Monday, September 5, 2016

Conservative mindset and its perils

This guy`s blog post seriously got me thinking. Its an article about Indians and their 'its OK' attitude. Being mediocre is one the easy things to be. It is just following the crowd and ending up getting the same results we have been getting since decades. India s medal tally at the recently concluded Rio olympics(2 medals-silver, bronze) is testament of how competitive we are as a sporting nation. If at all we as a nation want to be, we should aim to be the best in the world and not just comparing ourselves against the countries of Indian subcontinent.

Do Indians seriously need generations to change the mindset towards getting away from mediocrity. Following heart and passion are one of the forbidden things for an Indian kid. In Indian cities, the aim of a parent is make their kid the best in academics, without giving them free-time to play, explore their personalities. The exceptions are far and few without this mindset.

The social media is the most interesting phenomenon happening currently. It has never been this easy to get virtually in touch with a company owner or a pioneer of any field. If one has a entreprenual acumen and is crazy enough to float a company, there are channels to get funded provided your idea strikes a cord with the venture capitalists. 

We have a prime example of how a relatively unknown kid from Ranchi make it big in cricket. I am talking about MS Dhoni who was a hockey goalkeeper till 19 years of age. Fast forward a few years, the same guy is captain of India winning India the cricket World Cup. There are many more fields where many Dhonis can be discovered if only we let go of our conservative mindset. We just need to come out of the comfort zone to explore the possibilities...

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Discussion culture

Have you ever noticed that you refine your idea when the idea is discussed. Discussion has such an impact on the thought process. As a story writer, you might want to discuss how your story would end so that you know how your prospective audience will take the ending. If you think of a designing a product, you might want to discuss with industry experts to see if there are already solutions implemented which your product aims to solve. 

A good discussion not only brings different points of view of the participating individuals but also focusses on intricate detail of the subject of discussion. This detailing is very important when execution of the idea is initiated: to plan for the worst/best case scenarios. If you are intending to be in a shoe making business, it would not hurt to discuss who would be your target audience, whether you wish to tie up with Amazon or any other online shopping portals, who you intend to be your brand`s ambassador and some such ideas.

The reader of this post would think: Why I am wasting time on the things I know and do. 

The point I want to drive is discussion as an act or habit is necessary and needed in the short term. In corporate world, one might move to different projects or different companies and you may not see that individual anymore. The same cannot be said when the participating individuals are family. There has to be a healthy discussion or exchange of ideas regularly. After all, one just cannot let go of family that easily. A part of us would want to connect back to them whenever possible.

The entire family of a friend I know of discuss news or their day`s plan over breakfast everyday for an hour. I find this extremely interesting as most of us dont or cant even manage to get a family meal together even in a week. Parents or adults would bring a lot of patience, knowledge and experience in any discussion. Naturally, the kid will be well informed as it need not discover the ways of the world itself. Fast forward to couple of decades of this family`s discussion culture and you would note that the people from that household are thinking outward, forward and for the betterment of themselves or society.

This is exactly the reason why I am definitely for discussion as a culture to be part of any family, organization, faith, religion or practice

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Benefits of competition

Surely everyone likes success. Be it successful companies/brands or humans. Success comes as a byproduct of doing something awesome, by overcoming competitors/competition. 
One just cannot discount the power of competition. After-all, its one of the way to bring out the best among competitors. There is always the runner up in this competition who is equally responsible for bring out the best in the eventual winner.

Being a sport enthusiast myself, I try to see how competition in sports brings out the best athletes. Since this year was the Olympics year, I noted how top countries perform. We were privileged to view superstar athletes like Usain Bolt and Mo Farah in athletics, Phelps and Katie Ledecky in swimming. What made these athletes superior or world class? Its the competition at local, college, state or national level. These competitions are so fierce at all these levels that the competing athletes realize their true potential. 2012 200 meter women`s olympic champion Allyson Felix could not even qualify from USA olympic trials! Jamaican olympic trials finals had all the finalists who are capable of running 100 meter race in sub 10 seconds. Such is the level of competition for Mo Farah as well who is always challenged by Kenyan/Ethiopian athletes. This decorated olympian from Great Britain endured a fall on the track and still managed to win the 10k race

In the PC market Apple and Microsoft were serious competitors. While Apple took the lead with Graphical User Interface(GUI) in operating system, Microsoft had to reinvent and be relevant in the PC business to compete with Apple. Reinvent and come back they did with Windows PCs in the late 80s and 90s. The fierce competition between these technology giants brought down the prices of PCs to such a low level that even a middle class household can easily afford a PC. This type of competition has helped mankind from many such industries like automobile, telecom, mobile phones. I seriously do hope that we get affordable healthcare in the coming future.

So, if life challenges you, do compete! If you are winner, enjoy it or be happy that you have done your best and made your competitor realize their true potential.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The power of literature..

There are some art forms which appeal to us rather quickly: dance, videos, painting and all. They are fast to assimilate by us and hence mainstream. And then, there are also some art forms like literature:books, religious scriptures, technical publications or blogs. Literature is a medium which can be used as a tool to stimulate the mind, satisfy the thirst for knowledge in a knowledge seeker. The experience and knowledge which one gathers from reading is unparallel to any other art form. This art form not just take the reading habit forward but also open up the reader`s imagination. The greatest movies of all times like The Lord of the rings, The Godfather, Shawshank Redemption were initially that literature which some movie makers were interested in and used video as the transformative art form to share with the world.

I am concerned about the future of reading and writing. People now are slowly moving away from newspaper, magazines as their source of information and knowledge in this digital age. Instead masses are being force-fed with information from social media unknowing of the credibility of information. As a result, many authors/publishers are finding it difficult to survive or going digital with their products.

Imagine if a person is attending a conference as a delegate or is part of a sporting spectale like the Olympics as an athlete or a sports lover. Video(s) or image(s) shared will not even give an iota of justice to what that person would want to express. Video or an image will just show the highlight or the highs of the event, but will definitely not capture the entire experience. It is like seeing the success of Apple products and disregarding the immense effort or the breakthrough decisions which were done to make Apple products the way it is now. Highlights gives the direction of the story alright, but not the entire story. A reader will be more satisfied to know the entire story and literature definitely meets this requirement. This way we will not loose out on experiences and stories which are to be told and experienced. 

Me being a sports lover, I was especially intrigued to read this biography "Its not about the bike, my journey back to life" by Lance Armstrong. The intricate detailing upto which Lance Armstrong described his training and the strategies which the US Postal team devised to win Tour de France multiple times are the things I enjoyed to read the most in this book. I had never followed Tour de France till then but this book gave me an insight of one of the world`s most gruelling competition. The training which athletes do in high altitude locations to get acclimatized and perform in this competition, how a team safeguards their leader in the peleton(race leading group) so that this leader saves energy for the final dash to finish the race are some such highlights of this book. It is a shame that he had confessed to doping though. Nonetheless, I am very happy that I read the book and got an insight of Lance`s life. 

There are many stories out there which are equally intriguing and there are many more authors/people who have stories to tell and stimulate our imagination. Let us save this art form by reading more books, blogs, encouraging more authors..

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Half year of US life, hoping for more

Coming from India, I was doubtful how my stay here would be in the US.
Since I day I came here, I have been in awe of the opportunities that this country presents and the diversity of people that its home to.
I have not encountered any untoward incident till now god forbid but whatever little I have seen of NY and NJ are nothing short of an education.

From the time one comes here to the US, one would notice that you see more cars than people. People are always in a hurry to get their job done, greet you with a smile even if they don`t know you. Relaxation for people is a quiet drink by the bar, family barbecue or a ball game with family/friends. Its expensive to get a college degree or to get work done. So, one would always see people doing multiple jobs or seek a high paying job to manage their family expenses.

For a person who was attuned to having women settle as housewives in India, I was really amazed and impressed at the tune to which women workforce is in place here. I have also observed that women get more work done faster and are more focussed too. One more thing you would notice about the country is cleanliness. The roads are properly marked out, maintained regularly by the concerned departments and there are designated bins at most places for dumping trash

America is a land of opportunities and land of innovation. One can see innovation in each and every american product which is bought. The furniture bought from Ikea/Walmart can be self assembled by following the instructions, most packages can be opened with minimal force applied by hand, payment of bills by using your mobile as your credit card. The user experience is visible in each and every product we buy.

The people being friendly here is a main reason why I see there are no restrictions on what one can achieve in this country. You can do whatever you want provided its legal. Nobody cares about who you are or what you do unless you are obstructing a way of someone. People are proud of their ancestry or where they have come from and they tell their entire family story if you stimulate this topic with them.

I hope I get to explore and experience the country a little better in the months to come and update this blog regularly.
Until then...