Anastasia Ashman & Ananda Sukarlan – Uncovering our Greatness

Two Opinions on Uncovering Our Greatness

This is a monthly column on uncovering our greatness, co-authored by Dr Amit Nagpal from India (who talks about a Westerner) and Michael Thallium from Spain (who talks about an Easterner). We aim to share the success stories of great human beings and wish to inspire the readers to uncover their greatness too.

Dr Amit Nagpal, India

Anastasia Ashman

Anastasia Ashman

December 2012. My longtime friend, collaborator, coach and Corporate Agility Guru, Jennifer Sertl connected me to Anastasia Ashman and recommended me to find out my Global Niche with her help.

And the email exchange began with Anastasia. Here was another gift from the Universe (relationships are either lessons or blessings but I think Anastasia is a blessing who is also  giving me lessons in global branding :-)  ), who is very helpful, patient and a learned person.

Anastasia M. Ashman (born 1964) is an American author, cultural producer and co-founder of a unique venture She says in very simple words, “We are here to help people live Life 3.0 with the help of Web 3.0.”  As Jennifer had recommended, Global Niche is turning out to be a really cool platform with interesting conversations.

Anastasia adds, “Years in the making, we’ve systematized a strategy we’ve relied on as expats for survival — to change our off-line life by improving our online presence. Call it “social career & life development”. Now you can use it to level up in any area where you desire more success.”

Anastasia has not only traveled across the globe, she has resided in Italy,  Malaysia and Turkey. She and her Turkish husband currently stay in San Francisco, California. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, from international business newspapers and newsmagazines, like the Hong Kong-based Dow Jones properties, The Wall Street Journal Asia and Far Eastern Economic Review, to The Village Voice and National Geographic Traveler and covers wide range of subjects from arts  to travel & culture. considers her among the “top twenty women for entrepreneurs to follow”

She and her partner Tara Agacayak (Co-Founder of Global Niche) also have expertise in media, psychology & information tech. They have been called “Top expats on Twitter” (Telegraph UK, 3/12), “Top 50 women entrepreneurs on Twitter” (Evan Carmichael, 1/12), “Top women entrepreneurs on Twitter” ( 7/10) and so on.

Never ending achievements

Anastasia Ashman is a visionary for the unlimited & global life we all can lead, which has become possible with the help of tech & media. Interestingly (and authentically) she introduced herself to me as “ A woman on a global roller-coaster-fired in Hollywood, abandoned on a snake-infested island off Borneo, married in an Ottoman palace and interviewed by Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today show.” (When it comes to meeting interesting people from across the world, I have been truly blessed. Thank you Universe). She has been exposed to almost all aspects of media from publishing (literary agents) to film, television and theater.

She is Creator of the Expat Harem book and online discussion site, my kaleidoscopic productions  (site about identity adventure, global nomadism, and the hybrid soul, which is now archived ) with a degree in archaeology and is currently writing a forensic memoir of her best friendship with a multiple personality.

As a child, I used to be fascinated by Turkish instrumental music which appears to me, the perfect amalgamation of the east and the west. Who can be better than Anastasia in merging the best of east and west and help people go global in the true sense of the term? (Novelist Elif Shafak called her first book ”one of the 5 best books on Turkey”).

Anastasia coined the term ‘global niche’ in ’09 to define the place where you uniquely belong and operate to your true potential independent of traditional limitations. Just check this image below to get the preview of Global Niche concept.

Global Niche model

Sometime back, I asked a question on Quora, “How do I get the best out of Twitter?” and Anastasia’s answer was simply superb, concise and powerful.

“Share the best of what you’re reading, relevant industry news, your own thinking on the topics. Demonstrate that you are who and what you say you are in your bio. Join twitter chats on related subjects and be a generous, clear, valuable member of the community. Follow people whose work you admire. create twitter lists of people you’re watching. Use twitter to demonstrate (that means embody it, show-it-not-tell-it, on a daily basis) what you love to do, how you do it, and what you want to do in the future. Send a clear signal out into the world with your thought leadership, the talents you bring, how you operate. Be helpful.”

Wisdom 2.0

I could never have thought that we have an annual international conference on wisdom also (so lacking in our world). During one of our interactions, Anastasia told me that she was leaving to attend Wisdom 2.0 Summit (an event that brings together thousands of people to ask and answer this question: How can we live with greater presence, meaning, and mindfulness in the technology age?). The events are live-streamed here:

I have always been a wisdom seeker and it is a blessing to have wonderful companions in the journey.

To find out more about Anastasia and her works, visit: and


Michael Thallium, Spain

Ananda Sukarlan – Bridging Indonesia & Spain

Ananda Sukarlan, musician and composer

Ananda Sukarlan, musician and composer

A confession: I have been putting off the writing of this article for two months. I have been a real procrastinator. And I know that is not the best way to start to write an article on a person who I consider certainly inspiring. However, I learnt two very interesting things from my procrastination, 1. my dear friend Amit Nagpal -with whom I write this series of articles monthly- is a very patient, understanding and respectul person and 2. I understand quite well how hard Ananda Sukarlan -the person I want to talk about in this article- must work to keep inspiring people through his music.

However, before I go on and talk about maestro Ananda Sukarlan, let me tell you about an experiment I made a couple of months ago. I decided to transcribe the score of the Quartet no. 8 by Dimitri Shostakovich. I learnt a lot from that experience and it is a hard work, believe me. That made me think of all those people in the past -when the wonders of technology were not even imaginable- who had to copy the masterworks of such geniuses as Monteverdi, Bach, Haydn, Schubert, Schumann just to name but a very few of them. To make the story short, I decided to give the copy of the first movement of this Quartet no. 8 as a present to a very good friend of mine. I had hoped that when she would open the wrapping paper and see the score, she would be aware of all the hard work behind it, not only my work, but the work of the actual composer, all those feelings -Shostakovich wrote this piece in 1960 as his testament-, all that turmoil. However, when she opened it, she just said something like: “What can I do with this? I cannot read music. I think I’ll frame it and hang it on the wall, it looks nice!” Well, I forgive her. You cannot appreciate things more than you know sometimes.

"Niños en armonía", programa de la Fundación para la Música Clasica de Indonesia.
“Children in Harmony”, a program of music for children. Indonesian Classical Music Foundation.

On to Ananda Sukarlan. As hard as it is just to transcribe a score, imagine if you would have to create it yourself! Well, this is what maestro Ananda Sukarlan does. He is well known as a pianist and interpreter of 20th Century music. However, his passion is writing music. Actually, he sees himself more as a composer than as an interpreter. But the reason why I am writing about him here is because of his vision. Ananda had the fantastic idea of creating a foundation for classical music ( in Jakarta, Indonesia. This is quite remarkable bearing in mind that Indonesia is a country where classical music -I call it classical music because it seems that most people know it as such, but I prefer the term that professor Robert Greenberg uses in his How to Listen to and Understand Great Music Lectures: “Western concert music”, so let me call it like that from now on- is not so well appreciated, mainly because Western concert music is mainly European and why should the Indonesians like it if they have their own very rich music and culture? Well, Ananda had this fantastic idea of using the Western concert music to teach children, deprived children, disable children in Indonesia. The aim is to provide those children with an education regardless if they will actually end up being musicians or not. Ananda understands music as a vehicle to teach them how to live and be happy in life. Music is just an excuse… a great excuse, I must say.

Presently, Ananda is writing an opera and he is trying to combine the Western music tradition with the Indonesian music tradition. I cannot even imagine the amount of work needed to do that and succeed. Therefore, I would like to call for your support. If you are in Indonesia or anywhere else in the world, have a look at the Indonesian Classical Music Foundation activities. Do you remember what I said about the present -that transcript by my own hand of the first movement of Shostakovich’s Quartet n.8- I gave to my friend? That was a metaphor. Appreciation comes through knowledge. I hope people see in Ananda Sukarlan’s endeavour more than the aesthetic result you can hang on a wall. It’s all about education and living happier lives.

To know more about Ananda Sukarlan: HERE.

1 comment to Anastasia Ashman & Ananda Sukarlan – Uncovering our Greatness

  • An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a
    friend who has been doing a little research on this.
    And he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your website.

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