Its not a typo – I did mean QPR – not QBR. QPR aka Quarterly Person Review. While the title may sound a little philosophical, I assure you this article wreaks about pragmatism and survival.

But there is a little bit of self-reflection involved since the desired outcome in my mind – that the reader starts to make small but important changes as a result of reading this. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with one well used business term and adopt it for the soul

Product Market Fit – It is a well understood business term. How well is the product tuned to the market it is trying to serve. Typically, this is determined through customer conversations, look back at business projections and actual results and product renewals. There are other metrics but let’s stick to these for the sake of brevity.

Now let’s morph the term from Product Market Fit to Person Market Fit.

Yes, you ARE the product.

The first question that should pop in your head is what market are you serving? Is it your boss? I hope not! Then is it your company’s customers? Maybe – but doesn’t that sound hollow and far-fetched? But for argument’s sake, let’s give in and acknowledge that your company’s customers maybe adopted by you as your customers too – albeit for a brief while when you are still an employee.

But then you leave that employer and move on. What happens to your market in the interim when you took a break or were hunting for the next gig? No market? #NoWay

There should be an enduring market that you need to be fulfilling over the course of your professional life. And constantly testing if you are a fit for that market. But how do you discover what that market is. Well, that’s food for the next article. This is just to whet your appetite and start dwelling on that topic and hopefully shake you from the misconception that your boss or employer’s customer is your market. #NotTrue right?

How about the person retrospective – as you would do with any product review – if the original premise was sound? My own story. I have been “downsized” a couple of times in my career. It is hard to be told that you cease to matter one morning. In an instant. Fortunately, for me, that kickstarted me into a renewal mode to discover and constantly ascertain that I do a personal business review and see how far off I was from my own perception of who I was and wanted to be and where I was. Most importantly I did SOMETHING ABOUT IT after the fog cleared.

Unfortunately, many folks fall into this inertia – many a time they are unfulfilled at work but stick on regardless – and one fine day when the rug is pulled, they are forced to identify a market for a product that has not been constantly honed – you.

And how about renewals? After you have identified your market, would they renew you based on what you have delivered? Let’s say you are a programmer with amazing coding skills and have a decent job? I contend that you should be interviewing at least every six months to test if there is a robust market out there for what your skills? And if you do land jobs in a jiffy – #BOOM. There is your renewal answer. Your skills are in demand and the market has clearly indicated that they would renew their contract.

But there is more. The big unanswered question – the discovery of your market – would undoubtedly lead to soul searching as it did for me, and brand-new pathways that lead to professional and personal fulfillment will emerge. At that point you will discover that you are not a single product but many rolled into one. And you can and must simultaneously serve markets with each avatar of yourself. That would add resilience and help you endure if one market starts to dissipate. The opposite would be treating you employer or boss as your market and when that dissipates, well you vanish as well. #NotFun

I will pause here. Enough food for thought? Next one will dig deeper on that elusive markets for your professional fulfillment – not material success alone.

Until then CIao.



    Empathy, Education, Empowerment

    Mine is a typical Indian immigrant story: an Engineer who became an Engineering Manager, who grew antsy and segued into Product Management then rose to VP and SVP. During those years I fancied I was innovating and experimenting, but in reality I was wearing a corporate straitjacket. Constrained by my industry’s insular mindset, I became a slave to the definition of my job. Inevitably, I ended up dissatisfied. So, I did something unusual for a man in my position: I stopped to reflect. I searched my life and talents for what was fulfilling and had purpose. I discovered I enjoyed storytelling to promote understanding. I loved mentoring and helping people become the best version of themselves. Importantly, I realized I was still passionate about the tech industry, particularly the issues surrounding privacy and ethics. Today, I’m pursuing my passions. I like to think of myself as an accelerator of technology and positivity. I’m the COO of UberKnowledge, bringing cybersecurity awareness and training to demographics that are underrepresented in the industry. I speak at conferences highlighting the need for a sharper focus on the ethics surrounding the technology industry.  I write articles and blog posts using analogy to simplify technology trends and complex topics like AI and IoT. I host podcasts with CISOs and other industry experts. The purpose of these is not to sell snake oil or products but to bridge the chasm between security vendors and customers so that the real problems can be solved to make the world a safer place. Underpinning all of these efforts is my belief that life’s purpose for us all is simply to connect. And the best way to do that is through generous and positive gestures.