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Category Archives: Quotes

Quote of the Day – 10-Apr-07

A few years ago I read an article in which a car magazine modified the “sports” model of some production car to get the fastest possible standing quarter mile. You know how they did it? They cut off all the crap the manufacturer had bolted onto the car to make it look fast.

Business is broken the same way that car was. The effort that goes into looking productive is not merely wasted, but actually makes organizations less productive.

…In big companies there’s always going to be more politics, and less scope for individual decisions. But seeing what startups are really like will at least show other organizations what to aim for. The time may soon be coming when instead of startups trying to seem more corporate, corporations will try to seem more like startups. That would be a good thing.

– Paul Graham – Foreword of “Founders at Work”

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2007 in Biz/Tech, Quotes

 

QOTD – 26-Mar-07

Love is a choice you make from moment to moment.

– With thanks to Little Miss Muffet

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2007 in Life, Links, Quotes

 

Thoughts on Leaving 2

Sonal, a friend of mine, had written the following a few months ago, when she left her job. I reproduce it below with her permission:

It’s a weird feeling to work for an employer where you have put in your papers. In UK it is a common practise to serve your notice period. Which means that you work for 1 or 2 or in some extreme cases 3 months where you have put in your papers with your? As opposed to, in India, the new employer pays for the notice period, or the old employer is just happy to get rid of you J. I guess it’s a matter of better planning done by the organisations in the UK or maybe a cultural thing. 

Now let us come back to the feeling which one goes through when you are just serving your notice period. In this period, you just come to office to vile your time away, looking for things which do not require a lot of thinking power but would keep you occupied till its official time to go home. Anything which requires major concentration or thinking too much is just not what you want to do. Moreover your enthusiasm to start new projects is zilch. One reason is that you can not start and finish a new project in the time you will be there in the organisation and you will have one more thing to handover. Another is you don’t want to start as the person who will come and replace you will want to do it a different way than you. And plus I think you loose that passion which you would have had in making your point if you are going to stay with the organisation.

You are in a period of limbo where you cannot put your heart in what you are doing and this is somehow not a very nice feeling. Now some would say that I am thinking too much and I should just enjoy the period. This is a break which I will get before the new job would start and life would become hectic again. I see from where they are coming from and it makes a lot of sense theoretically, but it is difficult to do the same: just passing time for 8 weeks when you are not wired that way.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2007 in Career, Quotes

 

David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon Commencement Address

It is quite simply the best Commencement Address I have ever had the pleasure & privilege to read. Do read the whole thing. I attempt to give a flavour below, primarily for my own sake!

Here is just one example of the total wrongness of something I tend to be automatically sure of: everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe; the realist, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely think about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness because it’s so socially repulsive. But it’s pretty much the same for all of us. It is our default setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: there is no experience you have had that you are not the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is there in front of YOU or behind YOU, to the left or right of YOU, on YOUR TV or YOUR monitor. And so on. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real.

…The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing is gonna come in. Because the traffic jams and crowded aisles and long checkout lines give me time to think, and if I don’t make a conscious decision about how to think and what to pay attention to, I’m gonna be pissed and miserable every time I have to shop. Because my natural default setting is the certainty that situations like this are really all about me. About MY hungriness and MY fatigue and MY desire to just get home, and it’s going to seem for all the world like everybody else is just in my way. And who are all these people in my way? And look at how repulsive most of them are, and how stupid and cow-like and dead-eyed and nonhuman they seem in the checkout line, or at how annoying and rude it is that people are talking loudly on cell phones in the middle of the line. And look at how deeply and personally unfair this is.

…If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital-T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

…The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2007 in Life, Quotes

 

Sheepwalking

In post-Sox environment, as organisations try to increasingly codify all processes, define norms of behaviour, prescribe ways of working and increasingly define rigid boundaries of what can & cannot be done, and how, they ironically kill off the very skills & behaviours required to thrive in the increasingly globalised, aggressively competitive business arena.

Seth Godin calls the management by fear, intimidation, rules & “well-defined processes” by the evocative term Sheepwalking:

I define “sheepwalking” as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.
…It’s ironic but not surprising that in our age of increased reliance on new ideas, rapid change and innovation, sheepwalking is actually on the rise. That’s because we can no longer rely on machines to do the brain-dead stuff.
…many organizations go out of their way to hire people that color inside the lines, that demonstrate consistency and compliance. And then they give these people jobs where they are managed via fear. Which leads to sheepwalking.
…The fault doesn’t lie with the employee, at least not at first. And of course, the pain is often shouldered by both the employee and the customer.
…When you hire amazing people and give them freedom, they do amazing stuff.
And the sheepwalkers and their bosses just watch and shake their heads, certain that this is just an exception, and that it is way too risky for their industry or their customer base.

And they continue watching, and shaking their collective heads, as they hurtle towards oblivion, while at the same time complaining of lack of qualified talent, the high attrition rates driven by fickle behaviour of today’s “ungrateful/disloyal” employees, and the pressure on their margins.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2007 in Biz/Tech, Career, Quotes

 

SEC Rules Applied to Love

This memorandum is in reference to last night’s meeting, during which I offered to “love you forever, no matter what.” Hopefully, this memo will serve to clarify that statement, and to define its terms so as to make the offer specific and practicable.

…While “love” as a term will, I hope, prove uncontroversial, “forever” poses a bit more difficulty and leads to the introduction of my first amendment to the offer. I’m afraid what I really meant was “indefinitely.” Certainly, love “without a fixed or specified limit” will be sufficient for your needs? And surely you’ll agree that contracts extending offers “in perpetuity” (i.e., “forever”) are often considered unwise in retrospect, following the advent of new technologies, economic realities, legal constraints, changes in market position, and potentially superior partners.

From “A Memo To My New Boyfriend Re: Clarification Of Offer Pursuant To Securities And Exchange Commission Regulations And Also My Trouble With Monogamy“, By Jennifer Dziura. Hehehh!

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2007 in Humor, Quotes

 

How Governments Steal from the Poor

My maid, for example, may not pay income tax, but large chunks of every purchase she makes go to the government. Whenever she buys pulses or rice or soap and schoolbooks for her children, she is helping to fund the government’s activities, including moustache allowances. If she realised the extent to which she is being robbed, she would be rather upset at Sania Mirza asking the government to allot her land for a tennis academy, or Amitabh Bachchan getting tax relief on his KBC earnings of more than 50 crore. My maid bears their burden.

The Eminent Blogger is at it again. I found myself nodding in agreement time & again as I read his latest spotlight on taxation, and how taxes have become a medium for the government to steal from poor for some fickle-minded, hair-brained schemes that do little good to the purpose of governance!

Read the whole thing here.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2007 in Life, Quotes

 
 
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