Toastmasters Project 7: Impending Future of Business Intelligence (BI)

Greetings, fellow toastmasters, friends and guests,

Definition of BI (Slide 1)

You may have heard about Business Intelligence (BI). But what does that really mean? In simple terms, it refers to delivering relevant and reliable information to the right people at the right time with the goal of making informed decisions.

To do this, it requires methods and programs to collect unstructured data and convert them into information and present it in ways that tell us business insights or what we call as data storytelling.

Picture this.

  • You walk into a grocery store and wanted to look for chicken, bread and carrots.
  • You don’t need to find an employee and ask them where to look
  • Grocery stores are organized into aisles and signs to make the stores relatively simple to navigate
  • Now imagine the items as your business data and you need to collect information on production hours and sales goals.
  • Most people will look for three experts and ask them where they can find the information and compile the data for you
  • BI is all about collecting messy data and tuning them into tidy and accessible data store
    • That way, you can leverage on your own data and find what you need
    • Today, organizations no longer need complex excel spreadsheets but rather they rely on BI tools to extract data any time they want


  • BI first started out when people are able to pull reports to analyze the current company performance
  • This was done largely in paper form, which someone dedicated to look at the numbers and they were able to have an integrated view of what is happening and how they can plan for the future


  • Such tasks have been digitized, we have contracts and receipts now. These make things easier as we can easily generate reports and all we need to do is to gather business insights.
  • In other words, BI is becoming more pervasive now, meaning, we are democratizing BI for the masses, allowing more functions to adopt the tool
  • Case study: Airbnb
    • Use of BI:
      1. Get fast answers to critical business questions by using Natural Language Processing
        • Deployed a natural language processing technology to review the text on the message threads or review boards to lift some sentiment out of it as well. That way, their technology allows them to understand what is driving the feedback or sentiments
        • Data never sleeps, look at trends in their sales pipeline and see which areas can be targeted for impact
      2. Gain insights into customers
        • BI software allows companies to discover patterns within customer behaviors, offering greater visibility into what customers want, when they want it and how they want it
        • Acquired Luxury Retreats, a Montreal-based vacation rental service to include their wealthy clientele that are looking for longer vacation rentals in places that are considered more traditional vacation destinations


  • BI will converge into other areas:
    • Artificial intelligence (AI)
    • Machine learning
  • Predicting seizures and strokes
  • Singapore-based startup Healint launched an app called JustShakeIt that enables a user to send an emergency alert to emergency contacts and/or caregivers simply by shaking the phone with one hand.
  • The program uses a machine learning algorithm to distinguish between actual emergency shakes and everyday jostling. In addition to the JustShakeIt app, Healint is working on a model that analyzes patients’ cell phone accelerometer data to help identify warning signs for chronic neurological conditions.
  • How will BI transform industries?
    • Airline industry
    • Driverless vehicles (Pay as you drive)
      • 10million self driving cars by 2020
      • We cannot ensure make these machines make ethical decisions but we can make them avoid the wrong decisions

Downside of BI
Ladies and gentlemen, as we move towards a collaborative and consensus driven environment, we must also know that technology is a double edged sword.

  • Data storytelling can go against us
    • HR using data to predict when employees are getting married or when they can get chronic diseases
  • Jobs are automated
    • We, humans should stay relevant by investing in our EI and develop skills to listen, interact and motivate others.
    • For instance, a robot can provide a medical diagnosis, but a person can help to understand a patient’s situation (financial, quality of life) before suggesting the best optimal treatment for the patient.

According to McKinsey, by 2020, we will have about 20b machines connected to internet. They include airplanes, turbines, not just our computers. We will continuously gather data. It is then up to us to innovate, use the data wisely to solve society’s problems such as healthcare and environment.

Some of the trends might be on track, some will require a little bit more ambition and effort. But hey, if I get any of these right, remember from who you heard them from.

Thank you and have a good one.




Review on Toastmasters Project 6: Rejection 1,2,3

I did my Project 6 on 3rd February 2017.

I don’t think I did well for this presentation as I missed a couple of paragraphs because I mistook the green light as a red one. I then ended my presentation because of the misunderstanding.

My evaluator mentioned the following areas of improvements in private:

  • Use more body languages: hand gestures, utilize the stage
  • Language improvements: Describe the characters, use triads etc
  • Improve on your style of presentation, change it if need to
  • Use pauses, tones to emphasize points, and to encourage empathy

She also gave me the following pointers:

  • Follow one or more good speakers
  • Use more descriptive words to engage audience

I won’t put the feedback based on the template here as I feel that the critic provided was a lot more valuable in my opinion for me to work on.




Toastmasters Project 6:Rejection 1,2,3

Happy new year everyone. We had Chinese New Year in January so what do we have in February, can anyone guess? Yes, valentine day.

Dating is hard. Putting yourself out there is difficult. You might get rejected. I have been told that I should not have been the one taking the first step and let the man do the hunting. So, I went against the norm and asked a few guys out. Yes, I have been rejected a few times.

Rejected because of ‘I scared the man off

Three years back, there was this guy whom I got to know at a work function. We exchanged numbers and started going out. We had so much in common. The love of running, food, nature etc. Sounds perfect right?

After two dates, for some reason we didn’t keep in touch. Work kept us busy. But I’m sure I have scared the poor man off by giving off the flight signals when I mentioned my expectations.

Rejected because of incompatible goals

One Friday night two years ago, I was in a pub with a friend after a horri-ble day at work. She left me alone after she made a couple of new friends. There I was hanging around, lost and there was this guy who approached me. He offered to buy me a drink and we started talking. We made arrangements to meet up the next day for brunch.

We met up and started to know each other. We were hanging out every now and then. So when the time comes, we started talking about our lifestyles, goals etc. This continued for about two years. Yes, we were playing tug and war for two years before we finally decided to remain as friends.

Rejected twice in a row. One because I scared the man off and 2nd because of incompatible goals. Intense pain pierced through my heart. I felt that my self-worth was thrown into the trash can.

My AHA Moment

The surprising truth about rejection is that they are supposed to act as a compass. They teach you what you don’t want so you can learn what you do. They give you a major sense of direction.

Everyone will go through rejection. It’s so easy for you to validate yourself. Its even easier to identify with it. Don’t identify with it. It is not you. It doesn’t define you. You define you. There is no answer why ‘Why me?’ It just was me. Be grateful for it because it gave me a choice. A chance to start over.

Remember what I said earlier about men? They are hunters so I have got to let them do their thing. If the speed is too fast, I would tell him to slow down and give him incentives to please you. Give him incentives to poach you. It’s a very simple philosophy. Men in general want speed while women in general want comfort. The space in between is a good for a start for dating.

We all get lost in the digital world. You meet someone and say ‘Hey, I think we have been checking each other out for far too long, here’s my number’. Don’t do that, at least not immediately.

Pretend it’s 1995. You meet people and connect and then date. Be a good conversationalist, get the number and then call don’t text.

Amidst of all the excitement, remember this. The person you should date, is yourself. Be the right person you wanna date before hoping to find the right partner.

Review on Toastmasters Project 5: Life lessons from my fitness journey

I did my 5th project (Your  body speaks) on the 20th Jan 2017.

Generally, the evaluators enjoyed the oepning, structure and flow (plan and suggestions) of the speech.The speech was also well prepared and interesting.

This time, I am not going to put the ratings of the evaluation form because during this meeting, I had comments from three evaluators /guests who are speech evaluator, general evaluator and language evaluator.

Suggestions for self improvements before and after speech: Video myself, listen to it without the voice and after that for with the voice.

Areas of improvements:

  1. Eye Contact: Dont just focus on what is in front of you but also behind you, look longer at someone whom you are comfortable with to get support
  2. Body movement: Too much, limit to T junction, two steps behind, forward, sides
  3. Body language: Remove shoes for safety sake before doing the yoga pose, do two poses instead of one
  4. Tone of voice: Could have used a variety to emphasize points, excitement

Language evaluation: 

  1. Use of language for the purpose of communication: Mix of languages, local terms with translation will make speeches more interesting, good body language
  2. Remember to use your own style
  3. Make an impact on simple things such as ‘ Good evening’ with ‘How is it going?’ or ‘I look forward to your next speech’ to ‘All the best for your next project. I wish to hear…’


Toastmasters Project 5: Life lessons from my fitness journey

“An apple a day, keeps doctor away. Doing exercise every day, keeps Lord Yama away”

Good evening my beautiful friends,

Last week, my company invited Fitness First over to promote their membership services. Ironically, quite a fair bit of people enrolled and it just got me thinking about my exercise routine and how it has changed me over the years. Therefore, I would like to share with you the 2 most important lessons.

Lesson 1: What you do outside matters much more than what you do inside

Most people have goals such as to lose 25kg or to keep up with their kids. That’s a very good goal. But it’s also a generic goal. Have you thought about how you going to achieve it? Most of us, would have thought that exercise is enough. But the truth is, there are many factors that play a part.

For instance, your diet plays a major part. You can’t just exercise thrice a week and continue to booze, have sugar drinks and fast food etc while hoping that you will achieve your goals. It doesn’t work that way. What one should do is that, recognize his or her own vices say maybe booze. So on days or meals that you are not going to drink alcohol, opt for fresh or homemade juices instead. One technique that works for most of my friends, is that they detox their body for a month in a year. So basically, they don’t drink alcohol in one once or twice a year to detox.

Lastly, you need to have enough sleep and know the best hour to exercise. For some, its during lunch hour, for others it can be after work or before work. Recognizing the time, allows you to plan your day accordingly. After a few weeks, you realize that you have become more efficient because you have that fixed schedule to stick to.

Lesson 2: Build your wall brick by brick

When I first started out doing yoga two years ago, I was probably the slowest student in that class. But I kept going, I woke up at 5.30am every morning to practice, before my brain starts telling me what to do. After a month, some of the poses, got a little bit easier. I wouldn’t say perfect, but definitely, decent.

When you first embark on something new, it will be difficult. But one should create an anchor through rituals. I am not referring to something that is spiritual or sacred, but rather something that you do regularly.

The point is, nothing is easy. You have got to be patient. They also say patience is not necessarily the ability to wait, but rather the manner in which you wait. In this case, practice and consistency are the keys to success and that’s how you build your wall.


Dear friends, did you notice how my fitness journey resonate with our career journey and other aspects of our lives as well?

All of these provide a platform for us to train ourselves, to make the most out of you and make you discover your best.

Try out the two lessons:

  • What you do outside matters much more than what you do inside
  • Build your wall brick by brick

Combine with consistent action and intention, eventually the ritual will become a habit and guide you to reach your goals. So practice it, create your own anchor, get the support you need and celebrate it.

Review on Toastmasters Project 4: Swimming with the dolphins

I did my Toastmasters Project 4 (How to say it) on 6th Jan 2017. I must say this is tough as I am not used to giving or writing descriptive speeches.

  1. Was the speech topic appropriate for this particular assignment?
    • Excellent
  2. Did the speaker use simple, short and clear words?
    • Satisfactory
  3. Did the speaker use vivid, descriptive words that created mental images?
    • Satisfactory
  4. Did the speaker use words that had more than one meaning or were inaccurate?
    • Excellent
  5. Were the speaker’s sentences short, simple and understandable?
    • Satisfactory
  6. Did the speaker use rhetorical devices to enhance his or her ideas?
    • Excellent
  7. Did the speaker avoid jargon and unnecessary words?
    • Excellent
  8. Did the speaker use proper grammar and pronunciation?
    • Excellent
  9. Was the speech purpose clear?
    • Excellent
  10. Was the speech effectively organized?
    • Excellent
  11. What could the speaker have done differently to make the speech more effective?
    • Make a more sustained eye contact
    • Avoid too much movement
    • Improvise by speaking and practicing in front of a mirror
  12. What did you like about the speech?
    • It was an appropriate topic
    • Sentences were short and simple
    • Easy to follow. The evaluator liked how the connection to nature was described and how the encounter was a blessing in disguise and not did not happen by chance

Toastmasters Project 4: Swimming with the dolphins


December 2014 – a year that I started my pilgrimage. The word “pilgrimage” often brings to mind holy places such as Mecca or places of worships. But pilgrimage to me is connecting to the Divine through his unmuted creation; nature. What initially started as a trip to visit my friend in Australia later became a soul-searching trip of my life. The universe takes you by surprise that way doesn’t it? It was then that I realized my love for animals and that I connect best with the Divine through them. And since then, I make it a point to visit Australia every year – exploring nature at its best – at different states in Australia. Each allowing me to interact with the animals in their own natural habitat.

The morning was simply magic that day. Contrary to the weather forecast, the sun blazed and the wind was simply in a playful mood; in the perfect mood to play the hair of those with touched. I woke up earlier than usual and made my way down to the harbor. As I walked towards the meeting point, I felt my heart in my throat – I was excited for this was my first attempt at interacting with animals in their natural habitat Right there, I saw a couple of crew members, marking attendance of myself and other excited travelers.

Waves of Adelaide’s seas were music to my ears – choppy yet calm, and I found myself getting lost in the rhythm of the sea.  The air reeked of sea salt as the wind blew stronger and stronger- and I felt myself relaxing a bit more. I thought that its not often to enjoy such a cold weather (10degrees). We waited enthusiastically for the call to jump into the water after putting on the diving suits. I was excited and looked out for the dolphins – as the time ticked, I found myself growing a bit impatient.

When the crew member sighted a few wild dolphins in the turquoise waters, we orderly slipped into the waters, hanging on closely to the rope, attached to the boat. Surprisingly, the water was in fact, not that cold. I started to see a pod of dolphins approaching our direction.

I struggled to stay afloat in the open water and trying to adjust to all new sensations within me. Yet, these God’s creation made me feel familiar.  One of them, made an eye contact with me, pinging me with her sonar. Her large eyes stared into mine. It felt like time has stalled, stopped to let me enjoy the magnificent moment. I sensed that these grey creatures are slowly checking me out, but I had no time to wonder what they thought of me. As a couple of them swam passed me, I felt their souls – friendly, patient, altruistic. Most importantly, I felt connected to our forgotten roots in this earthly life.

When I emerged from the sea, dragged myself back aboard the boat, trying to get a grip on reality. I was humbled and amazed at how powerful animals are and how different their world is from ours. It was like I had forgotten my whole life and found myself again.

Personally, I return and explore the animal- human journeys quite regularly ever since. I find it an essential requirement for living my life fully. It keeps the earthly cobwebs clear, and ignites the passions within me. It reminds me how beautiful Earth is, of the vastness of The Universe, how to celebrate life, success and failures.


Review on Toastmasters Project 3: The lie we live and the way forward

I did my Toastmasters Project 3 (Get to the point) on 18th Nov 2016 and here are the feedback given.

  1. The general purpose of the speech was clear.
    • Above average for the speaker’s experience level
    • Yes. Listening to the problem
  2. The specific purpose of the speech was clear. 
    • Above average for the speaker’s experience level
    • How to acknowledge the problem (3 stages)
    • Agree that not everything will happen according to plan
  3. The speech organization supported the speech’s specific purpose.
    • Above average for the speaker’s experience level
  4. The main points and supporting material contributed to the speech’s specific purpose.
    • Above average for the speaker’s experience level
  5. The beginning, body and conclusion reinforced the specific purpose.
    • Above average for the speaker’s experience level
    • Beginning: Problem statement
    • Body: Acknowledging the problem
    • Closing: Embrace the problem
  6. The speaker achieved the specific purpose.
    • Above average for the speaker’s experience level
  7. The speaker appeared confident and sincere, with minimal nervousness.
    • Above average for the speaker’s experience level
    • Pose and speaks with confidence
    • Without notes
  8. The speaker did not rely on notes throughout the speech.
    • Excellent
  9. What could the speaker have done differently to make the speech more effective?
    • Closing with a call to action will be great
  10. What did you like about the presentation?
    • Very clear presentation and give a good summary of problem and flow on how to manage it

Toastmasters Project 3: The lie we live and the way forward

Nov 8. The date we watched with hopeful heart and strong belief as the most powerful nation on earth elected their new leader, with the impact felt across the globe. As we all know, the campaign leading up to this election was contentious and divisive, with name-calling and significant differences of opinion on almost every issue that matters.

I think that people on both sides of this election need to trust that many, probably most people on the other side are operating not out of callousness, bad faith, or hate, but out of a strange mixture of fear and hope. Half of us are thrilled by the outcome of the election and half of us are crushed. But all of us have healing to do – of ourselves, and of all the people around us. And healing starts with listening.

Listen to the shrinking voice of a silent majority that revealed a troubling undercurrent of racism, Islamophobia and unaffordable healthcare that have run deeper and grow contagiously across the globe. Have we ever thought about where do these problems stem from? Most of the root causes lie inter-connectedly with levels of education, ethnic bias and other cultural biases. By far, we acknowledge them, but we never really talked about them openly.

Today we may have more information than any other generation. But what good are answers if we never begin to ask the right questions. So ladies and gentlemen, the question we have to ask ourselves is did we just accept the world as it or did we lose curiosity over the world?

We all have been living life by default, dictated by life’s expectations, guilt and reinventing slavery. This comes from within us. Let’s all break free and not settle for mediocre. Let’s not keep doing the same thing and expect the same results.

So the first step, is to resonate with the story or situation. We need to understand that societies and cultures are complex. Its not logical like programming languages. These are human beings and its messy. And our job as a global citizen and human being is to constantly affirm and lift up and fight for treating people with kindness, respect and understanding.  I personally struggled with this because I am blunt and I tend to speak my mind. Some people may like it, others not really.

Secondly, we have to map our journey and paint the vision. Keep learning but not to be a subject matter expert. Learn to increase awareness to enable greater innovation.

Lastly, we have to make contracts with ourselves. We have to note it down in black and white, the way we sign our bills. I think we call it resolutions in January. I have to be honest that I only have goals every now and then, whenever I feel like it. So I am trying to. I am trying to teach people how to treat me right and appreciate the values that I hang on to. I wont deny that I used to put myself last. Now, I am trying to put myself on the same level as the rest. Not higher, certainly not lower. You should too. Let’s transform our lives to be change catalysts and live life by desire.

I just given you insights on the lie that we live and the tricks to get away from them. But honestly, that’s only half of the puzzle. The second half is acknowledging the fact what we do may not work and that’s ok. Its ok because we are a lot more than what we do. And that helps us grasp the differences between states and feelings. We can feel disappointed because of a failure and yet be content, happy even. We might feel the joy of a victory, but, yet, enjoy the equanimity.

My dear friends, let’s all embrace the hero in us, empower the purpose and engage the future while reminding ourselves, we are “One People” sharing the hope of a better tomorrow.

Thank you.

Review on Toastmasters Project (2): How to find your passion

I did my Toastmasters Project 2 (Organize your speech) for CC on 1st Nov 2016 and here are the feedback given.

Speech Value:

5/5: Relevant and meaningful


4/5: Relevant quotations and rhetorical questions used


Clear opening, body and conclusion








3/5: Transitions are not clearly evident

What could the speaker have done differently to make the speech more effective?

  • Reorganize the content and end it with a call for action
  • Reduce body language/movement: pacing up and down

What did you like about the presentation?

It is an authentic, personal and inspiring speech. Great!