Bijoy Goswami Interview
I read an amazing book recently called the Human Fabric. It resonated so strongly with me that I just had to find and speak to the author himself, Bijoy Goswami.
Though it is a rare priviledge to speak to an author that has a dramatic effect upon your life, it is worth noting the Bijoy is more than just an author. He's also musician, a playwrite, a public speaker, an Oxford/Stanford Scholor, a tireless networker and entrepreneur amongst many other things…
DS: What inspired you to write the Human Fabric?
BG: Interestingly, I had never planned to write a book. When I started my company, Aviri, my co-founder, Bruce and I started synthesizing what was to eventually become the ‘MRE Framework.' Our original intent was to alert various thought leaders about our ideas and have them promote it in their talks and writings. Instead, I got asked to speak at conferences and gatherings. As I did this, people would often ask, ‘So when is your book coming out?' to which I would encourage them to read all the other wonderful books we’d used to develop our ideas. ‘But you have a unique way of presenting them,' I was told time and again. For a long time I resisted writing because I felt I was not adding anything new to the conversation and why did the world need yet another book on a subject known for 5000 years! Eventually, a conversation with Betty Sue Flowers set me straight. She told me that my job was to remind people of things that we know, but forget. This freed me to get started on writing the book. Really, it was the encouragement of many wonderful folks along the way that provided the inspiration.
DS: What are three basic core types of people you describe in the Human Fabric and how can someone tell which type they are?
BG: The three types are: Maven, Relater and Evangelist. Chapters 1-4 describe these three in good detail. J The short way of saying it is this: Mavens are driven by knowledge, Relaters by relationships and Evangelists by action. I think of these as ‘energies'. People, for some reason, are more connected to one, maybe two of these energies and this ripples out in many aspects of their personality, be it communication, relationships, learning, values, etc.
Discovering your core type is an ongoing process that never ends. My simplest recommendation is to read each chapter describing the three types. As you experience the examples, you will find yourself drawn to one of the three. Ask a friend who knows you very well to give you their impressions. It’s amazing how quickly you will get to your core! I also work with a wonderful partner in Austin, Dorsey Cartwright, who helps people experience the three energies through a Voice Dialogue session. She has done this in group settings and the results are quite revealing! While everyone can get in touch with the three energies, their ‘core' energy becomes very clear.
DS: What was the most rewarding thing about writing and publishing your own book?
BG: It was the collaborations with my co-author, Dave Wolpert, artist Tina Hudock and the readers of the book. Dave catalyzed me into action and agreed to embark on the process with me. He had written his first book on Scoliosis Surgery, and was experienced in the self-publishing process. Our many conversations and dialogues literally moved the ideas far beyond anything I could have imagined. Tina is a dear friend who not only designed the cover and icons, but also created three amazing paintings which visually capture the three types and their environments. Yet another friend, Steve Harper, has recently written his book, The Ripple Effect, which applies the ideas in THF to relationships.
The other rewarding aspect was when we received the first shipment of books, a day before the book release party in Austin. It’s quite a wonderful feeling to touch and feel an object that you helped create!
DS: What challenges did you have to overcome to get your first book published?
BG: My own inertia to get the process started. Once we got going, things flowed in an amazing way. One of the innovations we developed was to include our readers early in the process. Most books are written with the author ‘going off in a cave' and emerging with the finished product. We decided instead to engage the audience during this time. It was a real boon we received incredible feedback which was incorporated into the final product. Having a number of paid customers before a single copy was printed was also a nice side result!
DS: Who are the writers that have inspired you on your journey?
BG: Wow, there are so many! Here’s a smattering that come to mind at the moment: Dr. Seuss, Peter Drucker, Salman Rushdie, Herman Hesse, Paulo Coehlo, Lao Tzu, Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell.
DS: What advise would you give to budding authors reading this interview?
BG: Get started, get your work out there, find co-conspirators and know that you’re on a unique path. There is no one way to make it happen!
On a more tactical note, consider self-publishing. Finding a publisher is a laborious process and you will be asked to market your book with minimal resources and little to no financial payoff. Self-publishing (a form of bootstrapping!) will put you in the driver’s seat and unlock your creativity. The Internet is an incredible tool you can use to research, promote and sell your book.
DS: Could you tell the readers a little more about some of the other major projects that you are currently working on?
BG: Like you, I am passionate about entrepreneurship. More specifically, the form of entrepreneurship called ‘Bootstrapping'. In fact, one of my talks is on ‘How to Bootstrap Your Company.' There’s a myth out there that great companies need a ton of startup capital to get going. The reality is that many great companies like Virgin, Microsoft and Dell, were all started with very little money. A couple of years ago, I realized that not only was there no voice for Bootstrapping, there was not much of a community of support. So I gathered a few of my friends for beers at a local pub in Austin and thus Bootstrap Austin was started. Serendipitously, I met an incredible Maven, Darius Mahdjoubi, who studies Bootstrapping. We use Darius’ model to organize the group and teach bootstrappers the ‘rules' of the game. The Bootstrap Network is now 450-strong in Austin and has expanded to other cities in the US and India.
Other projects include a 2-man play I co-wrote and acted in with my friend, Kert Peterson. I also love composing music and have recorded some of my songs. I think the world of Peter Gabriel and hope to work with him some day.
DS: How do you ‘find the time' to devote energy to so many different projects?
BG: By working with others and enrolling them in my endeavors! Every project I’ve done has involved at least one other key ‘Dance partner'. Indeed, this is one of the big discoveries in The Human Fabric: no one who has achieved anything great did it alone. The myth of the lone inventor, entrepreneur, author, musician is just that a myth. They all seek out dance partners or are lucky enough to recognize them when they show up. And usually, it is someone whose core energy is opposite to theirs! Think Bono (Evangelist) and the Edge (Maven) with U2; or Steve Jobs (Evangelist) and Steve Wozniak (Maven) with Apple Computer. Something magical happens when we bring others into our game and we truly get more done in the process.
I have been extremely fortunate in finding amazing dance partners and seek them out as a matter of course. When I find them, I keep exploring until we find the project we’re meant to work on. Dave and I were playing music together before we embarked on writing THF!
DS: What do you think it takes for people to live an inspired life?
BG: It takes the belief in yourself and the commitment to endure the inevitable ‘Valleys of Death'. Nothing great comes without trials and tribulations. The Universe likes to make sure that we are truly committed before giving us what it is that we desire. We will hear from all quarters how it can’t be done. It is up to us to keep going and cross the valley!
I will add that it also takes a trust in the Universe. We are all truly part of a great Oneness. Knowing this means that we don’t have to have all the answers, that our dreams are a co-created and the resources we need will indeed be supplied to us along the way.