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Category Archives: Biz/Tech

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  • It is particularly heartening to note that there are persons in India who are determined to wreck one of the few industries where India has achieved world class and where Indian companies are considered formidable operators. I brought to the attention of the finance minister of China the fact that Indian IT companies who till the other day were poster boys of India are now being harassed despite earlier explicit and emphatic assurances that on-site project implementation revenues would be treated as export income. The finance minister of China was salivating. He is now looking forward to global corporations and for that matter, Indian IT companies are moving more and more of their activities to China. He plans to write to you in order to congratulate you on the wonderful steps that your government is taking that will be of immense benefit to China.
    Sincerely yours,
    Finance Minister of the Philippines

    tags: jerry_rao bpo indian_express indian_it policy government stupidity wp

  • Management Secrets: Core Beliefs of Great Bosses | Inc.comAverage bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.
    Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

    tags: leadership management leaders boss beliefs motivation work bosses wp

  • Thoughts on the Future of Content – Gautam John’s BlogI think the models of protection, be it law or technology, are fast dying and we need to move from protection to sharing. That solitary consumption of content will move to group and shared experiences. And what’s tremendously powerful there is that you then have the ability to influence not only what other people will watch and hear and listen to, but also the kinds of content that are being created. That the content industry needs to move from being gatekeepers of content to curators of content, and that top-down models of content creation will go the way of the dinosaur very soon because (a) we have the Internet to distribute content and (b) tools are available to everyone. So the high priest model of content creation will very soon be challenged, as we saw in the case of Encyclopaedia Britannica, by the community models of content creation.

    tags: thoughts future content publishing gkjohn friends books reading creation wp

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2012 in Biz/Tech, Career, Links, Media

 

Pay Attention to Your Employees’ Needs

  • To truly care about your business, your employees need these eight things—and they need them from you:
    1. Freedom. Best practices can create excellence, but every task doesn’t deserve a best practice or a micro-managed approach.
    2. Targets. Goals are fun. Everyone—yes, even you—is at least a little competitive, if only with themselves. Targets create a sense of purpose and add a little meaning to even the most repetitive tasks.
    3. Mission. We all like to feel a part of something bigger. Striving to be worthy of words like “best” or “largest” or “fastest” or “highest quality” provides a sense of purpose.
    4. Expectations. While every job should include some degree of latitude, every job needs basic expectations regarding the way specific situations should be handled. Criticize an employee for expediting shipping today, even though last week that was the standard procedure if on-time delivery was in jeopardy, and you lose that employee.
    5. Input. Everyone wants to offer suggestions and ideas. Deny employees the opportunity to make suggestions, or shoot their ideas down without consideration, and you create robots.
    6. Connection. Employees don’t want to work for a paycheck; they want to work with and for people.
    7. Consistency. Most people can deal with a boss who is demanding and quick to criticize… as long as he or she treats every employee the same.
    8. Future. Every job should have the potential to lead to something more, either within or outside your company.
    Employees will care about your business when you care about them first.

    tags: management employees people_management business wp

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Biz/Tech, Links

 

The Question of Focus

Almost everyone I know struggles with the problem of having too much to do, and not enough time to do it. Yet, most people (including me) waste time on stuff which actively distracts them from the task at hand. For me, the key learning a a freelancer has been to focus on the tasks in front of me, rather than on the many other things that are “interesting”. Nothing focusses your attention better than knowing that every second you waste is billable time.

Among the reasons we let our attention be diverted from the tasks at hand are:

1. Fear of the tasks: At times, we don’t know how to do the stuff we are supposed to do. At times, the next step isn’t that clear. And so, rather than attack the problem differently, we read magazines, track down pictures of cats laughing, refresh the email inbox yet again, click through on the Facebook comments of our 950 “friends”…in short, anything but the task at hand.

2. Misplaced Belief in our own skills: Studies show that 90% of drivers believe they are better than the average! It is true of almost all of us, that we tend to over-estimate our abilities at getting things done. Consequently, we underestimate the time, effort, and resources required to accomplish the tasks at hand. And so, we let things slide…

3. Lack of hobbies/passions: i.e. what I call as “good time-wasters”. Ask around you, and 9 out of 10 people don’t seem to have any hobbies worth mentioning. Which is the reason (probably) repetitive regressive soap-operas & orchestrated “reality shows” manage to garner such large audiences. Most people would rather click through 90 channels again & again (and yes, yet again!) for 3 hours in the vain hope of finding something worth watching, than switch off the flickering screen, and read a book, write that thesis, play a game of chess with their kids, or go for a walk on sunny winter afternoons (I speak from personal experience!) Ask a young MBA to describe his average day, and it will be “wake up, breakfast (sometimes), drive to office, meetings in office, drive back, dinner, tv, sleep”. Ask about their weekends, and they’ll say “laze in the morning, brunch, shopping, movies, party, weekend over”.

4. Importance of “busy-ness” over “business”: Most bosses will profess that they don’t care what their people do with their time, as long as work gets done. However, most bosses (& colleagues) will look at a guy leaving at 5.30 as “too free”. So, people take long tea breaks, smoking breaks (even non-smokers), lunch breaks. They spend hours in front of gmail in office. And attend (or worse, organize) long afternoon meetings. Anything to allow them to spend long hours in office, and ensure that when the boss peeps in, they are seen as busy!

5. Mistaken priorities: As humans, we behave like Pavlovian dogs all too often. The chime of a new email arriving in our inbox is usually enough to get us away from the spreadsheet we are working on. Is it any wonder then, that we prioritize the “urgent” over the “important”? The situation is usually worsened by the fact that the “important”, long-term projects are usually complex, while the urgent stuff is simple. It is made more acute by the fact that if you prioritize the important, you can go home at 6pm a few months from now. While those focusing on the urgent will be burning the midnight oil, and earning the praise of the boss as “hard-working” folks!

In the passing, 2 links for the day, talking about Focus & related issues:

Peter Bregman writes:

The world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster. So much technology. So much information. So much to understand, to think about, to react to…So we try to speed up to match the pace of the action around us. We stay up until 3 am trying to answer all our emails. We twitter, we facebook, and we link-in. We scan news websites wanting to make sure we stay up to date on the latest updates. And we salivate each time we hear the beep or vibration of a new text message.
But that’s a mistake. The speed with which information hurtles towards us is unavoidable (and it’s getting worse). But trying to catch it all is counterproductive. The faster the waves come, the more deliberately we need to navigate. Otherwise we’ll get tossed around like so many particles of sand, scattered to oblivion. Never before has it been so important to be grounded and intentional and to know what’s important.
Never before has it been so important to say “No.” No, I’m not going to read that article. No, I’m not going to read that email. No, I’m not going to take that phone call. No, I’m not going to sit through that meeting.
It’s hard to do because maybe, just maybe, that next piece of information will be the key to our success. But our success actually hinges on the opposite: on our willingness to risk missing some information. Because trying to focus on it all is a risk in itself. We’ll exhaust ourselves. We’ll get confused, nervous, and irritable.

I was nodding so hard as I read this, my kids could have mistaken me for their favorite Enid Blyton character! If you want to read only one blogger regularly in your life, Peter Bregman is it!

And then, Dorie Clark popped up with the 5 things you should stop doing:

Every productivity expert in the world will tell you to check email at periodic intervals — say, every 90 minutes — rather than clicking “refresh” like a Pavlovian mutt. Of course, almost no one listens, because studies have shown email’s “variable interval reinforcement schedule” is basically a slot machine for your brain. But spending a month away — and only checking email weekly — showed me how little really requires immediate response. In fact, nothing. A 90 minute wait won’t kill anyone, and will allow you to accomplish something substantive during your workday.

Her post is full of other advice goodness for all self-employed folks, and deserves a fuller reading!

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Biz/Tech, Links, Thoughts

 

Integrating Bookshelves – Libraything & Shelfari

Like many people out there, I too have (as in possess/own) a lot of books. They seem to multiply on their own. As you can guess this poses a few challenges starting with storage, cataloging & duplication. The biggest problem is keeping track of books I have read so that I don’t buy them again (I’m stupid that way!) So I keep a list of books I want to read/buy handy on me at all times.

The other issue arises with respect to sharing booklists with friends. Also, there are times people ask me for suggestions. At such times, my mind goes blank. A list of books with a brief summary/review would be handy (something like Shefaly has done).

Since I borrow a lot of books from various libraries, keeping my booklists online is better than scanning my own bookshelf. But this will take a while to get done. I will not get here into a comparison of various book cataloguing sites, but there are really 4 of them out there: Librarything, Shelfari, Goodreads & Google Books. I’m currently on the first two, and like a lot of you have issues of integrating the two bookshelves.

1. Adding your books to Librarything in bulk

a) Scan the ISBN barcodes of your books to a .txt file using a barcode scanner.

b) Logon to Librarything. Go to http://www.librarything.com/import.php

c) Upload the .txt file

2. Adding Shelfari books to Librarything

a) Logon to Shelfari. Go to http://www.shelfari.com/settings/profile.aspx

b) At the very bottom, you see “Download a list of your books”. Click on the download link. The file will be saved.

c) Login to Librarything. Go to http://www.librarything.com/import

d) Upload the Shelfari file.

3. Adding Librarything books to Shelfari

a) Logon to Librarything. Go to http://www.librarything.com/tools

b) You’ll see an export option on the right, near the bottom. Export your booklist (any format)

c) Open the exported file. Replace ‘[‘ & ‘]’ by blanks. Save as a tab delimited text file.

d) Logon to Shelfari. Go to http://www.shelfari.com/addbooks

e) Upload the txt file & import.

Some of your books on one site might not upload to another due to differences in their ISBN lookups. Given that both of them are part owned by Amazon, you’d expect this to be resolved by now. But so it is, and so it goes. Do let me know your experience.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2010 in Biz/Tech, Books, Links

 

Slipping off the path

Isn’t it ironic? That a week after i wrote about reducing information flows in my life, I have 81 unread mail-threads (roughly 600 emails) in my gmail box, another 100 unread blogposts in my reader, and at least 10 new documents on my desktop to read?

There’s also a serious sleep-deprivation & lack of time to spend with family.

Makes one think, doesn’t it? And what am i doing writing blogposts? Right, be good now +poof+

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2009 in Biz/Tech, Media, Thoughts

 

Do schools kill creativity?

Education is one of my favourite topics of discussion & rumination. I will over time, talk more about my thoughts & about the people influencing them. For now, check out the video below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.
 
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Posted by on January 24, 2009 in Biz/Tech

 

Don’t Panic

Anannya Deb has a slideshow up on Slideshare that quotes from an email conversation we had a while ago, regarding the financial crisis & its impact on jobs, specifically with regard to the kind of people who will thrive in these unusual times. Do watch…and when you’re done, please do leave a comment to let me know what you agree/disagree with.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2009 in Biz/Tech, Career, Links, Thoughts

 
 
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