition, etc. can be beneficial if impacted positively to the business.

Generally, the SME’s approach the business brokers, the most common platform. On successful completion of a deal, these brokers expect a return in terms of a commission on the transaction price, which normally ranges from 1%-10%. Such hefty succession fees are sometimes not affordable to SME’s and the chances of businesses being sold quickly slows down. At the same time if the SME is not experienced [generally most SME's are not] in selling the business, it is most appropriate to get professional help. In brief, if your business is not selling a business, please seek help while selling yours.

Plan and start EarlyThe average time it takes for a business to be sold is from three months to twelve months. Once your business opportunity is out for sale, be patient for the genuine buyer to be attracted.

You can reach Priya Bhagat on LinkedIn here. If you have any questions for Priya, please leave them in the comments section.

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About the author

Hey, Welcome to Himanshu's blog. Himanshu is a engineer, blogger, startupper & an aspiring entrepreneur from Bangalore, India. To know more about him, please visit this page.

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