Top 10 Points for Customer Success

customer success

More and more organizations these days focus on customer success when it comes to their go to market strategy to win, serve and retain customers. It is key that you build and deliver products that engage, retain and delight them, especially in the early stages of your product. It is well known that it is easier to keep a customer than to acquire a new one.

Here is what Gartner says:

“80% of your future business will come from 20% of your current customers”

As a product manager I am always conscious of incorporating features that are customer centric and growth centric. From the get go, it is important to have a growth hacking approach to the product development. This leads to a better customer acquisition and retention product strategy.

Here are the 10 important points for a good customer success story board:

1. Onboarding
Provide self-service customer on-boarding, free trials, product evaluation and training. Empower the customer to evaluate the product. Offer online easy to use tutorials and self training for rapid learning. Educate the customer about the value proposition to assist purchase decisio.

2. Proactive Customer Service
In a highly competitive, constantly changing market there is a strong need to engage and provide superior customer service to your customers even before they make any purchase decisions.

  • Focus on addressing the end to end product experience (download, install, configure, deploy and use) and not just making the download available.
  • Articulate the benefits that the products will offer by solving their business issue and providing a realistic expectation on the ROI instead of focusing on the price and the competitive differentiators alone.
  • Invest in resources that will tailor and provide better education and support to the buyers so the end to end experience of the product from purchase to deployment to maintenance is delightful.

3. Voice of the Customer
Understanding what your customers think, experience, and want is critical for retention and growth. Engaging customers to get feedback and responding to them positively will build more confidence and trust with the customers. Make the product sticky.

4. Analytics
From the inception, ensure that your product captures usage metrics that help educate you about different aspects of your product and its usage.

  • Product usage metrics: Track signups, logins, and application usage metrics. Capture the app version, the license type, content type,  location data, environment data, events, error conditions, peak times of usage, etc.
  • Business metrics: is the customers getting the end-result they expected by tracking their performance metrics like response time, application availability, authentication time, users per day and more
  • Service utilization metrics: gathering data to see if the customer is fully utilizing the product features, how many product defects gets raised and against which feature.
  • Customer rating metrics: Track customer happiness, their experience and their feedback. Gather metrics around sales bookings, churn, ROI and adoption metrics.
  • Support and operations metrics: are there any outstanding support, SLA or invoicing issues, unplanned outages. Track the mean time to resolve a support incident, incident initial response time, affected users on a single incident.

5. Customer Experience Mapping
There are several approaches to experience mapping. Understand how customers flow through the organization and the challenges that customers encounter, opportunities lost versus gained, the customer value and cost, their adoption journey, and ROI are all important data points that can help in generating more leads at the same time facilitate to retain existing customers.

6. Customer Segmentation
Categorizing customers into market or service groups and providing services tailored to these segments for winning and retaining the right customers.

7. Customer Engagement and Retention based Marketing
Establish proactive customer outreach programs and tools for effective Communications and Openness thereby to foster better customer relationship and creating customer value and profit margins while preserving existing revenues.

8. Customer Loyalty Rewards
Provide Customers insights to review where their money is spent and consolidate their purchasing under loyalty programs featuring rewards that they actually want. For maximum appeal, offer customer-relevant reward options and a quick, easy redemption process.

9. Customer Win-Back Program
If customers did leave, reach out to understand what happened, tell them about the changes you’ve made to resolve the issues that led to their departure; share product roadmaps and future vision; entice customers to come back with a loyalty offer they’ll value—and then keep them with excellence.

10. Employee Customer Engagement
Last but certainly not least, happy employees are a crucial prerequisite for happy customers: the relationship between employee engagement and customer engagement is undeniable. It is vital to ensure that employees are educated, encouraged, and empowered to promote and enact customer retention strategy at all times.

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Security and Privacy in the Cloud

Hortonworks announced their plan to acquire XA Secure and open source it. XA Secure claims it is a comprehensive approach to Hadoop security. This made me think of the the various aspects of security in the cloud.

Security in the cloud spans across multiple layers that involve people, compute, network and storage. Security in the cloud  requires an integrated strategy of process and tools, to allow end users be able to complete their work in an environment that enforces compliance without getting in their way.images1

Here is how I think of the top 5 areas of focus for security in the cloud.

Focus Area 1:  APPLICATION SECURITY

Application security mainly deals with protecting the application resources. This includes a multi-pronged approach to cover the following:

  • Enforcing strong authentication and authorization
  • Date encryption on the wire: End-to-end encryption using SSL for all connections, both browser and APIs
  • Data encryption for data at rest
  • Data encryption for data in memory
  • Application white listing
  • Role based access to application resources
  • Session tracking
  • Controls for privileged or elevated access
  • Enforce context awareness and notifications

Focus Area 2:  DATA SECURITY

According to Forrester’s TechRadar report () on Data security, security is the second largest portion of the IT budget. In 2014, the investment is expected to rise by 45%. Data security is no more an IT issue. It is an important business driver since data is now closely tied to the the financial cost of companies and  the business damage that it can cause as a result of data breaches.

Data masking and Data Loss Prevention(DLP) offerings are best suited for addressing data security. To enforce security on the data you would want to know:

  • Where the data exists (both structured and unstructured) to secure it
  • Continuously monitoring access to the data
  • Protecting both production and non-production data
  • Regular audits for maintaining compliance

Focus Area 3: NETWORK AND STORAGE

Explosive growth in data and digital assets in the cloud , drives the need for high performance reliable network and storage. This calls for sensitive information flowing through the network and storage to be encrypted both in-motion and at rest.

With customers requiring the need to continue to productively use their prior investments on software, the hybrid cloud is pushing needs for cloud security to operate in a hybrid model. In such hybrid environments there is need to support secure links and encryption across on-premise networks and storage units.

Some of the important features to pay attention around Network and Storage Security are

  • Authentication
  • Confidentiality and Data level protection
  • Certifications  for compliance with legislative and regulatory mandates
  • Privileged user access and separation of duties
  • Centralized key management
  • Realtime monitoring of traffic across network

Focus Area 4:  DATA PRIVACY

In this digital age especially in the cloud where we end up capturing personal identifiable information or other sensitive information is collected and stored, privacy concerns are highly prominent. The challenge of data privacy is to share data while protecting personally identifiable information. Data privacy has become of a very high priority in certain markets like Healthcare, Criminal Justice, Financial, Life Sciences and more. These days the laws for the protection of privacy have been adopted worldwide , but their definitions and objectives vary from one country to another.

It is important that the cloud vendors make sure that their cloud offerings gets certified under EU, US and other Safe Harbor Programs.

Focus Area 5: DATA CENTERS

Primarily due to cost effectiveness, customers are adopting cloud and hybrid services as their business model in various stages of their business cycle. This is driving data centers to adopt  virtualization technologies to rapidly expanding their data center infrastructures reliably and effectively into the cloud.

Some of the common challenges around security in the data center are:

1. Multi-Tenancy  

The resources belonging to multiple customers reside on the same physical platforms. Proper security measures must be adopted such that customer data cannot be breached or spilled over, even if the multiple customers are leveraging the same resources and platform in the virtual environment.

2. Compliance and Privacy Restrictions

Even though the infrastructure and resources of the data centers are managed by the cloud vendor, they should be prevented from monitoring and auditing any components or data. This includes preventing them from inspecting the network through which customer data will be passing because of compliance and privacy restrictions. The cloud vendors should think through these privacy and compliance challenges so you can clearly isolate these tasks and provide ownership to the customers to manage, monitor and audit on their own. Providers may need to comply with the ISO17799 based policies and procedures and be regularly reviewed as part of the SAS70 Type II audit process.

In summary, security enforcement in data centers involves

  • Data Protection at the application, network and storage through access control and encryption
  • Protecting systems through hardening, intrusion detection and prevention
  • Monitoring and Auditing through certifications to meet compliance regulations, change control around upgrades and patches, proper role and privileged access management.

What is Application Platform as a Service (aPaaS)?.


For those who have worked and dealt with Middleware software in the past which provided services to software applications beyond the  operating system, the term aPaaS should not be a hard to understand concept.

An aPaaS as per Gartner’s definition is as a PaaS (app middleware + cloud characteristics) designed to enable runtime deployment, management and maintenance of cloud business application services. It supports requirements for business application and application projects and is delivered as-a-service..

Middleware has been the commonly used term for on premise software that enabled communication and management of data in distributed applications. Middleware gained popularity in the 1980s as a solution to the problem of how to link newer applications to older legacy systems. The vendors who built and offered Middleware had a strategy of building a complete and integrated suite of middleware to allow our customers to develop, deploy, and manage applications. For customers the middleware software not only offered off the self features around building and hosting application but also the ease around the integration burdens which facilitated the ability to link applications together and provide more consistent access to information.

You can now relate the same middleware software capabilities to an aPaaS in the cloud that offers the following services

  • Platform services
  • Identity Services
  • Integration services
  • Business Process Management Services
  • Development Tools
  • Deployment Tools
  • Management Tools

Why would anyone need an aPaaS?

These days cloud services is picking up lot of traction when it comes to SaaS, PaaS or IaaS. Refer to my earlier blog post ” Why Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model matters for both customers as well as vendors” as to the reasons why oth customers and vendors are investing in the rapidly evolving application platform.

Gartner recently published their first Magic Quadrant (MQ) for aPaaS with their  focuses on public cloud enterprise aPaaS offerings. – See more at: https://www.gartner.com/doc/2645317?pcp=itg. It’s interesting to see how quickly the aPaaS market has evolved in a period of  less than 9 months, now that Gartner now has a MQ for this space. Quite a few Platform as a Service (PaaS) vendors whose primary focus in 2013 was providing Platform Services are now posiioing and evolving their services to address the aPaaS space. This is a clear indication that PaaS market has matured and the revenue opportunities are shrinking. The PaaS vendors clearly see that the growth opportunity is to move into the application space and they need to innovate quickly to become market leaders.

An aPaaS infrastructure is a self contained environment that will offer the following
1. Build applications
The application platform provides you with all the tools you need to iterate quickly, and adopt the right technologies for your project
2. Deploy apps in minutes, with tools you love. 
Reduces development and deployment time. They offer a way to rollout new application features into production has never been easier. Set up staging and test environments that match production so you can deliver functionality without fear, and continuously make improvements.
3. Scale the application to millions of users.
Tools and features that will help to scale your application at the same time ability to upgrade your database software in a few simple steps.The growth could happen over a year or overnight,  but aPaaS will facilitate you to grow on demand to capture opportunity.
4. Integrate with various other applications
Provides additional software services like operating system, database, security and vulnerability management, API and integration  infrastructure and more

Stay tuned, in my next log topic that I would like to explore is “What’s next after aPaaS for both vendors and customers?.”

Why Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model matters for both customers as well as vendors

When times are hard, winning a business or selling smart is important for both customers and vendors who are competing head-to-head which can be cut throat especially when markets are flat or growing slowly.

These days the idea of IT  installing and maintaining software onPremise at customer sites is completely winding down. Customers are looking to transition more to make their IT as a service. Meanwhile, software vendors are  offering  increasing amount of software via direct download or as a cloud hosted service known as Software as a Service (SaaS). The SaaS model is growing popular for personal, business and mobile applications and the market is only expected to get bigger in the coming years. This is why the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) matters as a very scalable and an economical model for both a software vendor as well as for the customer, who are looking for a easy and a cost effective way to address their immediate software needs.

Take a look at how a SaaS model can address the functional areas for both a vendor and a customer:

Functional Areas

SaaS Vendor

SaaS 

Customer

Market Problems The vendor understands the market problems and has a close working relationship with its existing customers and knows what the future potential customers wants. This helps vendors to bring in rapid innovations to market thereby mapping a solid innovation strategy to creating a new market space for their products and solutions Customers look for a solution with minimal initial investment but with a greater return and value that is easy to onboard, solves their problem and can be accessed from anywhere.
Technology Vendors provides, maintains and manages the hardware and software components of their product and/or solution. The vendor has more control over which hardware/software configurations to support.Vendors need to address scalability and multi tenancy requirements at the software level to allow multiple customers to share hardware and software services.On a long term this becomes a very cost-effective model to support infinite scalability. Customers don’t care much about the back-end system as long as it works when they want it, fast, securely, and reliably.Each customer will have specific requirements around performance, scalability, and security requirements that vendors to meet  so their personal data and information is secure and do not get breached at any point in time.
Product/Solution Support Quality issues might impact everyone in customer base at same time. Hence greater attention will have to be taken by the vendor to provide and maintain controlled quality of serviceNew releases of the product or solution, application of patches and service packs can be released more timely and quickly to the customers, but requires more rigorous quality control. Customer have a greater need for the Service level agreements(SLAs) to be met by the Vendor specifically around production requirements for system performance and capacity for multiple tenants will have to be addressed.Customers often have higher usability expectations as well.Customers experience a painless software upgrades.
Initial & Operational Cost The initial cost to set up the service (hardware and services) are incurred by the vendor. Also, all the ongoing operational costs of running the service are incurred by the vendor, not the customer. Customers have overall reduced operations costs and Zero infrastructure cost.
Product Performance Customers will have to monitor and analyze how well the product is performing including product profitability, actual to planned revenue, customer satisfaction, and market share.Areas to focus to monitor performance are:

  • internal measurements to determine the product value to the customers.
  • impact of product profitability which includes product lifecycle, quality, technical support, marketing programs, and sales support.
Customers as buyers want proof of uptime and performance level.Customers want predictability and efficiency with more automation of services.
Revenue & Pricing Revenue is recurring for the vendor but is recognized as the service is rendered, not in a lump sum up front like on-premise product/solution. Pricing for the customer is typically subscription-based with a  “pay as you go” model based on the value received for the vendor’s services. This provides better cash flow for the customer.Up-front implementation services cost might be charged to the customer.
Sales Process Sales cycles are typically shorter. Customers will have greater flexibility to shift to competitive product if they do not see value with an existing vendor offering and services.

“Lean In” is the beginning. How about we also “Lean On” and “Lean Out” for one another.

Ever since Sheryl Sandberg’s book ‘Lean In’ came out, I see that women are excited with the message. Most of my friends bought the book and have read it already. They also have joined forces as members of the LeanIn.org and want to be active participants of this movement. I still have not read the book yet.  But, I  have been tuning in to all the TV and Radio interviews that Sheryl Sandberg has been on so far. It has been interesting to watch how the media has created a buzz around this book which is good for Sandberg’s cause. Sadly, I also see more push back and citicism for Sandberg’s Lean In is coming from other women who think that Sandberg is preaching a wrong message.  This made me ask myself – How about we women also ‘Lean on’ and ‘Lean out’ to support one another.

‘Lean In’ is just one side of the problem

Speaking from experience as a woman, a mother and a professional, I am glad Sheryl Sandberg is using her position and voice to generate awareness around the controversial topic at workplace differences between men and women. She is encouraging women to Lean In, be more ambitious and to demand and expect more for their contributions at the work place, as men do it.

As we all know Sheryl Sandberg is a Harvard-educated, who is now the chief operating officer of Facebook who previously was the Vice President at Google. She had longtime mentors like Larry Summers and other influential people along the way that  helped her to be where she is now in her career. Though she was a privileged along the way I appreciate that she took the courage  and passion to make  the fight for women’s rights at workplace her cause now.

But, I feel that Sheryl Sandberg has only scratched the tip of the iceberg and there is much more serious issues that we women need to address among ourselves even before we  deal with workplace inequalities.

Lean on’ and ‘Lean out’ to  others

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 7.18.58 PMIf we need to see real change in the betterment of women in all places and situations we need to learn to “Lean on” and “Lean out” for this cause. Right now women can be the biggest critics and road block for other women. We can be mean and intimidating to one another. But we women need to support one another, build a strong support network so we can let others who need our support to ‘Lean On’ us, whether it is at work or other places. Women in power can use their position to help, influence and bring change for other women who need that support by ‘Leaning Out’.

Only then we all can say we have the power and win this uphill battle for good.

Evolution of Entrepreneurship

I recently came across a presentation from Bret Victor which was both educational and enlightening for me. Thought I will share this with you all and add in my 2 cents to see if all this make sense to the fabric of reality.

Current  Entrepreneur Trend

I am seeing a shift in the business world where Social entrepreneurship is picking up a lot of steam among both the old and the younger generations. Social entrepreneurship by definition means identifying or recognizing a social problem and using entrepreneurial principles to organize, create, and manage a social venture to achieve a desired social change. You can build a social entrepreneurship as a non-profit venture or as a for-profit venture but with a strong intention to create a   social change. The dynamics and sustainability of both these models do need cash flows and hence the business rules and functions remain the same.

One well-known  social entrepreneur that comes to mind is Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank a micro finance organization and community development bank which got started in Bangladesh to address a social problem that his country was facing and desperately needed attention. He got the idea of helping the people with the concept of micro loans which helped a lot of people in Bangladesh to stay out of poverty. Muhammad Yunus was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work for his country. The concept of microfinance is now every popular in all developing countries and many local banks in these counties are now exploring it as a banking option as part of their business model.

Check out the top 5 trends Entrepreneurs will see in 2013: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3688-entrepreneur-trends-new-year.html

Social Entrepreneurship will succeed since we are all connected…

unconsious mindAs per the theory of Quantum mechanics, which Albert Einstein in 1935 called it Quantum entanglement, two particles in different locations, even if they are on other sides of the universe, influences each other and stays in communication with each other since they are connected. Albert Einstein named it the “spooky action at a distance”.

Recently, I saw in the news that Christoph Simon and Boris Braverman from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a paper which proposes a way in which the effect of quantum entanglement, this spooky action can be shown experimentally.

Since we all humans are spiritual biological beings who are embedded in matter and part of this universe, whose brain produces mind and consciousness, we are all connected. On the basis of Quantum entanglement we can say that every action from every  individual on this planet counts to make this world a better place and generate an unified field.

On this basis it makes more sense now that business and entrepreneurs are leaning towards Social entrepreneurship.

Time for us all to plant a seed in your subconscious mind and see where that journey will take us.

 

Real-time Intelligence Driven Security, is it the next trend or a hype?


Recently there has been a lot of attention in the media around the incidents where  Chinese Government and agencies have attacked American infrastructure and organizations to steal information. We have also seen Cyber Criminals have hacked into companies like Apple and Facebook. The scale and range of such possible attacks has huge implications for National Security, which has led to the Cybersecurity 3.0 initiatives by the US Government. If this continues, they are seeing great danger to critical public infrastructure like electric grids, water supply, defense  and financial systems. A posts on The White House Blog by Schmidt outlines the new cyber security strategy. This is now becoming a global issue and countries like United States are spear heading this initiative with a great deal of urgency. The article “World War 3.0” in the Vanity Fair magazine by Michael Joseph Gross describes it as “ a new global conflict that could split the virtual world as we know it.”. With the evolution of the information technology the threat landscape has evolved. As we Americans has become more reliant on modern technology, we have become more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Take a look at the data around the 2012 Cyber Attacks Statistics.

This is not a hype, it is real

I was at the RSA conference yesterday and was amazed at the vendor solutions that are already gearing up to address this security gap. Real-time security intelligent systems with the use of Big Data controls is where the solutions landscape is heading. Though lot of  innovation in this area is yet to happen, it’s still in the early stages. This is a good time that all security vendors start thinking about this space more seriously. Vendors like Juniper and RSA are becoming the industry leaders in this area and are rapidly innovating and sharing information around CyberSecurity threats to the community.

Real-Time Intelligence Driven Security Solution Attributes

The days are over where we knew what are the types and the factors that lead to security threats around our information infrastructure. We are moving into a territory of known unknowns and unknown knowns. Hence the security realm around infrastructure, systems, network, users and data has to be enforced at real-time through Big Data control and advanced machine learning algorithms. This would require that we gather the right and valuable data about our infrastructure, systems, network, users, gather intelligence knowledge base  in a data ware house and constantly analyze the anomalies and threat levels and take appropriate actions. Below is a picture that highlights the attributes that are critical for  a “Real-Time Intelligence Driven Security” Solution

Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 1.22.32 PM

The need for real-time security intelligence is becoming a necessity and coming up with new innovative solution is important.  The security model of the past has evolved and changed. Security vendors have to think of new strategies of using Big Data and machine learning and support automated tools within their security solution to build  intelligent predictive models to address new security threats.

Hope you all see the same trend as me!

“SoccerLogger” the next generation tool for all young soccer players

Having been a soccer mom for the last  10 years through which I have watched and cheered my daughter Samiksha play soccer from the side lines, my husband Deepak and I always wished we had a tool to capture and track her progress over the years she has grown and transformed into a competitive player.  Now that Samiksha is fourteen and a freshman in high school who has a big desire to play college soccer, we felt it would be nice to build a mobile app where we can track her progress for the next four years and then present that as part of her college resume.  Therefore, the idea of ‘SoccerLogger’ got a kick.soccer ball

Now, I am getting ready to launch this app soon on the iTunes App Store. We are starting first with an app for the iPhone, but have plans for a tablet version as well. I wanted to share this news so other young soccer players, their parents and coaches can use this app as a real-time game logger and generate comprehensive reports to analyze individual and team performance, during the game and after. SoccerLogger  revolutionizes how a soccer player and team data can be captured, tracked and analyzed using various reports to help improve the game for an individual player and the team. It also helps bring the collective forces of player, parent and coach together to create a fact based assessment solely aimed at understanding and improving overall team and individual performance.

For more on the app and its benefits check out SoccerLogger at http://www.soccerlogger.com and  also subscribe to our email list so we can notify you as soon as it is available in the app store.

Screen Shot 2013-02-14 at 11.06.33 PM

If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the app feel free to send me an email at ‘soccerlogger@gmail.com

You and I, can now keep track of  all our games!!.soccer ball

© 2013. Alur Labs LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Leadership style that is important to succeed in the 21st century

I recently came across an article which is to be published in the February issue of Fortune magazine about how “eBay is back“.  Coincidently, I was on site at eBay  for a business meeting last week and surprisingly I could see and feel that the organization energy at eBay was very high. I sensed a very positive attitude and optimism from the employees who worked at eBay. Having read the article earlier to my visit, it clearly proved to me that eBay is really back and John Donahoe as the CEO was definitely leading the company with a different leadership style which is also allowing the leadership team downstream to execute the strategy and vision that he was practicing and preaching from the top.

This is a clear example how great leaders can create both economic and social value without sacrificing one objective for another. In fact the book “How Great Leaders Create Economic and Social Value” talks about CEO’s like John Donahoe who highlights that leadership is not just a skill about a company meeting its quarterly financial goals but also at the same time helping people achieve their personal goals by creating a healthy company culture that helps to  promote social values with in the company and the communities that their employees live in.

For the last 17 years that I have lived in the heart of Silicon valley, I  have worked for several large and small software companies and start-ups. Having worked at various organizations has allowed  me to experience and observe how the leadership style has shifted recently where more and more focus is given by the CEO’s and the leadership team only to the financial performance of the company and no emphasis on the company culture at all.  Recent research shows that this style of leadership will turn out to be more damaging to the company in the long run if Leaders don’t make a conscious shift soon enough to save these companies from disaster.  In my earlier blog I tried to address the leadership topic in a subtle way  through the  topic  “Why Good Leadership matters...”.

Now that I see examples like eBay making a difference, it’s time more companies pay attention to this style of leadership that can help them to be successful. The next generation leadership style that is important to succeed for the 21st century leaders will have to include strategies that will meet the needs of  not just the customers and shareholders but also with the employees and communities.

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 2.00.32 PM

  • Strategy: Need to create a strategy that will connect the head and heart with shared values with all the employees. Leaders will have to identify the capabilities of a company and its employees, which will together help them to build a shared commitment to excel.
  • Trust: Leaders need to earn the right to lead by being open with their vision, ideas and strategy and thereby gain trust and credibility.
  • Diversity:  Since most companies compete in a global market, leaders have a greater responsibility to promote diversity with a shared purpose that can help everyone to contribute to the company vision, at the same time add in their values and achieve their aspirations.
  • Performance: Good leadership has to start from the top with the CEO taking the lead and being a role model. It should flow down the leadership chain so it gets well communicated  to all  so everyone is accountable for the overall success. Through fairness, everyone should be evaluated based on what and how they execute and equally recognized  for their efforts and inputs that result in the growth of the company.

What I Wish I Knew When I was 20

Tina_SeeligMy weekend on Saturday started a bit unusual. Because of the cold weather outside, I did not have  great plans to do anything outdoors with my family during the day other than going out for dinner that night. Lack of plans made me think at my breakfast table  how I was going to spend my time that day. Just then I heard the door bell ring. When I checked at the door I saw a  packaged shipped to me from Amazon. I realized that the book I had placed an order on Amazon a day before was at my door step ( I am amazed at the quality of customer service that amazon offers to its customers. I am a prime customer and I do most of my shopping these days online through amazon because of the connivence and the choices around products that amazon provides!!. Amazon business model is a topic that can be covered in a blog another day! ). I opened the package and there was this book “What I Wish I Knew When I was 20“. I was happy that I could spend the day reading some new material.

What I Wish I Knew When I was 20” is a book written by Tina Seelig,  a neuroscientist from Stanford School of Medicine. She is the executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures program and also teaches courses on entrepreneurship and innovation at the Stanford university. She wrote this book as  the 20th birthday gift to her son based on her experiences and her interactions she had with her students and with various entrepreneurs around the world. As Tina Seelig puts it this book is ” A Crash course on making your place in the world”.  The information in this book is amazing and has brought a new perspective to the way I will look at new ideas or problems that I come across in my day today life.  This book is filled with fascinating examples from classroom to the boardroom, of individuals defying expectations, defying assumptions and achieving amazing success.

I  wish I had read this book 20 yrs ago!!. I would have been a different person all together.

Though its not too late for me, I have decided to pass on the baton. I have handed over the book to my 14 yr old daughter Samiksha to read. I am quite sure this book will change the course of her life  and the outcome, who is already exploring the path to entrepreneurship through her non-profit that she recently started called Soccer4Kids.

I hope I am passing on a small gift of inspiration as a parent to my daughter!!.

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