Your Five

It is never easy to find the kind of people who can help you find your best self. Not only that, you’d have to regularly think if they should be the same people (have you outgrown them?).

Best case scenario, they grow with you. 🙂

If there is an overarching theme to the things I do — I would say it is about connection. The interest in connecting those who are disconnected, and contributing to form deeper relationships.

Which brings me to a ‘light-bulb-moment’ earlier this week on how to approach my channel trailer. I got the idea for the video (trailer) — but then wondered how it connected to all the videos I had.

With ideas, I found that whenever one comes, to always find a way to save it in some form. Then, when you can execute, DO IT! Then worry about the next step, when it comes.

So I did, I planned for the video, shot three versions of it (since I only had my memory to remind me the length required by YouTube). When I was ready to upload, I selected one of the three, and came up with this:

Amazingly, this also gave me the chance to include (part) of a song I wrote. I had initially earmarked it for a documentary project, which had not gone ahead — so am really excited that it was a possibility for this video.

Now, after putting that video up, I now had my next challenge: ‘How to connect that to all the videos I had’. Second ‘light-bulb-moment’! 🙂 (you can find the content in my about page.)

As I mentioned in the information section of the video. ‘Your Five’ was inspired from a quote from Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”

You can think of your five as your ‘team of advisers’ as mentioned by Sonia. Or maybe people you’d have closest to you.

Interested in an introduction to a possible fit? Just fill out this form:


Looking for something more personal? Check out these entries!

Note: For a balanced perspective, don’t forget these people.

My Q&A cheat-sheet…

…or at least one of them. 🙂

Seriously though, there couldn’t be any one checklist (or ‘a checklist’) that I could use to help me get each Q&A draft to a point that I’d be ready to submit a text version for approval. Because if I did that, I’d be risking not finding more of what makes that person unique.

I do have my guide questions. And in past Q&As there have been core questions that pop up frequently. As I have always been nuts for engaging talks and stories, I thought I’d outline a documentary and a biopic — both of which would be helpful whenever I wanted to add a new (or re-introduce a) question or two.


Reader Advice: If you haven’t seen Being Elmo or Temple Grandin, and the type that dislikes knowing key parts of a story before you see a film. Stop reading now! Then, click here to send me a message and I’ll be happy to remind you about this post, after you’ve seen both.
Yes, while writing this, I watched both films again. 😀

Being Elmo



  • Intro/Prologue
    • Height of Fame
    • (Opening Title)
    • Where he is now
    • How much he has touched others lives (The effect he has on others)
  • Beginnings (influences
    • Watched Disney and a lot of TV
    • Environment he was exposed to growing up
    • Why Sesame Street connected with him (Scene with Ernie in introducing Bert to the audience, and directly talking to the camera)
  • Application (Early days, initial )
    • The kind of support he got when he first attempted to make a puppet. (He made a mistake of using a coat to make a puppet before asking permission)
    • Where he first tested his ideas: backyard puppet shows (eventually morphed into bigger crowds)
    • His takaway: it was about finding a way to connect to each individual.
  • Setbacks
    • School Teasing
  • First Break
    • Spotted by a TV presenter
  • Finding a Mentor (to get to the next level)
    • What drove him to find a Mentor? He couldn’t get the stitching so it couldn’t be visible (like the Muppets).
  • Result of being Mentored
    • Things that he learned (the kind of stitching to get the effect that he wanted)
    • Places he was able to visit (The Workshop)
    • People he was able to meet (Jim Henson)
  • Interactions with Peers/Co-Workers
    • Interviews: Puppeteers he has worked with
    • giving suggestions to puppet makers and puppeteers (e.g. for the French version of Sesame Street)
  • Skills required to be a puppeteer
    • Making the puppet look alive (slightly opening the mouth — getting the puppet to look around)
    • Hand movements (as a puppeteer and how the puppet is seen)
  • Joining Jim’s circle
    • Getting invited to the parade (as Cookie Monster)
    • Meeting Jim for the first time (How Kermit Love helped him with the introduction and the first conversation — Reminder of the benefit of a Mentor: Reminder of what set him apart from others who might be considered as well)
  • From High School to Network TV
    • Making a decision to decline Jim Henson’s offer to be involved in a movie (because of prior commitments)
    • Example of what it was like to work with Jim Henson (Story of a difficult sequence in Labyrinth)
    • Timing of being free, just in time to get the offer to do Labyrinth
  • Sesame Street – Early Years
    • Highs – what he felt when he first walked in and coming across people he looked up to.
    • Lows – he did a commercial with Jim Henson and Frank Oz — needing a piece of paper with his line.
  • Elmo
    • Backstory of Elmo (Before Kevin took over)
    • Kevin taking time to figure out how to approach Elmo (and Eureka moment)
    • Co-workers being interviewed about the creation of Elmo (Elmo is not Kevin, but his parents)
  • Additional Life Events
    • Daughter born
    • Tickle Me Elmo Craze
    • Committing to do all Elmo appearances even when there was consideration given to bring in another puppeteer.
    • Jim Henson’s passing (he was able to spend some time with Jim two weeks before)
  • Being a Mentor
    • Reaching out to a possible mentee
    • Full Circle: showing a young puppeteer around the workshop
    • Sharing why he chooses to Mentor others
  • How he contributes to a larger body of work
    • How he embodies what Jim Henson started
    • He gets along well with other puppeteers

Here’s another review by Andy Crump.




Temple Grandin

  • Intro/Prologue
    • Summary of who Temple is (She thinks in pictures – not like other people)
    • Opening Credits (Pictures — and in the commentary Temple Grandin mentions that the drawings were used were hers – just animated. Plus) – nice comedic touch: cow winking at the camera
  • Vacation before College (Aunt’s ranch)
    • First time visiting – A number of scenes illustrate what she likely sees (fire for extremely hot temperatures, imagery that comes to mind when her Aunt uses a phrase to let her know the time they get up)
    • Introduction to her mannerisms (very outspoken and animated when something captures her attention – telling a story to her aunt while on the drive to the airport to the ranch, and reaction about meeting one of the ranchhands) and abilities (very detailed)
    • How she gets her ideas – from seeing how one object works (room vent) and applying it to another (entrance gate to the ranch).
    • Pre-College Struggle – to understand people.
    • Second Mentor – Aunt Ann helps her understand the world and herself more (taking pictures of different expressions to signify specific emotions)
    • The words that may have convinced her to pursue college.
  • College
    • Settling in the dorms accompanied by Mum – flashback on how far Temple has come (echoing what Uncle Mike conveyed), and how much her mum has persisted and believed in her (despite the doctor’s initial diagnosis when she was 4).
    • Aspects of the world that overwhelm her and result in stress.
    • Her idea on making her own hug machine, then method of convincing the decision makers to have her keep the device
  • High School (Flashback)
    • First Mentor and Friend (Dr. Carlock)
      • Being able to convince Temple’s mum (initially hesitant after the visit and interview) to consent to having Temple attend the school.
      • Encouragement while steering Temple with the right challenges and approach to learning (Once he finds out how Temple’s mind works).
      • Someone to turn to even after high school (Temple called Dr. Carlock for advice regarding her report about her hug machine)
      • Getting Temple to be open about going to college.
    • Affinity with horses
    • Lessons
      • Not all people think like her (in pictures)
      • First encounter with death (Chestnut)
  • College (Post-Hug Machine Approval)
    • Interacting with people more (needing to guide her blind roommate to watch The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and sitting at the front row in class)
    • Valedictorian Speech: the realisation that things are accomplished with the help of others.
  • Masters
    • Eureka Moment for thesis
    • Struggle with getting data to complete — and how Temple creatively found a way to get things done.
    • Being proactive (approaching a magazine editor, who ended up liking what she wrote)
  • Writer and Designer
    • Bumping into the right people at the right time
      • Unexpected Opportunity: Feedlot needing to be designed
      • Design an entire cattle processing system
    • Further personal growth
      • Learning to go through automatic doors
      • Getting closer to allowing people to hug her (her mum at Dr. Carlock’s Funeral)
  • Being able to get an opportunity at a conference to talk to others about what she went through, and allowing her mum to hear how much she had helped Temple become who she is now.






  • Since the talks I’ve chosen as reference are available online (Thanks to Chris #1 and Chris #2!), I might just add a couple of sentences what makes each of them awesome!


  • Donald Miller’s WDS Talk
    • I’m in the process of going through WDS talks (Chris has them on his Vimeo account), and this one blew me away. If you are hungry for complimentary talks after watching Dan, one I’d recommend is Simon Sinek’s ‘Why’
    • Looking for awesome books to read? Don mentions some that you might want to take note of at the start of his talk.
  • Q&A with Aimee Mullins
    • Before watching this video, be sure that you are in an environment where you could either smile or laugh out loud because you are in danger of doing either (or both!)  when you get to at this point of the chat: “Aimee, so what if your leg falls off? You pick it up, you put the damn thing back on, and finish…”

Inspiring Podcasts

Want to download episodes directly rather than subscribe?

I get ya! 😀 Though the links will still take you to the Podcast site, on the page, you’ll find a link to download the audio file (MP3) directly:

  • EntrepreneurOnFire – you can watch a video of John’s story here, or read about it here. (Volume Level 64%)
    • Ramit Sethi – don’t be put off by his spammy sounding page as there’s lots of good advice and you’re likely going to find something that fits you in one of his blog entries.
    • Corrina Gordon-Barnes – In a very engaging chat, Corrina at one point mentions someone from her past: “He thought he couldn’t have both passion and money, and he chose money.” Her EOF interview page also links to an interesting article about blogging.
  • The Unmistakable Creative – (Volume Level 83%)
    • Michael Roderick – “We need to budget time to be reflective”
    • Josh Long – “If you can’t break things down first, then you have a shaky foundation.”
  • Microblogger – You can check out Jim’s chat with John on EOF. Some episodes have transcripts. (EOF Episode – Volume Level 64%; Microblogger Episodes: Volume Level 97%)
    • Farnoosh Torabi – “It’s about having compassion for those who don’t get it.”
    • Matt Jabs – “I don’t like that to be the first impression I have on a website.”


Looking forward to hear which episode resonated with you the most! Send me a message here. 🙂

(If you need to reach out to request more podcast recommendations — that’s cool too! Use this form)

The Perfect Podcast

My tick sheet for a podcast that I’d surely subscribe to:

  • Great Content
  • Quality Audio
  • Consistent Audio Levels Within The Episode
  • No Foul Language
  • Consistent Volume Across Different Episodes


I’ve found that it is rare that a podcast has all this. And interestingly I haven’t found one that ticks all 5. The reason it is so difficult to get all five is having consistent volume all through out different episodes, and usually episodes go through a bit of an evolution (audio particularly would change).

I’ve arranged my list according to how essential they are in my decision to download episodes more from that podcast.


Great Content

Nothing will trump this, even if the Podcast ticks the other four requirements. If the content of the Podcast doesn’t resonate with me — I’m not going to keep on listening to it. I’ve also stopped listening to a Podcast whenever there is anything demeaning/condescending/arrogant said by either the hosts or guests.


Quality Audio

I’m quite okay with mobile phone quality, as long as the levels are okay. There’s nothing more frustrating than to get to the part that I am quite engaged in, then having that section cut (or fade) out.

I would be cool with (if it was on video) subtitles or transcripts, to make up for the not-so-good audio.


Consistent Audio Levels Within The Episode

It is not often that I am close to volume control while listening to a podcast, so significant volume variations aren’t something I usually put up with:

  • Host volume softer than guest (I want to hear the questions!)
  • Episode introduction (music or narration) significantly louder than the rest of the episode.


No Foul Language

Whenever I find something useful to share, I do. And it is better to not have to worry about making a note to the person I’m recommending the podcast to “make sure headphones are on, and only for private listening”.


Consistent Volume Across Different Episodes

It is so much easier for me to go through my downloaded podcast list and just pick the episodes I want, play — and not worry about the ones that ‘go together’ (have the same volume level)

The good news is, that this is not so much a deal breaker for me, as I have found a way to work around it:

  • Download episodes
  • Pick the one I’d like to listen to the most (Favourite of the Day)
  • Randomly listen midway each episode, and find the ones that have the same audio levels
  • Save files as playlist (and when naming the file — note audio level required)


Interested in hearing my take on your podcast? More than happy to!

Get in touch with me here. 🙂


Why Trust is important

After reading Ann Handley‘s entry about her experience with JetBlue — I had a nagging thought: ‘That was too convenient, was it a set-up?’

That could be what I walked away with..but it wasn’t.


Because my previous impressions of both have been favourable, and I was able to dismiss this (likely wrong!) thought.

I first came across Ann when she responded to a post mentioning her (it was one of those lists about marketing — and I would have liked to share it with you, as you would have probably wanted her to be your ‘bestie’ after reading her brilliant response).

Which led me to check out her blog posts…find one that was an interesting read…then tweet about it. Of course, Ann being the awesome person that she is (taking time to respond to mentions and comments) — thanked me.



Now…onto JetBlue

JetBlue‘s decision to be one of the companies supporting Morgan Spurlock so he could make ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold‘ was enough. (Haven’t watched it? Morgan’s TED talk might help a bit)


Because I trust both sides — the no-so-nice-thought I had was only entertained for but a fleeting moment. 🙂

Tag Ideas

I was delighted when I discovered this while roaming through the various posts at the WordPress newspage.

Very handy reference when I’m at loss on which tags to put when I post a new Q&A.

Going further than that, I started to look at the entries for each tag, and found that it could be also another way that I could find things that are interesting. Though a number of these tags do end up with spam-like entries, I’ve found some tags that are worth looking at.


From current tags:


Of course there are still some entries that look a bit left field and (yikes!) spammy. That’s okay though, just like with Twitter trending Hashtags — spammers hijack them too.


Other not so popular (but good) tags:

I previously attempted to find new entries to read via the WordPress search function, and after that experience. Never again!

Really glad I found the tag search.

One note though, if you are tagging any of your posts. There are times that the posts do not get picked up right away.

For example for this post, the entry got picked up by the ‘Behind The Scenes’ Tag as soon as it was posted. It was also the same for other tags I’ve chosen (even if they were part of the trending WordPress tags)

2014-11-06 - Tag Example - BTS

Interestingly the ‘blogging’ tag didn’t pick up the entry, and I’m guessing it might happen after half an hour or so (as this was the case for one of the Q&A entries: it took about half an hour to show up on a particular tag’s feed).

I used to think that there was someone vetting what comes up on each tag’s feed — and was quite disapointed when an entry wasn’t featured. Now I understand, that for some (tags) it just takes time.

Do you have your own favourite tags? (popular or not)

Reaching Out

For a number of times now, I have come across instances when I wanted to contact the person behind a blog entry to send a personal message. Even if it was a form I needed to fill in…I’d do it.

So to you, who have allowed your readers for a way to reach you. Thanks! 😀

Which Theme?

Am curious to know the story behind how you came to choose yours.

Since the content is still sparse, I’m thinking I should add more?

Interestingly, I’m reminded of the storage limit of each basic blog (3 Gig) after going through the tick boxes. Tempted to ask other bloggers what they are now at with storage.


The Companion

Welcome! 🙂

(Yes! I truly mean that!)

You’ve just found the little corner I’ve created to be able to easily find links and be able to add complimentary content for the Q&A, videos, or other projects.

If it gets messy and too confusing, you have my permission to give me a nudge — and I’ll be sure to simplify (and tag properly!) as much as I can with some feedback from you.

You are not limited to publicly putting comments below — and can actually reach me directly! Just zoom on to here (when you fill in the form don’t forget to put your email address so I can thank you for taking the time to reach out.).