Runversary!

I celebrated my running anniversary this weekend by running in the 408k-Race to the Row. Achieving this milestone alongside Arjun, who was with me last year as well made it special.IMG_4975

Running consistently for a year isn’t a big deal for most people, but it is for me. I went from a sedentary lifestyle in 2017 to turn it around in 2018 and be able to log over 450 miles of running in 2019. The year of running saw me move from just under 12 minutes a mile to ~8-9 minutes a mile. The feeling of competing with myself freed me from all pressures.

To ensure I do not quit, I gave myself simple goals. Instead of trying to do too much, I focused on being consistent, and it helped me not to get hurt.

With 12 races under my belt in 2019, I feel comfortable in thinking of myself as a runner. While running is a part of life now, if someone had told me in 2017 that I’ll be signing up for races around the BayArea in 2020, I’d laughed them off. And here I am now, not only signing myself up but also urging others to join me.

So, if you are new to running, please find some pointers hereunder that might help you.

Get out, get going: The first step is to get out there and get running. Pace, distance, stop-and-go does not matter. Find your groove – music, the trail, the route, a friend, a run club – whatever gets you going, do that. Some folks like to mix it up; I am a creature of habit. Again, do what feels right for you.

Don’t give up: Pretty much everything that can come in the way, will. Stay focused, make running; make yourself a priority. Start with a smaller duration and distance. Push yourself to finish that regularly. In the first 2-3 months, you will discover “new” muscles, which will wreak havoc with your brain and test your grit. 

Don’t give up. Don’t quit.

Remember, “Most people give up when they’re about to achieve success.”

Celebrate: When you achieve your goals, small or large – run for a week, a month, a distance, a time – celebrate. I even marked the experience of buying new running shoes. It signified that I had worn them off. Be thankful, feel lucky, rejoice in the discovery of your own body. It is more than the keeper of our brain, its a paradise of our soul. That we are able-bodied to run is a blessing in itself and celebration-worthy. 

If you want a partner to run a mile, a 5k, or a 10k in the BayArea, contact me – I’d love to be a tiny part of your journey.

Most importantly, enjoy the journey. Good Luck!

PS: Making a special memory on the rare palindrome date (02/02/2020) is noteworthy too. Arjun and I were disappointed later in the day when 49ers didn’t finish the job. Onwards..

The First Mile…

Representing Running Series Star Display 2019
2019 Represent Running (now RunLocal) Series Star – 5 Races

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

I was self-grounded, stuck in unhealthy ways – eating anything at odd times, working all hours, sleeping when exhausted, drinking coffee at 4:00 PM, enjoying a sugary treat at 9:00 PM. I was living the so-called “startup life.” I justified this lifestyle as an investment towards a better life in the later years. I internalized this as the cost of a career in Silicon Valley.

I was wrong.

And my family bore the actual cost of this unhealthy lifestyle. Something had to change.

In Jan 2018, leveraging my new Apple Watch, I started tracking my movement with the goal of 5,000 steps a day. I set a low bar fearing failure. After a couple of months, I realized I was not always completing all the rings on my watch. Goals drive me, and I wanted those circles to be complete. I started walking for at least 30 minutes every day, and I got hooked. For the next eight months, I was walking, not for minutes, but distance. A mile or two became three and four and sometimes even more. The more I walked, the better I felt. Alongside this, I made some simple changes to my sleeping and eating habits – slept at the same time every night, ate only at stipulated times. Towards Fall 2018, I was feeling good in my conditioning that I ran my first 5K in over a decade. It was challenging!

At the start of 2019, I set a goal to run five 5Ks in the year. I started

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looking for the events that I could participate in and saw the Run Local Events (formerly called Represent Running). I noticed they had an 8K run on Feb 3, 2019 (408k). Knowing well that I won’t be able to run the distance entirely, I told myself to participate with “finish without injury” in mind. Running alongside a friend, I was successful in running the full distance. I felt great and thankful. Also, so excited that I signed up for the entire five-race series organized by Run Local Events.

At the close of 2019, I had run 1x5k, 1x8k, 6x10k, 2x12k official races. I also tracked 90 runs of at least 5.25k in the year.

Over the past few months, some folks asked me – what changed? What do you recommend to others

Here’s my attempt at articulating those responses coherently.

  1. Prioritize Yourself: Save 30-45 minutes every day for yourself. Be active, whether you walk or jog or sprint is immaterial. Also, pay attention to your mental health. Those who love us the most often deal with our unacceptable behavior when we are not at our best mentally. J.T Service recently told me, “People who move are usually happy.” I agree.
  2. Be Consistent: Charles Duhigg wrote a whole book on “The Power of Habit.” One can rid of the old habits only when you create new ones. Whether it is a particular time, a venue, or a friend – create a plan and stick to it. Make a contract with yourself and follow-through regularly.
  3. Compete With Yourself: When I put my headsets on for the run, I focus on my objectives – finish without injury. Set your own goals, be motivated by them, and do not let anything or anyone else bother you.
  4. Find Your Champions: Self-motivated or not, we all need a support system. Whether it is your significant other, family, friends, or co-workers, create a group of folks who will root for you, be in your court, and be willing to show you the mirror when you falter. Besides my family, without whom none of this was possible, I used the Apple Watch rings as a way to keep me honest.

Whether you are on this self-care path already or thinking about it – remember, the first step is the most important towards that beautiful journey.

Earlier today, I picked up my bib for the 2020 version of the 408k race scheduled for tomorrow, 2/2/2020. I am excited, again, and very thankful to my wife and kids to being my Champions.

3 Takeaways from IoT, ML, AI session at Ericsson D-Fifteen

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LtoR: Soledad, Jessica, Teresa, Daniel at the D-Fifteen event on Jul 17, 2019

Daniel Elizalde hosted Soledad AlbornoJessica Groopman, and Teresa Tung last night at Ericsson D-Fifteen in Santa Clara, CA. The experts and practitioners on AI and ML, this all-women (yay!) panel discussed “Unlocking the Value: ML and IoT.” The exchange, as expected, was very informative and thought-provoking. While a range of topics was covered, here are three things that stood out for me.

1) Business Outcome: Technologists find it easy to dive into the nitty-gritty of the technical specs and the fascinating world of sensors and devices. Having a clearly defined, agreed-upon “business outcome” is critical for the overall success of the IoT initiatives. Calling it a “product mindset,” Teresa articulated that one must have a business problem to solve post the data-collection. Efforts throwing technology without a clear business objective usually do not deliver optimal results. 

2) IoT is an Ecosystem Play: Daniel called out that customers demand an integrated solution. However, there is inherent complexity in manufacturing, deploying, implementing, collecting, and processing required for a single player. Some have tried, nonetheless, but have not been very successful. As such, a tighter integration model, a healthy ecosystem is required to deliver value to the Customer. Jessica stated that IoT and other heterogeneous technologies (such as Blockchain) need multiple players to work together for an excellent end-to-end solution.”It takes a village,” she said with agreement from the entire panel.

3) Data Security: As sensors get integrated into everyday products, a vast amount of data gets collected. Companies making simple household devices such as garage door openers are suddenly able to collect and store this data. “Having a Data Strategy from the get-go is critical,” said Soledad. “Collect only the data that you need,” said Jessica, “and stay away from the mentality to collect everything.”

As an increasing number of devices get connected, the onus of protecting and inquiring about data lies with the consumers as well. What is collected, where and how is it stored, who has access to it, and why, are questions users should ask and find out for the devices they currently use or intend to purchase.

Thank you, Daniel, and the panel for an excellent exchange.

PS: The D-Fifteen name is a tribute to Ericsson founder Lars-Magnus Ericsson, his wife Hilda, and their partner Carl Johan Andersson, who created the company’s first products in a kitchen workshop at Drottninggatan 15 in Stockholm. Read more.

Stop SOPA/PIPA

It is wrong and must be stopped…

More details for those catching up on this at https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/.

New Year… Renewed Commitment

Prague Astronomical Clock
Prague Astronomical Clock – 2008

Change, it is said, is the only constant. Nothing but time can best exemplify the notion. So, as clock ticks and calendar changes and we enter 2012, it is time to change some things – for the better.

I have often created lists of things that I intend to do better year after year. I have been successful at times in forming those good habits and making them part of my life. This time around, I am ditching the lists altogether and trying to extend the motto of my life from last year – keep it simple – into this year and hopefully beyond. There are no big resolutions, just three simple things…

  1. Workout regularly
  2. Create simple goals
  3. Blog often

Am hoping I’ll be successful without any list this time. Here’s to 2012!!

Failure to deliver and respond – Willow.TV

Since my last trip to India in the Fall of 2010, I’d been wanting to re-connect with the game that I grew up playing – Cricket. Coincidentally, 2011 happens to the be the year of the Cricket World Cup. For every Indian that I have come across there is only one thing that beats Cricket, Bollywood, maybe.

Anyhow, convinced that I will watch as many games as I can, especially over the weekend, given that most of these will start around mid-night here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I looked at the available options to watch these “live”. After a short review, Willow.Tv came across as an option that gave me the flexibility to watch it pretty much from any place that I could get network connectivity. So, I coughed out $129.00 to Willow.Tv which claims to be “… the largest broadcaster of Cricket in the United States and Canada since 2003…” on their website. Smooth credit card transaction and I was excited that I will get to finally watch India play co-hosts Bangladesh in the opening tie.

First delivery of the game was sent smashing to the boundary and I was really beginning to enjoy it. Third delivery had just been delivered and *poof* my screen went blank. I kept refreshing my browser (love Chrome by the way) and kept getting the “Service Unavailable” message. I kept my MacbookPro aside and went to iPad to see if that worked. Nope. Nada. Nothing.

What followed for the next 50 or so mins. (10 overs to be precise) was just disgusting and ridiculous at best. The site was not reachable at all and Twitter messages from other subscribers started to roll in from around the world. The Twitter handle of the Willow.Tv (@willowtv) and that of it’s CEO (@mysorepack) just failed to engage and respond to the angry (reasonably so) subscribers.

For a service that charges a premium ($129) to provide such a prestigious event and claims to be the only “official” provider to fail like this at the start of the event and not take any responsibility or provide a venue for subscribers to reach-out in case of issues is beyond comprehension.

I am personally going to write to Willow.TV and seek some refund for the “Loss-of-Service”. At the time of writing this (2:10 AM PST), my feed is working but I still see plenty of subscribers on Twitter not being to watch their country play in this opening match.

If there are other users who would like to join me in reaching out to Willow.Tv for redressal, I request you to leave your Twitter handles as part of the comments. Please feel free to provide your comments but refrain from abuse.

Addendum: Thanks for pointing the issue around HD stream @willowtvsux. Yes, we paid for that and are not getting that either. Another reason to take this matter to the next level.

Looking for a CTO

We are going full steam ahead with getting our startup off the ground. We are looking for someone to come join us at the ground level and take charge from a technical standpoint and together get to our next key milestone of launching the beta product.
We are looking for a web savvy individual who takes ownership and can work in a fast-paced environment. The person must have a solid, hands-on technical knowledge in the web domain. Some understanding of customer relationship management (CRM) systems will be great to have but not a requirement. If you have some RoR or Java, Javascript, AJAX, mySQL, CSS, HTML experience and would love to be a part of a startup that is set to disrupt the market landscape – please drop me an email with some information about your background or resume and contact information.