Showing posts from April, 2019

About me [archive]

[Bio from my old blog]

Hey there...thanks for stopping by. These days I'm working to shift demands towards sustainable consumption with blissmoSign up today for discounts up to 50% on the best in sustainable & organic.
Previously, I've been: 
- a co-founder at The Extraordinaries(micro-volunteering platform)

- a co-founder at richrelevance(personalized recommendations)

- Mktg Director at (platform for peer-to-peer microfinance) 

I'm was also an actor, though currently on "sabbatical" :) For more about my background, check out my LinkedIn page.

Am no longer blogging here…

[Originally published on November 3, 2010] …but thanks for visiting!  Am spending most of my time these days working to shift demand towards sustainable consumption with blissmo.  Sign up to save up to 50% on the best in organic & sustainable!   For more on me, check out my LinkedIn profile or Facebook profile, or follow me on Twitter.  If I do start blogging again, it’ll be at Again, thanks for stopping by!

Book review: “Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion”

[Originally published on November 21, 2008] Book: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion Summary:  This book can’t be summarized.  It can only be very, very strongly recommended. Recommended? YES. Buy it now if you haven’t read it. Table of contents:
1 Weapons of Influence
2 Reciprocation: The Old Give and Take…and Take
3 Commitment and Consistency: Hobgoblins of the Mind
4 Social Proof: Truths Are Us
5 Liking: The Friendly Thief
6 Authority: Directed Deference
7 Scarcity: The Rule of the Few Notes:
Below are my key takeaways and some interesting points, but I’m telling you.  Buy it.  Read it. Trust me. Expensive implies quality. Example: gems in a jewel case that weren’t selling were marked up and then sold at a “discount” to the markup (a price higher than the original price), and they sold like hotcakes.Power of contrast. Example: If you go into a men’s store they’ll try and sell you an expensive suit before the sell you the expensive sweater, because the contrast makes the sw…

Book review: “Brand Simple”

[Originally published on November 5, 2008] Book: BrandSimple: How the Best Brands Keep it Simple and Succeed Summary:  To build a great brand, pick something different and important about your product, create a simple branding message around it that generates an emotional response, and then stick to it!
Recommended? Eh, not really…you’ll get the gist in this blog post (you’re welcome).

Key takeaways:
What is a brand? “A brand is what your product or service stands for in people’s minds; it might be an image or, perhaps, a feeling. Branding is the process of executing and managing the things that make people feel the way they do about your brand.”A brand is a “promise that links a product or service to a consumer.”“A brand simplifies choice. ‘Let’s go to Subway’”What makes a strong brand? “It has been proven time after time that the strongest brands are built on simple, compelling ideas that grab people by signaling that something is different from what they’ve heard and see…

Book review: “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This”

[Originally published on September 19, 2008] Book: Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads, Second Edition Summary:  Of the parts I did read (I skipped the chapters on creating radio and TV ads), this book can be summarized by saying: the best ad creative is simple, clever, honest, and evokes an emotional response (easier said than done!). 
Recommended? Nope. Unless you’re in the ad business, as this book is really for folks who create ads for a living, not for folks looking to get a few tips on marketing or brand building (go figure).

Key takeaways:
Know the product, inside, outside, and upside down. How does it feel to use it?It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it (duh). Example: Imagine an ad for tennis balls with the words reading back and forth across the page like watching a tennis match. Another example: Imagine an ad for flowers titled “Exactly how mad is she?” with three different bouquet sizes pictured (genius!).Position yourself against so…

Vote with your dollar

[Originally published on January 6, 2008]

In early 2006 I started a blog called Change Your World, with the sub-title “Little, everyday things you can do to make your world a better place”. I then wrote a whopping six posts before running out to things to talk about (read: getting lazy). The goal of the blog was not to be another (annoying) voice cheerleading “Yeeeay recycling! Yeeeay organic!” to “save the world”, but to point out that doing things like recycling and eating organic is better for YOU; believe it or not, it’s usually the selfish thing to do. Further, it was an effort to get folks (including myself) thinking about the “net impact” of a product/service; about all the externalities associated with production, raw materials, transport, and so on. My opening postargued that buying recycled, eco-friendly toilet paper reduced cancer risk (possible dioxins and formaldehyde in regular tp!) while improving children’s health, preserving the environment, and savi…

A quick note on Manav Sadhna (amazing non-profit operating in India)

[Originally published on December 18, 2007] When several of your closest friends (whom you also happen to deeply admire as people, not the drinking buddies) (no offense dudes!) get involved with a non-profit (I hate the word ‘charity’), it says something powerful about the organization. Two of these friends, Seema Patel and Premal Shah, actually went to India at recent points in their lives and spent several months on location working with the organization, Manav Sadhna, which “is comprised of a young group of dedicated individuals working for the upliftment of poor and needy children.” Last week, Seema and my buddy Dev hosted a fundraiser for Manav Sadhna in LA and were able to raise over $3,500. Here was the reply from the Uncle that Dev sent the check to (for my non-Indian peeps, ‘Uncle’ is a word used in respect for older fathers…call a younger father an Uncle at your own risk): For sure this funds will go long ways and help many kids and mothers for our 32 on goi…

The next good thing: PROJECT GOOD

[Originally posted on November 29, 2007] I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point in the last few years it became cool to be what is now (affectionately) called “socially conscious”. Folks being conscious of their social impact is nothing new, but buying organic/fair trade/green used to get me branded as a treehugging, free-love-loving, ganja-smoking hippie (which, umm, may or may not be true) — yes I live at Haight/Ashbury, but c’mon people, I own an SUV*! Marketers have given this raaapidly growing segment of our population a nice name. We are the LOHAS market, which according to the Wiki is an acronym for “Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability that…in year 2006 was estimated at $300 billion…market [domestic].” Did you catch that? Let me repeat: $300 BILLION. A few weeks ago at GreenFestSF I got a glimpse of alll the different things people are doing to get your dollars and grow that market, including everything from “green” mattresses to anti-oxi…

Good Magazine & “Steal This Idea”

[Originally posted on November 13, 2007] First off, I want to make a plug for Good Magazine. Great content, wonderful community, and the best part is that when you subscribe 100% of your money goes to one of 12 non-profits (Kiva just recently became an option!). Plus, you’ve gotta love their tag-line: A magazine for people that give a damn. The reason for this post is to highlight a section they have called “Steal This Idea”, which I love. Folks with ideas for something / anything that’ll somehow make the world a better place can write in with those ideas, and then the editors pick the ones they like and profile one per issue. What I wish they’d do different is make it more of a democratic process and allow readers to vote on the ideas. An open flow of innovation between Good Magazine’s self-selected readership could spark some really big things, and help GOOD ideas become GREAT ideas. Yeah? You with me? Oh fine…I’ll be honest. I submitted an idea and it didn’t make …

Feel the fusion

[Originally posted on November 5, 2007] Like many people, I think I can write. Like most people, I really can’t. Still, that small fact will not stop me from publishing a movie script (page by page) that my friend Jaspaul and I started (and stopped) waaay back in 2003. We started the script with the intention to share some of our stories with the world (starring us, of course). We stopped working on the script when we realized we had no idea what we were doing. We wanted to pick it up again someday but more than 4 years later fusion rots away on my hard drive. Until now : ) It’s (supposed to be) Good Will Hunting meets Save the Last Dance meets School Ties meets Spaceballs. Please note that the script is Rated R for language, adult situations, and poor attempts at humor (like that Spaceballs mention). Forgive me:

Panel – Beyond the Poke: The Social Impact of Social Networking

[Originally posted on October 26, 2007] I’m speaking on a panel tomorrow (Saturday) about how social causes can leverage social networking platforms(last week I spoke about the future of social networking — as if anyone knows)Premal was supposed to speak but now he can’t make it, so I’m speaking in his stead (sweet, huh?). Anyways, the organizer asked for a short blog post on the organization’s blog, which I figured I’d re-post here since I’m all about leverage. Hey folks. Just wanted to write a quick post to encourage everyone attending >play this weekend to try and make the “Beyond the Poke” panel. No, it’s not about how to ask for a real date after poking someone (which is a weird thing to do, btw), but about “The Social Impact of Social Networking”. The panel description asks: “Does Web 2.0 provide the necessary platform for…causes to continue to develop and grow well into the future?”. Well, having spent time as a Product Manager at MySpace (a social-network…


[Originally posted October 14, 2007] As in Japan. Last week I went to Tokyo and Kyoto (the better city, btw) for a little vacay with my buddy Prashanth, and loved it. Rich history, wickedly tasty cuisine, humble people, ridic nightlife (in my pictures I look like I was having a greeaat time), fascinating nuances…I can go on and on. All in the trip was amazing and I highly recommend visiting. Immediately. Below are a couple of random things that particularly struck me: 1) R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You know those masks you sometimes see Japanese folks wearing? Those people are not trying to avoid infection, they’re trying to avoid infecting others. || Every time you interface with someone they always greet you, and no matter what the interaction they thank you, bow, wish you a great day and bow again. || Before exiting a rail car, a ticketmaster will turn around and bow to passengers. || If you ask someone for help they’ll try really (really) hard to help (to the point where we felt guilty asking)…

Book review: “Made to Stick”

[Originally posted on September 24, 2007] Book: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Summary: When marketing anything, keep these six concepts in mind if you want your message to shtick: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories; yes, my friends, that spells SUCCESs. If it sounds like too much work, these two concepts also work: Free, Sex (noooo, that’s not in the book…but it works I tell you!). 
Recommended? Si. It’s a quick, fun read full of interesting anecdotes and examples that make the book’s message more *concrete* (a-hem). If you’re never going to pick it up, at least read a breakdown of the six principles on the book’s website. One(ish)-liners for each of the six principles: Simplicity – boil it all down to the core message you want people to walk away with….the one thing they should know/do…the key takeaway….the essence of your point…the singular (okay, I’ll stop).Unexpectedness – generate interest and curiosity by being counter-…

On perceived scarcity, intertia, and relational thought; a collection of mini-posts

[Originally posted @thesunrising on September 14, 2007] I’ve been wanting to write full posts for each of the items below for weeks but haven’t. I just realized that is because I have no idea what I’m talking about. Accordingly, I’m publishing them as half-baked, random rants; enjoy : ) Perceived scarcity creates perceived demand, and thus,perceivedvalue
I wonder, how much of value isperceivedversus real? Diamonds. Home prices. “Premium” items. Dating. Heck, even in interactions with friends, I sometimes feel like the less available I am (to a point), the more demand there is for my time (or, at least, the higher the perceived value for my time). On a daily basis, I find that many things have mostly implied value, not real value. This is reinforced by something else I often find:demand creates demand. I often (unfortunately) forget how much the concepts of supply and demand factor into many aspects of my daily life — and how much they are shaped byperception. Inertia is the strongest forc…

Got some time this weekend? Enter the Current TV Ecospot Contest

[Originally posted on September 2, 2007] Got some free time this weekend? Access to a videocamera (even on your phone or as part of your dig cam)? Consider entering the Current TV Ecospot Contest. “Make a :15, :30 or :60 second ecospot about
TAKING ACTION: Showcase how you, or someone you know, is taking action to alleviate the climate crisis in their own small or big way
MOTIVATING CHANGE: Create an original, persuasive message that will open eyes, inspire change and empower your audience” Videos aren’t due until 9/12; for details, here’s the link: I had fully intended on entering…in fact I even wrote a script (below); just realized, though, I need to focus a bit (for those who know me, please, stop laughing…please?). Oh, forgot to mention another reason I decided not to enter the contest; my script is weeaaaaak:
0:00 [A few flowers on a ridge wafting in the wind]
0:03 [From camera left, a knee-down shot of a guy wearing dress pant…

Message from Sameer – “SUCCESS!!”

[Originally posted @thesunrising on August 31, 2007] When Sameer first called this morning, I actually sent the call to voicemail (I was still in bed!). Then he called right back, and I figured it’s Sameer, of course I should answer — and thirty seconds later I was jumping up and down. THANK YOU TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU WHO REGISTERED, GOT FRIENDS TO REGISTER, FORWARDED EMAILS, ATTENDED PARTIES AND OTHERWISE DROVE REGISTRATIONS!! The note below appears on Sameer’s blog at As I said for Vinay, it’s not over, but this is HUGE! When my best friend, Robert, first approached me with the idea of ‘going public’ to mobilize South Asians from around the country to register as bone marrow donors, I was quite hesitant, particularly as an entrepreneur running a business at a crucial inflection point. But Robert persisted and put my worries to rest, more or less saying, “Just let us use your name and we’ll take care of the rest.” Whenever I’ve allowed my crazy friend – also my fi…