I poop therefore, I am

Guy’s always mentions about “Eat like a bird and poop like an elephant (Birds eat upto half of their size and Elephants poop 150 pounds a day)”. he also said “I poop therefore, I am”. He was the Evangelist at Apple and was into sharing a lot of things.

I poop therefore, I am

It is so important to give away for free. Many of us are too busy in “creating things like God” and “working like slaves” or even “demanding like Kings” but hardly have time to Poop (sharing it away for free).

I remember a Bible quotes (Ecc 11:1-3),

“Cast thy bread upon the running waters: for after a long time thou shalt find it again. Give a portion to seven, and also to eight: for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. If the clouds be full, they will pour out rain upon the earth. If the tree fall to the south, or to the north, in what place soever it shall fall, there shall it be.”

How true it is! People are not interested in free giving aways but are very interested in getting free give aways. Before giving we calculate the return whereas when we do what is needed the return does come. From my personal experience, Pooping is very useful for your career too (Long term).

Reasons why Pooping (Sharing for free) is useful

  1. Whom you know is more important than what you know: Pooping allowed me connect to a lot of like minded friends. Pooping allowed me to chat with industry experts. I got in touch with them when I pooped (sometimes free blog advices, sometimes free work etc) and we are still in touch.
  2. Pooping reflects what I ate: Only when I poop people will come to know what I am eating (or what I ate).
  3. It does bring gift too: Because of the free help that I provided I have got many many gifts. I got free memberships worth $150 per quarter, ppts of the latest seminars in US, great information and access to tools.
  4. It builds trust and customer: I got my first customer through a friend of mine who used to ask me questions on a web forum with different name. Because of your writing people can know more about you and trust you and your work.
  5. It makes you better: Only when you speak and share you are criticized and improved. There were many occasions when people have corrected my concepts. Even one of my earlier SEO mentor came in my life because of Pooping.
  6. Written pooping allows you to focus on new things: Blogs have saved me so much time. I write it once and then I forward the links for similar queries or trainings.
  7. Written pooping allows others to recommend you: A good blog of yourself do encourage others to recommend you to others.
  8. I poop there, I am: I pooped in an interview, took around 30 mins class so that the person can understand some important concepts. After few years the same person has brought me clients. He accompanies the person to our home.

So do poop freely and enjoy the best gift called LIFE.

When did your boss become a boss?

(My apologies for not writing regularly, I am little too caught up with my new book, dawebmarketing.com and other initiatives)
I was reading “So When Did Your Boss Become an Authoritarian?” at bnet and thought of writing few lines here. I heard different stories about their bosses from many of my friends. They had huge respect for their bosses. (I am not naming the company because I am not sure of the facts but yes, I heard the same story from many people) They even recruited more than 100 people at one go. It was expanding and was a symbol of great success. But after few months people started leaving, the place became a horror story. Hiring and firing became a common daily routine. The reason, “our boss changed”. The company still exist and now they have even put a big advertisement to recruit new people. I wish it was one odd company. I head these same stories with different company name associated with it.

Some possible changes:

I can point some of the possible changes and reasons behind it:

  1. Tracking people: As the company grows, the bosses of small companies want to track everything happening. They will put more rules, reporting and everything possible to track the activities not checking the consequences and the need. Reason: They are not sure if everyone is working hard. Why it hurts: There are people who work by their own and are 80% responsible for company’s success, they get pissed off with these new things. The people who don’t work still don’t work.
  2. No time: Bosses have their own choice of work. They sometimes forget to give time to the added responsibilities. Earlier these problems did not exist, it poped up because of new developments. Reasons: Bosses don’t like this work. Why it hurts: Some people don’t answers to questions, which means a lot to them. Solution: Delegation of work.
  3. You changed: I liked this post my Narayan Murthy Sir. When you were young, new and had only one goal and that was to make your company grow, your boss liked you. But when you started asking money and time for your family, things changed. “He is no more the same person” says the boss and changes his perception towards you. He changed because you changes. Or Both changed because time changed.
  4. Communication gap: This is such a huge topic to talk about. Communication can be divided into 2 parts: “Visible” and “Invisible”. “The boss’s smile”, “Boss’s eyes”, “actions”.
    “trust” everything falls under invisible communication. When the company is small these communication happens more often. You understand your boss better but when the company grows the verbal communication takes over the invisible communication. The gap starts building up. Solution: Have lunch with them, have parties together, meet up with them, take classes etc. Even you can visit there house once in a while or start a family day in office.

There are more points, let me leave it for you 🙂 have fun.

Digital Avenues (web dept) recruiting for some positions

Last one month had been a great experience. From “Test your leader” session to recent whole day meetings, I enjoyed every bit of it. I am still handling a lot of products, a mix of products and services is making it even more fun. Now a lot of things are organized and we (the web department) are ready to expand. We will go for bigger expansion after 3 months, this month we want to put the pillars in place.

Current openings are:

  1. Link Leader: We want to develop a good team focused on building links for our clients. One who will put the best practices and will train the new members.
  2. Content head: We want to redefine how most of Indian companies design/write content on an outsourcing contract. We will offer the best services. Our content head will put the practices and process in place.
  3. Tech Leader: Automating most of the non-intellectual repetitive and developing some cool plugins and tools for web world. As usual, innovation will continue.
  4. Link Developers: We need few link developers as well.

I will get the complete profile from HR and will post it here. If you are interested in joining us, please forward your CVs to aji.issac(att)digitalavenues.com. We will surely have a lot of fun.

Update (june 05):

Thanks for all of your emails. I have tried to answer as many emails as possible, will try to answer others. I am almost done for tech leader, content head and link head. Also got some CVs for Link developers. I will only be recruiting new people for link developers as I want to experiment something here. After 3 months, we will go a bigger recruitment wave, keep watching.

Do this vs Do this because

When you become leaders/managers you tend to use “Do this” phrase and rightly so as that falls under the profile. “Do this” is a very important phrase to get the things done but there is a better effective phrase, a little costlier and time taking but with high dividends, “Do this because”. I have seen that most of the managers don’t take time to explain the reason behind the steps taken. It applies to entrepreneurs/HR managers too.

Lets take an example: “Don’t use Personal Yahoo messengers in Office”, this is so obvious, we all know the reasons as well. But still many a times we ignore our subconscious knowledge. These are different approaches to get the work done in a better way.

  1. Do it method – “Don’t use Personal Yahoo messengers in Office”
  2. Do it because method – “Did you know that a small message only disturbs you for 3 seconds while it takes another 10 seconds to get back to work, after observing some team members we are not allowed to use personal yahoo messengers any more, Sorry for inconvenience to some”.
  3. Help us decide method: – “Did you know that a small message only disturbs you for 3 seconds while it takes another 10 seconds to get back to work, after observing some team members we are in a doubt to understand the use of yahoo messenger in our office. Should we be using it? Do we have any major advantages for it?”

There are various methods to make the same work effective. Approach is a very important part of our life. As we grow up in ladder, our decisions starts affecting more people, so we need to be using a better approach all the time. This is not diplomacy but a good approach allows you correct your mistake as well. Sometimes after following the third method “Help us decide method”, we may allow yahoo messengers again in office.

There is another aspect to this, when you describe the “because” part, the “do this” part becomes obvious and people tend to do it as a practice rather than a rule. Good night, will try to post more next Saturday (my official off days 🙂 ) .. Happy week ahead

Why content writers have no future?

Oops, I did step on some toes. May be it wasn’t well communicated but let me put it in better words. Hey, no biggy fights, I have too much work to worry about. I will certainly put my thoughts to clarify it. Was pending for quite sometime. Many have raised this, many objected and I stand with the responsibility to explain it.

Some ground work before I answer the many concern, “Why did I say that content writers have no future?”
no future for content writers

Some traits that are always useful:

  1. Public speaking.
  2. Writing.
  3. Listening.
  4. ….. few more.

Writing is a trait that is always useful, with or without the tag “CONTENT WRITER”. Before jumping into conclusion lets visit some of the points.

Let’s define “content” using content categorization:

  • Easy learning topics: There are some topics that can be learned easily and are not connected with many things, like say education. We all have some knowledge/experience and more importantly an opinion about this topic.
  • News/Events/Moments coverage: There is one event that happened, 80% of the information can be gathered from the event itself, no background/previous knowledge required. Just the right skills to present it artistically.
  • Connected subject: IT, Finance, Marketing, HR and major topics fall under this. THIS CAN’T BE LEARNED EFFECTIVELY IN ONE DAY. One need to develop an opinion about it. The problem with this category is its connectivity with many things. Lets take an example, if one need to write about “Web site usability”, he/she must know how web works, how pages are rendered etc. Lets take a better example, say if you need to write about refinance, it is very easy to write what is refinance and different aspects of it but if you really need to write an article that will be used then you need to pen down in a practical format (which is almost impossible to learn for a content writer, it needs long experience or help from experts).

What does industry say about content writers (in general) and how they work?

A topic (generally connected type content and sometimes easy learning topics) is given to them to write about it. They will search across the web and will gather enough knowledge to pen down an article. Deadline 1 to 2 days (max 3 days), amount paid $1 to $10 (max). As Kamanshish said, “they are suppose to write something about the topic, thats it“. As he said, “it is not possible to produce quality work in that short time or with that budget“, just check out some of the freelance websites and their work. THEY ARE PURELY MAKING SEARCH ENGINES more spammy and thus OUR LIFE DIFFICULT. THEY ARE SPAMMING THE WEB with unwanted/useless content.

Then there are technical writers (background education required), financial writers (CFAs and other financial degrees), Person development writers/trainers and topic-expert writers. They do a wonderful job with their field. A technical writer is not a good financial writer and vice-versa.

Simple Acid Test to check content writer quality for that topic

One and only one acid test to determine your present standing as a content writer on any topic.
Do you have an opinion about what you write?

  • Yes – Carry on and enjoy a future as a topic-specific writer.
  • No – Sorry you will die off as a content writer, please don’t spam. Either you study enough or buy two ox and two cow.

How to become a content writer designer?

There are many technical, financial and topic experts with immense knowledge about the subject but they don’t know how to put their experiences using words. A good content designer can help these topic experts design their content, this is a pure blend of engineering and art. Example: I have a great logo designer, he makes amazing logos but when I asked him to pen down an article on logo designing tips, he wasn’t able to frame it properly. Moreover people like us are grammatically incorrect most of the time. A good content writer is the one who:

  1. can write useful content on easy learning topics and news/events etc.
  2. who can work with an expert to produce a good content for connected topics.
  3. understands how people read content and knows current trends of writing.
  4. who can simplify the content.
  5. who has confident grip over linguistics.
  6. who knows how to check the performance of their content and follow up to achieve the goal.
  7. who can arrange/rewrite the content in a more logical way.

This wasn’t an easy post for me, it took me more time than I thought.

What did you achieve in last 5 professional years?

Ok, this is a post that will humble me even further. God was so good to me that for last 5 years I was able to live a life worth looking back and thanking God. We all work, we all create quality products and services but I am happy that I with the help of many were able to help many do their work smartly and create better products.

What did you achieve in last 5 pro years
(Last 5 years of professionalism)

After leaving Grmtech these are some of the comments (in random order) that really kept me motivated:

  1. ” Wish you all the best. I have learnt so many things from you rather from your blog. Today I can’t stop myself from writing this comment. May god bless you all the time and be the best again.”

    Susmita Chatterjee (She worked with me for some months. Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading my blog regularly.)

  2. “I came to know this from your blog only. I read your blog regularly because I find it interesting and informative. Sorry for being so late in posting comments. I hope its never too late to begin.”

    Manjit (She worked with me for very few months, we enjoyed the work but it was a big surprise to hear from her. Thanks for remembering me)

  3. sometimes people make a huge difference in the environment surrounding you… and you are one who does that Sir… i am sure those guys in your new company would realize your true worth very soon… U ROCK SIR!!

    Sir, you made GrmTech the place what it is today. Without you it would have not been the same innovation oriented group of people. Personally you have made me what I am today. I owe a lot to you Sir. I have learned many things from you.


    We will miss AjiNIMC at GrmTech.

    May God Bless You Sir.

    Good luck !!!! (more …)

    Anand Kedia – [He joined as a very young team member and how he is handling a lot of things now. Many hate him and rightly so 🙂 he sometimes is irritating too, I respect him for his initiatives (very few people have this quality) and I wish I could have shared some unwanted experiences with him. Never too late for it. Here I go: “The spirit of communication is not the spirit in which you speak/write but the spirit in which the other person hears/reads you. So always thing of the impact that it will have on others by thinking like others. Thats the only change you need, rest everything rocks except your knowledge level. People respect you for your knowledge, so read read and read and then apply apply and apply and then read read and read and then reapply reapply and reapply” :), he is a great guy to work with)

  4. When I started my career in SEO people use to ask me WHY? Why are you choosing this field, while you are an ETC Engg. and you can get a good job, but when I joined my first job that time I was completely fresher. It was you who taught me the real taste of web and now almost 20 hours of my day goes to web and I am really enjoying it. There are lots of stuff associated with web, and it is also true that you are going to learn every moment of your life. Thanks Aji.

    By Alok (Currently heading a company as CEO, He worked with me on one of the projects. It is great to know that people are creating more jobs for India).

  5. If I look back at those 3 years, Grmtech has been more of an institute rather than a company for me (Thanks to Aji and Sourav Da).

    by Anirudh – It reminded me of some early days of Grmtech where we wanted to make it more like a university to do a very highly work and research. Congrats dude for completing 3 years at Grmtech.

  6. Wish you all the luck and success sir…m sure whrevr u go…u will keep on inspiring people as always

    by Vasudha (We worked together for just few months. People inspired me and some say that I also inspired many :). Great to see your comment).

  7. I know that you have the ability to change the environment when you do not like it…keep it up…my best wishes are always with you [:D]

    by Saikat (he is one of the best lot with whom I am associated with. There was a time when my first 30 mins in office was scheduled for a meeting with Saikat and the topic of discussion was INNOVATION. We worked on many new stuffs. Soon looking to work with you.)

  8. good decision. Sometimes we need to deconstruct and reconstruct certain things in our life. I am happy that u have done so. I believe right now u r quite confident with ur new venture. Carry on, all the best.

    by Susenjit

    Nice seeing you growing up. 🙂 Best of luck in ur life. hope things will turn in ur favour.
    It was great pleasure working with you. I always remember you.

    by Subikar
    [This was truly motivating as I never expected that Subikar and Susenjit will comment on it. I am very very happy they did. Towards the end we did not share very good professional terms. We departed very sadly or in a very unusual way, very rarest moments in my professional career. There comments gave me a lot of energy. Subikar proved that any person if dedicated enough can prove his worth. I recruited him on my own risk, many laughed at him and on me (for my recruitment) as he could not even talk properly. Things changed very, he believed in himself and I in him. He became one of the good performing team members. Ended up doing many work on his own. It was big learning in my life. Best of luck to both of you and thanks for dropping in.

  9. Its great move and we should not keep us away from changes that happen around us. It was great time working with you. Now surely some more people will enjoy your experience and knowledge.

    by Mithilesh [It was good working with him. He codes like an artist, never happy with the perfection of code 🙂 … we have learned a lot together. I will remember him whenever I see a complex regular expression :)]

  10. Wish you a very best of luck for your future. I will always remember your humble support and advise. The knowledge you gave me in last 11 months (not only technical) will surely help me to grow my career graph. 🙂 keep in touch

    Shyama Kant [It was very emotional moment when I left Grmtech. I was helping him to fight the odds in his career. He was improving amazingly. I liked him because of his attitude towards work. He worked very hard to complete things. Soon he will be in different trajectory creating greater products. He was the only person who sat with me when I was a new driver, he is a risk taking guy :), wishing all the best. ]

  11. This is Jayangshu from Kolkata. I came by your blog by chance few days ago and quite liked the post titled “How to decide your new employer”. After that I saw few of your new post.
    But today I ended up reading a huge no. of your old post tooo ( Despite of having my xams tomorrow, writing my last B.tech xam ). And they are really great. Liked some of ur stories too. Keep blogging Aji

    – by Jayangshu Saha [through email…. I should blog more :), thanks for dropping in]

There are plenty more (thanks for all great comments, emails and scraps). I will keep on adding comments from emails and blog posts here. A very special blog post for me. Whenever I will feel down I will read this post.

What did you achieve in last 5 professional years?

It’s people, It’s people who creates. It’s not the Idea but the people behind the Idea. I have always believed in people and got very good returns. When many ask me that “What did you achieve in last 5 professional years?”, I will use this blog post to tell them, “A small group of people who trusted me and helped me grow the products and companies”. This blog comes very handy in expressing your emotions too.

Did I miss your comment, please drop me a mail.

How to decide your new employer?

After I wrote “Questions for your employer (Hiring Manager)“, many people have asked me various questions like what about salary, career and so on. I will cover some more important questions that you should ask your prospective employee.

NOTE: Don’t ask these questions during your first rounds. Wait till you impress the company. Remember that these questions will always be appreciated. It is your right to interview the company as the company interviews you. It’s a mutual relationship. I suspect people who don’t scrutinize a company prior to joining it. I remember a time when after few rounds in a company I had several meetings with their founders, management and staffs, then I decided not to join them for the time being.

Join good company
(Does your company understands you?)

Try hard to join Good companies

There are only few good companies (where you enjoy work and create great things), try hard to join them. Good companies always want good people. Make a good relationship with them even before joining them. It’s not that tough to win competition with good teammates. “Hiring is the key” – Says Jack Welch of GE. Next section will help you answer, whether to join a company or not. It’s not a perfect formula but worked 80% of the time for me.

  1. What is their mission statement? – This reflects a lot about how the company is organized. Ideally people from the top management to the peon should know the mission statement and work accordingly . Many companies work on different things but everything is done without a proper mission statement. I have seen some small companies with great mission statements, it was so clear that you could sense their direction with just one single sentence. For a bigger company, the name brand name covers up the mission statement. For a bigger company, ask your prospective team about its mission. and then Match it with your profile/choice.
  2. Who manages the company? – Different departments should be managed by different people. If the company is a new startup, assume it to be a little messy but they should have a plan to delegate powers to departments. Ask this, “Who manages your HR policies?”, “How are the appraisals done?”, “Who decides the salary increment?”, “If someone is performing extremely well for the company, then ask the concerned person whether the company treats them same way as they treat other employees or do they have a special provision for them?”. You will be surprised to know that many big companies are struggling with these questions. A good company will always try to answer these questions as clearly as possible.
  3. How do you earn money? Who invests in the company? See if they are open about it. If company is not making good money then don’t expect goodies for yourself. Not earning at present is not a big issue but the outline of business plan can be shared (to an impressive level).

Questions about the company?

  1. Five day week: MY SUGGESTION is NOT TO JOIN any company that works 6 day a week. 6 days a week is almost impossible for hard working people. Sometimes people do work 7 days a week if needed but the company that wants its employees to work more than 5 days a week on a regular basis is certainly not a people focused company. One doesn’t need to work XXX hours to complete a task but they surely need to work YYY fresh hours to make it successful, where YYY < XXX for sure. One day off a week keeps employees fresh. The company that doesn’t understand this doesn’t deserve good heads, lend them your hands and legs, brains doesn’t work for 6 days. I seriously mean it.
  2. How many leaves? Compare it with the industry standards. This is also a big factor that you should consider.
  3. Salary break up and Incentives Ask for a clear break up. Promises made is of no use, get it written in black and white. “You will get so and so when so and so happens”, better get it written.
  4. Increments This needs a clear guidelines. I know many who say, “I will get an increment only if my boss feels so“. This needs to change, one should get one deserves. If companies don’t have such policies they certainly needs to come up with one. Also see if promotions are performance based.

Ideal companies rarely exists, so one needs to get some of the mix and keep working towards a company that respects its people. See some of the stories that speaks about its culture (basically some viewpoints 🙂 )