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Anticipation July 6, 2011

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A skill people dont look at as an essential to anyone performing a job, especially those that are in client facing roles.

Knowing your customer is one thing, but having known them and to anticipate what they may look for, is what will enable providing value added services because now you actually anticipated what is it that will add value.

Anticipation is not to be confused up with paranoia. Anticipation is a positive, creative energy to be channeled for the better good of a context, and a relationship.

And to develop the skill to anticipate, an individual must have the bent of mind to be able to profile, abstract experiences with different people and be inclined to study who you are dealing with ‘actively’.

We all sub conciously and sometimes conciously do anticipate when a situation demands us to stay ahead … but thats not enough …

… these lines from One Jump Ahead from Aladin …

One jump ahead of the hoofbeats
One hop ahead of the hump
One trick ahead of disaster
They’re quick, but I’m much faster
Here goes, better throw my hand in
Wish me happy landin’
All I gotta do is jump

, if applied in every bit of work we do, we all could be better.

Again, it is not in an obsessive sense, but from the sense of internalization.

Extending this to every walk of life, only reminds us to stay responsible individuals and exercise our concious to think of impacts of everything we do.

iPhone or iPhoney? October 4, 2010

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Just a year ago, in retrospect, I made a big mistake … I bought an iPhone, well, that’s not the mistake. I also said ‘this phone has left Nokia quite behind in the race of innovation’.

My friends would remember how I used to be so proud of my Nokia 3310 (purchased in 2001, for Rs. 3K), and demonstrate again and again and again by tossing it to them to catch it and ask them to deliberately drop it, watch the phone open up into three pieces – the front frame, the battery cover and the ‘substance’ inside. And then assemble it back and show them it STILL works. I’ve never serviced it and nothing ever needed to be replaced and it still works like a true Phone.

Then came lots of fancy stuff tempting the buyer in me – like polyphonic ring tones, color display, radio, ability to surf, camera – things I did not care, until I felt the urge to be able to click pictures on the move. So I went to the market and bought k750i on the very next day of the launch (in 2005 for Rs. 20k). An amazing piece it was. Great form factor, and features sealed the deal.

It survived the occasional fall on the ground, and at one time an accidental fall in a bucket of water, and get back to working as good as new (the fall in water needed servicing for about < Rs. 2K). Last year it started giving me trouble and I thought it was time to upgrade. So I promptly went to the market with the intention of buying a simple phone which does basic telephony. But, there it was … the touchphone … from Samsung (quite reasonably priced), and when I had made up my mind to change my heart and buy one, I said, I’ll buy the best, and picked an iPhone (in 2009, for Rs 30k). So proud I was for owning a great product. And I also serviced k750i to serve me as a backup phone.

It is still a great product but by no means in the space of telephony. I treated it so well, perhaps dropped it on the floor once. But last couple of days it started to display ‘No Service’ consistently. To my disgust, I hear that the best Apple has to offer is a ‘replacement plan’ where I pay 1/3rd the price (~ Rs. 11k) of the phone for them to give me a new piece. For that price (or less), the experimental me would try an Andriod phone!

So while I am thinking, I needed to be back in the region of reachable people. I got the k750i from the closet, charged the battery fully, but looks like I am having some trouble. Then I did the worst. Snatched away the Nokia 3310 from my child who has been using it as a toy, charged the battery, and guess what … it worked! No wonder its tag line is — Connecting People!

When a phone does not serve the purpose of connecting, it is just a fancy toy and I am contemplating handing over the iPhone to my child. A for Apple, i for iPhone.

Power of awareness January 8, 2010

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A while ago I had been through a situation where I witnessed how a person who did not know the rules was appealing to a reasonably reasonable person in position of power to provide for a certain facility for which he would have been rightfully entitled. At the same time I was cognizant of a certain other case where such an allowance was made to another person. Uncomfortably, I was there, as I could not go away, and could not argue for as it was not solicited, but at the same time I just felt way strangely uncomfortable.

From what I have seen, there are two reasons why people in India dont typically firmly ask for what is rightfully theirs:

It was quite an engaging point in my mind that I spent most of the evening wondering how I would have responded if I were the authority to approve.

It is one thing to have something like RTI, but the cognizance that you can exercise RTI to get the required information is what I am talking about! And how about some RTI for non-governmental matters – Say a private establishment or a private practice?

Time October 10, 2009

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The best leveller and best healer,

Ruthless and waits for none,

But at the same time seems to vanish quick in happy times and seems long drawn when sad, and sneaks unnoticed rest of the time as we passionately involve ourselves in ‘matters dear to us’ .

And once it is gone, there is no point regretting.

And after long or sometimes very long, matters that were dear to us lose significance, despite how we felt about those!

If I were amongst the ancestors, I would have perhaps included time in addition to the other elements tey worshipped.

And according to me if there is one thing that is true, it is time. The supreme truth. The sun, moon and the stars may come and go, but time will continue ticking. And time is one thing we cannot object, alter, see it altering, expect its behaviour to change, and stop feeling about!

A snippet from  Time  on wikipedia

There is an appointed time (zman) for everything. And there is a time (’êth) for every event under heaven–
A time (’êth) to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace. – Ecclesiastes 3:1–8

Perhaps one of the things that make one feel successful, I believe, is how happy they have been by their assessment of how they used their time.

tik … tik … tik … tik … Time

Dreams, and Choosing how we live July 28, 2009

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“All men and women are born, live, suffer and die; what distinguishes us one from another is our dreams, whether they be dreams about worldly or unworldly things, and what we do to make them come about… We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live.” Joseph Epstein

Heard this quote for the frst time today, like it quite a bit. Although we all know it, it is interesting that we actually have all been blessed with a body to think and act, and thats all we are … like the thinking man … I think, therefore I am, similarly, I dream, terefore I am.

Dream on!

The Buddha moment July 25, 2009

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I was tired, and headed to a coffee day for a cold coffee, on Brigade road, Bangalore.

On the pavement I saw a small child, perhaps aged 1.5-2 wrapped cozily and patted by her mother amidst the very buzy saturday evening crowd on the street. Her mother was looking destitute and I wonder if they both even ate something. It was already 9:15 pm.

As I was sipping my coffee, I saw two families with their children, perhaps aged between 3-6 savouring a paani puri on the same road a 20 ft away. A boy, rougly belonging to the same age group walked up to them, careful to beg the ladies (mothers of the children), while they ignored him totally and continued to eat and feed their children. He tried his luck with the vendor, and decided to move on when none of them sowed any consideration. I wonder if the children eating the paani puri were old enough to understand how that boy in their own age group was facing the world, already!

The question that still haunts me is ‘who is unfortunate’

a) These two poor chidren?

b) The parents of those children?

c) Us (the rest of the society)

d) The time?

that see(s) them through this?

The world seems to be full of pain and all that glitter and jazz, are they just a farce? a hog wash? while the world is truly suffering?

Basis Points!? January 18, 2008

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Have heard this term so many times, and decided to know it today 🙂 I am glad I did, because it is so easy a concept, and according to me sounds very powerful and scholarly (when you mention it) 😀

So when a change in a parameter we measure is from 5% to 6%, it would typically be a 20% increase in the normal sense. But using basis points, all arithmetic can be avoided to conveniently say 100 basis point = 1% percentage point.

1 basis point = (1/100)*(1%).

So 100 basis points = 100*(1/100)*(1%) = 1% percentage point

Neat!!

So if interest rates have been raised by 25 basis points = 0.25% percentage points => if the interest was 2.5%, now it will be 2.75%

Ah, finally I feel enlightened on this term.

Taare Zameen Par – the movie January 14, 2008

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Many films show hints of actors having rehearsed their roles. But this was one film where the action was natural, superfluous (and made eyes superfluous too!!), and could make the audience connect to some part of the film or the other. Excellent work by a debutante director, and a (child) actor

Love the movie – Taare Zameen Par – from the start – love the way the film portrays the urgency by the regular Indian middle class, the way the mom prepares for everyone to get to their office / schools, Ishaan (the kid, the protagonist) being punished (for being naughty) almost every day reminded me of my schoolmate, the absent notes, not getting the answer papers signed by parents are so much part of everyone’s childhood, and the 3*9=3 reminds me of Calvin (looks like it was inspired from Calvin and Hobbes … the spaceman spiff! the animation was great!), the mother where she sobs only on the way back and not breakdown in front of the kid, the reaction of the kid when reality dawns that he is now by himself, and that art book where he depicts his feeling of being gradually secluded by the family, the elder brother who doesn’t treat Ishaan as dumb but instead encourages the ‘streaks’ of brilliance, the portrayal of a practical and ill-equipped helpless but a concerned father, a teacher who comes from the school for disabled and conducts the art class in a manner that maybe the regular way he makes it interesting to his set of students at tulip school which is immediately accepted by the regular kids at Ishaan’s boarding school, how the human touch of the art teacher (because of his background and profession as a teacher at a school – tulip school – for children with special needs) contrasts with the rigid hindi/english/art teachers, the dilemmas of the principal, gradual progression of writing ‘8’ right, transition of the child from naughty and arrogant – low – shy to accept his recognition – were very heart rendering but all these were such believable scenes without making the audience feel there is anything cliche about it!!

The beauty with which so much was put fit so well into the movie taking the audience progressively along a naturally convincing set of screenplays through excellent direction and amazing characters (note: I hate to call any of those actors because they were living their roles) brought about a feeling of overflowing contentment watching a movie.

Hats off to the entire crew.

I was particularly touched when Ishaan curiously walks after handing over his painting to see what his drawing sir drew. And his expression on seeing his portrait and the silent dialogue his art teacher and he have at that very moment, for some reason, is so etched in my mind, that I feel touched even as I write it. Great direction!

Another scene in the movie, where the children of tulip school put up an event and perform a dance/drama and the satisfaction (Pride – is a better word) on their parents face took me back to a dance drama ‘Lion King’ by the Spastics Society of Karnataka where I had a chance to witness how, if guided well (in this case directed) one could see what they can achieve.

Just a matter of building confidence in these kids I suppose,

like the art teacher did in TZP!

Unfair economics(st) … January 9, 2008

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Hey! I went to subscribe to The Economist and was excited to see them offer a complimentary copy of ‘The World in 2008’ and then I noticed I need to select the Delivery Country, so I selected India, and guess what! there is no complimentary copy AT ALL!! And I went on to randomly select United Kingdom and see they have a complimentary copy of ‘Pocket World in Figures’. I thought it was unfair subscribing from India gives no complimentary copy! Well, I expected our subscription should work out cheaper, but NO!!! Subscription to delivery country – India – costs Rs 5000 ($127.24) where as subscription to delivery country US with that complimentary copy for 51 editions (six of which are risk-free trial issues) costs just $98! So I just checked the price for delivery country UK and was surprised to know it was £83.00 ($163.82)! So wonder how the price is arrived at?

Further reading leads me to surmise it is probably because 54% of subscription of 1.2 million copies a week (as of summer 2007) is from the North America, 14% from UK, 19% from continental Europe. So just 13% is subscribed by the rest of the world. Maybe it is the volumes dictating the prices.

Let me ponder over this and decide if I, coming from a poorer country, want to pay that kind of money.

A patchy road – From the archives … October 8, 2007

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A patchy road - From the archives …

When the road was being tarred, there was a car that was parked.

They could not find the car owner, and just decided to continue with their job.

When the car moved out of the road, it revealed a neat patch that was not done!!

Surely, the classical dilemma –

compromise on deadline for quality or

compromise on quality for deadline

– must have crossed the minds of those working on the road!