Category Archives: Misc

When you wish for good things, good things happen

I was reading Alok’s inspiring post on how blogging changed things for him, I picked one sentence which I strongly believe in “When you wish for good things, good things happen”. In our previous office one the things my boss wanted to build was a fountain where there is a boy in the middle of the fountain trying to touch the stars. It meant, when you try to  do great things, higher things, the required resources comes to you (The water springs coming towards boy from all direction).

Good things happen

Also during our B-School, someone wrote the yearly punch line as “It feels good to be good”. Many did not like the punch line at all. I personally did not like it at that time but later it was one of my best punch lines ever. “It really feels good to be good”.

Always wish to do good.

  • People were not as fortunate as you to be there where you are, so don’t shout at them, help them
  • When someone misbehave, it hardly impacts you physically, only it impacts you if you take it negatively. If you ignore that as a immature act, you will feel even better.

Many occasions where I wish good and good happened:

  • There was a person who wanted help with http and https duplicate content removal in Search Engine, I did not wanted to take money (as I was against freelancing), I helped him fix it not expecting anything. Later he sent me PPTs, PDFs, books etc that he collected from so many conferences (exclusive and expensive stuff). It was a WOW experience.
  • There was a person who came for interview, he was messed up, he got rejected, before leaving he asked me the answers and went into detailing, I spent almost an hour with him explaining it. After 5 years, when we started the company, he called me to pitch for his business school. He also explained me, how that interview helped him. He helped me with the complete pitching.
  • So many instances like that.

If you look at religious books:

  • Bible says: Throw your bread into running waters and it shall come back to you after many days http://bible.cc/ecclesiastes/11-1.htm
  • Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana, Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani
    ???? ???? ?? ???????? ?????? ??, ????? ???? ?? ?? ??? ????| ???? ?? ?? ?? ????? ?? ??? ?? ???, ??? ???? ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ??? ?????? ? ??|

One of the best quotes I recently read was something like this (I am unable to recall it as it was) “When you don’t focus on your returns, when you focus on doing really well for someone, you can expect amazing innovation”.

Live every day doing good, trust in God, God will help you trust in yourself, people will trust you, good things will happen to you.

 

Aninda Das from NASSCOM “joining a engineering college gurantees a JOB? Who needs to be blamed for this?”

Aninda keeps asking amazing (and useful question). Aninda Das “Why does one join an Engineering College? Only for JOB? Who is telling him/her(student) that joining a engineering college gurantees a JOB? Who needs to be blamed for this? – parents or education institutes for wrong promotion?”

I am as free as watching Mamta ji’s recent CNN video. Here is my take on the subject from my personal experience.

I had no idea, what I needed to do, where I will get job – during grads College

I was as ignorant as any other student when I was in Xaveirs. … Thats how we are … our education has no interface with reality. Whom to blame?
My take: College should have more interface with reality, industrial fairs, making it compulsory (we were training that way), http://aji.techshu.com/indians-fear-failure/ . In our colleges we only have one type of judging … Grades (as per theory) … Its damn boring and it ignores many other dimensions … many who are not good in sitting and studying loses their confidence. That’s ok, no country is perfect, world isn’t either.

Ok, now professional course – MCA … MBA

MBA students had knowledge what companies will ask and what is needed (better than MCA & probably engineering). In MCA, we will have 2 type of students, one who were planning for Infosys and one who hardly bothered about job but will keep reading magazines, web, papers and will end up scoring very low (I think 5 point something out of 9). Some people like me, would shuffle between here and there. Both are successful in their own terms. Some got jobs from college and some got from off campus. Some worked in small companies then joined bigger ones. Some worked in startups and now own companies. Different people, different path to JOB and success.

While passing out of professional college? Most of us had no idea about what we gonna do, whats good for us. We just did the way others did. The fact is we did.

Whom to blame? Certainly not college, our college did put a lot of interface with real problems … I also made many cool application for our professors .. students? I never understood that I guess the way I should have … I was very interested in  computers, so I could spend a lot of time in computer labs. Job? May be not, as the selection is very different.

<h3>My job interview at Alumnus, must read</h3>
I was asked about MMS, I never heard that word by then. Then they asked many more things, I had no idea. They failed us. I requested for one more chance. I prepared better, then they asked about Linux and Windows security stuffs, I had no idea again … again I was failed, I asked for one more chance … I think the fifth time, I called them at night, asked “who will take the interview and whats his strength, what questions I can expect” … I learned those and cleared the interview for “A CHANCE”. On job, I got trained for php, mysql etc … all Google learned, people hardly taught anything … We did good, so next opportunity came … Grmtech …. joined there for a mobile ….. http://aji.techshu.com/three-years/ ..Job trained me, shaped me, gave me a direction on what to do in life …..

<h2>My final take – Don’t define job, do job properly and it will help you find the path</h2>
Understand, you are different from me, your opportunities are different from mine, so is mine with someone else. We all are different. Take it step by step. Don’t fall victim, just fight it out. Get a desktop, get an internet connection, study it again, enter somewhere where you can be mentored and given chance. Offer your laptop or desktop, work from home, keep working, keep learning. You can’t change your past, you can’t change your country or culture that easily (I fought with many companies in Salt Lake when I was student, asking to give MCAs a chance to sit with Engineers, they said no, I argued but they did not listen to me).

  1. Hey’s it ok if you are not good but you need to understand you are not good and improve from there.
  2. Grab opportunities, work hard, work smart, learn as much as possible. My professors told me “What you learn here in 3 years, your company will teach you in 3 months”.
  3. Show positive attitude, work day and night when you can, party day and night (the things you enjoy) whenever you can. During my first job at Grmtech, I will work for 3 to 4 days, 16 hours or so and from Friday to Sunday I will go back to hostel to enjoy with friends.
  4. Gain confidence in yourself.
  5. Meet mentors (in office and outside), Meet good guys/girls (and get positive energy from there), go for events, network …
  6. Don’t try to learn, just be listeners, just be there, and learn in bits and pieces … it will make sense at a later stage, just be there, collect nodes/dots to be connected later  http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html
  7. Enjoy, take pride in whatever you do.
  8. Nobody needs that much money, it will come, just take care of your basic needs and don’t put yourself in demands which can lead you to depressions and wrong directions.
  9. It’s ok to be human, we all do wrong, we all fail, we all get rejection but we all can fight back ….
  10. Never compare, its never between you and them http://aji.techshu.com/never-between-you-them/

Hope it helps atleast one person in next 10 years, then my 30 mins goes worth.

Internet Premier League (IPL) Static Internet 120/10 v/s Moving Internet 360/3 – A new era for Internet

You read it right. Static Internet is bowled out! It is out of IPL (Internet Premier League), could not even quality for playoffs. The moving internet is 3 times better than the static internet. New era of internet is more fun. I have been a Vodafone user for last 8 years or so and thus all my experience of new era internet is on Vodafone http://www.vodafone.in/fun.

3G & Touch, defining moving Internet !

There were days when people will go on vacation on a sea beach and will wish for a café with Internet. We improved from there and had basic connectivity on laptop (wifi), then again we wished for better. Then came basic internet on mobile, we wished for speed and better mobiles. Then came better touch & keypad mobiles & pads with 3G connectivity. Now it’s a new era, almost!

Internet is more fun now! “Porn to Poke”

The other change was, “what we did with Internet?” Web has transformed from information to entertainment in last few years. From “Porn to Poke” was a major shift, now people are connected on social media and want to see what’s happening with their friends and want to update what’s happening with them.

Bulk updates from static internet is boring, its about runtime moving internet

Bulk updates are boring, where you visit the Himalayas and then update it once you are back. It is fun when you can update from Himalayas and people can comment back and you can interact with them time to time. This is a new world of communication.


(This is my best friend from Himalayas updating his status. Commenting on this photo was way different, I felt really good) Imagine the situation when you are frustrated or extremely happy, there is no fun in holding it (and infact you want to share it right then).

“Happiness only real when shared”http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758758/quotes (From one of the best movies of all time). I can rephrase it to “Happiness only real when shared real time“). Remember the ad, Maja aya? Asli mazaa SAB ke saath aata hai (The real happiness is when shared with all).

My fun experience while on Vodafone 3G in Mumbai

I was in Mumbai for business trip and had to travel all around. IPAD & 3G was my guide, I could instruct the auto drivers, “oh not that route, go this route!”. I could just surf for Mallu restaurant while traveling and demand amazing food. In between, I could stop and do a conference call. I had conference calls with UK team standing in the Andheri Ticket counter. It was really fun to have amazing connectivity and I am sure it is to go better and better from there. Other fun on Vodafone 3G and ipad:

  • Siting in a cafe and taking web interviews by playing games (The boring puzzles are over)
  • Wifey doesn’t have issues going on vacation anywhere as she can still watch TV on move on youtube.
  • WOW! Now you carry a powerful informational and entertainment tool along with you. The only space between your problem/query and the solution is asking it to your connected mobile device (and Google or Facebook).
  • Attending webinars is no more an issue, I can attend it from car now
  • Amazing possibility and much more fun

Orkut vs Chirkut and now “3G vs Uncle”

I remember the days when orkut came to picture in India, there were 2 communities, orkut or Chirkut http://aji.techshu.com/orkut/, soon I can see other 2 communities “3G vs Uncles”. Anyone not having a connectivity on mobile will be called uncle.

 ”Have fun! I use vodafone internet and its fun!”

Hindrance to Growth & Sustainability – Major questions

After writing http://aji.techshu.com/cents-to-dollars-growth-sustainability-business/ I thought to summarize the post here.

  1. Ask if the owners/founders/management the bottleneck? Are you micro managing? Are you pissing off good people? Are you thinking small? Are you unable to pass on the vision? Are you not able to motivate your team to live the vision together? Are you the bottleneck?
  2. Are you in the right market with the right offering? This is important to ask, sometimes we might go wrong, its good to go back and start it again. http://community.tiekolkata.com/profiles/blogs/sabeer-bhatia-3-questions-to-ask-for-any-product
  3. Is your company’s vision (Direction follows vision) well defined? Is your company a company that is focusing on improving some part of the society? Are you passionate about improving your customer’s lifestyle by solving the problem to best level? (This is so so important: Whenever I hear, “How client doesn’t understand”, “Client can’t freeze the requirement” … I will repeat .. “Thats the problem, we are trying to solve, lets solve it better next time” … Focus is not on shouting at people and client but to solve the problem every day. Making life better.
  4. Is your company a company where people want to excel? Or Is your company a company where its only about revenue and work? Excellence brings revenue. Excellence attracts good people and clients/customers.
  5. Is your company focusing on developing people? (Even if they leave your company, they will stay the ambassadors to your company, “Give when you can  & Ask when you need it”)
  6. Is your company a company where good people want to join? How are you selling your company to new prospect recruits? Are they buying your work culture, your business model, your challenges? (Grrr … Most good people don’t want to join government jobs …)
  7. Is the company focusing on financial management? (Visibility is important, focusing on building the finance is important but it comes secondary to me, it is needed but a good combination of PEOPLE, RIGHT MARKET, RIGHT OFFERING should bring in money, why shouldn’t it? Many disagree here but I still believe, money follows)
  8. Who all are thinking about?
  1. Innovation
  2. Value addition
  3. New opportunities
  4. Team members life improvements (This is major) Point #10 http://aji.techshu.com/11lessons-entrepreneurs/
  5. Customer/Client relationships
  6. Process
  7. Cost cutting
  8. Revenue improvements
Please keep adding to it.

Cents to dollars – Growth & Sustainability (see the 15 practical points as well)

(I am writing another post for Growth & Sustainability)
In my past 10 years of experience, I had opportunities to work with many great Entrepreneurs.  I have seen different growth and sustainability methods for different companies (and many contradicting ones but worked successfully). There is no one thing that works and there is no generalization that works, a company is highly directed by the top minds in the company. A company is a reflection of owner’s way of thinking.

As mentioned here http://www.slideshare.net/ajinimc/iimc-talk-on-digital-marketing-by-aji-issac-ceo-techshucom My first venture was my Church’s youth camp and it was a major success (From one stage where noone believed we could participate to winning it with small margins to winning it for years). From 2002, I am thinking like an Entrepreneur, had my own ups and downs but great leanings. Here are few cents from my experience

  1. Every Entrepreneur is different, so your growth and sustainability principles will be different. Example: I am a domain expert (Digital Marketing), my way to go ahead is to improve Digital Marketing experience (The market is big, I can solve it, now I need to add resources (Finance, Processes, HR etc) to scale up, thats my growth & Sustainability. For an Entrepreneur who is more into networking will like to network around to make the best partners to make things happen. So it will be different for you. You are the company when you start and everything is build on top of you (most of the time, later it will change). Google was made on an algorithm by Larry page, Facebook was made by Mark’s need and so on and on (but later it is all different). I have also seen companies where there is hardly any independence but the work is fixed and defined. They too are successful but are limited by many ways.
  2. Myths about Focus, keep your eyes open, focus is still not defined: In every article you will see focus, focus and focus .. my experience is (and as discussed at SSKolkata, many others experience is) … It is not easy to focus initially, you need to do everything possible to survive and work towards one expertise … Focus will come, keep observing and keep moving. If you have enough money, time .. you are already surviving … you can focus now .. If you are all alone, you are surviving, you can focus now.
  3. Believe that you will be APPLE and GOOGLE - Everybody likes to hear the story of Facebook, Google and Apple. They will say “You know they started in a garage, how fun” but when it comes to really working in garage, its a tough call. So is when you need to expand. You are going good with 10 people, now you need to go for 30, you will have invest, you will have to take risk … its a tough call again as the risk is bigger …. You got to be your own motivator – Growth is uncomfortable at times, its like a child growing, the bigger the child grows, bigger are the responsibility and that is sometimes uncomfortable. You got to motivate yourself and enter change of orbit carefully and with believe.
  4. You got to work with smarter people, smarter than you … This is one of major problem I have seen with people … They are not able to work with people smarter than them .. Also I have seen Entrepreneurs always going for better and better people. It is said A hires A, B hires C, http://blog.guykawasaki.com/2006/01/the_art_of_recr.html#axzz1ielqY0ni … Search for A hires A, B hires C articles on Google.
  5. Flexibility & Skills: At different stage of your business you need different type of thinking http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=1796 .. We (as owners of the initiative) need to see if we are the bottleneck at any stage of our business or not. Some of us are not good as managers, some of us are good as inventors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Google (Google had to hire Eric as CEO and founders focused on innovations and product)
  6. Broader thinking – What is this all about? What is big thinking after all …. My company will be 1000 members and 100 crores, is it big thinking? Big thinking is when you act according to your big thinking. If you know and believe your company is going to become big, you for that reason you can think of hiring someone whom you can’t afford now (even as a partner, or promise). I know that the company will be really big, I need to prepare myself, so attending and meeting other greater minds is important. “It’s ok to lose few thousands of Rs to create success stories” .. Think longer version in mind … Getting the wider picture. It’s not easy to explain this thought. Thinking small is a common problem I have seen.
  7. There are many more points that are needed to fine tune an initiative for growth and sustainability. I will write another post.

Some Practical points that helped me:

  1. Thinking alike to reduce learning curve – SVN and folder structure, now dropbox and structure. (Knowledge structuring) … For all our clients we have a folder structure where we have named it alike. So every person knows where to find a file, everyone ones what to do for a client etc. Thats to SVN and dropbox, our monthly cost for all these management was less than $5.
  2. Thinking togetherProcess incubation folder & Dropbox (Knowledge management & Knowledge sharing) .. People keep adding documents to this folder, I keep organizing it (Later R&D team will do it, this quarter we have initiated the R&D team)… “I was promised an increment but nobody looked into it” … I will ask the HR to add a document for recruitment and thereafter .. we will keep working till we know we get a clear picture of how the process works and there is visibility and follow up. (Not easy but a process incubation folder helps us to start the process)
  3. Dashboard – FengOffice + customization (I had to own the dashboard code) … Now we know where we invest our time, where are we losing money and where are we earning … who is working good and who is not.  This was one of most important thing for scaling, without this … measurement of various activities in the company is crucial.
  4. Going fearless to make company better – Making team members public and bold http://www.techshu.com/bloggers/ … They need to own the company, it can only happen if we are fearless of losing them.
  5. Hire them when they are available not when you need them: When you are small, small people don’t apply. Nobody wants to join a small company but there are some great people who come forward, don’t lose them. When we started the company, we had given open offers to many of the people whom we knew, they join at different stage of your company, whenever they say “YES”, we make space for them. Good people are very very important.
  6. When a good person leaves, do given them open offer to come back: There are people who will leave because of different reasons (Grass is greener on other side), they might come back. We have a Facebook group which is always open for all ex, interns and current team members.
  7. Anything that is repeative and non-intellectual should be automated. - http://www.techshu.com/faqs/ (Techshu leaks & Process excel sheet)
  8. Programming is extension of your mind – SEOAPPY.com … automated a hell lot of things for our team.
  9. You need to own the industry in longer term .. Jeetbo.com (for HR issues), digitalsoch.com (for corporate training) … anhour.in (for client education) etc to name a few.
  10. Invest in good seeds – Always hired people with good background for top layer work .. One who can’t think of getting 2 lacs a month as a salary can never make your company going to 200 crorers. … http://www.seoforclients.com/about-us (Read the Jack Welch’s quote)
  11. Work towards relationships – We have incurred heavy losses, still paying the debts … we worked for people for free, we did not collect the money when we could not deliver, we switched off few months payment to compensate … reason 2 relationships 1) With the client 2) With the ROI focused.
  12. Define every word correctly … Our company is defined as “ROI focused End to End Digital Marketing Mix partner” (Every word is well defined and that is what stays with people”
  13. Keep training people … They reject your wordings but sooner or later they will realize the need. Sweat in training to avoid blood in war… http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=155229661206652
  14. Keep exploring new options … Keep thinking and keep documenting …. the documents allows me to see the complete picture, playing with your thoughts inside your mind is difficult but arranging it on a doc and rearraging it on a doc is easier. I had documents which were confusing for 2 weeks but it came out to be the best after 2 weeks.
  15. Focus on Logic – Anything that is not logical is not supported .. Why should I ask my team members to come on time (when we are only 4), Why should I have a leave policy when we are only 10, why should I focus on accounting when my revenue is only 100,000.

Internship in India

This is a mail we got in one of the OCC groups and I just copied shamelessly to answer in detail.

My purpose for this post is basically an open question to everyone. I
would like to know some of your thoughts/criticism/experiences/doubts/
questions/etc on the following question. There is an internship fair
to be held shortly in Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Ahmadabad and Bengaluru,
for which we need some inputs from you to make this a successful
event.

Q: As we all know there are many internship positions available in
various companies around the country, also that most of the intern
positions are filled by references or some connections.

– So what is that you as an individual, an employer or an employee
would want to change in the internship industry?
– What would according to you be the best way to hire worthy
candidates?
– What is that extra punch, that you would personally want to see
in \’Intern hiring\’?
– On what basis (parameters) should a candidate be alloted an
intern position?
– Do you think the companies should directly receive candidate\’s
application form, or should there be a filter who would vet the
candidates and match them to specific opening as per their abilities?

I request you to please share as much information as possible. it
would be really helpful for us really understand the missing links and
requirements of the internship industry. Once again, thank you very
much in advance for all the great responses you would send in.

Personally, I will like to have interaction with the candidate atleast 6 month before the internship or Ideally I will like an agency to contact us, understand our requirements, interview candidates, select candidates, we do the final round (atleast 6 months before the internship), then the agency should provide the materials to study for the internship and connect with us so that we can clear any doubts. After 6 months, the intern should enter with a purpose and gel with the team to do something that can benefit the company and himself/herself.

Our (AIMK MCA) internship was the best, we had internship in 3rd year (final year) first and second trimester, then one trimester was study and another trimester was off for either internal or external project. In this way a person who is interested to work with the company can even continue working for the whole last year without effective much of his study. I started like that, I left college after 2 years of MCA, I worked at Alumnus and then joined another company where I did my final project + final job. It was beneficial for all.

>> Do you think the companies should directly receive candidate\’s application form, or should there be a filter who would vet the candidates and match them to specific opening as per their abilities?
This completely depends of the company and the cost involved, since interns are not for long term, as a company we don\’t want to invest anything to get good interns … we just want to take few, try one stuff …. but in case if there is any intern that is interested for a long term with us, things can be completely different, we will like to have different layers of filters before they enter in ..

>> What is that extra punch, that you would personally want to see in \’Intern hiring\’?
We just worked with the IIM interns, they had their mentors (professors) guiding them, this is very much needed, we need mentors at both end, in company and in college.

>> – On what basis (parameters) should a candidate be alloted an intern position?
One interview + The CV (it shall go easy on them as the risk is less here for the companies)

>> – What would according to you be the best way to hire worthy candidates?
There is no best, there is one that suits us and there is another that suits others but in all cases we want good people to be in. I recently spent by 2 days with an intern, I got so upset as his basics were so poor (we did a bad hiring here), I think I shouted a little too much, he ran away, never came back again :) … this time we were more careful, we hired amazingly good interns and they are doing really cool. Loved working with them so far. They have already worked on FB apps, Joomla, wordpress and few more architectures ….

Hope it answers to some extend. Thanks.

Best Regards,
Aji Issac

Wearing mask will increase swine flu chances of spreading…

I got this email from a friend of mine, so thought of posting it here. Please do your learning to this thread and lets spread awareness. I see more and more people are scared of swine now, thanks to our media (esp Arnab of Times Now)

PLEASE GO THROUGH THIS

I agree with you that swine flu awareness is needed, but there is no need to be panicky and join the publicity propaganda carried out by media and others which acts as a vehicle to spread misconception than
to spread scientific information. These are few facts about swine flu when discussed with the leading
epidemiologists.

  1. Swine flu, that is H1N1 flu is not new, first detected in 1987
  2. Infective stage of flu is 5 days, 1 day before and 4 days after onset of symptoms
  3. The best way to prevent it spreading is asking patients having symptoms of flu like fever, cough and running nose to take rest at home for 4 days so he does not transmit it
  4. Masks are of limited value if any, in this disease, it can spread through droplets on your skin, through contact etc, and I have seen that the masks in Pune are worn as fashion statement, while walking on road today morning I saw people wearing masks coming out for a morning walk with their dogs!, many wearing masks around their necks, and so on, in fact these masks shall act as the vehicles to carry the virus, instead, avoiding crowded places or cinema halls or malls where air conditioners are on, is advisable, because you get recalculated air, where the virus density multiplies
  5. Death after H1N1 flu is not common, in fact infections like measles is taking toll of thousands more every year, and we are oblivious of the facts. Swine flu is being blown out of proportion by media trying to create hysteria among lay people.
  6. Fever accompanied by respiratory distress, should be immediately notified which is likely to be a complication of H1N1 flu
  7. The mortality is less than .01 percent of those affected, that means may be one in 10,000 affected is likely to suffer the life loss.
  8. If you remember, 2 years ago SARS was blown out of proportion, what happened? Humans develop immunity to the virus, the same is going to happen, we develop immunity in due course of time, the virus is in the air, you can not stop it, our body is already developing the immunity so nothing to panic.

We need to take care of children and elderly who have less immunity and do not let them go to crowded places that are all.

WE MUST START THIS CAMPAIGN OF NOT TO BE AFRAID OF THIS FLU AND LET YOUR DAILY WORK CONTINUE AS NORMAL, NO MASKS FOR ORDINARY CITIZENS, HEALTH CARE WORKERS OR SPECIFIC EXPOSED TO LOT OF CROWDED ENVIRONMENTS MAY BE BENEFITTED, NOT PROVEN.

I am amazed to hear that people are selling masks of RS 20 each which are available to less than Rupee 1 in the market. See who is getting benefitted?

Please spread the scientific info, do not join the band wagon and stick to science, that should be the order of the day.

It was never between you and them

Working in a company, frustrated with baised world? Here is something to cheer you up?

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and the global CEO. It was never between you and them anyway.

:) May God bless all of us to do Good. Life is not about what you get but about what you enjoy.

Vikas Kedia – Vikasism, 11 lessons I learned from Vikas Kedia, My first CEO & mentor

Recently I got a tweet from Vikas and it took me back to 2003, when I was a student, dressing up for the corporate life and got the first job offer. I got the reference mail from Kolkata Linux Group, where he had posted a job requirement for his new venture. To cut the long story (Click here to read my Story) short, I joined and learned many Great Lessons. This post is a summary of what I learned from Vikas Kedia (CEO of InterNext Technologies Inc, my first boss, less of a boss and more of a mentor. We had different viewpoints at various points. Even we departed arguing :) , looks like yesterday and brings the smile), I am going to call it the first 11 Vikasism.

Vikas Kedia - 11 Vikasism

11 lessons I learned from Vikas Kedia

  1. About dreams & stars: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But he dreamed things that never were; and He said, ‘Why not?’” …. His dreams were so big and so strong that his team could see it real all the time. He always talked big. He talked about Nasdaq when the bathrooms were smelling. You might find it crazy but his dreams always pushed him and his team for the extra mile. I used to dream about visiting NASDAQ too, I think it was too contagious :) and too fun. Dreams are like stars…you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny. If InterNext Technologies Inc is something today then a lot of credit goes to his dreams (and I am sure he will take it to NASDAQ one day). He always said “You dream big and the rest of things will be added to you”. Even InterNext Technologies Inc’s website will reflect an image about dreams. I hope the new building will also have the boy looking up towards the star. DREAMS.
  2. Hard work has no substitute: There are so many people to criticize your hard working abilities, some will call you workaholics but I wish there was a substitute for this hard work for an Entrepreneur. He will work day and night to make a thing work. He will be on a call while traveling, he will be on call while shopping and almost all the time he will be available for work. We all are born with various limits but there are few who believes that “Life has no limitations, except the ones you make” and Vikas is one of them. His CV would reflect all the non-technical educational achievements but his technical knowledge and expertize is much above a professional techy. I often asked him, “Vikas, how did you expertize so many technical things”. He will always answer, “I tried, I failed, I retried till I understood”. His hard work made him a TRUE LEADER, whom people respect from their heart. I always respected him for all his hard work. I always prayer for his success as if anyone who deserves success then it is him as he has worked so hard for it. I met so many ex-colleagues, we all had our own complains but almost all admired Vikas for who he is and his hard work. I think a great achievement for anyone. HARD WORK!
  3. Impatient Early releases: He always pushed us for an early release. I was not a very big fan of releasing something too early (I still struggle with it but to lesser extent, we released our new design without even completing it). It certainly helps to release a bit early with some bugs. IMPATIENT.
  4. Best Infrastructure: He will change the computers, will have all of us use the dual monitors, will have the best infrastructure. Being a programmer, all I cared about was a pujama and computer (may be thats why people still call me pujama programmer) but he taught us how good infrastructure influences the company. You will always find InterNext Technologies Inc to be full of Gizmos, latest network cables, advance networking, best phones and so on. INFRASTRUCTURE CRAZY.
  5. Programming standards: I remember the days when I and Vikas were the only two programmers in the company, we will change the file and keep a copy of it with a note about the changes. Our codes will have all the includes. With Vikas, we have come a long long way with proper coding standards, version controlling with SVN, inline documentation (I LOVED IT THE MOST, I STILL FOLLOW). Our function names will be like FnGetSomeSleepAjiAsYouNeedToGetUpEarly($ArrayInputs). Alpha, beta, productio and multi layer backups. IP KVMS, over 50 servers and much to add to it. Architectures and a lot to write about it. He is great programmer too. He is really TECHY.
  6. Documentation: Documentation is like sex: when it is good, it is very, very good; and when it is bad, it is worse than nothing. He will create great documentations. All the technical team used his documentations to solve many FOP (frequently occurred problems). It helps to have something immediately accessible, … Getting documentation immediately available online is very appealing to a lot of people. At InterNext Technologies Inc we learned the art of documentation using Google docs. The credit goes to Vikas for pushing us towards Google docs. Documentation.
  7. Failure is OK: One of the biggest lessons we learned in InterNext Technologies Inc, Failure is ok. Infact we had plans to launch a campaigns for Indian B-Schools, where we wanted to teach about failure. “An inventor fails 999 times, and if he succeeds once, he’s in. He treats his failures simply as practice shots.” This is so true for an Inventor like Vikas. He tries too many things, he fails more often than anyone. I remember how he shifted the task system from gforge to google docs, then to google calenders, then to emails, then to …. He tried, he failed but he always knew the importance of these failures. Failure is OK, Inventor.
  8. Create products like Gods: He was a strong believer of products over services. He always wanted to create products that providing services to other companies. InterNext Technologies Inc would have been 5 times richer financially than today if Vikas had taken service path but his decision to stick to products helped us experience the magic of brands and products. I will always remember InterNext Technologies Inc for the innovations we did for our own products. Products.
  9. Converting quality to numbers: Our new company SEOforClients is fully running on it. We have implemented all over. Even the stock options are about converting work output in numbers to your stocks (may be a good HR innovation). Vikas was always in favor of putting quality and work into numbers. He always said, “If something is not Measurable then it is not manageable”. Measure-ability is manageability (and manageability is scalability and scalability is GOOD for business).
  10. Let the problem come, we will see it: Another great lesson for life. We used to worry a lot about future problems, the problem that don’t exist. The problems that will be encountered only if the products becomes successful. He always used to say, “Let the problem. These are welcome problems that comes with success”. Now I focus on the core product, launch it and when we hit the success we have enough resources to fix a lot of possible future problems.
  11. Learn it yourself, no spoon feeding There are occasions when you love spoon feeding. I remember an instance where I was asked to password protect a folder. It was late at night and I was about to leave. I had never done something like that before, so I asked Vikas. He asked me to Google and get the solution. I was disappointed but it made a rule to try yourself to the possible levels. Also in the process of password protecting a file, I learned a lot more about .htaccess. GOOD Mentor.

I guess I can write many more lessons that I have learned from Vikas. He once said, “Call someone sir only when they deserve it not because they are your seniors or your boss”.

Vikas Kedia in 11 words

DREAMS, HARD WORK, IMPATIENT, INFRASTRUCTURE CRAZY, TECHY, Documentation, Failure is OK (Inventor), Products, Measure-ability, Let the problem come, GOOD Mentor. (and a good human being, may God bless him with all success)

Summarizing Vikasism: Don’t listen to those who say, you taking too big a chance. Michelangelo would have painted the Sistine floor, and it would surely be rubbed out by today. Most important, don’t listen when the little voice of fear inside you rears its ugly head and says. they all smarter than you out there. They’re more talented, they’re taller, blonder, prettier, luckier, and they have connections. I firmly believe that if you follow a path that interests you, not to the exclusion of love, sensitivity, and cooperation with others, but with the strength of conviction that you can move others by your own efforts, and do not make success or failure the criteria by which you live, the chances are you’ll be a person worthy of your own respects (and others). Thank you Vikas SIR!

External links that talks about Vikas Kedia

Vikas Kedia
Rest at Wikipedia page on Vikas.

Twisted answer – “Teacher” is the best job in the world

We were discussing about our jobs and one of us said “teacher” is the best job in the world (in terms of job satisfaction) as they limited responsibilities and many other reasons to count. So argued about having your own business is more satisfying. And of course, there was a group supporting IT sector, high profile branded job and so on …

I had been a librarian, a volunteer teacher (taught every sunday for almost 2 years), secretaries, programmer, researcher, team leader, marketing head, leader and a lot more full time jobs …. what I have seen is:

  1. I see that every sector offers space for innovation and improvements.
  2. I see that every sector offers great satisfaction of achievement when we achieve some targets and standards. In library, it was about how to make more and more people read books, in programming it was about the final display with no errors.
  3. and more …..

Now I am on discussion point on whether the job satisfaction is about job or person or both? I will say both, everyone will say both? But how much person and how much job then :) ?

I get dissatisfied with my job when

  1. I don’t see money coming my way
  2. I see my boss is screwing himself and his company AND ME
  3. I see mistakes, I suggest improvements but still the politics hardly allows the change
  4. I see a mismatch with my expertise for long run (This is just not that very important), I am still open to become a travel guide and I will fit in my expertise there, or a cook … But when I have spent years into a line, i will like to milk it.
  5. The company is selling my blood for money … Some people are never happy with the quantity of work .. they demand more … I will SAY NOOOOOOOOOO to them right then … run company where we all earn our breads and the owner his cake.

I am in hurry so stopping here, whats your take on it?