Web an opportunity today or a threat tomorrow, choice is yours

Do I need a website? What will I do with it, I am just a singer? Web presence for catering service! I don’t think it makes sense. I deliver Pizzas, how will web presence help me, forget it its too complex for me! Thats a feeling among many businesses, very rightly so as they have not seen or have experienced the power of Internet.

I liked the line by Jason of Google, “Sometimes you hear about things that are big, and you see them and see that they are big, you rationally understand that they are big, but you don’t really understand that they are big until you experience them.”

Internet is a threat to every industry
(Internet is a threat/opportunity for every industry, you will have to face the music anyway)

Magazines are less read these days as blogs/daily web updates are taking care of the need (some adopted this new platform but some are history). With social networks and web 2.0, web is a way to empower your business with a better communication platform. People presume web to be a sales platform (esp in countries like India, where Internet business is in its early stages).

This week’s brand equity caught my attention, which I can summarized as the alpha of Indian Web business. Major businesses are trying to capture the young generation through web (Guys, it is going to be tougher than you thought), most of them trying to follow the successful formula. Do not forget that web is a village, where two shops are not needed so better be original.

Summary of the blog post: Use Web as an opportunity today or as a threat tomorrow, choice is yours. Web culture is catching up in India too.

Cleared my driving exam and Tax investment

With all the meetings, ppts, excel salary docs, TT practice, AGM docs for non-profitable organizations (and …), I was learning driving as well (thanks to our CEO for forcing me learn this as a company task). Today we had the exams (so had to bunk the meetings), from 12:00 noon to 4:30 pm it was a long wait and less testing. I was just asked to drive some 300 meters with one left turn, he checked how I start, first gear, second gear and speed control (all went fine :)). Then some 5 queries based on traffic boards and signals (all went fine) followed by photos, invisible signatures (thats what I was told about digi signatures). Finally it is done and passed, you can congratulate me.

Things that I have not learned (or not taught)

  • Driving with left hand over the side seat.
  • Driving with mobile on.

Along with the driving exams I had to make some last moment investment to save tax (Oh God, Huge taxes again), invested in ELSS and HDFC Unit Linked Insurance. We had a series of lectures (with sales pitch but followed by tough scrutiny from our tech team members who prefer the word earning and spending over saving).

I will be taking a leave on Saturday as I am really really tired. Also will finish all my pending mails on Saturday.

Sorry, No Mail replies

Sorry, for last few days I am not able to answer all the mails that is hitting my mailbox (Buzy Buzy Buziness life, you see). Also I am not keeping well, little feverish. I will be taking a day off this week and hopefully will be answering all your mails. Thank you for your patience. Keep mailing, let it reach the 1000 unread mails count :).

Quote 3: Work for a global CEO

I will continue my series on quotes which inspires me and helps me improve. Today I will take a quote which is a little spiritual but I keep telling everyone, you are one and you can’t be non-spiritual at work and spiritual in Church. I like our Churches as they put a lot of stress on teaching. We almost have over an hour of teaching every Sunday on various topics.

Quote of the Day
It is from Colossians 3:22-25, which says

obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

I have always believed in this. Sometimes you do not get what you deserve (or end up getting lesser than your expectations) but nothing will go unpaid as you are working for Global CEO who takes care of it. This also helps you learn and help others without calculating your net ROI. Another word with the same theme that has inspired me is
Ecclesiastes 11:1, which says,

Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again.

Keep working honestly and the Global CEO (God Almighty) will take care of your promotions at right time. Have a nice day and God bless you.

phpbb doing a major 301 redirection

PhpBB is the biggest community board application available. I am big fan of phpBB as I understand almost all the modules and have tweaked as per our need. From the personalized url to different templates for different post. Special quick replies, integration with other systems e.t.c. We always failed to do the proper documentation to release any module to the phpBB. I have tried phpbb 3.0 beta, which has an amazing user management system (which was missing till now).

As you might have noticed that phpBB site was down for last one or two days with the following message,

Ouch! RAID array failure…

We’re sad to announce that during the switch of a failed harddisk to the hot-spare and the planned 2 hours required for the array to re-sync, we’ve been hit by an extremely unexpected double-disk failure which leaves us with a dead array.

Now they are back with new phpbb3.0 enabled forums and new template to the whole site.

Within this step we also updated the main forums to phpBB3 Olympus as well as using the new phpBB default style, named prosilver.

Some of the new sections that I liked,

  • Author’s images to right, giving content more importance than the author. It is a debatable topic but for forums like phpbb it is a good move. I liked the template.
  • /phpBB/ url change to /community/, very good move. Case sensitive phpBB url was an hindrance for natural communication tools WOM.

301 redirections
What happens to existing urls with /phpBB/ in it? Now there is a 301 redirection happening for such url, see an example www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=407112. It will be interesting to watch how Google, Yahoo and MSN reacts to the changes. I am keeping a watch over the whole scene including the ranking for some of the pages.

Current count

  1. Pages indexed: 72,600 in Google , 4,323 in Yahoo (Sorry MSN not opening for me 🙁 )
  2. 7808 links to /phpbb/ page in Yahoo
  3. #1 in Google for “Cookie pollution causes Hacking Attempt” (without quotes), the URL thats ranks high is www.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=407112 . Yahoo, i am not able to find any ranking, also I see that titles are missing from the listing (very strange)

Another employee fired for blogging

Mark Jen was fired from Google for Blogging and we thought the era has changed till when we heard about Drew Townson. Drew Townson an employee of Mercenary Audio got fired for blogging. Click here for the complete story. I think its time for a corporate blogging rule, a general one and then different companies can change it accordingly.

What should be included under Blogging laws (for a working blogger under a contract)?

  • Can he mention his/her company name on the blog?
  • Can he mention his/her day at office? In what detail then?
  • Other rules

We need some time and hopefully the bloggers fraternity can come together and define some laws to help ourselves. Please add on your suggestions.

Bandth again – Whos line is it anyway?

Whos line is it anyway? Who is crossing it? Why? How? When? You may not have answers to all these questions but certainly you know that someone is crossing someones line somewhere with some reason using some bad strategies. My previous post “When is the next bandth?” attracted a lot of opinions, active comments and some emails. Tomorrow is another bandth.

Some of the bandth facts I agree to

  • For people like us who blog or talk about these injustice, these are just numbers or count. For the ones who lost their loved ones only know their loss.
  • These bandths are the only way to protest or force powerful men to take actions. Sadly our system does not offer a better working option.
  • Industrialization is important and so is agricultural growth.
  • Bandths bring no solution but create more. It pollutes our culture.

I am just hoping that our governments will learn a better planning method by these worst examples of unplanned, forced and pushed growth plans. I had tears when I saw the massacre footage on TV, may this happen to no one ever. I will be working from home tomorrow.

good rain causing flood in social space

We all loved orkut. The most talked social networking in India, from school going kid to senior citizen everyone enjoyed it. Also some of us enjoyed other social networking like myspace, or for that matter even mybloglog. Also linkedin is a great network for social professional relationships. Overall social networking was appreciated and loved like first and season rain. We had romance in this rain, we sometimes had wet eyes in this rain and overall a very useful rain.

Social bookmarking killing me

Now there is over raining in social networking site, from goyaar.com (Indian version of Orkut) to tagged network. Friendster is also growing, so is Bday groups. With over 100 mails to handle everyday these invitations are killing me. Everyday you will get 2 or 3 minimum. As I said, in social networking flies attracts flies not honey. Do we need so many social networks, what is that you miss in orkut? Explain Google and they will do it for us.

Are you joining these new social networks? Don’t you think it is over raining, hinting a unwanted flood?

Want success? Change the smell of your workplace!

I am true believer of energies, the right energy can help you enjoy the work. People talk about Vastu and other things but I have no idea about it. I strongly believe that the people are the major energy producer, both positive and negative. In my last audio post I talked about battle of energies, that how different rooms in your company can have different energy levels and thus different success stories. Many liked the audio post and wanted to know more about it (Sorry, I wish I had more time, I will try to pen down it in detail).

Another interesting article by Late Professor Sumantra Ghoshal caught my eyes with similar theme. The more I read the article the more i agreed. The article says,

You cannot change an organisation without revitalising people.

The theme of the article.

Revitalising people is an attitudinal change. People’s attitudes have to change. There is a new word every time these things come up and the new word now is ‘mindset change.’

So company after company is launching expensive, large scale, culture change program with the object of changing the mindset of their people. But then you ask: how likely is that? Can you really teach an old dog new tricks?

So every year, in July, I used to come to Kolkata for almost a month. Why July? Because that is the only time my children had a sufficiently long break. The whole point was to keep them in touch with my parents. Think about it — downtown Kolkata in July. The temperature is over 100°F with humidity of 98%.

The reality was that I felt very tired during most of the vacation. Most of it I spent indoors and a lot of it simply in bed.

Most large companies in India and abroad end up creating ‘Downtown Kolkata in Summer’ inside themselves.

What does ‘Downtown Kolkata in Summer’ look like in most large companies and I relate to this in the sense of the phrase, ‘the smell of the place.’ We intellectualise a lot in management.

Complete article at http://www.rediff.com/money/2005/mar/10bspec.htm

MBA curriculum – Books for Techno-Managers

I was reading the curriculum for “Fog Creek Software Management Training Program” where I saw the list of books for Techno-Managers. It has the best business books of all time, the best software management books of all time and every worthwhile history of a software/computer company that we can find. I have another list which I am going to forward to our company library. There days I am reading “The Google Story“. This is a wonderful book.

The reading list (I have gone through some of these books and will be going through all in due time)

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, 20th Anniversary Edition Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability Growing a Business
Dec Is Dead, Long Live Dec: The Lasting Legacy of Digital Equipment Corporation Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C Philip and Alex's Guide to Web Publishing
Testing Computer Software Design for Community: The Art of Connecting Real People in Virtual Places Version Control with Subversion
The Non-Designer's Design Book The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations
Facts and Fallacies of Software Engineering The Autodesk File: Bits of History, Words of Experience Hackers and Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age
Competing On Internet Time: Lessons From Netscape And Its Battle With Microsoft The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity The Design of Everyday Things
The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison: *God Doesn't Think He's Larry Ellison Breaking Windows: How Bill Gates Fumbled the Future of Microsoft Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary
On a Roll: From Hot Dog Buns to High-Tech Billions First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest:, The: A Silicon Valley Novel Random Excess
Show Stopper! The Breakneck Race To Create Windows NT And The Next Generation at Microsoft The Leap: A Memoir of Love and Madness in the Internet Gold Rush Digital Hustlers: Living Large and Falling Hard in Silicon Alley
In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams
The Macintosh Way Microsoft Rebooted: How Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer Reinvented Their Company Speeding the Net: This Inside Story of Netscape and How It Challenged Microsoft
aol.com: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Nethead, and Made Millions in the War for the Web dot.bomb: My Days and Nights at an Internet Goliath The New New Thing: A Silicon Valley Story
Burn Rate: How I Survived the Gold Rush Years on the Internet Accidental Empires Revolution in The Valley
The Anatomy of Buzz: How to Create Word of Mouth Marketing Death March Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully
Rules For Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind The Manager Pool: Patterns for Radical Leadership
Ben & Jerry's: The Inside Scoop : How Two Real Guys Built a Business with a Social Conscience and a Sense of Humor The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing : Exposed and Explained by the World's Two The Goal
Critical Chain Microserfs The Product Marketing Handbook for Software
Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything The Business of Software: What Every Manager, Programmer, and Entrepreneur Must Know to Thrive and Survive in Good Times and Bad
A Random Walk Down Wall Street 21 Dog Years: A Cube Dweller's Tale Inside Intuit: How the Makers of Quicken Beat Microsoft and Revolutionized an Entire Industry
Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry Making the Technical Sale Selling Air
Crossing the Chasm Four Days with Dr. Deming: A Strategy for Modern Methods of Management Amazonia
The PayPal Wars; Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR High St@kes, No Prisoners The E-Myth Revisited
The One Minute Manager Getting to Yes Essentials of Accounting
Influence Geeks: How Two Lost Boys Rode the Internet Out of Idaho The Portable MBA
The Little Red Book of Selling How to Win Friends and Influence People