Meet my Virtual Friend – Mr. Nelson Wong

Mr. Nelson Wong and I connected on Ecademy, around the year 2004.  We haven’t yet spoken to each other or virtually or physically shaken hands.  We still consider each other as respected friends whose views we like to read and understand.  Ecademy was a great platform where I learnt “ Connections first – Business Later” and I later added – Business may or may not happen ever but we shall acquire a friend. And Indeed, Ecademy had a campaign called a Friend in Every City which was very popular.

When I requested, Nelson about my sort of inactive blog since 2004 which I had re-activated without any SEO or HTML, CSS knowledge and it was going to touch 100,000 views and I wish to interview and share 20 of my friends, colleagues, mentees, Mentors, Seniors – he readily agreed.

He also helped me with the editing of the interview as this is the first time I am doing these and I am grateful for his help for helping with this edition of the said interview.

 

So who is Mr. Nelson Wong?

Nelson wong.jpg

Mr. Nelson Wong was born in Singapore. He is married. By way of education, he did his BS in Computer Science & in Business Administration, both at the University at Albany, New York.  By profession he is a trade & data analyst in international trade & finance. He is also an e-Business owner of a start-up – www.jnellyns.com.

He has almost four decades of working experience in IT in the soft commodities, precious metals, oil & gas, accounting & forestry products sectors. He was also an external consultant & international trade analyst with the UNECE/FAO, Geneva, Switzerland, for 9 years.

His critique of current politics in USA is incisive, precise and very authentic.  I enjoy reading his posts on Facebook.

 

 

  1. What motivated you to become what you ARE today?

 

  1. Family background. Growing up in a lower income family motivated me to break out of that poverty cycle. A poverty cycle can become a self-feeding vicious cycle, if you don’t break out of it.
  2. This gave me the tools that I needed to move forward & ahead.
  3. They gave me the encouragement to become what I dare to be today.

 

  1. What is the greatest joy you get from what you do?

 

  1. Seeing what I do accomplished its purpose. Having a purpose in what I do is important to me. Otherwise, it’ll drain me instead of driving me.
  2. In almost everything that I do, I learned something new. This gives me joy too.
  3. The ability to share with others about what I’ve learned. Sometimes, knowledge is very much like manure. Keep it in one place & it benefits nobody. Spread it around & everybody gets a slice of the action.

 

  1. What do your fans mean to you?

 

  1. Not much. My focus has always been on the task at hand.
  2. While I’ve no problems working as a member of a team, I’ve always enjoyed working alone.
  3. While I appreciate having friends who will encourage me in what I do, I’m not too much into building a fan base. I don’t have a celebrity mindset.

 

  1. What are you working on next?

 

This is provided that I can actually call it a day anytime soon. I’ve always wanted to design a system in bringing water into dry or arid regions or areas undergoing droughts. Believe me, it’s a matter of time before some countries go to war over fresh drinking water. It’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” We’ve also seen the horrific effects of droughts around the world over the last few years due to climate change. The recent fires in California is a stark reminder that we need water & we need it fast. Climate change is real & it’s becoming deadly.

 

  1. Who are your favourite authors?

 

This is a very good question. I actually don’t have any favorite authors apart from JRR Tolkien. I’ve a collection of about 2,000 books in both hardcopy & softcopy versions. Many of them were written by a mixed bag of authors. I normally read what I need to read & learn something, from data science to programming & from photography to playing the bass guitar.

 

  1. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?

One of the first was “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling. I was a cub scout then & we were encouraged to read this book to understand the birth of the Boy Scouts movement. I’ve always loved animals & nature, so this story made me appreciate them even more.

  1. How do you discover the authors you read?

Usually through research & also through recommendations in technical papers & reviews, as well as in trade magazines. As I’ve said before, I’m skewed more towards subject matters than towards the authors themselves.

  1. What are your five favourite books, and why?

 

  1. The R Book by Michael J. Crawley – This is a favorite reference book of mine in R language programming. It’s almost like a Bible to me as I’ve been programming in R for only 2 years.
  2. Financial Risk Modelling & Portfolio Optimization with R by Bernhard Pfaff – This is a favorite reference book of mine in understanding financial data science from an R programmer’s prospective.
  3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JRR Tolkien – I can hardly think of anyone whose writings that could challenge & stretch the human imagination just as much as JRR Tolkien’s.
  4. Music Theory for the Bass Player by Ariane Cap – A very helpful & enlightening book in merging music theory with fingering (finger aerobics) in a very logical & progressive fashion, for bass guitar players.
  5. Various books on photography & travels by the National Geographic Society. These books helped to broaden my mind & enlarge my vision. Very hard to read these books without their amazing photographs embedding themselves inside my mind, for almost a lifetime.

 

  1. What do you read for pleasure?

 

Reading & browsing through books on travels, nature, animals, photography & music.

 

  1. What is your e-reading device of choice?

 

It has to be my iPad mini. I’ve up to 100 of my favorite books in my iPad & at my age, it’s also much easier to read the news from my iPad than from my cell phone.

 

  1. What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

 

I think of it more as an ingrown self-discipline than an inspiration. I used to get up at 5:30am in the morning while growing up in SE Asia. Now that I’m working from home, I still get up at between 5:45am to 6:15am in the morning, even on weekends.

 

  1. When you’re not working, how do you spend your time?

 

Spending time with the family to create memories, listening to music, playing the bass guitar, going for nature walks, nature photography & catching up with friends in church on weekends. Apart from a good movie & watching the news, I’d avoid watching any TV at all. And of course, I still take my wife to the movies, romantic dinners & shopping every now & then.

 

  1. Do you have some work and rest related non-negotiable rules?

 

I spend up to 12 hours a day working on my eBusiness & my consultancy business. I’ll take a catnap after lunch if I can spare the time. Other than that, no work is to be done after 10pm & weekends. Weekends are for the wife. I take over the things she would have to do otherwise on weekends.

 

  1. Do you remember the first assignment you ever did?

 

Well, as a fresh computer science graduate, one of my first assignments was in data entry at an infamous investment bank in New York City in the early 80’s. I say “infamous” because this bank was liquidated & shut down later. And some of the bosses went to prison. No prizes for guessing here.

 

  1. What is your working process?

 

I tend to spend a lot of time on planning. I want to know if the task before me can be done within the time & with the resources I have in hand. I want to know what am I supposed to deliver. If there are constraints, I like to know where or what are the compromises that I’ve to make. I want to know what is the objective or purpose behind the task. I want to know who are all the stake-holders involved. So my working process is a bit like creating a mind map or running an ERP system inside my head.

 

  1. What is your unique Work Style?

 

  1. Always under promise & over deliver.
  2. Always document everything.
  3. Remember a good income is important but a good outcome is much more important.

 

  1. What is your approach and how do you Plan the Finishing touches to the work?

 

From the very onset, I’d try to visualize & imagine what the final deliverables would be like. From there, I’ll try to work backwards in streamlining the processes in factoring in the finishing touches. In working with any clients, I’d query them on their expectations & on what kind of deliverables or end results would they expect to see. If your clients cannot verbalize their expectations, you’ll end up working with a moving goal post.

 

  1. Please describe your desk.

 

A very respectable & decent organized mess, seriously.

 

  1. Where did you grow up, and did this influence your business, If Yes – How?

 

No. I grew up in SE Asia in the 70’s. In those days, I doubt anyone knew what a computer was, unless they were working in a bank or a major organization. To be fair, neither eBusiness nor big data existed anywhere back then. It was a girlfriend of a good friend of mine who introduced me to the world of computer science. She was doing her first year in computer science at Monash University then.

 

  1. When did you first started what you do?

 

Shortly after I got married in the mid-80’s. I realized that there was little financial security in working for somebody else. Worse, if I was working for a family business, which I did a few times. The lack of financial security & an absence of a career path in these companies awakened a deep desire within me to start my own business & put my nose to the grindstone. In striking out on my own as an entrepreneur in the early days were fraught with disappointments. There were many challenges. At one point, I decided that it was best to get a full-time job & worked on my business in the evenings & weekends, until I was really ready. Since then, I’ve been on my own for the last 10 years. It was quite a journey. I learned a lot.

 

Thank you, Mr. Nelson Wong.

Advertisements

Meet my Mentor – Mr. Askander Mirza. ExtraOrdinary Speaker.

Meet my Mentor at and President of the Garden City Toastmasters International
Mr. Askander Mirza.

IMG_20170220_172859
Corporate Trainer, NLP practitioner, Leadership coach, Distinguished Toastmaster, Public Speaker,
Life Coach
Mr. Mirza came to our Toast masters club to deliver an Educational Speech. Impressed, I went to meet him next
week He readily agreed to Mentor me as I explained that as a Speaker I wanted to learn and practice on Voice
and Body Language. Next week, he pushed me to give an ‘Ice Breaker’ speech impromptu! The week after, he
asked my speech write up and returned as it was not as per his guidelines. Again, I went to club – without
rehearsing and he pushed me to the Stage and gave a Thumbs up – Meaning – Rock the Stage! And, I did. He
gave few tips and then some more and sent a WhatsApp about my energy levels and Voice lowering as also Time
management in Speeches. He is humble, Hyper-Active – “Walk the Talk and Talk the Talk” and the Soul, Spirit,
Body, Mind of the Club. He is simple, humble and has a habit of Formal Attire, which he has inherited from his
beloved father – as he once told us, when the HyperCurios of the club asked him this question.
He has a Competitive spirit which I still at Peak. He participates in the Contests as also mentors, coaches new,
upcoming speakers including Aged speakers like me who are keen” Erudite” learners like him.
This is the First and the oldest Toastmasters club of Bangalore and he grapples with multiple issues without even
a frown on his smiling face and that is his speciality. As an Evaluator – he is inspiring yet Direct and clear in his
Feedback to speakers. He knows and shares that his club has highest number of Distinguished ‘toastmasters and
the Best in Class Speech Evaluators in the Bangalore town.
When I told him about my Blog and whether he would like to be interviewed – He readily agreed.
Here are some of the answers:

  1. What motivated you to become what you ARE today?
    The Quest for knowledge. In my job and my business I’d rarely come across people of knowledge or Erudite . That left me ever thirsty to associate myself with knowledgeable people, to be in Company of educated people and the search ended when I found Toastmasters.

 
2. What is the greatest joy you get from what you do?
The Joy of sharing. When you share the knowledge you have, when you help
someone in whatever manner , when you impart knowledge to someone else, the
joy , the satisfaction you get is better experienced.
3. What do your fans mean to you?
They mean everything to me. I gives immense pleasure to know that there are
people out there who recognise you, who value you, who place you in high
esteem. In this materialistic world it is definitely appreciable that there are people
who really appreciate your knowledge and experience, who value you for your
asset of knowledge rather than the assets of real estate or money.
4. What are you working on next?
I am working on to write a book on how to tackle day to day problems, to prevent
tension from building up, how to stop bad experiences and failures play on your
mind, to live in present and to plan for future.
5. Who are your favourite authors?
Dale Carnegie, Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, Agatha Christie, Jane Austin, Chetan
Bhagat, Gabriel Garcia, Jibran, Bernad Shaw, Vikram Seth, R K Narayan, Ruskin
Bond, Prem Chand, Shaikh Saadi, Razia Bhat, James Hadley Chase & many more.
6. What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The morning prayer and pre-morning prayers. I wake up at 4 am most of the days,
sometimes 5 am.
7. When you're not working, how do you spend your time?
Reading books. Watching TV and corresponding on email, face book etc.
8. Do you have some work and rest related non-negotiable rules?

When I am working I don’t like anyone or anything to disturb me. I am fully
dedicated and nothing can deviate me from my work.
I hit the bed before 10 pm and don’t pick up calls after that.
9. How do you discover the authors you read?
I opt for some popular authors. When it comes to new authors I prefer reading the
review of their books before reading the book itself. And sometimes by word of
mouth.
10. Do you remember the first assignment you ever did?
I would like to tell about my first speech rather than my professional experience as
an Engineer. My First Speech called the “ Ice Breaker” in Toastmasters parlance
was delivered in mid 2007 for which I got the Best Speaker Award at my Club.
Before that my Mentor made me deliver the speech in front of him many times, and
after lot of trial and error , corrections and improvements he gave me the signal to
deliver my first speech. Post that there is no looking back.
11. What is your working process?
While working I am opposite of procrastination. I do today what I have to do
tomorrow. I always meet my targets before time. I realise my team finds it difficult
to keep pace with me. In such situations I try to be little flexible.
12. What is your unique Work Style?
No short cuts. I sincerely do what I have to do and hope for the best results.
13. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Cannot be specific about the first. In our times the stories were heard from elders
rather than read. My father told a story about a scorpion and a tortoise whose
lesson was to not to trust again the person who has harmed you.
14. What is your approach and how do you Plan the Finishing touches to the work?
I divide my work in parts. Tackle one at a time. Integrate the work. Review. If
necessary reorganise it. The finishing touches are by using suitable words,
phrases and idioms wherever possible.
15. What are your five favourite books, and why?
How to win friends and Influence people, Sapiens, Three Thousand Stitches,
Yadoon ki Baraat, Nostradamus, Vulture is a patient bird, Discovery of India, My
Journey, Positive Attitude and many more.
16. What do you read for pleasure?
Short stories .
17. What is your e-reading device of choice?
Laptop
18. Please describe your desk.
A ‘S’ type chair, a small table arranged in a way that the light falls on the book
from my back. A note pad, some pens.
19. Where did you grow up, and did this influence your business, If Yes – How?
I grew up in the city of Mysore. Most of the time my father would take me along. He
was an erudite. He would have long discussions with his friends on topics like
history, religion, literature , psychology etc. That way I had lot of knowledge at a
very young age. Heard names like Frued, Shakespeare, Milton, Chalukya, Jesus,
Ben Hur, Ashoka, Buddha , Bose, Churchill, Hitler, Bernard Shaw etc at an age
when children would hardly know the names of their teachers.
I started my business in Mysore but was not so successful as Mysore is not a
good place for business.
20. When did you first started what you do?
I started my business in Mysore. Was not so successful. Went to Middle East and
started my fabrication and machineries business there. Initially it was tough. Later
on I became highly successful thanks to my technical knowledge , completing
projects before time and giving high quality at the same time. My habit of doing
tomorrow’s work today really worked and also perfect planning.

10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy – Brain Pickings

via 10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy – Brain Pickings

We All Screw Up, How to Make Our Screw Ups Better! – Marshall Goldsmith

via We All Screw Up, How to Make Our Screw Ups Better! – Marshall Goldsmith

 

We All Screw Up, How to Make Our Screw Ups Better!

In a recent interview with my great friend Steve Berglas, we talked about his work teaching people how to deal with their errors, their screw ups. Steve is an expert on this. An executive coach and management consultant who spent twenty-five years on the faculty of Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry had a private psychotherapy practice in Boston, Steve is the author of five amazing books, including his most recent Stay Hungry and Kick Burnout in the Butt.

Below is an excerpt from our interview in which Steve helps us understand that we all make mistakes and it’s okay!

Marshall: You know one of the things I love about your work is that you teach people how to deal with their errors, their screw ups. We all make mistakes. What’s your suggestion for dealing with mistakes?

Steve: The best and most efficient way that a person who has status or stature can deal with an error is by saying, “I screwed up. My bad. Mea culpa.” And there are hundreds and hundreds of examples, but I think the best one is Roberto Goizueta.

Marshall: What happened?

Steve: Roberto was the CEO of Coke, and he was fearful that Pepsi was encroaching, so he approved, “New Coke”. Well the uproar was like Babe Ruth being sold by the Red Socks to the Yankees. It was unbelievable! After hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people protested, he said, “Look, I made a mistake.” And, he gave us back what’s now called Classic Coke. Because he admitted he made a mistake. Because he said to us, “I made an error. I blew it.” And, he fixed the error, Coke’s stock quintupled. By doing that admission of error and vulnerability, he empowered the entire brand.

What happens when you say, “I’m vulnerable,” is people say, “Look that guy’s more accessible, the guy’s more confident.” If a guy can admit his errors, he’s got to have courage. And that’s how you make your screw ups better.

Marshall: I love it. In my own work I ask people to ask for confidential feedback and in a sense ask them to do the same thing you’re suggesting. I ask them to stand up and say, “I feel good about this, and this and this behavior, and hey, here’s a mistake I made. For example, I haven’t been a good listener. If I haven’t listened to you or other people, I’m sorry. Please accept my apology. There is no excuse.”

People sometimes believe that when they openly admit to errors that people will think less of them. But like yours, my research is very clear, people think more of you. It shows you have the courage to admit you can make a mistake. You have the humility to step up and say it and do something about it. It shows people that you’re a human being, and you’re giving them the respect of not playing games with them.

So, I love your work, I love the new book, and I love this concept. Thank you!

 

On June 20th, I was honored to be inducted into the Thinkers 50 Hall of Fame – whose members include the top management thinkers of our time.

Random Phrases, My Day and Creativity

  1. Knuckle Down Meaning: Getting sincere about something; applying oneself seriously to a job.  Two impromptu Ice-breaker speeches – moving towards Goal 1. Did not win prize, got a participation certificate but the pleasure was in audience individuals – rank strangers coming back not just complimenting but quoting me ‘VERBATIM’ and saying, they loved it, they would like to keep in touch, some even said we would like to learn a few things from you. I was humbled. 
  2. Dropping Like Flies Meaning: To fall down ill or to die in large numbers. I wish it does not happen to humans, pests and insects, viruses and diseases is another matter. What I noticed today is the best Evaluators club of Toastmasters had difficulty in filling the hall with audience and participants for the Marathons the Area Directors are planning to hold across city.  One actually said about ATTRITION of members? That was sad.  It said a lot about the lack of leadership and the Pull and Push of the managing committees.  
  3. Man of Few Words Meaning: A person who does not speak a great deal; someone who talks with as few words as possible.  Met an interesting person. He was my speech evaluator. His speciality is being brief and as an extempore impromptu ice breaker speaker who was pushed to speak – I had failed by exceeding the time limit.  He said he will mail his evaluation ! That’s it.  🙂 
  4. Poke Fun At Meaning: Making fun of something or someone; ridicule.  Had this experience. At the end of a dominant communicator speech the speaker did actually did not want any questions. When asked – he asked me to repeat thrice and explain 4 time and I was about to say – “Let’s take this off line as I did not ask this to challenge you but to support your views, just clarifying a point”.  Some Speakers are on their High HOrse ! They feel, they are the only one who can challenge! Anyone asking a question is a lowly minion, dimwit and brainless.  My Professorial hat tells me to answer them – Questions are never stupid – answers are – like mine 🙂 🙂 .  
  5. Hear, Hear Meaning: A shout of agreement, or to draw attention to a speaker. I asked the speaker that when a friend is faced with problems – should I make an appreciative enquiry and find what solutions he has in his mind, as he knows the problems best. Second, is my friend looking for an Affirmation that the solution he has found has my tacit support so that he can try it out with heart? I was taken round and round in derogatory circles with a menacing look on the face by a socalled Guinness Award winner and World Speech champion and I felt very sad for him.  What did I do to hurt his Ego? 
  6. On the Same Page Meaning: Thinking alike or understanding something in a similar way with others.  Sometimes, in a gathering when you wish to say that you are in the same boat, same page, thinking alike – it is best to use non-verbal communication like nodding your head to convey Yes, I agree.  
  7. Swinging For the Fences Meaning: Giving something your all.  One more article coming up in a new club Newsletter which was launched today. Felt great.  Meeting new Chamber of commerce and meeting some very interesting and interested people ( atleast on the face of it) I felt great and felt genuinely that there are things I can do to assist and help.  The new Chairman was receptive and said wants to have a one on one Strategy/ vision statement session.  He said he is a Visual thinker like me, that was pleasing. 
  8. Up In Arms Meaning: Angry; being roused to the point that you are ready to fight.  But I gave up. I saw on Whatsapp the pictures of a poor girl being honored by a sport shoes company and giving them her name as she could not afford them. i felt sad for someone whose dream was ignited, latent wishes brought to fore in my mentoring but had given up on them with diffidence.  I was angry inside but let go. 
  9. Quick and Dirty Meaning: Things that are fixed with great speed, but as a result, it’s probably not going to work very well. Hmmm… it was a busy day, I could have gone and got my Suits overhauled now that I have lost so much weight and bought a new pair of formal shoes as the formal meetings are moving up but I just changed jackets for two occasions – Reminder to self – GO FIX THIS ASAP. 
  10. Mountain Out of a Molehill Meaning: One who escalates small things and turns them into big problems.  I found a senior evaluator indulging in overstatements, exaggerations, over praise, excessive acting skills show and was bit turned off.  Then I met him one on one for about 7 minutes, got his life story out and realised that even at our late age – the need to RECOGNITION is so high that NAME AUR FAME KE LIYE KUCHH BHI KAREGA i.e. I’ll do any thing to get name and fame. I quietly agreed to disagreed and moved on to another person by saying “Sorry, Sir, I do not wish to monopolise you, others also need your kind attention”. Thank you.

The Four X Factors of Exceptional Leaders

via The Four X Factors of Exceptional Leaders

How to Launch a Profitable Startup – 5-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs | Growth Hackers

via How to Launch a Profitable Startup – 5-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs | Growth Hackers