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Showing posts from 2010

Criminal character

<I may have written about this earlier>As I drove to office today, like any other day, there were hordes of people on the road breaking traffic rules. Overtaking from the left, changing lanes without indicators, disobeying traffic signals…all of it. This irritates me the most (well second most, if you count ‘scratching nails on a blackboard’). Why is that we need policing all the time to obey a set of simple rules? Why aren’t we civilized enough for this simple thing? Breaking all rules may take me to office in 25 minutes instead of the usual 30 minutes. But it increases chaos on the road manifold. It also increases the chances of an accident. And I am not even counting the stress it causes. We Indians being the wisest in the world, why have we failed to apply this simple logic?Though I see this situation to be a lot better in Goa, it is not certainly ideal. People there have a lot more civic sense. Not out of education, mind it. It’s just the way people are brought up – not to …

The great Escape

How to make the best of the time you have? Like this!While I cannot post from my office, Blogger allows me to post via e-mail. I don’t know whether this works or not; but since you are reading this, I guess it does.So many thoughts have crossed my mind while I am in office. My employers IT policies, slow data services on the phone are some of the things that have stopped me from sharing these. I am wondering how I can overcome this … any ideas?

People Management

My work over the last few months also involves intensive people management. I lead a bunch of 10 souls of different age groups, not much variance there though and the oldest member of my team is not older than me. I have realised that the following facets of human behaviour need to be considered by anyone in leadership position. These must have been definitely written in some book on leadership, but I have learnt them the hard way:Ego - Mostly observed in senior team members who have as much work experience as you. These people could have been in your position but for some bad appraisal. Such team members mostly do not take any work allocation lying down. Typical responses are 'I will see what I can do' or 'Let me see'. And by the way, these people may also think that you have 'sucked up' your way into leadership.Incompetence - These people may not necessarily be dumb. They may be acting dumb to avoid work. Or they may have earlier worked in a place where compe…

मेरी दुनिया..

दुनिया सिकुड़ते सिकुड़ते मुझ तक रह गयी है कभी दुनिया का मतलब होता होगा मनुष्य, प्राणी और जीवन जात लेकिन कुछ साल पहले दुनियाने अपना रूप बदला ...और थोड़ी अपने आप में छोटी हो गयी मेरी दुनिया मेरा देश बन गयी तब सोचा न था कि इससे भी छोटा कुछ हो सकता है मेरी दुनिया के लिए जान देनेकी तक बातें हुई थी तब लेकिन फिर और बटवारा हुआ और मेरी दुनिया मेरे मजहब तक आ रुकी मजहब से फिर गाँव, मोहल्ले, गली और घर तक का रास्ता ज्यादा मुश्किल नहीं था अब तो मै खुद ही मेरी दुनिया हूँ, बस कुछ ही दिन की बात है जिस्म का हर पुर्जा अपनी आप में दुनिया बनने वाला है और खुद की दुनिया बसाने के लिए, दिमाग, एक दिन, दिल की दुनिया उजाड़ देगा

Kutti Zindagi...

I took this picture on a Sunday afternoon at Chandanagar MMTS Station. The kid in the background, at a railway platform, noise, dusty & sunny was sleeping peacefully. Looked like the street dog watched over.
It made me take the picture and think ... what zindagi (life) the kid has???

Discipline...even in photography

About a couple of months ago, I shifted to Digital Photography. Earlier, I used to shoot on film using my Nikon FM10. But because of the labour involved in getting the film developed or sharing these photographs over Internet, I chose to take up digital photography. Having bought a Panasonic FZ35, I have realised that I have shot more photographs in the last 2 months than I have shot in 5 years of film photography.This comes with it's own set of problems. I now have hordes of pictures (and videos!) taken with different purposes at different times which should have their own life cycle. There are some really good pictures which I have lost already! Lot of junk pictures that are eating into digital real estate! So what now? The answer seems to be lying in discipline...or workflows! Each picture or video should have it's workflow. They all should go through consecutive filtering and land up in different buckets based on classification criteria. How to decide these criteria is some…

Stranger to History

I have been reading this Book for many months now. Interrupted by work load, travel and general laziness, I wouldn't actually describe the book as un-put-down-able.I picked it up at the Strand Book Store in my office campus when I was casually browsing through the new arrivals there. What compelled me to buy the book was that it was written by a young writer, almost my age. Though buying the book was an impulse decision, I had minimum expectations. My experience with new age Indian English writers wasn't very inspiring. But AatishTaseer's Stranger to history has been a pleasant surprise.It is very difficult to classify this book into a genre. It is part biography, part travelogue, a bit of world history and much more. Aatish uses his journalistic experience to describe places, situations and societies. But more appealing is his ability to express himself - his precise emotions, dilemmas and idiosyncrasies of people and groups of various nationalities and faiths. The book o…

Of internet, self restrain and the un-edited world

We all know what the Internet has done to content generation. Everyone with a streak of writing in him has taken to the Internet. Blogs, twitter, personal pages, flickr accounts galore! Even I am one of them. I get a kick out of the fact that my creations always have an opportunity to be seen. They are out there if someone is interested to appreciate. There are no gatekeepers between me and the world that is hungry for content...there are no editors!
The other day I picked up a book that was published about a decade ago. There was a stark difference in the quality of work I see around me today (including mine) and this book. Mind you this book was edited, by a gatekeeper. Then I started thinking, may be editing is necessary. Editor, the one person whose solely responsibility is to ensure that the content that passes through him is of highest quality, and coherence. Yes he was biased at times, he did behave like he owned the place. After all, the print was a scarce commodity. But not to…

The leech and the butterfly

There are 2 ways to do anything, be it business, job, a hobby or just about anything. The leech way and the butterfly way. The leech way is just to stick it out. Be patient, resilient, determined (and sometimes even shameless) enough to be the winner. You may not be the best choice, but you can emerge as a leader just by the virtue of your determination. Being a butterfly on the other hand, you develop qualities that make people want you. Most of these qualities cannot in fact be developed but you need to be born with them. You need to be so good at what you are doing that people should 'want' you to be on their side. India is becoming more of a country of leeches than butterflies. What are you?

The business of all that is complex

Very recently I have been following Jason Fried's posts on 37signals.com. I am impressed by his minimalist thoughts and the whole idea of customers 'growing out of' and 'growing into' your product. Per Jason, there are just a certain simple features that customers really want and a product company should strive to be the best at those features. But beyond these features, your customers will always have some desires and will keep asking for more features. One should learn to say no to such demands and crowd the Product with features that only a few of your customers will actually use. These frills not only hamper the performance of the product technically, but also make the Product manufacturer waste a lot of effort in the form of product support and other allied activities. This seems to have been working for folks at 37signals.com and many more such companies (SFDC, Flip Video recorders etc.)

I then started thinking of this philosophy in the context of Indian IT co…

Monetizing your talent.

Some time ago I had post on a couple of business ideas. That is when the question of monetization came up. There was this portal I had envisaged where tenants and landlords could rate each other and the question was how does one monetize this? Thinking a little deeper on this, I came about thinking to myself - ' I have an idea which I think people could find useful. To make this idea a potential business activity, how could I make people pay for it?'. Then it struck me that one should think the same way about one's talent(s).
We all have a talent. That is a given. Singing, dancing, painting, acting, photography and so many more like that. If we can deliberate sufficiently at monetizing at (making people pay for it, or finding people who will), we convert our talent into business. That is when your interest becomes your work and work becomes interesting! Shouldn't be tough ...isn't it?

Rajaneeti

Last weekend, with a lot of enthusiasm (and people) I went to see Rajaneeti - A PrakashJha film with some of the best names in the Indian film Industry. By now all of you must have seen the film, so I will not get into detailing the plot or the storyline. Let's straight get to the point - did I like it? No. It was OK! But when PrakashJha makes an OK movie, it is not acceptable. I would have liked an OK Ram GopaVerma movie but not PJ. Probably Shool & Apaharan ( I have not seen Mrutyudand), built up a lot of expectations.
Rajaneeti, needless to say, is better than many of the recent films like Teen Patti, MNIK and what not. It has more substance than a one liner and the effort into story and screenplay shows. PJ has spent enough effort (and money) on casting with brilliant characters drawn from Mahabharat. In my opinion, nowhere else in the whole world, is there a characterisation like there is in Hindu mythology. None of the characters are black or white and all have their shad…

How to change throttle cable in a Bullet

For the uninformed (you can't be if you are on Facebook), I bought a Royal Enfield Standard 350cc motorcycle on 25thNovemeber 2009. This has been the fulfilment of a long (8 years!) cherished dream.
Here we are...




After exactly three months I faced my first breakdown on my way to work on a Friday. The throttle cable snapped. Thankfully I had a spare at home and I was pretty confident I could replace it myself. Having lived with a 1984 model BajajChetak for 5 years, I was in the habit of applying first aid myself. This wasn't as easy as seemed though. I manage to get the handle side of the throttle cable out. But had issues with the engine (carb side). I checked with fellow biker Aravind (who also owns a Standard 350 that is as old as him). He said it was a pretty simple process and promised to join me in 30 mins. But once he came, we realised, RE had done some changes that had lead to this problem. Here is the issue -






If you refer to the picture above, I was supposed to unscrew …

The 2 Business Ideas

I had twitted about 2 business ideas and had promised the details would be on the blog. So here goes...
JustGoa- See a different Goa every time I have been consulted at least about 15-20 times by different people for their leisure trips to Goa. This idea is a fallout of the experiences.
This is a Goa specific travel company. I know there are hordes of Goan tour operators. But this one is with a different marketing strategy. This sort of concentrates on repeat business. The tours are thematic. Some of the themes would be - ChillaxReligiousEcoCelebrations (Weddings, Anniversaries, Receptions)Corporate (Conferences, team building exercises, product launches) The main thrust should be on maintaining the visit history of the tourists and ensuring they do not get bored with repeat visits. Aligning Marketing with capacity for special programs in monsoon, around long weekends etc. will definitely bring in a new angle to this business.

10ant.com I am not sure if there is anything like this already …

Expressions to Communication 2 Infrmtn

The emergence of language (spoken and not programing) has revolutionised the development of human race. All through history and ancient scriptures, I see an expression of most complex human feelings through language. Different forms like fables, poetry, shlokas etc. were used to build 'life problems' and solutions to those problems. The Mahabharata, The Ramayana, The Bhagwad Geeta, The Vedas, The Upanishads are just a few of the known literary jewels . Not just in Hindu religion but the Quaraan and the Bible are also huge achievements in terms of development of language. Though diluted to a great extent, I see the trend continue until about 100 years ago or maybe even 50. In Marathi & Hindi, one can find substantial literary work in the last but one generation. I cannot say that about our generation though. writing a letter was always an expressive act for our grandparents. Words has to carry both, meaning and feelings. But the telephone and Internet made us more blunt. Lang…

No Title

Its not the first time this is happening, neither will it be last. An urge to cry, break into tears, yell, explode. At the same time control the tears for your office desk is not the place.the feeling is like - buying a land on the riverside hoping to make heaven out of it. Toil to sow and cultivate fruits, flowers and big trees, animals - cows, dogs and birds - my idea of heaven. And then it never rains. Your land is barren now - a vast emptiness lies before you as you kneel and weep your heart out. Someone bought his SUV, someone built his 5 star luxury housing complex and your are paying the price because you need the rain for the little heaven of your dreams. The SUV wallah & the guy in the luxurious apartment are digging bore-wells for their dreams. No longer is someone singing for happiness or writing poems or gardening. All of this and more is done for money - to buy SUVs & 5 star luxury apartments. Are we earning to live or living to earn? I didn't let the feeling p…

When the pen is mightier than knowledge!

The title is a mere analogy I have drawn, the topic of the post is more to do with IT and IT consulting. I have done 2 green field implementations, one in Telecom domain in India and one in pharmaceutical retail in the UK. Most of my dwelling has been in the Marketing and Sales Force Automation (SFA) space in both these implementations. While the Telecom implementation was in PeopleSoft CRM, the retail implementation was in the Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) domain. When we first started with the Indian implementation, we faced major challenges like loosely defined processes, inadequate change management, untrained staff etc. It is here that I first thought if IT could really help our customer to achieve what they wanted - A better CRM? On a post dinner walk then it struck me. The Director of IISC Bengaluru had once said in one of his speeches - "e-governance is not about IT. IT is just a tool. e-governance should first start with a willingness to change" This is the e…

Why do I pray?

My morning, when it starts, starts with three prayers I say. Two of them praising lord Ganesh and one of them for Godess Vijayadurga. Why these 2 Gods specifically? Well the truth is these are the only prayers I remember from my childhood.
Prayers are my way of saying 'aal izz well' to my heart. :-). I relate all the three prayers to the safety cucoons I have enjoyed till date. When I close my eyes and say each of these prayers, there is a distinct image associated with each one of them.
The first one is Ganapati Stotra, probably one of the first proper prayer my parents taught me.

Pranamya Shirasa Devam ( Vishwa Vinayak) With Meaning
This is a natural progression after your child has learnt the nursery rhymes of prayers. We stayed in a small rented house then, and we did not have a separate prayer room there. There was a small wooden Mandir  hung on a wall just above the dinig table. I would sit on the table and say this prayer along with other prayers . A prominant image relate…

Where do we begin?

Consider a scenario where you are starting a new business, and are fairly novice in the area. Will you build competency first, or get business first? Is it not the chicken and egg situation that all entrepreneurs go through? What is the solution then? I am of the opinion that one must first build competency, whatever be the costs. You may have to offer a service free to the customer to gain his confidence and make a mark in the market. There is no other way you can offset the apprehension in the prospective customer's mind. Consider this as the cost of entry into the business or a one time marketing cost. Ones you have put some experience behind you, made some name for yourself, it will be fairly easy to demonstrate capability in further proposals as you will have credentials to show off. However, if you chose to win a deal first and learn at the expense of your customer, I look at that as a big risk. Yes, the risk does have commensurate rewards, but not worthwhile I think. The very…