What strategies will fail?

Here is a quick pre-litmus test to help us understand the success possibility for any strategical implementation. It is widely applicable from product development to HR policies, from marketing campaigns to personal life. Not to forget, exceptions do exists and this posts doesn’t address the exceptional cases, rightly so.

  1. No follow up plans: Any strategical implementation which doesn’t include a follow up plan will most probably fail, as after implementation some parts may need a pruning. Sometimes the whole plan may need a revamp and a delay can do catastrophic damage. A follow up plan needs allocation of resources for required period. Depending on the investment and the importance of the implementation, the follow up plan should be given priority and resources over other visible tasks.

    Some examples:

    • When a website goes for a complete revamp, Google analytics becomes our best friend. The company that does the changes without allocating enough resources for a follow up might not see the true benefit. When Google decided to show 30 results per page the traffic went down by 20%, a follow up plan ensured the user satisfaction, they rolled back to 10 results per page.
    • Implementation of new HR policies without a follow up plan can create internal (hidden at surface level) dissatisfaction generating negative energy zones in a company. Company should allocate resources for follow up plans with the implementation to avoid such negative zones.
    • A major product launch without a follow up plan can fail in spite of of its great features. I wonder whether amazon’s mechanical turk had a follow up plan, now it is full of spam. They should have tried making it free review (using significance factor) or doing something different.
  2. The Perception of Unfairness – Communicate – Being perceived as bad is equivalent to being bad, as good and bad is just a perceived feeling. So it is very important to communicate your vision in simpler terms. Example: A company changing its flexible timing to more fixed timing can create dissatisfaction but once the purpose is clearly stated, the dissatisfaction level can be lowered. Sometimes even a good move is perceived as bad, ERP implementation is one such example. After every ERP implementation companies spend a good portion of money on change management, educating people about the changes and its benefits with their new role.
  3. Approach can make all differenceMary Poppendieck’s Team Compensation is a great example of right approach where she involved the team in discussion instead of going by the traditional compensation way. It is the approach that made the difference. Remember satisfaction is just a perception. Sometimes people are satisfied with less if it is done through right approach. A right approach can make wrong right and vice-versa a wrong approach can make right wrong.
  4. Trust factor – Trust factor (in terms of product we call it brand factor) plays an important role. This needs to be build with time. For a trusted HR dept, implementation becomes easy as people accepts it trusting the dept. Also the openness in the system keeps the improvement cycle active. Its an attitude based implementation.

There are more things but I am keeping it short. If I have to choose one of the above, I will choose the follow up plan over anything as it will ensure other.

Romantic fever is over left is uh ah and ouch

Thanks to all who responded to my post “Girl: Aji, you are hot“. Finally the romantic fever is over and some uh ah ouch is still there. WOW, My romantic fever is the most commented post so far on this blog with over 25 comments.

I took a complete rest on Sunday as well, no work at all :), taking medicine for body pain. Thanks to all for the wishes and prayer. A new week, new challenge – appraisal system.

All about SVN – subversion

I can’t imagine life without subversion. If I look back, I can still see we maintaining different “change log files” to track the changes and doing a daily local backups to preserve daily changes. Every other week we used to have (almost unpleasant) discussion, “who made this change?“, “What happen to the previous copy, do you have a local copy?“.

What is SVN?

Definition says, “open source version controlling system using a center repository with great unique features like directory versioning, true versioning, atomic commits, versioned metadata, plugin with Apache for new network mechanisms, consistent data handling, efficient branching and tagging and hackability”.

According to me, “It is my personal programming assistant, I do the logic and program and it takes care of the rest”. I can’t image programming with SVN.

SVN functional cycle

Let the image do all the explanation, I have tried to keep it simple. Do let me know if it is not clear.

SVN - Subversion cycle

Summarizing the red-bean svnbook

Some of the commands that will take care of 99% of your svn work (for details read the book).

  1. SVN Checkout – (shortcut svn co) This will create a private copy/local copy of the project for you.
  2. SVN Commit – (shortcut svn ci) Publishing your changes to main repository, making it a part of main work. You can commit any number of files at one go. Use atomic commits as much as possible.
  3. SVN update – (shortcut svn up) Update your local copy with the latest changes done to the main repo. Remember you can also do a svn update -r445 (445 is revision number, a previous snapshot of the porject).
  4. SVN diff – compare two revisions (revision is like a snapshot of the project). See SVN cat also.
  5. SVN log – this shows the log message done with SVN commits. Always do verbose comments with svn commits for YOURSELF.
  6. SVN add – This is to schedule a file/directory to be added with next commit. It is not added to the center/main repo till next commit.
  7. SVN delete – schedule a file/directory to be deleted with next commit
  8. SVN copy – creates a duplicate copy but it maintains the copy history. The best part is certainly the copy history very useful for branching and tagging.
  9. SVN move – makes like simpler, it is just a rename (I used to do a cp, del, svn add for one command).
  10. SVN status – I think I use this command more often that any other command as it doesn’t do anything. It shows you all the changes that has happened to your local copy. (If you are interested in understanding, read how SVN maintains a local copy of checkout version to track changes). You will A (svn add),C (conflicts, you are changing something that is already changed),D (svn del),M (this is with svn up, new changes syncing to your local copy),X (I have never seen this),? (not a part of SVN),! (SVN expecting a missing file),~ (some changes to the attribute of the object), L (Locked files) and I (ignored) labels for changed files.
  11. Svn revert – undo the changes done to the local copy. Works well with svn diff.
  12. SVN cleanup – When subversion operation (SVN writes to a log file before doing the final task and removes when done) are interrupted (stays unfinished) in between, the log files are not deleted.
  13. SVN propedit – Ignoring some cache folders can be helpful svn propedit svn:ignore ‘cache/temp/’ –editor-cmd ’emacs’. This will open emacs editor, enter * (or any rule) to ignore all and save.
  14. SVN info – Print information about paths.
  15. SVN Merge – It applies the changes unlike svn diff. Useful when you do branching or tagging. I haven’t used it in a convincing way as branches for our projects did not make much sense to me.
  16. SVN Switch
  17. SVN ignore
  18. SVN mkdir
  19. SVN blame
  20. SVN propdel
  21. SVN propget
  22. SVN proplist
  23. SVN resolved

Some admin help

  1. SVNlook – (subcommands) author, cat, changed, date, diff, dirs-changes, history, info, log, propget, proplist, tree, uuid and youngest.
  2. SVNadmin – As an admin you can’t live with out. (subcommands) create (to create the project), deltify, dump (when you need to get a part of the repository as a new repository, very useful when some revisions are corrupted, you can use dunpfilter with it), hotcopy, list-dblogs, list-unused-dblogs, load, lstxns, recover (very helpful when nothing else works), rmtxns, setlog and verify (most of the troubleshooting starts and ends with verify).

Also read about fsfs (name of a Subversion filesystem implementation) and its advantage over Berkeley DB-based implementation. Then there can be a 2 GB Apache problem (which it is solved with the latest apache releases).

Hope this will give you an overall summary of SVN – subversion.

Making books participatory

Making books participatory?? Books once written is written for ever, rest are editions, how can you make it participatory? I know you are webby, are you asking to create a wiki out of our books? We know you are not well, this is what happens when a busy brain gets extra rest, get working on something useful Aji?

I am not surprised by the above comments as such comments are a part of my life ( I remember when I told by teammates and seniors that I am going to create a better multiuser blog that existing wordpress mu, or when I said I am going to challenge Google and blogspot).

What made me think so?

Here are my observations :-

  1. I was reading the SVN book again which is a printed copy of THE svnbook and I saw a lot of white pages which are unused (equivalent to waste).
  2. Even after reading books we have doubts and there are some examples that helps more. Sometimes a senior can teach you something in 5 mins which a book might take over 5 days. (PHP installation is one such example)
  3. Some facts may be outdated leading to a wrong conclusion.
  4. Some may be pure opinions which you may not agree validly.
  5. I have seen the strength of a wikipedia.

This basically apply for library books or books used by more than person but it is very valid for your personal collection as well. You always learn more than that is documented in a book.

How to Make books participatory?

This is more valid for knowledge based books. Without any further delay here are the things that can be done:-

  1. Authors should leave some space with each page for users’ comments.
  2. Library should issue multi-colored pencil, use as many dark color pencils as possible and give one for each user.
  3. If enough white spaces are not available add some pages in between chapters. That will increase the scope of participation.
  4. Award good contributors time to time.

This is a shortcut to turn an offline book into offline wiki. You will not resist it if you believe in wisdom of crowd. Will it work? I don’t know, try if it works for you :). There is fun when you try and fail and life pity on us when we fail to try. Enjoy experimentation.

Girl: Aji you are hot

This Tuesday was just another day but wore formals (not jeans) after really long. With a light blue shirt and a black trouser I left the office, for a change without spending one hour at TT court. Even after having a class on debt, credit, insurance, mortgage and other financial topics for over 6 hrs I was feeing ok.

While back home a beautiful girl (her eyes had it all) sitting next to me started talking to me. Here is a part of the conversation :-
beautiful eyes

  • Girl: Are you on orkut?
  • Me: Yes, how did you guess?
  • Girl: You holding few online articles and I am smart at guessing (inside: almost everyone is on orkut ha ha).
  • Me: You are very smart (did I do a course on featherbedding)
  • Girl: For sometime I was experiencing a special feeling sitting next to you (Her eyes were as innocent as one can get)
  • Me: (me blushing, wanted to say, “This generally happens”) oh really!
  • Girl: You are hot!
  • Me: (blushing to the skies) hmm … (falling short of words, wanted to do an instant neologism)
  • Girl: Looks like you have fever, your body temperature is quite high.
  • Me: (Fallen off world trade center) Yes generally I have, I mean, I think I developing, I am developing a good fever, thanks.

Oh sorry for this bad way (was it creative?) of telling you that “I AM HAVING HIGH FEVER FOR LAST 2 DAYS” (this is a repercussion of high fever and no tasks, suffer with me, he he) . Sorry, if I am not replying all the mails, if I have canceled the interviews and rescheduled tasks. Doctor recommended a complete 4 days of REST (by charging a 1k fees for one approved/tested sentence, “You are OK”). According to Maslow’s REST is a basic need but surely much forgotten one. Hoping to join back tomorrow.

Do comment if you have read till the end. I will appreciate your creative comments for this not so uncreative post.

Update: Also read the comments they are quite interesting, I never expected such a response.

About my Google Human Intelligence Layer

This is an answer to Saikat’s query about my Google project. As many know that Google has tried this (adding human intelligence layer to their searches) many times with various models, some are included at http://www.google.com/coop/. Custom Search Engine had a better revenue model too but still it may not do enough (I had requested for few features but no response yet). There are more improvising possible on Google results.

My Research is based on:

  1. When I search for XYZ keyphrase, the top sites have some similar characteristics which should be grouped using human intelligence.
  2. When top 10 sites are explaining XYZ keyphrase again and again, it makes the SERPs dull. Searcher should only get new information with every site.
  3. I believe Google is not the ultimate search engine but certainly the ultimate search engine algorithm so I am making this on the top of Google SERP. I will start where Google ends.
  4. Some of my experiments had fetched extremely useful information for selected sites. Thus I will be using distributed human intelligence, may be site based distribution or a group of sites based. I get thousands of search everyday, which in itself is a great achievement for phase 0.

Have you already started it?

When Saikat was there I was working on it but later decided to give it a pause. So no more implementations in last 2 months. The existing implementations (around 5 sites) are giving good results, so checking the logs weekly. But I am sleeping over the idea to start with a better 0.

How about telling us something more about adsense?

This is going to be a great system, I keep thinking about it. Every time I think of it, my energy level goes up. I will not be able to disclose it as it is the real model that will make the Human Intelligence layer a possibility. Also if it goes well, every single site on web will become a part of this network. Here the webmasters will be empowered and will have every control over the ads. Another hint: You will be able to include sites even without site owners’ permission (sometimes). I am very excited about it.

Praying to God and sleeping over the idea. Currently I am busy rewriting the Intranet book on “Web business“, I wrote this book some 3 years back but this time I will be including better web 2.0 examples and a lot more marketing concepts. I had already rewritten some marketing metrics for web, BCG and GE matrix for keyphrase analysis, which is a part of webmasterworld library.

Mobile Phone can cost you a Job

Recently I came to know of an incident where a candidate who, made to the final round after technical interviews and other HR rounds but, lost the opportunity as he did not bother to pay attention to the basic guidelines for mobile phones, “Switch it off before it switches someone off“.

The final round of the interview was with the Director of the company. The interview started off well but when the candidate got a call and he decided to attend it, using his unlimited talk time, caused him the job. The basics are more important and should be kept. I had few team members who did this 2 or 3 times before they learned it the harder way. Keep your mobiles in silent mode at important places like Churches, Interviews, meetings (with seniors specially) etc. As I sometimes say, “It may be difficult to impress someone with 100 goodies but easy to get you wrong with one basic baddy“. Similar are the SMS format emails written to professionals. I get job applications through emails in SMS format (sir, can i get a job in ur company i am really cool plz give me a chnce). My first impression is, “when you even don’t know how to send emails to a senior official for your own need (job) then how can I expect you to be good with my company products“.

It is not that people who write SMS format emails or who picks up a call during interview are not worth but it is the doubt that is created. In some circumstances, if you have a doubt then you do not have a doubt (esp for jobs), reject. Always keep the basics strong as it is not a matter of one mistake but an attitude to life. Good night, hope to write atleast a blog post next week. I am enjoying the marketing classes with new recruits. I myself is doing (learning) a lot of comparison with web business and the Kotler rules which can be redefined.

Don’t like my blog? Do this then

I am off today. Monday and off? Yes, we had interviews and server audits for last 4 weeks so could not get an off. Taking a full time off, Watching videos (I just downloaded a 1 Giga of video today from ted.com), listening songs but sorry no eating (taking and giving rest). What do you do to the sites you don’t like? Ignore? Here is another option.

Here is what you can do to the sites you don’t like [Click here to do it to My Blog]. May be the political parties can do the same to Orkut.

Enjoy Monday, I am going for another sleep (already had 8 hrs of sleep today, 1:30 am to 9:30 am), you can feel jealous I am generally gifted (thats what people say), I can sleep for hours and hours. God bless.

Orkut Banned in India

“Orkut Banned in India” – Will this ever become a real headline? It can happen as various political groups are preparing a move to make it happen. In India power still has power and political parties are synonyms for power but surprisingly we still are the largest democracy. Orkut has been under contriversies for various reasons. My previous post lists some of it http://www.idealwebtools.com/blog/orkut-scams/.

Today while going through Times Now I ran across their major coverage, “Controversy over Orkut ban“. They were juicing the popularity of Orkut by taking live opinions from various parts of India (In Kolkata they were at Flury). The news says,

The popular internet networking site Orkut was recently under attack by Shiv Sena workers, who went on a rampage after disparaging remarks made against Shiv Sena Supremo Bal Thackeray & Marathi icon Shivaji were posted on the site. The Sainiks vandalised a cyber cafe in Thane, Mumbai and demanded a ban on Orkut because of the remarks posted on one of its forums, essentially group blogs that allow people to write and post their views on any topic – without censors.

Here is my take on the controversial issue :-

  1. Orkut is not a site, it is a culture or a concept. Even if someone bans the major instance of Orkut concept, orkut.com, there will born another instance with equal power.
  2. Orkut concept is blended with social web (web 2.0) and is inseparable. To ban Orkut concept, one will have to ban social web.
  3. Is there any communication model that doesn’t carry cons. Isn’t mobile phone helping terrorists?
  4. “The Sainiks vandalised a cyber cafe in Thane”????? What did the cyber cafe guy do? Who will repay his losses? Even after this you expect people to love you not hate? People reserve the rights to love or hate anyone. If there are hate groups then there are bigger love groups as well, see yourself http://www.orkut.com/UniversalSearch.aspx?q=Bal+Thackeray&pno=1&searchFor=C or http://www.orkut.com/UniversalSearch.aspx?q=Shivaji+&pno=1&searchFor=C but still people reserve the right to express their opinion. There is a well saying, “Greatest loved elements are highly hated too”.
  5. Isn’t social web empowering the true government, the people? More that the cons I see pros. Now people are THE power.

How to tackle it?

  • Stop vandalizing wrong people. If this carries on then much connected society can show its true power too, remember the blogspot ban.
  • At a proactive level setup a committee to look at the bigger picture, which can keep the web clean to the possible extent. Creating awareness and better online laws are needed.
  • At a reactive level ask Orkut to ban the group
  • Look at the 100 positive things about Orkut and forget about one or two, that happens everywhere :), Enjoy Orkut.

Similar Ban proposals for various other social web

  • Youtube could be banned in India due to a supposedly offensive video of Mahatma Gandhi doing a Pole dance and other ungandhi like antics. The video features a comedy skit by a Hawaii-based Non-Resident Indian, Gautham Prasad, who has now apologized to the people offended by the video.
  • Blogs banned in India over misuse, later rectified.

What is your take on it?

Other related posts

  1. Chirkut Vs Orkut – My first post on orkut.
  2. Is Orkut’s Memetic strength a misinterpretation? – About Orkut scrap book and Orkut’s misinterpreted strength is finally interpreted.
  3. A list where orkut is used for drug/pic-scam/hate-groups.
  4. social networking flood

Common Blog API Access URLs

If you are a programmer and work on Blog products then this post makes a lot of sense to you. I am (and was) working on few products for blogosphere and our programmers had mixed API Type for different Blog system. I found a cool document by Google and here it is for all our new programmers. It will act as a referring doc for me. Taking an off tomorrow so expect a lot of changes and posts from me.

Blog System API


Blogger http://YOURBLOG.blogsome.com/xmlrpc.php
Conversant MovableType http://YOURBLOG/RPC2
Drupal 4.4 + MovableType http://YOURBLOG/PATH/TO/xmlrpc.php
GeekLog Blogger http://YOURBLOG/blog/

JRoller MetaWeblog

Manila MetaWeblog http://YOURBLOG/RPC2
MovableType MovableType http://YOURBLOG/PATH/TO/mt-xmlrpc.cgi
Nucleus < 2.5 MetaWeblog http://YOURBLOG/PATH/TO/nucleus/xmlrpc/server.php
Nucleus 2.5 + MovableType http://YOURBLOG/PATH/TO/nucleus/xmlrpc/server.php
PLog MetaWeblog http://YOURBLOG/xmlrpc.php
pyblosxom MetaWeblog http://YOURBLOG/PATH/TO/cgi-bin/pyblosxom.cgi/RPC
pMachine Blogger http://YOURBLOG/pm/pmserver.php
Quick Blog

MetaWeblog http://YOURBLOG/MetaWeblog.aspx
Roller MetaWeblog http://YOURBLOG/xmlrpc or http://YOURSITE/root/xmlrpc
Serendipity MovableType http://YOURBLOG/serendipity/serendipity_xmlrpc.php
TextPattern MetaWeblog http://YOURBLOG/PATH/TO/textpattern/xmlrpcs.php
TypePad Blogger http://www.typepad.com/t/api/xmlrpc.php
Typo MetaWeblog or
WordPress MovableType


Xaraya MovableType http://YOURBLOG/PATH/TO/ws.php?type=xmlrpc