Monday, February 04, 2008 

Back in the game

Am back again! Life has been hectic. I am trying to accomplish a lot at work and have a few coding and other projects going on in my spare time. The days seem short. The months seem short too. Every four or five days I look at the calendar and it just feels like it was yesterday. Today morning, the phone rang, the alarm cried and honestly, I felt like I had just slept five minutes ago. But it was true, I had slept for four hours almost. It didnt feel like it. So thats how life's been!

Honestly, today I got motivated to write this blog because of the ridiculousness happening over in India. Local politicians in Bombay (now called Mumbai) are making a big deal because a prominent Bollywood star chose to donate money to start a school in a different state. In a rash of regional politics, people have been rioting and making life harder for common citizens like taxi drivers. Read about it here and here.

Honestly, where is all their common sense. At least some place that didnt have many schools got one. Mumbai already has a lot of schools, doesnt it? But there are many places that could use one. But apparently some politicians are too keen on using violent tactics to obtain popularity. Too bad, the state government is a pussy too!

Monday, October 29, 2007 

Traveling for Work

The Television is playing in the background, my favorite show, Donny Deutrich's "The Big Idea" is on. He's interviewing Martha Stewart in a marathon session today as opposed to the five or six entrepreneurs that he usually flies through in one hour during a normal show. Its kind of sad since they're blabbering about just about anything. At one point he asked her what she wears at night and she replies a Night T-shirt, only to be followed by three ridiculous questions about what kind of a night shirt it is. I cant believe it is so pointless today. However, this is kind of good. Since I'm trying to get work done and useless blabbering in the background helps concentrate (believe it or not!). If it was interesting, I'd be watching the TV instead of working.

So I've come to a different city on an out-of-town client engagement. This is my fifth client within the first three months that I've been on. Most all clients engagements that I've been on so far have been two to three week engagements. Its nice because this one is in Olympia, the state capital of Washington. Its far enough from Seattle to not warrant a daily commute from home and so I get to live in a hotel. Its close enough that I can drive here. And I've brought a ton of stuff with me!

I've got more than three paper grocery bags worth of stuff which includes six books that I'm reading, lots of fruits and some food that I cooked in a marathon session on Sunday. And I've learned a few things about traveling and working.

* Staying in a hotel: Try to ensure you dont have to share a room. I cant emphasize how important this is in helping you spread out and make the room just the way you want it. Especially if you're going to be there for the next four nights. No matter how well you know your co-worker, sharing a room is still slightly awkward. This is usually a given for us except for trainings, when we have to share rooms with a randomly assigned colleague.

* Bring food: Bring lots of food, especially fruits that you like and convenience food like chocolate or nuts. I've brought it all, since I had my car and the convenience of my trunk space. I cant believe how fun it was working from 8:00 pm onwards while munching on grapes (my favorite fruit)

* Bring lots of stuff - if you're driving by car to the engagement and will be living in a hotel for more than three days. Spread out in the hotel room. Make it feel like home and you'll enjoy it. Keep in touch with friends.

* Bring as little stuff as possible - if you're flying. Flying is horrible and what makes it worse is lugging a lot of stuff and/or waiting for baggage claim. I absolutely hate traveling and only carry one carry-on as long as it is for one or two weeks. I have been carrying five pairs so far every time I've had to fly but on a coworker's advice, I'm just going to carry two pants and three shirts and just recycle them in different combinations. Anything to reduce the luggage.

* Play random television in the background - it helps make it feel like you're around people, if thats what you care for. Dont put on sensationalistic news. They're usually too good at catching your attention and retaining it. Dont watch reality television. I got caught watching that dance reality TV show while trying to work and guess what - I got no work done. I got more work done in the half hour when Donny and Martha were talking random stuff than I did in the entire hour and a half of the dance show.

* And last but not the least, bring at least one meal with you. Preferably cooked or whatever you have when you're home (even if its ready to eat stuff). Eating out grows old very quickly, no matter how expensive the restaurants you can afford to go to.

Thats pretty much it for today - maybe I'll write more of my experiences later on. For now, I'll get about an hour more of work in before calling it a night. Good bye and good night from the state capitol Olympia!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007 

User Generated Content Goes Mainstream

With the growth of User Generated Content (UGC) phenomenon that You-Tube and many other sites have brought about, there are definitely interesting after-effects to observe. One such case is of Nick Haley, an 18 year old freshman at a UK university who made an advertisement for iPod touch out of his love for Apple and its products. He uploaded his video on YouTube and it was so good that when Apple Marketing execs viewed his ad, they wanted to go main-stream with his ad and called him down to Cupertino, CA. They made an HD, production quality video out of the ad Nick had produced and now its running on major television networks during football, World Series Championship and Desperate Housewives.

Interestingly enough, there are copyright issues surrounding the issue - the fact that Nick was not commissioned by Apple to create the ad and used the soundtrack "Music is My Hot Hot Sex" by CSS as well as images and video clips from However, in a major boost to UGC and this entire realm, Apple acted very maturely by choosing to not make a big deal out of this and embracing this fan's creation. I can imagine a hundred other ads popping up for products people love to use in daily life. (Heck, even I feel like making an ad for Saturn, the brand of my trusty little car). New York Times ran a story about this on October 26th. "That's the whole point of advertising; it needs to get to the user," Mr. Haley said in the article on Times. "If you get the user to make the ads, who better?". Wired also ran a story on this, which also lists a couple of interesting observations and lessons from this.

The ad that Apple produced, kept the content almost the same (thankfully!), except for some advanced editing and better footage in some of the sections where the iPod touch plays the videos and the web-browsing. Its better aligned to the music, the production version, but the Nick Haley version itself is mind-blowing too. I kept watching it over and over again about 8 - 10 times tonight when I found out about it, its so good! The music is pretty catchy too!

Below is the original ad that Nick Haley posted on YouTube. Heres the link to The Apple Production Version that has been playing on television.

Isnt it cool? I told you so. Now check out the other version. Link: Apple's Edited, Professional version.

Mind-blowing, that this happened, isnt it?

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Sunday, October 21, 2007 

Life in Seattle - Part 1

Okay... its been long since I've blogged, but felt like I may post a few things today -

Work: Its coming along well. Kind of putting in 12-13 hour days around this time. Having fun while working hard.

KPMG - Jill, Shubham, Brandon, David. In Los Angeles.

I haven't traveled much out of town yet (other than training) considering this is a consulting job - which is good and bad. Bad because I'm not getting to see new places and do the traveling bit while I'm single, rack up miles etc. Good because its given me time to slowly get settled in Seattle, get to know new people, make new friends, get involved with an organization, make new contacts and so on.

Pike Place Market @ evening

Life: Have been going out to Seattle last few weekends. The last time I went, I remembered to take my camera with me. It was an interesting evening. I did some shopping on 5th Ave shopping district. Mostly over-priced, then marked-down some, clothes for work. Also walked towards the Pike Place Market and although the action there is mostly in the morning, it was interesting. It got pretty late, and as I was going back to my car, I ran into some homeless people and some drug dealers wanting to sell me drugs. One tried to ask where he can get drugs in India - I told him "Not sure" and made it out of there as fast as I could.

Puget Sound, just after the sunset

Otherwise, life is kind of hectic, managing so many things - grocery, cooking, cleaning, ironing, staying in touch with friends and family during weeknights and weekends and work 12-13 hours a day during weekdays - all on my own. My room too often turns into a mess. Heres a picture of my desk which virtually looks like that all the time. It gets cleaned every week and takes about one day, thats it, to get back to this shape. On the screen is playing The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch on CNBC every nights at 10pm PT. Watch it if you can, its fun.

New People: I've heard of the phenomenon called "Seattle chill" from quite a few people so far - the attitude locals can have towards new-comers, strangers. I kind of have experienced it, kind of not. I havent because I truly havent met any strangers yet! Other than the drug dealers and the homeless, ofcourse. The people I've met who I've known somehow or through someone have been truly awesome.

I met Sashi of Zonkmimi today morning for coffee and discussed a variety of things. I found out that he built a boat for himself out of fiberglass and that kind of excited me. I am motivated to explore this hobby, maybe build a model or so of some of my car designs... Seems like the dream of KMCL - Kumar Motors Company Ltd - when I was in 8th grade might come alive again. I'm going to look into this more as a potential long-term hobby.

I also have become good friends with Will, a colleague from work, who sort of shares the same passion for entrepreneurship, kind of go out there and do it attitude. We've hung out a couple of times and have had fun. Other colleagues from work are fun too. Most everyone is very warm and involving. Everyone mostly remembers I'm vegetarian when we all go out and thats kind of nice.

People in Seattle that are from the same Kutchhi community that I hail from have been great too. They've called me for dinner get-togethers a few times. I enjoy these a bunch! I feel like I relate to them. Also yesterday night, I went to Garba and Dandiya last night organized by the Seattle Gujarati group. It was a ton of fun.

Garba and Dandiya Raas in Seattle, celebrating Navaratri, an Indian Festival worshipping Goddess Amba.

Involvement: I've been involved with TiE recently, which is a Seattle-based chapter of the larger TiE that started up in Silicon Valley some years back with a focus on South Asian entrepreneurs and professionals. I'm involved in the PR capacity. We have the Funding Forum event coming up soon and if you're interested in covering it or attending or presenting a business plan, let me know.

I've been volunteering at the various company events for community involvement. One weekend we went and raked and cleaned the yard for a local school before schools began. There was a heart walk for the American Heart Association that I participated in. I'm also participating in the Junior Achievement, in which I get to go and teach a 2nd grade classroom for a whole day, teaching them about the "community", outside of home, that we all live in.

Home: I share my home with four other people, all at different stages of their lives. But everyone is nice, professional and independent. And we're beginning to have some good, fun times, interesting conversations and lots of getting to know each others. One is a Mensa smart, another is a coding geek, the third is very knowledgeable about herbs, healing and alternative medicine and the fourth is into many things like fixing-up houses, condos, real-estate in general as well as coding! Quite a variety. Its a big house and I love the feeling of living here. The best part - kitchen with a glass ceiling which lets the daylight in and makes it look bright and happy (you have to remember, this is in Seattle). Oh, and its got a gas stove too, which rocks!

Today evening, I made a red soup from beet, carrot, red cabbage soup (see above). It tasted pretty good. Pretty good? Heck it was awesome. It took my three hours, from the time it was conceptualized, to things boiled, to the time it was prepared, eaten and finally the utensils cleaned. All of us (three of my room mates and I) gathered around the kitchen counter and had it. Now thats called bonding.

Traditional Indian/Gujarati Meal I made last weekend - Chapatti, Red Cabbage Curry, Aam (Mango) Ras

I've been cooking at home more often than eating out. Which is good. Some of my experiments have turned out pretty well, others are well, just that - experiments.

Everything else is coming along pretty well. About to call it a night - it was a fun weekend, and I've had a good time in Seattle so far. I'm still trying to get to know more people and make more friends around here, but am happy the way things are going for me right now.

Saturday, September 08, 2007 


Its been fifteen hours since I've eaten anything. Thats right, fifteen! And I'm planning to go on for another twently one hours. What, am I nuts?

Today, begins the Jain festival of Paryushan. Let me tell you a bit about both as I know of it. Jainism is an ancient religion of India, still practiced by less than 1% of the population. Today, Jains are strewn all over the world, although the majority still reside in India. It is older than Buddhism and reportedly Buddha was born into a Jain family before renouncing his kingdom, family and the world and heading out on his own. Hence many principles of how he lived his life originated in Jainism and then found place in Buddhism also.


The primary tenet of Jainism is non-violence to all living beings. Lord Mahävir preached universal truth for all times to come when he said, “One who neglects or disregards the existence of earth, air, fire, water and vegetation, disregards his own existence which is entwined with them”. The following ancient Jain aphorism is refreshingly contemporary in its promise and forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology.

“Parasparopagraho Jivänäm.”

It says, All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence.


Paryushan is the single most important festival in the Jain religion. It is observed for eight or ten days by different sects. This year it is observed from September 8 to 25, 2007 with different beginning dates for different sects.

The purpose of life according to Jain teachings is to realize oneself, to experience wholeness, peace and reverence for all life. Therefore, the real purpose of Paryushan is to purify our soul by observing and correcting our own faults, asking for forgiveness for the mistakes we have committed, and taking vows to minimize our faults. During Paryushan we are expected to strive to minimize our worldly affairs so that we can concentrate on our true-selves.

Fasting is one way where we take our minds off the daily routine of figuring out what we will eat that day and what we will do. It is expected that the day is spent in a low-profile manner with some or very little activity. Fasting for the day actually begins at sundown the previous day and ends at sunrise the next day. The fasting is strict, so no food should be consumed during the period. Boiled water is allowed, although its consumption is also reduced. So since 7 pm yesterday night I haven't eaten or drunk water. I plan to drink water if I need to at some point later in the day. Since the focus is on self, I cannot look forward to it. I cannot think about drinking water or how I will relish the food when I break the fast. If I do so, the fast is considered broken when the thought enters my mind. Hence the focus is not just on improving yourself physically, but also concentrating on the inner self, the mind and the thoughts we have.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007 

Personal Business Development

Normally I'd already be in at work at this time. I usually get in at 7:30 am. However, from today onwards I'm trying a new schedule. As usual, I woke up at 6 and was ready by 6:45. I decided to spend an hour doing business development today. Well some business development for my firm, and some personal development. I'll call it time spend doing 'Personal Business Development'.

I had a few emails I wanted to send out for a project I'm on at work. A few others were personal growth and making new connections in Seattle area. Today, I'll get in at about 8:30. I'll try this schedule for three days a week and see how it works out. So far I've enjoyed devoting one hour of my morning to projects, both personal and work related that I'd like to see get ahead, but don't get much time at work for.

Labor day weekend was fun. A few friends and I went to Bear Lake in Utah. Its a beautiful lake. The water was so blue, I call it the Mauritius Blue. Check it out in the picture below. We boated and swam. And overall, had a great time.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007 

Upates from work

Well not really from work... I'm at home right now and its 10 pm. I'm now living in Seattle and its almost cold and rainy everyday. It even rained on my first day of real work - this past Monday. I considered it wishes from God above so I do well. Others consider it to be a natural process when clouds formed out of water vapor condense. Oh well, to each unto his own.

First week was local office training and orientation. Finished a few online trainings. Second week was spent toasting in 110 degrees in Scottsdale AZ for national new hire training. While the weather made it harder, all the great people I met from all around definitely made it nicer. I met so many people, I can't even recall everyone's names. Although, I'm getting better. I've invited most if not all the people I spent a few hours or more with and got to know closely on either facebook or the in-company-social-networking site our company has started. I hope to stay in touch with everyone. This is the third week.

I've left UVF, but not really. I'm away only physically. I still feel quite a part of it. I sent over a deal just recentlyto UVF and am in touch with many of the friends from there even now. It feels such a close part of me - the whole UVF experience. Its definitely the icing on the cake of my Utah experience. The awesome people there make it so good for me and then comes the experience, according to me. Very few other places in the world (or even United States) can a bunch of college students get to work with real entrepreneurs and real, big-time VCs and wheel and deal, so to speak. No, really. I've been involved with Jared, the managing director, in negotiating terms with a company we funded and later helping that company negotiate good terms with another company it was partnering with to provide its services and so on. I dont think even an MBA student at a prestigious school gets this kind of experience for a year, unless they're from Wharton, where UVF recruits and has a branch too. So Utah was definitely the right choice for me. At this point, I plan to go to B-school in a few years and know that the UVF experience will definitely help me get into one of the top notch schools. I do hope sometimes that the entrepreneur bug catches me before that. :) (and makes me successful enough to skip the b-school thing in between).

(By the way, Jared introduced me to two people, including the CEO from Unitus a few months back. Unitus is a micro-finance fund that funds MFIs - micro finance institutions who help poor people break the cycle of poverty by funding special projects for them - in India, Argentina and a bunch of other countries. They're based out of Seattle. Check out Its pretty neat. I'll get back in touch with them to see if I can volunteer and be of any use. I think I can use my deal analysis and other skills from UVF pretty well at Unitus and do things similar to UVF and be happy. PS - This line is straight from their website - "Unitus fights global poverty by using a venture capital model to increase access to microfinance". How about that? Perfect fit for me.)

One of my goals, for both short term and long term is to be really good at what I do. And no, I dont mean it as loosely as it is usually thrown around. I want to be so good that I can create content regarding that subject. I want to be the authority regarding it. To be able to spot new trends, consequences of current events and such things spot on. I know it still sort of sounds like fluff, but I feel like I have a pretty clear idea of what I want to do.

Another goal for the short term is that within one year I want to be promoted and sent to an international engagement or an international partner firm. I'd love to work with my firm in London, India, Japan, Vietnam or Australia. Suggestions of other countries where I'd like it are welcome too. But off the very top, why I picked these is because each of these is either a place I'm facinated about and have always wanted to go, or is a very rapidly up and coming country and work experience there would be fantabuloustic!

With that, its about time to go to bed, so I can get up tomorrow morning, go for a nice jog, then get ready, have a breakfast and go to work early. I got there earlier than my senior today and that was good. Score 1. He was pleased and so was manager. Things are going well at work and the people I'm working with are some of the funniest people I've met. Work day passes really quickly. I remember a time, three or four years back, when I was interning somewhere, and I'd look at the time and it was like noon. I'd look back at the time after three hours and it'd still be 12:15. Time went slowly. Here, time goes so quickly, that first time I look at the clock after lunch is 4:30 and I usually am surprized so much time has passed. So thats a good thing.

Signing off for tonight. Will be more regular from now on. :) Especially for my friend in Utah who regularly checks my blog and pesters me to update.

About me

  • I'm Indyman
  • From Seattle, WA, United States
  • I am a Risk Management Consultant at KPMG. Before this, I was an Investment Associate at University Venture Fund in Salt Lake City, UT. My personal interests are in venture capital, private equity, technology, real estate, entrepreneurship, investing, stocks, india, patriotism, mumbai, hanoi, vietnam and life in the united states.
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