Capitalizing on Inspiration Arbitrage

Inspiration Arbitrage is the art of drawing inspiration from masters in other fields to raise your game in your own field.

Note: “Inspiration Arbitrage” is a term I coined a while ago.

[ The good thing about coining a new term is that you can make up your own meanings 🙂 ]

Because of my varied interests that span left (writing, creative projects, teaching) and right (startups) brain worlds, I get an opportunity to meet professionals from various field creating their masterpieces.

Speakers giving speeches that move people take massive action.

Artists mesmerizing with their creations.

Teachers changing the worldviews of their students on a topic — in a matter of one session.

I can go on and on.

When I meet and watch these masters in action, it is hard to not get inspired. In my case, I immediately capitalize on the “inspiration arbitrage” to see what can I do to raise the game in the startups I am involved with. What can I do to raise my writing game that in turn boosts my personal brand ultimately helping me to raise the startup game.

It’s all connected.

In late 2015 at the NAVIKA2015 conference, I witnessed a master Dr. B.K.S.Varma on the stage. Dr. Varma specializes in painting pictures using a thread right in front of a live audience. Today, we celebrate a festival called Krishna Janmashtami, so the theme of the painting was Lord Krishna.

Here are some snapshots of Dr. Varma painting Krishna live:

Photo #1

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Photo #2

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Photo #3

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Photo #4

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Photo #5

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All this happened in a matter of minutes.

Inspiration is an understatement to see a master creating a masterpiece live on the stage.

The goal for me is to see how to bring over the inspiration from an event like the above and infuse that into one or more of the projects I am involved with.

So far, this approach has worked like magic for me over the years. The process at a high-level is as follows and you can remember that with the keyword: W.A.V.E.S.


The first step is to witness the work of masters in diverse fields. This has an additional benefit — you step out of your comfort zone to be present in places where your brain gets exposed to new ideas. There is only upside for this exercise.


You have to take time to genuinely appreciate the art and the work of the artist behind that art. This part again has an additional benefit — you will remind yourself that there are no shortcuts to success.


If there is a technique, idea, approach, a framework or a ritual that you can borrow and change the direction of your own work, this will be a good moment as you will be in the “inspired” zone.


There is no finality when it comes to how well you can do your work. There is always an upgrade possible — all the time. To excel is a journey more than a destination.


Sharing a story like this has an inbuilt advantage because I will get to relive it every time I share it be it in writing or on the stage. I am sure you have witnessed works of masters hundreds of times in the last few years. Start sharing those stories and just that alone will put you on a path to capitalize on the inspiration arbritrage.

Entrepreneur, Author and Teacher, co-founder of Based in Silicon Valley. More about him at

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