If you ever watched broadcast TV (yes, those were the days) and happened to catch a commercial or two say between 2006 and 2016 – it would be hard to forget this commercial !!

Taking a presumptuous modesty-be-gone approach this ad – with the title of “The most interesting man in the world” – featured a white haired bearded man with a (Don Esquis) beer in hand, who looked straight at you and asked you to “Stay thirsty my friend” – that does stay in memory right! Well I got reminded of this because of an article that I recently read about Jonathan Goldsmith – yup that’s his name – and caused me to do some self-reflection. Why? 3 reasons …

It’s never too late to try but it starts with brutal honesty –  He muses “I had quit Hollywood in my 50s after a lengthy but mostly forgettable career in television. I started a marketing company out of the very same pickup truck, and the project had become so successful we had over a hundred employees and netted more than $150 million a year. But after nearly a decade run, the company sank and split apart. I had no income, and the bills—attorneys, mortgage and more— had piled on me so fast I was worried about bankruptcy. The feelings of panic and dread were overwhelming”. Now we all face challenges in life and are on ecstatic highs and abysmal lows sometimes. But to be able to look back and honestly talk about both – the highs and the lows – that takes courage.

Learn from your role models and throw yourself out there even if it is uncomfortable – He talks about his audition. “Goldsmith?” the casting agent called. It was finally my turn to take a seat in the illuminated chair in the center of the stage. No props. No one to throw you a line, or even a smile. I could only see a camera mounted high on the wall, which was a live video feed back to New York.

His good friend Fernando, full of energy, who was always full of escapades and mystery was who he looked for inspiration at that moment. And then his energy started flowing. And the stories he recounted were jaw dropping “young boy hand loading bullets, arm wrestling and playing chess with Fidel Castro”. Yet at the back of his mind was the visual of his parking meter running over and his beat-up pickup being towed away! The casting directors loved it but then the feedback came they wanted someone younger. But a month later he was cast as ‘the most interesting man in the world’. He pushed himself to the limit, and then waited for the chips to fall – good or bad!

Use your success and fame for good and help others – Goldsmith talks about his active involvement and support for “‘Mines for good’ – an organization that removes old but still active land mines and bombs in the jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia and other parts of the world. I work with Caring Canines, a service dog organization. With Willy, my Anatolian shepherd, who’s certified for service, by my side, I visit local old-age homes and the VA hospital. I am the proud chairperson of Make-A-Wish Vermont, which helps lift the spirits of children suffering from debilitating disease”. #Wow. And we frequently characterize the rich and famous as self-obsessed and uncaring. Goldsmith defies that depiction.

I must admit I have never had a Dos Equis in my life but I feel compelled to do so now. If a little bit of Goldsmith’s charisma, honesty and altruism rubs off with some cold beer, who’s complaining.



    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.