Showing posts from 2015

Pomodoro Time Management Technique

On twitter, I came across Pomodoro Time Management technique, so I have been using it in my schedule in past couple of weeks. It’s been very effective in getting things done. At the beginning of the week, I usually block 6-8 Pomodoro’s in my schedule, so I don’t get sucked into endless meetings.
Here is the technique:   Choose a task Set at timer for 25 mins Work on that task without distractions (no email, no phone, no drive by convos) Repeat 3 times Take a 15 min break
This essentially takes up 90 mins, including breaks.
Resources and Credit: Pomodoro Technique
The Simple Technique to fit a 40 hour work week in 16 hours

Developing Empathy (Podcast Brief: Life Habits with Karel Vredenburg)

Three aspects of developing empathy: Authentic listening - listen to a person without distractions and summarize what they said to youNot being biased - read an opinion article that is opposite of your beliefs without being biased Connecting with the person as a whole - draw a circle and write do, think, do, say, for a specific person

Optimizing Happiness (Podcast Brief: Life Habits with Karel Vredenburg)

Six themes to optimizing happiness:

Buy experiences, not things Be kind to others; show gratitude and appreciation Hug someone; build strong relationships Smile Achieve a balance; allows you to enjoy the present Focus on your sense of purpose; the greater good

Resignation Stories (TI Speech Project 4 from Entertaining Speaker)

On September 27, I did a speech on my resignation stories. It was perfect because the title of the project was ‘A Dramatic Talk’, and the objectives of the speech were to develop an entertaining dramatic talk about an experience or incident and deliver it in an entertaining manner.

I basically walked through my 4 resignation stories:

VSS MonitoringEvolve Discovery Safeway Internet Brands Each one of them in a unique story...I had my reasons to leave, but I really lucky that in each one there was a lot of effort put in to ensure I stay with the company and reconsider my resignation, but I decided to move on and have built some pretty amazing relationships! To be continued...

User Experience Design (TI Speech Project 2 from Entertaining Speaker)

On August 15, I did a speech on User Experience Design as a practice for the presentation I was giving the coming Monday to a group of product managers and engineers. The objectives of the speech was to draw entertaining material from sources other than your own personal experience and adapt it to suit your personality, audience, and topic. Below are some images from the presentation that talk about UX strategy and process. Because I used a presentation that we built with my UX team, I didn’t have to write a speech. I just presented with the slides. Here is a high-level outline of what the slides included:

UX Framework and Process Define our UX Problems, Aspirations, and Solutions Avoiding Known UX Pain Points Collaboration Model and Deliverables

The Sweet Spot - Business Operations, User Experience Design, and Learning & Development

Lately, work has been challenging just because the amount of work that needs to get done, and the lack of resources to all the work. The reason it's really challenging is because I care a lot of the growth and success of the company, and the impact I have as well as the results I drive working with the team.

I have a work plan with list of 100 things to do, and I have 3-5 big things in my mind that I constantly thinking about and focusing on. While I was commuting back from work yesterday (Friday night), I started thinking about some of my responsibilities, and I realized how fortune I am to own three functions that I love absolutely the most. I felt grateful for a few mins, and then it faded away as I was unwinding from my day, and just watching a good movie.

This afternoon, the same idea came back to me again:
I am in my sweet spot. I manage three functions (Business & Sales Operations, User Experience Design, and Learning & Development) that I am most passionate about, tha…

Personas - Olivia Pope and Jane Bingum

I recently binge watched another great show I discovered on Netflix: Drop Dead Diva. This show is about a aspiring model who gets killed in a card accident, but is bought back to life an as intelligent overweight lawyer. The series is about how she rediscovers/redefines herself as a person, connects with her friends, family, lovers, coworkers, and clients, and fights civil and criminal cases. 

As I was watching this show, it made me realize how much I connect with two characters from the tv shows that I have watched: Olivia Pope from Scandal and Jane Bingum from Drop Dead Diva. 

A lot goes into building a character from a tv show, and they seem very realistic. I feel like they are real human beings in this world that many people can relate to in one way shape or form. They show crew have done an excellent job in building and showcasing these two characters. 

I thought a lot about who they are, their personality, relationships, up to and including their style. Even though, these are two v…


It’s been a while since I have written a journal or a blog, so I thought I would take the opportunity to use my train ride home today for a blog entry.
Since I started working at Covisint, I use the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system to get to work every day. Almost every day. I used BART less than five times in the past six years that I lived in Bay Area, and now it’s my primary commute system. I don’t like commuting, so I always moved within 30 mins drive (with traffic) to my work. At first, it was a bit hard, but it’s not too bad. Few major things I learned quickly: Parking system! There is no parking past 7:30 AM from my home bart station (Fremont), so if I want to get on a train past that time, I have to drive to a different station.Since Bart is so close to my home, my drive is like 5-7 mins. I figured a way to drive 20 mins to the Bayfair station (no traffic) and get on a train from there to the city in the same amount of time without sitting in traffic.At first, the ticketin…

My First Cartoon in Theater (TI Speech Project 1 from EntertainingSpeaker)

Yesterday, I did a toastmaster speech after a while. I am now working towards by Advanced Communicator Bronze, which means I have to do 10 speeches. Each Advanced Manual is composed of 5 speeches, so I picked the following two manuals: Entertaining Speaker and Story Telling).
Usually, I write a comprehensive outline, and practice my speech multiple times, but this one was very impromptu. I woke up around 6 am and almost cancelled my speaking slot, but then decided to speak on a recent movie I watched: Inside Out. 
The goal was to entertain the audience by relating a personal experience and organize it in a way for maximum impact. It was 5-7 mins. 
Very rough outline I wrote morning of: Set the stage with what I did that day and how I decided to watch the movie... Talked about the characters and drew a picture of how the movie wad laid out Expressed appreciation for movie and asked everyone to go watch it (simple, but educational about how the human mind and our emotions works) Feedback:

Grateful of My Career

Just reading some of my career related blog posts (linked below), and thinking back at how wonderful and lucky my career has been. I have learned so much, changed who I am, and built amazing relationships with people. I am so proud of myself, and excited about how much potential I have in the coming years. 
CovisintInternet BrandsSafewayEvolve DiscoveryVSS Monitoring

New Chapter in Career - Covisint

I recently joined Covisint. This is my fifth job in Bay Area, and I am super excited about my role at Covisint. 
The job market has picked up so much, and as soon as I went full speed in looking for another job, I found multiple options within matter of weeks. I had multiple offers, and was rejecting interviews at one point to focus on what I really wanted.
After considering multiple options, I decided to join Covisint, and one of the best parts is that it's located in the heart of downtown. Amazingly, only two blocks from Evolve Discovery, where I spent three plus years of my life. I know the area very well, San Francisco downtown has this energy and feel that is composed of ambition, excitement, and innovation.
Here, I have a three pronged role: Business Operations, Technical Publications, and User Experience Design. I am excited to build out a team with managers/leads for each of these functions and a team underneath them. The business operations role is being the process glue be…

Creative Meeting Names

I was looking for creative meeting titles, and I came across this awesome resource that provides 127 themes and concepts. Excited to incorporate these meeting names! 
1.     A World of Opportunities 2.     A Whole New World 3.     A Celebration of Success 4.     A Spectrum of Opportunities 5.     Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now 6.     All Systems Go 7.     Anything is Possible 8.     Back to the Future 9.     Back On Top 10.   Becoming Agents of Change 11.    Be Extraordinary 12.    Beat (name of biggest competitor) 13.   Better and Consistent 14.   Beyond All Limits 15.   Board Break Experience at the event! 16.   Breakthrough To Excellence 17.   Breaking Barriers 18.   Breaking Down Barriers 19.   Breaking Out of Your Shell 20.  Breakthrough Performance 21.   Breakthrough To Excellence 22.   Building on the Best 23.   Building for the Future 24.   California Dreamin’ (Tie into the location) 25.   Commitment to Excellence 26.   Creating Customer Connections 27.   Creating Connections-Building Bridges…Together 28.    C…

My CrystalKnows

Sineesh showed me this cool (borderline spooky) website that analyzes your digital presence and creates a personality report for you (predictive analysis). The company is doing it in beta version and you can only sign up with an invite. It’s more geared towards sales people, so they have better insight of who they are trying to sell to. 
Here is my report and their accuracy confidence is only 40%: Honey is enthusiastic, decisive, prefers casual conversation, and feels uncomfortable about giving up control. When speaking to Honey... Project boldness and confidence (even at the risk of sounding impolite) Stick to the big picture Don't expect to lead the conversation Don't take time to earn trust before making your point When emailing Honey... Write 3 sentences or less Write with short, casual language and abbreviations Don't provide lots of detailed information and instructions Don't use a formal greeting and closing When working with Honey... Surprise them to get their at…

Zumba Instructor Workshop

Today, I completed my Zumba instructor workshop, and obtained my license to teach Zumba! The trainer was Joy Smith and I drove to Vacaville, CA for this workshop because I really wanted to complete it this month.
Zumba is a dance fitness program that is Latin inspired, but incorporates Latin and international music and dance movements for an effective fitness. It integrates basic aerobic, interval, and resistance training to maximize caloric output, cardiovascular benefits, and total body toning. Zumba was created by Beto, who is originally from Colombia.
The three core elements of Zumba is music, core steps, and choreography. The anatomy of a song plays a huge role in choreographing Zumba moves: Intro, Verse, Chorus, and Break/Bridge/Tag/Music Interludes. Zumba is composed of four basic steps: Merengue, Salsa, Cumbia, and Reggaeton. There are different type of cues that should be used when you are teaching Zumba: visual, verbal, and tactile.
I have been going to Zumba for years now, …

Achieved Advanced Leader Bronze from Toastmaster

Another one down! Today, I achieved the Advanced Leader Bronze certificate with toastmaster. The goal here was to complete the following: Competent Communicator, Competent Leader, serve as a club officer for a one term, attend TI Leadership Institute, and conduct two leadership presentations.

I finished my Competent Communicator and Competent Leader in February 2015. I had the opportunity to serve as the VP of Education at Fantastic Toastmasters from July 2014 - December 2014 and President of the same club from January 2015 - current.
The two leadership success series I conducted were:
Goal Setting and Planning Motivating People
Here is a quick snapshot of my DTM journey.

Complete Competent Communicator - February 2015 Competent Leader - February 2015 Advanced Leader Bronze - May 2015

In Progress Advanced Communicator Bronze (10 speeches) Advanced Communicator Silver (10 speeches) Advanced Communicator Gold (10 speeches) Advanced Leader Silver (District or Division Level Leadership Position an…

Giving Effective Feedback (TI Leadership Excellence Series)

Today, I did my second presentation from theThe Leadership Excellence Series Set. This set of materials built by Toastmasters International to help members learn the skills they need to be successful leaders.
I built my own version of the slides (embedded below), and I really enjoyed presenting the material. Similar to Goals Setting, everyone was very receptive to the presentation because it’s very relevant. Each meeting includes a full evaluation of each speaker, and a written evaluation by each member for each speaker. I have improved my speaking style a lot because of the evaluations I have received in each speech (full evaluation and written), and this goes for all members in the club.
Feedback is critical for improvement, and you see it in aspects of life, so the material here provides a lot of good techniques and tips on giving effective feedback!

The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women 2015

This week, Forbes released it’s The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women 2015 list. I keep a tab on this list and the women who are part of this list every year. Each one of these have their own brand, identity, and something unique about them, which is very intriguing to me.
To start, here are the different elements / criteria: Financial Resources Controlled: Company revenue, income, GDP, dollars spent on fulfilling organization’s mission (the size and importance of the woman's business in the global economy and the health and direction of the business) Global Media Relations: Publications, newspaper, specialized periodicals, newswires, broadcast transcripts, social media presence (Facebook fans, twitter followers, youtube, instagram followers, etc.) Sphere of Influence: Power in multiple sphere (Oprah being the ideal example of being a media maven, entrepreneur, businesswoman, billionaire, and philanthropist who occasionally dabbles in political king making) Impact: Actively and successf…