Sunday, July 24, 2016

Evolution of Relationship

  • Hi, Can we meet?
  • Hi, are we meeting this weekend?
  • Hi, are we meeting today?
  • Where and when are we meeting today?
  • When are we meeting today at our usual place?
  • See you today at usual place, usual time
  • What are we cooking tonight?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

I am a Genius!

No, You read it right. I am not drunk  It is a reference to myself. I have all the hallmarks of a genius. If you won't believe, keep reading and let me prove that to you.

Recently, I shifted house. It also means new office bus stop. Let me tell you it is little tricky to find the exact place where the bus stops. Even for a genius, more especially for a genius.

Fortunately, the first day, I was able to spot a face which looked familiar and boarded the office bus without any difficulty.  The next day, saw the same face talking to another familiar face in the stopping.

I was not sure whether the new familiar seeming face also works at my office or not. When the bus arrived, the old familiar face and I boarded the bus. I also thought the old familiar face is such a friendly chap and knows even people from other companies. Bus stop buddies, good and nice. Guess what the surprise was, I see the new familiar face which did not board the bus at office as soon as I land up at office. Thought weird and left that at it

After that saw the new familiar face very paly paly with the bus driver while leaving at evening.

Yesterday, I reach the bus stop on time, well even early. To my surprise the bus did not stop at the designated place and kept going. After a long time, had to chase the bus and got in at the signal. The irony was me chasing the bus despite coming early to the stop.

I was furious and wanted to take up the case with the driver or cleaner or transport department. Had no time or patience or energy to deal with it. Also was shy to ask them about it and did not feel like creating a ruckus over it.
 Evening I went to board the bus, thinking may be I will have a  quiet word but the driver definitely looked different. I thought why would he come for a evening duty when he did not come for a morning duty but still just kept quiet.

Guess what happens today morning. I come to bus stop. I see the new familiar face getting dropped in by his mom and starts chatting with the old familiar face. Bus arrives and this new familiar face waits back as though he doesn't cares.  I am like, what the hell dude? Is his mom, gonna come to pick him back to home or drop him to office. Then i look at the bus to realize it is bus no 6 and not the bus no 2  which I board in evening.  Also it hit me there are two buses in the same route and hence that day the bus did not stop at my place.

Wait are you still wondering why I am a genius? let me make it simple and clear, if you haven't got it.

  1. You don't get what I speak and I have to make it simple and clear for you to understand
  2. I am shy to talk to people or raise ruckus, even when I am suffering
  3. I am such an introvert to go talk to people 
  4. I am so oblivious to things like the bus route as they kinda clog my memory and thinking process and I gotta think and worry about bigger issues rather than the trivial stuff
  5. Someone who lives with me thinks all these are hallmarks of laziness and carelessness than the hallmarks of a genius (and you still don't believe I am a genius!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Killed a Billion Dollar Startup Idea!

How do you define, What is right? What is wrong? What is Legal? What is Illegal? Is it possible that what was once a right thing was wrong at a later point of time and vice versa?

Well, my point is always it depends and it is not always that simple and straightforward as we think it is. Once "Sati" the practice of burning women after her husband died was a standard practice and even celebrated with folk songs in praise of Sati Devi. ( I won't talk about Galileo and LGBT's)
Why am I talking about all of these when the title is about killing about a billion dollar idea?

Last week, was part of the jury panel for the startup weekend at Anna University. One of the pitches was to be the market place for the Airline luggages. Premise is there are sizable number of business class travellers and others who don't utilize the luggage limits to the fullest or don't utilize it at all. Also there are lot number of people who are in need of it and end up paying the airlines for that space.  The airlines also end up selling the unutilized space to the cargo companies. Yeah, apparently seems they are selling the same space twice! (and still they are not profitable! sigh!)

We, the jury said it was illegal for you to carry the luggage of other and outrightly rejected it. [Before the judging we were also talking about Zenefits] Well of course the other pitches were better. Though I thought it was one good helluva idea and more unique and innovative than others, I never made the case for them. Somehow, I still can't get that idea out of my head and how we people look at things and evaluate new ideas.

Yeah, the numbers need to be validated, need to see will passengers be comfortable carrying the luggage of others, will the incentive offered be something that would interest the business class customers, Airlines may completely clamp down or alternatively do it by themselves,(offer extra miles if you carry less on a business class and so on)

I was much intrigued by how we look at things, how we perceive and interpret them.

How many times have we paid the exorbitant extra luggage fee to the airlines? How many times have we asked one of our friend to carry our luggage? How many times have we carried the luggage for others? So why not make a business out of it?

Lets go beyond and look at other things. While at abroad, How many times we have asked someone, I will pay you (or pay me in local currency) and I will ask someone to settle the equivalent amount back in India? (Isn't it hawala in the smallest scale and how many such transaction happen and what if we can bring it online and create a marketplace for it?)(This I still do think it is totally illegal!)

Before we scream about legality and right and wrong, let's take a hard look at ourselves.
We hate the local auto guy cause he never runs the meter or charges exorbitantly and want the government to rein in them. Yet we talk about supply and demand and think surge price for Ola and Uber is perfectly fine. If charging above the meter is illegal, isn't the surge price illegal? Or are we going to call it a market price (as in how land value is higher than the government guided price) Point is how we think it is okay for Ola/Uber to do it but not for the auto guy.

While we would happily go to court or at least threaten to go to court, if someone sells beyond M.R.P, we are more happy to hunt for discounts and go and buy from the online site that sells for the lowest. One could say it is maximum retail price but not the minimum retail price so why not buy it at the lowest price.  Let's worry about consumer behavior and the irrationality of it some other time.

Coming back to the legality of market place for airlines luggage, take a look at airbnb! If I am letting someone stay at my home and charging them for it, shouldn't I be subjective to the same laws and compliances to that of a hotel? What if AirBnB was never given a chance?

Point is most of big billion dollar bets started as crazy and impossible and never can be done ideas!

Friday, January 29, 2016

வாஷிங் குறிப்புகள்

இந்த பேச்சிலர் சமையல் குறிப்புகள் எழுதிய போது, வாஷிங் குறிப்புகள் எழுத வேண்டி வரும் என சத்தியமாய் தெரியாது! ஏன் என்றால் எனக்கு மிகவும் பிடிக்காத வீட்டு வேலை என்றால் அது துணி துவைப்பது.

எதை எதையோ இலவசமாக தரும் அரசாங்கம் ஏன் வாஷிங் மெஷினை இலவசமாகத் தருவதில்லை என்ற ஆதங்கம் இப்பொழுதும் உண்டு. அப்படி கொடுப்பவர்களுக்கு என் உடல், பொருள், ஆவி அனைத்தையும் சமர்ப்பணம் செய்யலாம் என இருந்தது எல்லாம் ஒரு காலம்.

கோவையில் கல்லூரி விடுதி ஒன்றில் வாஷிங் மெஷினைப் பார்த்த பின்பு, ஏதோ  பக்கா பிகரைப் பார்த்தது போல இங்கு சேர்ந்திருக்கலாம் என்று ஒரு இரவு முழுக்க பிதற்றிக் கொண்டிருந்தேன்.  வாழிங் மெஷின் மீது அப்படி ஒரு மோகம்.  மடத்தை விட்டு தனி வீட்டுக்கு வந்தவுடன் வாங்கியது முதலில் வாஷிங் மெஷினைத்தான்.

என்ன தான் வாஷிங் மெஷின் இருந்தாலும் பின்வருவன மிக முக்கியம்

எத்தனை உள்ளாடைகள் இருக்கிறதோ அதன் எண்ணிக்கையில் இருந்து இரண்டைக் கழித்தால் எத்தனை நாட்களுக்கு ஒருமுறை மெஷினில் துணி போட வேண்டும் என்பது தெரிந்து விடும். (உள்ளாடையை உள்புறமாக திருப்பி அணியும் பழக்கம் இருப்பவர்களுக்கு இது பொருந்தாது)

மெஷின் போட்டு முடித்தவுடன் துணியை எடுத்து காயப் போட்டு விட வேண்டும். பல மணி நேரம் விட்டு காயப் போடுவது, பல மணி நேரம் ஊற வைத்து துணி துவைப்பதை விட சோம்பேறித்தனமான, பொறுப்பற்ற செயல். (இதைப் படித்தவுடன் ஆஹான், சரி சரி என்று எல்லாம் மைண்ட் வாய்ஸ் வந்தால் அது எல்லாம் பிரமையே. இருந்தாலும் எதற்கும் மனநல மருத்துவரை அணுகவும்)

வாஷிங் மெஷினுக்கு  எத்தனை வாளி தண்ணீர் தேவைப்படும் என்று எல்லாம் மனக் கணக்கு போடக் கூடாது. அப்படியே போட்டாலும் மனக் கணக்கை சரி பார்க்கும் பரிசோதனையில் இறங்கவே கூடாது.

இறங்கினாலும், வாஷிங் மெஷினின் வால் போல தண்ணீர் வெளியேற்றும் குழாயை அதற்கான குழியில் இருந்து எல்லாம் எடுத்து பார்க்க கூடாது

அதே போல மிக முக்கியமானது, எலிக்கு பயந்து, மெஷினின் வாலை, வெளியேற்றும் குழாயிலிருந்து வெளியே விட்டிருந்தால், மெஷின் போடும் முன்பு வாலை குழாயில் சுருட்டி வைத்து விடவும்.

சுருட்டாமல் வாலாட்டினால் வரவேற்பறை, வாய்க்கால் வரப்பு போல் ஆகிவிடலாம்.

வரவேற்பறை வாய்க்கால் வரப்பாகி வரம்பு மீறி வரக்கூடாத படுக்கறை பக்கம் வந்தாலும், விழுந்தடித்துக் கொண்டு எல்லாம் ஒட வேண்டாம், வழுக்கி விழும் அபாயம் இருக்கிறது.

இதனால் அறியப்படும் நீதி என்னவென்றால். வாஷிங் மெஷின் ஒருவனை உத்தமோத்தவனாக மாற்றி விடாது! உத்தமோத்தவனுக்கு நேரம் நன்றாக இல்லாவிட்டால், வாஷிங் மெஷின் இருந்தாலும் இடுப்பு வலி வரும்...

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Who will bell the cat?

In all of our lives, we face problems. Some that have direct impact on us. Some may not be. In such instances, most of time we do a good job of the root cause analysis of the problem, why it is, who is responsible. how it could have been averted and even say how it could be fixed.

The problem with this analysis of problems, it is just armchair analysis. Well if not for the armchair, the analysis would be activism.

Not many really do have the guts or decency to go ahead and fix the problem when they know how to fix it or at least speak about the problem to the root cause of the problem (Yes, sometimes fixing a problem is all about being decent)

Let's say you are worried about your front yard being filled with trash by your neighbor. You get irritated, curse the person or throw back his/her trash in their front yard along with your trash. May be get in to a shouting match with the trash just lying in your front yard.

How many would walk up to the neighbor and polite, calm and assertively say, what you are doing is wrong? Get your act straight.

If your boss is giving you more work, go tell him, you cannot do it. If your colleague is annoying tell them to stop it. If you like a guy/gal, just go tell them. If you want to move on from a relationship, just move on.

As they say, best way to beat the temptation is to yield to it. One way to beat the fear is to face it.

Similarly, if you have a problem, man up and solve it. Don't just keep cribbing about it. Cause it's your problem and you gotta fix it and nobody's gonna clean your shit for you! Quicker you do it, less the stink!*

*Sometimes, some people eventually do get to solve the problem, either when they are left with no choice or reach their breaking point or get a epiphany about it. Yet a lot of valuable time and peace of mind is lost from the point of occurrence of problem and time it gets solved. Hence the need to act on it at the earliest!

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

How To?

In our professional lives, we are all fed and swamped with information in presentations and reports. 
  • How to tell someone that they are wrong?
  • How to tell someone that they are wrong but they do not know it?
  • How to tell someone that they are wrong but they do know it pretty well that they are wrong?
  • How to tell someone that they are wrong but they do not care, is it right or wrong?
  • How to tell someone that they are wrong because they have no clue about what they are talking?
Also, In any or all of the above scenarios,
  • How to tell, if it was someone who works for you?
  • How to tell if it was your peer?
  • How to tell if it was your boss?
  • How to tell if it was your boss's boss?
  • How to tell if it was your client?
If you ask me, what would you do? 

The old me would say, "To hell with the scenarios and who is telling and this permutation and combination shit, Just tell them they are WRONG, DEAD WRONG and for good measure, roll your eyes with a disapproving look in your face and if you have luxury of  time take their case for pretty good, so that in future they would think twice before telling something that they are not sure of"

If you ask me, what would the new me do?, You already have the answer! #YOUGETIT?

Friday, January 01, 2016

Hello 2016!

All that starts well, ends well! 2015 was no exception!

If you had read my post on how 2014 went by, you would know 2015 did start , cool and nice. This eve too was very special in a way :)

  • Much of 2015 revolved a lot around career. Certain things went well. Certain things are a work in progress. 
  • I should have read more, written more and achieved more. Nope, it is not just the greedy optimist in me. For e.g this post is a proof for how rusty my writing is.
  • Few things, I wished, hoped and aspired for did not happen. Yeah, that's life for you. Better to deal with it. (More on that later, hopefully)
  • In the last year, I also feel I have changed a lot. No more as aggressive in the face,as I used to be but more mellower.Worse I am even afraid that I am being good at being diplomatic! 
  • Interesting irony is much of what I wanted to do and wrote as advice at the start of the year for me still holds good. This means either
    • I am still the old me, not learning from my mistakes
    • Probably my writing is good and can stand the test of time.
      • Contradicts my claim of rusty writing :)
  • At the end of the day, well actually at the end of the year, 2015 was a very good one!
No matter how good things are, you have to let them go. So the better and best come your way. Something tells me 2016 will be more awesome!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Reflections from a rainy evening...

Thanks to few kind souls who have enormous faith and belief in me, had an opportunity to talk to around 600 people in a software company.

  • Felt too good and too proud to know a truly global standard product is being built out of Chennai. It is really world class cause in a way it is beating the leaders in a particular geography. In a way much more than bigger than Zoho, cause their competitors are much more serious companies. Think of big enterprise software companies selling to bigger companies!
  • Good, growing companies invest in people and think of ways to engage and nurture their people
  • Despite being an entrepreneur for 15+ years and having such a large company, which definitely requires a lot of hard work and perseverance,the founder was very humble and his thoughts were much more humbler. (Not the typical stereotype ones that we come across in today's hyped up media)
    • It is all about being in the right place at the right time
    • One should not be too emotional and attached to their venture. Should not hesitate to kill it if it doesn't work
    • Ventures are like family. One way or another, they sustain themselves and outlive the founder 
  • The world is truly a small place; 
  • No, I am not very sure how good my talk was. I think, it wasn't that bad cause, I saw many people going back to their workstations and continue working
  • Nevertheless it was a very good personal learning experience

Monday, November 02, 2015

Two Tortoise Stories

Story 1:

Once there was an angry young man. His peers used to call him reckless because he would always speak his mind and shoot off his mouth without worrying about consequences or giving a damn!

He was worried about the inefficiencies in the organization as a result of the reporting structure and the training/skill development program launched across the organization. He would go on to explain how it could be fixed to anyone who would listen!

One of his colleague said, "You have an ambition to play in the big leagues and you are also so convinced about your thoughts and ideas.Why not write to the highest authority of the organization."

His time in the organization too was ticking away. His another principle was to do something and regret about it rather than regret about not doing it. He decided to give it a go and wrote it to the third highest authority.

To his surprise, he even got a reply later from the highest authority copying one of his top commandant to look in to it and assigning a lieutenant to track and make his ticking clock go away!

If you are wondering, I promised a story and tale should have a twist, and where the hell is the surprise? Well, wait for it!

The first reply started off saying, "Could not download the attachments". The note on issue was sent as PDF and  by then iPhone 4 was already in the market for an year and 4S was about to be launched. Even in top major Indian IT companies,shareholder and chairman are the first and second highest authorities of an organization respectively!

Story 2:

After working for a very large organization, the protagonist wanted to work for a startup. Rationale was he could work across different functions, make a mark and be recognized for his efforts. Considering his MBA plan, he reasoned, it would be good to have experiences from both extremes.

The startup CEO assigned him few employees, and tasked him with a primary function of training them and set up a new services offering unit! Those were the days, where people were worrying about the screen resolution and browser types than the Android/iOS and form factor challenges.

Once he asked his team member to find the version of IE in his computer. Having not heard from him he went to the place of teammate to see what he was up to.

In the IE, he was googling, "What is the version of IE in this computer?"

Any resemblance to real life characters are purely coincidence!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Inside Amazon! NYT is not so Neutral!

To appreciate this blog post, it would be good to read the New York Times article,  which says Amazon may be a good place to buy but not a good place to works for cause it is draconian(Darwinian) in a way!

Here are my quick thoughts in no particular order!
  • Don't you wish the company and workers of company from where you buy your product to care for you very deeply and be committed about it? 
  • Have you never spent money for company related work and did not bother to make a claim on it? 
  • Have you never felt that you could say, that was a stupid idea when someone says something very stupid in the meeting rather than faking polite smile and laugh about it it later behind their back?
  • Have you never been angry with your co-workers who slack and goof up and wish you could tell their boss rather than hoping for karma to strike down on them?
If the answer had been YES, then one has nothing to complain against Amazon or things mentioned in this article!
  • As a customer, you want to buy things seamlessly and delivered at the earliest! If that has to happen someone must work crazy and hard to make it happen. If you are fine with sloppy delayed delivery then complain and criticize at what Amazon does!
  • As a stockholder, you want the company to put your money to work, grow it multifold. So why complain when the company is frugal!
  • Amazon is the modern day WalMart. Remember similar kind of arguments or accusations against them too. No wonder they have surpassed WalMart!
  • Haven't you ever felt bad about, people who don't work properly, people who goof around getting promoted, getting raises, the undeserved getting perks and benefits and accolades! So what if there was a system to give anonymous feedback about them to their bosses!
  • Haven't people complained about working for Steve Jobs? At least there it was mostly from people who worked directly with him rather than across the organization. Here Jeff seems to have inspired everyone to be like that. If that is true, then I think it's a great achievement! [Sometimes management is all about making everyone work the way you want even when you are not around!]
  • I also wonder, will Flipkart ever succeed against Amazon!
Please note, I am not defending Amazon. I am not saying what they doing is absolutely right and am not prescribing every organization out there should follow what Amazon does. I just feel the NYT article does exaggerates and paints everything in bad light!

The point that I am trying to make is, every system, every organization has its own ethos, own style of working. Some people embrace it. Some don't. To quote a Bond movie,  One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist.

Moreover, it is too difficult and virtually impossible to have an uniformity (either good or bad) across the organization and generalize stuff. I think it all boils down to your immediate boss and the team!

Self Plug: Buy my book on WalMart at Amazon!