7 Questions with Biren Parekh

This sure made my day! Here is a link to my latest interview – 7 Questions with Biren Parekh. Jonno White is a highly effective and experienced leadership coach. He has transformed several large and medium-sized corporations through his leadership coaching. 

One can read answers to the following 7 questions in my interview


  1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
  2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
  3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
  4. What’s the most recent significant leadership lesson you’ve learned?
  5. What’s one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
  6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
  7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?


Grateful to my company Intellect Design Arena Ltd for the opportunity and freedom to showcase my leadership strength over years. 
Waiting to hear your thoughts!





Cybersecurity Tips for Startups and SMBs

It can be argued that startups are the future of business.

These smaller companies have perfected the idea of identifying a unique concern and working hard to solve it. Unlike the more prominent companies, most startups excel in not wanting to do it all at once. They would instead take one concept and work around it, making life easier for people on that front.

With the growth of the technology industry, we have also seen the emergence of many startups. More of these businesses are also coming up in other sectors.

If the cybersecurity concerns that they face are not adequately addressed, we might see them going out of business faster than they came in.


Why Startups Should Stay Alert

When hackers strike, they are going for the biggest payday that they can manage. This is why it is not uncommon to see them go after the more significant companies most of the time.

However, this is where it is easy to get things wrong.

When Yahoo lost the details of over 3 billion accounts to hackers, it made the news. The same was true for Uber, caught in the middle of a messy business where about 57 million details of riders and drivers were exposed.

It can be argued that we only heard about those because of the sheer size of those companies.

However, every day, there is a small company experiencing a breach that we do not hear about. The data supports this, too, showing that 43% of all cyber-attacks are targeting small businesses.

That number is not as gloomy as knowing that 83% of small business and startup owners do not even have the funds to deal with the after-effects of a cyberattack. It is, thus, little surprise that 60% of small businesses will go out of business within six months of suffering a cyber-attack.

If nothing is done, we might lose more of these small businesses than we can get back.


Staying Safe

All small business and startup owners should know that staying safe is not just the role of the IT staff. Everyone on the payroll should understand what they have to do to ensure they are not the weak link to make the breach happen.

Poor password habits are usually to blame in most cases. Passwords should not be shared indiscriminately, and they should be as reliable and secure as possible. Do not forget to enable additional measures like two-factor authentication.

Businesses should also consider downloading a VPN, antivirus, antimalware, and other security-oriented software for increased protection.

The former provides quality encryption against network snooping and data hijacking. The later will step up security against malicious files that would have been downloaded over the internet. Antimalware will also keep internal networks safe from infected external drives.

Finally, everyone should know about phishing attacks. Since they account for 90% of all data breaches, they are not to be taken with levity.

Dunbar’s Number

Have you heard about Dunbar’s number?

💡 It is 150.

Recently I read the story about it and awestruck by the research about this number.

This number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. It is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. He found that the number of social group members 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 a primate can track appears to be limited by the volume of the neocortex which is 150.

Some analysis suggests that even in the age of social media we can’t be friends meaningfully with more than that number of people and humans can comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships (100-250 is range but 150 is commonly used).


In addition to Dunbar’s number, anthropological research shows that the type and depth of relationship we can have with people has clear limits:


🔹 Around five people—limit of people with whom we can hold close personal relationships and working memory
🔹 Around fifteen people—limit of people with whom we can experience deep trust
🔹 Around fifty people—limit of people with whom we can have mutual trust
🔹 Around 150 people—limit of people whose capabilities we can remember

Some companies create offices based on this rule. As soon as they reach around 150-200 numbers, they might prefer to open a new floor or new office to ensure cohesiveness among the working group.

Dunbar’s number has attracted a great deal of attraction over the years and Dunbar’s number yields many papers on Google Scholar and hits on Google.

One can claim relations with a large number of persons beyond this but they should understand that many relations beyond this number will be more of acquaintance and no meaningful relationship.

Modern world Marketing technology proposes to beat this number using Marketing automation, CRM & referral automation.

While some may argue that this might be applicable to early-age hunter-gatherers and the human brain has evolved now over the years, but I agree that this number (150) is a realistic number.

What are your thoughts!!!!

High Productivity Practices


📢 This is one of the most exciting moments of my life, as I share my productivity tips and tricks in Dr. Ravindran KA‘s second book 📖 ‘High Productivity Practices -From Successful Leaders’, along with twenty eminent and successful senior leaders from diverse domains, countries, industries, and cultures.


This management book truly unravels the secrets 💡of top leaders’ success and ways to transform oneself into a more PRODUCTIVE person. This book is not just a theoretical paperback but offers practical life advice from successful people about how they became more prolific in their lives.  It is for everyone who craves to move from ordinary productivity standard to extraordinary.



Congratulations 👏 Dr. Ravindran KA on the release of this fantastic 📘book, which has become the #1 bestseller in just a week’s time. This is a great honor for the author Dr Ravindran KA and as one of the leaders featuring in the book. Heartfelt gratitude and tons of good luck to you. 🙏


I am what I am because of God’s blessings and support from my family, friends, colleagues, managers, and loved ones. Thank you all for always being there.


You can purchase the book and share your valuable reviews. The book is available on Amazon (, Flipkart, and other platforms.


LinkedIn Workshop


I get a good number of messages on having good profile and sharing engaging content. My LinkedIn connections have soared from 5000 a year ago to 15000+.  So, I have organized a paid webinar in coordination with graphy to share secrets on how to create an impressive personal profile (5-star) and develop a personal brand on LinkedIn.

Do register at URL given below to learn nuances of creating a master profile and develop personal brand.

First few registrations will get Amazon gift voucher. Register fast.

Register at



Manage your time

Stephen Covey’s famous 4 Quadrants.🟦. This reminded me of concentrating your efforts on 💎 MVP (Most Valuable & Profitable) activities.

The time should be spent in each quadrant as per this:
📌 Q I when there is crisis, pressing problems, deadlines, ad hoc meetings, Firefighting
📌 Q II is normally for vision, planning, discipline, Empowerment
📌 Q III is primarily because of interruptions, mails, Short-term focus
📌 Q IV refers to trivial work, social media, binge watching, “Escape activities”

As per this quadrant, excellent organisation should ensure that their human resources spend
–       20-25% of their time in Q I (Quadrant of Crisis)
–       65-80% of their time in Q II (Quadrant of Quality)
–       15% of their time in Q III (Quadrant of Deception)
–       1% of their time in Q IV (Quadrant of Waste)

However, many organisations’ swaps time of Q I & Q II and they feel that this is the Normal way. That means such organisations feel that if less time is spent in Q I, employees are not productive and they do NOT reward those who work with meticulous planning (Q II).

Q I is also one of the key reasons for high attrition… Agree or not??

So, identify you most ✨MVP ✨ activities and spend more and more time in Q II which means you will spend less time in Q I.

Where do you spend most of your time – Q I, Q II, QII or Q IV??

NEXT100 CIO 2020 Award

I was humbled and honored to have received the prestigious NEXT100 “India’s Future CIOs” Award 2020 during a virtual event held on 18th Dec 2020 and be amongst the Top 100 Future CIO elite club of India. ( The NEXT100, in its Eleventh edition this year, is India’s only award that recognizes the achievements of senior IT managers and identifies prospective leaders.

NEXT100 is an annual awards program instituted by ITNext magazine and the 9.9 Group that aims to identify 100 experienced IT managers who have the skills, talent, and spirit to become CIOs. The awards process invites aspirants to self-nominate themselves for consideration and qualification for the award. The final selection and nomination of the NEXT100 award recipients is made by a prestigious committee of experienced technology and business leaders who constitute the NEXT100 jury. The jury members review and evaluate applicants on career accomplishments, professional expertise, skills, and potential to be a CIO.

More than the award, I am really looking forward to being part of the elite group of leaders and the platform to learn from each other.

Thanks to Jury members, 9DOT9 Team, and Committee members for considering my contribution and work for the award.

Thank you Abhay JuvekarRajesh Makhija & Niraj Vaidya for your support in the journey.

What could be a better way to end 2020 !!!


Startup Mentoring

I am happy to share that the #startup mentored by me made it to the finals of Ventura ’21 (E-cell of NIT Trichy).

Mentoring is a mutually rewarding and wholesome relationship. 

Startup mentoring is a challenging and time-consuming job. Particularly early-stage startups require unwavering commitment and varied skills of engagement. 

It’s important to remember that mentoring is not a magic wand that automatically creates success. However, seeing new founders walking smoothly on the road towards success is an uplifting experience. It’s a long journey although.

#startup #mentoring #entrepreneurship #leadership

Watermelon Status Reporting


Watermelon Status Reporting!!!


Well, I was equally curious when reading this word for the first time. When I learned more, I could quickly relate several instances of my professional career to this word.


“Watermelon status reporting” describes the phenomenon where the RAG status of the project appears to be green from the outside, but if you dig deep into it, it’s actually RED right through and has serious issues. Normally, it is done to disguise actual status to avoid any scrutiny by stakeholders or to ensure that project continues. Some PMs consider Project performance as personal performance & hence try to hide the real status.


There are stakeholders who prefer this, they don’t want a PM to report Red because then they would have to dig deeper, which might lead to looking at their own flaws. Some will say that they will correlate the data between slides to find the veracity of the content so it’s okay, even if someone gives a watermelon report. Some will highlight that it can be also cultural psychology to do this kind of false reporting.


Some leaders will mention that one has to guide his team to not give out watermelon status. However, giving a transparent status report is really tough. All of this takes courage to challenge the status quo and a bigger mindset change. In reality, the performance of the project makes or breaks the career of the PMs. Has anyone got a “meeting expectations” rating or above when his/her project is in “Red”? Hope this justifies the need for watermelon status reporting.


Such false reporting happens for several reasons. Few of them being,

  1. PM does not want to admit that things are not going the way, it should be
  2. Such a project has a risk of being canceled
  3. In some cases, strings are pulled from higher-ups to not portray it as RED and even
  4. Sometimes, even status is actually not updated or PM is a novice


Have you observed in your projects? What are your views?


White Paper

It gives me immense pleasure to share that White Paper co-authored by me along with Dr. Abhay Juvekar has been published in the reputed Scopus Journal. 

The subject of the research paper was “A Comparative Study of Vendor Selection Process in Global Outsourcing Industry with an Elucidated Scientific Approach”. The paper has been published in the April Issue of “Journal of Computer and Mathematics Education.” This was my first research paper written after several months of research and optimization with the guidance and support from and with co-author Dr. Abhay Juvekar.

Scopus is one of the largest, state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary as well as most reputable abstract and citation databases of peer-reviewed literature. Its smart tools allow to track, analyze and visualize scholarly research.

Scopus provides cutting-edge research articles & other academic resources that help researchers to stay abreast of recent happenings in their fields of studies. It is used as an indicator of the importance of a journal to its field.

It’s crucial for researchers to know that research is easily discovered and it accurately captures references and citations to measure influences. Scopus supports both.

Biren Parekh