Stories that inspired me, Part -V (Do to others as –)

Had a day off, made a debt calculator in excel and studied NPER again. Mom is a true diet killer, she made kaju upma with desi ghee and I couldn’t resist it, so had a lot of khanna and little workout. Had 12 hrs of sleep and now back with the series of stories that inspired me, I have learned a lot from these small stories and try to apply it. Thanks for all the appreciation.

There was a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’

But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This story is not as interesting as many others but acts like a mirror. I have faced similar situations many times. (Sorry for taking a better position here, I am sure I also go wrong but at this blog I think I can take a little advantage, sorrrry). I had treated them very nicely when they joined work. I forgave their bigger mistake and never shown my anger. Always helped them improve. But when they get experience they fail to do the same and lose patience with their juniors. I get (nick-picked) silly silly complains by people who were at major fault at times and were allowed to sail smooth. I have defined mistakes in a different way and expected others to do the same. My seniors were kind to me and I tried to be the same as well. After traveling miles lets not forget the first step and the journey, help others make a better journey. Love you all!

Stories that inspired me, Part -IV (You a failure?)

Here I continue my series (1,2,3) of short stories. I heard this story during his Aug 15 competition. Here we go:

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you.” The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO”.

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by – still nothing in Jim’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – he so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick at his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.

When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful– in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him! When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO.

“Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!” All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!” When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed- Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive! His name is Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. Jim couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new CEO the others said? Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.

Being honest is more important. I will always prefer to work with a honest below average guy than dishonest smart guy. Failure is not bad just attempt honestly and keep the transparency in life. Happy Monday!

Diet Killer week starts – Happy Onam

Had a mixed day today, missed my most loved afternoon Sunday 3-5 hr sleep (due to dad’s committee meetings 🙁 and forced shopping call) and Navartna Oil massage. Shopping went really horrible as we were trying to buy something different for a new born baby (and some other relatives). As usual we were late for shopping and the shops were closing, could not buy the wanted items. We managed to shop few unplanned items for our satisfaction.


I was tempted (but I am not supposed to) to see the old streets and the memories of special cheese filled mayonnaise chicken burgers from NV BUT after reaching there we found it closed 🙁 (Bad, really bad). Thought of buying some cookies and brownies from Nahums but it was closed too (two bads in a row). Pushed ourselves to the special juice center to try our luck and thanks, IT WAS OPEN. To compensate for the unluck, after having a mango juice (it has 3 layers, A layer of curd, A layer of sweets and the top layer of dry fruits) I had one grape juice too. What a odd combination to have but chaltha hai, we will see it tomorrow morning, jo hoga deka jayega. Then came the real inhuman uncivilized diet killer at park street (the evidence):

Diet killer

This week is going to be a complete diet killer, tomorrow starts the Onam week. I will miss the real Sadya tomorrow 🙁 but I will surely have a special dinner with some 20+ items.

Onam special

These are the items I know (to eat and not to cook):

  1. Special red rice – I don’t know how do I explain it, a little fatty stuff
  2. AvialVeg mix done is a very different way, my mom makes it really well, sorry for making these temptations.
  3. Sambar
  4. Parippu Curry (Special Dal with coconut and all, very tasty, I love this one)
  5. Theeyal
  6. Cabbage Thoran
  7. Sweetened Banana/Tapioca Chips
  8. Banana Chips
  9. Moru Kalan
  10. Olan
  11. Kootoo Kari
  12. Puli Inji (Puli means khatta and Inji means ginger)
  13. Ada Pradhaman (Very tasty, sweet, I can’t wait anymore)
  14. Spicy Buttermilk
  15. Sweet Chutney
  16. Pachadi
  17. Pal Payasam (Milk kheer)
  18. Banana
  19. Papadam
  20. There are few more items but I have no clue about the names

Kanam Vittu Onam Unnanam” which means “We should have the Thiruonam lunch even if we have to sell all our properties for that”. So much to eat and I AM Suppose to keep my promise written on a diet Pepsi box. Onam hai, sab chalta hai ……….. Happy Onam to all, eat .. eat and eat this week!

Onam aashwansagal

(This is how we say in Malayalam, it means Onam wishes, so try it in Malu style)

10 Unofficial commandments for official IM use

Do you use IM (Instant messengers) at work? I started using MSN towards the starting of my career and then shifted to YIM and AIM. I still use YIM most of the time but Gtalk is also in the list for some of our officials. Most of us learn the IM usage from a different school, the “masti ki patsala (School of fun)“. When asked to use IMs for official talks the old habits stay but here is a chance to learn the basics to stay politically correct.

Google talk Yahoo messenger MSN messenger

Here are 10 Unofficial commandments for official IM use:

  1. Use “all upper case” fonts sparingly: Upper cases often reflects shouting, anger, extra emphasis and importance. Don’t use all upper case with your seniors, neither on IM nor for emails. Different people have different perception towards all upper case sentences but more often it is taken as a command with shout/anger. “COME HERE” implies your boss is not happy with you and want to point some mistakes, so be prepared 🙂 .
  2. Smilies: Different people use different smilies but more often you will end up hitting the wrong definition. So use smilies carefully. Most safest smiley is :). Then comes 🙁 and the list will continue. You can spend some time in understanding what different smiley means and how differently people can interpret it.
  3. Abbreviated talks: Don’t try this with corporate heads they are really bad at it. To be safe use proper and complete sentences and if possible with proper punctuations. Be grammatically correct to avoid hitting the wrong button.
  4. Type fast: You need to type fast. If you are not good that, practice, practice and practice. This matters a lot. I used to chat using multiple windows to train my fingers and now I am very good at that.
  5. Expect unexpected: I have seen many love birds breaking off due to IMs. Girl sent a YIM offline, “I will be there at pulia(this is the where we spent most of our time) at 5:00, see you there” and the poor boy did not get the message. She waited for the day and the boy for rest of his life. They never expected technical problems in love life but it certainly happens in techno world. Office being no exception runs on similar unreliable IMs. So make sure to reconfirm the sentences in case you smell something wrong.
  6. Use proper status: A proper status helps. It acts like an answering machine. If you are not at your desk then put the status else a senior may feel denied for delayed messages. If you are going out or going for lunch you can put the time you left and expected time of return. You can be really creative over here.
  7. Avoid IMs: If you can avoid IMs with the next door team member, avoid. There is so much positive energy when you talk face to face and communicate eye to eye. IMs CANT REPLACE HUMAN TALKS, they act as gap fillers. Turn around, walk to, run to but avoid IMs whenever you can, it certainly helps.
  8. First timers: Be careful when you are talking to someone for the first time, like your client. Don’t tickle your funny bone, sometimes they are not in the same mood as you. Know them and then use the right bone.
  9. Don’t talk too much: It hurts your fingers and others time. Also it can hurt your performance and relationships. Talk less and talk sense, be funny with known members. Be witty but not silly.
  10. Stealth options: Explore the stealth options, sometimes it is really helpful. Online to few and offline to others. I use it when I am working from home.

Happy IMing! Sorry I don’t use personal IMs for various reasons. If you want to talk to me on Gtalk (add ajiissac@gmail.com), YIM (ajiissac1) and drop me mail at ajiissac@gmail.com with the time you want to talk.

Company’s success barometer – visionaries Vs missionaries

Last week I met two new entrepreneurs, one from my batch(she is doing well with the startup) and one a junior (after leaving Saatchi & Saatchi, he is starting his own venture). I will try to interview them in the coming days. I was always attracted towards entrepreneurs (I don’t know why, ohhh I think I know why). After every conference I try to meet and appreciate new entrepreneurs. I just love them and often end up helping them for free.

I am associated with many startups, from being the first employee of my present company to our own startup Idealog. I am also a board member to some non-profitable startups. Also I have stopped/scared many from starting new companies :), sorry for that.

Its a great challenge to be an entrepreneur and here is a small barometer to measure your progress. Take a piece of paper or create a Google doc and list all your team members. Now mark them as either visionary or missionary and rate them from 5 for respective group. See the % of visionaries you have in your team. Now create another column and mark the missionaries who can be converted to a visionary with a time frame and plan. In most of the cases you will see the missionaries with high ranks can be converted to visionaries. I will also pen down the plan for converting a missionary to a visionary. Do this check every quarter and if you can see a progress then I can assure you that all company stars are in right place.

Table will look something like this:

Member name Working for
(months)
M/V Rate
(1-5)
5 best
Plans Notes
XYZ 30 V 3 Needs more empowerment. Irregular at works
ABC 10 M 4 Send him for a outstation conference to learn something new and let him teach it to the rest of the team. Doesn’t believe in company.

How to mark/be visionaries and missionaries?
There are many factors that separates visionaries from missionaries, both are important for company’s progress but visionaries will decide a company’s territories. Earlier I had drawn the thick line between a leader and a manager. A visionary is one who is inline with the vision of the company or inline with a partial vision of the company and a missionary is one who takes up a mission. A visionary is also a respected missionary but not vice-versa. Here when I use the word missionary I mean a pure non-visionary. Here are top 5 marking criteria:

  1. Task vs Purpose OR work vs ownership: A missionary will do the task but will hesitate in understanding the real purpose of the task. And thus a missionary will finish a task and a visionary will add a never ending quality check/innovation based on the purpose understood through this task instance. A missionary will take up a task while a visionary will take up the ownership.
  2. Attempts or failures:Can we do this“, “why not this“, “I think we are missing this“, these are some iterative sentences by visionaries. They always try to innovate and add more value to the projects. The reason behind these innovations/attempts is their feel of ownership towards the project. You need to be crazy towards your work to innovate. Check how crazy a person is, by counting the number of attempts/failure.
  3. Making others comfortable while working: A visionary will make others feel comfortable while at work as he understands the need of extra pain. He will enjoy the process and will make it easier for you to work with him. On the contrary a missionary will like a defined list of work, won’t prefer a messed up attempts. Rate them on the basis of “how comfortable you feel with them at work“.
  4. Defined territories:I was not good at that so I did not do that“, “Why should I do that? thats not under my list“, “I am a technical guy why should I do this work“, these are frequently thrown valid excuses by a missionary as they are missing the overall goal of existence. We don’t program as we are programmers or we don’t write content as we are content writers but we do so as that will help us achieve the final goal. A visionary will also redefine his territories to help company progress to next level. Check the various areas of contribution for the person to rate him (from Kitchen food to company ad, from bathroom to conf room improvement).
  5. Problem Handling: I remember the first sentence by our Princy at Xaviers, “Welcome to The Xavier family. Xaviers is not the best college to be in (we were a bit shocked, we thought the other way round). If we say we are the best then that takes away the scope of further improvement. We are better and better everyday.” Expect the imperfection everywhere, with yourself, with your girl friend, with your friends and with your company. Do they bring problems to the surface or they hide it at surface level and dig/spread inside? A visionary will frustrate you by bring 2 problems-3 solutions everyday while a missionary will need a perfect environment for work.

I couldn’t frame it as per my expectation but I will end this post with a small thought (that I always believed in). “No one is a perfect congress man or a perfect communist, we have a mix of both“. We have a visionary in all of us, it is only a matter of choice whether we want to develop this side or not. There are instances where I have seen a visionary getting converted to a missionary, thats an ALARMING MESSAGE FOR ANY COMPANY. Start loving what you do by understanding why you do to become a visionary. A visionary will enjoy more of his time. If you want to check your current role then rate yourself using the following table:

Criteria Yes/No Rate
(1-5)
5 best, even for NO rate
Weight Total Point
Weight x Rate
What should be done here?
Do I take the ownership? __ __ (Y=1/ N=-1) __ Plan
Do I make attempts for the team? __ __ (Y=1/ N=-1) __ Plan
Do others enjoy working with me? __ __ (Y=1/ N=-1) __ Plan
Do I redefine strict territories? __ __ (Y=-1/ N=1) __ Plan
Do I bring problems to the surface level and try to solve it? __ __ (Y=1/ N=-1) __ Plan
Total points __  

If you have a positive count then you can be termed a visionary and a negative count is asking for improvement. Finally ending this long post, please let me know if you encounter a mistake.

my white-green-red-black board or modern art

Oh! I have discover many expressions though this board, which is also known as white board across our teams. My white-green-red-black board is the most used and abused board in company, just imagine the condition of the duster (Once it was white now it is of no but all color). I caught some new expressions when a new recruit looked at my office white board. If I am allowed to enter his mind to blog his thoughts then here they are:

“I think this guy is given a second-hand much-used white-board, poor fellow”, or may be “Is it a white board or a modern art, may be this guy is like MF Hussian” or may be ….. (You can fill in your own experience …..)

Things that you can read here:

  1. DNS settings – MX, A , NS records.
  2. NPER calculations for debt management decision making tree.
  3. Some Google algorithm explanations.
  4. Team structures.
  5. And the latest one “How to build stronger/successful architectures?

Here is a small tip to end this not so unwanted blog post. When you are busy in making improvements to your architecture (it can be tech, career, personal, company or any other architecture), you keep on moving ahead and building more structures with smaller and modular additions. In order to build a stronger and successful architecture, you need to take some backward steps to see a better/wider view in order to understand the need of bigger changes/arrangements. Such complex tips like this can only be explained using a white-board, so do drop in an appreciative sentence for this ugly looking flat board :). Happy new week!

No blogging only pics

I am not getting time for blogging, feeling so bad. I have almost 10 blog post under draft, “I want to be kid again” (A poetic approach), Link title – Quiet but powerful weapon, Company’s success barometer, Do you believe in zodiacs?, A white hat seo course for all, Make the carrot really red, Good Leaders are biased, Right approach can make wrong right?, How to hire best people ….

I will try to complete these posts soon but for the time being enjoy some more pics from 15th Aug Celebrations.

A business man in skit
Hmm … Account books
Love is the key to growth, want to know, ask me
Love is the key to growth. Want to know? Ask me
Bargaining for the land
Bargaining for land, asking too much?
Ohhhh What am I speaking on?
Ohhhhhhhh
  Ehhhhhh What am I speaking on?
Ehhhhhhhh

Enjoy

Aug 15 Celebrations

After talking to few people about the need of another Gandhi i left for Aug 15 celebrations at Church, where we had different competitions and programs. It is a big story, keeping it short with some images. Enjoy!

Update: More pics at http://www.idealwebtools.com/blog/15-aug-pics/

(Click on the images to enlarge it, I am waiting for more images)


speaking on "Never Never Never Quit"


Pic1:
Bargaining for a land

Pic2:
Business Man

Pic3:
Taking an interview

Pic4:
Desperately asking for a job

Pic5:
Editing ….

Pic6:
(Sur)Prize

Pic7:
Bro, who is taller?

Pic8:
My bro

Pic9:
Lunch time – I am on diet but 🙁

Skit was more fun as we mixed up our dialogs and director was all shocked and we were all laughing and laughing …..
Pic2: I am left on stage without co-actors as they misplaced their costumes and I was asked to cookup some runtime dialogs.
Pic 4: He forgot the scene and was not falling on my feet and I kept on repeating the same dialog. We had to be reminded by the director.

Overall it was more fun that we thought, I enjoyed the day. The topic of the final speech was “How you can and should make a difference in the society”. There were few interesting stories with great morals. I will be writing it over all soon.

Do India need another Gandhi?

I see people more independent, more confident and ready to dream big. From being a third nation India is cruising with great self-believe. I have seen more entrepreneurs coming out of recent batches than ever before. In last 60 years we have achieved a lot and in recent few years even more.

Look at the sensex for last 2 years:
Sensex for last 2 years

People are investing more with mutual funds(taking risks), starting more companies and so on and on. Keep going India and

“Happy Independence Day to all”

My message for the day
Take pride in what you do and excel in whatever you do. Do India need another Gandhi? Probably no but it certainly needs more Manjunaths, Capt Saurabh Kalias and more importantly you and me. Don’t forget to play your part in India’s growth. If you can work hard and create another job, do that. If you can bring smile on one more Indian face, do that, it doesn’t cost you a penny. You don’t need to sit on roads to show your involvement. Everyone of us is needed and wishing you a very responsible, independent, empowered, less selfish and happy Independence day-year.

My Plan for the day
We have many programs today, my fav is the community lunch next to skit. I am playing two small roles – “A real estate buyer” and “Business Man” (I still need to prepare the dialogs, we are already warned for extra improvisation like asking different question than the planned, sorry can’t remember all Malayalam lines) . Then I will be presenting a short-story and a speech. I will be back home by 7:00.

Share your message with others.

Do ladies talk more?

As a marketer we were always taught that ladies talk more and should be targeted for major viral marketing campaigns. According to the stats: “A woman uses about 20,000 words per day while a man uses about 7,000“.


Mark Liberman strongly disagrees with the stats. (It also contains the snippet of the above referred book which talks a lot about (fe)male brain, like fight-talks-look-sex-phone-etc, you may need it anytime.)

Sholey basanti - me tho yum hi kam bolti hu Chris tucker from rush hour Do ladies talk more?

What do you say?

As someone (it has to be one and only one, Sidhu) rightly said, “Statistics are like bikinis. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital“. Here is a conversation between a husband and his own wife.

Let’s take it A husband looking through the paper came upon a study that said women use more words than men.
Excited to prove to his wife that he had been right all along when he accused her of talking too much, he showed her the study results. It read “Men use about 15,000 words per day, but women use 30,000”.
The wife thought for a while, then finally she said to her husband “It’s because we have to repeat everything we say.”
The husband said “What?”

More funny (and good) topics can be found at my other blog. (1. How do you guess the sex of a bird? 2. What a woman really wants????, enjoy 3. Do You Have Male Or Female Mind? Easy find)

According to latest research, During a 17-hour day Men speak just as many words (about 15,669) as the women do (16,215).

Can orkut scrapbooks be used for some more research?

What is your opinion about it?