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Photo by Bogomil Mihaylov on Unsplash

I recently took an improv class because I felt the urge to shed some of the adult layers I have accumulated over the last forty plus years, or maybe it was to deal with a mid-life crisis as my wife says. Either way I was keen to get back in touch with my inner child and rekindle the fearlessness and curiosity I had as a kid. …


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An immigrant family arriving at Ellis Island in New York, 1925 (Image: wethepeople.com)

There is a debate raging among New Yorkers who don’t need to worry about their next paycheque, paying the rent or feeding their children. Naturally, being human we need to find something to fret and argue about — in this case it happens to be a debate on the future of New York City.

On one side are naysayers like James, a comedy club owner who has jumped ship and moved to Florida, but not before penning a LinkedIn post predicting the demise of New York.


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Vaish Photography

In the last century few brands would have had the courage or permission to wade into highly charged social and political issues, but today consumers across generations are demanding that the companies they do business with raise their voices, by using their financial power to tangibly support issues they care about.

This past week dozens of companies from Apple to Zoom have come out and made bold public statements, many using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, saying to black people that “we see you, and we are here for you” and expressing a commitment to fight systemic racism in our society.

While I applaud corporations for taking a public stand and even donating to organisations that fight injustice and racism, I am left wondering if these are mere words and gestures designed to protect their brand image in a politically correct way. Are they willing to publicly commit to tangible actions that lead to real change within their own corporate ranks? …


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Image: Mother Jones

I have always admired and respected Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, for the way in which he built a great global company. One that espouses purpose and giving back as things that are not just words in some corporate manifesto, but in tangible ways that impact lives of employees and people within the communities they serve. Starbucks under his leadership has never just talked the talk.

So I was excited when he announced that he was exploring running as an independent candidate for President United Sates of America. I have written why I believe that an independent candidate running in 2020 is not just a good idea to help re-invigorate liberalism but also necessary to save our democracy from extremists on both sides who currently dominate and drive the conversation. …


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I was barely twenty-two years old and about three or four months into my first job at a highly reputed advertising agency in India. In those days you needed an MBA to get a job at an ad agency and because I only had an undergraduate degree I was designated a trainee, which was lower than the entry level designation of Junior Account Executive. This meant that I needed to prove my worth, sans MBA, during my first year just to be promoted to the entry level position.

In those days advertising was also still trapped in its mad men heyday with long hours at the office, regular weekend meetings with clients, smoke-filled conference rooms, and long boozy lunches. I remember our CEO telling me that if I really wanted to learn this business, I should stick around after 7 p.m. …


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Image: Vaish Photography ©

The planet is not in peril.

“The earth has suffered mass volcanic explosions, floods, meteor impacts, mountain formation, and all manner of other abuses greater than anything people could inflict, and it’s still here. It’s a survivor.” — Robert Laughlin, Stanford physicist and Nobel Laureate

The planet will survive no matter what happens. It is human beings who will not survive.

Our children are in peril.

This is no longer some abstract threat that will happen in the distant future. Pollution killed more than 2.5 million people in India in 2015 and more than 9 million people, globally.

To put it in perspective, pollution deaths account for three times more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Remember the Ebola crisis? So far, 8,997 people have died from Ebola. …


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Howard Schultz on 60 Minutes (Image: CBS)

Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, appeared on CBS 60 minutes recently and declared that he was considering running for President of United States of America, as an independent. The rebuke from the left was swift, predictable and harsh.

The New York Times ran an opinion piece calling Mr. Schultz irresponsible and self-centered. Vice wrote that whilst he was not the first billionaire to run for President, he was “the most disconnected from reality.” There were also public threats to boycott Starbucks.

The boycott threat was led by Neera Tandon, a longtime Clinton acolyte, who served as Mrs. Clinton’s policy director for her first failed presidential bid. The justice editor of a left-leaning publication, Think Progress, said that if Mr. Schultz runs, the Democratic National Committee and “major unions” and “major presidential campaigns” should “all use their email lists to promote a Starbucks boycott until he drops out.” Sadly, boycott calls have become a standard bullying tactic the left uses whenever someone does or says something they disagree with. …


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Photo by Carlos Muza on Unsplash

There was a time not too long ago when people from all walks of life gathered around the proverbial water cooler in offices, places of worship, community centers, schools, local sporting events or watering holes. This ritual was underpinned by a shared experience based on a national or local conversation or a cultural artifact like a popular new book, advertisement or TV show that everyone had recently experienced.

It was not that people gathered around and sang Kumbaya, but that we brought a variety of viewpoints relating to the same event. I remember such gatherings being a melting pot of diverse perspectives, and passionate opinions; some that we vehemently agreed with and others we disagreed with, equally vehemently. …


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(Image: thepawprintdaa.com)

Neither side was humiliated; both can claim victory to some extent, which is extremely rare for a midterm election, especially one with such a polarizing and unpopular President. However, both parties should feel a sense of humility and that means it was a good night for America.

There was no big blue wave as Democrats not only failed to flip the Senate but actually lost seats, and while they made some gains in Governor races, they came up short in key swing states like Florida and Ohio. Also, the majority of House seats they picked up were in districts that Hillary Clinton won, meaning there was already a built-in anti-Trump voting block there. They failed to flip many of the districts that Obama and Trump both carried, which a blue wave would have done. Meanwhile, Republicans were also sent a clear message by the electorate that people want a check on this President and a return to balance of power in Washington. …


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(Image: DreamMakersStore on Etsy)

Way back in 2000 when Google was two years old and four years before Mr. Zuckerberg created The Facebook, during a time when unconnected and pre- smartphone humans roamed the earth, the New York Times wrote an article titled, Suddenly, Everybody’s an Expert. It presciently proclaimed that “an expert, it seems, is now an ordinary person sitting at home, beaming advice over the Internet to anyone who wants help.”

The article, after speaking with some real experts, went on to warn that “we are seeing a lot of questions being asked very inappropriately to the wrong kinds of people, and the wrong information is transmitted”.

About

Nikhil Vaish

I tweet, therefore I am. Just a nobody with something to say.

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