March 16, 2016 | Written by: James Arcieri
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How old were you when you got your first business card? For most of us, business cards came long after our 12th birthday; but if you’re a 12-year-old keynote speaker at the IBM’s InterConnect 2016 Cloud & Mobile Conference, you’ll need one.
Business cards were just one of the things Tanmay Bakshi, a 12-year-old software developer and entrepreneur, and I worked on that most twelve year olds wouldn’t worry about, and especially not on a Friday night. Together we built his social presence and ensured consistent branding. LOL, branding for a 12 year old?!
To understand how this came about, we have to rewind to December 2015. That’s when I saw Tanmay’s video, “IBM Watson, Machine Learning: How to use the “Retrieve and Rank” service in IBM Bluemix”, one of 80 tutorials he has created and made available on the “Tanmay Teaches” YouTube channel.
Immediately I wanted to engage with him, answer his questions about Watson and Bluemix, and I wasn’t the only one. Timothy Duncan, an IBM Bluemix representive, and I, an IBM Cloud Advisor, took a personal interest in Tanmay and quickly we became his IBM mentors. As mentors,, we worked with him to map out his goals for building apps and recoding tutorials for the public. We worked through our own internal IBM networks and got Tanmay booked for multiple speaking events at InterConnect 2016, most notable being his interview at theCube, as well as a keynote speaker for the “Personal Transformation (Live)” general session held on the last full day of the conference. (Tanmay’s segment starts about 30 minutes into the session.)
We knew that as soon as people saw him, he would be bombarded, and the crowd didn’t disappoint and neither did Tanmay’s presence and performance at InterConnect 2016. It’s hard to believe, but he is even more impressive in person than he is on video.
The logistics of having a 12 year old play such a central role at a large scale industry conference are considerable, but we were able to earn his parent’s trust because extra effort was made to ensure their son’s best interest was always at heart.
My relationship with Tanmay has organically grown into that of a ‘trusted advisor’ and embodies the ethos of what an IBM Cloud Advisor does: Lead with empathy. To do that, you must put away preconceived judgments, show personal interest (this doesn’t just mean your 9 am-5 pm routine), listen to understand what the client is trying to do, and show the client you’ve heard them – not only with your words, but through your actions.
While Tanmay’s parents have embraced me as a trust advisor to their son, the most important title given to me by Tanmay was, and still is, his honorary “older brother”. We talk daily about things, his plans for building an IoT app or his math tutor app or even attending his older sister’s college graduation.
Stay tuned because this introduction to Tanmay Bakshi is just the beginning; he has a lot of exciting things planned for this year and we’ll definitely keep you updated!
To watch the replays of Tanmay Bakshi at InterConnect 2016, register for IBMGO, a free live and on demand extension for IBM Global Conferences, or if you want to speak with a cloud expert, connect with me directly on twitter @jamesarcieri.