Awesome is not Good Enough Anymore

health cause

We are making phenomenal progress!

The first printed samples (aptly called ‘minimum viable product’) have arrived and we are already fine-tuning!

The book cover is 99% complete. And while we’re keeping it under wraps for a little longer (don’t want to steal our thunder), we think you will love it as much as we do!

When it comes to page construction we’re really pushing the boundaries, dispensing with common page standards, and striving for the finest possible balance between ‘pleasing composition’ vs. readability (see right).

Read Tim Berry‘s Is selling awesome “first impressions” for websites owners a good idea? on Quora

10 Years Ago I Changed My Face

People change. Every breath is a small rebirth. Our body evolves each day. All our molecules, in their entirety, regenerate within seven years. What does stay is Karma. And the sooner we deal with it the better.

I’m nowhere near burning through my karmic junk. Typing about it doesn’t resolve it. What it does though is bring it all up on the surface. Once exposed, right in front of us, we have to deal with it. No excuse.

Ten years ago my face changed, in more ways than one. I woke up one morning and convinced myself that problems would vanish if I improved the way I look.

Teeth

I spent £4,000 on new veneers. For the unitiated, it involves chiseling the natural teeth and gluing porcelain fronts on them. The whole procedure took five visits.

Weeks into my new ‘smile’ I started receiving compliments about my teeth. Women were drawn closer I thought. I even got laid. Drunken with the perceived results I simply couldn’t stop there.

Ears

Anything sticking out in an asymmetrical manner is deemed unpleasant. And so it seems were my ears. Disproportionate, all over the place. The £800 twenty-minute operation to stitch them back on my head was a no-brainer. I was bandaged, swollen, bruised, and in pain for months. The result was okay, but not perfect.

Nose

The epitome of facial features. Our nose is our character, our resume, our ego. The £3000 operation didn’t go that well. What was referred to as a calcium built-up grew out of the bridge of my nose. I stared at the mirror dozens times everyday, praying for the bruises to subside and my nose to improve. It took months for the swelling to go. The numbness only cleared up after some years.

Moles

I was never comfortable with having them on my neck. I thought they looked revolting. Thought they were bad luck. I was a conscript soldier in Greece when I had them removed by a military surgeon. During the operation, two soldiers were literally tearing down a wall. The operating room was noisy and full of dust. It went okay in the end.

Ears II

They looked like ‘telephone ears’. I wasn’t happy with them, so I had a corrective surgery. The surgeon that operated the first time had since died, so a colleague of his offered to fix my ears free of charge, save for the operating room fees, approx £200. I was happy with the outcome.

Nose II

I couldn’t keep on living with that lingering thought. I had to do something. The surgeon behind the first nose job had since been fired. A colleague of his—apparently the top name in the clinic—offered to fix it.

I remember waking up after the operation and staring at the wall. I could hear a woman’s cries and screams from next door.

“Aghhhh… my nipples are too high!” she howled. “No! They don’t look normal!”

Read Suryaday Nath‘s answerWhy did I not cry when my mom died almost 10 years ago? on Quora

Few things are more traumatic than the moment those bandages are removed. When you’re confronted with your new breasts, teeth, ears or nose. I could feel for her. The disbelief, the helplessness.

I spent a solid three to four years worrying about the way I look. Ten years down the line I look back with some liberating detachment. Everything is still in place, except for the veneers. Porcelain has since cracked and pieces have fallen off. Not sure how attractive my smile is anymore. I don’t care.

Ten years on, I know enough to appreciate the “wabi sabi” of life. Everything is perishable, including our body and wealth. Ironically it is this realisation—the letting go of external validations and attachments—that leads to true joy and beauty.

Surviving a Networking Event – Adventures of a Social Caterpillar

I didn’t have second thoughts about attending Chris Guillebeau’s London book tour. Given how reluctant I am about all things social, then traversing all the way to Shoreditch for his event says something.

Haven’t read his first book “The Art of Non-Conformity.” In fact until yesterday I had no plans to add his latest “$100 Startup” book to an already overdue reading list either.

social caterpillar

Still, I wanted to meet the guy. If nothing else, he is a true embodiment of the potential of the online platform: from publishing all the way to starting a global movement.

I wanted to try and socialize with similar-minded people too. Oh, and I had nothing planned for Friday evening either.

The event was hosted downstairs at Pizza East, in the same square block as Mother agency, where Tony Hsieh (Zappos.com) held his talk a couple of weeks back (and what am I doing still living in Notting Hill? Subject for another navel-staring post).

His talk was down to earth and inspiring. It kind of made me wanna get out and *do* something, like launch a start-up or something.

Networking was never quite my forte. I cannot mingle. I’m nervous. Dunno what to say, I always wanna look for ways to escape. Okay, so now that we’ve established just how anti-social I am, let’s go to what I learned last night.

You don’t need to be a social butterfly (in the traditional physical sense) to succeed as an entrepreneur anymore.

Two weeks ago Tony Hsieh wrapped up his talk, and then disappeared. No socialising, nothing. And given his long tenure as an entrepreneur he even seemed somewhat shy during the talk. So here is an example of a introvert millionaire who seems to do most of his socializing online. That’s the impression I got anyway.

Chris answered a question about this very topic yesterday. He admitted to being a bit of an introvert himself, but countered that you need people before you do anything worthwhile. His time is apparently equally divided between creating and connecting. Connection can largely be online these days, with not much physical interaction: as long as it is of service to people.

You don’t need to invent the iPhone, he said. Just be useful, be of service. If you have ten followers on your blog, then those are the most important people in the world for you.

The talk was soon over, and I had to mingle. Business cards were burning a hole in my pocket.

The person I found most approachable was Chris himself. After talking to him, things went downhill. My voice could hardly come out in any coherent or audible way. I stood there watching the crowd talk as if they knew each other already. How does one squeeze in?

After a few awkward advances, some lame one liners and a few walk-outs, I managed to speak to a few people. I met a global activist, a vegan chef, a videographer, and a group of photographers. All were exceptionally entrepreneurial. I met a lady who owns a biotech start-up and supplements her income with career coaching, for example.

When business cards ran out and when my voice was totally off, I figured I should take the hint and make a gracious exit.

This was Chris’s only tour-stop outside US and Canada. I left the event feeling much better about London.

PS: If you plan to buy his book, I’d suggest you avoid the UK version. See, the UK publisher decided that the book illustrations were not serious enough for the British ‘business’ audience. Now, considering the illustrator is Mike Rohde, the guy who illustrated Rework, their decision was ill advised. Head to Amazon.com for the real deal.