The Haja Sheriff Blog

What Dalai Lama taught us about our life in a Startup

Posted by in Attitude, Business, Innovation, Leadership, Motivation, Personal Branding


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Dalai Lama is undoubtedly an inspirational leader! He is one of the most positive human beings I have seen, heard and read about. While reading the Deccan Herald today, I came across these rules (18 of them and I picked the top 5 which I wanted to share -with some thoughts of my own pertaining to running your own Startup.

Rule 1: Take into account that great love and great achievement involves great risk.  Absolutely!  The rewards are always commensurate with the risks you take in life!  Take risks, of course, calculated ones- and see the rewards spilling out in the long run.  Leaving your corporate job and creating a startup is a risk. A major risk at the time when you leave.  Irrespective of the outcome, great achievements are round the corner -and you need to have complete BELIEF in that!  Go with the approach- and you will come out richer, better and stronger!

Rule 2: When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.  You will lose in many of the battles you take up.  Which is good.  Remember, they are not the end of the world.  As a startup, we lose customers- but we learn lessons from why we lost them.  Look for a learning in every misstep you take.  And the more you take, the more lessons that you learn – which makes you sharper in the longer run.

Rule 3: Not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.  Always!  It may be bitter and makes you feel even more desperate! Ultimately in the long run, it is all for a good reason.   We lost some great opportunities (it looked like that at that point in time), but in the longer run, we realised it was good that we did not win them.  Go with this attitude into many of your discussions- and you will end up a winner in the long run.

Rule 4: Learn the rules so you know how to break them.   The objective is not to break the rules. It is to understand how you can think out of the box and approach a challenge differently. Innovatively.   As an employee you end up always having to work the rules- but as an entrepreneur, you have a chance to reset the rules.  Follow that. For that- learn the rules first… and find ways of rewriting them.

Rule 5: Share your knowledge. Its a way to achieve immortality.   The Path of an entrepreneur is a lonely one.  But remember, there are a lot of people wanting to follow the same path.  Show them the road. Be free with the feedback. Help them navigate the path basis what you have learnt.  It is not about immortality- but it is highly satisfying- and that makes a big difference.  If you are a believer- then remember, it will all pay itself back in the long run.

Being a Startup has its share of risks & disappointments. But the rewards far outweigh the risks you take to do this. Irrespective of the outcome, you will also always emerge better than before – and that is the best outcome of becoming an Entrepreneur.

Go and try it. Live your life. Live it well.  Leave your mark in the world!

Thank you, Dalai Lama for these life lessons.


Business Innovation- Amazon Kindle in India

Posted by in Bangalore, Business, India, Innovation




Innovation has several synonyms- Change, alteration, revolution, upheaval, transformation, metamorphosis etc.


Great companies constantly keep updating themselves- and discovering new ways of doing things.  Kindle is one of them.  Amazon Kindle has a free run in India as the only eReader company in India. Despite being in a unique position, they continue to innovate, and find new ways of reaching their target audience. It is important for any company to constantly look at ways of differentiating themselves –and find ways of creating new markets and new customers.  


I was having coffee in Cafe Coffee Day and I saw this there. And I was stuck with this amazing idea!  While people drink coffee, and look around, they can ask for a Kindle, and read something in it.  Getting them hooked to reading and experiencing a device like Kindle while relaxing, is a great idea!   Great job, Kindle India Team! 

Of course, to land anything in India, you need to be prepared for the unexpected!  That will be interesting to see.  More on it later.




Lessons from Steve Jobs’ life

Posted by in Innovation, Leadership, Management, Motivation, Personal Effectiveness

Here is an article that my daughter wrote for her school.  There is a lesson in this for all of us as well.  

What Steve Jobs’ Life Teaches Us

By Ryna Shireen Sheriff

We all know who Steve Jobs was. He was the founder of Apple and ran the company over the last few years to make it the biggest PC Company in the world. It was also a very innovative company that changed the landscape of the world in many many ways. He sadly passed away a few months ago.

As students, we have a number of things to learn from Steve Jobs, and here are a few lessons that we all can take away as we move forward in our school lives. ·

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – For us students this is very important. We should learn to love our school and our studies. Focus all our energy on doing what we love & success will follow.

“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?”-There is a purpose why we are living in this world. Let us make this life count by doing something spectacular with our life which makes us, our parents, our family and our family and school proud. Don’t waste your life by just passing through.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.” Live your life as if there is no tomorrow. Let us give our best every day and make it all work in the long run.

“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. We will all face some big challenges in our lives.”- We should find a way to live our lives doing what we love-and God will take care of the rest. Believe in God always, and in your abilities.

Surround Yourself with Brilliance – Whether he was willing to admit it or not, Steve Jobs could not do everything. But he had a great team that he had built that took care of everything else he could not do. For us this means, we should surround ourselves with great friends who are looking forward to doing big things in life.

These are just some but very relevant learning’s for us to take from Steve Jobs life. The next time we use an iPod, iPad or an iPhone, let us remember the lessons from the man who made it possible. Let us work hard here and let us all leave a mark in this world like Steve Jobs has done.


Innovative Sites – 1

Posted by in Innovation


What an amazing idea!

For US$5, a host of things you can go and get done on the web.  A whole bunch of people out there, who are ready to create unique stuff for a fiver! 

Though I cannot comment on the quality, the idea is brilliant!

This is the kind of stuff that will change our world.

It already has.

Are you on it already?