Let me demystify my own self-fangled acronym first – TAG.

T for Takers, A for Askers and G for Givers.

You may have got a hint of where I am going with this. Yes – I am referring to the society we live in. A competitive, disruptive, evolving ecosystem we call society. And it goes without saying that the frenetic pace is only getting faster by the day. And within this supersonic universe are you and me who form the humans who are the creators and consumers simultaneously. And this creation takes effort and no one person can do it on her own.

Therein lies the conundrum. If we cannot do it all on our own, we need help. But the way we go about asking or demanding or employ even more subversive ways is what sets us apart from each other.

Let’s start with the Takers. I have a few names that pop up in my head instantly when I think about the Takers. As I am sure they do for you too. What are the primary characteristics of these individuals? .

Suffice to say they care deeply about a singular individual in their world – themselves

And everything and everyone exists – in their egocentric mind – to help their individual cause alone. What I have found remarkable – as I personally near the half-century mark and I enjoy the extended hindsight that only experience affords of seeing more than my fair share of these Takers – is that their so-called fan base, friend circle starts to dwindle with time. Why? Because while their aggression could have a charismatic allure to it when they shock and awe first-time acquaintances, the dead bodies that they leave in the wake of their quest for personal selfish glory makes them less and less appealing. Even more so when in this frenzied world the only commodity that people have less and less of is time. And who do you want to spend that time with? Takers? I guess not.

What about the Askers? Let me raise my hand high and say that I was an Asker until very recently so I can speak with some degree of authority about this category. And I would hazard a lot of folks would naturally fall into this category as well. Asking for help is not frowned upon at all. In fact, it speaks volumes about one’s lack of ego if one were to raise his or her hand to seek assistance. And the person helping you also has a high if they were actually able to lend a hand.

So what’s not to like about the Askers?

Well, my own realization is that it is because there is another category that follows this – the Givers- that’s why. But before I get ahead of myself let’s finish the Askers first. These folks Ask for help when they need help. But they don’t follow an unwritten and unadvertised rule of building trust and bonding. Reaching out and connecting when you have no personal objective in mind. Say picking up the phone and saying “I just called to say Hi”. I am sure you have friends – like I do – when you see their name on the caller-id, you brace yourself for the Ask? Have you ever wondered why? Probably because they never call you unless they have an Ask. And that starts to wear you down after a while especially if you discover the Giver community (as I did a couple of years ago).

The Givers. This is the community that is refreshing, rejuvenating and revitalizing. As the name suggests, these people give unabashedly and constantly without keeping count.

Give their Time. Energy, Empathy

And what I have discovered is that the karmic burden on the person receiving their help is so great that they build such a wealth of benefactors who are looking for every possible opportunity to give back to the givers. Talk about a gift that keeps on giving. Except that the givers are not seeking or expecting any favors in return. But it just magically happens. So why is this community still relatively small compared to the Askers? I am asking the mirror. What took me so long to transition (am not there yet I admit) hesitantly to the Givers? Maybe a deep sense of unease about my own capability of helping? Or needing to ensure that my safety net is in place before giving back. And I know those excuses are so flimsy and frankly baloney as I realized at the half-century mark.

So there you have it.

My own view of the world we live in. The journey from being an Asker to Giver is a hard one. But I am blessed that along the way seeing the large-heartedness and the complete joy the Givers exude gave me the courage to trudge on. And I am #Grateful for that. Ready to move on TAGers?



    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.