Tag Archives: iPhone

Tragedy of Being the Bridge Between Two Worlds

By Ankit Chandra

barbed-wire_2451037b

I’ve realized lately that I have officially crossed in to the land of No Man’s Land..

Well, is it a bird? is it a plane? hehe no its MsBA in Technology Management. And this is the tale of two lands.. Technology and Management and the narrow No Man’s Land in between them

I have never been a purist. In fact ever since I learnt that Nature loves entropy, I never got around liking the idea of being a pure anything. No pure cricketer, No pure artist, No pure singer, No pure Guitar player … and the list goes on till I came to this: No Pure Technologist, and No pure Manager.

So far so good. There are many types of me around in the world. Yes yes, I know what you are mostly thinking about. But keeping perverse sexual connotations apart, its good to be jack of all trades and master of being just that! Or so I thought till I visited the countries around my narrow strip of land.

Country: Technologasia

The citizens here usually looked just straight ahead. For them everything around them was an element of a list (or array, or set, or Class, or Struct) of equations, or data members, or neurons or digital signals. I visited the capital of this country called sillicity (pun intended). I walked up to the first person I saw the town hall, and here is the discussion I had:

me: Excuse me, do you know any good restaurants around here?
Sillicity citizen: I don’t know. I am just follow this path to get to my place of work, and use my super brain to find the quickest route to my work place. So I don’t have time to look around for restaurants.
me: Oh so you don’t eat out at all?
Sillicity citizen: You silly man, I am a technologist. I eat drink sleep equations, gadgets, numbers, and circuits. (angrily) Where are you from?
me: (taken aback a little): umm… I am from Technology Managementsia.
Sillicity citizen: I’ve never heard of that school. I am sure its not ranked anywhere, and therefore I am sure you are a much lesser human being than I am. Why do you even need food! Your quota of food should be used to feed fish; which we eat to sharpen our brains!

And then he walks away.. on his Segway…

Saddened by this sudden indignation, I go to the next iPhone store, buy an iPhone and look up good restaurants. Enjoyed the food, and walked south (in some context, south of quad), and reach

Managementistan…

There were my people walking around, and they WERE looking everywhere. Dressed very nicely and had a fixed 8 cm x 5 cm smile on their faces. I walk up to a pretty looking citizen.

me: Hello, could you please direct me to a restaurant around here?
Manageristanian: (sizing me up) hmm. I know there is one somewhere here, but I don’t know how to get there. It’s a pretty nice place. They charge 5 times the price they do in Technologasia, and have exactly the same food! I love their standardized processes which they use to make the same food everywhere.
me: Oh but why would I pay 5 times the price for the same food?
Manageristanian: That’s because they serve it in a very fashionable bright red plate. Thats very today you know… But since you ask such a dumb question, where are you from?
me: umm I am from Technology Managementasia you know, the… (She cuts me abruptly)
Manageristanian: oh yah nevermind, you coders. Never get the big picture of anything. Just find some food round the corner and satisfy ur hunger and try to learn from our existence… We live by example.
me: oh I am sorry to have bothered you..

I walk away, open my laptop, hack into a nearby store’s server and get some free coupon codes and use them to get me a good suit for free. I similarly get a free coupon for the restaurant have the food for free, and ride my segway home…

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Why Don’t Indian Companies Take Their Web Presence Seriously?

By Ankit Chandra

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My friend Gaurav Sharma (name changed for privacy) asked this question. He is the CEO of a leading Indian web solutions company, so his question has got to have a good mix of bewilderment, frustration, anxiety and most worryingly, facts behind it…

This is an interesting question, and when I began exploring it, it unravelled into a many folds of Indian society, and economics which I think we all see, but maybe overlook. I come from a unique (remember everyone is unique? 🙂 ) background of Anthropologist father, Zoologist mother, Bachelors in Engineering and MsBA in Technology Management.  So I tend to have diff perspectives (which more often than not, confuse me more than anyone else) on issues close to my heart. This one sure is: after all, it is things like these that make India look technologically inferior, and not up with the rest of the world etc etc.

So back to the question. I will try and put out my reasons for the question in separate posts: to save you from information (read opinion) overload, but I hope it makes an interesting read.

Perspective 1:

Lets begin with an example.

Any person who grew up in South Delhi would know of Lodhi Sports. This is a shop we respected as one of the few ‘up market’ sports showrooms in Delhi. In the early 90’s it was rare to see exercise equipment in many shuttered shops. This one was all glass and had a wide range of exercise equipment. 20 years later, Lodhi Sports has expanded to many shops around Delhi, in big shopping malls etc. Now look at their current site: http://www.lodhisports.in . It doesn’t even open currently.

Now, its target market very much overlaps the active internet users category in Delhi, so I think it does make sense to at least have a functioning site! That leaves us with two options, either the provider is off the track of the consumer doesn’t want it. As in most cases, I think its the chicken and egg problem.

Reason 1: Coming of age of Indian consumer.. A little more distance to go…


Generally this is what I think other people call as maturing of a market, and I agree. Indian consumers have only recently begun taking a computer for granted in their living rooms, and fewer of them, between 3-8 crores have begun accessing the net actively. The definition of active here is using the internet at least once a month. It is pointless to say that if a person is only ‘accessing’ the net once in a month, he/she is definitely not comfortable looking at it as a utility. It seems more like a picnic; once a month, to try out something ‘new’.  Hence, it seems, that an average Indian internet user is still not getting on to the net to use it for transactions, and information gathering for purchases. That, will take time. Maybe something similar to plastic money and time taken for its traction in India.

Perspective 2:

But then I think internet and cell phones came up almost at the same time in India. And there is no points guessing who won the race. So whats the deal there? The utility of cell phones, and initial investment for cell phones is much clearer to people. And hence, the reception to cell phones is like a raging forest fire. And people indeed are benefiting from it! Whether Internet provides the same amount of value to Indian people is something I cannot comment on. I think it does, given the kind of stuff people in other parts of the world have done from it, but then one can disagree very well on this.

So then why nature chose cell phones over Internet? I think first because every thing about cell phone was very well modularized and tangibly managed. prepaid cards made it easy, compact, hassle free, and decoupled from any kind of red tape, for people to start making calls cheap. Internet revenues on the other hand still depend on credit card swiping. The infrastructure needed for cell phone companies to work on was revolutionized into the ‘Indian model’ now so widely studied across the globe. Internet however, could not come up with its own India strategy. Maybe all the smart brains were still busy making money from the cell phone market. Then the content delivered on cell phones was inherently local, unless of course you call an international ‘talk to me’ lines. Here too, Internet lagged much farther behind, because of its ‘broadcasting’ model vs. the peer to peer nature of phone calls.

Reason 2: Lack of macro-environment support and luck?

2 technologies, equally promising, but ultimately having very different paths…

Ultimately, while cell phones transformed themselves into the Indian context very well by providing cheap calls to lower costs, lightening speed information on prices for farmers, cheap way of keeping in touch for long distance relationship lovers, for moms to check up on their ‘in school and not bunking’ kids, and free sms etc etc, Internet couldn’t really strike the same chord in the daily lives of Indians. It could not go much beyond educated, and computer literate people to the non english speaking housewives, moms, lalajis, and Gangu Bai for the betterment of their daily lives.

Does it mean Internet is irrelevant to India? Absolutely not; it just needs to wear colors of India over it, and ultimately go beyond rediff and naukri. The sites like Saleraja.com, mouthshut.com are getting into different spheres of our lives, beyond the traditional demographic which was being served…

Love, Life, Career…and Mommyhood

Another must-read from Gurulakshmi Iyer- Hait. This time she writes about the new and most adored addition to her family, who is not a part of her life but LIFE itself! How confusing and emotionally-racking the transition was from a full-time professional to a full-time mother, but how rewarding it feels at the end of the day! 

Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.
– Elizabeth Stone

Mom1

It’s 3 in the morning! I wake up hearing the meek cry of my baby. He feels famished at this hour of the night. I know this and get up immediately. I have been religiously following this sleep pattern for the last two and half years now.

Around 3 years back, we were ecstatic to have achieved our so-called ‘biggest priority’. We bought our dream flat. At that point of time, our priorities were mostly material possessions…an iPhone, a sedan, a SLR camera, etc. Little did we know that the sudden news of an addition to our two-member family will change the whole perspective of our lives. As a couple, we have thoroughly enjoyed our courtship and marriage. Weekends were usually spent either sleeping till late afternoons or partying hard till early mornings. It took us a while to digest the fact that we will have a small little thing amidst our inconsistent schedule. And once that realization occured, everything seemed to change.

I would feel like eating a pastry at 1 in the night .Hubby dear, who is usually very fussy about his sleep, actually wakes up and drives around to find some shops which remain open at that hour. I must say, as a pregnant woman, I have offered prayers to all the Gods and Goddesses in the world. Not that I wasn’t spiritually oriented before my pregnancy. However, the news enhanced the piousness and spirituality in me. Or perhaps, I was scared to have a tiny little being inside me.

Oh, did I mention the pampering I got everywhere I went? Now that’s something worth mentioning.

With that bulging belly, people treated me like a VIP. I got into a crowded bus and there were at least three people offering their seats to me. Whenever I went to the grocers, two or more people would come running to push my trolley. My beautician, who never had appointments for me during weekends, used to arrange a separate chair for me to enjoy a massage without any discomfort.

mom2

And then after nine months of suspense, pampering and fear came the D-day.  You’ve just delivered the baby (Caesarean or normal, the physical and emotional pain for both are every bit excruciating) and have just sworn off men for life. You catch yourself staring at the dyke that caused you to go through all the shit. Yes I’m talking of Messers Tiny Feet itself. You stare at those tiny eyes and wrinkled skin and try thinking charitable thoughts. A little finger wriggles. A mouth opens into a yawn. You’re all ready to ooze over it. Then it oozes over you.

Office meetings and Training programmes are now bartered with nappy changing sessions and feeding sessions. I tell you, one becomes an expert in nappy changing within 3 months of motherhood . In fact, you learn to fathom when t change the nappy by your little ones’ facial expressions. As a working professional, I must admit I could never make out my boss’ mood by simply looking at him 😛 but suddenly reading faces comes naturally and becomes a hobby.

Feeding bottles, baby lotions, teether, bathing tub, potty seat, walker, pram, tricyle, high chair and loads and loads of toys are major portion of our recent possession which we proudly display, in the name of furniture. I might forget to wear the right top for the jeans or a matching salwar for the kameez for a family dinner but I don’t dare to forget the bibs and high chair for my kid.

mom4

Experiencing the milestones of growth were so tempting that I did not give a second thought to letting my career take a backseat just to be able to become a full-time mommy for his initial growth years. Obsession with material possession has been replaced by the latest kid’s gadget toys and newest child related insurances and investment.

All the pains, sleepless nights, uncombed hair for months and a laid-back career life does not really matter when my child finally comes running to me hugs me with all the love in the world. The pleasure and the satisfaction of raising the child are more than euphoric! They are priceless!

After love, life, marriage and career……..for me, it’s that phase of life called Mommyhood!!!

Gen Y Workforce – Are They Taking The Workplace To The Next Level?

Gen Y Cover

The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”
-Albert Einstein

An iPhone or a Tab on the work desk, with Twitter and Facebook accounts getting refreshed. Junk food packets with cold drink lying on one corner of the desk, you know this is a millenial’s desk, part of the Generation Y crowd. They are determined to sync the work place as per their global ,always plugged-in culture . And believe me, the Gen Y workforce will challenge the work place like no other and change the paradigms.

With cross cultural diversity being important in the workplace, the new age demands for generational diversity too. With popping judgements, the millennial are always ready with a solution. The very base of the tenure paradigm is challenged. Knowledge and experience do not seem to be correlated to age. Whether or not the Gen Yers swipe in the office, they are 24/7 available online on various networking sites to offer solutions. Cloud computing is the in-thing and virtual office is what they intend to set up.

This tech savvy cadre works on the JIT model. Best practices are followed as long as projects are carried on and no time is wasted in planning and detailing. Instead the process is replaced by co-ordination.

This extremely active multi task capable work force prefers autonomous yet connected environment. Collaborative and collective leadership is what they desire and they challenge the control and command an exclusively management style of working.

As a HR professional, when I think about the complex nature of such workforce, I feel the challenges are high in terms of retaining the Gen Yers. Gone are the days when people start their career with a organization and toil and moil in the same organization till retirement. The next generation professionals always have two to three options to choose from and loyalty to one organization is something that cannot be expected out of them.

While retaining is a challenge, engagement is a bigger one. Customization and Tailor making is the only solution. Fixed models and standardized SOPs may dampen the productivity and engagement. Newer job designs, fresher skill metrics and attractive benefit programmes may be the call for the day.

Collaborative culture building is going to be the KRA for OD practitioners. Communication mechanisms not only with-in the organization, but with the external stake holders and customers have to be built in as a practice. Appraisal is yet another area that the Gen- Yers would definitely want to challenge. The standard PMS will have to be replaced with the 360 degree method of appraisal.

There is always resistance with every new wave. Newcomers invite skepticism and hesitation. And this in turn gives room for development. Diversity is the mix and inclusion is making the mix work in the desired way!!

P.S. While I write the above article, it is imperative for me to let the readers know that I belong to the same set of Millennial crowd I talk of above.

debates command etc

Love, Life, Career…and Mommyhood

Another must-read from Gurulakshmi Iyer- Hait. This time she writes about the new and most adored addition to her family, who is not a part of her life but LIFE itself! How confusing and emotionally-racking the transition was from a full-time professional to a full-time mother, but how rewarding it feels at the end of the day! 

Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body.
– Elizabeth Stone

Mom1

It’s 3 in the morning! I wake up hearing the meek cry of my baby. He feels famished at this hour of the night. I know this and get up immediately. I have been religiously following this sleep pattern for the last two and half years now.

Around 3 years back, we were ecstatic to have achieved our so-called ‘biggest priority’. We bought our dream flat. At that point of time, our priorities were mostly material possessions…an iPhone, a sedan, a SLR camera, etc. Little did we know that the sudden news of an addition to our two-member family will change the whole perspective of our lives. As a couple, we have thoroughly enjoyed our courtship and marriage. Weekends were usually spent either sleeping till late afternoons or partying hard till early mornings. It took us a while to digest the fact that we will have a small little thing amidst our inconsistent schedule. And once that realization occured, everything seemed to change.

I would feel like eating a pastry at 1 in the night .Hubby dear, who is usually very fussy about his sleep, actually wakes up and drives around to find some shops which remain open at that hour. I must say, as a pregnant woman, I have offered prayers to all the Gods and Goddesses in the world. Not that I wasn’t spiritually oriented before my pregnancy. However, the news enhanced the piousness and spirituality in me. Or perhaps, I was scared to have a tiny little being inside me.

Oh, did I mention the pampering I got everywhere I went? Now that’s something worth mentioning.

With that bulging belly, people treated me like a VIP. I got into a crowded bus and there were at least three people offering their seats to me. Whenever I went to the grocers, two or more people would come running to push my trolley. My beautician, who never had appointments for me during weekends, used to arrange a separate chair for me to enjoy a massage without any discomfort.

mom2

And then after nine months of suspense, pampering and fear came the D-day.  You’ve just delivered the baby (Caesarean or normal, the physical and emotional pain for both are every bit excruciating) and have just sworn off men for life. You catch yourself staring at the dyke that caused you to go through all the shit. Yes I’m talking of Messers Tiny Feet itself. You stare at those tiny eyes and wrinkled skin and try thinking charitable thoughts. A little finger wriggles. A mouth opens into a yawn. You’re all ready to ooze over it. Then it oozes over you.

Office meetings and Training programmes are now bartered with nappy changing sessions and feeding sessions. I tell you, one becomes an expert in nappy changing within 3 months of motherhood . In fact, you learn to fathom when t change the nappy by your little ones’ facial expressions. As a working professional, I must admit I could never make out my boss’ mood by simply looking at him 😛 but suddenly reading faces comes naturally and becomes a hobby.

Feeding bottles, baby lotions, teether, bathing tub, potty seat, walker, pram, tricyle, high chair and loads and loads of toys are major portion of our recent possession which we proudly display, in the name of furniture. I might forget to wear the right top for the jeans or a matching salwar for the kameez for a family dinner but I don’t dare to forget the bibs and high chair for my kid.

mom4

Experiencing the milestones of growth were so tempting that I did not give a second thought to letting my career take a backseat just to be able to become a full-time mommy for his initial growth years. Obsession with material possession has been replaced by the latest kid’s gadget toys and newest child related insurances and investment.

All the pains, sleepless nights, uncombed hair for months and a laid-back career life does not really matter when my child finally comes running to me hugs me with all the love in the world. The pleasure and the satisfaction of raising the child are more than euphoric! They are priceless!

After love, life, marriage and career……..for me, it’s that phase of life called Mommyhood!!!

4 Reasons Why Blackberry Beats iPhone Hands Down

blackberry-10-vs-iphone-5

 

Now before you bring out the knives to kill me, at least listen to my reasons for beating down your iPhone. If the two C’s Convenience and Comfort were all that you needed from a smart phone, don’t even look beyond the Blackberry

All of my friends want me to buy an iPhone. They think it will change my life. Really, a phone can change your life? I thought the only game changers were what you successfully do in office at home. Anyways, that is the last thing this topic demands so let’s get back to it. Not only friends, even people I meet for like 3 minutes, tell why should I change my Blackberry to Steve Job’s latest gadget and then I get a good dosage on latest additions to the gadget.

But I have always had my reasons for not changing my blackberry for any other smartphone. Here are four of them.

  1. A real keyboard: Even Eric Schmidt uses a Blackberry for this. Yeah, you heard it right. Eric Schmidt does not use an Android smartphone, even though he sits on the board for Android. And if you still don’t believe the efficiency of this, try getting in a race with me over typing with your iPhone. I bet that not only I will be twice as quicker but also twice as correct (because of the gibberish you will end up writing on that phone of yours).
  2. BBM: This was one of the reasons I picked this phone. I was always attracted by this feature since I first saw a Blackberry. It is this app which tells me when my messages are delivered and then read and is also free regardless of how much I send. Yes, I know you would debate of the watsapp available on the iPhone but the last I heard was that it was going to become a paid app soon.
  3. The Indicator Light: So you want to tell me that I take a phone which does not show me if I have an unread message. Not I then, find another customer. I am someone who does not keep peeping inside my phone every 5 minutes so unless an indicator shows me I have unread messages I will preferably not touch my phone for a while. My Blackberry has a red light which keeps blinking till I actually end up reading the message or the mail. For example I leave my phone for a while, my red light will then tell whether there’s something new without having to look for myself.
  4. Lack of Bluetooth: No really, I want a Bluetooth to share music, videos and a lot of other things with friends who have any other phone. Now who has it, my Blackberry does, where as an iPhone does not. Why, they think it will increase piracy of iTunes, nonsense; there are enough download sites available for free in the market, to just go and download.

The reasons above might sound simple yet make a phone efficient enough for me to hold on to it, at least till Research In Motion is still in existence (a friend recently predicted it’s end soon).