Finding symmetries in an unsymmetrical world ..

Archive for February 2012

[Lessons from the best Persuasion pitch ]

Ok , if you have got this far , you should know where I come from. I come from a small city in India – and  this I how I like to introduce myself –

“From where I come from , there were hardly any public libraries ,and I remember substantial part of my childhood commuting between the private book lenders, often times many a day- to save money on rent .

… So this is how I am come to become Curious”

So in this small city , there were only a few good schools, and since my parents were  travelling all the while  that meant – I often had to change schools middle of the academic year –here is a story that I think will teach you – the power of “seeing all doors are open”

.. back to 1996

My father had always been very ambitious of me- so naturally he wanted to get me to the BEST school in the city . But the problem was

  1. The school was saturated in terms of pupils (The only way to go to the next class was a natural progression from the previous) So to mention making it mid-year was almost impossible. Let me be precise – you wouldn’t be allowed to enter the School premise if they could sniff out you had come for an admission.
  2. The school was trying to keep up the reputation by Supply-demand dynamics – i.e if you hear 30 people from your neighborhood who couldn’t make it – they must be REALLY special !
  3. Knowing someone very very consequential (politically)
  4. Coming up with a story one cann’t just refute (and having the talent to back it off)

So you should naturally know what my Father must have done, he made a persuasion pitch .

So this day, I clearly remember I had a few boubon biscuits (Later I had come to believe that it must be about the correlation between what Indians think about having “sweet” before any “major” test . ) and I clearly remember my father asking me “ If I were to tell you … and his pitch followed ..” I cann’t say if I liked it , but I do remember he worded it differently many times on our way to the school . Many times, yes .

When we reached the school, he told the gatekeeper at the main entrance that  I was having troubles in my academics (never did he mention that I was studying at THIS school already.. clever !! ) and that we needed to see the principal/head .

When we finally got to see the Principal ,my father started off the discussion with my sister’s progress , he then asked about the missionaries and the funds , and how the school was planning to grow in that city

Gradually , the conversation became seamless ..and then he did something totally unexpected !

He pulled put all my poems (in Hindi) – and started reading one of them . I do not recall what it was about , or how good it was – and then argued about how good it would be if my talents were to groom in THIS school , about how much my sister is improving , and about how I was being mentored by sister.  To top it all – he pulled out the grades across all the mid-year academics sessions I had studied , across all cities I had traveled – and said – If my daughter CAN do this at THIS age, I am CERTAIN  she can do MUCH BIGGER than THIS  years from NOW. With this,  I hope you would give her the  chance to EXCEL. 

The principal thought for a while, and then finally agreed to give me a chance to write the entrance exam – and I did clear that exam .

I have failed many times, at small things, big things, inconsequential things , material things, and every time I collect myself , and think about what my dad said years ago ..

Excuse me, the door is still open . And I am coming in .

Ekta Grover


“I agree with you, Well, the idea is that, I will show you in a moment, that the results hold true…”   the more the presenter stuttered the more the listeners shied away. Stuttering in itself is NOT such a blockade to selling your ideas,  but like a down-hill-trip  it gets you down – and before you know – The Show time is OVER, Thank You ! 

While it is clear that this is the last thing , you would want to EVER do to YOUR brainchild, Your IDEAS, why do people,  then Stutter  ? 

SIMPLE , they CHANGE THEIR MIND , while , before and during speaking .

[So , now, you get the background , hopefully .]

Ok, first let me admit that I am not an excellent communicator myself, but I have worked enough on the things that “can be fixed “

What we are not talking about is public speaking, we are talking about THEM , not YOU. And that is the difference . That is – grabbing your audience by their neck, and earning that attention, or better put “Permission to market”

I think in a pyramid manner – so here are some thoughts I will leave you away with – nothing mentioned here is that which you might not know, but like a self reinforcing loop- if we program ourselves to think about the audience we have just “sold” what we set to .

  1. When you don’t know the answer, and please say so. Over stated, under practiced. Point.
  2. Deck YOUR best CARDS , and play them FIRST .
  3. If people feel nothing, They do nothing .  You HAVE to MAKE them feel . (Idea credits , John Kearon CEO, Brain Juicer , @ TEDx RhineMain )
  4. The goal of persuasion is NOT the flowers in the PITCH but the GOAL is — that which sells.
  5. There is no TRUTH, just FACTS. Truth , is an interpretation of our view points .
  6. Getting emotionally attached to your Idea/pitch is the worst form of narcissism .
  7. LISTEN. CLARIFY . BUY TIME TO THINK , but do not open the mouth and remove all doubt .
  8. Re-learn, re-read, re-arrange , collect your thoughts. OFTEN .
  9.  HUMILITY wins you more ears than arrogant persistence , (almost) Always .
  10. MAKE a STRIKE when YOU have THEM.

It’s about THEM .POINT .


Regressions , Huge data sets & Google

Why Google still trusts its “Manual”  Page ranking algorithm ,ie. why is it not trying to catch the wave of machine learning ? Into the Unknown , unseen and the unexplored . The Black Swan ..

Read more here .

And .. The Big data effect !


Hey there, would be nice to have you around !

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February 2012
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