How celebrating personal milestones, and those of others, is good for you and your business

Photo by jisoo kim on Unsplash

In a recent New Yorker article, highlighting how HGTV is planning on reinventing itself to better appeal to our stay-at-home, DIY-while-you-stream aspirations, Loren Ruch, the network’s executive of development and production, pointed out a significant human insight:

“I love doing this, because ninety-five per cent of the people who are participating are celebrating one of the best days of their life. They find a new house! Or they’re fixing up an existing house. They’re selling a house, moving on. You’re proud to have your name in the credits.”

Ian Parker, the writer of the feature, rightfully pointed out that “unlike…

Every company, irrespective of industry, could benefit from acting like a hospitality leader

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I dedicated most of my professional adult life so far to the hospitality industry. Back in 2014, I left my job in the banking world to join Emirates Airlines, as a result of a hiring spree for international cabin crews. I left everything behind and embarked on a one-way ticket to Dubai with the youthful zeal you’d expect of a new graduate seeking daring and disruptive adventures. Truth be told, before the airline, other than a short-lived sting as a bank teller one summer in high school, I’ve never truly worked in a conventional customer-service role. I was privileged enough…

Relationships are like volunteer work

Image by stux from Pixabay

There are some people we’d “pay admission to know,” writes Melissa Kirsch from The New York Times. Inspired by an account in the Times of American film and theatre director, Mike Nichols, his wife described Mr. Nichols as “a skilled conversationalist and raconteur,” that “sometimes, [she] felt she should be paying admission” for simply being in his presence.

What Mike Nichols’ wife, Diane Sawyer, is describing refers to the qualities of those that enrich our lives through every interaction, who embody altruism, charm and wisdom; or perhaps, simply those who have a relentless capacity to listen, where the relationship often…

A lesson in branding and life

Image by christian hardi from Pixabay

Described by Howard Schultz, ex-CEO of Starbucks, as “a small escape during a day when so many other things are beating you down,” Starbucks has become the quintessential local gathering spot. Ranked by Interbrand as one of the top 50 global brands worldwide, the green siren sitting in a meditative state under a starred crown, invites us to experience the romance of espresso, and perhaps for many, a comforting familiarity in the whirlwind of our day.

Starbucks started as a coffee grinding business in Seattle by three friends, Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker. It was initially positioned as…


It’s never too late to change an aspect of our world

Author’s Photo. Cupnoodle Museum. Tokyo, Japan.

It is never too late to do anything in life.

- Momofuku Ando

In 1958, Momofuku Ando was 48 years old when he introduced the first iteration of the famous cup noodles that we know today (spoiler alert — they weren’t in a cup).

Sixty years ago, the world thought of such matters as nothing more than acts of witchery. Feeding yourself in under three minutes with dried noodles soaked in hot water? Pure madness!

That’s exactly what the food industry also said when Ando launched the ‘Nissin Chikin Ramen,’ a simple package of dried noodles conceived out of a…


It takes five seconds to pick up your emotional scientist hat

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Marc Brackett, a professor at Yale, dedicated his career to studying emotions. In his recent book, Permission to Feel, he argues how nurturing a high degree of emotional intelligence is perhaps just as important, if not more, than our intellectual intelligence.

And it all starts with understanding our emotions.

Understanding emotions is a journey. Possibly an adventure. When it’s finished, we may find ourselves someplace new, someplace unexpected, somewhere, perhaps, we had no intention of going. And yet there we are, wiser than before — maybe wiser than we wished to be. But there’s no other way forward. …


It made me question what it means to leave a legacy

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Given the news of industry-wide furloughs in recent weeks, I received a few notes of kindness from friends and co-workers. “I heard the airline is laying off thousands of people,” one former classmate said, “and if you’ve been affected, I’m happy to offer any support you may need.” Even a date-turned-friend, who I’ve casually stayed in touch with on Instagram, expressed compassionate wishes over a direct message a few days ago.

For the most part, I’ve been truly grateful for the outpour of support. It’s always reassuring to know you’re remembered in hard times. A few sentences have the power…

Lessons learned from contemplating a tree in bloom

Under the Blossom. Author’s Photo.

“Look at them! They’re bowing!” I called towards my then partner while pulling his arm in my direction. Underneath a swaying cherry blossom branch, two deer joined into a playful bow. In Nara, Japan, just south of Kyoto, sika deer are roaming freely on the streets, poking their inquisitive noses looking for the wobbly limbs that often carry treats. They are smart — they figured out that there’s a higher chance at a bite of the specialty ‘deer biscuit,’ if they first court the humans with endearing kindness.


Let’s proudly open our blinds

Photo by Margaux Bellott on Unsplash

“Close the shutters!” Is what 19th-century French caricaturist, Charles Amédée de Noé, proclaimed upon viewing Edouard Manet’s The Balcony (1868–9). Sitting at Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the painting is a reminder of the transgression against conventional norms. Manet’s characters, all acquaintances of the artist, are consumed in their own longing, seemingly removed from any sense of a collective story. Although today one of the artist’s most famous works, this style of representation was highly contested at the time, given paintings were expected to be bound by a strong narrative. …


Embracing uncertainty doesn’t mean trying to control it

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Inspired by a blog by Austin Klein last week, I started reflecting once again on the ways we try to control the unknowns in our lives. How triggered by our insecurities, we attempt to reign over uncertainty with knowledge, organization and power.

Uncertainty isn’t the culprit. Uncertainty is just a fact of life. Uncertainty simply is, just as much as it’s not.

I first got introduced to the concept of dealing with the unknown when learning about asymmetrical information back in school. In economics, it’s defined as the imbalance in the information held between buyers are sellers, which affects an…


Exploring the intricacy of ideas and the human condition. Interests include culture, travel, marketing, design, and mental health. 📩 Linkedin @andreibiltan

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