When my skills met philanthropy…

July 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

Great insight on Social Entrepreneurship

4 months ago, when I set foot in San Francisco, leaving behind my parents, my best friends, my city, my pani puri, my beach, my start-up, my music, my red scooty and a few other important things, as scary as it was I decided that this is my chance for a fresh start – clean slate – a time for me to rethink what I really wanted to do, be and gain from what life had to offer me.  A time for me to hone my skills, seek new opportunities and live like every single day was a yummy cupcake 🙂

Marketing, Music, Social Entrepreneurship, Fitness – all this became of prime importance.  The real awesomeness stepped in when I was able to put my marketing skills and my passion for social welfare together by working with one of the most path-breaking organizations in philanthropy – UniversalGiving. The organization is a web-based marketplace that allows you to donate and volunteer with top-rated, fully vetted and legit projects that could use your help!  UniversalGiving takes on the responsibility of fully vetting and registering NGOs on the site.  The coolest part is the revenue model that is followed to run the above website without taking a cut on donations!  Since 100% of the donation you make goes towards the cause, the actual revenue model is based on CSR consulting provided to big-wigs in today’s economy who have are into philanthropy as well! So not only does this model encourage people to donate and volunteer without worrying about where their money is going, it also makes UG sustainable and constantly willing to cross boundaries and do more for the community!

Our Founder & CEO, Pamela Hawley is a true daily philanthropist and definitely walks her talk.  Apart from being a successful social entrepreneur, recipient of various prestigious awards and a celebrated San Francisco personality, she is a wonderful person to work with and is a truly genuine person who believes that every day is a gift!  She strives to keep our environment alive and always inspiring all of us in tiny and large ways.  I’m sure none of my co-workers would disagree.

UniversalGiving has taught me and is still teaching me great values with every passing day.  This definitely is one of the most valuable and enriching experiences of my life and I would like it to continue for a long time to come.

P.S: Do check out our company blog at Philanthropost! I write there as well 🙂

New soul

June 8, 2010 § 2 Comments

Thanks to Pandora, I’ve been listening to a lot of new (to me) music lately and am I loving it or what?!  I am a radio person.  It is only after I started to listen to stuff on Pandora did I realize how much I was missing the car radio!  To me, I see thrill every 5 minutes on the radio when a new song is about to play, to know whether I love/hate that song, to see if I can sing that song etc. (Always helps to have a friend with you to sing along :))

Talking about music, I realize how much I miss singing on stage.  Live shows every once in a while were my drugs.  The practices, cramming for lyrics, the timed sore throat, the harmonies, the mental image of jumping on stage while singing, the smiles in the audience, the one guy in the corner who keeps looking at you, the one crazy drunk girl who is singing even after you stop, matching your scale to the guitarist (or vice-versa :)), the rush in your blood in your first song, just being in “the zone” in the middle of a song and knowing it after, smiling at your singers when you get your harmonies perfect, searching near the drumkit for lyric sheets in the middle of the song, calling out to someone in the audience while you sing…. alright, alright I’ll stop!

Radio is to Live singing what CDs is to Recordings. Radio and Live shows are about off-the-cuff fun, thrill, excitement and that crazy feeling in the spine.  CDs and Recordings are about perfection, order and symmetry. Both involve a high level of skill and composure. And since I am missing the live shows and recordings right now, I am settling with the radio and CDs 🙂

But I will be back, somehow, somewhere 🙂

I’ll leave you with a song that I liked recently – and I can relate to the lyrics a bit!

New Soul – Yael Naim

I’m a new soul
I came to this strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit bout how to give and take.
But since I came here,
Felt the joy and the fear
Finding myself making every possible mistake

I’m a young soul
In this very strange world
Hoping I could learn a bit bout what is true and fake
But why all this hate?
Try to communicate
Finding trust and love is not always easy to make

This is a happy end
‘Cause you don’t understand
Everything you have done
Why’s everything so wrong?
This is a happy end
Come and give me your hand
I’ll take you far away

– Q

Too many decisions…

May 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

What do you do when you don’t know why you feel a certain way?  Why is it irritating when it takes way too long for a stupid, simple decision?

I hate it when I think too much and analyze various options before I take a call on something.  I try to see the pros and cons of each option and why I should do it, why I shouldn’t do it, who else will it affect, what can’t I do if I choose this option, why this option doesn’t make sense, and then take a moment to get bugged with myself for actually wasting so much time when I should just go with my gut.

I need some food.  What do I eat? Arrrgghhh.

So how much is TOO much?

April 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

I wake up this morning to know that my friend back home had a headache yesterday.  And that another friend ate in Taco Bell after ages.  And another friend’s mom had just finished reading a book.  And my cousin ran a mile . And another friend has some infections… You get the drift right? (Yeah yeah, I check FB as soon as I wake up, and so do you :P)

It sure is nice to know that all these people, if not for minor glitches, are doing just fine.  But how much information is too much?  We have heard of people livestream weddings, which is fine because you want to make sure that your distant loved ones do not miss important events, but what about tweeting/status updating/whatever else about your upset stomach or about what you ate today?

Well, I maybe wrong here and maybe a lotta people have the need to use some platform to share their feelings, trivial or intimate.  But I find it hard to digest that people stage fights and confrontations on public forums, just to catch the attention of random friends who discuss it over a drink later that evening.  I feel personal interactions need to be personal and kept outside the walls of social media, just because it spawns the bored and jobless to comment on your life.  Why would I want my not-so-close friend in Australia to know about my UTI :-s! Or why should my cousin in Delhi know that I’m not friends anymore with XYZ? Social media can be used to engage in intelligent conversations, reminisce over old times and memories, reconnect with old friends, expand your professional network, read about thought-provoking events across the world… There is just so much more you can do!

This is when I miss e-mails (Oh, I got over snail mail a while ago!).  An email from a friend that starts off with my real name (no @Luv4Al kinda crap), goes on to tell me about relevant, interesting details about themselves lately, asks me about me and my family and what I’ve been up to, includes an interesting link that they know I would love, and also not forget to tell me that they miss me because I’m far away from home 😛 (Ok, that was a bit much :))

Basically, the question I ask here is, how much is too much? Thoughts?

Pepsi can’t see.

April 20, 2010 § 2 Comments

Apparently PepsiCo didn’t read this when I wrote it. Strange.  I thought I tagged.  Sometimes, I tend to live in a world of delusion.

So when I saw little Oliver’s face, holding a little bottle of the junky cocktail, the boy I met one and a half years ago, came to my mind.  The boy who would give his only money for the day towards this drink.

I understand that this is business and we need to make ads and we need to appeal to all sections of the society ya-da ya-da.  But what ever happened to responsible advertising.  You know the health hazards of your product, then why use a child to sell it? Why can’t you just continue using celebrities and sleazy models to promote your drink? Adults can make decisions for themselves (can they?!) but I’m sure a 7 year old cannot do that.

So stop shoving it in their face, and mine.  Instead of investing millions in ad budgets, use it in the RefreshEverything project.  That makes sense to me.

sMARtKETING & BRAiNDING

April 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

Your product will survive in a crowded marketplace if you stop advertising and start innovating.

Funny how when I google-d this title, I found sMARtKETING and BRAiNDING, two companies have been formed by the time I could come up with oh-so-cool blog post 😛

Note to self – You’re never the first one to think of an idea, you’re cool only if you implement it before others.

sMARtKETING and BRAiNDING have various examples all over the web.  But as I see it, creating a sustainable competitive advantage is what should be the aim for both.  Because however strong your idea is and however unique your product is, its not for too long.

Somebody is always watching.  Copycats these days a smarter than before.  They call themselves, inspired.

Q (After a long break)

What’s so unique about this love song?

December 17, 2009 § 1 Comment

Do you wanna know a secret?  I don’t wanna spoil the party,

I forgot to remember to forget, to take good care of (you,) my baby.

The two of us, we can work it out,

In spite of all the danger, we can twist and shout.

When this penny lane, becomes a long and winding road,

Why don’t we do it in the road =)

The things we said today, its all too much,

I should’ve known better, as such.

Tell me why, Ask me why,

It won’t be long, you’ll be mine.

With lonesome tears in my eyes,

When we come together, I feel fine.

As I write after a hard day’s night,

Wish you were here, to hold me tight.

It’s weird to be within you, without you,

I can only let it be, that’s all I’ve got to do.

Across the universe, all we need is love,

All my loving, belongs to you.

P.S. I love you