Category Archives: Personal

Being a Parsi Zoroastrian

Of all the emails and questions I get from maintaining this blog, I every once in a while get this one from the curious:

What ethnicity are you?

I get this question quite frequently in real life also. Technically the answer is: I’m Indian.

Most people think I don’t look “typical Indian” whatever that means….and I’m not.

I’m a Parsi Zoroastrian.

  • Zoroastrianism = My religion, one of the oldest known religious in the world.
  • Parsi = A Zorastrian from India or Pakistan. Both my parents are from India.

I won’t go into great detail about the religious aspects of Zoroastrianism, you can read the Wikipedia entry for more info on that.

I will however discuss the cultural aspects which I think are far more interesting. This is a widely debated number, but there are less than 150,000 Zoroastrians in the world (and that’s one of the higher figures). That means we’re only .0025% of the world population. Not big.

Whenever an inquisitive person begins questioning about the religion and I’m not in the mood to engage in that conversation, I quickly end it by stating, “We’re kind of like the Jews of India.” I see a lot of similarities between Zoroastrians and Jewish people:

  • We have historically been business owners, lawyers, bankers, doctors, accountants etc..
  • We have big noses and are stingy with money. OK OK, that might be a little stereotypical…although for me it’s pretty on the nose (pun intended)!
  • We’ve gone through long periods of religious persecution (in fact in Iran it’s still particularly bad).
  • Had our own version of the Holocaust.
  • We have a Navjote before we’re teenagers which is esentially the equivalent of Bar Mitzvah.

Now one of the main differences of Zoroastrianism compared to the major faiths of the world is that you cannot convert into Zoroastrianism. Whether or not people should be allowed to convert in or not is a harshly debated subject within the Zoroastrian community .

I honestly try not to get myself entagled in this incessant debate, but with such dwindling numbers and a birth-t0-death ratio of 1:5, it’s a mathematical certainty the numbers will be reduced to nothing with the current system.

Anyhow, those are longer term predictions. Within my lifetime it’ll still be around.

————————————————-

I think it’s been an inherently very positive influence on my life to have grown up a Zoroastrian with a large base of Zoroastrian friends.  Some of the things I like about it:

  • When you meet another Zoroastrian person, it’s highly likely you’ll know some mutual friends.
  • The bond between a newly met Zoroastrian person is automatically extremely high.
  • No matter what part of the world you meet in, it’s very likely you’ll see that person again.
  • People help each other out in tight-knit communities.
  • Very high sense of belonging.

So if you ever meet another Zoroastrian….drop my name.  There’s actually a strong chance they’ll know me!

An ode to good parents

…I think I have a pretty good life….and there’s two people I primarily owe that ALL to:

My parents.

I had a great childhood because of them.

I was taught I could pretty much do anything.

My parents never forced choices on me like a lot of my other friends’ parents.

They were unbelievably fair with me.

They were never overbearing.

They always had their own lives and didn’t make me and my brother the center of their whole universe.

I grew up in an extremely loving relationship.

They always have fun with everything they do.

When I was younger talking amongst friends, I would hear, “OMG I never wanna be like my parents”.  I told everyone the opposite.  I DO want to be like them!

Warren Buffet always attests much of his success to being born into a winning hand of the “The Ovarian Lottery” because he was born at a certain time, to great parents in a nation that rewards hard work and innovation.

I feel I got the same :-)
Love you mom & dad (I know you read this)!

Doing Handstands with Tim Ferris

I don’t consider Tim Ferris a HUGE celebrity like Elton John or Lance Armstrong, but I do consider him a big celebrity in certain circles.

Most of the people I know have heard of Tim Ferris, or at least occasionally read his blog….and if they’re even semi-nerds, they DEFINITELY know him.

Ok, typing this is boring, I’m jumping to the pen:




It was actually pretty fascinating to hear him talk about his quick rise to fame…and how it was no accident.  He used a lot of VERY CLEVER and untraditional ways to get his book out there…and it’s amazing how well it worked.

I have a new found respect for him.

It was also  very cool that some very high up people at the conference during their speeches said how The Four Hour Work Week changed their lives! I previously thought the book was meant for not-very-big-time people…but I was very wrong.

I’m feeling adventurous

I’m doing something right now that might be really fucking stupid:

I’m going to publicly name something I don’t like.

I’m going to publicly denounce something that might be totally my fault.

I’m also going to say something that MIGHT be better just left unsaid.

Posting something like this has been on my mind for a long time, but I think it’s sudden re-emergence is a combination of being a little ballsy from having to blog everyday, and re-reading a fantastic post Adam McFarland wrote.  <– Go read that and the comments.


Let me jump right in then explain (before I start getting rational and cancel this post):

There are two companies I do not like.  One is called RaveWorx.com and another is RaveHaven.com.

These companies were both started because of me. Not BY me….but because of me.

I love to share information to some extent.  I enjoy it because it gives me something to do, and in the process it often helps people.  So a while ago I created a six part series about how a business I created called HouseOfRave works.

Now there’ve been MANY clones of HouseOfRave, but most of them never get fully setup.


RaveWorx.com:

This was started by a guy named Karl Weinmeister who lives in Austin, TX. (which is funny because I live here too).  A few years ago I saw this “rave products” website sprout up (nothing wrong with a little competition)…but a little research showed that the same Karl Weinmeister who owned the website WAS ALSO A VISITOR TO MY BLOG.

Innntteerresstting  ::strokes beard::

I dug a little deeper and noticed he’d been involved on NevBlog through the comments and through direct email correspondence with me (he asked questions about how I setup my drop shipping business).  Now he “all of a sudden” had the exact same type of business.

I rang up Karl (someone I’d never directly spoken to) and told him over the phone, “Hi, this is Neville.”  He was stunned…but knew exactly who I was.

We met up for dinner a few times and talked.  At least if I have a competitor I’d rather be on good terms with him.

I was glad my post had helped fuel Karl’s foray into starting his own business…but flat out copying my model…not cool in my book.
Did he do anything illegal? Technically no.  I freely posted all that information out there for free.

RaveHaven.com:
A guy named Haroon Saleemi (who also was a reader of my blog and asked questions through the comments) popped up with a website called RaveHaven.com one day.  I dug around and found out he had a blog.  His blog was documenting him starting some businesses.

His 1st business: RaveHaven.com = Based off my HouseOfRave.com

His 2nd business: PartyRhino.com = Based off my BodyMonkey.com

It was almost HILARIOUS to read his blog posts about “How he came up with selling rave products online” without mentioning me.  After I left a few comments on his website, he stopped blogging.

When I called Tarun, he pretended he didn’t know who I was, but quickly dropped that charade.  He then said, “Well, you shouldn’t post what you do online.” Maybe he was right. Perhaps I should just hoard all my useful information to myself?

Anyhow, he was moderately cooperative with me (although not as much as Karl).  I made it very clear that he was not to use any of my original photos or videos or copy.  To his credit, I’ve never seen DIRECT rip offs of my site….although there has been been VERY obvious “renaming” of his products to reflect mine, and he once did a re-design of his website that used the HouseOfRave slogan “Light Up Your Night”.  I called him about it…and to his credit, he changed it right away.

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Whether it’s rational or not….those are some people that kind of ruined blogging for me.  There have been a BUUUNCCH of HouseOfRave copycats….and probably the ones I should be most worried about I’m not naming.
While I’m being all honest here, I may as well try to list my subconcious fears of some of these copycat businesses:

  • I probably fear them a little
  • I don’t want them to make them more motivated to improve their businesses
  • I don’t want to reveal any big secrets of mine that have improved sales
  • I don’t want to reveal time-sensitive secrets that give me a competitive advantage

Here’s a little excerpt from a comment I left on Adam’s post that inspired this post:

I admit I put up a guide which essentially shows you step by step how I built House Of Rave….however it’s meant as a LEARNING tool, not as a “How to copy me” series. The VAST majority of people who email me about that love the post because it inspired them, and they went on to create a similar MODEL businesses, but in a totally different industry. That’s FANTASTIC that a small series of posts I did helped someone start a new chapter of their entrepreneurial life.

Yea…I’m Vain

…and therefore I occasionally search Google/Twitter for mentions of moi.

It’s always awesome when someone you really respect says something nice about you :-)

His link referenced this.

My favorite thing…

One of my favorite things on this Earth is:

Sitting at the state capitol building.
…in the wee hours of the morning
…alone
…reading

I have easily spent hundreds of hours here.

It’s open 24 hours, heavily guarded, meticulously maintained, and extremely quiet at night.

There is something that is simply marvelous about sitting on one of the war memorials inscribed with the names of thousands of people who have died, sacrificed and fought for the unbelievably cushy and enjoyable life I get to lead.

I sit there and read.  Or plan. Or think.

It’s truly a humbling experience that reminds me we all stand on the shoulders of giants.

I sometimes wonder if others have such a remarkable place to call their own.

Hot Car = Hot Tea

Tea post
Tea post

Tea post

Tea post

I used to do this with plastic water bottles,
but plastic bottles + lots of heat = not good.

So now instead of gross water that I never sip, I just keep different flavors of tea in the car all the time!