Tag Archives: investing

Start Up or Continue Mode?

rsz_pyramid copyIf you’re in Silicon Valley, the big word on the street is “Start Up Mode.” It’s cool, it’s hip and it’s new. If you’re in Start Up Mode that indicates you’re doing something innovative —  and people’s ears will perk up.

But I’d like to talk today about one of the most important Modes. And some see it as less attractive.  It’s what I call “Continue Mode.”  Continue reading

The Classic Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

“UnConference Room” Your Meeting

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled conference rooms.  Chairs are set uniformly around the table.  The walls are plastered with policies or goals.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. There is a stark white board.  “Gosh darn it,” I can hear the executives say, “in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.'”  

Yet what if we looked at doing business, or holding meetings, under a banyan tree?

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is the place for political meetings: In Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath its welcome atmosphere.   So for much of Asia, spirituality, commerce, entrepreneurship and politics are taking place right outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity and rootedness.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power and peace. It is firm; but welcome. All qualities we need in a positive meeting. This return to nature could help conversations flow more easily.

Banyan Tree at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai; picture submitted by Ranjani Shanker

Let’s imagine this atmosphere. We are surrounded by gentle winds and visionary clouds floating across the sky  – not a blank wall.  A brilliant welcome sun, not a whiteboard.  We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  Would we then settle into a more authentic course of conversation, and more impactful solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, our business relationships and  personal matters can soar.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, natural presence.

 —✶—

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.”  Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism.  Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

Early Education Leads to Stronger Workforce

Early education wins. If we want our world to succeed, and our businesses, let’s invest in it.   Children can follow their dreams…the world will be stronger.

That’s the larger picture.  For our businesses, too, we want to invest.  A recent article in The Christian Science Monitor points to increased “executive functioning,” such as continued attention and expanded memory, among children who attend preschool. The children who went to school earlier develop needed business skills more readily.  We can commit to higher teacher education, educating children of different backgrounds, and providing adequate food to ensure that our programs are holistic and successful.

Read on and invest!

Here are some projects on UniversalGiving to help children learn:

Give to send books to Africa

Volunteer teaching orphaned children in India

Give so that a girl in Ghana can learn computer skills

Support the Awesome Girls Mentoring Program in New Orleans

The Classic Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

“UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures.  One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

Banyan Tree at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai; picture submitted by Ranjani Shanker

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: Recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place right outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather more so) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

******************

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.”  Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism.  Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

Which Country Wins The Day on Most Renewable Energy at 15%?

Congratulations to Germany, Iceland, New Zealand and Portugal, who lead the world in producing the most renewable energy, with more than 15% of their energy coming from renewable sources.  You are an example. I hope one day soon it’s 50%, then 100%.  Let’s think big.  For the U.S., we have a start at 2.5%, putting us at #7 among the G20 countries.

Regarding investments, South Korea had the biggest leap in investment, followed by China and Brazil. The U.S. was second in line in highest investing in renewable energy (behind China) for 2011.

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports that the G20 countries lead the world in utilizing renewable energy.  In 2010, these 20 countries produced more than 82% of the world’s renewable energy.  The NRDC defined it as “solar, wind, geothermal, tidal and wave electricity production.”  Wave electricity production refers to obtaining power from ocean surface waves.

It’s wonderful to ‘use the earth’ when it helps us live kindly, productively, and with intelligence.

Read the NRDC’s full report.

Photo courtesy of the NRDC.

The Pamela Positive: “UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

“UnConference Room” Your Meeting with a Peaceful Banyan Tree

There are many images that come to mind when we think of Asia, from dragons to beautiful beaches, spanning varied cultures.  One of my favorite views is that of the banyan tree, for it must be strongly grounded in the earth, which also allows its larger branches and leaves to provide overreaching shade.

Banyan Tree at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai; picture submitted by Ranjani Shanker

It was under a banyan tree where the Buddha felt his calling to a new level of enlightenment.  Under these same trees, Gujarati businessmen hold their meetings.  It is even used as a place for political meetings: Recently in Malaysia, the state assembly met underneath the welcome atmosphere of the banyan tree.  So for much of Asia, spirituality, entrepreneurship, politics are taking place right outdoors.

The banyan tree represents solidity, rootedness, and strength.  At the same time, it also represents comfort, shade and welcome.  It is a source of power, balanced with peace.  It represents firmness, as well as welcome.

Is America’s Banyan Tree the Conference Room?

It is interesting how in America, and in many places across the world, most of our meetings take place in walled, sterile conference rooms.  Chairs are uniformly around the table.  The walls are usually plastered with notices about the company’s achievements.  Pens and pads are available so we can write and record and get our business done. Gosh darn it, I can hear the executives say, in this room we’re going to get to the solution, get down to business and ‘make it happen.’

Yet what if we looked at doing all of our business, or even holding all of our meetings, under a banyan tree?  This return to nature might help conversations flow more easily.

Perhaps this atmosphere would allow us to be more authentic. If we are surrounded by nature’s occasional stirring winds, visionary clouds floating across the sky, and brilliant beckoning sun, would we not also settle into a more authentic course of conversation? Could it lead to more natural, comfortable (and no less impactful, but rather more so) solutions?   Within this reframing context of nature, we can discuss our goals and hopes and plans and perhaps achieve even greater goals.

Here’s a thought… We can replace the pen, paper and busy scribbling of notes, with more eye contact.  We supplant the flurried white board scrawls with more thoughtful listening. What a profound impact this has to have on any business relationship, business decision, and especially, with any personal matter.

Until we can “Unconference Room” your meeting space, perhaps we can imagine all of our conversations thoughtfully taking place under a Banyan tree.  A place where comfort, understanding, and right relationships result under its strong, rooted and peaceful presence.

******************

The banyan tree originally received its name from the merchants who gathered beneath it to do business; in the Gujarati language, “banya” means “merchant/grocer.”  Western visitors to India observed the merchants meeting beneath the tree, and the name evolved to refer to the tree itself.  The banyan trees are given great symbolism in both Hinduism and Buddhism.  Banyan trees can grow to cover hundreds of feet, and live for over a thousand years.

The Merit of Slow Capital

This is a recent article I wrote for Fast Company‘s Getting Funded series.

What’s the biggest pitfall in fundraising? Asking for money.

The first step in fundraising is to build a long-term relationship. It’s not the dollar. It’s slow capital, slow relationship building. And believe me, you want to take this time. Someone who gives you money has power. That money will not just jump-start your business–but also affect your life for positive or negative. People don’t usually give money and back off. They give money and step up their engagement in a major way.

So when you make an ask, make sure you’d like this person in your life.

Start with listening to the person. Find out their values. Listen to how they handle relationships. Ask if you are comfortable with how they communicate and the language they use. Find out how they have worked on teams and how they have advised teams. Most importantly, listen to your gut. Will you enjoy working with this person, with full respect, trust and hopefully enjoyment? Will they also enjoy working with you?

In essence, it’s taking the time to respect and honor the entire individual by listening to how they live. And then deciding if what you learn is in line with your vision and values as well.

Once you’ve done this, then you need to tailor your approach to which world you operate in.

If you’re in the for-profit world:

Find out the deals they get really excited about. Is it technology? Clean energy? Consumer products? Build on what they like to invest in. Even if your idea is completely different, find some way to rope it back to an experience they can relate to.

If you’re in the nonprofit world:

Find out the issues they care about: Is it the environment, youth, global warming? Or a combination of issues, such as peacebuilding and children? Again, if it’s an innovative idea, find a personal experience that they relate to.

To fundraise with true sincerity, for both yourself and them, it’s about listening to the individual and gradually getting to know who they are. Building connections with investors needs to be a good fit for you and them. Slow Capital means long-term relationships. Then you can make your ask successfully.