Yesterday, a recent flurry of exchanges between Desiree Driesenaar, Elizabeth Urabe, and me culminated in a blog by Desiree. She wrote, and I quote her:

“Our planet and our universe work with reciprocity and synchronicity. Giving comes first and the offering then comes from an unexpected side.

However, don’t think that just taking part is enough. A tribe always works both ways. You give and you receive. And it works even way better if you start giving without even thinking about receiving. Imagine that we all would be giving. There would be an abundance of receiving for all of us!!!”

A Step Back: My Work Tribe:

Let me take a step back. I am an investment banker, venture capitalist, and business strategist, with close to three decades of experience. I quit the corporate journey in 2012, and slowly embarked on a journey of discovery – purely relying on my instincts, backed by my management and engineering education, and the learnings in a corporate cocoon.

The open sea that I chose to dive into was full of surprises and shocks. The shocks were not commercial, but trust-based. I will give an example.

There was an ex-colleague of mine who was running a software services company. For me, jumping on board his ship was all about trust. In the next few months, I delivered him two deals that doubled his company’s revenue, with a potential to double further.  He had indicated that he would give certain equity in his company at the end of the agreed period. I waited for a month. A quarter. Then I confronted him. All I got was that his father, who was the other partner, did not agree to let the ownership outside the family.  All I got was a sorry and pursed lips. That is when I decided to go on my own.

It took me less than two years after that to realize that running a company was not a one-human-endeavor, and it needed more than one. I had a disappointing year chasing potential partners.

It took me some serious setbacks before I discovered two partners, who were older, wiser, and needed somebody like me. From there on, the ship has held its course. Today we are, alive and kicking in five ventures and two countries present.

The relationship between my partners taught me that we give and receive without any inhibitions. These are lessons in hindsight – I am sharing this in the context that my typical workday is driven by my work tribes.

My work tribe does not inhibit but lets me move efficiently between my work and non-work lives. When I am dealing with a bad or stressful day at work, there is another who either puts me at comfort asks me back off, or slows down. It helps to gather my pieces later and work through the difficult parts.

“… the reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day. [pp. 65-66]”
― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

True that. A tribe keeps you sane in the otherwise chaotic and mad days of work and life.

A Step Forward: My Literary Journey:

The LinkedIn community has evolved as my tribe. I am not a very social person – but I started dipping my toes in the social media waters couple of years ago. As a poet and fiction author, I started a new profile, focusing only on literary pursuits.

I published my first book in May 2020, exactly two years ago, and it brought me into the world of literature. I started interacting with fellow authors, media, and social media groups of readers and fellow authors.

My poetry reviews started last year, and they turned to be a journey of discovery – walking among the gardens of contemporary poetry, I had the luxury of picking flowers, each one unique and beautiful, crafted by the souls and minds of incredible poets.  The journey culminated in ‘first connects’ on LinkedIn and grew into bonds forged by our connecting souls.  I have dedicated my reviews to about thirty poets, across the world, on five continents.

This bond is a soulful connection, and I had a friend share a video that I shared with Elizabeth Urabe. I did not expect a gleeful response, and that opened my eyes further to the path I was on. I was becoming part of a tribe – a ‘little line’ between us as my friend Desiree Driesenaar says.

While I stay on course for a set of short fiction books this year, my poetry and poetry reviews have glued me in the tribe.

Tribes and me:

Tribes are a group of people who have either relationships or common interests. Tribes are in a way, communities. The world is full of communities. Family and nation are formal communities, while religion, race, language, and other ‘common identifiers and interests’ would be informal, yet significant communities.

In a formal community, there is a written code of conduct or law, or even a constitution, while in an informal community, the code of conduct or laws are normally verbal or even unsaid rules. This includes rules that govern within and outside the group and also affect relationship attributes like roles and hierarchy.

In our tribe, there are no rules and codes of conduct – the relationship is through soul and heart-speak, driven by empathy. The tribe is connected through spiritual thoughts, sown in one mind and reaped in another, sitting miles away at the opposite end of the world.

The seraphic connection kindles spread joy and motivate each other to build upon things that one has started. Sometimes, the connection at the end of the ‘little line’ motivates me to look for more, in terms of contributing despite other pressures and priorities in my daily life.

These relationships are not intervening types of relationships, but more like long-distance relationships spread across the world. When I am asleep, there is somebody out there awake and thinking about me or my poems.  Each of us goes through our trials and tribulations but brings together a sense of continuity.

The whole thing took a jump forward when I started relating my poems to more types of artists. Between fine artists, photographers, and other artists, I identified my soul connect with their work, and composed poems about their work.  This is part of a journey I want to create in the future, and what I call the ‘ekphrasis project’.

This is a type of relationship that makes me grow, without pressure, but by just connecting and networking. I find that my poems attract artists and photographers, and sometimes they tolerate my naivety, yet their words of support and encouragement make me wonder and explore more.

Even if my interpretation is very different from what the artist or the photographer originally intended, my poems are treated as an honest attempt. I see a bunch of experts with open minds, reading my verses, and then expressing encouraging words.

A simple explanation for that could be that artists express or discover their work through their souls, and their artworks are signatures of their souls. While I read it, I read their soul, and my verses are born through my explorations. This is how I write my poems about the artwork.

One of such outcomes was Sarah Polyakov putting me onto digital art and NFTs, and how artists can become part of the NFT jamboree.

So what do these tribes mean to me?

As the tribes grow on me, I grow with them. There will be those ‘little lines’ that will emerge between the individuals of the tribes one day, like how I have with Shweta, Desiree, or Beth. These lines get stronger over time, still being flexible for the other to respond and support. The world is beautiful with those ‘little lines’ between us.

The tribes let me be myself, yet make me better, and likewise, I wish them to become better through the work we share.

The BizCatalyst 360° Tribe:

I cannot but thank Dennis Pitocco for sharing my work on the award-winning platform. But I was in for a pleasant surprise. It is not the opportunity to share my work, but to access the tremendous works of wisdom that is available on the platform that inspired me. Well, that was not enough. I had an opportunity to attend the ‘Friendship Bench’ —a platform of extensive and multilateral discussions among friends who contribute to this platform. I am so proud to be part of the BizCatalyst 360° tribe.

Share your comments on your own tribal experiences.


Ashok Subramanian
Ashok Subramanian
Ashok Subramanian is a Poet and Fiction Author based in Chennai, India. Ashok has been writing blogs and content since 2011. From technology and management articles, and to website content, Ashok has written articles on businesses, finance, funding, capital markets, management, strategy, and sustainability over the years. His poems and articles, which were published in blogs got a publishing turn when he had time in hand to put together his poetry and short story collections. He publishes short stories and poetry reviews regularly in his blog. His published works so far: a) Maritime Heritage of India - Contributing Writer - b) Poetarrati Volume 1 &2: Self-published on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback; Ranked #8 in Amazon Hot Releases in May 2020. c) A City Full of Stories: A Short fiction Collection based on people and events of Mumbai: Self-published in Amazon in Kindle and Paperback. d) Poetarrati Ponder 2020 - A collection of Poem Reviews He is currently working with his creative advisor and publisher on his next poetry collection. His second short story collection about Kolkata, India, and his first novel are in the manuscript stage. He is a graduate in Engineering from Madurai Kamaraj University, India, and a post-graduate in Management from IIM Calcutta, India. He currently runs Strategic Advisory and Investment Banking companies headquartered in Bengaluru. He lives with his wife Gayathri and son Anirudh in Chennai, India.

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  1. Rules are the cornerstone of civil society. The solution lies in the search for balance.
    Rules are a relevant issue for everyone, because the rules we give ourselves are basically nothing more than the roots of the tree of our coexistence. Only if the roots are healthy and robust can our communities thrive, and we with them.
    When you feel good in an environment it means that the rules are followed spontaneously, in mutual respect, in solidarity, in the desire to grow by learning from others.
    This, I am convinced, is the Bizcatalyst 360 tribe.

  2. Happy to read your words about our common tribe, Ashok, because they so resonate with my experience.

    I am not sure, however, that there are no rules of conduct. There are norms – and they develop though what we put into this container. Do we trust it to hold us or are we skeptical if other people can be trusted?
    So far, the majority seems to long for civil and supportive discourse where what happens in breakout, stays in breakout unless by specific permission. I think that is what Transactional Analysis is referred to as “I am OK, you are OK.”

  3. Dear Ashok,

    We exchanged positive words the other day where you said we are on the same wavelength.
    I am so proud that you stated that.

    When you write (as with this awesome article) you open up so many dimensions if thought. Reading your words is akin to reading divine scriptures regardless of faith or or no faith.

    You take on a journey of reality encompassing feelings and emotions, attitudes and inseparable issues that bind us all as one.

    I agree wholeheartedly that BizCatalyst36O is an awesome creation by our good friend Dennis Pitocco who has opened a door or indeed many doors where genuine friendships have evolved.
    You take the time to reply or comment on posts in the most detailed manner, where each word carries more significance tha a paragraph.

    You, Ashok are a fine example of genuine friendship and togetherness.

    Thank you for being an esteemed member of this wonderful platform BizCatalyst36O