How to juggle the three balls – Family, Career, and Money?

How to juggle the three balls – Family, Career and Money?, Published on 2014-08-24

In my not so short a career, I have learnt an interesting and important equation about life. The fundamental equation about life in my view is about three variables or what I call three balls – Family, Career and Money.

The beautiful and magical interplay of these three balls is unceasing and perpetual.

Put simply, these three balls require attention all the time none-the-less, but they require different focus at different times. For example, in early stages of life one may focus on career and learn new skills or become a subject matter expert. Over time focus may shift towards building financial security. At this point, one may want to monetize the skill sets and negotiate for better salary/ money.

Or there may also be the situation that you had just got married or you just had a baby and prefer to dedicate the next few years primarily to family while continuing to juggle with money and career to make you a the most amazing husband or a father. This is not to say that one is not important than the other. It is more of to help you prioritize these balls while juggling.

Juggling these three balls has a queer additional variable. These three balls change their form – rubber to glass and vice versa as you are juggling.

The smartness is to recognize the glass balls and drop the rubber balls if one needs to. A classic example would be a situation where a marriage is on the rocks because of a hectic travel (career focus) and one is on the brink of divorce. Or alternatively, one has a fast depleting your financial reserve while they continue to stick to a career with a firm that gave fancy titles but just have been paying you 50% of what the market can pay you for a similar job.

While they may broadly be connected and seem interchangeable – they are not. For e. g. a good career broadly would means good money – not necessarily. Good money would mean good family life – but not necessarily – you may be chasing money while, all that your daughter wants is to spend that one hour with you in the evening.

How do you action this?

Plan: Sit down and think hard. What is the most important thing in your life now? What is the goal (measurable timeline) on that front to say that you have achieved that? What is the second priority and what is the third. At which point would you want to reprioritize one for the other – money for career or family and vice-versa. It is important that you have a broad plan.

Over time, monitor if you are on the right path. (In my case I personally do this exercise every three months and give a hard relook to the past success on all three fronts every December). If at any time there is a misalignment – revisit the priorities – are you focusing on the right areas?

Are you achieving results on the order of priority? If not, reprioritize. – If you already doing the right thing be happy – you are on the right path.

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Why should you chuck a Microsoft or IBM and be on your own?

Why should you chuck a Microsoft or IBM and be on your own?, Published on 2014-08-24

First things first – If you think you are smart, capable and have fire to succeed, read on.

A formal employment gives, or at least is supposed to give three things:

  • Job security
  • Identity with a name card with title and a company name
  • Monthly cash flow to sustain living expenses and/ or to create assets.

Let us take one thing at a time –

  1. Job security: This used to be true in the 1950s and to some extent in the 80s in most parts of the world. Today, as anyone can vouch – no company gives you that job security. The very fact Lehman and lay-offs by GM, Microsoft, and IBM in 2008 and thereafter only proves that job security is fallacy.
  2. Identity: I agree – a business card and title does give one a sense of social status. More so in some Asian communities where you’re Job Title defines your invitation to a neighbour’s birthday party. Why would you not achieve the same if you start your own company and become the CEO or its Managing Partner? You have just given yourself a title and a job scope, which you have always wanted.

You may well argue about the other aspect of identity is a “company brand” or “revenues” of the company. Think about it – these top Wall Street banks just crumbled. General Motors and Chryslers reported pathetic performance, they just could not get a single act right. HP, Yahoo or IBM continues to fumble for years and none of those fancily paid CEOs or their top management team seem to have a clue to fix things. You sure are better than those CEOs when you can run your own company. At least you not betray public trust and put thousands of livelihoods in jeopardy. In your personal evaluation, your worth needs to be better than what you think by being an appendage to someone else’s.

  1. Financial: Monthly cash flow is clearly the most rational reasoning and has a practical implication. One needs money, to run their homes, pay bills, mortgage, and children’s education and get food on the table. If one were to calculate the real costs of these with a level of practicality – just go back and check your current bank reserves and re-prioritize. Most people in middle and senior management should be well off. I have seen that most can live well, without a job for even 5-10 years, with fairly good quality of life style. That is good enough time to get out there, try and experiment and create the next Facebook or at worst, if all fails – we always have the ‘employment’ option ever ready. More so since it appreciates risk takers.

Does that give instil some confidence? You are far richer than you think you are and far more capable than you can imagine.

Go get cracking!


Update January 2016: Related articles on LinkedIn “8 Reasons to Turn Entrepreneur in 2016“, and the next “8 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Fail” 


12 Laws of the New Marketing

12 LAWS OF THE NEW MARKETING, Published on 2014-09-23 07:30

Recently, I was in addressing a group of senior marketers including CMOs and industry bigwigs. When discussion moved towards the ‘new marketing’, the room was filled with animated conversations on how excited they were, to be on social media. The chatter could broadly be summarized on these four lines, nothing more.

  • “We are on Facebook”.
  • “I (CMO) have a Twitter Account”.
  • “We have asked our marketing team to post all our launches on Facebook”.
  • “We hired a company that got us 3000 followers on Twitter”.

It is appreciable that they are thinking new-online-media, I was equally surprised to see that beyond those words, the ‘new-marketing’ had not changed much in the last decade. Most think of marketing as if we were in the 1960s – campaign planning, events, features, pipeline, sales stages and 1800-numbers – the core thinking had not changed.

This article is an attempt to share on how the laws of marketing have changed over the last decade, rapidly so in the last couple of years. It is not surprising that marketers are increasingly finding themselves irrelevant and customers are obnoxiously disillusioned with marketers.

A presence on a Facebook and Twitter and WhatsApp is only means to an end. What then are the ends? In this article I am going to focus on 12 simple laws that are applicable today more than ever before. Technology and social media makes it possible to adapt and adopt these laws with alacrity and ease.

The question you may want to ask yourself is “Do I have the will to change my perspective?” If you are game, read on.

Law #1 Th!nk engagements. RIP events

The days of holding mega events are long gone. Today your user wants to be engaged. Engaged with them. Period. They want you to be participate constructively in the decision making process. Events usually end up as one-way-traffic activity where the company talks about themselves and their products and audience made to just sit and wait and watch that circus. Today, physical boundaries have disappeared, and what you must think are online and offline engagements that you can have with your customers and prospects.

Law #2 Th!nk relevance; RIP specifications

Easier said than done, relevance is what matters. In this age where consumers can find your product specifications on the Internet whenever they want. What is important is to be relevant to that segment. The rest will follow.

Law #3 Th!nk qualified leads; RIP event attendees

Attendees in an event mean nothing. The measure of success for a marketer should be on the ‘qualified’ leads that sales can pursue. While, it is easier to use attendees as a metric, it is not the metric that your sales team will be proud of.

Law #4 Th!nk demand; RIP pipeline

The current models drive towards pipeline and sales stage. With the new models where the purchaser is constantly moving ahead in the ‘buying cycle’, because of their friends, family and social media, it is time to start focusing on creating demand. Pipeline will follow.

Law #5 Th!nk buying stages; RIP sales stages

Sales stages is a passé. It presumes that the company is controlling the sale because of their sales systems. This could not be farther from the truth. Today’s customers have their own ‘buying stages’ – from realizing need, being aware about the product, to understanding what it can do, to knowing how others are using to solve their problem, and what to expect – they have their own methods and evaluation stages. Think on how you will address the concerns in the buying stages.

Law #6 Th!nk pain resolution; RIP product feature

This is a cliché, but still relevant. You may just want to pick a newspaper, magazine or website ad and see the number of marketers that spend millions in imposing on you there product features. Did you ever care? As marketer, you must address this import question for your customer – WIIFM – (What is in it for me?) and you will never regret.

Law #7 Th!nk buyer concerns; RIP sales actions

The largest of companies still think and measure sales actions. The questions on their sales cadence is almost always on if the sales person has made the presentation, submitted proposal, given price quote. Try changing the metric to addressing buyer concerns by asking questions like ‘have we addressed his core pain’, ‘have we addressed his secondary pain’, ‘Have we given a solution in their budget’, ‘Does the customer feel assured that we will be with him’?. Tough questions, tough answers.

Law #8 Th!nk available; RIP reach out!

Being available is being able to provide the information, support or service when they want it where they want it. A lot of water has flown since the days when corporates said, I will reach out to my 100,000 users or 1000 customers. You must be available when they reach-out, not the other way round.

Law #9 Th!nk social online; RIP exclusive offline

We started with this. Being social online is not about having a Facebook account. It means engaging in conversations, solving problems and available online when they want it, on the medium they want. The words say it all – social: are you interacting and being sociable and; online- you are there when they need it and where they need it. Being exclusive may seem to work for exclusive million dollar cars and watches, but even for them, if your users are talking unflattering reviews online, you need to jump-in and fix it.

Law #10 Th!nk byte size message; RIP eight-page collateral

If you cannot communicate relevance and connect in 140 characters – forget it. In this day and age, users have a fleeting look on the headline and in all probability read no further. They research at their own convenience and seldom have time to read more than what is on the first screen of the mobile. So think communicating in that space, connecting, creating interest and assuring. Well 8-page collateral will be just that – for them to research and when they need to dig deeper. Coincidentally, and not surprisingly, the ones that spend time ‘reading’ your 8-page-collateral are already a super qualified lead.

Law #11 Th!nk enable and engage; RIP sell and scoot

Enable your prospects to make the right choice. Be a part of their decision making process. The days of sell and scoot are long gone and have taken many companies down in the last decade than ever in history.

Law #12 Th!nk informed decision making; RIP sell at any cost

Give your prospects the tools and links to that will help them in better decision making. Total-ownership-cost calculator, Mortgage Calculator, industry white papers, whatever helps. Be honest and guide them, unless you are a fly-by-night operator.

These are the 12 laws of the new marketing, are you listening?