WE LIVE A STORY

We are here for a finite time and one day nothing will matter.

Dreams and worries will be buried , turned to ashes when it all ends.

Just in a moment everything will be over.

Finally it all ends , one day sometime in the future even our planet will vanish into a void.

How can we make sense of anything.

What is the point of it all , all our struggles are meaningless.

We add meaning to this seemingly meaningless existence with our Stories.

We seek to be immortal with our Stories as we fear vanishing into a void.

Religion is a Story that gives meaning to our lives .

Country is a collective Story of the tribe.

We are willing to die for our Stories and we are even ready to kill.

We create villains, the others , fight , create divisions with our Stories.

We live and die for our Stories.

All creation happens with a Story.

We create the Story of life after death as not existing does not make sense.

Leaving a legacy is a Story of our desire to be immortal.

We stretch beyond our physical limitations all because of Stories we tell.

In our Stories we have our heroes and villains .

We admire heroes and despise the villains.

We try to be like our heroes as we admire their stories.

We learn to hate our villains.

We try enrol others into our Stories.

Then there are those who we call our leaders who tell us a Story we all buy into.

We hear their Stories, get inspired and become a part of their tribe.

We are not ok is a Story told by advertising.

We need to get somewhere from here is a Story.

From here to there is a Story.

Success is a Story so is failure.

Self identity is a Story.

Yet finally it all ends and nothing matters .

Life is just a grand Story.

We are the Stories we tell .

If this is so why not tell a Story that inspires.

We have the choice , only humans have this choice to choose their Story.

Why not have fun while the Story lasts.

Why not live a Story that makes waking up every morning exiting.

Why live a Story of fear , survival, limitation.

Why not live a Story of gratitude and love.

Remember finally it is all meaningless .

In a moment it all will just vanish.

Till then let us have hell of a ride and live this life Story fully.

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

THIS IS THE FUTURE OF MARKETING

Post pandemic average time people spend on their smartphones has gone up by 25%.

80% of the traffic in the digital world is video.

Consumers have switched off from interruption advertising .

They consume content.

Visual content is what is consumed.

A well told Story is consumed , touches the heart , entertains , educates is shared can go viral in the digital world.

Brand Storytelling is engaging your consumers , pulling them into the story with visual storytelling.

The Brand is not the story.

The Brand is part of the story.

Think of it as intelligent product placement in a film.

Consumers are more conscious of Brands they consume.

They connect with Brands that care about their environment, communities and people.

Brands that tell stories of good build a positive brand perception.

The future of marketing is Brand Storytelling.

The future of Brand Storytelling is Digital , Visual , Local language visual storytelling .

Brands that tell stories of good, connect with the heart.

The Brand and Social Responsibility departments in an organisations are different , managed by different teams.

Having worked both as head of marketing and head of social responsibility in a global IT company I see a great possibility to build a bridge.

I see a great opportunity for coming together of Brands and Good to make a positive impact in our world.

Visual Brand Storytelling will connect Brands and Good.

Stories of good are watched , remembered and they are shared.

Because we all want to share HOPE .

In a world filled with gloom consumers seek Brands with empathy.

The future of marketing is GOOD.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Founder http://www.CrowTales.in a Brand Storytelling Company

Founder Heroes of India http://www.YouTube.com/heroesofindia

WHEN EVERYONE IS SELLING , TELL A STORY

We get on any social media platform and we find it filled with Advertising.

Everyone seems to be selling something.

We are identified by various data points stored on us by the platform, maybe thousands , some even we may not be aware of.

The trail we leave behind on the digital world is monitored.

Algorithms try figure out what we are most likely to buy.

And the advertisements show up on our feeds.

This is interruption . We switch off.

We don’t come to social media to buy. We come because of our reasons.

It gets irritating, annoying at times .

Like a street Bazar with many stalls each of them tries to grab our attention.

Except we did not plan to come to a Bazar.

Grabbing Attention is critical , there are so many advertisements that throw up .

The algorithms and machine learning are always learning to read our minds.

“What are we most likely to buy” is the key question being asked by the platform.

This is their monetisation model . Nothing comes for free .

The term digital marketeers use is performance marketing. Digital Marketing that drives business and can be measured.

Interruption marketing has now moved from physical to digital world.

The conflict is consumers have a different reason to visit social media platforms .

They visit social media platforms to learn , to get entertained , to get information , to participate in connected communities , to build and be part of tribes.

With the smartphone in hand consumers set the agenda .

The control has moved from the advertisers and sellers to consumers.

Stories are consumed because they are entertaining, they inspire .

Humans are naturally wired to listen to stories, share stories.

Good stories are shared.

Video content is 80% of the traffic on digital.

Visual stories stand out .

Brands need to learn , stop selling and tell stories. Stop interrupting and focus on entertaining .

Because the control has shifted and consumers switch off from interruption.

Real stories well told , inspire, build trust, touch the heart.

Most important, when data is forgotten in minutes, stories are remembered over the years.

Future of marketing is Storytelling in the Digital world.

Every Brand has a story,

Every Organisation has a story ,

Every Cause has a story,

Every Startup has a story,

Every Leader has a story,

Every Employee has a story ,

Every Client has a story ,

Every Beneficiary has a story,

Every Tribe has a story,

Every culture has a story.

Dig deep an you will find each one of us has a story and our stories are common.

As humans our desires and fears are similar.

From ‘Here’ to ‘There’ is the most powerful story ever told.

Stories well told can inspire action , build tribes.

Stop selling, start storytelling.

In the Digital world we are the stories we tell.

Sanjay Mudnaney

Founder at http://www.CrowTales.in

Brand Storytellers

WHAT IS PASSION PROJECT ?

What would you do if you lost your job tomorrow?

You think that is not possible. Think again .

Thousands lost their jobs suddenly overnight during the pandemic. No warning.

One of my colleagues from the first company I worked at connected with me , he was looking for a job , he was desperate , months had passed with no income and bills needed to be paid.

His wife was seriously sick , he did not even have a Mediclaim and medical bills added to his misery.

On the other spectrum I have heard the term repeated ‘Thank God it is Friday’. Employees postponing their lives to the weekend and the next vacation.

This got me thinking, something is wrong in the way we work and plan our careers.

Why would anyone want to trade life to pay the bills ? And yet find themselves suddenly stranded without the means to pay the bills.

I have been blogging on #passionproject for a while now .

In this blog I will answer why I feel this topic is urgent and why this blog.

#passionproject is URGENT because I see everyone is going to be impacted.

Everyone.

It is about emerging of a new world and the way of work and living.

It is not the future but it is happening now at this very moment.

The rules of the new game are that those who play for survival will have the greatest threat to their survival.

Skills that can be defined will be replaced !

They will be replaced by someone or something cheaper somewhere in the world.

Distance will not matter , the work can go anywhere, remote working is no longer a buzz word .

Not just change but speed of change will add to uncertainty in careers and jobs.

Technology developments will cause disruptions.

Entire industries will vanish overnight, a business can get wiped out in no time.

Jobs can be lost suddenly , there will be zero security , not that there was any earlier.

Adapting , innovating and taking risks will be the only way to thrive in the new world.

What worked yesterday will not necessarily work today and definitely not in the future.

Q: So is there anything that is going to be constant and in demand ?

Ans : Yes and the term I use is ‘Passionate Artists’

Passion for what you do as a quality will never fade away.

The world needs passionate individuals ,teams and leaders.

The future is for those who follow their passion and make their work a piece of art.

Art and artists at work will always be in demand because they cannot be replaced by someone or something cheaper.

Artists do not follow the crowd , they create their own art , their life is devoted to mastering their art .

Their art is valued because of the value it brings to the world .

They will never go out of fashion as they are not defined , they are not boxed and they don’t draw boundaries.

They don’t guard territories.

Passionate individuals stand out from the crowd because they are like none , they don’t hide in the crowd , they stand out.

They will challenge the status quo. They will rock the boat.

Passion project is my small attempt to inspire those that have forgotten their dreams , their passion, their art .

By not taking the risk now , by not stepping up to their possibilities, their individuality they are risking their future.

By being in comfort zones , they risk survival. There are no comfort zones any longer.

I see an urgency because those who burry their dream to survive are hurting.

I have seen friends and colleagues lose their jobs some struggle to survive and yet bills need to be paid . They are up the wall.

Passion project is also a soul journey for me to meet passionate people and discover and live my truth.

We all know this , each individual has a gift and it is unique.

Fear of the future and bills that need to be paid holds them back from living fully.

Comfort zones are cozy.

There is urgency also because the time we have on the planet is limited and no point of dying with your song yet in your heart , with regrets of not having lived.

Passion project is a message to discover and live your passion whatever that maybe.

And it is not about money or success or fame . Those are incidental.

The measures of success we have defined as a society are broken .

Living fully in ‘this momentum’ , NOW is all that is to life.

Doing something you ‘hate’ or living for the ‘paycheque’ is not in alignment with why we are here on this planet.

We are here to share our unique gifts with the world.

Also it is not about a goal . It is about the journey. It is about each day , each moment.

It is about being and living authentic life not a projection of others or the society.

It is about living your possibilities fully . It is about singing your song .

Ultimately it is about freedom to choose and living life on our own terms .

Passion project is a urgent call to be more alive , Free , NOW !

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

SUDHAKAR RAM , A VISIONARY LEADER LIKE NONE

Today when I went to Starbucks in the morning, I saw that empty table , where I would find Sudhakar most mornings after his morning walk and my cycling.

The habit of Starbucks , coffee and soya latte comes to me from Sudhakar.

Wherever we travelled together he would find a Starbucks and we would have our soya latte , later he switched to almond latte.

We were both Vegans , yet occasionally we had our cheat days . He was fond of sweets though he was a diabetic he would indulge once in a while.

I first met Sudhakar when I joined an IT company Mastek as head of Corporate Communications.

I had to work on the Annual report within days of joining.

As a new chap in the organisation I did have the usual challenges of getting accepted by those who had been around.

And I was being given a difficult time . I went and told this to Sudhakar as the annual report had a deadline. He did what was needed . I forgot about the incident.

Cut to a scene in Goa when the team was having annual family get together ‘Run Time’.

Suddenly Sudhakar called me on stage and announced an award for the most creative Annual report.

This then was Sudhakar, unlike any boss I have worked with . Once he gave you something to do he would Trust you 100% and back you no matter what.

I went on to work with him for the longest time of my career almost twenty years till he passed away recently.

As a leader I learnt from him so much about the word ‘Trust’ , ‘Being Authentic’ , ‘Love’ and also ‘Karma’ .

When Sudhakar was with me he was with me , fully present in the moment . I was the most important person . He did this with everyone.

I don’t remember a single mail or message in these 20 years he would not have responded to , no matter how busy he was or wherever he was in the world.

He had a rare quality of genuine and deep empathy . He would feel for you. He did this for everyone.

When he passed away and I shared the sad news on LinkedIn the post had over fifty thousand views and hundreds of comments .

Each message shared told me how quietly he had touched many lives .

He was very understated and this I later understood was also the brand of Mastek . Not flashy , authentic, more substance than style , caring.

Through my life journey if I could confide in someone and get an unbiased pointer it was Sudhakar .

He would listen deeply , and in his typical way he would not tell you the solutions but rather get you to find the answers.

As I was directly reporting to him , over the years we built a strong bond . This got deepened during his journey of The New Constructs blog and later the book ‘The Connected Age’.

We travelled together across the remote parts of the country meeting some amazing people and leaders who were following a new way of building organisations, communities , education and sustainable farming.

He did this besides wearing the hat of the CEO of the company and travelling the world. He would be out two to three weeks in a month on business trips and yet have the time and energy to work on the blog and travel places for getting insights into the idea of a new world.

This was the other side of Sudhakar he was a visionary leader way ahead of the times . He believed in the idea of small is good for organisations and non profits, that we need a new way of education and more sustainable ways for our planet.

He would take some of the ideas we picked on our five years journey of The New Constructs to implement them at Mastek and he had the guts to do so . Like doing away with the concept of a leader , overnight he flattened the structure and did away with annual appraisals .

The idea of self managed teams with Mastek 4.0 was one of the boldest experiments in the corporate world only someone like Sudhakar could have taken.

His life was never a contradiction, he lived and practiced whatever he believed in .

I could almost read his mind and knew what he would do because I knew he lived by his truth and that was consistent.

There was a term he used for anything that happened “How wonderful” .

He lost his bag and passport at an event in the US and he said “How wonderful” . He enjoyed the experience. Sounded crazy to me at first .

Once during the startup days at Benow we had to go to the police station because someone was threatening as he was not able to use our live platform GivNow Live which was in pilot. Sudhakar said “How wonderful, otherwise we would have never got to see a real police station:)”

But he did that every time . It is said when a man nears death his true self is revealed.

Despite him knowing about his cancer he practiced this belief “How wonderful” , it was shared by Girija that Doctors told her they had not seen a person so graceful in death , completely accepting and having no regrets , none.

I believe here again he would have lived his principle of 100% trust . If he gave you anything to do he would trust you completely. He would have done the same for his doctors.

There was no pretence in Sudhakar he was so completely authentic. From Mastek I moved to join him in his startup as a cofounder.

I once asked him why did he need to get into a stress of a startup at late stage in life , he did not need the money .

His answer was interesting he said “I am a Karma yogi and my dharma is being an entrepreneur , I cannot do anything else”

He stayed true to this through his life and death , till the week before he passed away I am told he was attending an AGM from hospital. He was doing discussions with VCs on the startup with full energy.

When he passed away later many were surprised how he could have that energy and enthusiasm when he was so close to death.

And as I said he had no regrets , he always did what he loved and when he did not he would just drop it and walk away. On this issue he was unemotional and he had mentioned that to me.

Whatever he did he was completely passionate about it , almost like a child , he would like to explore and try the untried , untested .

I have experienced Sudhakar’s love , here was a boss who left a board meeting to be with me in the most difficult event of my life. He did this through his life , always be there when I needed him.

Even during the pandemic while he dealt with his health challenges, he would respond to my messages on advice I needed .

His understanding of Karma was complete . Once I asked him the startup is draining money was he not stressed as I never saw any stress on him . His answer was “it is only money” .

I then understood it was never about money and he was truly not attached to the outcome , not that he did not care about the outcome , he gave it all his best , he would be totally and completely involved and do his dharma as an entrepreneur but not be ‘attached’ to the outcome. I had read this in the Bhagvad Gita , I now saw a leader in the corporate world practice unattached action .

He always did what was right with the values he held . I saw him tell me in the Board meeting not to cut the Mastek Foundation budget even though the year had not been good , I remember the words “doing good is not a tick mark”.

Once we had a conversation with the cofounders on what would we do if we made millions from at our startup venture. Each co founder spoke about their desires , Sudhakar spoke last , he said “I will give away the money to support good causes and non profits.”

This was Sudhakar, I have seen him silently cut checks to support good work. He never refused anyone who came to him for help.

Sudhakar is a rare person, very rare . When one of my colleagues at Mastek passed away and I was broken. He told me “Sanjay, life is living , loving and leaving a legacy behind”.

I see that empty chair at Starbucks every time I go there , I miss him but I feel his presence through the his legacy of ‘living fully’ as per ones dharma and ‘loving fully’ everyone who comes into your life a message he has left behind with me and the thousands he touched.

Sanjay Mudnaney

#passionproject

DROP YOUR AGENDA TO FULFIL YOUR AGENDA!

I have been reflecting on the subject ‘What is the concept of business and why does all commerce exist ?”.

If we look around most of the time of the human race in the world as we see today revolves around the idea of ‘Money’ .

‘Money’ is central to everything, things we can buy , things we can experience, status , power even health services we can access with money.

Either you are a seller or you are a buyer as an individual or as a collective called the organisation.

Employees sell their time and expertise to organisations , organisations sell services , expertise or products to the masses .

Central to every transaction is “Exchange’ and if we dig deeper there is the concept ‘Perceived Value’.

When you dig deeper there you find there is ‘Agenda’ . “Why do we do anything?” . Every human being at any given point has an agenda.

Why do you do a job , why do you run a business, why do your customers buy . There is an agenda .

The agenda is always about ‘Me’ , break it down people are interested in ‘Self’ . No one is interested in the ‘other’ .

This is an interesting contradiction, all the while when any exchange is happening there are two parties and there is an ‘Agenda’ .

Even every noble cause has an Agenda , religion also has an Agenda.

‘Getting’ and Giving’ are two sides of the agenda . And there is fair exchange.

Agenda of Individuals

1. Survive : pay the bills , stay healthy

2. Thrive : fulfil desires

3. Fame : Get recognised and liked

4. Belong : family , friends, community

5. Contribute : Individual talent that is valued in the world , make a difference

6. Spiritual : ( a false belief , those who truly understand would know the falsehood of ego at play ) Going Beyond self

Agenda of Organisations

1. Maximise Profits and returns for stakeholders ethically

2. Consistently Grow in a profitable way

3. Survive through difficult times

4. Solve a problem in the world

How is this useful ?

Whether it is individuals or organisations they have THEIR OWN AGENDAS.

Yet the interesting part is is to fulfil Your own Agenda , you need to fulfil the Agenda of others – whether individuals or organisations!

It is in this space that VALUE Exchange happens. The question individuals and organisations ask is

“What is the Agenda being fulfilled and what the value they get so what is the value they they are willing to pay for”

Naturally low the perceived value , lower the pay.

Perception is not just the quality and quantity of service and product delivered but a more complex equation of how it is seen in the mind . Perceptions are held in the mind . A label can decide the value . It has to do with emotions. The shoes may come from the same factory but add a label and Value jumps . It’s fulfilling an higher agenda of being seen and liked .

Money is nothing but an exchange measure of the perceived Value delivered .

Where things go wrong is when individuals and organisations focus on personal agendas . No one is interested in YOUR AGENDA.

Do you hear these statements

“I want to grow a million subscribers”

“This year we will make a record sale”

“I want to change the world”

No one is interested in your agenda . Full Stop .

The other place things go wrong is when there is safe play . Playing safe you become a commodity. And commodity will be replaced sooner or later with something or someone cheaper .

When organisations become ‘Me To’ and offer commodities the only way to survive is by offering the lowest price.

The way to Thrive with Your Agenda then is

1. Fulfil the agenda of others – solve a problem for clients , customers , employer , donor

2. Be valuable – Don’t follow the crowd , Stand out , be different, be rare , be authentic