Sunday, April 24, 2011

HRM systems diagnostic checklists

For last couple of days, I have tried to get overall idea about appraisal system in other companies and materials about appraisals. While checking, I came across an interesting checklist and warning indicators:

Your organization is more than likely in trouble if any of the following holds true:
  • chronic industrial relations problems
  • no means of resolving employee grievances
  • increasing / erratic employee turnover
  • increasing number of customer complaints
  • no pride in the organization
  • inter-group conflicts
  • no career paths for ambitious talented employees
  • dissatisfaction with pay and conditions
  • unclear job roles
  • no clear performance measures
  • quality is unimportant
  • bad product service / delivery records
  • poor recruitment standards / practices
  • no management development programs
  • no induction training for new employees
  • critical skill shortages
  • inter-departmental conflict
  • you do not know if any of the above are applicable
  • you ignore any of the above

Friday, April 22, 2011

100 spits per minute = Madurai!

Whenever I'd praise Madurai people's helping tendency, others would ask me if I like their idlis or noticed anything peculiar. Like I already mentioned, I don't like Madurai foods.

I had a vague memory that someone said that Madurai people would brag for drinking plain water as they did drink alcohol. But, for me, I was always surprised at they way they spit--more often and unnecessarily.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Madurai food Vs Nagercoil food

There's huge cry that Madurai idlis are best. Having stayed in Madurai for 7-years, I can give assurance that they're crap. Madurai foods (especially available in hotels) are of poor hygiene and poor in taste. But, I always like the people--they're friendly and helping.

My favorite is always Azad Hotel's (Nagercoil, near Tower Junction) chicken kothu parotta. Nagercoil food like aviyal, samba (red) rice, etc are always good and healthy as they're cooked in coconut oil and with high hygiene--even in hotels.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dummies and scapegoats most wanted

Of late I'm noticing that there's a huge demand for dummies and scapegoats. I suppose, this is due to cynical world that is leaning towards sneaky approaches.

I'm thinking like Gnani?

I have noticed some high traffic on my take on Anna Hazare (Published on Apr 11th). But, I'm quite surprised that Gnani's thought (Published on Apr 16th) is close to mine.

Monday, April 18, 2011

English fever and low self-esteem

Chinese may be learning English but they are not switching their medium to English—all higher education takes place in Chinese.
The obsession with English-medium education, particularly for technical and higher studies, is keeping millions of Indian children behind. The top business and professional schools in India remain English-based—their entrance exams are not only in English but specifically test English-language skills. A child in China, or for that matter, Japan or South Korea, does not have to deal with debilitating switch in medium to go to engineering, medical or business school.
it is worth remembering that only four of the richest 20 economies in the world, by highest per-capita income, are English-based. Universal education, not English-medium, is what gives China the advantage over India.
It is also a fallacy that our software success is built on knowledge of English. Israel’s population is half of Delhi’s, yet its software exports rival our own. It is true that many people in Israel do know English, though not many know it well. When I was a manager for Microsoft visiting my team in Haifa, I was surprised to find that the medium of communication—written and oral—within the Microsoft Israel office was Hebrew.
When I was working at Microsoft, Redmond, we flew software engineers from as far away as Russia for interviews. Some of these people did not speak a word of English—I interviewed them through interpreters and they were some of the best hires I made.

Yet, in India, we may overlook talent if we insist on conducting interviews for technical candidates only in English, rather than the language they would be most comfortable speaking. The goal—to evaluate them based on their technical proficiency, rather than their knowledge of English.

—Sankrant Sanu in Opportunities Beyond English article in Entrepreneur magazine, March 2010

When I discussed about the article with Heleena (about 1-year ago), she told me that it's not possible to change low self-esteemed Indians.

Barefoot Steve Jobs and British slaves...

Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc sometimes walk in barefoot in their comapus (I don't know, how I missed this earlier!). They're able to use/market it to differentiate themselves.

Whenever some newcomer or new manager--influenced by British colonial rule, visits our team, they complain about barefoot and casual dressed hackers. For years, I have been defending that they're not intentional but they're geekish. Had I known this earlier, I would have compared Apple Inc culture with our team!

Not to mention that our Online Marketing Manager (who's from London but working in Chennai) never wears suit or tie. He once told me that he wears suit only on Christmas dinner and for funeral.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cabals and cynic bossism -- destroy team

Like I mentioned before, I often used to say that "trust is the binding force and hope is the driving force".

The things that destroy the team I have noted are:


They are always opinionated, push themselves, bypass their reporting people/hierarchy, look for other cabals to understand the "shortcuts", etc. I find these people are quite damaging, they can never trust their reporting people--even though the reporting person is quite rational.

Cynic bossism

These people will never trust their immediate subordinates. They'll constantly spy their subordinates as they're panic and will try to see if they have better subordinate below their immediate subordinates. By doing so, they always damage morale of their subordinates, their spirit for the team, etc. Often these people will have their enemy within their own / peer level than from sub-levels.

Though many times I have noted that these people are quite damaging, till now, I have no experience in "handling" them. Now, I have started understanding how to fix them.

Karunanidhi, Happy Tamil New Year!

For years, we have celebrated Tamil New Year on April 14th. But, the "doctor" Karunanidhi has changed that and willfully declared April 14th Ambedkar Jayanthi--Holiday! The most affected people here are those who work in private sectors.

Sad that government servants aka Karunanidhi's servants are still playing sycophancy

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kids, cartoon, cricket, Rajini, Facebook, Mac

When I was studying in schools, I've noticed that Rajinikanth fans were insane and irrational. Of late, I'm noticing such attitude with cricket fans who take sportive things so serious and take serious things so sportive--moronic. Similarly I'm also noticing Facebook "herdy kids" and Mac fanatics (though I agree that iPhone is better, but can't agree that Mac is better for it's "usability").

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cricket voyeurs on rise

For the sake of record, I'm noticing Cricket voyeurs [sic] on rise.

MBAs Vs Hackers

MBAs Vs Hackers war is always on and hackers win with creating Linux to Firefox internationally. But, in India, coding is always considered to be a lower end job. In the international hacker cult, they code, code and code even at their 60s. In India, MBAs always take a lead saying "anybody can code", so every programmer is forced to "switch" to leadership role. Another problem with India is that there is no "real hacker" comparable with International cult.

I have been lamenting this for years and smelling the "gap" for years. I've consoled myself with "Learner, Hacker, Idiot" tag in LinkedIn profile. Recently I noticed some guys who branded themselves as hackers when they're bashing MBAs in Quora. Having impressed by their "attitude", I checked their product and found nothing better than StockFox.

Some hacker chauvinistic links I'm fond of:

Top Indian web startups

Disclaimer: This list contains some of our team's projects

Sites that are useful and usable
  1. - created by a single person and serves useful to quickly find availability in Indian trains
  2. ClearTrip - seems to be inspired by many other sites like Vayama, but able to get better UI
  3. RediffMail - speed is the big boost
  4. Myntra - good idea, but poor UI
  5. redBus - good idea, but poor UI and execution
  6. Sites from The Times Group are also of good idea, but poorly executed/architected. They clearly try and target the web startup "gap"

Sites that are innovative (world's first/never seen before kind)
  1. SocialAV - World's first and only antivirus building community (by our team)
  2. CSSilize - World's first and only project management tool for slicing works (by our team)
  3. jobreapr - World's first and only fixed price job search engine (by our team)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bra & Condom websites on making or in demand?

My post Bra & Condom eCommerce website for Indian market is getting more hits now. Looks like they're of high demand or some are trying to create such sites. Some even brought my attention about CondomShopee; but that's not complete with "sizes" that I mentioned. Someone brought my me another shopping site that's also selling bras TheAgada; though the site is looking cool, the bra shopping isn't perfect.

Not to mention, I'll be greatly interested in architecting or ideating such bra and condom websites/business.

Labs launched, finally

It was a great moment for our team as it was planned more than 5-years ago; but last week we get the Labs launched.

Anna Hazare hype, irresponsibile media?

In recent times, barkhagate scam clearly shows that the Indian media is much corrupt than the politicians. They give unnecessary hype to certain things to get TRP. Ever since Anna has gone compared himself with Gandhi and Shivaji, it was clear that he's trying to draw politicians attention. It was a clean tactic than what Medha Patkar or any maoists couldn't get such hype.

The TwitGens [sic] can't really understand how a Lokpal (ombudsman) system can even be corrupt; remember that the author of Savaukku did quit from DVAC (Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption).

Economic Times article on this issue shares my views; I don't understand why they couldn't get such views published in Times of India. I think, we can't expect anything good from the media that's vehemently pushing AIADMK.

Scheduled blog post

Since, I blog on weekends, the number of posts are heavy on single date. I was looking for a solution to streamline and found; hereafter the posts will be scheduled--including this post...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jayalalitha = "change"??

Recently I have followed, the site that tracks Tamil Nadu Assembly Election 2011 through Facebook voting. According to the site, AIADMK is winning on huge margin as per Facebook users and everybody is mentioning Jayalalitha as a "change". I think, it's mainly because of media mayhem.

My personal opinion is to oust both DMK and AIADMK. BJP is Indian Taliban. PMK is chameleon. Vote only for Congress, CPM, DMDK, Dalit parties... and wherever DMK is facing AIADMK straight, vote for IJK or best independent candidate. When Congress gets majority, control goes to Rahul Gandhi and he appoints Nallakannu like person from CPM as Chief Minister... and CPM becomes half capitalists (pure communism is failure)... I have a dream...

Sri Lankan Tamil's critic on "Tamil Nationalism" and Thamarai, Seeman, Vaiko, etc

In Tamil Nadu, it's common for politician like Vaiko and activists like Nedumaran, Seeman, Thamarai, etc to support LTTE and Tamil Nationalism. But, the critic I read long time ago, by a Sri Lankan Tamil is an eye opener at least for me பியசேன: கபடத் தமிழ்த்தேசியத்திற்கு கடிக்க நல்ல அவல்!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Leadership mantra: trust and hope

I often used to tell that "trust" is the binding force of team. Now, I have added "hope" as survival of life/business/team.

Idea crazy and free advices on rise

Just for the sake of record, I have noted that "idea crazy" people who think theirs is novel and should be kept secret are on rise. Though I agree to some extent that the ideas be kept secret to get pioneership [sic] credit, I wonder, why they can't compare Coca cola and Pepsi. People giving "free advices" on "ideas" are also on rise.

Friday, April 01, 2011

IT startup - scaling up customer base

Recently I had an interesting conversation with someone who brought me a new theory that integrating sales team and development team "closely" will increase the productivity. Conversation went on like these:

Someone: Sales team and development team should work closely for better productivity.
Me: What are the IT companies having such setup? What are the IT companies that increased productivity through such setup?
Someone: (No answer)
Me: How have you arrived at that theory?
Someone: 'coz the sales team will get more technical questions and only when they closely work with the development team, they can able to answer.

Later I felt that the person is somewhat right, the problem lies with the customer base and the person's inability to bring better solution. Then, I come to an analogy of Waiter, Cook and customer base in a hotel.

Waiter, Cook and customer base in Hotel

Here, the Waiter can be compared with the IT salesman and Cook can be compared with the developer. For this example, the Hotel can be taken as Saravana Bhavan, where Cook prepares the foods like Dosa and Waiter acts like a salesman.

  • Customer base #1

    These kind of customers will order foods and won't taste all dishes. They'll pay the bill without any complaints, but you can't understand why they didn't taste all dishes and wasted some food that they paid for. These people will usually be rich and may not come often. Usually may comprise of 5-10%.

  • Customer base #2

    These kind of people will order foods by name and will taste everything. They'll pay the bill without complaints and will usually be happy. They'll also visit often. Usually will comprise 30-40%

  • Customer base #3

    These kind of people would try to taste new dishes. They'll inquire the taste (sweet, sour, spicy) of the food and would love to try new ones. They'll be happy or sad based on the taste. But, they'll pay the bill and visit again. Usually will comprise 50-60%.

  • Customer base #4

    These kind of people will usually be extremely good Cook themselves or some of them will even pretend to be. They'll ask micro details about the ingredients of the food, from where the ingredients are sourced, why particular ingredient is not added,... and any questions that can be answered only by Cook--not the Waiter. For whatever thing they get, they'll usually complain and would fight to pay the bill. Usually will comprise less than 1%.

When dealing with "Customer base #4", people will usually think that the Waiter can better be trained by Cook to give "necessary answers". Also, people would usually keep Waiters above Cooks socially. But, the real problem is that Waiters are cheap and replaceable than Cooks. When the customer is trying to outsmart the Cook, there's no winner.

When coming to IT startups... they should constantly improve the customer base--so that the "Customer base #4" is always below 1%. If such customer base takes 100%, then they can't scale up well.

Richard Branson: People Power -- the Engine of Any Business

I read the article People Power -- the Engine of Any Business by Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group) in Entrepreneur magazine some long time ago, but the following piece is still echoing in my mind:

One main reason people leave a job is that they are not listened to.

Be aware that a bad leader can destroy a business very quickly. In small businesses this is easily apparent. On my island of Necker in the Caribbean, we had a general manager who tried to change the way things were done. He discouraged the staff from drinking with our guests. This soured the atmosphere fast. We had to step in to replace the manager and restore staff morale and the sense of management’s trust in them, which had been broken.

Zac Brown Band rocks...

When I was doing UG, my super-senior friend Ronald introduced me to MLTR and I was totally taken away by the music then. About 15-years later, I'm feeling same ecstasy when listening to Zac Brown Band's Whatever It Is and Highway 20 Ride. The voice and music are amazingly cool.

Eric Meyer released reset.css v2.0

Just noted that Eric Meyer has released new version of reset.css by January.

The important thing I have noted is that he addressed the concern I raised over :focus{} styling on his earlier version, by dropping that altogether.