DiscoverAshley Talks – Asia Tech Podcast259: Nabomita Mazumdar (Ashley Talks ASH13)
259: Nabomita Mazumdar (Ashley Talks ASH13)

259: Nabomita Mazumdar (Ashley Talks ASH13)

Update: 2018-05-22
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Podcast highlights:

  • 09:36 Where do you find energy for your passions? -- Everyone needs something that can keep them awake at 2:00am. At the end of the day these communities are people in flesh and bone. Serving them is a wonderful thing.
  • 14:48 Why do so many women have a complicated relationship to money in business? -- This is ironic because so many women have experiences as homemakers. Some of the best business skills you could hope for emerge from this work; but for some reason, when women become product-makers or entrepreneurs they become "too feminine" about money and almost shy to talk about numbers.
  • 31:28 What is the future for workers who in a very short time may lose their jobs and livelihoods as a result of automation and technological change? -- Bots and robots are inevitable. The sorts of "cookie-cutter" jobs that were designed in the first place for machines and not humans will go back to the machines. These human workers are not yet ready to take on more specialized tasks. We need to change this.

Podcast notes:

  • 00:05 ASH13 - Ashley Talks with Ashley Galina Dudarenok and Nabomita Mazumdar
  • 00:55 What is your story? -- In her final year in college, Nabomita was introduced to an anonymous online community in India. She linked up with the founder and helped establish offline chapters in cities across India and around the world. After four years as a contributor, she joined the effort full-time. These rich interactions taught her product development and business acumen.
  • 06:23 What are you working on right now? -- Nothing inspires me more than building a product. Right now I'm working with a human resources (HR) company called comply4HR, which is a human resources compliance company who's entire content is written by people in authority in HR governance. This makes the site valuable because the content is highly validated and curated.
  • 09:36 Where do you find energy for your passions? -- Everyone needs something that can keep them awake at 2:00am. At the end of the day these communities are people in flesh and bone. Serving them is a wonderful thing.
  • 11:08 How do men and women differ in business? -- Notice that we haven't been talking about numbers or features. We've been talking about people, about women. This is the difference. Women do not think in terms of numbers but in terms of people. Sometimes this harms women trying to launch products or brands where investors and VCs want returns and systematized growth plans. Women need to learn these skills in order to succeed.
  • 14:48 Why do so many women have a complicated relationship to money in business? -- This is ironic because so many women have experiences has homemakers. Some of the best business skills you could hope for emerge from this work, but for some reason when women become product-makers or entrepreneurs they become "too feminine" about money and almost shy to talk about numbers.
  • 17:35 What can men learn from women? -- Empathy! Women instinctively know what to do next. If men can learn to empathize more and women learn number-crunching skills we can all build a better world.
  • 18:50 How have you seen India change in the past 10 years? -- India is right now in a "maker's moment." Almost everyone is building a product. Everybody is adding to the ecosystem. It's a great moment in India right now.
  • 20:30 What are some cities in India that everyone around the world should know? Where are the major tech hubs in India now? -- Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai are the major metropolises everyone knows. But also Pune, where they are trying to build the best healthcare platform. India's tier-2 cities are picking up but the major metro areas still rule the roost.
  • 23:33 Is it difficult to be a young Indian woman in business in India? -- In India it is not easy to be a woman in business. There are some men who support women. Maybe the number isn't great yet, but things are improving.
  • 26:00 Do successful women simply make their mark and demand the world change to meet them? -- Absolutely! Be so lost in following your dream that everybody follows you! Let nothing break you down! We need to showcase successful women. We need so many role models that we cannot help but see an inspiring woman no matter where we look.
  • 28:08 What has it been like speaking at TEDx? -- Because of my experience I have learned to see where industries are going and this has allowed me to talk now about the future of work. In my thinking and research on this topic I found in India there are three levels of talent. 1) The Maker's Movement. These are the people who can't wait to build the next best thing. 2) Those people who are stable and want to continue in their jobs so they can keep increasing their assets. 3) Finally, there is a group who know they will likely be churned out after the next performance review. This third group are the people who are expanding the gig-economy. The entire experience of TED has been an education.
  • 31:28 What is the future for workers who in a very short time may lose their jobs and livelihoods as a result of automation and technological change? -- Bots and robots are inevitable. The sorts of "cookie-cutter" jobs that were designed in the first place for machines and not humans will go back to the machines. But these human workers are not yet ready to take on more specialized tasks. We need to change this.
  • 35:06 What are some examples of products you think are built, as you say, "for humans"? -- Think about it this way. India as a country is too large. We do not need every person to leave the village and find work and services in the cities. We need to make the same quality services available in the village. We need to allow people to live where they want without having to give up on products and services found now only in major cities. This is the kind of pathway we need to build.
  • 36:57 Do you think we will find a future where people can opt-out of the workforce entirely? Can you see a future where people don't have to work if they don't want to? -- What a dream! One of my mentors once said we need a society where people do not have to leave their homes and villages to cater to the world. This is how we need to redesign the workforce of the future. Allow people to cater to the world from their homes.
  • 39:29 Thinking about the future, what technologies are you most excited about right now? -- Honestly AI and blockchain. They are the paths to the future, but they are not the future. We will likely find even more specialized versions of them. It like peeling an onion, there are always more layers. Expect to see more disruption in data-privacy and security.
  • 41:59 Do you think the world understands India's full potential? -- If you've ever traveled in India, you will know India changes every 60 kilometers. There is huge potential in the market because almost every area has it's own unique requirements.
  • 44:27 Do you see more young people with a desire to innovate? Or are young people less interested in contributing to industry? -- What I see are young people making things all the time. It's true they often don't know how to make a product work in the long run, but they are super passionate. I want to see young people building responsible products so that they're not just doing "me too's" and copies of other products. Be disruptive but learn how scaling-up works and see how people in the past have moved from idea to established brand.
  • 49:09 A totally unrelated question: how have Indian people become so spiritual? How is it you can find incredible spiritual depth in India? -- No matter your religion you have easy access to the scriptures. This level of access to spiritual content goes a long way in fusing people with a sense of spirituality. Buddha says, "your work is to find your work and fall in love with it." When AI takes away our jobs, our work will be to find our work and fall in love with it.
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259: Nabomita Mazumdar (Ashley Talks ASH13)

259: Nabomita Mazumdar (Ashley Talks ASH13)

Bharath K