Thursday, December 30, 2010

First Step Is Always Difficult

When you were a child your parents didn't teach you how to run, right.  They just taught you how to stand up and taught how to take first step.  I think that was the most challenging part in our JOURNEY from standing up, walking and running.

We form our dreams full of running sequences flowing and following one after another.  And that is what makes it all difficult for us to even pursue them.  We cannot figure out and break down our dreams in to small small chunks of achievable steps.  Which in turn leads to first steps.  What prevents us is that first step.

We just need to take that one step, to get started.  And that is the big step in getting a momentum started.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goals For New Year

2010 has been a great year for me both professionally and personally.  In the early 2010 I wrote a post on, "Why new year resolutions don't matter but goals do matter".  And the motivation behind it was I made a two page full of goals for year 2010.  I made some 24 goals to hit in the year 2010.   My wife would even have thought at one point that this guy has no focus and there is no chance he is going to finish all of them.  To keep my subconscious mind focus on my goals I still have them posted in front of my desktop, so that I see it everyday.

Wow ! ambitious it might sound at first but let me tell you that all the top priorities were completed and some were 25% completed.  One of my goals was to write at least 250 blog posts in year 2010 and as a regular reader you can easily figure out that I was able to do it.  Yeah !

Some Goals didn't made any sense to me after two months or so.  After six months I laughed at myself.  But I was not ashamed of myself.  I still make it a point to write down even the wackiest of them.  Because I don't know which one will work out in my best interest.  What is my long term goal and what are my operational priorities I don't know ahead of time so I tend to write them all.  I will filter them later.   Even I knew that I cannot do them all so my wife was right.

One strikingly amazing outcome of my writing goals was that I spotted some trends.  I was able to see which way I am headed.  I was able to see trends in which I see my passion exists.  I have outlined goals for year 2011 and now they are in one page reduced to half, just 12 of them.  I plan to complete most of them.  Next year writing more than 250 blog posts is definitely a goal but also doing something radically different with it is my wish.

I figured out that if we try to push our limits all the time while writing our goals we will eventually reach to a point where something amazing will happen and something which you couldn't have achieved otherwise.  I also figured out that we have to embrace change so it is OK if we feel to change our goals, majors, passion and even our ideology.

Some emerging themes I want to focus in the next year are : How to do things faster?  How to touch more and more people?  How to do more with less?  How to achieve growth in a sustainable way?

If you haven't tried writing your goals out then I urge you to experiment this with me for one year.  It is both challenging and fun.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Two Sides Of The Same Coin

Pay close attention to these two arguments below.

1.)  I don't write because I have to, I write because I want to.

2.) I don't write because I want to, I write because I have to.

In both the cases, I can make compelling arguments in such a way that both will be correct.  I have read many bloggers who believe in either of these philosophies and still they do equally good.  So what is the deal here and What I am trying to pitch with it?

It is the same world, same 24 hours given to everyone of us.  Situations happen to everyone of us.  Both Good and Bad.  It is up to us how we take them.  And ultimately we are responsible for our own happiness and miseries.  How we want to see the coin is what matters.

You can turn your adversaries into opportunities and opportunities into adversaries.    In the former case wisdom will come quicker and delayed in the latter case.

Thousands of TV channels are broad casted on Television today and it is quite likely that when you turn it on, you will be able to find a program of your interest.  The world out there is opening up.  And there are thousands of opportunities created everyday.  How come most of them are not able to spot them?  How come many people are able to see only one side of the coin?

 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Happiness

Christmas ! What a wonderful time to be with family and friends !  Some people were not able to meet their family and friends during Christmas.  They will be sad.  How simple it is to figure out that we are Happy when connected with people and sad when left alone.

We correlate our most important events in life as the most happiest moments.  For example, Marriage, Graduation, Engagement and so on are considered to be happiest ones.  On those days we are together.  There are lots of people around us.  We feel the strength of our connection.  We will be Happier on our wedding day than standing on Time Square during New Year's Eve, because we will be surrounded by strangers in the later case. 

I call the Happiness from being connected as Christmas Happiness.  The more and better we are connected with people(real and valuable connections) the more happier we are.  We can create this Christmas Happiness everyday if we are willing to go out of our comfort zone and build some real and lasting relationships with people around us. 

Imagine a place where you walk in and everybody knows you instantly.  Imagine Times Square on New Year's Eve where everyone present there knows you.  How great the feeling would be?  More Connections = Happiness. 

There is a great saying in Gujarati (Native Language of Gujarat State in India), "Odkhaan e ek prakaar ni Khaan Chhe".  Which means that "Connection is like a Gold mine".   To me it is a Gold mine of Happiness.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Sexiest Fashion Show On Earth

If you are attracted by the title of the post and coming to read this then I guess you will be disappointed.  But the idea behind this post is very fascinating and great.  I feel this gives a whole new dimension to what we are doing in the business world today and what we should be doing.

First of all if you haven't seen the latest Victoria's Secret fashion show then go on Youtube and see it.  And I don't mean it by any sense of vulgarity.  It is a spectacular show by all operations, marketing and management means.  Articles after articles and case studies can be done on just how they execute the whole show.  It is marvelous.

Needless to say if you see some leading fashion designers' shows then you will see the planning and preparation behind it.  But guess what, who is the show stealer in this all process, "Not the model, Not the Person, Not the product".    It is the "Idea".  The Idea of newness.  What the heck next year's show will look like? How the models will be dressed? Who will come next? Will anything go wrong on the stage? Will I miss it?  There is this curiosity within all of us to find out something new.

So here is the deal.  We all are in the Fashion Business.  We all are building products and businesses that are not an end in itself.  It is a continuous process of improvement and releasing the next version of your product. It will be the next fashion.  Did Apple create a fashion for smart phones?  Hell yeah.  Did Facebook created a fashion to stay connected with people?  Are they able to maintain it.  Facebook launched lots of features this year.   People were eager to find out how their new profile would look like.

We have to run our businesses like a Fashion Show.  Our next product should be a Fashion.  The next version of our software should be launched with such planning and preparation.  We cannot shell out all our creativity in one product(Apple could have done all the features in their Ipad in the very first iteration, but they didn't).  Always remain hungry and don't satisfy everybody.  Is it possible to write everything I want to write in one blog post?  No I cannot.  One blog post has to end and the next blog post has to come.   If there is nothing new you will not come back to read right.

Our mentality is shaped hugely by what we think and what surrounds us daily.  We are in a creative business economy.  We have to think like artists and fashion designers.  We need to be experimental, we need to be satisfied with what we can do in a moment.  After all in one fashion season only one Fashion Show can be done. Next year there will be new products, new models and new people to watch.  Some people could afford it this year, some will be able to afford it next year.

So do you run your business like the Sexiest Fashion Show on Earth?  Are your products Sexy?  Are they able to create a desire?  Is it something for which I will save money? Is it something for which I will wait?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Happiness Guide

"We take different paths in life to achieve the same goal in life - Happiness" - Tony Hsieh CEO - Zappos.

There are millions of people out there who are just waiting, waiting and waiting.  Waiting for that one day when their dreams will be fulfilled and they feel that they will be Happy.  Tony says in his book(Delivering Happiness),  that when people's dreams are fulfilled they figure out that their Happiness is often short lived.  So if Happiness is short lived then why we create such false hopes in our mind that Happiness is not in the near future.  It will only come if we do this.  It will only come if we have enough money.

We don't have to wait for that one day in order to be Happy.  In one shot you can decide whether you want to be Happy or Miserable.  It is your decision.  And you have to take it.   If you start asking people what makes them Happy, you will find interesting answers.  I will leave that up to you as an exercise.  However from Tony's Book I thought can we write down few things that we can do to be Happy.  90% of our situations are under our control and 10% which is natural and bound to happen are not under our control.  With the two things below I think we can be 100% Happy.

1.)  Connectedness
Like it or not, we like being liked, appreciated and being a Star.  That Stardom can only come if we are connected.  As human beings we are afraid of loneliness.  We are scared because everyday something crazy goes off.  We are worried about what will happen next.  What will I do if so and so happens?  If we are connected then we feel safe.  If I don't call my parents for one week I get scared, I start thinking so many things.  So I call and stay in touch with them.  I feel safe.

We also tend to make good decisions if we are connected with our network.  We don't want to miss opportunities and left alone dumb.  We also want to be perceived as smart.  Connectedness also gives us lots of benefits as it is equivalent to Networking.

2.) Progress
We want to be the next Rock Star in our respected fields of profession.  Also side by side we want to pursue our other activities, like Become Healthy, Learn Guitar, Learn Swimming and so on.  If we don't do anything after coming home then we get disappointed, "Oh I couldn't do this".  We are also afraid of an unseen truth of life, "Death".  We fear that what if I couldn't do this before I die.  If you are young, you might not fear about death but you might say that I want to do all this before I get married or get a job or have kids.

If we are not able to do anything then we get upset and the result is equal to, "Not Happy".   So the lesson here is, break down everything that you want to do in life into small small chunks.  Plan it in small parts ok.  Whatever you want to do.  Start doing it.  Since small is do-able you will make progress.  You will feel that you are doing something that will fulfill your goal.  One step in the right direction.

We create gigantic goals in front of our minds that we cannot do it and cannot make progress in that direction.        Jim Collins says about the flywheel effect in his book, "Good to Great", that Great companies didn't become great in one day.  Their flywheel didn't gained momentum instantly.  It was done turn by turn.  Once you make progress in small parts it will gain momentum and one day you will say finally, "I can finally run a Half Marathon" or "I could play one Beatles song on Guitar".

If we could be what we always wanted now then we can be Happy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Networking Tip: Volunteer


If you see a place where people are volunteering you will find that they are doing it because of money.  If they were doing it for money then their common sense would have told them way before about the economics of it.  These people are there because they want to give back something.  They want to be a part of the community, which means that they are open for networking.  The doors are open.  These guys are easily approachable and are happy go lucky kind of people.  They have left their egos way back to give back.

We had a paper in business school on "What makes an organization a learning organization?"  One of the things it mentioned was that the leaders of great organizations were always involved in some kind of organizations - mostly nonprofit.  Not to mention they were lifelong leaders.  So if you go to volunteer at an event or do any kind of service project for any organization then any guesses whom you will find there?  Leaders.  Trust me, try it out.  Bonding is lasting and you will make some great friends.  And as I always say, don't go there for the sake of networking but go for the sake of friendship.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blogging: When In Doubt, Don't Post

Bloggers are creative.  They are creative and hence they can come up with many ideas instantly.  I don't know about all of them but at least I can relate to myself.

I think of many ideas that could be potential blog posts.  Some times I get so excited about an idea that I feel this is it. I have to write on it.  After writing few lines on it, I tend to loose interest.  I have even written some posts which now reading back I feel that I shouldn't have written them.  But that is the learning process after all.  Any ways, the best way to tackle such creative sparks (where we are unsure about the idea) is to save the idea and write them later.

I have more than 60 drafts of blog posts pending which I thought were great ideas but now I cannot find more thoughts to write on it.  So I just save them.  Whenever I feel that they are ready to go out, I post them.  

The best way to judge whether a creative blog post or idea is really great is to give it a time test.  If you feel that you are unsure about whether this idea is a great blog post or not, then just stop and don't post it.  Read it again and again.   After few more days come again.  Can you still read it at one stretch?  Does it excite you as much as you thought initially?  If it does go ahead and launch.

When you are in doubt then don't publish your blog post immediately, give it some time.  Let the idea grow in itself.  Let it take shape.  Just think what would happen if you are about to write a book.  Many draft versions and many revisions has to be done before it is published.  I think it won't hurt to do the same with blog posts.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Word Of Mouth Will Always Win

I think the whole Idea of marketing these days is getting blurred.  We are on the verge of exploding marketing channels.  As days pass by marketing channels are going to increase and mass is going to fragment exponentially.  And marketing is going to be tougher and tougher.  And no wonder even in this space big marketers will win.  

According to me, the word "Social Media" is not appropriate, because it makes you think only few selected channels where you have to market your brand.  I believe in the word, "Social Marketing".  That 's it.  Which makes you think from the base, like how can we market a brand socially v/s on social media.  When you want your brand to be recognized socially, what you will do?  What spreads socially?  Word of Mouth?  If yes then how is word of mouth generated?  Through a great service or a product.  When you go deeper and ask how and why of everything it will boil down to only one aspect. 

Focus on building something remarkable and great, that people desperately want, can't live without.  And allow the product do all the talking and have a presence where people can just connect.  Finally simply listen, listen, listen to followers.  

I don't go to Chipotle because they are marketing on Facebook.  I like their Food.  Even if they stopped marketing on all the channels still they will win.  Word of Mouth.  And do you know when people talk with each other (and spread word of mouth) when they are are in groups.  These groups hang out at different places.  Social Media just creates a medium where word of mouth is amplified. 

Why I Won't Consider Outsourcing Social Media?

A friend of mine who owns local business asked me if he can outsource social media.  He wanted to outsource marketing his own brand using Facebook and twitter to a third party.  "Stop" I said.  I told him few reasons why he should not consider outsourcing his social media to another company.

1.) Emotional Connection
Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter are great and excellent ways to promote your brand.  But what if somebody who doesn't know what its like connecting with real people.  Social media is not just a place where numbers increase.  It is not about spamming people to join my facebook page or follow our brand on twitter.  It is about doing the hard emotional labor of connecting with people at an emotional level.  To go out and do something that your followers care.

You might argue that is it like a third party can't connect with people?  It is not like that.  There has to be an emotional connection with your brand.  Your people in the company know more about your company culture than anybody else.  The culture is felt within a company.  How can a company market your brand (On Social Media) when they are already having 10 different clients?

2.) Real Time Updates
In social media you are updating statuses and launching deals in real time.  You could be doing while you are on a bus or while walking.  Fans and Followers can ask questions all the time.  You have to keep up with them.  Hire a person even to do that if your company can afford.  In my earlier post I argued that social media is about transparency and responsiveness.  How fast you can respond to your followers and fans, matters.

3.) Leadership
Third and by far the greatest factor: Leadership.  To run a successful social media campaign you have act like a leader.  When we say leadership it is hugely misinterpreted by lots of people.  Leadership is not equal to "I am the boss" attitude.  It is not equal to a person standing on a stage giving lectures.  It is about being a person who can lead with vision and conviction.  It is about being a person who is responsive and responsible.  Can you expect that from a third party?  How can a third party motivate and inspire hundreds of people at the same time?  

4.) Never Outsource Your Core Competency
Will Facebook give contract to a third party to build their website?  Will Microsoft give contract to somebody else to write windows and word?  Will Walmart give up their IT department to third party?  No way.  Right.  It is like that.  Social Media is your core competency.  If you can build a brand within people and if you are able to connect with them like no body else can connect then it is your core-competency.  Can you connect with Fans of Gary Vee like Gary Vee?  Can you connect and build a brand for Seth Godin?

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Vision Quote

"I am  not a Man on a Mission, I am a Man on a Vision" - Anonymous

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

End Of Office Culture?

Lets' take most modern companies and start-ups.  You do not see a walled empire where people are found in offices.  You see lots of people working together with each other in one large room.  There are large steel pillars and high roofs. 

People get fascinated when they have a personal office.  But office culture of staying and working within walls is bad.  And also it is fading away. 

Here is a sweet story.

When companies  are found, they are usually found by few individuals working in one room.  It works out  great for them.  No need to take appointment to talk.  No breach of privacy, as there is no privacy.  No layers of bureaucracy as everyone is at the same level.  Sounds great right.  Yes.  It is great because things work out faster this way.

When companies scale they add up weight to their balloon and the balloon starts coming down.  More departments, more offices, more bureaucratic layers and more need for privacy.  Things go slow and super slow, ultimately leading to crash.

Eventually those companies halt their progress, are taken over by another firm, declare bankruptcy and so on....

A major focus of companies these days is doing things faster.  Because in an internet world, it all depends on who gets there first.  So how they can do things faster?  They started to become more transparent and become more connected.  They started eliminating offices. 

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook doesn't have an office.  Tony Hsieh of Zappos doesn't have any office.  By the way these are fastest growing companies.  Did I missed Groupon? 

If you see pictures of Facebook offices, you will see people working in a large rooms, which aren't rooms they are halls without any walls and higher ceilings.  It gives you a feel of connectedness and a sense of being a part of something bigger than the self. 

More and more companies are adopting the "No-Office" culture where all work, build, and celebrate together under one roof.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Build Something Great

There are a thousand billion opportunities out there for you to create and build something.  Previously there were non existent.

The big brother who created these opportunities, "The Internet".  If you are still underestimating the power of internet then just look at companies which are build within last 5 years not 10, not 15 only last 5 years.  Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Groupon.

They are changing the face of an entire generation.  If people think now it cannot be done, it is not like that.  Value can be created any time.  Building something that people can't live without is worth billions.  And it is done every year and faster than ever before.  It just depends when people choose to wake up.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Higher Purpose In Life

Have a higher purpose in life than the self.  Profits follow (higher) purpose.  Organizations with higher purpose made more money than those who just concentrated on profits.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Social Media: Transparency And Responsiveness

Focusing too much to come up with a good social media strategy I think is a waste of time.  I feel a company which is transparent and truly responsive has a great social media presence.  And if companies can focus on being transparent and responsive then they can build a great brand using social media.

Transparency
If you want to have a presence on twitter then really you will have to tweet it up.  Which is not limited to using twitter but you will have to give updates to followers every now and then.  This leads to opening a window into company culture.  The more you tweet up personal and relevant information about the company the more followers will follow up.  If you are truly transparent then over time you will realize value.  The bigger the window    , the bigger the presence and engagement.

Responsiveness
Social media is demanding.  If you cannot back it up with reps answering tweets or email or complains then you shouldn't think on going heavy into this.  Customers want to be heard and they also want to engage into conversations.  Many times customers would also want to give you valuable suggestions., but what if there is no one to listen.  Customer engagement is highest if there is someone at the receiving end.  Social media is very vibrant and agile.  If customers or followers get angry or companies often do mistakes then "Buzz" is amplified these days using social media.  Always it is not the problem that is the problem, but the response to the problem is the problem.

    

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Good And The Bad

There are good people and there are bad people.   I don't understand any other adjective that better describes people in this world.   When you add vocabulary to describe people you become judgmental about your own behavior to other person.

You will meet both kinds of people where ever you go.  We can be good and become somebody's good.  And if we become bad then other person will ignore us as bad and we will do our own bad.

Why should somebody's bad behavior affect our behavior?  Remember this, if everybody in this world just reacted then there would have been bad all over.  And clearly we could notice.

Clearly that's not the case.  There are good people doing their natural act of goodness and that is making this world a place to live in.  Just be good to others and good will prevail.

We have been trained to believe something only when we see it.  So we quickly believe that people are bad because the reaction is visible.  For example if I slap somebody then the reaction is visual, audible and also disturbing if I get slapped in return.  And we believe that bad people are there.  And so everyone is like that.  

However goodness act is not reactionary.  Most of the time, people will remember your goodness once your are gone or even after we are dead.  This make it hard for anyone to prove someone that Goodness exists in this world.  

Let's not try to beget goodness.  Let's give it.  Let's not try to balance this equation.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Learning New Skills

It never hurts to learn new skills.  If you think how it is going to help you then you are falling in the trap which most people do.

As Steve Jobs said in his Standford commencement speech, "You cannot connect the dots by looking forward, You can only connect them by looking backwards". Some skills which you never thought would help you, are helping you right now.  If you had thought this way then,  perhaps you won't have done it.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Have You Heard Of Founder's Syndrome?

A Good company with a great founder achieves great success.  As soon as the founder leaves the company, the company growth and success take a downward path.  All that company achieved was due to that founder.  Personality traits of the founder can be easily seen in the company's culture.  This is what is founders' syndrome. 

I experienced this last year when I was president of organization.  All my laziness I could literally see in my organization.  When I was active, work was getting done and when I was not active, work didn't get done.  Over time you discover how to overcome those pitfalls and how to manage people on the basis of principles and not self directed visions.

Founder's syndrome can be overcome if we can focus on building something great and building a great future, where we all want to be.  We can be cured of founders' syndrome if we have the right people on the bus.  

Even in family we can see traits of founder's syndrome.  If one person is wrong we can see the whole family repeating the same mistakes.  Some families are able to come out of it and they are able to create a better future.  As a founder do we have control over this syndrome.  Yes we do have.  We can gift an organization with a vision for the future which is great and simultaneously makes sense.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Thoughts On Social Media

Too much of Buzz is around these days about Social Media.  And it is going to increase.

Every other company is try to get a piece of the pie.  Everybody needs more and more subscribers and fans over night.  This is going crazy.  Whom to follow and whom to not, is really a question of enjoyable and thought provoking moments.

Even if you owned Facebook, realizing value from your fan base is still a challenge.  Not everyone liking your brand is liking it for the same reason and still buying from you.  Getting engagement from users is the biggest challenge.

Motivating a fan who is in a different country to take action is the power of social media if used right.  Social media is exploited and also used responsibly.

Social media if used with responsibility then companies can experience true power of their campaigns.  Not to miss this point, there is also lot of faking going on in this scope.  A truly successful media company is the one which is able to fake it and manipulatable.

The number of users on a network is of little value since there are many accounts created by marketing companies for their clients.  Is it after all the end numbers of fans on your site, that really matters?  If yes then why not create your own social network.  

Great companies will use social media only if it aligns with their hedgehog concept[1].  If not then they will not.  If it aligns with their hedgehog concept then they will be pioneers in the implementation of social media.

[1]- Hedgehog concept initially introduced by Jim Collins in his book - Good to Great.  Click here for more

Monday, December 06, 2010

Win Win Situation

Inside an organization, there is no zero sum game.  If you win, I loose it is not like that.  If I am learning a new technology and if others in the organization cannot benefit from it then it is not going any further.  Of course you will argue that what is a big deal in teaching a new technology to others.  Right.  It is not a big deal.  

But what about leadership skills.  Who will teach and mentor others on leadership?  If you have to work everyday with people who do not understand what you are saying, isn't it a nightmare for you to work with them.    You want people who are like you.  The work place would be a much better place then.

It is not about who is going forward, which department is ahead and better than others.  It is about whether departments are learning from each other.  It is about if we are able to grow together.  If you want to make this world a better place to live then you have to go beyond the self.  If we have to reduce green house gases then one organization or one company cannot.  We have to grow together and learn from each other.

Lets take an example here.  If you sell quality products and if you want the world to know about what a quality product is then you have to educate others about quality.  You cannot keep the knowledge within yourself. If you take Toyota then their quality standards are adopted all over the world.  If they would have kept those principles within themselves then it would not have been possible to see some innovations.

If we go and grow together then we can create value which is better than a zero sum game.  When we create value then we all win.  You can always win by fooling a customer.  You have create value or give value to your customers.  We cannot cheat a customer.  A business can win if the customers are happy.  And in this world we all win if we all are happy.  Of course not all are happy right now and not everybody is wining.  We need to start creating more and more value in this world.

It is as simple as, "I only win if you win".  

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Did You Noticed This?

In the video below, which showcases new form of advertising, the art they are showcasing is appealing.  Not only that they are innovating in how to display this kind of messages.  When your car is passing by it is difficult to concentrate but when you are waiting at a signal this a spectacular.  You can even decide whether you want to stop by the advertising restaurant or not.

They filled a gap when you were doing nothing but just waiting at the signal.  This gap is not filled by technology. It was an idea that took off.   Advertising is powered by ideas.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Great Blogs Are Not Built By One Big Shot

Great Blog such as Seth Godin's Blog, TechCrunch and BoingBoing were not transformed into great blogs in just one big shot.  Big Shot means one big blog post, one guest appearance, one guest post or by using a great platform.  Those great blogs gained momentum step by step using one simple formula, "Keep Shipping, Continuous Improvement,  Great Leadership and Thinking Differently".

Keep Shipping
All the great blogs if you see, they are still shelling out their creativity at regular intervals from the time they launched.  They never gave up and always challenged their status quo to ship their posts.  Once you build up an audience, they need the meat to consume.  If you don't provide it somebody else will provide it.  And as a result the birds will fly away.

Continuous Improvement
With each blog post they improved and pushed their boundaries.  They have shown improvement in the way they market their blogs, way they use their technology and the platform, way they engage their audience.  Their user growth is a proof of them improving.

Great Leadership
It is a philosophy in they believed in.  If you are in charge of writing an article then you are responsible for leading a tribe of people who are interested in reading about that topic.  You have to show stewardship.  They show them the direction.  And after all social media is about leadership.

Thinking Differently
If you felt that some of their blog posts you didn't liked then were trying something different to experiment.  Everybody thinks different but few think differently.  Of course we are not the same people so our minds are different and we think different.  But the way we think, the way we ask questions to hidden problems makes a difference.  

Friday, December 03, 2010

Innovation

It is not about knowing how the technology works but it is about knowing what can be done with what you have. Exploiting the gaps and exploring new ways to do old things.  Within few years everything would be re imagined and recreated by engineers and leaders around the world.  There is tremendous opportunity lying around us if we  are willing to do something different.  Go to KhoslaVentures.com and see how their different portfolio companies are innovating.

It is about imagination.  If you can imagine and lead, you can build your own future.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Networking Tip


Most Important Networking Tip:  Keeping track of your conversations with your networking friends or business partners.

You meet me today and we talk on "what are you working on?"  We just talked causally about life and business and other important things.  After a month of so we again catch up and we don't want to start all over again.  And you might meet some person after long time.  It is difficult to remember what he/she said then.

Ideally you want to start the conversation from where you left.  So that it is smooth and both parties feel comfortable.  Business deals get so comfortable when you know that other person knows you and they care for you.

Do you know one secret?  You will not ask your childhood friend about his name.  Or even what he is working on.  You remember it.  After all he is your friend.  That is how networking is supposed to be.  How come we cannot co-relate networking with friendship?

For real, I will tell you one truth.  I hate word, "Networking".  But if it wasn't for word "networking" you won't be even reading this post at all.  Networking never made sense to me and so I tried to find out more about it.  The more I tried to find out about it, the more I got interested into the science behind it.

And the science is this.  Treat it like friendship.  For example, Friendship is about taking your friends or going out with your friends for lunch or dinner.  Go do it with networking.  Friendship is about sharing your great personal moments with your friends.   Go do it with networking.  It is about being personal and real.   Why you should imitate someone which you are not?

Take everything from friendship and apply it to networking.  Do everything to your business partners or networking mentors that you would do with your friends.  It is about building great relationships.



  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do You Have A "Stop Doing List"?

We all have a "To-do list".  We write and write and our list goes on expanding.   As a result, it turns out that it is a never ending list.  And then it makes little sense.

I have made many and also on the way developed some nice ways to tackle "To-do lists".  This post is about a "Stop-doing list".

Great companies balance their "To-do list" with "Stop-doing list".  You won't achieve focus until you list things that you have to stop doing.  

Stop Hours of Facebooking, Twittering, Unnecessary Social Gaming and so on, fall into one of the stop doing lists.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Networking: What's Your Group?

Common Scenario Seen at Networking Events.  There are different groups of people attending networking events.  They can be classified into five groups.

Group 1:  Never talks to people.  They come, listen and go.  

Group 2:  Hesitant to talk but would love to get into conversation.  They wait for a chance but they miss it.

Group 3:  They make the first move, they talk for a while, exchange business cards and disperse.

Group 4:  They have done their homework. They know the people, their likes, dislikes, projects they are working on, they have done Google search, LinkedIn and even Facebook search.    This group has the capacity to engage the other person in a conversation.

They have the power to build long term relationships.  Of course this group comprises of less than 10% people attending these events as it requires hard work and diligent effort to know the other person.  This group has a purpose.  This group ends meeting by fixing another meeting for a lunch or dinner.

Group 5:  This group is genuinely interested in what you do.  This group of people know the networking mantra.  When they are not there for any specific purpose, still they know how to start a talk and end a talk, which might result into a relationship.  This group is willing to help.  This group is open to everything.

You either want to be in Group 4 or 5.  Rest is not in the game.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Egolessness

During free fall when we have no weight, we float in the air.  It is because we are going against the gravitational force.  It is called weightlessness.

I coin weightlessness to Egolessness.  Both have distinct similarities difficult to ignore.  Compare gravity with self and weight with Importance.  In the state of Egolessness we go against  ourselves(the gravity).  In the presence of ourselves we try to gain weight(Importance).  When there is zero gravity we have zero weight(zero Importance).

Since not everybody have experienced weightlessness in this world, it is equally true even fewer people in the world have experienced Egolessness.  When you experience weightlessness you float in the air.  When you attain Egolessness you become Englightened.

Buddha achieved Egolessness.   Buddha achieved Enlightement.  

Friday, November 26, 2010

Don't Motivate To Break

We certainly want our loved ones to achieve new heights in their career.  And we will do everything that it takes them to achieve their goals.  Our loved ones could be our spouse, friends, employees and even strangers.  We will provide all the possible resources but still no fire of passion.

For most of the time we think they are getting what we are saying.  But they don't.  We get so much passionate about their dreams or our shared dreams but somehow we cannot ignite the passion in them.  We try to motivate them so much that they finally break.  They give up.  The world breaks apart for us.

We certainly didn't wished for this one.  So how could we do it the other way?  Get them ignited without breaking them.  Get them passionate without becoming a hate figure.  Get them self-motivating without self-indulging.  Becoming a role model without being a road block.  Few things we can ensure to do achieve this.  Here.

1.) Stop Motivating.  Because you cannot.
2.) Provide a window to the world without being the window.
3.) Become less possessive about their dreams. So let them create their own dreams.
4.) Engage them in playing games and wining them.
5.) Identify and remove their fear.

These are not exclusive ones but I would like to quote a famous saying, "Never say Die" - Energizer Batteries.  If you give up then there is not doubt that they will too give up.  Keep doing it and Keep experimenting.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Simple Saving Mathematics

It bet you, you don't need to learn complex mathematics concepts like Regression analysis, Statistics, Trigonometry and algorithms, to figure out mathematics of saving.  Often it is only addition.

Addition is taught in first grade and they know that 1 + 1 = 2.  If you earn 10 dollars then 1 should go to saving. Every time you save and it gets added.  There you have a saving.

If you chase for earning more and more money, then it is a never ending game.  And probably it is easier to earn more money.  Tough is figuring out how to chase for saving.  That is under our control.  If companies suddenly decide to layoff people then it is not under our control but saving money is definitely under our control.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Its Never Too Late

Holidays ! What a time of the year!  When you have everything you wanted, holidays are celebrating.  We enjoy them.  But when we don't have what we need -the necessity, we are sad.  Holidays are unwelcoming.  Let's not make this Holidays boring and also sad for some one.

Giving can make you spiritually and emotionally rich person.  You will have a crash course on wisdom.  You will feel it.  It is the purest kind of happiness.  I am not talking about pleasure here which is you get by consuming food, playing xbox or surfing on iphone.   It is sheer happiness followed by soft heart.



If you are in Toledo, Ohio,  then you can join me in giving a food basket to someone whom we don't know this thanksgiving.  But we do know that it will make them smile.  You can volunteer by getting some food and I can figure out how to do it best.

Please drop me a line at my email mitulpsuthar@gmail.com with your contact information and I will get back to you.  We will have some fun and a chance to touch few hearts.  Feel free to get some friends involved.  Remember Thanksgiving is a day away.

It is never too late when it comes to giving.

Update:  It was a great experience shared with my soul mate my wife.  We donated food to Cherry Street Mission in Toledo.  It was great to find out people coming out and helping.  Amazing. I have now marked of this from my check list of things to do in life.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Not Where But How

I don't know where I want to go.  But I do know how do I want to go.  It is not about the destination but the way we fight for it matters.   The way we are leading our paths to excellence and innovation, it will will definitely open up doors to a brighter future.  

Monday, November 22, 2010

Good To Great

Good to great by Jim Collins, what an amazing book to read.  I am half way through.  Many companies can become good it is not a big deal but only few companies can become great.  Jim has done excellent research to give some valuable insight into these companies.

Few insights from the book.

1.) When you need to make a people change, Act.

2.) People are not your greatest asset but the right people are.

3.) It is about getting right people on the bus and wrong people off the bus.

4.) Great Leaders are not ego centric.  They always believe in the right people company has.

5.) Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.

6.) If you feel the need to tightly manage someone, then you have made a hiring mistake.

This book is a must for everyone.  

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Hour Lunch

Your entire perspective can change after meeting a person with high ranks of wisdom.  He could be your mentor or a business leader.  It is so amazing to have one on one conversation for one hour.  It is personal, relevant and specific.  In other words from a mentor's perspective, this also means, "For one hour my attention is yours.  Ask whatever you want, listen to what I have to say and how can I help you."  It is not possible to have this kind of conversation in an email or phone.

Last week, I met with my mentor and it was exactly for one hour we met.  To my surprise I found out that he was booked for more than one month for lunch.  That was great.  I learned that leaders are always open for building great relationships and are open to mentor someone.  Just ask for it.

These meetings are not about giving your sales pitch or think about how to impress that person.  These meetings are mostly about building some great relationships.  Build now, ask later.   Just think if you are going to meet with your friend at lunch then what will you talk?  You will talk mostly about daily routine and some interesting topics which both of you like.  These meetings also follow the same protocol.   Just be personal, be human, talk something that interests both of you and be humble.

You never know when and how that person will be helpful.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fill In The Gap

This is not an exam question that you will have answer by filling a Gap.  Every time I argue with someone about reading book they often say they are busy.  And I have even blogged on this before.  So you might even feel this talk redundant.

But I have an important insight.  It is also getting very difficult to manage your time and invest in reading when busyness is just a second nature.  But that is a challenge right.  And we knew about it.  But we never thought about a solution and just gave up.

The only way I am able to keep up with my reading is by just filling in the empty slots where I cannot do anything.  For example I take books along with me in bathroom.  It is an honest confession but in 10 mins I can zoom through lots of pages.  Even 10 mins before going to bed will get you reading more than 10 books in one year.  Isn't it a decent goal?  I think it is possible.

And also it is a matter of making a diligent effort slowly.  As the famous saying says, "Rome wasn't built in a day", I believe in doing small everyday.  Read a little, write a little but don't give up.  I think about every art and passion the same way.  If you want to do something different and new, then you will have to find out these gaps in your busy schedule and fill them in.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wow Capacity

Products like iPad, Kindle, iPod are so beautifully designed and packaged that you would want to gift someone.     Kindle on Amazon.com is the most gifted item in their catalog.  Companies creating marketing campaigns are heavily using slogans such as, "Participate in our survey and Win an iPad !".  Why only iPad? Why not any other tablet in the market?  There are hundreds out there.


These products have the power to wow people and that is why they are the most gifted products.  If you are in consumer products business then you should create a products that has "Wow" Capacity built in.  Wow power can surprise a person and make them happy.  Is Wow capacity an ingredient?  Yes it is.

Also you can Wow customers with superior shopping experience by providing excellent service.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Worth Paying Attention

When one product (Kindle, iPad) is disrupting many businesses and industries it is worth paying attention.  Every once in a while a technology comes that disrupts everything.  Those who were sleeping during the introduction of these technologies are sure to be left behind.  In our modern context I would say that innovator takes it all.  It would be stupid not to embrace mobile devices when they are challenging desktop pc sales.   Folks at Microsoft laughed when iPhone was released.  Did it changed the way we understand mobile?  Yes.

When innovation strikes it will not ask if you are protected or not.  It will just strike and take your lunch away.  There has been so much of buzz around Google TV because it is going to disrupt many businesses along the way.   There are implications in our life from the technology world which are worth paying attention.  When  innovation can change so many businesses' face then why not ours.  Why can't we innovate and disrupt?  How can we innovate ourselves out of this traumatic economic downhill?   Today only Innovation is worth paying attention and only innovation can cure our Global Economy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Need Only One

In a baseball game, sometimes you only need one Home Run to win the game.  One hit movie can cover up all you expenses and can change the game.  Avatar movie was the biggest grosser of all times.   Your brand needs that one piece of differentiation and excellence.  You don't have to focus on 1000 different aspects of your product.  Just one.  Get it right.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

On Perfection

Perfection does not comes from knowing everything.  Perfection comes from knowing the fact that you know little and there is so much more to learn.  It also has to do with perception.  What you feel perfect is not perfect to others.

Assumption of perfection results into closing of many doors for opportunities.  Perfection is also misconception.  Instead try to become complete.  Completeness comes from being what you are.  In this complete moment you are contended with what you have.  That particular art of yours is complete.  It comes from satisfaction.

Moreover Perfection is just a snapshot of an ongoing activity.   There is always room for improvement.  Once you accept the fact that you art is perfect, you will not even try to see beyond what can be done.  What is next and what can be done more to it.   If everyone felt that they are perfect then the word innovation wouldn't have existed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

All Different And Still The Same

Everyone wants to be different than the other person, still we see the same mistakes.  Following a trend, believing in rumors is seen and repeated in different countries.

When I first came to United States within first few months I realized that its only the language and the way we look is different, other than that we all share commonality.  And we all are the same.

People are affected by multinational brands everywhere.  Corporates rules the modern society.  Brands have same power across the borders.

Why we fall into the trap?  We want to be different, wear different clothes, have a different career, have a nice house and interior different than our friend and have best gadgets.  But why still we are the same.  How could and entire nation (America) fall into such an economic crisis?  Where was our consciousness gone when banks were refinancing for nothing?

Obesity in America is worse and diabetes is catching up with the race.  If everyone(most of the population) is affected by these diseases then should we claim that we are different?  Wearing different clothes is not being a different personality.  Wearing an attitude that is different and thinking different than the group will make a difference.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Challenge For Creative Individuals

It has been a while since I have written something on creativity.  Let's address one of the challenge faced by creative individuals and how to overcome it.

The Challenge: How to get honest criticism for your creativity?

Recently I saw a performance from a guy in an event.  As an audience I bet it was boring for everyone present there.  But then when everyone met him they all said good things about his performance.  Why good and then still bad?  What if people around you don't say how exactly your perform? What is the problem?

There is one group of people around you who don't want to offend you over your creativity.  Hence they will always play safe and  won't criticize your work.  In turn they will always give diplomatic answers.  These responses should never be considered as a true judgement of your work.

Second group of people is the one who has never done such a work like never sung a song, never made a painting will feel amazed to see your work because it is out of their creative reach.  They will never say bad about your work.  Because they respect it.   Another group which you should ignore.

Third group of people is the one who is unaffected by your personal relationship and is out of your fan club.  This group knows the art, knows industry standards and knows what works out there.  This group of people will criticize your work and that's the group you should catch and care for.  Remember this group is neutral and sees things as they exist.  They don't belong to a particular fan club.

Many times it will happen that you will always get good reviews about your creativity.  But that's the right time for you to seek for honest criticisms from the third group of people.   Find out which is your third group.   You can improve if you have an industry standard to compare with.  But what will you do to improve when you are the standard.  How will you beat yourself?

Solution:  Once you are done with your work, pick up some random people whom you don't know.  Pick up different age and interest groups.  Show your work to them.  Don't disclose that this is done by you.  And then ask for feedback.  And then improve, improve and improve.   Sometimes even this group could be wrong.  But always seek for the third group.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Buzz Is Overrated, Trust Is Underrated

"I can tell you that my mom has zero buzz but when she says something I listen" - Tony Hsieh CEO of Zappos.com.

He talks about how companies try to create too much of buzz in the market to get people's attention and market their brand to customers.  What truly companies should be doing is to build engagement and trust with its customers.

I have even blogged earlier on "How Do You Earn Trust?" by just one single line, "Make a hard promise and keep it".  Zappos.com and Amazon.com both are such companies which have earned trust of their customers.

In the world of fragmentation of consumer markets, it going to be increasingly difficult to market to consumers.  And if companies trying to focus too much on marketing and flooding their facebook or youtube pages with self likes, it is not going to win their customers' trust.

They have to build engagement and earn trust.  Do not focus on Buzz, but focus on trust.  How to get customers trust your brand?  How will you create a great experience for your customers that they will remember?

Trust, Trust, Trust......hard earned and easily lost.

Note: "Delivering Happiness", which I am currently reading, is one book that will change your perspective on building a brand.  If you haven't read yet, please go read it now.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

ART

You don't need Permission to execute your ART.

Find out what you are good at and show your talents in it to the world.

Because I tell you one thing, once your ART is out, it is not in your control.  If it is good it will travel places even after you are dead.

You can not even imagine where your ART will land up and who will see it.  A video on science and education captured in US has the potential to change lives in a small village in Africa through Youtube.

Don't worry if people close to you don't appreciate your ART, because there are billions of people and finding someone like you near you is tough.  But there will be someone who will like it, tweet it and share it to the world.

Isn't it Amazing?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Fantastic Quotes

"First, they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,  then you win" - Gandhi


"Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb." - Hug Macleod


"If you have more than 3 priorities then you don't have any." - Jim Collins


" Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." - George Bernard Shaw


"When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny." -Bertice Berry


Note:  The above quotes are being mentioned in the book, "Delivering Happiness", which I am currently reading.  If you haven't read yet, please go read it now.  

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Problem

For most part in a meeting, it is difficult to reach a common consensus that says, "Guys we have a problem, What do we do about it? "

Everything can be sorted out if everyone agrees that there is a problem.  Many times that's not the case.  I have seen people arguing over tiny details about why things are going wrong and who is to blame.  When the roof of a building collapses we don't argue about why it collapsed or whose fault it was.  First we try to fix it.

Fire rescue teams will not start blaming the building owners.  Their job is to just save the building from fire.  Pour the water in and move out.  That's it.  

My concern in a meeting is the broken ceiling.  If you can see it then come forward to fix it.  Later we can discuss about what we should not do so that it doesn't happen again.  The hardest part is to bring everyone on the same page.  And that's the problem.

The Busyness Syndrome

Every once in a while you would have heard lots of people saying I am too busy.  Whenever you call someone to follow up on a task all you hear is, "I am so sorry I was so busy I couldn't get it done".  Hey this includes me too.  Even I was affected by this.


We are getting too much comfortable with what we are doing everyday and leaving little bit of time to do some thing out of the box.  It is not natural to hear someone say "I am very busy and I have no time to do all that stuff", when you tell them to see a movie, learn something, read some book or learn a new skill(cooking, drawing or dancing, playing music).

Well actually they are not busy.  They are just hiding themselves from doing the uncomfortable act of challenging their status quo.   And overcoming the fear.  We have taken the word, "Busy" as an industry standard, to use it whenever someone challenges us to do something different than what we are used to do.

I am not saying people aren't doing anything or just staying at home and spending their time.  They are working but the way they are working isn't working.  Everyone wants to do the same thing and expect different results.  It is not possible.

To do something radically different, you would have to break your existing working pattern and style. Sometimes you would have to quit what you are doing daily.  Of course it would require lots of guts but on guts later.  Being busy is not the solution.  It is just a part of life.  Being busy is not life.

There is so much interesting and cool stuff to do with life, I felt that my busyness cannot prevent me from doing it.  The stakes are high.  I can't let it go.  If I feel that I want to draw something, I will do it.  If I want to write something or create a new website I will do it.  I have a passion to draw but when I get old I don't want to say others that once upon a time I used to draw.  I don't want it to be a part of my life.  I want it to be my life. 


The word busy is powerful.  When someone says, "I was busy", naturally or unnaturally we feel that person would be definitely inventing some earth shattering technology or doing some outstanding research at MIT.  And we just don't argue with that person.  How easy to throw a word at someone that doesn't mean anything !  And surprisingly it works.  

To do something different and still important you will have to quit lots of your existing routine stuff that make little or no sense.  For God sake don't spend hours on Facebook refreshing and scrolling the mouse button to see what the heck is happening.  Nothing is happening except what you do.  Everything else is just there and will be there.

Every few months take some time to evaluate yourself and your life.  Evaluate whether you are doing those things that you should be doing or Is your lifestyle shaping you?  Go and ask others how is your performance.  See whether you are aligned emotionally, physically and financially. 

At 70 years of age don't feel regretful that I should have done something during those best days of my life when I was busy.  And those best days are now.  Right here, right now.

Go do something.

Do we speak same language?

Would you bother to learn French if I wrote this blog post in French?  No you will leave this page and jump on something that is comprehensible.

At a meeting, just imagine how difficult it would be to have a person who cannot understand what you are saying.   Working with someone who cannot speak your language is like pulling your hairs. Reporting to a boss who doesn't understand what you do is a similar situation.

While in grad school we did lots of team projects as a part of our course work.  It was natural to have lots of international students in a class.  I considered it a crime if two people with same nationality started talking in their native language.  Felt like I was discriminated even if the talk didn't involved me.  It was an insult to everyone else in the group too.  

If you are running into a meeting with your boss over a new project then learn the basic of the project first.  Know what is going to be discussed well in advance.  Do some research and go.  Otherwise they will start talking about something you don't know and you will feel discriminated.  It is similar situation like someone talking in Hebrew in front of you.   

Thursday, November 04, 2010

It Is 100% Customer Service

Believe it or not.  We all are in a business.  We hear complaints and service requests from many customers (different people like your boss, your subordinates, friends, spouse and many strangers too).  And we as a customer service representative try to solve their requests or problems, name it whatever you want.

We are in a serving business.  Now choose among your worst and best customer service experience till now and decide what kind of service you give to your customers.

You win if your customers are happy.  You alone cannot be happy.  Happiness is 100% customer satisfaction.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Networking Tip: Do Not Create Friends, Create Advocates

What if every person who knew you becomes an advocate of you instead of a friend who will never recommend your work to a potential recruiter, which he happens to meet every day.

Imagine you had a talk with a person in a public meeting.  You discovered that Mr. X has skills related to excellent web design and has interest in sports.  Next day you went to meet with a project team and discovered that you need a web designer.  Since you had a nice talk with Mr. X he comes immediately to your mind.  And you recommend him.

This is what I mean by an advocate.  When you had a chance you advocated for Mr. X.  Imagine everyone in your network is going to meet someone  in the next couple of days who needs to market their products.  Obviously they will need someone to do that.  If you are the marketing person looking for a job then all the people in your network should be lobbying for "YOU".

That is your advocacy group.  The Challenge is how you can create a fire among your friends, relatives and everyone whom you will meet during your course of life, who will recommend you.  That fire which a sales person possess, who is very desperate to sell your portfolio.

The top B-Schools exactly teach this.  The single biggest advantage of going to a Top Ranked B-School is "Networking".   Even if you just drop out after one year from Harvard still you will make a fortune if you diligently invest in networking.

Get it right.

Managing Self

MBA schools have always stressed the point that getting an MBA degree will get you a nice job.  Manage a company or a position and live happily.

They miss out the point.  It is not about managing companies or your job portfolio.  It is about managing your career.  Managing the self.  But it is not the focus of many schools. Case studies after case studies on companies successes and failures.   Ever presented or done a case study on yourself.  Did the entire class room critiqued on you?

You will learn maximum not by attending lectures but by volunteering, networking, building your brand, reading extra stuff like biographies, entrepreneurial books etc, leading and speaking.   And no body is going to teach you this unless you figure it out.

If you are able to do your job efficiently but you not efficient in your personal life then is it useful?  People with Master degrees were facing financial crisis during recession.  There has to be a balance in both of the lives: personal as well as professional.

To strike a balance is the real deal for managers.  Books after books are written on these topics.  And one course or lecture can't do justice to this.  Personal differences, emotional intelligence, ego, ethics, responsibility are some of the challenges one has to overcome in managing thy self.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Don't Scare Me Please

Halloween is over and I am amazed to see how much traditions and global brands are penetrating into sub-cultures.  Television serials in India are having episodes specially catering to Indo-American Culture who are familiar with the scary stuff.  

Am I scared due to Halloween?  No.  But the way corporates are promoting a tradition more than it is supposed to be, it is actually scary.

The reason they do it is simple, it results into more sales of their scary products(Sugary products, Halloween costumes and fast food.)

Tomorrow it is not wonder they will pick up another tradition and magnify it.  Because existing ones will max out.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Imagination

Ray Ozzie, chief software architect of Microsoft until his recent announcement of departure, says that "If we can imagine something, we can create it". 

"Imagination is the single most important competitive advantage we have today as a country," said Thomas Friedman of New York Times. "Imagining a new project is where the magic is."

If one wants to showcase his talent to the world than he can easily show it through youtube.  The cost of production and distribution has went down drastically.  Imagination will always be a key to all kinds of innovation. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Zappos

Is that a blog title?  Yes it deserves to be.  When we refer to brand Apple we think about sexy products.  Zappos is such a brand name in shoes and soft retail goods.   When one thinks of Zappos it reminds him of excellent customer service.  Last night I saw an interview of Tony Hsieh on Business Insider (View it here).  It was awesome.  

Tony at 24 sold his company to Microsoft in 1999 at 265 million dollars.  He strongly believes in building a strong company culture.  A company's culture is the toughest part to tackle and also most difficult to change.  When you have a strong culture then you can build a solid product and give super customer service.   


I even ordered Tony's book "Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose".  Zappos has maintained to stay independent even after its merger with Amazon.  How is that possible?  Well you can find that in the interview above, as my explanation will not do justice.  


Many companies write their core values and mission statements which are hanging in their lobbies but rarely they make sense.  If you want to look at Zappos core values they are clear and make sense.  This is exactly what the book "Made To Stick" mentions, that your ideas should be concrete and not vague to make them stickier.  Try to build values and mission statements which are crystal clear.  


When you look at Zappos website you can feel the company culture and also you can make out what is going on in the background.  Their 800 number is on the top of every single page so any time a customer can easily find it. They believe in complete customer satisfaction.  Even if it costs the company still it is ok because they consider it as their marketing cost.  


An entire new approach is needed if you want to sell goods online.  Not many companies are successful.  In online retail everyone thinks it is the technology.  No it is not and never will be.  Company's people and processes will always be key in not only online retail but any business.  Any guesses why dot com bubble burst?  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Opportunity

In one of my post I mentioned that skills brings money, which is true if you know where the opportunity lies.

As the famous saying, "Beauty is in the eye of beholder", a person can see opportunity in every adversity if he wishes to.  What will you do if you were stuck at an airport and flights get canceled?  Not your fault but what will you do? There is an important meeting and you have to make it to the meeting.  Now what?

I know not everyone is like Sir Richard Branson(Founder of Virgin Atlantic).  When faced with similar situation he immediately did the math and asked fellow passengers if there was a flight, will they travel along with him and pay the fare.  Everyone agreed.  Sir Branson collected the money from the passengers and rented a plane.   Boom.

Don't get nervous next time, when your car gets broke or system crashes, it is not the end of the world.  Try to figure out where the opportunity lies. 

Opportunities exist all the time.  Right now there are more opportunities than even 2 years before.  But one will find it only if one looks for it.  Even in the recession period more companies were founded by young Entrepreneurs than 3 years before. 

Best investment opportunities exist during recession, when economy is weakest and prices are really cheap.  But who will grab this opportunity, those who saw it before it came.  Those who kept looking for it.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Directions

Have you ever faced this?  You are driving on the wrong road and you have no clue where you are heading towards.  Or you know where you are going but not sure whether that path will lead you towards your destiny.  You realize it later that you were way off your target.  Of course when somebody showed you the way. 

Many times you would have regretted that asking someone earlier might have saved you a lot of time.  Our entire perspective changes when some is there to guide us.   I would have been a different person if somebody would have shown me importance of top notch Universities.

Smart technologies have handed over to us smart devices like GPS enabled phone that provide us directions.  But what we will do when we are alone trying to solve a life quest.  How long will you continue on a path that you are less confident about?

It is OK to ask anybody at any point no matter how late you are.  By not asking, you are just delaying the confrontation of your foolishness to yourself.  


Sometimes you might have to ask often.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who Is In Charge?

Who is in charge of your attention?

It is the most precious thing that we are giving away easily.

When it is needed the most, we give it to someone else (mobile phones, TV, Saturday Nights)

If we are giving away our precious thing to others then they are definitely going to get rich.  The more you text, the more they make money.  The more you watch TV the more they make.  The more you spend money outside someone is making money.

Keep it with you if you want to be rich.

You are in charge of your attention.

Lock it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sugar A Status Symbol ! Really !




Sugar a symbol of status ! Really !   In the seventeenth century sugar was an item of luxury and it was considered as a status symbol.   It was very expensive item and of course the technology didn't existed to mass produce sugar from sugar cane.

Suddenly they started producing more and more sugar flooding the market.  So prices decreased.  And sugar was added to everything into coffee, tea, dairy products etc.  It was turned into a necessity.   I was surprised to read this and you should read this Sugar turned into a necessity.

For more people to consume sugar they started promoting benefits of sugar.  Middle class also started consuming because a luxury item then was now affordable and they started consuming sugar like anything.

Coming back to 2010 if you just walk into a super market you will see thousands of products which have ample of sugar.  It is enough to make you diabetic.  Guys any second guesses to why obesity and diabetes is increasing in 21st century than before.

Sugared and flavored milk, sugar coated cereals, sweet bread, chocolates ..........come on do we need sugar in everything.  When shall we market sugar as a non-status symbol?  Is diabetes your current status? Perhaps not how about your friends?

My father is diabetic and I saw him suffering since my childhood.  I am talking about early nineties when I heard only my dad being affected by it.  In recent years I am hearing many people, my relatives and friends getting diabetes.  So clearly it is alarming as it is increasing.

Jamie Oliver who won Ted Prize in 2010 for his work in the food industry says,

 "How can you say something is low-fat when it's full of so much sugar?"  See his TED talk 


Is there a need to celebrate Halloween, Easter, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Thanks Giving with TONS OF Chocolates


If you really think yes then why not just hand out boxes and boxes of sugar?   


According to Oliver’s statistics, diet-related disease – cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes – constitute the main causes of death (in fact the top three, with diabetes coming in sixth) in the U.S. Some two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, says Oliver, largely due to the salt, sugar and fat in processed foods.


Read more at Suite101: Chef Jamie Oliver Wins 2010 TED Prize: That’s $100,000 And A Wish 


Sugar a status symbol ?  Really ?  I don't think so.