Seth Godin quote

I’ve been passionate about skills-based volunteering throughout my career. Seattle-based democracyLab plays match-maker with their solution to address social, economic, environmental and civic problems; a good place to post projects and volunteer your time.


Universal Family Care

Nearly everyone I know is tasked with caring for an elder family member.

Hawaii and Washington have passed legislation to help their residents. This bipartisan concern deserves national attention.


Not surprisingly, Japan leads the way in tech for eldercare.

Observations about Cancer

This is a reference from a friend. Luke Coutinho is a nutritionist based in India specialized in holistic healing from cancer. Just another resource for anyone embarking on this journey.

The Indian diet is not the worst, but it’s not much better than BBQ and beer. Luke has developed a cult following in India while helping many folks recover from cancer. His program is not cheap, but a bargain compared to anything similar in the US.

Giving up the driver’s seat

Great talk here. I’m used to being in the driver’s seat. When it comes to helping a relative get through cancer treatment, I’ve relented to doctors and medical experts. Let experts drive when necessary. This is especially true in the world of customer success.

Age of work peak? 60?

Interesting article by social scientist Arthur Brooks. Air traffic controllers are forced to retire at 56. In Japan, CEOs power through their 70s and 80s. I’ll never forget giving a tech demo to Yashiro-San who became CEO of Shinsei Bank at 71 and still serves as the Chairman today at 90.  For me, it’s about a healthy lifestyle, staying relevant in my industry, and maintaining a strong professional network.

Japan may be a good place to avoid retirement if you love to work!


How to Deliver not so good news

Good tips here from Shep Hyken. As a customer of the Dollar Shave Club(DSC) (and one-time customer success account manager for a client delivering to DSC), DSC has executed this strategy well — achieving a price increase without encountering much churn.

Lincoln quote

There’s something wrong about a world bent towards rewarding crooks and con men. But it’s harder to make sense of the faithful and spiritually-inclined willing to support extreme agendas. Both liberals and conservatives focus on winning versus leading. What’s happened to moral leadership in America?

Are we teaching our children to win at all costs instead of making them into better versions of ourselves?


Third-party data makes sense for validation using sources such as D&B if in-house data quality is especially poor. No need to embark on red stapler exercises when things have to get done fast.

RIP Newstands

Less than 20% of newstands remain in NYC from their peak in the 1950s.


Only nostalgia remains for business travelers like me who were addicted to the experience of buying a newspaper and a morning bagel for the subway ride. All eyes including mine are transfixed to a small screen. Only few commuters are reading the newspapers of yesteryear.

Newstands have become snack trucks. Traditional journalism is becoming obsolete.

How to Import Data into Salesforce

This 5 video series along with a dedicated trailhead module will help if you are new to Salesforce.

The Trouble with Meetings

People analytics @Microsoft discovered the culprit behind employee dissatisfaction.

According to this NYT article, the meeting culture was out of control.

NYT article

An average of 27 hours per week were set aside for large meetings in one division. Self-driven work time @Microsoft got pushed to late nights and weekends. Sound familiar?

This has been the case at many of my enterprise clients.

I find the usage of tools like Slack and selective one-on-ones (which includes extended team members) can reduce the need for unnecessary meetings that clog up the calendar.

Oncora Medical

The startup Oncora Medical helps track existing patient data at MD Anderson for clinical decision support. Incredible user insights have been achieved through a myriad of cloud technologies over the past three decades. Yet, healthcare data has been difficult to parse. Enjoyed seeing this demo and meeting Oncora’s founders.

Cancer doctors are getting better patient insights thanks to Oncora’s data capture tool. Oncora and others @TMCx continue to unlock the black box mysteries of the healthcare industry.

Isaiah 65

TMCx Demo Day in Houston

Houston is not known as a cloud software hub or anything resembling Silicon Valley. It gets the world’s full attention when it comes to Healthcare and of course, Oil & Gas.

Looking forward to this startup event hosted by the TMCx accelerator…


What Cancer Takes Away

Poet and cancer survivor Anne Boyer writes a brilliant essay about her treatment experience for triple negative breast cancer — the same one my mom is battling.

The psychosocial side of cancer treatment requires extra attention because the pain alone from treatment can evict one’s sense of livelihood as Boyer accurately describes. The caretaker and hospital can make or break this narrative (which I’m learning everyday). I think integrated medicine needs greater attention in our healthcare system so that we can reduce the suffering from treatment. Nonetheless, better treatment methods are needed than relying on the brutal course of chemo, surgery, and radiation to treat complex cancers.

New Yorker article

During treatment, you must have a desire to live, but it is also necessary to believe that you are a person worth keeping alive. Cancer requires painful, expensive, environmentally harmful, extractive medicine. My desire to survive means that I still can’t bring myself to unravel survival’s ethics.

Sure Bet

I’m a proponent of soft skills. But without hard skills, it’s impossible to advance one’s tech career. Salesforce has created a plug-and-play ecosystem which enables anyone to pick up the hard skills to go along with their soft skills.

On top of this, Salesforce and its partner ecosystem continues to drive impactful projects worldwide.

Paul Greenberg, a longtime CRM analyst, has an insightful column here. Salesforce offers one of the safest career paths for change-makers beginning their careers in tech.

Top 10 Churn Causes

I won’t be able to make it to Gainsight’s annual conference. This Gainsight-produced video closely depicts the reality facing most SaaS companies. Take care of your customers like you take care of your health.

The enemy is fear







Integrated medicine

MD Anderson (MDA) leaves no rocks unturned. Specialists study cancer full time and embrace mind-body connection when treating patients. MDA offers a world-class integrated medicine program which includes Eastern perspectives and teachings. The mind needs treatment just like the body. Talks by gurus like this one are popular.

Houston is fortunate to have MDA.

Self-care matters

There’s an obsession with pleasing my customers and clients. Family is the key stakeholder. But there’s one relationship which I’ve managed to ignore for a long time.

As someone who’s constantly adding more responsibilities (including taking care of ailing family members), I end up doing less to keep my own engine running. In this classic movie scene from “Office Space” I can relate with the character of Dr. Swanson.

Personal health is my job #1. It requires selfishness. My body is my most important client. I listen closely and fix issues before it’s too late. The world can wait.

Relationship $

We spend our lives improving performance @work, but do less to enhance our relationships in the workplace. Good article here. Great work alone doesn’t speak for itself.

Agree with Carla Harris that relationship currency accelerates professional advancement as much as performance. Some companies get it and have developed formal channels to cultivate this culture. This is a form of gurukula, an education/mentoring system traceable to ancient India. Still, many firms haven’t established a culture of mentorship and coaching. It’s never been easier to do this with tech innovators such as Torch.

For those who consider themselves to be individual outliers in a workplace, it’s even more essential to build relationships with decision-makers and influencers.


Japanese translation of “nostalgia”


The Seattle-based nonprofit Earthcorps is powered by Salesforce.


Decision-making takes a backseat to the incessant pursuit of options. A single data-driven decision gets delayed because there are too many options; many news apps, too many candidates for president, many high quality restaurants, and too many software choices, and so on.

What happens when the pursuit of details to the order of perfection prevents the possibility of moving ahead with one solid choice? Usually, an unwanted delay at the expense of progress…It’s easier for me to decide from a sample size of three options, especially when I’m time-bound.

Salesforce Essentials

It’s never been easier to get started if you are brand new to Salesforce.

Good Friday

Houston is a decent city with lots to do. India, Japan, and BBQ on-demand…

Redefining ‘Diversity in Tech’

I co-hosted a dialogue recently sponsored by Net Impact. Our group at the Table4Twelve program was diverse and represented a decent cross-section of who works in tech. Yet, I left feeling uneasy.

As someone who’s benefited from my ’model minority-ness’, I continue to ask myself what can I do to change the equation for others? It’s easy to hire and work with people who look just like me. Asian-Americans have a seat at most tables in the tech world. It’s easy to keep quiet and just make money. Very few of us went through civil rights struggles. I try to think outside of the box. As an American first and foremost, how do I give back to the landscape which has benefited me?

There’s a huge American population who’ve been disadvantaged for generations — unlike my Asian story. They went through Hell to get me the civil rights I take for granted today. Many underrepresented communities simply don’t have access to the education channels which enable careers in tech. In many cases, they were overlooked based on cognitive bias.

Overt prejudice is common, too. America elected a president who clearly does not like underrepresented minorities and recent immigrants. Yet, he likes the thriving Asian community. There are too many large companies and startups which I’ve worked for where African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans were not employed for whatever reason. We are in the 21st century. Shockingly, not a single employee looked the part in some of the most successful startups which I’ve dealt with. There were Asian and Indian faces in the room, but something didn’t feel right especially when I kept meeting customers of these same companies who came from underrepresented backgrounds.

A few companies looked like their customers, but most did not. Tech leaders set the tone and it’s clear that some don’t value diversity, including many executives from privileged Asian backgrounds. I think it’s a cardinal sin not to hire employees who look like your customers.

I have a perspective on how we got here. For many companies, the narrative of achieving ‘Diversity in Tech’ continues to happen organically. It’s not difficult to recruit South Asian immigrants and Asian-Americans for technical roles. The talent pipeline is significant within these tech-obsessed communities.

Another checkbox gets filled by women from Asian backgrounds who actively pursue STEM careers because of a cultural push from early childhood. Most Asians have STEM career paths woven into their DNA fabric. Any type of career outside the realm of tech, medicine, business, or law has generally been frowned upon by Asian families. I should know firsthand as the son of an IBM lifer.

As a result, ‘Diversity in Tech’ is largely an Asian immigrant story represented by over 20% of the workforce in large tech companies. Sensing opportunity, the talent pipeline from Asian communities grow, too. The tech industry is a growing pond where even the smallest fish can grow big and fast on diligence alone. The story repeats itself as Asian immigrants lock up green cards and start blazing trails for their children so that that they can overachieve— by winning spelling bees, achieving patents, becoming tech entrepreneurs, and so on. History has been made quickly by this close-knit, laser-beam focused population in the US.

A virtuous cycle gets fulfilled as American companies invest heavily in the homelands of where their Asian talent pool was born. For example, many Western companies have become top employers in India. My own experience dovetails this narrative after having been to India and Japan for work. Paths to success continue to regenerate from Asia. The East-West global pipeline was built over the last 30 years. Tech talent continues to flow back and forth.

Many tech leaders believe the diversity equation has already been solved because of the Asian narrative. The problem is that the tech industry has enabled a walled garden of Asian talent, not a place where other minority groups can easily set afoot. Gender diversity has improved given the strong emphasis of STEM in schools. However, efforts to increase underrepresented minorities have shown only marginal gains.

Based on the recent dialogue with Net Impact, I hope such conversations are mirrored in tech boardrooms across the country. How can we create successful narratives for minorities (who aren’t Asian)? How do we create similar tidal waves of opportunities for them? Shouldn’t your employee base look like your customers?



Autumn Light

Currently reading this new book by Pico Iyer about his Japan musings, a country worth visiting if you haven’t been. This book is a well-crafted meditation on life, death, and mindful perseverance. Japan is well-chronicled in my blog. It’s interesting to see how much commonality there is amongst foreigners who’ve lived there.

I’ve had the fortune to meet Pico and his wife Hiroko. Our journeys don’t run parallel although we like the same Indian restaurant in Kyoto. This book feels like a continuation of The Lady and the Monk which was a hit for me when I first touched down in Japan and began living that life. Yet, Autumn Light reads like a final farewell. The Japan I knew was urban, fast-moving, and chock full of workaholics and alcoholics ricocheting across Tokyo. I’ve always wanted to live in rural Japan where time stood still. Many expats like me envied those who made a living far from Tokyo and Osaka, especially creative types like Pico Iyer and Alex Kerr (another Japan-based writer).

Instead, the Japanese countryside became a temporary refuge for me. The ultimate test of reflection is writing in noisy surroundings. Tokyo nearly made that impossible back then. Instagram delivers an equivalent distraction today. Getting to the beautiful countryside during Autumn season offered plentiful shortcuts without putting ink onto paper.

I regret not writing while I lived in Japan. Pico continues to write 30 years after his sojourn into Japan. Time seemingly stands still, yet everything slowly falls away in this excerpt.

Using Tasks in Salesforce

I’ve shared a lot of tips and short videos about using Salesforce. The software is getting much better.

Deep Listening

Thich Nhat Hanh/ Oprah interview (KarmaTube)

Admittedly, I’m a novice at deep listening. So much of the world’s suffering could be reduced by simply listening. Technology needs to be managed so that the culture of deep listening can grow.


2019 March Madness

Distraction reduces anxiety. March Madness can be a stress buster. My bracket usually gets busted in the 2nd week.

End-of-Season momentum is my favorite success criteria when I pick. The Longhorns aren’t in the mix this year. The ghost of all-time great Kevin Durant still lingers. Coach Strong is gone while Coach Smart is still around. Only 64 of 350+ teams get chosen. Texas wasn’t in the top 18% for basketball even after achieving the top operating revenue across the NCAA. Texas is known for football, anyway.

Keeping my fingers crossed for tiny Gonzaga.

Raj’s picks

(Shown after 3/20)

Text 510-674-1414

What if you had text-based access to peer counselors as issues came up at work? Work-related dilemmas often surface by texting. I recently learned about Empower Work, an independent nonprofit that offers text-based coaching. Free coaching is now available at your fingertips. There are obvious use cases. I also think this type of service can help with performance management and scaling one’s career.

Empower Work is seeking US-based volunteers who are savvy texters.

Volunteer link

myTrailhead demo

If your org is a heavy Salesforce user, myTrailhead will help increase user adoption.

The Rise of Conscious Capitalism

I’ve met many leaders and founders of companies. The leader of a company sets the tone for social impact. The companies which care the most are the ones driven to make a difference. The companies created by selfish leaders eventually wilt or get sold. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.

Successful leaders survive by embracing conscious capitalism and a millennial workforce. The old ways of doing business simply won’t last. 😉





When Strong is the Only Option

The Free Solo documentary captures one of the the greatest physical feats by a human being. Alex Honnold climbs El Capitan without a rope in less than 4 hours.


Nifty travel and expense management solution built on Salesforce

Try it out: Link


I spent this past week at MD Anderson (MDA) with a close relative of mine. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality, professionalism, and organization of this great hospital. The journey ahead won’t be easy, but I feel confident that this is the best place to win the battle against cancer. MDA listened to us and I’m confident they will deliver.

MDA patient satisfaction metrics: Link

Techstars Seattle

Geekwire article: Link

“Seattle leaders have done a good job of saying, ‘we need to do stuff to make this city a great place to live for everyone and not just a great place to make money.’ I think that’s an underreported narrative about why Seattle is winning more and more as an economic center. It’s because we’re doing stuff at the margins to make it a place that works for families and works for transportation. The partnership between business and civic leaders and taxpayers is what will set up the next 20 years of growth.

Chris DeVore

When the Market is Our Only Language

Great interview with Anand Giridharadas about his new book Winners Take All. How do we elevate conscious capitalism in an age of endless self-interest?

Isaiah 40:31

One-time meeting

Japanese hospitality is hard to forget. I have a strong sense of connection to Japan and go there more often than to my ancestral homeland India. Perhaps, omotenashi is traceable to the concept ichi-go ichi-e.

Helping, Hustling, and Harvesting

There are three attributes I really admire amongst my entrepreneur friends. Helping, hustling, and harvesting — move the needle for me.

#1 They are always helping even while selling. Helpers make the world go around. They volunteer and do things without asking. Helpers build trust quickly. Not surprisingly, helpers become top salespeople.

#2 Building something from scratch takes much hustling without fear. Hustlers in my network tend to be less formal, hit the streets, and talk to anyone with an open mind. They unlock and open doors. Steve Jobs was the original hustler before Silicon Valley became enamored with them. Hustlers thrive where playbooks don’t exist. Hustlers become your best friends when you need to get things done fast.

#3 Harvesting is a rare skill I see in my network. It can mean pursuing a business exit strategy, or it can mean gathering a crop of ideas. Harvesters build ideas and communities. They spark deeper conversations and connect with diverse leaders. They invest in and create communities which ignite innovation. Harvesters may not be investors seeking exits, but they still have a Midas touch — knowing where to gather a crop of ideas and package them for the market. As leaders, they create business categories, run conferences, and launch meetups, especially in areas where the dots need to be connected. This attribute is most popular in Silicon Valley.