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Do you believe you have confidence? Do you believe in yourself? Are you ready to go out there in the open and question your identity and authority? Are you ready to be criticized? Are you are ready to look yourself into the mirror and say that this is who I am? Are you ready for change – the only universal truth of life? Are you ready to transform? At first go, all these questions look scary. Isn’t it?

Lets be honest with ourselves. These questions are scary and most of us, including me, try not to answer them. But look at it closely, isn’t this the other definition of life? I believe it is. I have accepted it and in the process of accepting the one and only truth of life: CHANGE. But to accept the eternal truth, one needs to have confidence and confidence in plenty. The confidence should be of it utmost purest form, which even when challenged will never kneel down. The confidence will be the armor against all odds, making way to our dreams.

So, where is this confidence? How can I find it? Will it remain with me? There are lot of questions that immediately pop up the heads. Lets try to look into these questions bit colsely.

Where is this Confidence? Confidence is not in the head. Its within you. The mantra is not about finding confidence from thinkings rather from inner self. Its within our hearts. Its within our beliefs. There is a thin difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence gives positive energy and spreads the same around us. In other words, confidence is the way to prosperity and happiness. On the other hand, arrogance is exactly the opposite. Arrogance brings sadness, frustration and more frustration. Confidence makes the world around you feel proud of what you are doing but arrogance makes only you proud.

How can I find it? Find confidence in what you love to do. It may not be easy because in reality, the world behaves in such a way that makes a vicious cycle that revolves in 360-degree without  any clue. It may be very hard. But there is definitely a way and as I mentioned earlier, the only way to find confidence is to look within and follow your love.

Will it remain with me? I believe Confidence can remain always with you. Confidence is like a farmland. You need to sow right seeds, give enough nutrients, water, sunlight and keep watching it from weeds and other plant pollutants. The more one looks within and tries to cultivates it, the more it grows and keeps you to step the right foot forward.

To illustrate all of the above, let me bring forward an example of an amazing Black Swan: The Google. Google recently announced a cash prize of $20 grands in cash anyone breaks the Google Chrome browser on the first day. Last year, Google Chrome browser was the only browser that left unhacked in the conference. For people who do not know about PWN2OWN, it is one of the biggest platform for the hackers where participants try to hack various browser and mobiles. Last year, we saw how Apple released a lot of patches for the bugs unveiled for its Safari. This year, when Google Chrome was not included in the browsers’ list to be hacked by  hackers, Google came forward and announced it bounty.

So, is it arrogance or confidence? I believe it is confidence and this is exactly I am talking about. First of all, let me be very clear. People may be arrogant when they are either very stupid or useless and low standard. Good reputable people are confident. And that is what I would like all of us to have.

Most importantly, it is your confidence that tells your true worth no matter where you are and what you might be doing. Confidence is treasure which boost the morale of an individual and helps in keep chasing his dream despite all odds. Learn to cultivate this farm and I am sure all of you will find the individual you are looking for inside you.

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A known tussle all over. All of us everyday in some form or the another ask this question: Quantity vs Quality. Let me put few of them to you here:

  • My job profile is not good but they are paying me handsome. Quality vs Quantity.
  • At grocery store, the quality of food may not be good but they are offering me a discount.
  • I may not have genuine friends around but I boast of 2000+ friends on facebook.
  • Hire IITians though there may be better candidates from some general college.
  • Company xyz boasts of xxx number of employees but with no job satisfaction amongst the employees.

These are very general circumstances with no boundary to the list. I am sure once we start looking around us, we will see a lot of such circumstances around. Personally, I have experienced some of them. In fact, I have been a victim of quantity over quality and the quantity always won the war of quantity vs quality in my case till I refused to allow it win anymore. I can say that I have been decently successful in my motive. But time and again, quantity tries to empower quality. It tried once again when I tried attempting “post a day” campaign of wordpress. But I realized that my time does not allow me write daily and if I could fall into the trap again.

I apologize but I have decided to pull out of the campaign of “post a day”. And my reason is simple. I would like to continue writing and try to put my views in more concrete way rather than copy pasting some random information. Th idea of this blog is to share my thoughts and not put any global information that is available. I would like to generate genuine interest in my readers and I am happy if I could trigger a thought into my readers and compel them to think about the happening sin their surroundings. We are the generation of 21st century and let us drive the notion of free speech. Let quality win over quantity.

So, today when you go back from reading this post, please ask yourself how many times and what are the things where you have let quantity won over quality. I, strongly, urge you to break this barrier of  life and follow quality over quantity. Please subscribe to the feeds to continue reading this blog because I am no more attached to “post a day” campaign. I assure you that I will continue to keep utmost personal and spread my thoughts through you.

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    Last Sunday, I visited to participate in “The Art of Elevator Pitch” Panel Discussion at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. The discussion was very informative. Honestly speaking, I did not know what is an Elevator Pitch before I decided to participate in the contest when I received an email from my Toastmasters International District. But I knew I am going to participate. So, I immediately replied to the email and got the preliminary round of questions. I am attaching the file with the answers here. Please do feel free to comment whatever you feel like.

    DeepakPanigrahy_Oracle

    What did I get out of the Contest?

    1. Networking: I feel very good to network with some of the amazing people in the industry. Having entrepreneurial pursuits myself, it was just an amazing platform for meeting future business leaders (students of IIM Bangalore), Venture Capitalists such as Griffin David, Balaji and Ian Faria, Private Equity Players such as Samir Inamdar and many more. And of course, not to forget very enthusiastic Toastmasters. In fact, I got an invitation to speak over the IIM Alumni Toastmaster chapter and I plan to do so for some of my Advanced Communicator Bronze level, Speeches by Management Category.
    2. Special: The session became special in personal term also. After a very very long time, I had a crush on someone there. Let me tell you that I am not the one who can fall for anyone any time. Someone needs to be very special to match my frequency and vibrancy and I felt the same with someone there. It is a different case that I did not do anything at that moment of time, though I wanted to with all good intentions. Somehow I decided to hold back for some more time and if future will permit, I will do the necessary. No doubt, the girl is special and I could feel that. I call the girl as Miss AC. So, Miss AC, hope to meet you soon but in a different fashion
    3. Elevator Pitch: Well, this is the instant take away from the session. And I am going to discuss more in details on this with my version of the elevator pitch with the final case study.

    What is an Elevator Pitch?

    Elevator Pitch is a short speech of about 2 minutes, generally given by entrepreneurs to the VCs or angel investors. It derives its name from the fact that it takes exactly 2 minutes to go from the lobby to the top level where the VC has his office. And one gets just two minutes to leave the VC with the curiosity and quest. In my view, an elevator pitch is successful if you can get the business card out of the VC.

    What kind Elevator Pitches can be?

    I feel elevator pitches can be anything. It can be about yourself, a product, a service, a group, an organization and often related to marketing campaigns, branding and public relation activities. Why is it important? Generally, we don’t know with whom am I going to sit next to in my flight. We don’t get any clue with whom I am going to go in an elevator. So, suppose I bump into a potential VC all of a sudden and what I get is just 2 minutes to generate interest into me and my idea. In my view, it generates a lot of interest in the field of consultancy also. What do you feel how much time a CEO has when you are on a consulting project with the that CEO’s firm? Talk to the management consultants and I can bet most of them will say that they get the time to pitch their ideas and solutions exactly equal to the time one takes to walk from CEO office to his car. And trust me when I say that its not only your firm’s reputation that is at stake but also your own reputation and credibility too.

    What constitutes a good elevator pitch?

    1. First and foremost, you must understand that elevator pitch is not your business plan rather it is the door to getting the funding for your plan by getting the business card of the VC or scheduling a meeting with the VC.
    2. Try to connect emotionally both at the personal and professional level. What I mean here is you should be able to relate your idea with the person and at the same time, take his curiosity level to such an extent that he makes the next attempt to reach to you. One very good example that I would like to cite here is taken from the real life experience of Griffin David, discussed during the panel discussion at IIMB.  Griffin David is a Venture Capitalist and an Entrepreneur in himself, who has traveled a journey from SemiConductor Chips to Potato Chips today. He is currently the CEO of Bread Basket Pvt Ltd, having founded it. He cited an incident where his team was pitching a business plan in front of potential investors. They somehow manage to connect with them prior to the meeting and went for an excursion to SONA in Europe. SONA seem to be known for a beach but a special beach-nude beach. They all went, enjoyed, in fact went to give a television interview also with only their heads showing up. But the effect of the trip was seen when his team was given 45 minutes for the presentation while others were given only 15 minutes. Did you see the difference what an emotional connect can make? In yet another incident mentioned by one of the panelist (sorry, I don’t remember who was it exactly), he mentioned that once in an attempt to raise money from a bank, he was facing lot of issues. One of his friend’s wife discussed the problem with the wife of the banker. The banker’s wife went and told his husband that the person in question is like a son to her and you must approve his loan. Ultimately, the loan passed. The panelist came to know about the incident much later in one of the parties. Can you guys relate now? Can you guys make what I am thinking? EQ is one of the biggest weapon and i fused properly, can do wonders in your not only personal but professional life also. We are all human beings and an angel investor or a VC is no exception. Our daily lives are full of emotions and almost 90% of the time, our decisions are based on our emotions and feelings.
    3. Understand your audience. This hold true in case of any speech. Each person is different. Understanding your audience will help in pitching your idea in the most effective way. How can you do that? Thats where your networking connections are going to work for you.
    4. As like an speech, according to me, an elevator pitch also has a certain format and guidelines: Be crisp and ensure brevity because at the day, you only have 2 minutes. Your introduction is your selling point. If you cannot connect with your opening statement, forget it. It is same as the FIRST impression is the LAST impression. So be very careful how are you going to begin. Be prepared with your best 3 points to support your statement. A lot of my management consultant friends tell me that the the RULE OF THREE is an accepted norm of making your points in a business setup. So, these three points should be your best selling points and should generate curiosity in the minds of the VC. At the end, end it with a strong conclusion. I feel the conclusion should not only be persuasive but also leave the VC thinking, thus, prompting him to give away his business card and seeking to get an appointment for a detailed discussion.
    5. Of course, do look out for your body language and voice modularity. Nothing can substitute an appropriate body language with good command over the voice modulation. This is where Toastmasters is going to help you the most.

    What are the other potential areas where elevator pitches can be useful?

    Well, when I sat and thought about it, I never knew I could relate it to so many circumstances. Some of the areas where I feel an elevator pitch can help you are DATING, JOB INTERVIEW, PROMOTIONS in jobs and PROPOSALS (e.g an author pitching his book to the publishers or a story writer pitching his story for a movie to a producer). The most interesting among the list is DATING. Imagine you are standing alongside a beautiful girl (say Katrina Kaif) and you have got one shot at her before she disappears in the world of invisible strangers again. Your 2 min shot can give you the mobile number or a date. On the other side, a bad pitch may land you in prison, labeling you as a stalker. In other words, 2 minutes can decide whether she is going to be your life partner. Similarly, each one of knows, the way one walks and introduces himself is the 75% success of the interview. Imagine yourself in an elevator with CEO of your company and you know your skills are not well utilized by your current boss and you get only 2 minutes to showcase what you got and you can do for the organization if given the right opportunity. Finally, here is my version of the elevator pitch that I wrote for the case-study presented at IIMB for the finalists:

    Case Study: ElevatorPitch_Stage2_CaseStudy

    ======================================================================================================

    My Elevator Pitch: Would you like your girlfriend/wife to look like Katrina Kaif or Toon Toon? If given a free hand, wouldn’t you wake up early in the morning and go to gym with your wife to keep her in shape more than yourself? One will walk with broad chest and full prestige if your girlfriend/wife is good looking and smart. So, wouldn’t you like her to look good in her office too? I am sure you will.

    I am Rita and I propose to bring an exclusive line of garments for women for office wear. From college to an office, from home to a boardroom, I present to you an elegant and exclusive design of apparel for Indian women. I am sure you will agree with me when I say that women spend more than men on looking good and beautiful. The most prominent proofs are endless research on spending habits of men and women and the time a woman spends on dressing up. And of course, not to ignore your own wallet and the savings you barely manage to make at the end of the month. No more sarees or executive shirts and skirts from Allen Solley or so, Rita & Co. will bring a premium line of designs exclusively designed to the taste of Indian women. Recent feedbacks from the students of IIM Bangalore, who have already taken the designs to their summer internships have felt more comfortable and confident filled with positive energy after wearing my designs.

    So, what are you waiting for? Tighten your seat belts as we, together, can bring a sea wave of changes with Rita brands flaunting in offices and board rooms and change the image of a working Indian women to a more confident, elegant and stylist business women.

    ======================================================================================================

    Hey, please feel free to comment your views on the elevator pitch. I would love to hear from you 🙂

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    Yogesh is one of the friends I made in my life. A very dynamic and full of life guy who just happened to fall in the ditch without knowing how bad this rat race is and how rotten the rats are. I came in contact with him while looking out for sitcoms, It started with Big Bang to Prison Break and many more. Gradually, we realized we have so many common things amongst us and that tied us together. Though almost 4 years younger to me, I never felt that I am elder in his company. Today, he is leaving for his MS at Rudgers University. Even though he had attempted GRE twice earlier, I pushed him so hard for the third time that he attributes some part of his dream coming true to me. I don’t know whether I deserve so much from him but yes, definitely I can say that I can understand people and whom I like, develop very strong bonding with me. I almost came to tears when I chatted and talked to him today for the last time as he is preparing to leave India. Wish you Very Good Luck, Yogesh and may GOD give you the strength to pursue your dreams with full throttle. I don’t know about others but I am going to miss you a lot and it is never going to be the same way to the Pantry/Restroom anymore.

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    Today, one of my friend, Anjali Gupta, posted a link to an article on twitter. I loved it so much that I could not resist myself from posting the a short note on it here on my blog. I am sure all of us somewhere deep down the line, will feel the same if we sit down to analyze our own life. The scenario is:

    At the beginning of the day, faced with an overflowing inbox, a list of messages on your voicemail, and the to-do list from your last meeting, it’s tempting to want to “clear the decks” before you start on your own most important work. By the time you finally settle down to your own work, it could be mid-afternoon, when your energy has dipped and it’s hard to focus on anything properly. “Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be better,” you tell yourself. But when tomorrow comes round there’s another pile of emails, phone messages, and to-do list items. If you carry on like this you will spend most of your time on reactive work, responding to incoming demands and answering questions framed by other people.

    So sounds familiar? Do you feel the same way what I felt when I read the article? I am sure most of us surely do. Honestly, I have found Internet, mobile phones, emails very annoying sometimes as I prepare myself for my next goal in hand. Forutnately, I have been able to bring these activites a hell lot down in last few months. No more online on gtalk, no more chit-chatting. Trying very hard to concentrate on my goal because that is the biggest priority of my life.

    The author cites the only solution to the issue at hand is: begin the day with creative work on my own top priorities.

    Some of the key strategies that the author cites to make the change are:

    1. Creative work first, reactive work second.
    2. Tune out distractions.
    3. Make exceptions for VIPs.
    4. Be really efficient at reactive work.

    I will, strongly, recommend all of you to go through this article in your free time if you are serious about your life and have a meaningful life.

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    Recently, I got an email from one of my friends and it really touched me. This post is going to be a question for all of us out here busy to make our marks in our own way without realizing how we might be affecting others life. I hope you will like the story as much as I did.

    A woman came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find her 5-year old son waiting for her at the door.

    SON: ‘Mummy, may I ask you a question?’

    MUM: ‘Yeah sure, what it is?’ replied the woman.

    SON: ‘Mummy, how much do you make an hour?’

    MUM: ‘That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?’ the woman said angrily.

    SON: ‘I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?’

    MUM: ‘If you must know, I make  $20 an hour.’

    SON: ‘Oh,’ the little boy replied, with his head down..

    SON: “Mummy, may I please borrow $5?”

    The mother was furious, ‘If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don’t work hard everyday for such childish frivolities. ‘

    The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door…

    The woman sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

    After about an hour or so, the woman had calmed down , and started to think:

    Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $5 and he really didn’t ask for money very often.The woman went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

    ‘Are you asleep, son?’ She asked.
    ‘No Mummy, I’m awake,’ replied the boy

    ‘I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier’ said the woman. ‘It’s been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the $5 you asked for.’

    The little boy sat straight up, smiling. ‘Oh, thank you Mummy!’ he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

    The woman saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

    The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his mother.

    ‘Why do you want more money if you already have some?’ the mother grumbled.

    ‘Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,’ the little boy replied.

    ‘Mummy, I have $20 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow.
    I would like to have dinner with you.’

    The mother was crushed. She put her arms around her little son, and she begged for his forgiveness.

    In short, It’s just a short reminder to all of you working so hard in life. We should not let time slip through our fingers without having spent some time with those who really matter to us, those close to our hearts. Do remember to share that $20 worth of your time with someone you love.

    If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of hours. But the family & friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

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    Yesterday, I gave my first ToastMaster speech – The IceBreaker. The only drawbacks in my speech were the pauses and oscillating around the podium like a pendulum. I hope I will improve on it in my upcoming speeches. My Speech was not original and was tweaked from this post to suit my requirements.

    There is a lot of similarity between the two speeches but I prefer not to write my own speeches because even though I am a good orator, which I feel I am, I am not a so good writer.One another reason is the lack of time.  So, people familiar with the above post can ignore reading below unless they want to know a little bit more about me. I hope you like the speech and will incorporate this into your own speeches. During the course of speech, I had to cut down a lot when I saw the first yellow card in the third paragraph of the speech itself but on the whole, I am now researching on the topics and ideas for my speech 2.

    Let me tell you all a little bit about The IceBreaker Speech and its goals before taking you through the speech itself:

    Ice breaker (or Icebreaker) is a term which describes an activity which reduces tension and anxiety in a group. The Ice Breaker speech has three aims:

    1. Introduce yourself.
      Your ice breaker speech topic is you – something about your life, your job, your hobbies, your unique interests, your family, or any combination of these. You are an absolute authority on this topic, and everyone in the audience will learn something about you.
    2. Begin to conquer the fear of speaking in front of a group.
      It is nervewracking when speaking in front of a new group. If you feel this nervousness, remember that a Toastmaster audience is always supportive and understanding. Nobody is grading you, and nobody will mind if you stumble through 99 “Um”s and “Ah”s. If you get up, say something, and sit down, you have succeeded in this project.
    3. Provide a “base line” of your current strengths and weaknesses.
      Some new members have no public speaking experience, while others have years of presentations behind them. No matter where you fit into this spectrum, your goal is to improve from your starting point. This first speech helps club members gauge your current strengths so that they can make specific recommendations to help you improve.

    Hello everyone my name is Deepak and I think life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get… Well almost.  If you’ve watched the movie Forest Gump then you probably recognize the quote.  To be more precise, I think life is like a box of chocolates and it is our job to find the sweetest and tastiest chocolate in the box.  This is a philosophy I live by and today I would like to share how it has shaped my life.

    I was born in West Bengal, grew up in 6 states of India – Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and Maharastra. As a child I grew up with an insatiable curiosity and a love for stories.  Naturally I gravitated towards movies, television and video games.  I loved to dream about epic medieval battles between knights and wizards, passionate romances between princes and princesses, and the bold and courageous deeds of superheroes.  I’ve always been interested in stories and adventures, but it wasn’t until I reached high school that I began to understand that it was possible to bridge the gap between reality and my beloved world of dreams.

    My story starts with my father, who came from a small remote village to city to pursue his dream of becoming, famous, wealthy and influential; he studied Medical and eventually stumbled upon what we call the world of living GODs.  As a child I remember watching my father constantly working in a government hospital amidst improper infrastructure and support; the only time he wasn’t in the hospital was the time he used to find to play with us, help us with our studies, dining or sleeping. It was his dedication that I never went for tuition ever in my whole life.  Though I didn’t understand my father’s work, I remember how focused he was and how he excited he used to become whenever someone used to ask him about his operations and the new machines he used to get for the hospitals; during middle school he developed the bad habit of forcing my friends to sit down and listen to him talk about his inventions.  My father’s passion was so contagious that during my final year in high school, I decided to work with him on a the devastated areas of Orissa Super Cyclone and that was the first time I understood the power of passion; through his passion for helping my father was able to develop unbelievable relationships with most people; it was his passion for helping in whatever possible way for a better world that gave him the power to turn his ideas into reality.

    During those times, I stumbled upon the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a famous American philosopher and writer who wrote a well-known essay Self Reliance; in it Emerson says: “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession.”  His words became the impetus for self discovery and I began to pursue my own interests and passions – Computer Science. There were instances when I had to fight with my father for not taking up medical stream.

    Over the years I’ve come to understand myself much better and I’ve also learned a great deal from my mistakes.  Looking back I realize how immature I was in not accepting my father’s wisdom and advice; but at the same time, I understand that I needed to walk my own path even if it meant upsetting my father.  Life truly is a long and bumpy roller coaster ride.  However, it is because of those bumps and turns along the way that I have been able to find my passion in life, which is to develop software for such a great company like Oracle.  There is nothing more important to me than that. The world we live in today is so complex and so full of possibilities that interesting discoveries can be found almost anywhere if we are only bold enough to look.

    Though I’ve only lived for 27 years, by following my interests I’ve had the good fortune of stumbling on a number of truly fascinating people in my life: I’ve met a man who changed the picture of India in the world in the field of Information Technology – Mr. Narayana Murthy; I met people in remote villages of my state where forget about the road and basic amenities but in fact, they could barely manage food once in a day; I’ve met a man who was a mafia gang member, got arrested and sentenced for 5 years and then became an entrepreneur and today owning one of the most famous hotel of Bhubaneswar; a lady who devoted her whole life to the well being of the people around – Mother Teresa.

    I like to think of life as a treasure hunt in which we are all participants looking for the biggest, brightest and most beautiful treasure of all.  If life is like a box of chocolates, like Forest Gump says, then our duty as treasure hunters is to find the very best piece of chocolate in the box.  The piece I am searching for is a life of interest marked by challenge, success, passion, love, and service.  We are all treasure hunters of life looking each searching for their own unique gem.  Thank you for listening to my story and I wish you all the best of luck on this treasure hunt called life.

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