The long ULTIMATE weekend…

August 19, 2008 § Leave a comment

Sport has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember.  From playing street cricket with a bunch of rude boys till winning a rowing championship with my best friend, it has been a wonderful learning experience.  It has shown me facets about myself that I might have not have encountered otherwise.  Facets that have determined my decisions in different phases of my life.

The recent addiction, if I may call it, has been Ultimate Frisbee.  For those of you who are not aware of this famous club in Madras, click here.  I have been playing this game for 10 months now and this sure is one of the better things I have done in life.  The last 4 days of sporting action on the sands of Besant have been tremendous.  Racing speed, brilliant sportsmanship, grape juice, mouthfuls of sand, thrilling throws, amazing layouts.. it was a clear display of skill, technique, passion and just good ol’ fun!  I just can’t wait for the next tournament 🙂

And every time I lose a game, I think of one quote…

We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.

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Where you whiz past the Irritating Voice Response (IVR)

August 17, 2008 § 5 Comments

Fonolo.

Sigh, if only my brain came up with such brilliant product ideas.  Can you imagine a company who deal with removing frustrations caused by phone calls from our lives?  Yes, I would pay to get rid of that.  Shai Berger has successfully identified a niche where no competition exists, not because others didn’t find it sensible, but because others just didn’t think of it.

Fonolo dials you deep into your call, skipping all the annoying IVR messages and taking you right to where you want to be.  This makes you think how thoughtful a company Fonolo is because they care to tend to our impatience.  On a positive note, they care for our time.

This product can only get slowly relevant in developing countries like India where a large number of people are just learning to use such systems.  But soon, the system is sure to pluck their brains out and then we can see Fonolo-India.

“Auto”matic change and beyond – Trust. Educate. Apply. Manage.

August 17, 2008 § 3 Comments

A nice workout, followed by a dinner that I got all dressed up pretty for, yummy food and interesting conversations, the romance, the happy waiter’s face after he saw the tip… and then… the auto-rickshaw ride back home.  Now that ride has made me stay up tonight.  Ah, haggling with auto drivers at the end of a wonderful date is such a killjoy.

But that is not what this is about.  This is about that auto driver with whom my sympathies lie.  Because he chooses where he can be.  Because he chooses not to rise.

After a board room level discussion and negotiation on the tariff that he would charge, we settled to give him his second bid.  He cited the reason for the extra tariff as the changed traffic regulations where he had to take a longer route.  But once we got into the auto, he takes a swift U-turn where none is allowed and dashes into a lane which according to him “makes things easier”.  Then why bargain so much if you are going to break rules anyway?  Or more specifically, why break those rules?  When my date and I asked him about it, he just snapped back with a look that read “whatever dude, shutthehellup!”

My dearest date lost his patience but I continued to appeal to the driver’s good senses, but in vain.  He kept justifying his action, if that was even remotely possible.  And to test my patience, he kept blessing the road with his mouthful of saliva+paan.  Now for those of you who know me, you would also know that the next thing I generally do is give the driver a piece of my mind about the spitting.  But instead, I decided to give the talk just before I pay him the money.

After the silent auto ride, just as I got out of the auto, the driver started to crib about how we brought him too far and that he should’ve charged more.  That’s when it struck me.  Crib, crib, crib was all he could do.  The date was now mighty bugged and decided to drag me out of the scenario before I get snubbed by the driver for my advice.  This was reasonable then because it was past 10 PM and the driver could have reacted negatively. But the fact still remained that I did not tell the driver what I wanted to.

As I think about it now, it could be true that the driver would have disregarded my every word, if I had spoken.  But why do I still feel guilty?  Because I credit myself with more patience than that.  Because I know that I disregarded my passion towards the benefits of social interactions by not speaking.  Because by not speaking, I did not give the driver anything useful to think about on his way back home.  Because this is how every other driver gets away.  And because I did something everybody does.

Why does one break rules?  Is it the fault of the rule maker or the rule breaker?  These are scenarios that have seen a lot of discussion.  What can one do at a grassroot level to fundamentally alter the civic sense of an individual, a community, a town, a city, a state, a nation?  Every educated person can be a knowledge pool to one who is not.  I believe I am educated and sensible enough to do this.  Here, I am referring to education of the mind and not the brain.  I have friends with degrees who still litter roads and break road signals.

So for an educated person in that sense, it just takes the willingness to share what you know and your passion towards the cause.  I talk to almost every uneducated person I know and try to make a difference in their outlook and approach towards all of this.  Do you?  You should.  Because that leads to social interactions that would further the progress of any community.  Trust me, it works better in real life than on paper or a web-page like this.

Trust your beliefs more than anyone can.

Educate people around you who could use that knowledge.

Apply your thoughts and beliefs.

Manage all these interactions effectively and in a structured way if possible.

I am really open to receiving questions on how and how not to do this.

And oh, the date is a really nice boy.  Nice enough to keep for a lifetime.

*Occupied* and all that jazz…

August 15, 2008 § Leave a comment

No, that is not an excuse.  It is a pretty lame one at that.

Maintaining a blog helps you understand how good, bad or ugly you are at keeping in touch.  With people, commitments and yourself.  I think I just realized that I am not as good as I can be, at this.  But guess what, I just got better with this post 🙂

So for all those of you who want to genuinely get better at being useful, start a blog.  And nurture it.

Does interest necessarily precede commitment?  Of course, and for any commitment to last, it should be followed by interest.  It is one of those not-so-vicious circles.

When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.

So guess who’s back, back again…  Can someone complete Mr. Shady’s song for me?

Brand amnesia – Bites you in the backside

August 1, 2008 § 1 Comment

am·ne·sia (m-nzh) n. – Partial or total loss of memory, usually resulting from shock, psychological disturbance, brain injury, or illness.

Also, if our friendly, neighbourhood Spiderman decides to wear his undies outside his pants “for the ladies”, I would like to call that Brand Amnesia.  Because he isn’t so friendly anymore.  If they make Zara (in Madras) a three-storey night club with trance playing all the time, brand amnesia again.  If Rolex decides to come out with a low-cost model, that could be brand amnesia and an unnecessary foray into a new strategy, thereby losing identity for their elite line of watches.

Brand amnesia is a phenomenon when you forget what you or your identity represents.

When you do something out of character in your life, that’s brand amnesia.  Because I believe every individual is a brand, co-created by themselves and their network.  And when you supress your instincts and “go with the flow”, you are killing your brand.

So whether it is a company, an individual or a country, one needs to watch out and take every step in order to ensure that you retain the sanity of your brand.

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