Monday, January 31, 2011

The Equivalent Of Experience In A Resume

While searching for job last year, I was puzzled to see job postings with 5 to 8 years of experience.  I thought and dreamed that if I had such a wonderful experience on my resume I could do wonders and I would be a rock star and this and that.  And I thought, "How could I have experience if I never worked.?"

After seeing the other side and going through the process, I felt that experience is not the only thing that matters in a job interview.  Today many companies consider your own work or your projects as significant experience.  If you have skills you can prove and if you have built something, experience can sit on the side.

If your resume lacks experience, then here are few things I recommend doing which would be considered as equivalent of experience.

1.) Search up relevant opportunities suitable to your portfolio in the community where you can work.
2.) Do what you love and build a solid portfolio.  Want a sales job? Go help a fund raiser.  Want to be a web developer - build some community websites.  Project by project build an excel sheet of projects you have completed.  
3.) Become a Master at what you do.  If you are a master at your domain, then who cares about experience.
4.) If you are able to prove your skills then thats the key.  You can prove them by certification, a portfolio, professional recommendations, community engagement and expertise.

I think the term experience should never be a determinant factor when you have to hire a person with skills sets.

The term "Experience" should be replaced by keywords such as "Track Record", "Projects Delivered".

Experience is required in different kinds of positions but sometimes companies over use the word experience and make bad hires.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Only Industry Where Customers Don't Want What They Pay For

The Only Industry where customers don't want to get 100% value of their money.  Have you ever came across such an Industry other than Education?

Education is such an industry where Students don't want to get what they pay for.  A boring professor - Students want leave.  A boring class - Students want to Facebook in class.  Students waiting for spring and fall break all the time.  Snowing heavily, students pray for getting a leave.

If you walked into a retail store, have you ever said. "Oh this customer service representative is boring and I will not pay"  Or "I will not ask for my money back if I received torn shirts".   Only a fool will take away defected clothes from a shopping mall.

Why this behavior is not seen in Education?  Have you ever seen a student complaining for not receiving first class quality education?  Or Has a student asked for his money back after feeling that he has not received quality education?  The point here is even if the student would have tried he wouldn't have got it back.

Why corporate mentality is not set into Education?  I bet if all professors received a customer sales representative training from Nordstrom or Zappos then we would have been in a better shape.  I wonder how the state of education would be, if they believed and delivered the very best customer service.

The current state of education is due to two reasons.  First I blame it on the customers and then on the service providers.  If customer sets the bar high, then without a doubt business would have to live up to.

 Imagine if Universities started policies like Wal-mart(100% customer satisfaction or money back guarantee), what would the state of education become?  I am eager to see such a revolution in Education sector.

Update:  Remember 100% satisfaction means even if you did your job and then customer didn't liked it, still they get their money back.  That's what Wal-mart promises.  That's means if this was implemented in Education, you could get a nice job and a nice grade and still ask for money back and you should get it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Different Stages Of Culture Your Organization Reflects

This is from famous book Tribal Leadership.  Long ago before even reading this book I wrote a post in 2010 "ME WE" that resembles stage 2 culture in an organization.  According to Tribal Leadership, Stage 2 culture is a group of people who says, "my life sucks".  

Note:  The above views are not entirely mine but represented from the book.  I highly recommend you to read this  book.  

Today in this post I want to mention about below stages (Also mentioned here) that are persists in an organization.  

Stage 1 says, "Life sucks".  Their view is that whole world is bad place and life is just the way it is.  

Stage 2 says, "My life sucks".  Their view is their own life sucks because they can see that their bosses are doing great.   This stage reflects lots of cynicism.

Stage 3 says, "I am great".  They are self-centric and their view is that I am great and you are not.  I know this and you don't.  They don't reflect the "WE" spirit.

Stage 4 says, "We are great".  Their view is that we are a great team to work.  They believe in collaboration and believe that great work cannot be done in isolation.   They have to function as a team.

Stage 5 says, "Life is great".  Their view is that life is great.  They believe in working for something so remarkable that will change lives of millions of people.  Their competition is not with other companies but with themselves.

So what does your company look like?  How people talk in your organization?

Organizations move from stage 1 to stage 5 and also from stage 5 to either stage.  However very few can reach level 5.  


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Broken

As rightly said by Seth Godin (link), "If I think its broken, then its broken".  So it is broken even if you think something is broken by design.

Today I tried to pay my credit card ( issued by a retailer not a bank) bill and frustrated by the experience I tried to voice my feelings.  I couldn't even register my card for first time to login into their site.  Unless you contact someone it is impossible to get into their site.  Ridiculous!

It seems that they want us to buy but don't want us to pay and then pay the late fees.  Why companies don't learn lessons from other companies who have already done it?  If other company is providing better service and getting better customer satisfaction then isn't it obvious that you do the same.

Whenever you see something is broken, there lies the opportunity.  It is up to the person who can see this opportunity.  Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, saw that Airlines provides poor service and envisioned that he could do it better.  He built a multi-billion dollar business around this philosophy, "provide the very best customer service".

If you see then lots of things are broken and can be improved.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How We Can Achieve Simplicity?

Everyday we adding a bit more to our complex life.  Bit by bit we are filling it with lots of junk.  For example, just 6 years before the average storage space in our computer was  in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.  Now its exceeding terabytes of data.  Number of Handheld devices/person, no of social networking sites, no of people you interact everyday is increasing.  Brand exposure is on the rise.

We need to get organized.  When the average amount of information thrown at us increases, we need better organization, planning, filtering and a better way to guard ourselves from the right information.  Complexity can lead to inefficiency.  It can be dangerous.  It takes away our focus.  Out of sheer complexity we need to bring simplicity.  How could we achieve simplicity?

My answer : Prioritize the important and just ignore others.  

10 Ingredients That Form The Brand Called "You"

  1. Philosophy
  2. Actions and Inactions
  3. Viewpoints
  4. Public perception 
  5. Openness
  6. Friends
  7. Associations
  8. Career Choices
  9. Social Influence
  10. Relative Wisdom and Humbleness

Above is list that constitutes your Brand called "You".

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Writing

Many can do fantastic job at coding, drawing, cooking, and you name it.  But few of them are able to also write about it.  And even few of them are good at public speaking (I will talk on speaking later).

Writing is very essential to a person's eternal growth.  I have found that many go crazy if I force them to even try to write on something they love.  I know it is not their game but I never told them to become journalists either.  A para here and there at least once a year would have certainly improved them.

Writing will help you professionally by leaps and bounds sooner or later.  Hoping to realize immediate gains from writing is a wrong strategy and waste of time.  I read online last week that engineers fret on something they cannot measure.  So I feel that we all have engineers mentality somewhere hidden, which means we resist doing something whose output we cannot measure immediately.

Volunteering to write a meeting's agenda or meeting minutes is something  you can do immediately.   When you start participating in online communities your writing skills will be measured.  Fragmentation is on the rise and it is likely that you will find an online community of your interest.  And engaging with the community will require good writing skills.

Our everyday thoughts shape us what we are today.  We evolve over time and we cannot remember each and every single thought that came to us 10 years back.  But we had written them down we could have just seen how we used to think in those days.  What mattered the most then and what matters the most now we could have measured.  But this is hard labor and doing it consistently over time is what scares the hell out of people.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bills That Kill Our Life

What scares someone most people when they get unemployed next day?  Its the bills they have to pay.  Electricity, Gas, Rent, Mortgage, Insurance, Loans, Phone, Internet, and all sorts of bills goes on increasing once people start earning more and more money.  But that doesn't happen when income goes down drastically down.

Bills are our liabilities and they tend to pile up.  When inflation increases bills increase and our cash decreases.  Bills are good if income is good.  But nothing stays there forever.  Things can change over night.  Economy crashes but bills don't evaporate over night.  They come back every month to haunt you.  

Few things that might help with bills.

  1. Don't get something if you don't need it.  If you need it, then first try to make a back up plan with cash.
  2. The lesser the better.  
  3. Get rid of recurring bills asap or Get a recurring income to support it.
  4. Get rid of bills and even things, if income goes down.  If corporations can size down, no harm in sizing down.  
  5. Bills get nasty beyond due date.  So Avoid late payment
  6. Safety stock:  Have enough cash to survive at least six months if things get worse.
  7. Every day is a good time to save money for next month.
Do you know any tactics or practice you follow for bills?  Send me an email.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Always Show Up

When there is an appointment always show up on time.

There are always some people who never get this and they still don't respect it.

A fair and open communication is definitely expected from the other side even if they don't show up.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Non-Stop Comparison

There is non-stop comparison every where around us.

Companies compare themselves to other companies and try to stay ahead in the market.  That is good for healthy competition and it all part of the game.  But don't consider them as industry standards.  It is not good.

I even don't like direct comparison between individuals.  Each and every individual is different.  Throughout my childhood my academic performance was compared to a family friend's performance.  When I look back and see our lives on each front, it is beyond comparison.

I have realized that comparing ourselves to others is almost like hitting ourselves.  To me it appears that comparing ourselves to others or some existing standards is almost like misleading ourselves in the wrong direction.

The only valid or legitimate comparison that should be done is against ourselves.  Setting our own standards and beating them again and again will take us far ahead then comparing to others.

Life does not comprise of small races, life is like a marathon race.  If Apple Inc. would have compared themselves to Microsoft (when Microsoft was ahead of Apple) and if they would have set them as standards then they would not have invented great products.  Today Apple is the largest technology company in the world.

I hope that our future generations will get rid of this notion of comparision.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Two Of My Favorite Quotes

These two are on Passion or Aspirations or anything you may call it.  But these two quotes have stuck into my life so profoundly that I refer them again and again.

"You really have to love what you do and persevere it continuously, otherwise many rational people would just give up." - Steve Jobs (watch this part here - youtube link).

"It is so easy to loose hope in this country (India), it is so easy to set your aspirations low and institutions like IIT sets them higher" - Narayan Murthy (founder of Infosys India).

These sets me on fire whenever I hear them and I many times go back and refer them.  Really great one.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Excellence: Nobody Will Eat Half Baked Cookies

If I were to give you cookies half baked, will you eat?  No.  You will not eat it.  In fact if this kind of service was provided to you by a restaurant then you might even get angry, frustrated and ask your money back. 

Even though we know this from the begining that nobody eats uncooked food, still why we settle for less? 

If you see all the top premier institutes from Universities to Corporations, they ask for nothing but Excellence(a fully cooked meal). 

Even though Mark Zuckerberg was a college drop out, he would not hire a person without Excellence. 

Today we have all forms of communication devices, platforms, different forms of media and sources of information at our disposal, which are more than sufficient to provide us means to achieve Excellence.

We have many use cases which have proved again and again that being excellent in our respective fields will always out do everything.  But time and time again we are easily satisfied.

We never invested significant amount of effort in achieving excellence in the very basic four skills i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing.  And I bet if we do then we can improve our lives by 10 folds. 

If you want to scale in the corporate world to new heights then at one point or the other you will end up increasing the quality of your four skills. 

Needless to say that we could improve and achieve Excellence in other fields also, we never do.   Sometimes it seems as if people are trying to catch a train which they will miss it if they wait too much. 

But life is not a train my friends.  Life is once in a life time opportunity.  Most people know this but they don't realize to their inner core.  You only have one chance to do something that is great and Excellent. 

Steve Jobs knows this very well.  He has one chance in a life time to create a product that will change lives of Millions of people.  Will he settle for less?  Will ship an inferior iPad or iPhone?  Or Has he? 

Sometimes when I ask myself this question, "Why people settle for less?"  I get different answers and mixed feelings.  I feel that many times people don't have a vision to see a bigger picture and aren't motivated to do something great.  Some never are able to move beyond themselves.

Very few people achieve Excellence not because they are gifted, but because they have pursued Excellence relentlessly.  They are surrounded by Excellent people all the time.  And this didn't came naturally to them.  They have maintained their focus only on Excellence and nothing else.

And this is just not about cookies.  There is always more room for innovation and millions of opportunities are created.  And it is also not that you have missed the Train.  Next train will always come.  It just depends on you when you want to board it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

There Are Lots Of People Around Us

This is an interesting place to live because of people around us.  And there are billions of them around us.  Our family, our friends, our colleagues and strangers are all around us.  They shape our lives.  We fight with them.  We love them. And we might just ignore most of them.

They are just people.  It is their actions that make them good or bad, friends or enemies.  It is very interesting to see how knowingly or unknowingly we make judgments about them and their actions.  And our perception about them is largely formed by our own thoughts and reasoning.  Which really bothers me, because this prevents us to know them better.

My argument in this post is simple:  Don't try to form judgments about any individuals.  Just deal with people as a customer representative on a daily basis.  People come and they go.  They will remember you if you treat them and make them feel well.  They will not remember what you said to them or what you did.  But they will never forget how you made them feel.  And if you make them feel important then they will care for you. 

And as I said "There are lots of people around us".  If you feel you have made mistakes in life, don't worry, start all over again.  There are still more people who can make a difference in  your life.  More people more opportunities are created every single day.  Open up.

True To Oneself

The world would be great place if everyone just remained true to themselves.  I don't care about what they do with others.  People need to stop digging into each others' lives. Whom we are trying to fool?  We were born naked and naked shall we all remain in our own eyes.

We cannot fool ourselves.   Our ego comes always in front of us that prevents us from being true to ourself.  When we look in mirror, if we could see ourselves as we are then it would solve many problems.  

Monday, January 10, 2011

Viral Culture

We have come to an age where we live in a viral culture.  In a viral culture, ideas spread quickly and they become a phenomenon instantly.  The medium for spreading a potential idea across masses spanning different countries, languages and culture, is getting more and more fluid.

The barriers to entry are lowered in this medium.  Ideas with highest potential will spread faster than others.  People with real skills, talent and art will flourish in this new age.  Creativity will be will scale new heights.  We will learn more collaboratively than in silos.

This one video (link) posted on Youtube garnered millions of views and changed Ted William's life forever within just 48 hours.  He lands contract with MSNBC and appears on major TV shows like The Daily Show just within days.

There are many such videos which have become instant hits and people behind it have made fortunes out of it.  So what is making up this viral culture.  What is the driving force behind it?

1.) Mobile Internet on phones, tablets, laptops.
2.) Social Media Sharing using websites and mobile apps.
3.) Incredible capability OR Extra ordinary talent OR One great IDEA OR One cool innovation.

With all of the above, word of mouth is amplified exponentially and this is going to increase.  These are enough reasons for us to believe that "It is possible and now is the time to make it happen".  We live in a viral culture and  we don't need anybody to give us a ladder any more.

If the idea is worth it and if it is great, then it will reach millions and billions of people.  Isn't it amazing to realize that we come to this age.   It takes effort to create something that is amazingly beautiful and superb that it will scale and spread among people.

Just imagine when mobile will be available to everyone(sooner or later this is going to happen as costs are going drastically down) how much people we will be able to reach?  

Now is the time to do something really great.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Current Education System

If I would have been properly guided early in my life about the importance of premier institutes and about being the best in the world, then I would have been a different person today.  After knowing and exploring these I have realized some potential flaws with the current education system that shape our career selection.

Current education system doesn't suggest you relevant career options.  It doesn't adapt to your interest and life styles.  It doesn't adapt to your learning styles.  Current Education system reflects largely Ford's Mass production system(Assembly line of production), where everyone gets the same education.  Our manufacturing date is determined by our age (In which batch were you graduated?).  When in real world this manufacturing date has no relevance.   

In a University we have to take courses which aren't catered to individual needs.  They are same for everyone.  It would be great if I were to pick a mixture of courses and pack them into one program. How beautiful it would be!  I cannot even imagine.  If it was not for my extra curricular activities I would have never realized the potential benefit of taking art courses(which I never took).  My artistic skills helped me design nice web interfaces and gave me a different perspective.

One more problem with the assembly line mentality.  We adopted assembly line mentality and duplicated exactly into our education system with its flaws.  Failure which is an integral part of our learning process is not even mentioned anywhere.  In all of my book readings I have seen how a failure can teach you life lessons, still why we aren't implementing it in our learning models.  There is clearly a major faulty thinking at work.

If there is a time then this is it when we desperately need to revamp our education system.  Would you even wish to give the same education to your children?  I won't.  But I have faith in technology that it will make it happen sooner or later.

Either In or Out

More technologies, channels, opportunities, platforms, conferences, collaborations, partnerships and profits will be created this year.  The point is whether you are in our out.  Whether you can contribute and bring something to the table or not.  If you are not in then it doesn't even matter no one even cares about it.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Why Failure Is Not Included In Our Curriculum?

Failure is a gem of life.  If you haven't failed you have never lived.   In our education system which was designed from Henry Ford's Assembly line model of mass production, we have always stressed on productivity and success.  Did you passed your exam? Did you completed your exam on time?  What grade you got for your exam?

I have no problem with exams, they are good, but I have problem with our too much emphasis on exams to measure a person's learning.  Can exams validate that a person knows everything?  However I have problem with the entire education system's approach towards learning and measuring it with success as a major parameter.

In all of my book readings I have seen how a failure can teach you life lessons.  There are quotes after quotes on Failure by famous leaders who have made it big.   Here is my favorite one.

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over in my life. And that's why I succeed!" - Michael Jordan

Failure which is an integral part of our learning process is never mentioned in our education system.  Why we cannot design systems where there is enough room for failure.  We are giving education assuming that life is perfect and nothing will go wrong.  We would never fail and life will turn out our own way.  We have to  teach how to struggle over come failure.  Failure acts as the white blood cells of our body which fights germs and give us knowledge.

I don't have clear solutions as to what can be done to education system on the whole.  We all are responsible for the current state of education.

Oh! "Reading Good Books" Did It Again

Numerous times it has been sited and repeatedly it narrows down to one thing that you need to do to grow yourself: Reading Good Books.

1.)  Need Good Ideas: Read Good Books
"Great ideas come from reading good books" - Inferred from Steve Jobs interview on Youtube.

2.) You can get ideas for Great Screenplays and stories by: Reading Good Books.

3.)  If you need to build an expertise on a subject area:  Eventually you will end up Reading Good Books.

I believe that no matter whatever subject you are working on, reading books will always help you in one way or the other, sooner or later.

Freedom and Responsibility

Freedom.  We all need it.  We all have it within boundaries.  We often misinterpret it.  Freedom is best realized if accompanied by a responsible behavior.  Bureaucracy is not imposed but a by product of irresponsible  behavior.

I saw two contrasting behaviors and practices observed in Shopping Malls in two different countries.

In USA if you visit a shopping mall or any store, you never keep your carry on bags outside the store.  You just carry them along with you inside the store.  You also don't find many store representatives assisting you.  There are other reasons too for that but that later. 

Whereas in India you have to leave your carry on bags outside and even lots of security checks are done sometimes.  Ridiculous !  But I don't blame the corporates for that.  It is just how they are responding to two diverse cultures.

In general in USA, it is assumed and observed that people are more responsible and open.  The culture has lived and grown to this atmosphere.  They have realized their responsible behavior and as a result they enjoy the freedom.  You can just walk into stores and walk out without any worries.

Freedom and Responsibility goes hand in hand.   I don't see bureaucracy going away any time sooner.  But as citizens what we can do it know our rights, rules and responsibilities better to exercise a greater amount of freedom.  

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Pay More for Less

I have seen many restaurants where a minimum order will land so much on your table that it is impossible to eat everything.  Why some restaurants don't offer different size of meals for different consumption needs of people?  The average size of plates in restaurants is increasing.  In super markets, there is a general mentality that offer bigger pack for cheap and charge more for smaller pack.  They want us to consume more and more.  We have to pay more in order to stay healthy.  

A simple mathematics is at work here.  The super market chain wants you to consume more > pay less > in turn you consume more > more people do it > demand increases > they produce and sell more and more >  they become rich and they expand.  This is not the only way companies can grow.  They can still sell more simultaneously educating consumers about side effects of over consumption.  This is unsustainable and it has to change. 

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

It is a great day and after many years such a date(1/1/11) comes.  I wish all the readers of JOURNEY Blog a Happy New Year.

I pray to God for everyone for this new year that following things happen.

1.)  People would try to forget the past and try to move on.

2.) People would not take so much tension.

3.) Year End 2011 or Early 2012 Economy wise things are not looking good.  So I wish people save some money.

4.) People stay healthier and happier together. 

5.) I wish everyone achieves everything they wish for in year 2011.

Enjoy Guys.