Technology…with Love.

Valentines Day soon. Very soon. This week, in fact. And if you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering, what do I buy!?!

Yes, you could head over to Pandora and buy some more jewellery… or you could get something from Amazon… where you’re more than likely to spend a few hours, searching… and going round in circles from one gift idea to another.

I thought… why not share my top 3 tech gift ideas for your loved one!

1. Apple iWatch

If your partner hasn’t already got one – this is a must, in my opinion.

Series 3 is the latest one. Full connectivity and does everything you’d want in a tech-loaded watch, from tracking your fitness to taking calls… from sending ‘I love you’ messages to notifications suggesting you ‘breathe’.

They’re £329… just think of the expression on your partners face, when you share your thoughts on how many calories they should be burning a day.

2. Headphones

We’re more and more using tablets and our phones to watch videos. So why not purchase a nice set of headphones to ensure the listening pleasure is as good as the viewing.

There’s a variety of headphones that are available… and there’s some great makes, but i’m going to play it fairly safe and go for something that’s not all about the branding… but about the beat.

That’s right – Dr Dre’s Beats.

Now, whilst looking around, I noticed there’s some great offers available!… for example, check this out…

3. Power Bank

It’s all about budgets. The iWatch is expensive… but worth every penny. The headphones is a mid-range present.. but if you’re thinking, Bal… I don’t really have that sort of money to spend, but would like to buy something tech related and something nice for my partner… what could I buy?

Well… these days, we seems to be needing to charge and power, virtually everything. From watch’s to phones, from cars to Sony’s Aibo (the robotic dog). So why not purchase a power bank.

That’s right… a power bank!

This is a Tecknet power bank, that is available on Amazon. Good quality… good ratings… good to power up anything! And let’s be honest, it’s one of those things that isn’t glamorous… nor is it sexy, but it’s realiable, trusting and always there when you need a little ‘pick me up’.

Obviously, other types and brands are available, and there’s great variety on some of the leading on-line stores…. like Amazon.

There were other tech items you could purchase for your loved one, I did think of Fitbits, but thought the iWatch does much more.

There’s rings that store your personal data… but then, this could get a little complicated and what happens if you lost your ring… you’ll lose your personal data… but moreso, if it got in the wrong hands, that’s a bad thing!

You could also buy DIY electronic kits… Nintendo Switch’s… the list is quite endless. It’s all about, what your loved one will appreciate. And i’m sure, one of the above with some flowers… will do the trick!

Throwback Thursday… my days at Kodak!

I thought I’d relive some of my old memories… And one to start off with, is my time at Kodak.

That’s right- I used to work for Kodak. In fact, it was my first ‘proper’ job.

By that, I mean – I had several summer jobs, and other side jobs… to earn some spare cash which I’d spend on my car… (BMW 318iS Coupe – just for reference!).

So what did you do at Kodak, Bal? – Well… I was one of the five graduates for the year that I started. I know… Out of hundreds and hundreds off applicants, they chose me… as one of five… to join them!

To answer the question – I was a graduate, rotating for 2 yrs within Kodak, experiencing various projects, programmes and activities. It was here that I worked for someone who is an inspiration… and for someone whom I lucky to call Sensei today (but more on this topic another day).

Kodak was a great place… for those who remember, the makers of film, paper and other photographic products. Huge factory in Harrow… UK, is where I was based. Rochester, New York was the home of Kodak in the USA.

Unfortunately, film declined… due to Digital Cameras… and we all know how the rest of the story goes.

Kodak is used in many ‘innovation’ presentations – highlighting how ‘digital destroyed a huge company’. Didn’t fully destroy it.. but definitely disrupted the industry.

Kodak is still going! – I know… I get my pension letters from them! – well, what’s happening to my pension, i’m a few years away from withdrawing it.

It’s funny… because Kodak actually invented the digital camera (also, isn’t it funny, we don’t actually use the term ‘digital’ when we talk about cameras – it’s just the norm…)

The problem was – we.. I mean Kodak, were making so much money from film, they decided to keep it under lock and key – and invest the minimum amount into it.

As mentioned, we all know how the story goes… and digital cameras became the norm, Kodak were late to the party… in fact, they weren’t that late, they quickly ramped up and started making them to meet customer demand… but as people didn’t need film… didn’t need paper to print on… the core business was shaken, and the fortunes of Kodak changed forever.

It’s easy to sit here now… and say, well, they should’ve done more… should’ve have done this and that… but when you’ve got huge sums of money rolling in… why should you? why should you fear? – you’re huge… you’re Global… you’ve got thousands and thousands of people working…

There’s one key lesson we can all learn… don’t get comfortable.

Someone, somewhere…. somehow… will come and disrupt.

What can you do? – Collaborate. Engage. Understand. Explore.

Technology and getting hands on…

You may recall, I shared a blog post towards end of last year about Lego – and how they were encouraging children to play with Lego and learn about robotics – introducing technology with Lego.

It’s always a hard one. Children these days, do spend a lot of time on tablets and consoles. Either playing games, on social media or just watching YouTube videos of someone jumping up and down.

It’s beginning to change… Nintendo have recently decided to introduce the Labo… and hoping to encourage children (and adults) to not just play on their Switch, but learn by making items out of cardboard and interacting with it.

The Labo is a do-it-yourself cardboard kit, that offer projects for children to make and learn from, with the Switch.

For example, you could make a piano out of cardboard, insert the Switch.. and then learn and play the piano! Rather than tapping on a screen… you actually pressing down on keys (admittedly made out of cardboard, but remember… learning should be fun!)

You can make a remote control car… a motorbike… and a few other items. There’ll also be a Robot kit. An interactive cardboard robot!

Couple of reasons why I think this is great –

  1. Really brings out the ‘engineer’ in the children…. get them physically making things… thinking how it works, how it goes together and how it will work. They could even make improvements… make a larger piano (if possible)… there’s so much that can be engineered out of cardboard. And it’s all in a safe learning environment.
  2. Moving away from the screen – Technology is great. But too much screen time, isn’t that good. This allows children to a) move away from the screen for a short duration and b) learn how technology with real life moving interactive items are connected and how they can be controlled to perform certain actions….

The Switch is a great console – and there’s data to back that up, by record sales figures… and this is a great add-on, which will only make the console more appealing and further increase those sales.

So, if you were thinking what to get… and what to make… here you go… make – play – discover.


Wow… 1 year already!

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun!

It’s been a year – since I first started blogging – admittedly, my first post wasn’t all that inspiring

Indeed – I was sharing my thoughts on Tumblr and decided to switch to a wordpress site. I think this gave me more control of my content and the ability to share more easily through the various social media outlets i’m active on.

Then there was a plug for me at the Sales Innovation Expo…

That’s right – I was on stage talking…

That was an awesome event – there was even a video made of the event, which featured me! – (you can skip to 1:50… to hear me)

Ok… you want a short video of me actually talking… during my talk? – here’s a 1 minute highlight! – and Yes! – I talk about Pizza!!

And all of that… just in the month of January of 2017!

Have to admit – it’s been great sharing my thoughts and opinions on my blog – and also appreciate the guests I’ve had on sharing their thoughts.

But are people reading it, Bal?

Yes! – I know, crazy right?! – But the stats show me, that over the past 12 months, I’ve had on average 450 people per month read my blogs! – Massive Thank You to those who’ve subscribed and take time out to read.

So when I initially started – I thought, let’s give it a go! I’ll try it for a year, and see how it goes. If no-one reads it…. I’ll leave it.

However, if people do read it and there’s interest then I’ll keep going and building on it… and looks like… there’s a few folk out there who do read it… therefore, i’ll keep on going!

As promised – more interesting content around the latest technology… more innovative ideas being shared and the usual Bal’s Friday Thought.

So, if you’re sat there thinking… I’ve got an idea… but not sure if it’ll work or if I should give it a go…. I say, do it! – Give it a go! – try it for a short period of time… see what the data says and then make a decision… a pivot, if you invest more time and effort or if you park it and try something else.

I did just that. And my pivot point is telling me… to carry on 🙂

Literally, Anything is Possible…

So you may have recently read via my twitter account, that for some time… I’ve been talking about Bal’s Kitchen.

What is Bal’s Kitchen?

Great question! – it’s a Kitchen, that’s ran by Bal! – (That’s me, by the way).

What’s unique about this?

Well…. quite a few things.

a) As I’ve travelled around the world, I always like to try the local cuisine, be it the shark in Bangkok, Thailand or the deep fried chicken in Atlanta, US… I must try what the locals eat. Makes me appreciate my local Fish and Chips (with mushy Peas) back home.

b) Cultures – every culture is different and fascinates me. From my Indian heritage, where we eat food with our hands… to the Chinese chopsticks, to the traditional knife and fork… for my fish and chips (with mushy Peas and mint sauce).

c) People! – Remember my 3P? – People, Process and Purpose. I feel, especially in an eatery… people, either those cooking, in charge or just waiting on you… are extremely important. I’ve experienced some rude folk… friendly folk… best of all, at Mary Mac’s Tea Room in Atlanta, where you have a friendly lady come over, asks how you are… how your day was… and gives you a little back rub!

Yep, that’s Adam, myself and Jo Carter – Goodwill Ambassador at Mary Mac’s, Atlanta. (side note – you must check out Adam’s photo’s on Insta – @adamparkmanphoto)

So there’s a few things that will make Bal’s Kitchen unique… and yes – a Goodwill Ambassador is on the list!

So, can I really do it? – well… that’s the big question.

Is it really possible? – as the saying goes… Anything is Possible.

I needed some additional motivation to really get it going… and boy did I get it recently.

Now, if you’ve heard about the Shed at Dulwich – that was my little kick that I needed! – if you haven’t heard about it… keep on reading!

So, i’m not going to explain the whole story about the Shed at Dulwich, but i’m going to let you watch the video clip below – be warned, it’s about 18minutes long.. but it’s the best 18 minutes you’ll spend if you need some motivation… or a ‘kick up the backside’ to get going!

There’s one key lesson out of all of this… you can sit there and say, I wouldn’t be able to do it, I can’t do it… I’ll never be a a success… I can never get to number 1… blah…blah…blah… BUT! – if you really want something, you can achieve it.

Now the moral of the story is… how a shed in Dulwich.. went from ranking 18 thousand something on Trip Advisor to being Number 1.

Wasn’t done the right way (and we’ll discuss the ethics another day)… but the key learning is… Literally, Anything is Possible.