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Showing posts from October, 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.

Zappos

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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 stronglybelieves 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 value…

Opportunity

In one of my post I mentioned thatskills 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 opp…

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.  


Some…

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.

Sugar A Status Symbol ! Really !

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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 thisSugar 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.

Suga…

The Point

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You are in a meeting with your project Team.  Discussions and Ideas float in the air.  There are many view points to a particular project.  And the picture looks like this.
Until all reach to a consensus there is no point in dismissing a meeting.  Everyone has to agree on one single point.  It reminds me of the movie 12 Angry Men.  Until everyone reaches to an agreement the verdict is not out.    Everyone has to be convinced with the solution.  I don't know why organization go ahead with the majority of votes.  The picture has to be like this. One point of view and everyone agrees to it.  And that's how I define an organization culture.  You can have many ideas but everyone at the end should agree on one solution.  The best one.  This brings harmony, enthusiasm, ownership of the problem and change in an organization.

Two Ways To Change World

There are only two ways to change the world.  Tough and Easy one.

Tough one : Go mess around everyone's business (lives) and pitch in your idea.

If you are not experienced, you will be kicked out.  No money, competition will crush you out.  Keeping it very simple.  Go try it out.  Some ideas need pitching if quick results are needed.  And that is what MBA Schools teach.

So here is the easy one which MBA schools will not teach you.  The great freedom fighter who fought his battle on few principles to give freedom to India.

Easy one:  "Be the change you want to be" - Mahatma Gandhi.

Your life is an example to the world.   You don't have to argue with everyone.  They can see the change in you.  Changing everyone is tough.  Changing one person is easy.  Has Steve Jobs changed the world? Yes.  How? By changing himself.  Has he changed after being removed from his own company?  Yes (See the Stanford commencement speech) .

"You can change your life by changing your At…

Distant Mentors

Steve Jobs, Seth Godin, Jeff Bezos are some of my distant mentors.  Their advise is their work.  I drive inspiration from them on how they might function. 

I will never will be able to talk to anyone of them but they do talk to me everyday. It is a one way traffic.

And as I read more books I am developing more such Mentors and some of them are not even alive (Albert Einstein. Geroge Washington, Abraham Lincoln and more).  

So what if they are far, their work and their persona reaches me faster than physical being.

There many such great distant mentors, they are your friends and family members, giving us invaluable insights into future.

The biggest obstacle between them and you is "You".  

Open up.

Success and Failure Credits

I have great mentors backing my life and my success.  Whereas only one person is responsible for my failure, and that's me.  No second guesses in that.  It makes my life easier when I have only one person to criticize over my failure.

When everything goes right I thank many people who have helped me.  Just comes natural after not doing it many times(So I am no born with such wisdom guy).  My hard work is always overshadowed by Mentors.  They have been my superstars.

In past stupidly I used to criticize others for my failure and waste my emotional energy.  Over time I have learned hard lessons to make life easier.  Take the blame on yourself and move ahead.  But not for the wrong reasons. If I just keep rationalizing my failure then I will never concentrate on overcoming it.  So I quickly get bad emotions out and move on.  Wise thing to do. 

Now this is obvious to you and also you might have observed, when we win we never take time to thank others and when we fail, we seek help.  T…

What Will You Do If Google Did It?

In recent years, giants companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter coming from nowhere, it has become pretty evident that many old behemoths are afraid and are forced to re-think their viability.  These companies are eating away lunch of many big companies like Microsoft and Yahoo.

It has certainly forced gorillas to wake up, shed some weight and innovate.  Companies are innovating faster then before.  Apple is having more product launches per year then they used to do.  Google is entering into every business that you can think off (An automated car -- really?). 

Well it is not a surprise that such a technology never existed.  Engineers from MIT have long developed such cars.  But never made it to market due to liability issues and nascent technology.  But Google has the advantage of its massive data centers, artificial intelligence, data mining capability and Geo-mapping technology.  Such a technology a car, coming from Google is a surprise. 

So you should not be surprised if Googl…

The Best Thank You Ever

If you want to say a thank you to someone for something then here is the best one.  To me it is the most wise statement to someone whom you care or don't care is thank you.  And the best one is this one.

The good part of this thank you is that it works on both the parties, the good and the bad.  Well guess what bad people have helped you more than the good ones.  Have you ever met a bad boss?  If yes then did you learn from him what you would not do if you were the boss.

Had a fight with a friend?  Didn't it made you think what you should not have done?  I guess in that case both good and bad people deserve a thank you.

Here is it.

"THANK YOU, for being yourself"
That's it.  If the other person is enjoying seeing you in pain then trust me, you are learning a tough lesson through that person.  An enemy will teach you life's toughest lessons sometimes. 

And to those who are already good will respect you for showering such words of praise.  For me this has worke…

Why Steve Jobs Rejects Most Of Good Ideas?

If you are an Apple fan then you know by now that Steve Jobs rejects many good ideas.  He accepts only those ideas which are right for the company and for the customers.  He acts like a filter.  No doubt he is tough to impress.

In this article I am trying to draw an analogy why he rejects many ideas.  And I could be wrong but I thought lets give it a try.

Every day millions of people come up with brilliant ideas.  The moment they thought that idea, they were in a stimulus mode.  So excited, they could not think about anything else but execute it.  They think if they delay it someone else will take away their idea.(Apple's Iphone versions are always behind wireless standards, 3G and 4G not out yet).  So they rush to ship it.

As a result they ship a product with lots of flaws and there comes tons of customer complains.  Without knowing the rules of the game they just want to play it and see themselves win.   They are under the influence of drug (here it is an idea)

Under the influe…

On Off Switch

The room is dark and you need a light.  You turn on the switch and its bright.  You move out and you switch it off.  And its dark.  It is not in the middle.  Complete brightness and complete darkness.

Act like a switch.  Once you have made a decision it is either complete yes or complete no.

The Best Gift

The best gift comes without a price tag but it is priceless.  It is unexpected and has the potential to change your emotions.  It is unusually remarkable and has the potential to stick into our memories. 

The best gift is a relationship builder.  It is a perception to the consumer of the gift.  It is personal and relevant.  Sometimes it would come from a person whom you would have never expected.  Example.  The person who made that decision to give you your first job.

And finally you will believe in giving it back.   "It will force you to reciprocate."  - Seth Godin

Mr. Focus Says

Focus is everything.

Get distracted and just ruin everything you have achieved till now.

Maintain focus and achieve whatever you want.

The Scan

Why web pages are longer? Why we see different stories on news websites which aren't always news?  If you are unaware of this then observe news websites like CNN.com, Huffingtonpost.com.  They are getting longer and longer, filled with everything.  Previously if you wanted to find any news on any particular section say sports or technology, you would go to sports section or technology tab.  Whereas now it is all embedded into one page.

In addition to that now you will find hardly any news on a news website interesting.  People visit a website and just scan through links.  If any words interest them then they will click other wise they will leave.  Before a news (or breaking news they call it) will appear on the homepage only if it is actually news.  Now everything is there on one plate.  Are they trying to overwhelm you or annoy you or make you feel guilty of so much information?  May be or may be not.  May be it is not intentional.  It is just how the culture is changing.   The c…

I Don't Need Your Money, Give Me Internet

Don't give me money, give me internet.  If you could help a poor nation with something then build a super fast network for ultra high speed internet accessible to at least half of its population.  And see how communities after communities are built.  

My father when came to USA got bored after staying at home when I was busy working.  He suddenly found his passion on youtube.  He started watching videos on furniture design and artistry.  I was surprise to see him contacting people in furniture design.  And of course he complained the poor quality of internet in India, but not about anything else. 

As soon as he went to back to India after now 3 months he has started his own workshop to build custom made furniture.  Ain't that amazing.  My mother never learned how to turn on a computer but she can easily navigate and find old songs on youtube.  

These are just stories close to me.  But imagine what wonders it could do to a nation where generation is longing to learn and innova…

Principles

Do you pray to God? 

How about writing all your principles you believe in or you want to believe, into your Prayer book?  How about Goals?

After all setting your goals is just conditioning your mind for a particular behavior right.  It is about manipulating your subconscious mind over and over. If we can pray everyday then why not repeat those goals and principles everyday.

Is Education A Painful Experience?

A person with $40,000 to $50,000 in student loans to repay with an average job will definitely think twice whether to send his child to school.  And quality of education provided in public institutions is degrading than ever before.  The relevancy has gone.

By the time you graduate what you have learned becomes outdated.  Again you have to undergo training or learn new stuff.  Higher education is becoming expensive every year and relevancy is going down.  Student loan will become expensive there is no doubt about it.  And getting a job that pays well is again a pain.  All in all it creates a painful experience in one's life. 

The whole education system is a big failure.  It is not just one sided problem.  Everyone is responsible for it.  And no wonder one day a technology company would revolutionize it.  When I think of a beautiful experience then I don't want to think of that product at all.  For example when you go to a movie theater if it is well designed it will get out o…

Platform Is The King

In today's world, those companies which own the platform will win the battle(make cash).  Think if you owned radio you could broadcast any song you wanted right.  You can allow any advertisement you want.  Similarly, companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google they own a platform and they are able to attract lots of eye balls.  And so many companies are willing to pay them to show their ads on their platform.   

So are companies like Amazon with Kindle, Apple with iphone, ipad, and Google with Android phone able to attract advertisers.  They have an advantage because they have an asset(platform).  They can change the rules of the game whenever they want.  You don't want to wage a war who buys ink by the barrel. 

All this discussion is good but how does this impact us and how can we benefit from it.  Many ways actually.  If you imagine yourself as an advertiser then you can own multiple billboards and charge companies to show their ads on your platform. If you are an event organi…

Critics

The one who has never made a film will become a film critic.  The one who has never made a painting will criticize your work.  He who never fought on the borders with soldiers will sit in AC and participate in political debate.

Should you pay attention to them?  Will you take their judgment seriously?  Yes and no.  Honest criticism should always be welcomed.  Ridiculous and prejudiced criticism should be neglected.  When you are exposed to criticism you open yourself to learning.

A customer will criticize your product no matter even if he doesn't know what goes into aerodynamics.  And if you are in the market then everyone is a critic.  But only few should be dealt with care.  And rest is just noise.  Filter it out.

And  you cannot please everyone.  But you can acknowledge them and move on.

When Opposites Clash

Like poles repel each other and unlike attract each other.  In marriage we have heard that couples with opposite nature attract each other and make a successful life.  Then why when different companies merge there is a clash.

When opposites clash sure there is going to be rift.  But then only there is magic.  When different cultures unite then you have diversity.

In a merger if one company is different than the other then it is a good thing.  Because the other will bring change.  A company wanted to compete which is why they decided to merge or buy a company. 

The unknown will bring change to a company culture.  Next time you meet somebody and find him to be different and nothing common then feel good about it.  Get to know each other well.  It will bring change to your life.

Problems Are Like Popcorn

P for Popcorn and P for Problems.  Similarity?   They just pop-up.  And you cannot stop them from popping up once heat is given.  But you can prevent a popcorn from popping out of the vessel.

Problems will pop-up from every side and you will never know.  But you can prevent it from getting out of control.  The Gulf-Oil spill could have been prevented but nobody took responsibility until got out of control.

Every event is met with challenges and difficulties.  Some unseen circumstances will come but how will you handle it and keep it under control will make you a successful event manager.

Leadership Is Everything To A Family

Leadership is the ultimate form of marketing.  It is a hard earned skill.  There are many groups and organizations created every single day.  How many of them are active?  In my school life, I have seen organizations flourish under a charismatic leader.  And no wonder same organizations failed under a literally bad leadership. 

A flock of sheep will go where ever the first sheep goes.  The rest of them will follow.  View leadership from a parent's perspective.  A father or a mother takes care of his/her child irrespective of child's intelligence.  A father advises his children irrespective of their age.  A new born baby does not have a voice.  It learns what ever the parent teaches. 

A leader takes care of his organization like a father.  He is everything to the organization.  A father acts like a mentor, a friend, a teacher, and hero to a family.  A leader should have all these qualities.   Do you see all these qualities in your boss or the company president?  When we compar…

Skill Brings Money

Now you may argue that not every skill will bring money.  True and false.  Every skill comes with a price tag.  Some skills may not fetch you quarter but dime.  While some may even earn you $100,000 a year. 

It doesn't matter where you start from.  The rules of the game are still the same.  "Make some and save some.  Save some and invest some".

What matters is which skills will you choose to jump from one price tag to another and how much faster.  On the way how will you change yours and others life will matter.

You could be mopping a floor as a janitor in a hospital.  But still you have the potential to become the best nurse.  Save some money for school and get away with a degree.  Do it again and improve.

It is always one step after another.  And with each step you learn and earn.  You make and you save.  I don't know why this doesn't make sense to everyone.  And it is not a wonder why there aren't many billionaires.

This Is It

This time is it.  If you are waiting for the perfect time, then I assure you that your waiting time is not going to end.

In this moment, be content and live it.  "If I will get this I will do this" kind of attitude is not going to end.  It is a race.  Once you get what you wanted, by the time you get it you will aspire for more.  The longing will never end.

This is it.  But don't stop thinking big.  Always aim higher but do not live in past or future.

Fine Line Of Separation

Cross one line and I doubt they will spare you.    That is how it works at country borders.  Want to see?  Go on Youtube and see.

Result of Crossing such border is definite:  Jail or Dead.  In our daily lives we do not have the guts to draw a line between two extremes.  It is because of failure to visualize the extreme immediately.

There is a fine line which one should not cross.  You could be inches away before you disrupt someone's privacy.  One click on a button and you could share you entire life with someone whom you don't know on  a social network. 

One tweet can land you in trouble.  Some lines are not meant to be crossed - socially, professionally and ethically.  A person at the bar should know when he should stop drinking before he gets out of control. 

It is actually very tough not to get distracted by the attraction.  To stay aligned, experienced individuals have formed rules.  Those rules have to be followed.

The Most Valuable Employee

It is not about net dollar worth of an employee.  It is about what that person is able to give to an organization irrespective of his/her salary. 

Staying for 30 min more and contributing for the project is beyond the job manual.  Seth Godin has been saying this since long.  I have mentioned many times about word "Linchpin", which Seth recommends to become. 

The most valuable person in your company is not the one who needs incentive to outperform.  They need no motivation.  They are self-motivated. 

To me a person who is self-motivated is the most fierce competitor.  In terms of companies too, those companies whose culture is very strong and those who look for inspiration from within are most innovative and competitive.

When someone with such a persona is around, you can feel the magic of his presence.  The charm and energy in the surrounding is enigmatic.  Why are such employees most valuable?  Is it because they contribute more than others? 

Are those employees most valua…