Kiruba is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, podcaster and a farmer.

Learning is Important. Ego isn’t. A Real Life Incident.

At a Social Media workshop that I recently conducted, a participant approached me during the tea break. We started to discuss about case studies that I had taught. She then broached a question that stumped me for a second. She asked, “Would it be OK if I interned at your Social Media firm.” And she hastened to add, “By the way, you don’t have to pay me”.

If this question had come from a college student, I would not have blinked an eyelid. This was from a person who was branch head of a large Advertising agency. She currently holds a senior position at a major English Newspaper. A person with decades of work experience.

She said that she was very well versed with traditional media but was very new in the digital space and was determined to learn the ropes.

Her attitude impressed me. Most people  with her seniority and years of experience (including me) would cringe at the thought of asking for an unpaid internship in another form. She didn’t let her ego come in the way of learning and for that alone, she deserves credit.

It reminded me of Richard Branson’s words in his book, ‘Screw it…Let’s Do it’. He says…

“If you don’t have the right experience to reach your goal, look for another way in. If you want to fly, get down to the airfield and make tea. Keep your eyes open. Look and learn. You don’t have to go to art school to be a fashion designer. Join a fashion company and push a broom. Work your way up”

This is a powerful lesson that we should all learn from the lady. Learning is important. Ego isn’t.

Yup, I did say yes to her and look forward to working together.

How Speaking Opportunities have given my Reading Habit a Boost.

(Photo credit Peggy Art)

I don’t recall ever reading a book about Swami Vivekananda. Nor have I learned any of his teachings. The closest I have been to ‘him’ is to visit the Ramakrishna Math in Calcutta but that was as a tourist. So, its a bit of surprise that I now spend considerable time on YouTube listening to his talks and reading about his teachings.

So, why this transformation?

On March 27th, I’ve been invited by MGR University to give a keynote speech at a literary fest to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. The Principal had such high opinion about me. She wanted me to give a motivational talk to the students. I had two choices when I received the call. To turn down the invitation citing my lack of knowledge on Swami’s teachings. Or take it up as a challenge, go beyond my comfort zone, and learn about the subject. I loved the idea of the challenge and said ‘YES’. I’m glad I did.

The scene now shifts to the airport.

The last two months has been heavy on speaking engagements. I’ve been traveling around the country speaking at corporates and conferences. I have been wanting to improve my repertoire and learn engaging stories to illustrate my points.

I decided to marry travel with reading. Here’s what I did.

Whenever I’m at an Airport, I pick up a book from the bookstore. The criteria for my book selection is that it has to be small and thin. Max around 100 pages. My goal is to finish the book before the plane lands at the destination. This habit has done wonders to my book reading habit…and my speaking skills! I always aim to include what I learned from the book into my next speech. Its worked out wonderfully. Now I look forward to more speaking opportunities for I know it also pulls up my reading.

What tips did you follow to improve your reading and speaking? Would love to hear.

My Review of the Reliance CDMA Android Tablet.

I picked up a Reliance CDMA Tablet on the day of its launch recently.  I wanted to write a review then but wanted to make sure that I put in at least a week’s time using the tab before I talk about it.

I want to set the expectation right. I’m an Apple fanboy. I own two iPads (the first generation and iPad2). The reason why I picked up another Tab is because I wanted one that runs on Android to test out the apps.

In this review, I’m reviewing the Reliance Tab on its own merit and will not be comparing it with the iPad.  The Reliance Tab is available at Rs.12,999 while the closest equivalent of iPad would cost around Rs.30K.  The target segment is clearly distinct and is unfair to compare.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s dive in.

The Reliance Tab is the first CDMA tablet in the country. Coincidentally, I was among the first buyers of the CDMA phone that Reliance launched over a decade ago.

So why CDMA when Reliance already has 3G Tablets in the market? That’s because in some circles like Tamilnadu, Reliance does not have 3G licenses.

The Reliance Tablet is a 7 inch one and has a capacitive multi-touch screen with a 480X800 screen resolution.  The 512 MB is sufficient for browsing but would have gladly appreciated more power.  The MicroSD slot can hold an impressive 32GB and with the prices of MicroSDs falling drastically, makes sense to ramp it up.  Reliance throws in a 4MB 4GB card for free. (Thanks Saurabh for pointing out the mistake)

The Reliance Tab can be used as a full feature mobile phone and comes with its own wired ear phone. The voice clarity and sound is very impressive. For someone who wants to use both the phone and the Tab regularly, it would make sense to just carry the Tab but please for heaven’s sake, use the ear phone provided.  I always find people who place a tab to their ears look like a dork!

The Tab is 397 grams light and is quite handy. Its all black look with a nice silver lining on the side makes it look professional.

Reliance has integrated it own services.  It comes bundled with Internet Data plans and you get to save up-to 40% on yearly plans. The company has thrown in 2 months free subscription to BigFlix for movie viewing. It has tied up with McAfee to give one year free Mobility Antivirus.

Here’s my closing thought.  If your usage is just browsing, emails and games (which I find most Tab users predominantly use) and you are looking for a tab within budget, then I’d give the Reliance Tab a thumbs up.

Crowdsourcing My Class on Facebook Marketing Strategies

Its not about how much you know. Its about how much the students learn. My sessions at Great Lakes are 3 hours straight and it can be a challenge to retain the attention of the students. A very effective method is breakdown a big subject into really small topics and let each student take ownership of a topic. Everyone focuses hard on their topic and researches deep into that alone. 20 minutes later, the class takes turns to teach others what they learned. I step in to add extra weight to certain key points by narrating real life experiences with clients or to counter argue. Its a group activity and the learning comes out much better than if a single teacher teaches those very same points for 3 hours straight. Here are pics from my session yesterday at Great Lakes. View the Album.

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