The Second Paradigm Business

The Second Paradigm

Author David Hrostoski (and his beloved Miriam Wagoner) used the term first, at least, as far as I am concerned. The term ‘Second Paradigm’ came through in the book, The Ascension Manual for Planet Earth, which is essentially a book by a Sirian (belonging to the star system Sirius) being, Burgiel, channeled by David.

The blurb about the book says, “While The First Paradigm is rooted in fending for oneself, The Second Paradigm recognizes that to take care of the whole is not only for the highest benefit of all life, including oneself, but is actually the only way forward as a species.”

The old paradigm has been all about taking, one that’s driven by the head. Take. Hoard. There’s not enough for everyone, so hoard. Don’t care about what happens to others or the planet, just take. Be cut-throat and competitive.

It hasn’t really worked, has it? Most people live in abject poverty, many don’t even have access to safe drinking water. The planet is crawling with pollutants, species are dying left right and centre. And the rest of us on the Internet, alive with our various health issues, are mindlessly binge-watching the brand new interactive content being served up. All along our hearts feel jammed, constricted. Is this all we are?

No, the old paradigm hasn’t worked.

So we need a new one, one which is about giving, one that’s driven by the soul.

As David and Miriam say, “We’re being asked to step forward as soul-aligned, highly-intuitive, and connected beings with deep trust in divine guidance and truth.”

Asked? Asked by whom?

Remember the unrest you felt after all the movies were watched, all the work was done, all the vacations were taken?

You’re being asked by that very feeling of unrest. When you found yourself utterly bored. When you asked yourself, is this all I am meant to be?

This post is not about taking you down that rabbit hole where you come of age, no no no. That’s your job, not mine.

I am here to unpack (it’s a word I learnt to use from David, possibly because I listen to every word he puts out by way of book, posts, social media posts, podcasts or videos) what The Second Paradigm means to my business.

When I co-founded Knowiz in 2005, my co-founder, Taru and I knew we wanted to build a culture of positivity and excellence. Times changed, good times turned to bad, we hit all the walls that entrepreneurship presents. Taru left to take up a job, while I chose to continue to run the (nearly non-existent) business.


Back then my answer was, “I don’t know. Something in me says, I have to keep going!”

A few years later I met my current business partner and he asked me the same thing: I would have shut shop long ago, why didn’t you?

“Because this is a good thing. My people are happy. How we run the business helps people be who they are, and then become better versions of themselves. We stand by each other. Because we put our soul into our work, create good work. Something’s gotta give!”

But it was only in 2018 that I could clearly articulate why I continued despite the push back (there’s a term from David/Burgiel again!) from life. It’s because what I was trying to run was called a Second Paradigm business. It gives, it works from the soul, it creates space for others to be their authentic selves. And I didn’t want to give up building that.


What does The Second Paradigm Business look like?

I don’t know. I am still figuring out. But here’s what I know.

For a start, it means that the leaders of the business have to lean more into their soul, their intuition and take decisions based on what they are guided to do. So it’s not always all logic that rules. It will be what the intuition tells you to do, no matter what the logic says. Think back to the perfect person you didn’t hire, because something felt off. Or the perfect prospect you said No to (though it was really good money!). Or the merger that looked really bad on paper, but has panned out beautifully.

It takes a while to learn to trust your intuition, but the leaders will take on that learning, if they have already been answering the pings for a soul-aligned business.

The leaders talk in terms of Universe conspiring. Of mind-blowing coincidences or synchronicities. Even miracles.

Oh how sweet (some may sickeningly so)! In theory, it sounds all things nice. In reality, the leaders are just human beings on their own journeys. So when days are rough, there’s not much talk of a benevolent Universe or coincidences. There’s heartbreak, and anger and fear and hurt to wade through. Or lack.

But if one of the leaders can hold the space for the rest while the wading happens, the business can continue to evolve. Or if the leaders agree that while the spats and fights and disagreements happen, we will stay united in our purpose of building this Second Paradigm business.

And as the leaders align on this paradigm, I am beginning to believe that a compounding of energy happens, which is far more than the sum of the energies of the individuals. This attracts more people with similar energies to join the company. Clients too. And that’s how the proverbial flywheel moves.


So do I expect everyone in my company to be intuitive and giving, and all that?

I would sure love that. But for now, the answer is no. My expectation is that they be themselves. Of course, many people are not even aware of who they really are, so that can be tough.

But let’s look at giving. If there are unhelpful people on the team, then I will let them go, no matter how good they are. So that’s a basic criteria, a non-negotiable. Have people around who are helpful. Whether they are giving in terms of volunteering or charity, that’s not my charter, for now. If there are people on the team who want to be better at that kind of giving, the leaders must extend all support. And at Niswey, we do.

How about being intuitive? Some people are, some people don’t want to be seen as intuitive. That’s okay with me. But there are established scientific ways to tap into higher parts of you; or for the non-believers, ways to tap into knowledge within you which is not drawn out through memory or logic. Take flow, or being in the zone, for instance. If we can institute ways to get into flow at will, we would go a really long way into improving quality (and quantity) of work. Which will make any non-believer happy.

At the core of The Second Paradigm business is unity. The sense of oneness with all, the planet, all life. Because once we understand that we are one, we will never think of taking, we will only want to give. No, I don’t understand it yet. (Though we instituted Customer Oneness as one of our values more than five years ago. That was intuitive, don’t you think!)

A tiny little business, in a developing country, with all of 15 people in the team. Trying to be a Second Paradigm business! It may sound stupid to a lot of people (maybe they are the first paradigm-ers).

But as a Second Paradigm business leader, I know, we are enough. We are enough to make a difference, to ourselves, to each other and to the planet.

You Have Help

I have been on this movie watching binge for the last three weeks. Thanks to Youtube algorithms, movies kept showing up on my list and I kept leaning into my intuition to watch them. Some were forgettable. Most weren’t. And the one I just finished stood out. It’s called All in Time. It’s a 2015 release, and gets a 5.4/10 on IMDB. So I guess, you won’t take a second look. So in case you haven’t seen it, I have the spoilers.

Set in 1999, a banker at Lehmann Brothers quits his job to follow his passion of being a band manager for the band that he has been a fan of for years. Things don’t pan out as per his plans. The band is about to split, and he ends up with a mortgage, a beaten up car, and no girlfriend. All this is despite a ‘great’ idea to have a time traveller concert – you know in which people pretend to travel back in time to hear a band.

Twist? It turns out that actual time travellers turn out for the concert, which of course is a runaway success, with his new-find singer, as well as his old band uniting to thrill the audience.

And then he figures out the the key people trying to support him through his shitty time are well, time travellers too!

That explains the 5.4. Yeah?

Not for me. I think it’s a great message for me today. That when you are going through your dips, your shit, your tunnel, there’s always help around. Well, some guys get lucky and have time travelers come to help them out. Some people like me believe in God, angels and spirit guides helping us out. And don’t forget, we get help all the time from our families and friends and random strangers.

Yet, when you’re in the tunnel, you’ll feel alone and helpless. But it’s only because you’ve forgotten that you are always being supported. This is the second time today that I have been given the message that I am not alone. So I feel compelled to write this post.

Think back on your hardest times, times when you thought you would die, times you thought it’d never end. What happened then?

About the time you thought your heart was splintering to pieces because the love of your life moved on? Sooner or later you learnt that you could love again. As passionately, as deeply. More calmly.

Do you remember friends who helped you through that time? The books you read that gave you peace? The lyrics that were the tuning fork for your tears to flow as you resonated with the music?

That was help.

Think about the time you cared for the elderly people at home and extended family, and then thought this phase would just keep going on and on? It ended, didn’t it? Some passed away, some are healthy and fit now. And all through, you did a good job.

Sometimes a neighbour helped, sometimes a family member, most times your home help put in more hours without even expecting to be paid for it. Sometimes a doctor at the nursing home called you by name and offered you food, as you prepared to be the bystander for the patient hospitalized. That was help.

What about the time you felt abandoned by a business partner and had to run the business all by yourself when you didn’t know how?

You just went to events and fortuitously found a person who got you into an entrepreneurship program, or met another person who would become an investor in your company. And then you would meet more people through them who would change the course of your business and life. You would find clients who support you and who send you notes to say that you’re a source of inspiration for others. You would find people on your team who will send you messages to say, ‘You’re my hero’, even after they have left your company.

And if you stuck with it long enough you’d even start finding evidence that the way you want to run your business (which is not what most businesses do in real) is the way ahead. And that’s because some people on the other side of the globe also think like you do. You’ll find help, even from the other side of the planet. And maybe, even from other planets.

So, in short, you have help.

But you may not even recognize it sometimes. In the movie, the protagonist is hell bent on winning his lady love back, when he gets to learn, if he did, he would only end up overshadowing her gift, never letting her find her place under the sun, however unwittingly. So he decided not to pursue her: he was helping her, even though her heart was breaking too.

Did you know when you were looking after the sick, you were learning how to be patient and compassionate? Which would stand you in good stead at a later time? Patience and compassion are good qualities to have, trust me on that.

Did you know when some people were ganging up against you, though you were in the right, was a help too? It made you see who was for you, and who wasn’t. Help.

We always have help. We probably don’t recognize it. And often don’t even acknowledge it, when it shows up, refusing to believe what the mind cannot comprehend.

We have help. We just need to open up ourselves to it and ask for it.


Synchronicity: How Good Things Happen

Ever turned back to look at your life and realized that where you stand today is a result of meaningful coincidences? Back in 1920s Carl Jung came up with the term Synchronicity to describe “events are “meaningful coincidences” if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related.”

Ever looked at the synchronicity in your life? Here’s a look at some of mine.

I have a degree in architecture, largely unused, because I switched careers soon after I started working. So it was a waste, you might ask? No. During my five years of pursuing my degree in architecture, I made lifelong friends, and also came face to face with who I really was, for the first time in my life. That was value enough for me.

But 16 years later after I graduated, I would meet a person who would give direction to how I thought about myself and entrepreneurship. I met Darshan in 2011, when I joined his program on entrepreneurship. How did I come to meet him? Through my Architecture classmate (and lifelong friend), Virender.

And sometime in 2012, I remember sitting at a self development workshop Darshan was leading (and I was finding phenomenal value in), and telling him, “This is why I had to do Architecture. So I could meet you!” He smiled.

Meeting Darshan was the start of many synchronicities in my entrepreneurship life. I was at an IT SME event, in 2012. During one of the sessions I attended, I heard a person from the audience ask a question. What he asked, and how he articulated it, drew me to him. And I ended up exchanging cards with him that day. That was Rahul, the founder of an open source IT services company. He went on to be coached by Darshan and take his company to new levels of growth.

Rahul and I kept in touch, exchanging leads for each other’s businesses. Rahul was really interested in what I was trying to do (and had empathy for my entrepreneurship distress) and soon hired us for content development for his website.

This is where things turn interesting.

Darshan invited me to the launch of his new program for startups. At the launch, I listened to the startup founders talk about their companies and what they were trying to do. I particularly remember a youngster talking of heat maps and engagement rates, and his previous startup failures. I thought nothing of it.

But synchronicity wasn’t about to let go.

I ran into him again at a networking event. We ended up chatting for a long time that day over tea and snacks. That day I probably got to know his startup was being incubated by none other than Rahul.

Still I thought nothing of it.

One thing led to another. And one fine day, Rahul figured he was having the same type of conversations with me, as well as his incubatee. He said, why don’t you two collaborate and come to me with a single pitch?

And that’s how Abhinav and I started working together. Many collaborative pitches later, we merged our companies, because we realized it would create phenomenal value for our customers. 

Today, we are building, not one, not two, but three brands, along with Dhiraj, who joined us later as a co-founder for our product.


Here’s another stream of meaningful coincidences.

Both Abhinav and I had adopted our way of doing marketing to align with the principles of Inbound Marketing, made popular by HubSpot. In 2013, when we merged, we had pipe dreams of being the HubSpot of India, not really knowing what it even meant.

In 2015, as the largest inbound marketing event on the planet, INBOUND15 opened in Boston, a handful of us stayed up nights curating content around it. Through the next four days we created content based on the sessions being tweeted about and Periscoped. And before the event was over, we had over 20 blog posts live.

Our intention was to be able to report live on the event, so inbound marketing professionals who were not in Boston could find content on INBOUND15. Nothing beyond that. There’s a sense of community and giving which is inherent to inbound marketing. We were just practising that. And we really had no Call to Action for all that content. Not till Abhinav realized we had hit pay dirt (3X our normal traffic from the US), and overnight our white labeling services page went live.

And as always, we didn’t think too much about it. Till a few months later, when we thought it might be a new business opportunity waiting to be tapped. And that’s how we landed up at INBOUND16, trying to talk to US inbound marketing agencies, if they would be willing to outsource to us. YES! Said many.

But it was a serendipitous meeting with Douglas Burdett who runs the Marketing Book Podcast, that would change things for us. He was generous with his advice, and connected us to a company who had tried white labeling and then closed it down. We ended up speaking to one of the co-founders, who too was generous with her advice. We likely shortened our learning cycle by many months, if not years, because of that call with her. At the next INBOUND, we ended up meeting her and her partner, and soon after they became our client!


Today we are HubSpot partners, and we have multiple white labeling clients across the world. All because we thought it would be cool to virtually cover INBOUND two and a half years ago! Meaningless back then. Now it is feels like a meaningful coincidence. We are not the “HubSpot of India”, but we are among the only two tiered partners in the country. And we are building our own content marketing tool, so we may not be way off. Who knows!

Eagerly waiting for more synchronicities!