Monday, December 25, 2017


Flashback 2004, Mumbai: My second day as intern at Bombay Times and I had messed up an interview with VJ Maria Goretti. It needed to be 450 words and she talked worth only a 150. The editor said my word power was poor. It hurt. Then a senior journalist fell ill and I was assigned his story: to interview a disabled girl. I walked into the Fellowship of the Physically Handicapped at Haji Ali and met wheelchair-bound Vipasha Mehta who became first person in India with cerebral palsy to earn a PhD. She smiled at me. I started asking her parents questions. They answered a couple but then her father told me, "Vipasha does not like anyone to speak on her behalf. You must ask her questions." I looked at the shrivelled body of the 32-year-old who had spent 8 years keying her PhD thesis. She couldn't use her hands so they attached a stylus to her head and she typed by nodding. Her speech was unintelligible and I spent 3 hours trying to understand each word she spoke. Her father helped when I pleaded. I wrote a 700-word piece the editor liked. Since then I have faced many challenges but each time I wanted to give up I think of that one woman who showed the world that even she could do it. When you learn how to communicate with those who can't speak, you really learn about communication.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

How to create your Silicon Valley?

The popular recipe for creating the “next” Silicon Valley goes something like this:
1. Build a big, beautiful, fully equipped technology park
2. Mix in R& D labs and university centers;
3. Provide incentives to attract scientists firms and users;
4. Interconnect the industry through consortia and specialized suppliers;
5. Protect intellectual property and tech transfer; and,
6. Establish a favorable business environment and regulations.

It happens all the time all over the world. And it never works.

- Alec Ross in The Industries of the Future