Friday, December 18, 2009

Idea factory

If we were allowed to take pictures of people while down loading crap, the pictures will surely find a place in the ‘elated’ or ‘nirvana’ section of the exhibition. It is complete bliss.

I believe restrooms are one of the best places where ideas can originate. It was not reported for obvious reasons, but I am sure Newton was taking a load of crap out under that tree when that apple fell on his head. And when they say Archimedes ran naked in the streets shouting ‘Eureka’ he was not coming out of shower as they proclaim, but was sitting in his crap room I tell you. How else do you think he could have thought ‘density of any material can be identified by the water it displaces.

Think about it, you are alone, relaxed, relieved, happy, free from all sort of inhibitions (come one you have your pants down your ankle what more can you do to feel free) the perfect state of mind I believe to think fresh, think out of the box ideas. People can be most productive when they are happy, and when one sits there, with every passing minute one is left with lesser crap in one’s body than before. So many people think of so many creative things in that 10 minute seating, but all those thoughts go down the drain (pun intended) with a gushing sound.

I have been a strong supporter of placing notebooks and pens inside all office restrooms (hygiene can be taken care of through facilities department and IKEA). It can surely prove to be as fruitful as Google’s “20% personal time for all employee” experiment. These notes will help in the well being of employees as much as providing new fresh thoughts for the company.
And I only speak from experience. I have learned to tie a tie knot while sitting in there, have learned to whistle sitting in there, have thought of process improvements for clients, have made lists of things to do before I die, watched classic movies, finished assignments, prepared presentations, been on chat consoling friends out of suicidal tendencies and all this while I was sitting in there. In fact I have made so many important decisions sitting in there that the pot seat is one of my favorite places to be in when I have to think about a critical decision. It is my thinking seat.

My ‘notes from the restroom’ notebook run into several pages (filled with some random sketches alongside some well defined lists and diagrams etc.) and have helped me a lot in various aspects of my life, personal and professional. I hope a time would come when companies and individuals realize the potential of this location which can be so useful for idea creation and management. I hope you have realized that by now.

So the next time you head toward the restroom don’t forget to carry a notepad (writing on toilet paper is difficult, trust me) and don’t laugh on someone who is doing the same.

Happy crapping.

PS: I am enjoying writing, it takes a lot of effort, but I realize I have a lot of stuff I can write about (will anybody enjoy reading is totally different question). Btw, this is a serious thought.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fly like a seagull ...with your feet firmly on ground

It has become awkward to crack those ‘life sucks’ and those ‘I am an underachiever’ jokes

Success is like a heady cocktail. And for first time drinkers, it can give a very bad hangover in the morning if not handled properly. My mom is a Hindi teacher in a high school nearby and she has a way to share her wisdom through one-liners, which she seem to have for almost every situation in life. I have grown up learning from these adages. This is what she told me the day after I got my ISB admit.

“Udaan jitni bhi unchi lo, dhyan rakho ki pav zameen par hi rahe” ..which translates to (However high your flight maybe, keep the feet firmly on ground)

Message is loud and clear. I had long believed that modesty can be seen as one of the most attractive qualities in a person but it is not something everyone can enjoy. Not everyone is eligible to be modest. You need to posses something worth praise in the first place before you can be modest.

When he was not the star he is today, Shahrukh khan could easily stand on the seashore and shout “ill rule this city someday” and nobody thought it was immodest of him to proclaim that. It would be a different matter if he does that today though.

It has been around 3 weeks since I seem to have ‘become someone’. Yeah I know it sounds funny but that is what I keep receiving congratulations for….’becoming someone’ (‘good for you, akhir kuch ban hi gae”). It feels good to know that someone acknowledges your efforts but at the same somewhere it sounds insulting. It would really suck if my only identification from here on will be that I went to ISB

I am not sure how this next year is going to change me. I am going to be in company of some very intelligent minds, going to encounter some very different schools of thoughts and am scared of what will I bring to the table for everyone's consumption. I am sure each and every one present in that batch will be an achiever in his/her own rights and each will have an interesting story to share. The oppurtunities to know, to share, to grow, to fall will be immense. I expect to learn and unlearn a lot of things from everyone but amidst all the noise which is going to engulf me in next one year, I hope I will still have the strength to make those quite conversations with myself time to time. Keep reminding myself of what defines me, and what has been important to me. I hope I will manage to maintain an identity, an identity which will be independent of the college I attend, courses i chose, groups I associate with, job I get or friends I make. The me, when no frills attached, the person me.

Year 2009 has given me a lot, personal and professional, and in many ways changed my life. Year 2010 will be a test to see how I handle those changes. For a while it had been an empty room, a wandering treasure hunter, a long drive to nowhere, a fruitless tree. It will be interesting to see how things change when the room is filled up, the treasure is found, destination arrives and fruits weigh down the tree.

Funny how the more the number of fruits there are on a tree, the more it stays closer to the ground.

PS: I should admit that it takes a lot of time for first time writer like to me to put together thoughts in a coherent manner and still I am not really sure if this can be called coherent. I can see that I have a lot to learn but with time I hope to improve. Hope I’ll be back soon.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

and we meet again...

It’s been a while I visited this page. As I said in my first post, I would not write a blog even if I was getting paid to write one. This proved true as for the whole last year when I was back home in India, writing a blog was the last thing on my mind (I am assuming that automatically conveys that it was never on my mind). Few of the reasons I am back at this page today and giving blogging a fresh start are listed below
· I have received admission for the one year MBA program at ISB and I believe writing things down will help me keep track of the changes that happen because of this new event
· I know that I don’t write well and maybe blogging will be one of the steps to improve the skill. I am assuming I will have to write a lot during and post MBA anyway
· I am back in the US for a short assignment and even after all the work, parties, movies, photography, books I am still left with time to kill and blogging may help
· As we grow, we change, and our beliefs change, and so I have changed as well. Contrary to my earlier beliefs I am not opposed to sharing my opinion now.

I don’t know how often I would be able to update this, and what purpose, if any, it would serve to people reading it but the above reasons are enough for me to give blogging another shot. It is 10:30 now and time for me to get back to finishing ‘se7en’ (left it midway to write this blog), and then read the book, and then maybe watch some tv and finally catch some sleep before I go to work tomorrow to sit in front of a PC and wonder why haven’t I quit yet.

Hope to be back soon.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Un-used sales team..

The greatest marketing strategy is not all about advertising. It’s true the customer will want to buy the product he sees and knows about and advertising plays a role there, but as we learn more about consumer behavior we realize even the best advertisements do not convert into a sale.

In a country like India where owning a particular ‘brand’ is still a luxury afforded by only 10-15% of consumers, what makes a consumer buy a particular product is still unanswered to large extent. In this article I want to talk about an unused marketing team which every company has and which can help you sell your product in ways better than any advertisement campaign you plan. I am talking about the retailers. The retailers are your best salesman. They are at the end of your product supply chain and hold a distinct advantage as they are the ones dealing directly to your customers. They have a unique advantage over any of your marketing teams as they are the ones who finally sell your product. These are your best friends and will serve you good in business if you take their proper care.

I remember when I was a kid helping dad with his business; my job was to sell watches. I would say 8 in every 10 customers came in to buy a watch and 2 came in to buy a particular brand of a watch. And out of all the brands I had with me, for those 8, I decided what I want to sell based on what will be my margin. I am not saying I was always able to convince but the potential I had to make that sale was used by some companies better than others. The first 2 got sold for their advertisement, for the brand, but from the rest 8 who just wanted watches, I could sell to 4 the brand which took proper care of me. A 2% increased margin and the company had me fighting for their product. And margins were just one of the ways of their appreciation they gave me to fight their case.

It will still take time for the retail industry to give us the malls and the power (sometimes forced) to choose what we buy. But in majority of Indian households it is still the grocery store owner who decides what brand of toothpaste and soap that is used. I agree it is not applicable for all products but you can’t undermine the potential he has in convincing the customer buy a particular car, a particular washing machine, a particular soap, toothpaste, watch and so on.
So the next time you review the salary structure of your sales team or budgeting for your marketing strategies, do include a thought about this unused sales force and how much you want them to be on your side.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

chatting with extremes

It was a rather exciting weekend as far as my online chat avatar is concerned. I had couple of very amusing discussions with two people who really were at two different extremes in their respective lives right now.

On one hand was this smart ass friend who was busy, in fact tired of, chasing girls away. This was after months of making them feel like a princess and sincere efforts to charm them to fall for him. But even with being sure of repeating this process again in future, he was totally confused on the reasons of his actions.

On the other extreme was this guy, who was leaving no stones unturned to allow someone make a fool of him after falling madly in love with her. He was really sure that she is the one for him. As sure as she was that he was not the one for her.

The irony is with both the fellas, the one who is sure about things is in a mess and the one who is as confused as any could be a mess too :) where do one stand, which path is the sane one. What happened to the good old concept of vanilla love?? How many are into that anymore..?? I chatted with both hearing them out for hours...and couldn’t help wonder how come all this reaches this level. How come you not know that someone doesn’t love you the way you do and back off before it hits you so hard that you can’t act sane? And how can you play everything around you like a game where you first run and touch and then run in opposite direction. First drawing the 'subject' and testing whether they run towards you so that if they do not you run some more to touch them. It's like all trophies will be won but not kept.

Now that the weekend is over...and when I look back to these conversations…it occurs to me that i may have been laughing at the foolishness but it was no joke and things were serious...these are real people and how much ever i say that "dude, its not that complicated"...i think it is... I think I don’t have the ability to comprehend why people do insane things for love...or why people put themselves in situations which have no logical explanations…(oh me and my love for logics J)

It’s getting difficult day by day to keep believing “life is not as complicated as you think it is”, it might just be as complicated as you think. Love might just be as complicated as they say.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It has been four months I have not been home and i feel it......I think when you are away from home it always happens. try and run back to your past..a past which doesnt exist in the same form as you remember...the games you played as a kid ...the fun believe the things are all the same as they used to be .....waiting for you to come back and pick up from where you left

When you travel away form home you not only travel the distance but the time ...

I wish I could be in two places at one me working hard in any part of the world making the sure the other me is happy and enjoying being close to home.

I dont know what i miss more the things i use to do or the people i did them with..

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Potential topics to write on...

random thoughts which will should convert into an article someday..

1.why don't we have paper and a pen/pncil insde the office restrooms...

2.People say "yar kuch padhai nahin kari" just to be cool...

3.Dont worry about non renewable sources of energy, trust the human intelligence, much before we run out of them we wil find alternate sources of energy...Devil's advocate

4. Its all in the name...identity the most important asset you have ..