Showing posts from June, 2010

What schools failed to create?

Schools are a classic example of mass production of goods with same batch number, identity, degree and no specialty.  Schools mastered the phenomenon of producing graduates at an enormous faster rates creating abundant labor, lack of linchpins, full of complacency and non-experimental workforce.

As we all are seeing economic and environmental disaster unfold before us, it is evident that schools have failed miserably at finding a solution and at best preventing it.  There was a time when if you had an engineering degree you could have easily survived.  But now survival is not enough.  Engineers and doctors are facing the same problems faced by everyone out there.  MBA graduates are working for multinational corporations doing same mistakes and struggling for finances and careers opportunities.

So what is broke.  Our school system is broke and is becoming more and more irrelevant in current times.  The training periods of a new hire in companies are increasing because it turns out that…

Seth Godin’s Linchpin - Are you Indispensable? Book Review

This book I got for FREE from Seth Godin as a gracious gift from Michael Hyatt of Nelson Publishers.  Thank You both of you from the bottom of my heart for this gift.  

Linchpin is an amazing book by legendary marketing guru, best selling author, entrepreneur and my favorite mentor, Seth Godin.  Linchpin is a book about how you can become indispensable in this fast changing world.  This is by far a master piece written by Seth Godin and it is one of the greatest gift you can expect from him.  

This book teaches you the importance of shipping your ideas, products and what ever you produce by overcoming the resistance and fear within you.  On shipping I would like to quote my favorite line, “There is no shortage of talent in this world, but there is shortage of shipping.”  So to elaborate, there are thousands of people with great ideas but how many are actually building products, writing blogs, creating music and shipping it to masses.  Very few.  It doesn’t matter how good you are if you…

How to get more followers and fans?

Go and check every famous brands who have lots of fans and followers.

The first important factor you will find in them is that they are very best in doing one thing.  They are best at it.   The second important factor is they all are leading a tribe of people with similar interest.

Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and name others who have more fan following.  They are best at producing music that is liked by their audience. got more fan not by saying how they are feeling but by writing about technology that makes a difference in people's life.

Seth Godin didn't got more followers by being online on twitter or facebook.  He got more followers by leading a tribe of marketers and advertisers by continuously shipping his talent to masses by his blog, speeches and making real connections. 

President Barack Obama got more fans not by sitting in a cubicle but by leading.  Doing campaigns on the streets, knocking the doors of people and doing the hard work to fulfill his visi…

What is next in the menu?

"I want to make one movie, one day".  "I want to write one book, one day",  "I want to have my own store, one day",  "I want to write a book, one day".

So what if you want to do it once.  So what even if you did it.  What is next?   Many Nobel prize winners haven't shipped another Nobel prize winning act after that.  After writing a book they haven't written anything after that.

After launching first store some haven't launched another one.  If you want to do it to satisfy your ego then don't do it.  It is waste of time.  Have a long term vision to accomplish some thing quantifiable. 

Have a vision to have a computer in every home(Bill Gates).  Have a vision to digitize every book ever printed(Jeff Bezos of  Have vision to achieve excellence in customer service.  Have a vision to achieve superior quality in every product you ship. 

Technology is evolving fast and so if you keep you agendas in place and remain focus…

What holds you back?

What holds you back from taking a decision?

What holds you back from writing the agenda for your next board meeting?

What holds you back to ship your ideas?

Is it Fear?

Is it others' Judgment of your work?

Is it the outcome of your shipping holding you back?

Is it Ego?

Whom are you trying to please?

Is money holding you back?

The only thing that holds you back is "YOU".

You need Guts

If you want to be creative the first thing you need is to become fearless. 

When nobody is with you, to follow your instincts you need guts.  To ship you ideas to masses you need guts.

In order to be yourself you need guts to withstand the judgment of the society. 

Everyone around you is busy following the system, to challenge one you need guts.

To launch a sale offer of selling pizza for just 23 cents(Papa Johns did it) or give Chipotle for FREE you need guts. 

Of course guts for doing wrong things is not bravery but stupidity.   To stop everything and focus on one product you need guts.

Leadership lessons learnt from Rollercoaster

Recently I had a great trip with my family to cedar point.  Yes ! the best place for a roller coaster fanatic in Ohio.   To enjoy any ride you have to stand in long queues to get in.  While I was standing in line I was always worried and tensed about whether I will be able to do it or not.  I knew that as soon as the ride would be over I would be fine.  But I could not get away with the tension. 

Many times while in queue I thought of backing out but I could not because my inner sense told me not to do so.  I kept saying to myself that the time to quit has passed long back. If I were supposed to quit I could have done it long ago.  Now the time is to get onto the ride and experience the adrenaline. 

I could not stop my self from correlating the experience with my leadership experience I had in the past.  So here are the lessons learnt from my recent roller coaster cum Leadership Thrill Rides. 
1.) It takes sheer guts It takes guts to stand in the line to experience the adrenaline f…

Seth Godin on Social Networking - Video

This is one of my favorite Seth Godin Videos of all times.  He is great. 

Live like you are dying

Steve Jobs - "Even those who want to go to heaven don't want to die".  Death discovers the way we should live.  If you have met someone who survived from a life threatening disease or an injury or who was counting his days, then only you will realize how it feels like dying.  "Until people experience they will not realize how they should live." - said my one of my favorite mentors.  

1) Appreciate everyone and everything
You walk into McDonalds order a coffee and you met the guy.  On your last day you would take time to appreciate his efforts and thank him for what he is doing.  You will even stop by your favorite gas station to say thank you and appreciate.  You will stop complaining about what they have done wrong and simply appreciate.

2) Stop worrying
On your last day one thing is sure that you know tomorrow is when you will leave everything.  Nothing to loose, nothing to gain.  You will want to stop worrying about all small things like pay bills, respond to…

How to retain employees?

You loose employees because of many reasons:

1) Lack of trust
2) Poor incentives
3) Lack of respect
4) Lack of fun
5) And you can count as many as you can.

But the biggest reason for loosing employees is "Lack of fun at work".  If your employees are not having fun at work they are surely not going to come back with enthusiasm.  You want them to come everyday with full energy and full commitment to work.  You want them to become linchpins along the way.

You have to incorporate creativity and playfulness in their daily job description.  You as a leader has to bring in games, competitions, movies, playful atmosphere and joy from contributing linchpin work.

Ask your employees frequently if they are having fun?  If the answer is no then address it as quickly as you can by bringing in some fun to work place.  You could either bring in food like Professor Clint.  Or you could give away ice creams like CEO John Chambers of CISCO. 

Why people log in everyday on facebook for an ave…

You are already a leader

What is leadership?  Leadership is to lead people who believe in a common belief that you too believe in.  In simple words to me leadership is "The way to live".  If you have never led, you have never lived.  Leadership is a philosophy to live by.    Leadership is the essence of life.

If you feel uncomfortable being a leader then think again.  Reality is you are already a leader.  You have no choice.  By already being a leader, I mean you are already leading your family.  If you are a father or mother then you believe in some principles that you want your children too should believe in.  Because those beliefs shall change the course of their life.

You are already a leader because you believe in something that you feel that has the potential to change this world.  And you know that you need more people to follow your belief to make it happen.  The reality here is that you haven't mentally accepted the fact that you are already a leader and you have to behave like one.  

FREE Chipotle Gift Card when 100

Only for U.S based fans

If you are the biggest fan of Chipotle then here is your chance to win "FREE Chipotle Gift Card".  I am going to give away "FREE Chipotle Gift Card" when Journey Blog reaches 100th blog post.

This is no crazy.  This is real.  If you think you cannot win then think again.  The first Journey blog Fan to comment will win.

Update: It is 100th right now.  Read this post
and follow the instructions.

All I wanted was a small help

Photo by - Rachi Creations.. A genuine help was all I wanted from a customer service, but I was bombarded with all those questions and marketing messages.  I don't want to hear what they have to offer when I am not interested.  Why keep me on unnecessary hold and play those unwanted, monotonous marketing pitches? 

When somebody calls you for a help what you start thinking off.  What am I going to benefit?  What is in there for me?  So you then start offering help clubbed with some kind of personal marketing message to it.  Stop. 

When people want help then simply provide them with what they want.  Don't bother about whether that person will pay you back.  The culture of gift system will cause that person to reverberate.  So don't think when someone is asking for a help.  Just help it out.  The more you give the more you get. 

Check this funny customer video.

 Thank You Rachana for handing out helping hand with your art.


Blogging is not about wasting time.  Blogging is not about allocating resources.  It is about feeling resourcefulness. Blogging is not about accepting, it is about giving.  Blogging is not an activity, it is a philosophy to live by.  Blogging is not about following, it is about leading. And great bloggers are leaders.

How to blog persistently?

Blogging is really tough if you are just a starter.  It requires persistence and continuous improvement to become the best blogger in the world.  You have to do it persistently to get through the dip.  Don't worry if you are not good at it.  The key is "If you keep doing it you will be good at it" - Seth Godin.  Here are three simple steps of a cycle to help  you blogging persistently.  

1. WRITE  
The very first step in blogging - write it down.  You decided to blog because you had an idea so you write it down.  You proof read it.  Go by the rule of no of paragraph.  The number of paragraphs you have proof read it by that number.

2.  SAVE Next very important step save it.  Stupid it may sound when you have auto saving option but you need to save it.  Save your blog post as a draft.  Don't post at this timeMost of the people get so excited to get it out, they just post it.  Wait for posting for the next day when you have another idea.
3.  POST
Post the existing blog…

Fear of shipping

The following is one from my favorite author Seth Godin.
Fear of shipping: "
Shipping is fraught with risk and danger.
Every time you raise your hand, send an email, launch a product or make a suggestion, you're exposing yourself to criticism. Not just criticism, but the negative consequences that come with wasting money, annoying someone in power or making a fool of yourself.
It's no wonder we're afraid to ship.
It's not clear you have much choice, though. A life spent curled in a ball, hiding in the corner might seem less risky, but in fact it's certain to lead to ennui and eventually failure.
Since you're going to ship anyway, then, the question is: why bother indulging your fear?
In a long distance race, everyone gets tired. The winner is the runner who figures out where to put the tired, figures out how to store it away until after the race is over. Sure, he's tired. Everyone is. That's not the point. The point is to run.
Same thing is true fo…

What is thinking extreme?

What is thinking on the extreme?  Assuming everything remains the same and situations don't change then taking an assumption to far heights and thinking what will happen is thinking extreme. 

For example what would happen if the U.S. Oil spill continues for 2 years?  Or What would happen if people don't change their eating habits and obese population goes on increasing at even faster rate for 20 more years?

Remember movie Wall-E where everyone is in the space and obese?  Remember the whole earth was portrayed as a garbage dump yard? That is thinking on the extreme which is based upon an assumption that things won't change. 

Ridiculous it may sound but theoreticians and scholars have been able to hypothesize many theories and researches since ages.  And that has helped us to take action against a cause or to make a difference in this world. 

Because things don't remain constant forever.  The beautiful part of this word is it is continuously changing and evolving.  Te…

Now and the real news: Kirk Citron

This is one of my favorite Ted Video of all times and it also resonates with what I believe in. I believe in one simple philosophy and that is "when I will be 90 years old, what will matter to me the most". Would I be happy seeing myself living a life of fear? Would I be happy to see myself being settled for something less in life? What would matter when I would be 90 years? The video below takes a much more broader approach. I love it.

3 ways to get more ideas

3 Dead simple rules and they are very simple to get maximum ideas out from you.   I am 100% sure these will work for you.  But you got to be fearless.  You have to be fearless from everything - your own judgment towards your own ideas even if they are right or wrong.   Fearless from others judgment and fearless from the outcome of the acceptance of your idea.  And fearless people are creative.  I will share 3 simplest rules to get more ideas with you.  So here is the first one.

Rule no 1: Ship your existing products first.
Answer this utterly simple question : Can you eat more if your stomach is already full?  I don't mind if you want to stack more food on top of it.  But the answer is you cannot dump anything in an already full garbage can.  Right.  You have to empty your brain.  You have to get it out.   For a new idea to get into your brain you have to ship your existing ones first.

 By shipping your ideas, I meant publish your blog post, write articles, tell others about what y…

Investing or Wasting

Are you investing your time in building the bridges(relationships) on facebook, twitter or in real life or just wasting awful amount of time in replying irrelevant messages, pampering your ego with useless notifications or updating irrelevant status updates? 

Have you done your long term research in investing money in certain portfolio or you just jumped along with the crowd to buy apple stocks?  Did you just wasted money in buying useless stocks? or Did you just sold a cash cow? 

Have you invested your time in figuring out what would you do for the rest of your life?  Or still worrying about the uncertainty of future?  Are you wasting your time or investing it? If you are doing anything that has long term benefits than it is surely investing.

Try to invest your time in such a way that you get long term returns.  Invest your time wisely on facebook to build a lasting relationship or in real life too.  Every person whom you meet is a possible candidate to receive your idea and spread…

Have High Standards

I got an email from my very old friend over the last week.  He wanted to get more information about pursuing MBA in United States.(I have received tons of such emails)   Without knowing much about what he was interested in, I gave the best part of what I learned from my three years of experience at University of Toledo.  I told him to have "High standards in anything you do and you will land up in the best place."

That's it.  Getting more information from me could be his expectation but so was my response.  It was because I realized that it is the best way to reach higher.  This was not out of any movie influence.  And it was instant.  This came out as a result of my trip to Northwestern University in Chicago.  I was at Kellogg School of Management for a conference.  One of the top business school in the world.  Recognized for its great marketing program.  Awesome place to be.

I was among the brightest of students, some of the best faculty and leading entrepreneurs in t…

Leaders Decide

One of the great qualities of Leader is the ability to take decisions.  The leader who cannot decide, cannot lead a tribe.  There are times when you have to take decisions on your own.  You can't rely on your board or your support staff.  You have to decide.

Great leaders either thrash the idea or ship it.  In either case they decide.  You could be right or you could be wrong in taking decisions.   Sometimes you have to go by your best guess.  But ultimately you will learn from your mistakes. 

My father told me this while I was very young.  I don't even know when but I still remember this.  He said "The more the time it takes to decide from yes or no, the more it is dangerous for you".   So decide it right now and stick with your decision if you feel it is right.

The human side:  Don't worry if you feel you made a wrong decision, after all we are people prone to errors and we are human beings.  And continuous improvement is the way to evolve.  So if you need to c…

Where automation doesn't work?

Are you getting bogged down by increasing number of birthday notifications on your facebook account?  Do you wish an automated response to a birthday?  Perhaps not.  Automation doesn't work here.

Lets outsource our customer service department to some distant cheap location.   Lets cut every over head expense.  True customer service can't be automated.

You can't have an automated approach to lead teams.  You can not automate the personalized social bonding.  You need emotions to make them work.   Perhaps a phone call to a friend to wish happy birthday would be much more effective than a status update.

Automation doesn't work in emergency response teams.   In an increasing world of technological innovation, we tend to automate as much as we can and minimize the cost along the way.   And there is an inherent loss in this approach.

The central theme of this conversation is that we have automated our responses to most of our daily conversations with our peers, friends and g…

It is all in the air

Can you do me a favor please for a moment?  I beg you for this one.  Could you recall the best conversation you had in the recent hours, days, months or years?  Could you recall that great idea you heard from your best friend?  Does your boss remembers all your ideas during project meeting?  Do you remember that great article worth framing in your heart?

Of course you can remember some of them.   You can easily recall some great ones and some great ones are all gone.  Your boss could be in midst of 10 different meetings and talking to about 40 individuals a day perhaps more than that.   In those meetings I am sure there would be lots of ideas floating around.  Lots of conversations going on to and fro.  By the time next week comes you can't expect your boss to remember your idea.

Similarly when you had great conversation with your friend or your father, you want to remember the great ideas.  You want them to be remembered forever.  You even want your kids some day to believe in w…

Asking the right questions

If you see a blank face after you presented a great idea, then understand that nobody got it.  Or nobody is with you.  Here only one thing you can do to get your idea through.  Either you ask questions as you convey your idea or make them ask you questions.  And the key is asking the right questions.

If you are a sales person and if you don't get any objection then you got your first signal.  The customer is not getting your side of the story.  Asking questions along the way is a key to make them engaged.  If there is no engagement then there is no selling.  

What schools didn't taught us to do it right?  They didn't taught us to ask intelligent questions.  What makes you think so? perhaps would be a very legitimate question in most of the situations.  For example Can you show me some facts behind your assumption?

Don't simply assume what others are saying or don't assume either that what you are saying everybody is actually getting it.  Because we have entered in…

TINA Factor

There is no shortcut to success.  Guy Kawasaki entrepreneur behind mentioned there is only hard work behind his success.  Once I found this acronym TINA  which means There Is No Alternative, very influential.  It read like "There Is No Alternative" to hard work.  You have to work hard and hard to get success.  At least that is my mantra for success.