I first encountered the word “social proof” a couple of years ago when I took Dorie Clark’s Recognized Expert course. I was neither recognized nor an expert so I was the perfect student. Except I had no idea what I was going to learn from the class. But I had subscribed to Dorie’s weekly emails for some time and was always impacted by the empathetic tone and the sound advice she expressed. So I jumped in with both feet when she had an opening.

As it sometimes happens in life, when you have no expectations the results can astound you. And it astounded me. But more on that some other time.

I want to hone in on the term “social proof” that she referred in her very first class. Huh? I had no idea what that meant. I do today. Put simply – what does a Google search of your name turn up?

Sound simple right? Go ahead. For many of us (including me at that time), the results can be very ego bursting. Here I am telling the world what a high-impact thought leader and evangelist I was and Google did not land me on the first page. Or the second. Or the third… #Boom

But there was a message behind that got to me. I had been doing a little bit of dull technical writing and speaking on behalf of my employers and that showed up in pages 6 and 7 (if memory serves me right). That was my “social proof”. I felt like pulling my hair out (believe me I had some then) because that wasn’t what I wanted to be known for.

But what did I want to be part of? What was my “why”? Before getting to “social proof”, I had to find my “purpose”? Then I could measure whether I was doing enough to live up to my purpose. In a way that impacted the world. And Google would index the impact level.

That started a frantic search, the kind of which I had never done in my life. Karaoke fusion. Undercoverleaders.org to chronicle the lives of everyday people impacting the world. #iPoP – In pursuit of purpose to help middle aged folks in a rut. Senior citizen desi (colloquial for Indian) transportation. Many experiments, many failures. And then ….

I struck gold. The purpose had been discovered.

My purpose, in a nutshell, is to be an accelerator of tech and positivity. How?

  • Using everyday analogies to chronicle complex technical subjects.
  • Evangelization about tech and ethics to empower the consumer and educate the vendors.
  • Podcasting with cybersecurity experts to bridge the gap between the builders and the buyers.
  • Amplification of normal people demonstrating acts of courage and leadership that go unnoticed.
  • Giving back more than I will ever take

Now the calibration against Google search is underway. Not everything needs to have social proof or should for that matter. But given our finite lifetime, in this highly digitized ecosystem, for a few life goals where you are trying to challenge status quo you need outsized social proof. And a few of the above I have chalked to attain terminal velocity in my lifetime.

That’s the journey so far. How a seemingly ego gratifying phrase – social proof – caused me to dig deep, encounter hollowness and start the gut wrenching exploration still blows my mind.

Mind if I Google you?



    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.