Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Assumptions are good

Assuming something is absolutely fine. In fact astute and calculated assumptions help us in moving forward with greater agility. Assumptions are made based on prior experience and from information currently available at hand. Gut feel, rough estimate and assumptions strongly twine with each other. When people say ‘don’t assume anything’ they are downplaying the power of assumption.

Assumption needs to be verified against data asap so that sanctity of assumption can be checked. If assumption is found to be wrong then the premise which helped in reaching that assumption should also be checked so that we won’t use that premise in assuming something else. If assumptions are not cross checked then human mind will take those assumption as base facts after certain time interval and assume something on the top of the existing assumptions. Then deviation multiplies and probability of entering into dangerous assumption zone increases.
Go ahead and assume. Then verify.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

No Limits

There are few statements/events that hit me like a thunderstorm. They happen  once and come back again and again in various manifestations. One statement of that calibre is: “Limits, like fear, are just illusions” said by Michael Jordon in his Hall of Fame speech.

I play football on Sundays and generally gets tired after 45 mins of game. But one day I promised a friend that I’ll score one goal. I couldn’t score even a single goal that day but i played with extreme fanaticism. After 45 mins my mind told me its time to get tired but I smothered that voice by saying, “Not yet, still not done for the day” and to my surprise that voice never raised it ugly face again. We played for 1.5 hours and concluded the game but i still had the vigor to play for some more time: time till i score, time till am done for the day. I realised that limits are just mental, they don’t exist. When you are on a mission then time, pain or any other hurdle in the universe ceases to exist.

Go find the cause for which you can run, find your mission because once you get that everything else will fall in place on its own. You will find time for it anyhow and you won’t feel pain when you are running towards it. Steve Jobs has rightly said, “ If you haven't found it yet, keep looking, and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it, and like any great relationship it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don't settle.”

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ocean of Comments

“Its nice”, “Good one”, “great job”, “fantastic”, “congrats” and other  similar appreciative comments currently forms majority of the comments on web. Appreciation is a great way to encourage people. These comments give feedback to the concerned person so play a vital role in talent recognition ecosystem. But when appreciations just flood a website and drown other useful information then it is injustice to the website users (including the same appreciative people) because other useful information comments got buried under  'good job' comments.

Possible Solution: An app (or a  browser addin/plugin) can be created for filtering comments. App can process all the comments on a webpage and filter them in 4 major buckets namely appreciation, critique, 'related info' and spam. 
Appreciation bucket can club all the congratulatory comments; critique bucket will contain critics’ comments; spam bucket will club junk comments and totally non related info, and 'related info' bucket (the most important bucket) can contain comments where other users have added their own opinion and extended the discussion to higher level or some user commented other contextual useful info. 

Let’s give people whatever they are looking for. In today’s Google-world when people don’t want to waste even a single second in scanning non-useful information and search even for smallest thing, comments should also be filtered to let people read whichever bucket they are interested in. 

Once we started filtering comments this will impact the comments writing behavior as well. People interested in the real discussion will  feel  encouraged and will participate more as they will know that their opinion will not mobbed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hiring or Creating Tribe

You sell coffee and if your salesperson is drinking Tea, that too from other vendor, you need to speak to your hiring folks, Now.
You sell chocolates and if your salesgirl --on being asked which choc is best--says, “you can take anyone, they are all chocolates after all” then you are not going too far.
Your salespeople are your face to the customer. They are the real brand and create far more impact than your brand marketing gimmicks. Customers perceive you as they perceive your salespeople and subtle signals (watch salesperson not wearing watch) are not so subtle as they create long term impressions.
Find people who love what they do and give them reason to join you and be your advocate. Don’t just recruit based on economical bargain.
Advocates create Advocates.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Data god

Data is omnipresent and omniscient, we just need to collect it and decipher it to make fruitful use out of it. Data is still collected and used but currently people treat data as sacrosanct and gather it only for valuable and important functions. This is because data collection and data mining is still a costly affair. Competition in this area will soon make it economical, in fact dirt cheap and then Data will take seat of 'The God'.
Someone rightly said anything that can be measured, can be improved. Let's drop the sacrosanct aura behind Data and make it widely available, reliable and widely used. Data needs to be collected for every possible measurable thing. Let's collect it for time-cost usage of toll bridge, usage of a particular road lane wrt time, traffic pattern, ATM usgae, stationary usage in a company, usage of a company pantry, productivity pattern wrt to days/months/festivals/mood, and data for every other imaginable thing. The more you collect data, the more you analyze, more you implement, and the cycle goes on. Collect data in your daily personal life, collect it in your business, urge your employer to do it.
Though Market forces (primarily demand and supply) will weed out or flourish products/services but market forces are continental drift slow. Data will prevent mistakes or make amends faster by highlighting the glitches asap.
Data should and will be widely published and should not be stashed by some proprietary behemoth. Now Atheists and Agnostics have something to believe in.