DhananjayParkhe

Spaghetti! And blocking out memories

Did you know…

… that today is Everything I Have I Owe to Spaghetti Day? Celebrate the birthday of movie star Sophia Loren by eating a plate of spaghetti. Loren was born as Sofia Villani Scicolone on September 20, 1934, at Rome, Italy.

~~~

Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“I’ve never tried to block out the memories of the past, even though some are painful. I don’t understand people who hide from their past. Everything you live through helps to make you the person you are now.”

— Sophia Loren

DhananjayParkhe

RAK movement – Random acts of kindness today.

  1. Smile at 3 people today
  2. See someone struggling with lots of bags? Offer to help them
  3. We all need help sometimes; offer someone a helping hand
  4. We rarely listen to others – ask someone about their day
  5. Hug your parents
  6. Visit a friend who’s sick
  7. Apologise to someone you may have hurt
  8. Make a conscious effort to recycle
  9. Make your voice count – sign a petition for a good cause
  10. Go the day without complaining
DhananjayParkhe

Startup Newsletters I like

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Walmart Set To Buy $800 Mn Worth Flipkart ESOPs
It is to be noted that Walmart is obligated to purchase 6,242,271 shares from Flipkart’s ESOP pool of 11,947,026 shares. The current employees will be allowed to liquidate their employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) at $126-128 a unit, depending on the charges applicable.
Bengaluru-based Indian regional language social platform ShareChat has raised close to $100 Mn (INR 720 Cr) in a funding round that will boost its valuation to $460 Mn (INR 3,332 Cr). This is a 7x increase to its last valuation when the company raised $18.2 Mn in Series B funding.
Togedr has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a group of US & UK-based startups. The investment was led by UK-based investor Anil Patel whose expertise lies in cloud architecture and scale, said Togedr CEO and founder Ashish Yadav, in a recent interaction with Inc42.
The government has decided to drop the first draft of ecommerce policy and set up a committee of secretaries to decide on a new set of recommendations. CAIT said that the policy is already delayed for more than three years and if dropped, it will be a blow to the fair trade practices in ecommerce
Bengaluru-based milk and grocery delivery startup DailyNinja has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Mumbai-based venture capital firm Matrix Partners India. Existing investors including Bengaluru-based Sequoia India and Saama Capital also participated in this funding round.
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A state-owned public sector undertaking, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) plans to set up 50 new EV charging stations across the state within six months. Here’s a curated rundown of other important and related developments in the India and global EV Ecosystem this week.
Since its inception in 2015, Tesseract has launched three hardware and two software products in the MR, AR, and VR sectors — Methane, Holoboard, and Quark. The founder claims to have seven patents: one US, three international (130 countries), and three India patents. The startup has already introduced Holoboard and Quark in India, and hopes to enter Western markets soon.
Read More Top Stories On Inc42
DhananjayParkhe

Corporate Social Responsibility amendment provisions notified

 

MCA has enforced the provisions of Section 37 of the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2017 which amended the provisions of Section 135 (i.e. Corporate Social Responsibility) of the Companies Act, 2013 effective from 19th September, 2018.

Major highlights of the changes are:

(a) Eligibility criteria for the purpose of constituting the CSR Committee and incurring expenditure towards CSR is to be calculated based on immediately preceding financial year. Previously this eligibility was decided based on preceding three financial years.

(b) Further where a company is not required to appoint an independent director, it shall have in its CSR Committee two or more directors.

(c) It also empowers the Central Government to prescribe sums which shall not be included for calculating ‘net profit’ of a company under section 135

Click here to download the Notification

In the line of aforesaid Notification, MCA has also amended the Companies (Corporate Social Responsibility Policy) Rules, 2014.

Click here to download the amendment in Rules

DhananjayParkhe

Interesting news letter for SMEs and Startups I came across today

58th Most Valuable Brand Is (You’ll Never Guess)

Issue #382 | 20th September 2018

Yo!

Patanjali has not earned a spot. Indigo, yes, but not Jet Airways. Ola made it but not Uber. BSNL troops in at 65, ahead of Lakme (66) and Gillette (67), and Bharat Petroleum squeaks into the last spot. Air India features at 58 in BrandZ’s list of the 75 most valuable Indian brands in 2018. Flipkart makes an entry at #11 on the list but with a paltry brand value of US $4 billion, considerably less than the $20 billion that Walmart assessed it at.

Given its hallowed credentials, there must be an explanation for this list, but it highlights the difficulty of precisely measuring a brand in financial terms. It’s complicated. It’s also very volatile – last year’s hot brand can sink because it did something wrong (say spiraling NPAs) or consumer preferences changed (10 years ago organic wasn’t on my menu). Switching costs are at an all-time low, particularly where the customer touchpoint is digital. Walmart paid…

How Much?!
Paul Writer Business Booster Shot
What Does the Future of Content Marketing Look Like to You?
Marketing Maverick: Joshua Nathan, Head of Marketing at iSwitch Energy #APACLeaders
Even with the advent of AI, Machine Learning, and everything shifting to digital, Content Marketing is one of the age-old marketing tactics that has survived the turbulence. Content Marketing is a strategy that has been around long before the different facets of digital innovation disrupted businesses. Even with the advent of AI, Machine Learning, and everything shifting to digital, Content Marketing is one of the age-old marketing tactics that has survived the turbulence.
In what ways do you think AI, data and machine learning are transforming the way we are approaching marketing today?

AI and machine learning will definitely be a boon to the way we approach marketing. From helping us to understanding our customer needs faster to optimisation of ad copies and design layouts, the routine and mundane aspects of marketing will get easier over time…

Create Content that Delivers Leads
Read the Whole Interview
Community Buzz
Rupesh Malla has joined GE Digital as Director Sales, India. Previously, he was Sales Manager – HCM Cloud at Oracle.

Aashish Rai has joined Aditya Birla Retail Limited as Assistant Vice President. Previously, he was General Manager – Idea Cellular Ltd.

DhananjayParkhe

Startpreneur fav newsletter

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Morning Briefing (9 Min Reading Time)
Top news & stories of the startup ecosystem from India & around the world
In what seems like a major boost to global ecommerce giant Amazon’s plans of dominating the retail market in India, reports have surfaced that Aditya Birla Group’s retail chain More has been acquired by Amazon and private equity fund Samara Capital.
Bengaluru-based O2O grocery company Avenue11 has raised $3.59 Mn (INR 26 Cr) from Brand Capital, the strategic investment arm of the Times Group. The company will use the funding for geographical expansion of the business and to increase its brand presence.
OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal, in his efforts towards taking the cab aggregator ‘glocal’, has taken another major step — after China, Malaysia, and Nepal, Agarwal has now expanded Ola’s presence to the United Kingdom. OYO has already started its operations in four properties in London that offer more than 80 rooms.
Fact sheet by Inc42 Datalabs.
The incubator is an initiative of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Sardar Patel Institute of Technology and is affiliated with the Department of Science and Technology of the Indian government, which formally recognised it in 2015. SP-TBI so far has a tribe of more than 50 founders and over 30 startups, which have, in turn, created over 250 jobs and 40 technologies.
Through this survey, we aim to reach as many startup founders as possible to understand what it’s like to run a technology company in India in 2018. Your responses are invaluable and they will equip us with a deeper understanding of the state of the Indian Startup Ecosystem. Click here to take this short survey!
vibrant Gujarat startup summit 2018
Investment firm SparkLabs  has run accelerator programs across APAC, now it has announced its first that’ll be based on U.S. soil and it’s a cybersecurity and blockchain program that’ll be located in Washington, D.C. from next year.
Amazon plans to open as many as 3,000 of its cashier-less Amazon Go convenience stores by the year 2021, according to a report from Bloomberg today. That would be Amazon’s most aggressive move in the brick-and-mortar space since its purchase of Whole Foods in 2016.
Ian Osborne, a British consultant and investor who is working with a group of investors that wants to buy the business magazine. Osborne generates interesting Google results: If you try a search, you’ll find articles listing his participation in an investment vehicle run by former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya.
DhananjayParkhe

Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change – Brain Pickings

via Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change – Brain Pickings

“This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.”

Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change

“There is no love of life without despair of life,” wrote Albert Camus — a man who in the midst of World War II, perhaps the darkest period in human history, saw grounds for luminous hope and issued a remarkable clarion call for humanity to rise to its highest potential on those grounds. It was his way of honoring the same duality that artist Maira Kalman would capture nearly a century later in her marvelous meditation on the pursuit of happiness, where she observed: “We hope. We despair. We hope. We despair. That is what governs us. We have a bipolar system.”

In my own reflections on hope, cynicism, and the stories we tell ourselves, I’ve considered the necessity of these two poles working in concert. Indeed, the stories we tell ourselves about these poles matter. The stories we tell ourselves about our public past shape how we interpret and respond to and show up for the present. The stories we tell ourselves about our private pasts shape how we come to see our personhood and who we ultimately become. The thin line between agency and victimhood is drawn in how we tell those stories.

The language in which we tell ourselves these stories matters tremendously, too, and no writer has weighed the complexities of sustaining hope in our times of readily available despair more thoughtfully and beautifully, nor with greater nuance, than Rebecca Solnit does in Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (public library).

Rebecca Solnit (Photograph: Sallie Dean Shatz)
Rebecca Solnit (Photograph: Sallie Dean Shatz)

Expanding upon her previous writings on hope, Solnit writes in the foreword to the 2016 edition of this foundational text of modern civic engagement:

Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.

Solnit — one of the most singular, civically significant, and poetically potent voices of our time, emanating echoes of Virginia Woolf’s luminous prose and Adrienne Rich’s unflinching political conviction — originally wrote these essays in 2003, six weeks after the start of Iraq war, in an effort to speak “directly to the inner life of the politics of the moment, to the emotions and preconceptions that underlie our political positions and engagements.” Although the specific conditions of the day may have shifted, their undergirding causes and far-reaching consequences have only gained in relevance and urgency in the dozen years since. This slim book of tremendous potency is therefore, today more than ever, an indispensable ally to every thinking, feeling, civically conscious human being.

Solnit looks back on this seemingly distant past as she peers forward into the near future:

The moment passed long ago, but despair, defeatism, cynicism, and the amnesia and assumptions from which they often arise have not dispersed, even as the most wildly, unimaginably magnificent things came to pass. There is a lot of evidence for the defense… Progressive, populist, and grassroots constituencies have had many victories. Popular power has continued to be a profound force for change. And the changes we’ve undergone, both wonderful and terrible, are astonishing.

[…]

This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both.

Illustration by Charlotte Pardi from Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn Ringtved

With an eye to such disheartening developments as climate change, growing income inequality, and the rise of Silicon Valley as a dehumanizing global superpower of automation, Solnit invites us to be equally present for the counterpoint:

Hope doesn’t mean denying these realities. It means facing them and addressing them by remembering what else the twenty-first century has brought, including the movements, heroes, and shifts in consciousness that address these things now.

Enumerating Edward Snowden, marriage equality, and Black Lives Matter among those, she adds:

This has been a truly remarkable decade for movement-building, social change, and deep, profound shifts in ideas, perspective, and frameworks for broad parts of the population (and, of course, backlashes against all those things).

With great care, Solnit — whose mind remains the sharpest instrument of nuance I’ve encountered — maps the uneven terrain of our grounds for hope:

It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I’m interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It’s also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse narrative. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings.

Solnit’s conception of hope reminds me of the great existential psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom’s conception of meaning: “The search for meaning, much like the search for pleasure,” he wrote“must be conducted obliquely.” That is, it must take place in the thrilling and terrifying terra incognita that lies between where we are and where we wish to go, ultimately shaping where we do go. Solnit herself has written memorably about how we find ourselves by getting lost, and finding hope seems to necessitate a similar surrender to uncertainty. She captures this idea beautifully:

Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes — you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.

Illustration from The Harvey Milk Story, a picture-book biography of the slain LGBT rights pioneer

Amid a 24-hour news cycle that nurses us on the illusion of immediacy, this recognition of incremental progress and the long gestational period of consequences — something at the heart of every major scientific revolution that has changed our world — is perhaps our most essential yet most endangered wellspring of hope. Solnit reminds us, for instance, that women’s struggle for the right to vote took seven decades:

For a time people liked to announce that feminism had failed, as though the project of overturning millennia of social arrangements should achieve its final victories in a few decades, or as though it had stopped. Feminism is just starting, and its manifestations matter in rural Himalayan villages, not just first-world cities.

She considers one particularly prominent example of this cumulative cataclysm — the Arab Spring, “an extraordinary example of how unpredictable change is and how potent popular power can be,” the full meaning of and conclusions from which we are yet to draw. Although our cultural lore traces the spark of the Arab Spring to the moment Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire in an act of protest, Solnit traces the unnoticed accretion of tinder across space and time:

You can tell the genesis story of the Arab Spring other ways. The quiet organizing going on in the shadows beforehand matters. So does the comic book about Martin Luther King and civil disobedience that was translated into Arabic and widely distributed in Egypt shortly before the Arab Spring. You can tell of King’s civil disobedience tactics being inspired by Gandhi’s tactics, and Gandhi’s inspired by Tolstoy and the radical acts of noncooperation and sabotage of British women suffragists. So the threads of ideas weave around the world and through the decades and centuries.

In a brilliant counterpoint to Malcolm Gladwell’s notoriously short-sighted view of social change, Solnit sprouts a mycological metaphor for this imperceptible, incremental buildup of influence and momentum:

After a rain mushrooms appear on the surface of the earth as if from nowhere. Many do so from a sometimes vast underground fungus that remains invisible and largely unknown. What we call mushrooms mycologists call the fruiting body of the larger, less visible fungus. Uprisings and revolutions are often considered to be spontaneous, but less visible long-term organizing and groundwork — or underground work — often laid the foundation. Changes in ideas and values also result from work done by writers, scholars, public intellectuals, social activists, and participants in social media. It seems insignificant or peripheral until very different outcomes emerge from transformed assumptions about who and what matters, who should be heard and believed, who has rights.

Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed. How the transformation happened is rarely remembered, in part because it’s compromising: it recalls the mainstream when the mainstream was, say, rabidly homophobic or racist in a way it no longer is; and it recalls that power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage. Our hope and often our power.

[…]

Change is rarely straightforward… Sometimes it’s as complex as chaos theory and as slow as evolution. Even things that seem to happen suddenly arise from deep roots in the past or from long-dormant seeds.

One of Beatrix Potter’s little-known scientific studies and illustrations of mushrooms

And yet Solnit’s most salient point deals with what comes after the revolutionary change — with the notion of victory not as a destination but as a starting point for recommitment and continual nourishment of our fledgling ideals:

A victory doesn’t mean that everything is now going to be nice forever and we can therefore all go lounge around until the end of time. Some activists are afraid that if we acknowledge victory, people will give up the struggle. I’ve long been more afraid that people will give up and go home or never get started in the first place if they think no victory is possible or fail to recognize the victories already achieved. Marriage equality is not the end of homophobia, but it’s something to celebrate. A victory is a milestone on the road, evidence that sometimes we win, and encouragement to keep going, not to stop.

Solnit examines this notion more closely in one of the original essays from the book, titled “Changing the Imagination of Change” — a meditation of even more acute timeliness today, more than a decade later, in which she writes:

Americans are good at responding to crisis and then going home to let another crisis brew both because we imagine that the finality of death can be achieved in life — it’s called happily ever after in personal life, saved in politics — and because we tend to think political engagement is something for emergencies rather than, as people in many other countries (and Americans at other times) have imagined it, as a part and even a pleasure of everyday life. The problem seldom goes home.

[…]

Going home seems to be a way to abandon victories when they’re still delicate, still in need of protection and encouragement. Human babies are helpless at birth, and so perhaps are victories before they’ve been consolidated into the culture’s sense of how things should be. I wonder sometimes what would happen if victory was imagined not just as the elimination of evil but the establishment of good — if, after American slavery had been abolished, Reconstruction’s promises of economic justice had been enforced by the abolitionists, or, similarly, if the end of apartheid had been seen as meaning instituting economic justice as well (or, as some South Africans put it, ending economic apartheid).

It’s always too soon to go home. Most of the great victories continue to unfold, unfinished in the sense that they are not yet fully realized, but also in the sense that they continue to spread influence. A phenomenon like the civil rights movement creates a vocabulary and a toolbox for social change used around the globe, so that its effects far outstrip its goals and specific achievements — and failures.

Invoking James Baldwin’s famous proclamation that “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,” Solnit writes:

It’s important to emphasize that hope is only a beginning; it’s not a substitute for action, only a basis for it.

What often obscures our view of hope, she argues, is a kind of collective amnesia that lets us forget just how far we’ve come as we grow despondent over how far we have yet to go. She writes:

Amnesia leads to despair in many ways. The status quo would like you to believe it is immutable, inevitable, and invulnerable, and lack of memory of a dynamically changing world reinforces this view. In other words, when you don’t know how much things have changed, you don’t see that they are changing or that they can change.

Illustration by Isabelle Arsenault from Mr. Gauguin’s Heart by Marie-Danielle Croteau, the story of how Paul Gauguin used the grief of his childhood as a catalyst for a lifetime of art

This lack of a long view is perpetuated by the media, whose raw material — the very notion of “news” — divorces us from the continuity of life and keeps us fixated on the current moment in artificial isolate. Meanwhile, Solnit argues in a poignant parallel, such amnesia poisons and paralyzes our collective conscience by the same mechanism that depression poisons and paralyzes the private psyche — we come to believe that the acute pain of the present is all that will ever be and cease to believe that things will look up. She writes:

There’s a public equivalent to private depression, a sense that the nation or the society rather than the individual is stuck. Things don’t always change for the better, but they change, and we can play a role in that change if we act. Which is where hope comes in, and memory, the collective memory we call history.

dedicated rower, Solnit ends with the perfect metaphor:

You row forward looking back, and telling this history is part of helping people navigate toward the future. We need a litany, a rosary, a sutra, a mantra, a war chant for our victories. The past is set in daylight, and it can become a torch we can carry into the night that is the future.

Hope in the Dark is a robust anchor of intelligent idealism amid our tumultuous era of disorienting defeatism — a vitalizing exploration of how we can withstand the marketable temptations of false hope and easy despair. Complement it with Camus on how to ennoble our minds in dark times and Viktor Frankl on why idealism is the best realism, then revisit Solnit on the rewards of walkingwhat reading does for the human spirit, and how modern noncommunication is changing our experience of time, solitude, and communion.