Sunday Dec 20, 2009

The Energy Bus

Posted at my blog - http://www.techmanageronline.com/2009/12/energy-bus.html

Tuesday Aug 26, 2008

Dark Knight, the movie

During our last team meeting, there was a recommendation from one of our newer members that we watch the movie, Dark Knight. Apparently, the team member had watched it twice already and wanted to watch it one more time on the big screen.

Being the fun loving bunch that we are, we jumped at the suggestion. Given our tight schedules it took some effort to squeeze in this activity. Finally, we today trooped into a multiplex nearby and soaked in the action. After the Gotham city experience, we returned back to our office to continue from where we'd left. Must admit that it was an interesting experience.

Friday Aug 22, 2008

Jashan 2008


It is a festive occasion at the Sun India Engineering Center (IEC). We celebrated our Annual Employee event today.This year the event's called "Jashan 2008". Jashan means festival. The event was held on the lawns of a hotel, in a specially erected structure with professional lighting and sound arrangements.The entire show was co-ordinated and managed by an event management firm. T
he program began at around 4 PM in the afternoon and is expected to go on until around 10:30 PM in the night. Buses are available to ferry employees from office to the event venue & back.


The main highlights of the event were the address by the IEC Site Lead, the distribution of the IEC Annual awards (for patents filed, Innovation, Execution, Team work, etc.), entertainment programmes by teams of Managers & Engineers, game show, performance by music bands, singing and dancing & other interesting activities. Not to forget, the freely and plentifully available - good food and drink.


The excitement builds over the preceeding week or two with fun contests and preparations happening in advance of the main event. Different venues are chosen each year. All said and done, it was a memorable event with the Site Lead's opening address, setting the tone followed by the other activities & presentations.

Wednesday Aug 20, 2008

Bowling

Our team's been faithfully taking a break every once in a while to do something off-work. This week we decided to continue our now fairly regular intra-team bowling competition. We got together and after a quick lunch together, went for a round of bowling at the alley nearby.


One fact that bears mention is - for the sake of bowling, we've split our team into two sub-teams and compete against each other at regular intervals. Scores for each match are tracked on an internal wiki page by the respective team captains. There is a lot of cheering (and booing) while the game is on. I must admit, we tend to take our fun, seriously. Here are a couple of pictures of some folks in action.



Saturday Aug 16, 2008

Commoditization

People turn into commodities, when they are considered as inter-changeable units and when employees are valued equally regardless of their individual talents and abilities.

A good description of commoditization, was given by Thomas L. Friedman who states, "A commodity is any good, service or process that can be produced by any number of firms, and the only distinguishing feature between these firms is who can do it cheapest. Having your product or service turned into a commodity is no fun, because it means your profit margins will become razor thin, you will have dozens of competitors and all you can do is every day make that product or service cheaper and sell more of it than the next guy, or die."

This description can very well be applied to professionals. Technological advancements are one of the factors contributing to commoditization. Today's jobs, or at least elements of today's jobs will be commoditized by tomorrow's advancements in tools & technologies. At this juncture, reflect back on some of the hot jobs of yesteryears, their relevance and importance today. When organizations transform from entrepreneurial innovation & value creation to bureaucratic structures, employees transform from creative innovators to non-creative members who are trained to  operate within processes and structures to think and act in terms of defending what already exists.

In such a situation, what are you doing to differentiate yourself and avoid the commoditization trap ? The smart ones reinvent themselves, are constantly watching the trends, riding the winds of change, taking the opportunities that come along to learn, unlearn and relearn. Importantly, do not assume the value of your current skills will continue to increase or even hold the same level.

Friday Aug 15, 2008

India celebrates Independence Day

India celebrates its Independence Day, today. Sixty one years ago, on this day, the first Prime Minister of Independent India said, "At the stroke of the mid-night hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance..... We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again."


India is 61 years young. Today's India is resilient, vibrant and is a nation of over a billion dreams and aspirations, raring to go. The genie of aspirations and unbridled enthusiasm has been set free from the bounds of the bottle to which it was confined.

Keith Bellows, the Editor-in-chief, National Geographic Society had this to say, "There are some parts of the world that, once visited, get into your heart and won't go. For me, India is such a place. When I first visited, I was stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its colors, smells, tastes, and sounds. It was as if all my life I had been seeing the world in black and white and, when brought face-to-face with India, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolor."

India is the 7th largest country in the world in terms of area and the 2nd largest in terms of population. To put that in perspective, India accounts for a meagre 2.4 per cent of the world surface area of 135.79 million sq km. Yet, it supports and sustains approximately 17 per cent of the world population. With over a billion citizens, India is the World's largest Democracy. India is also a free-market democracy with a legal system that, though tends to be slow, is easy for Westerners to understand and works.

Sixty one years of freedom has not meant that life's a bed of roses for its citizens. I came across this interesting observation, which said that living in India was like running an obstacle race. Every day, one is overcoming obstacles all the time, over-crowded cities, corrupt officials, unhelpful yet functional governance, infrastructure short-comings and many such elements that litter the path to progress. It is an ode to the never-say-die spirit, the can-do attitude and resilience of its people that despite all the hurdles thrown its way, has managed to overcome and how. Many of the major global organizations today have CEOs, presidents & leaders who are of Indian origin. In the recent Forbes Billionaires List, four of the top ten richest Billionaires in the world are Indians, a feat unthinkable a little while ago, but today a fact that stands testimony to a growing breed of entrepreneurs breaking free of the shackles of the past and setting their sights higher & wider.

For years, government controls and restrictions, the infamous "license Raj", shielded Indian businesses from foreign competition, isolating them and stifling innovation. But in the early 1990s, the government began to slowly open up the economy. Anticipating an eventual onslaught from outsiders, the country's more far-sighted industrialists decided to modernize their operations. Indian companies flush with cash from a booming domestic economy are on the look out for overseas acquisitions. The number of acquisitions by Indian companies and those with founders of Indian origin have grown by leaps and bounds. Some of the more recent acquisitions that hit the news include - Mittal Steel, the world's largest steel maker and Indian owned, acquiring Arcelor, Europe's top steel producer; Indian Tata Tea (which owns the Tetley Tea brand) acquiring Energy Brands (U.S., maker of Glaceau bottled water and vitamin drinks); India's Tata Steel's $8.1 billion bid for Anglo-Dutch steel manufacturer Corus; Tata Motors of India, buying the Jaguar and Land Rover brands from Ford for $2.3 billion; Indian Dr. Reddy's acquiring German rival Betapharm and many more hundreds of such acquisitions across different verticals and segments each year.

Today, as we stand on the threshold of a new beginning, here's saluting this incredible nation - a nation that speaks over 22 official different languages and several hundreds of different dialects, apart from English which is needless to say the language that connects India to the world; a nation that is an amalgamation of over 28 states; a nation where people follow different religions and where Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and others co-exist in harmony; a nation that is the symbol of tolerance and peace; a nation on the move.

Listen to the Indian National Anthem
Listen to the Indian National Song

Monday Apr 07, 2008

Decision making !

While recently reading up an interview with executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, i was attracted to these words which on the face of it was pretty obvious all along ... "Every decision is made by the person who has the power to make it. Not the smartest person, not the prettiest or the best, but the one who has the power."

It does'nt take long to realize the truth in the above statement. Ultimately the one making the final decision is the one with the power to make it. Is there anything at all that you can do to have an outcome that satisfies you; are you totally powerless; frankly, you are not entirely powerless even when you do not have the power to make decisions. You can do one significant thing and that is - Influence.

How do you influence ? Well, how does anyone influence you ... think of advertisements and marketing pitches exhorting you to try and buy a range of products and services ... which brings us to a fact that all of us need to realize and accept viz. we are all sales persons.


Each and everyone of us, wherever we are and whoever we are, is a sales person, period. Accept it or not, you and I are sales persons. If you are an employee at an organization, your time is one of your wares ... think about it.

Getting back to the subject of influencing the decision maker, a way to influence is to sell your ideas. Whilst this may sound simplistic, there are variables that need to be borne in mind while trying to sell viz. appropriateness, big picture, time, etc. Its also obvious that not all your sales pitches would translate into outcomes desired by you. Its very likely that your pitches may be met with some sort of objection(s).


Another obvious fact is, you may not necessarily be the only one trying to sell and influence. What if decisions do not go your way ? Accept that not all sales calls translate to actual sales. You could at times have the door slammed on your face or a competitor could clinch the sale. Analyze, learn from your experience and move ahead. Once a decision is made, accept it and do whatever it takes to make it work. Experience is a great teacher and over time your ability to sell should improve.  

Signing off this post with a quote by Cherie Carter-Scott ...
"Remember, there are no mistakes, only lessons. Love yourself, trust your choices, and everything is possible."

Friday Feb 29, 2008

An interesting "Chat with God"

Its been a while (well, sadly thats how i've been starting my posts these days !) since i posted anything in this area.

Recently came across a message that my colleague, Swetha, sent my way. I found this interesting and thought i'd share it here.



CHAT WITH GOD!

God : Hello. Did you call me?

Me: Called you? No.. Who is this ?

God : This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will chat.

Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something.

God : What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.

Me: Don't know. But I can't find free time. Life has become hectic. It's rush hour all the time.

God : Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.

Me: I understand. But I still can't figure out. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.

God : Well I wanted to resolve your! Fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the medium you are comfortable with.

Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?

God : Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.

Me: why are we then constantly unhappy?

God : Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That's why you are not happy.

Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?

God : Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.

Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty. .

God : Pain is inevitable able, but suffering is optional.

Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?

God : Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don't suffer. With that experience their life become better not bitter.

Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?

God : Yes. In every terms, Experience is a hard teacher . She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can't we be free from problems?

God : Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks

Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don't know where we are heading..

God : If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.

Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving in the right direction. What should I do?

God : Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.

Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated?

God : Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

Me: What surprises you about people?

God : when they suffer they ask, "why me?" When they prosper, they never ask "Why me" Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.

Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here. I can't get the answer.

God : Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery but a process of creation.

Me: How can I get the best out of life?

God : Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

God : There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is NO.

Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat.

God : Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear . Don't believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live. " Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that took our breath away! "



Hope you find this message useful !


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Friday Nov 09, 2007

Live with the end in mind

The thought of literally keeping  the end in mind while living, and how this regular reminder of the end enables living life to the fullest is the gist of this post. We generally tend to live as though our days were endless, or even if we do have a faint realization that someday our lives must end, it tends to seem to be sometime in the distant future. This thinking holds the potential for us to not value and fully appreciate the importance of each day, of our lives.


Of course, there are days that are memorable and days when we really feel alive. But, how many days of your life would match this description ? Would you be able to say that a large number, if not all of the days of your life that you presently live, are days you treasure, cherish and value ?


I'm reminded of an interesting observation that i came across sometime ago on this subject. Its about a method to remind you to live with the end in mind. It involves a little math ! Answer this question - how much longer do you expect to live ? I mean, how many more years do you think you might live ? Humor me and make a guesstimate. So, what do you expect ? Twenty five years ? Thirty years ? Forty ?


When you are done estimating, translate those years into days. Here's an example just to illustrate what has been talked about thus far - If you expect to live another twenty five years, that would translate into 9125 days more i.e. 25 x 365 days. Take a few moments to reflect on this number. This is your estimate of how many more days you have at your disposal.


Now all that is left is to be regularly reminded of this finite number of days we have left. Again, the observation continues with a fairly simplistic yet effective way to do this ... place as many marbles as the number of days you have estimated in a transparent jar at a place where you get to see them each day. So, in the previous example, we would need to place 9125 marbles in a jar. Now, each day morning pick up a marble from the jar and throw it away. This exercise is aimed at driving home reality & regularly reminding you about the limited number of days at your disposal. Think about it ... what benefits would you derive if you were regularly reminded of the finite-ness of your existence, especially at the start of each day; how would you approach each brand new day especially when you know that there's only so many more days left ? 


In the light of this knowledge, would you still prefer to squander away the days that you have or would you rather choose to live each "remaining" day to the fullest. 


If you're thinking about the scenario where you outlive your estimate and what do you do if and when you ran out of marbles to throw away ... when you realize that you are still alive ! and there's no more marbles left in the jar(s) to throw away, not to worry - that brings us to the final part of the story - by now you would have learnt to treasure each day while counting-down and having reached your estimate, you now begin to treasure each additional day with the grateful thought that every new day is a bonus, a present to be treasured even greatly, a gift thats more than what you expected to receive.


Signing off this post with a thought that you might have heard before, yet seems apt to mention now - Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. What we have is the gift of today ... its called the present. Treasure each moment, every day.


And if you think that your day today is simply gonna be another normal day and isn't special, then this closing quote by Mary Jean, is for you ...


"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return"


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Sunday Sep 30, 2007

To change things ...

... change the way you look at them.



"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."


Sometimes, "paradigm shifts" in the way we think and approach things, circumstances and people, is the need of the hour especially when we desperately seek after change. Oftentimes, we labor hard and long trying to change the outside world & other people, trying to get "them" to conform to our views and ways. In many instances the results of our endeavors are not spectacular either. What else do we need to do to get the "other party" to change ... why does it seem so hard to "change others" ? How about trying to change someone over whom we just might have some extra bit of control ?

"If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth", said Anthony De Mello whose words seem apt in this context. Albert Einstein brings more clarity by saying, "The world we have created is a product of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." Rightly so, each of us perceives and sees the world through our own lens and filters mapped to our "model" of the world we've created and refine as a product of our life experiences and information acquired over a lifetime.

Re-affirming the need for personal change, Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world". It is sometimes more effective to "Lead by example" ... and a point that is worth remembering - Your life is the canvas you have at your disposal.


Are you creating your own masterpiece or are you busy trying to change another's picture ? At the end of the day, how many of us can echo the words of Suzuki who said, "I am an artist at living — my work of art is my life".


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Friday Sep 21, 2007

Inspiring quotes for the day !

Two thought provoking quotes for the MOTD section  ...


The first one by Anthony Robbins, describes the expected level of "commitment-to-act" and the second quote by Goethe, calls for action ... now ! Inspirational thoughts to start off the beautiful new day.


"I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life's greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret." ~ Anthony Robbins

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.  Begin it now." ~ Goethe


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John Morrison

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