Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Is KM...only for some?

On hearing my lecture on KM, a colleague of mine expressed his opinion that KM is perhaps for family businesses who want to be eternal and companies that are *truly* visionary. Not for the ones with the short-term focus. Not for ones whose CEOs are there to make a quick buck and make as much headline news as possible and disappear into another money-making racket before you can say ‘hey, look there’.  I couldn’t help but laugh for he took the words outa my mouth. So, is KM too philosophical and ideal a subject to be tried in the corporate world? Even if it works, will it be only a modest success? Not necessarily. Awareness of such real-life limitations only means that one ought to adopt as pragmatic an approach as possible and look for the quick wins and small-chunks of work that can have a significant effect and later slowly pave the way for a snow-balling effect to create the ideal world that KM proposes. :-)    

Is Bangalore Innovative? No says Business Week Article....

What Bangalore Should Aim For

My Q - Does innovation have to necessarily be technological in nature?

Nucor Steel

This is a great opening page for a corporate website in my opinion. Do this kind of a thing in word and spirit and the company's reputation, ranking, revenues, profits, operational costs et al automatically change for the better. Keep the employees happy, respect them, trust them, value them, give them the ownership and the customers will automatically come flocking. Talk only about customers, ignore the employees altogether and the path to the corporate graveyard is surely being paved...

Monday, November 28, 2005

'STRANDed' amongst books...

I am getting too much into reporting conversations these days! But I can’t resist reporting conversations that make one think/laugh or smile/be better informed. Guess I happen to be in the ‘right’ place at the ‘right’ time and ‘am perhaps getting to learn to listen better too. ;-). Heard this at the Strand Book Fest in Bangalore. I traced the long and winding cash counter line back to its tail and finally located it and added a few inches to it (I don’t particularly want to mention exactly how much I measure in whatsoever direction. Hey, hold it….I am not a fatso, but yeah, I wouldn’t mind being a little thinner :)). The person ahead of me was holding a huge encyclopaedia on some topic related to medicine when his friend walked toward him and said “You can finish the book before you reach the counter. Start reading it now. You will not have to pay for it”. :D. A minute later, the same person picked up a small picturesque children’s book on the table beside him and started reading it out aloud and said “We could perhaps read out these stories to the children around and collect some money. Anyways, people have nowhere to run!” : D (It was an extremely crowded room).

About the books I bought, suffice it to say that I am sure there will be no cure for my Book-Buying OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) even in that encyclopaedia I refer to in the previous paragraph. I bought 8 books - Management, Technology, Classics, Humour, and Comics. Don’t ask me where I’ve put them. Anyways, I’ll tell you. :O I managed to find some space in and around my poor book-shelf that would’ve long died of Asthma or a similar respiratory disease if it were a human being.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Art and Science of Conscience

The Art and Science of Conscience

Did you know that exercising your Conscience implies that you are accessing your right brain (source: Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of H.E.P)? I didn’t. It was an eye-opener for me. I had always thought that using the Conscience was a logical thinking exercise – a process of deciding between two or more things/choices (which one is right and which one wrong, whether to do something/not to do it, and so on and so forth). But no, I was apparently wrong. Conscience application is related to one’s creative abilities! In retrospect, it does appear to me that it ought to be so because exercising the Conscience involves factoring in the context, the people concerned, relationships, the unique circumstances associated with the decision to be taken etc. And more importantly perhaps, the conscience can be exercised to arrive at a creative solution that moves away from just the default options offered by the situation!

'Sound' Friendship

Short Story:

Megha was energized. It would be the first time that she would be getting to attend an international conference were her paper to be selected. She was looking forward eagerly to the experience and learning. The news arrived. Her paper had been selected. Her company now had to approve her travel. After a few days, she heard that her travel had been approved as well. On receiving the news, she went into the conference room where she was to work on something with two of her colleagues, one of whom she considered to be a nice human being and a friend. She went in and mentioned that her travel had been approved, with a slight smile. The ‘friend’ narrowed her eyes and put on an expression that almost looked like a half frown and half smile and said “How come?!” At that moment, gravity worked overtime as if it wanted to delight Newton beyond his expectations. A lot of things fell simultaneously with one huge resounding thud. One of the things that fell was, paradoxically, a resounding silence in Megha's heart. Between the thud and the silence, she had heard the message – loud and clear.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

A CHI-nese Attitude!

A conversation that I heard on one of the programmes in Discovery Travel and Living struck a nice-sounding chord within me. The programme – <an adjective like ‘amazing’ or something to that effect> Vacation Homes. One of the places featured was a beautiful vacation home built on a huge mound of rock in a golf-course overlooking beautiful mountains, trees and a big river – overall, a dazzling scene.  The person who owns the house is a Chinese - An energetic, vibrant, cheerful, naughty *OLD* man. :) The programme anchor met up with this remarkable man and took the viewers on a house tour along with the former and in the process they spoke about something interesting – ChiChi is Chinese for Energy! The owner (I unfortunately did not catch the name of this man) went on to explain that the house was designed and built around the concepts of natural energy. For example, the open spaces for relaxing/reading/reclining were facing the direction in which natural energy would supposedly ‘come in’. Hmmm. Interesting! I was completely taken in by the concept because the behaviour of the owner suggested that he had absolutely no shortage of ‘energy’ whatsoever. His attitude was infectious. The anchor, obviously impressed by what he saw, finally asked him “What did you tell your architect that your neighbours should say when they saw your house?”  And the old man paused for a second or two, looked away from the anchor and said with what seemed like a tolerant smile “I don’t think like that. This is what I wanted………… way. What others think is another thing!” To which the anchor quickly recovered and said “Ya, that’s the way it should be”  


The next scene showed the old man admiring the scene from one of his balconies and telling the anchor “This is God’s painting! Such a beautiful painting! No one can paint like this.....such a huge painting.” Another thing that got me in the same programme was when the anchor asked the old man’s wife as to what kind of a role she had to play in this dream of his, she said “I asked him what he was going to do with a rock and how he would build a house on a huge piece of rock when he told me about buying this area and he simply said “just you wait and see!””.  :)


Remarkable man with a great mix of qualities – determination, connoisseurship, self-confidence, enthusiasm, and full of life! :-) And, three cheers to God, the master painter…!!


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Something I've been looking for!

How to Save the World

One more book to be bought? ;)

Putting the Fun in Funerals

Goes a long way to show that life (or should i say death? ;-)) is full of opportunities provided we are ready to consider new ideas, experiment, have faith and enjoy ourselves in whatever we do...

There is so much one can do! I wonder why we crib about losing something or not getting what we 'want'. We can always get what we want. The means may be different. Only thing that we need to be concerned about/focus on is that the - our - purpose is served...and the - our - values retained...

The Man Who Invented Management

The Man Who Invented Management: "It was around this time that Drucker heard Schumpeter, then at Harvard University, say: 'I know that it is not enough to be remembered for books and theories. One does not make a difference unless it is a difference in people's lives.'"


What a profound value!

The Man Who Invented Management

The Man Who Invented Management: "Drucker narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. 'I learn only through listening,' he said, pausing, 'to myself.'"

Monday, November 21, 2005

C(ool) D(eal)s on CDs

Touch wood! So far, today has been a day of some very important and amazing discoveries for me. I am sort of overwhelmed. It’s going to take me some time to come back to normal. :-). To add to that, I’ve changed the appearance of my screen completely and it makes me feel sort of good; as if I were in some other world, for the screen looks unique and out of the ordinary now – I’ve chosen the olive green windows theme and changed all the icon/title bar/tool tip fonts. Yippee. I love change. I really think my laptop looks cool (touch wood again) and pleasant now. But I don’t know how long it will be before I get bored with these settings…. ;) Sigh! Anyways, why think about that now? Let me bask in its glory for now…


Talking of discoveries, here’s one wonderful discovery I made yesterday which you’ll find to be very useful if you are into Indian movie/classical/instrumental music big-time and have your own unique tastes. If you are not aware of what I shall be talking about, the knowledge is going to leave you ecstatic, to say the least. I was listening to music at home and happened to open an old Suresh Wadkar (one of my favourite singers/voices) cassette after a long time. I rarely study the cover beyond the titles of the songs, but as I opened it yesterday it was a pure chance event that my eyes fell on a piece of information in the inside flap of the back-cover of the cassette. And I beamed so much that my facial muscles ached because this was what it was about – click here.


If you’ve seen the link, let me go on to add that it is of course obvious that you can always get your own CDs and tapes made at your local music shop, but I think this would a much easier process online for you may not have all this variety in one local shop. Not to forget, the likelihood of finding that very elusive old song which you’ve been looking for everywhere is very high on HMV! I am yet to order my CD. I need a lot of time to be able to fish out the songs that I don’t have but want to….! In case, you happen to make your own CDs using this service, don’t forget to leave your comments here.  

Personality Types

A useful link if you're aware of MBTI personality types...

Friday, November 18, 2005

The King (Raja) of Music

Hmm. This post ought not to have taken so long to show up; I wonder why it did not ‘emerge’ for so long! It’s taken me almost one and a half years to realize that I haven’t written a full-fledged post on...Ilaiyaraja & his Music, despite the fact that I am almost fanatical about his music. (I’ve made a passing mention of the fact that I am devoted to his music on my blog but never gotten into a complete write-up) Ilaiyaraja - Music. To me, these two are synonymous. In other (better) words, according to me, - Music, thy name is Ilaiyaraja. I was virtually fed on Raja’s music through my growing years and would have probably been subjected to severe mental and spiritual disabilities if not for his music. :) I adore the music that this man has composed and created. The tunes, the instrumentals, the unique and soulful nuances et al. I will be able to identify his music anytime in just a few seconds and I am sure so would anyone who has an ear for music and is familiar with the one and only ‘Raja-Music’. There were days when I moved on with life only because of his music, and I am not exaggerating here.

For a Raja aficionado like me, the recently broadcasted concert on Jaya TV which was spread across three weeks, was a once in a life-time experience. (Though, I was bugged no end about the fact that after every 2 songs the ad-break lasted 15 odd (or is it ‘ad’) minutes.) of course, I can never justify not being able to make it to Chennai for the live concert when it happened but I at least got to see it on TV. I found my mind and heart screaming repeatedly that I ought to make it to the next live concert wherever it is on earth. BTW, this was apparently the first time that Raja did a live light-music concert. He has of course worked on his famous Symphony and other ‘westernized’ presentations through concerts arranged for audiences abroad.

For the uninitiated, Raja is a natural genius. He was not taught music by anyone and has no professional music education whatsoever. The music simply flows from within him. It is purely intuitive. He just sits down and composes music. He has no organized ‘educated’ approach to music. It is as if he has a communion with God and the music flows out of the conversations the two have. I strongly feel that this is probably the reason why I get completely turned on by his music, as it is intuitive and touches one’s heart/soul. Listening to his music is like listening to a wonderful conversation between God and one of his favourite children – specifically, a heart-to-heart conversation. Well, music is creative. But in my opinion there is a world of difference between the product of one who has been taught and groomed to be a commercial musician and one who is a born music genius. Talking of which I should say this holds good in any sphere including that of leadership. But, among those taught and trained, the presence/absence of passion makes a huge difference to the ‘quality’ of the product. Some people have a natural passion but it still requires some fine-tuning by a person destined to be one’s Guru. I digress. Coming back to the topic of Ilaiyaraja and his music, I just thought I’d make a quick list of my current top 15 favourite songs of his. If you were to ask me to make a list of all the songs that I like, it would be next to impossible and I don’t have that much time anyways. So, here are 15 songs that I have been listening to of late. And I just can’t number them. They are all equally good. They simply charge me up and make me feel on top of the world. I simply can’t thank Raja enough for these songs…

· Idu Oru Pon Maalai

· Paadava Un Paadalai

· Pani Vizhum Malarvanam

· Ozhiyile Terivadu

· Kuyil Pola Ponnu Onnu

· Sundari Kannal Oru

· Senthura Poove

· Kanna Unnai Thedugiren

· En Uyire Vaa

· Maanguyile Poonguyile

· Kaatril Varum Geethame

· Janani Janani

· Ye Zindagi Gale Lagale (Hindi)

· Jotheyalli (Kannada)

· Nagu Endhidhe (Kannada)

PS: Two other musicians who *I* put almost on par with Raja and have got me gesturing, and smiling to their music and humming along are R.D.Burman and M.M Kreem…no hard feelings, please. It’s just that something in me responds better to Raja’s music more than anyone else’s. Actually, I think the difference lies in that that - R.D Burman’s music is more of the foot-tapping types and Kreem is more into moving soulful music. Raja’s songs in my opinion are musical melodies that can actually leave one happier than before….especially in my case because I rarely *listen* to the lyrics (in which case the meaning of the song will also determine whether I like the song or not) and concentrate wholly on the music and the tunes...

Long live Raja and his music! :)

Bonus Point: If you like instrumental music/fusion music, consider my recommendation. Buy Rajesh Vaidya’sVoyage’. It has some amazing compositions that can energize you and uplift your spirits. I simply love this tape and have sometimes listened to it continuously for hours together without feeling ‘bored’.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


This organization - based out of Spain - apparently puts Working Together/Collaboration/Trust before Profit! Wow! Talk about values and non-money centered approaches! :)

Source -

Ray-Creativity Classes

Very fascinating! I don't know if this makes sense to you, but I shall not venture to explain it right now ;) - I love the combination of business and creativity especially when it is not a conscious effort to simply make money...

Monday, November 14, 2005

Books for Personality Development

I became an inadvertent audience to a state-of-the-art (modern :-)) conversation in a book shop, recently. Presenting it here….


2 guys enter the bookshop. Both of them are talking at the top of their voices and couldn’t perhaps care less about disturbing others in the bookshop.

Let’s call them ‘Reader’ and ‘Recommender’.


Reader goes around looking for books and picks up a few in about a minute’s time and puts it on the desk at the counter. One of the books is a popular book by an Indian author doing its rounds in the books shops of late.


Recommender sees the book and says “Hey, don’t tell me you read XYZ (name of the author goes here)! What XYZ? What kind of books are you reading man?” He goes on to put down the book and the author some more. (Yours truly hasn’t read this particular book but was bothered about someone demeaning a book and its author probably because it had the written by a person from the speaker’s own country! Why?...I thought…why do we adopt this kind of an irrational and unpatriotic approach and praise the foreign and belittle the native?) Anyways, the conversation went on….


Recommender continued “You got to read books that develop your personality, man. I know you don’t have a personality. Let me help you build one. Let me recommend books for you. Pick up ‘heavy’ books. Take the classics.”  


Reader says “What kind of books?”


Recommender names some books here…and says “You should sport books that people think are cool. They should be intended to ‘reflect’ your personality whether you read them or not. I want books that I don’t want to read. A coffee table book that I can let people see and think “what a cool guy that must be…reading that book”.


So, that’s what Mr.Recommender meant by “Personality Development”! Funny but sad, eh??


The art of innovation! (Lessons from IDEO)

Here’s the gist of the book - The art of innovation. The book is written by Tom Kelly, one of the top managers and the brother of the founder of the design firm, IDEO.


Thoughts and concepts that caught my attention and imagination. Some of these statements come with an attached context and may therefore not convey the complete message. All points in italics are direct quotes.


·          Innovation is a result of methodologies, practices, culture and infrastructure

·          IDEO’s style of innovation – understand the environment and everything associated with the requirement like the market, customers, technology etc, observe real situations, visualize, evaluate and refine, implement

·          Innovation is something that redesigns the experience

·          Embracing of risk and failures is a must for innovation to stand upright

·          When you are stuck, talk to all the smart people you know

·          Observation-fuelled insight is what makes innovation possible

·          Traveling and asking fundamental questions like why and why not fuels innovative thinking

·          Whether it’s art, science, technology, or business, inspiration often comes from being close to the action

·          Good consultants are good observers of people, teams, organizations, technologies, and trends. They see quirks and patterns

·          The best products embrace people’s differences

·          Listen to your inner child

·          Cross-pollination is the alchemy of innovation

·          Brainstorming needs a well-honed description of the problem statement

·          The book is full of talk about KM though it is not labeled so. The emphasis is on collaborative and collective thinking and learning and letting go of ideas to the team so it can be enhanced and developed. The need for teams to respect and trust each other…

·          A team that works well together can be like an avalanche of energy and enthusiasm  

·          When people feel special, they’ll perform beyond your wildest dreams

·          Celebrate your team members’ differences

·          The importance and significance and the essential nature of prototyping is over-emphasized

·          A playful, iterative approach to problems is one of the foundations of our culture of prototyping

·          When the project is especially complex, prototyping is a way of making progress when the challenges seem insurmountable

·          The process of prototyping can spark little innovations, the sort that can be the difference between a product’s success and failure

·          It’s easy to reject a dry report or a flat drawing. But models often surprise, making it easier to change your mind and accept new ideas

·          Sometimes it helps to have team members and even clients express the project through archetypical characters in a little improvisational skit

·          Prototyping can also remind you that sometimes the most obvious, simplest solution is the best

·          Prototype with energy and enthusiasm, and you’ve got a good chance of hitting upon the very feature or product that resonates with your customers

·          Prototyping, brainstorming and observations. These are the fundamentals, the reading, writing and arithmetic of innovation.

·          The book devotes a chapter for work spaces and stresses the importance of setting up work spaces that inspire and amuse and are both open as well as private

·          The book also talks about serendipity being a major source of innovation

·          The trick is to find that delicate balance between complete choreography and pure inspiration

·          Routine is the enemy of innovation

·          One needs to be an editor to cut away what’s not needed for one’s selling pitch -  the product scrip

·          Selling – make a great entrance, use metaphors, think briefcase, use colours, be transparent, have a single USP, focus on the right features that resonate with customers


 My own - partly borrowed- conclusion – the distance between a good idea and a successful product is bridged well by a prototype



I spotted this board at a place where the road was being dug…in Bangalore: :-)


Bangalore Mahanagara Pallike (Corporation)

Work in Progress

In convenience is regretted

Friday, November 11, 2005


I just don't believe it. I saw a Kingfisher this morning and that the most unlikely of places! :)
This chap was sitting and meditating (or maybe looking for fish) with his back towards the road, on a small rock in a sort of 'marshy' area on the way to Sarjapur (Bangalore). He had a darrrrk green body and a darrrrk red head. I am in an elated state...yeah! :) Imagine my pleasure, when I realized that there was a bird sitting on the rock, from the corner of my eye, and looked towards the area imagining that it would be the common myna and instead found this coulourful chap! And this 'reward' from nature comes immediately after I spotted one of those tiny birds yesterday (in Sarjapur again)....

Monday, November 07, 2005

IBM Workplace 'Blogs'

Good News! Blogs are being included as part of portals and CM tools....and now, IBM has it as part of its Workplace tool...

Villa-ge Experience

Whew. Finally. It wasn’t exactly like a writer’s block. But if my life depended on whether I’d call it some kind of block or not, I’d perhaps call it a worker’s block. Also, come to think of it, introspection tells me that the delay had more to do with the fact that this time around I’ve some cool photographs to go with the post and I subconsciously felt the pressure of having to match the pictures which are as we all know worth a 1000 words and for responding to the ‘pressure’ I needed more time than I could make till date. I myself have been looking forward to this post a lot as a lot went into the trip and more came out. Okay. I wouldn’t want to end up talking more about the making of the post than the post per se. So, let’s ‘Roger Out’.
The post is about: My trip to the village. The second this year. (First Trip)
The purpose of the trip was: To read, relax and chill out.
The experience/results: It paid off. It was a cool reading trip with the added bonus of some good bird-watching. And I certainly chilled out and forgot about everything else, well almost… :-)

The books I took along with me – Learning to Fly, The Art of Innovation, Blink, Seven Habits, The Effective Executive, Nothing by Chance, C&H (Baby Sitter Stories). When I reached home, I immediately arranged all the books on the reading table and rummaged around the drawers to see what was there and discovered a book on Gandhi’s Teachings and Philosophies by C.Rajaji (Another reward that my mom got for her performance in school). I promptly added that to my pile of books and started off my reading sojourn. From then on it was a continuous marathon till I finished 3 books – Learning to Fly, The Art of Innovation and Blink. The first book is by ex-BP employees on BP’s KM initiatives. Extremely practical book. If it were related to the world of food and eating, I’d say it is a ready-to-eat food served on a plat(t)e(r) in a fast-food restaurant. Practitioners would be thrilled. The Art of Innovation made for some fun-reading. I enjoyed it immensely as the style is pretty informal and I love the subject of innovation. This one too is a practical experience. And finally, Blink – this one was easy to read but I found myself asking too many questions and more disturbingly not finding what one could call concrete answers. It made good food for thought but I still have a lot of unfinished thoughts and questions on the concepts that this book dwells upon. (I’ll probably be putting up the gist of all these books – seen from my perspective – on this blog down the line). I also visited 3 beautiful local temples in the evenings (before taking a one-day break at the ‘end’ of 3 books). The evening walks to the local temples were all a very pleasant experience. Apart from the scenic beauty that was presented to me, it gave my neck and eyes a well-deserved break in the evenings. After 3 books, I took a whole day’s break and went to a very famous temple in a neighbouring village. That too was a cool experience as we went by the village bus, cruising through small villages and stopping to pick up many villagers on the way. The hustle-bustle in a village somehow has a softer feel and genuineness and an authenticity that you can’t see in cities don’t you think? After the one-day break, I came back and finished the book on Gandhi’s Teachings and Philosophies and then started Seven Habits (Stephen Covey). But just when I was beginning to rejoice that I’d have finished 5 books before leaving for Bangalore, I sprained my back as well as caught a cold and couldn’t read anymore of the last book. :-(. I was able to continue with the book only after returning to Bangalore. And about the 3 other books that I lugged along with me - I could not touch them and wasn’t surprised about that either. I knew I was carrying more books than I would be able to read.

Okay, here are some excerpts from other experiences I had – the birds I saw, the people I met….

On the very first day, I saw two wonderful and unique looking birds on my way into the village. The ‘darshan’ lasted only a few seconds but I’ve sort of captured them in my mental camera. Both these birds were sitting on stones that were part of the barbed-wire fences around cultivated land touching the road. I was in the bus but alert and was appropriately rewarded with these unexpected sneak previews to what was to be a lengthy affair of more bird-watching that lasted the whole holiday. I don’t know what birds they were but here’s a brief description. If my descriptions are good enough for you to recognize them, please throw some light and let me know what birds you think they could be…

1. Black head and body, yellow neck, white belly – small-medium in size
2. Grayish body and green belly – medium in size

Continuing on the topic of birds, through the holiday, I got to see a lot of birds and these undoubtedly gave me a lot of inspiration and breaks from continuous reading – Pattering Parrots, Many Mynas, Eager Eagles, Elusive Egrets, Dancing Doves, Diving Ducks, Tiny Tantalizing birds that I named Tweety (was it a Minivet?), another type of bird that I suspect may have been a Swallow/Shrike/Bush Cat (established bird-watchers, please forgive me for taking the liberty of guessing without the backing of sound knowledge/experience) in the same order of probability.

3. Description of ‘Tweety’ - tiny, longish tail – brownish yellow sides, white belly and dark ash-gray-colored body – very pretty and extremely fast and difficult to spot because of the size and speed. Chirping style – shrill, short and continuous ‘beep’ sounds. I was lucky enough to catch sight of these birds many a time as there was a teak-wood tree with a lot of flowers in the neighbouring compound which not only seemed to attract these birds but also an army of butterflies through the day. All I had to do was to go up to the terrace and fix my gaze on the teak-wood tree to see these birds. But it was a difficult exercise for the eyes to spot them. And any efforts to see them at close quarters turned out to be a failure as they flew away the second they sensed me. (I saw only 2 of these birds every time and I suspect that it was the same pair that I got to see every time)

4. Description of what I think could be a Swallow/Shrike/Bush Cat - medium sized, large belly, light brown and yellow coloured body. Beautiful chirping sound that I can’t possibly explain in words. These were the first birds I saw after I settled down for my reading and the introduction to these birds was so dramatic that it could beat the opening scene in a movie based on birds. I sat down on the steps leading to the verandah at the back of the house and began reading when I suddenly heard a series of beautiful chirping sounds and looked up to find 4 of these birds lined up on the tall compound. And what followed was almost mesmerizing. They all hopped sideways in quick succession and turned 90 degrees to their right (showing their sides to me) after every 3-4 hops while chirping along. They did this till the length of the compound till they reached the end of the compound and then flew away into the garden next door. It was such a perfect dance that I almost stopped breathing so I’d not frighten them away :). But as it turned out I was not destined to see another such performance again and was left yearning for it for the rest of the holiday. My guess is that these birds visit the house regularly and did so this time around only to realize that some humans had intruded into their privacy and decided not to come again till it was vacated. :( Sigh. But I managed to catch sight of these early birds coming in for their worms almost every day as they came for their food to the deserted garden next door. The photographs I know are pathetic. The birds are available in the photograph if you care to spot them. But I needed a camera with a zoom-in facility to catch them next door. Maybe next time around, I will take along a digicam and be able to catch them bang on.

As for the other birds, they weren’t so very elusive…except the Egrets to a certain extent. I saw plenty of parrots in the small Murugan temple near my house where they seemed to live. Mynas were all over the place. So were the Doves and Eagles. I got to see most of these birds whenever I trudged up to the terrace in the evenings. It was only on the third day of my holiday that as I looked skyward, I thought I saw some birds that looked different and extremely beautiful in flight. They were flying in groups of 3 or more – in a V formation. They were white in colour but had visible but narrow patches of brown at the origin of their wings as seen from below. The novice that I am, it took me a few minutes to realize that they were Egrets. The experience was enchanting. They look beautiful. On one particular day, later, I actually spotted them just a few feet above me on the terrace and enjoyed the close-up immensely. Unfortunately, I did not have immediate access to my camera to capture the scene and do think that I may have not been able to capture it even if I had had one in my hands, due to the quickness of the moment.
Okay. Let me move on to other topics. Here’s a teaser. In my village, one common business that people are into is that of rice-flour grinding. For the uninitiated, rice-flour is the staple food in south India and is ground into a semi-liquid paste used to cook Rice (Idly) Cakes and Dosas which are had for breakfast and dinner. What do you think could be the reason why this is a popular business? Initially I was wondering why it was given that the situation in the village is not akin to the city where people do not have the time to grind rice-flour into a paste. So, if it’s not the time factor which is the constraint, what is it that promotes this business? I found out what it was from my mom. Would you like to take a guess? Actually, the explanation is very very simple. I’ll come back tomorrow/day after and put up the reason(s).

Update - Here’s why this is a popular business: A grinder costs ‘only’ Rs.3000/- but for a villager, that is expensive. She is too poor to own a grinder and instead finds it cheaper to buy rice-flour paste for as little as Rs.10/- and this is enough to feed 4 people for a day. Also, on the occasion of festivals and functions, the outsourcing of the grinding of rice-flour is essential as the deals are in large quantities.

Nagu, the amazing workaholic, was back to help mom with her household chores. I’ve already said a lot about her but there were more incidents that reiterated her philosophies and approach toward life that I want to mention here. When my mom gave her a few containers that were stylish and told her to store her things in the containers, she simply looked at them and said “I don’t want these. I don’t need them”. When my mom asked her one more time to take it, she said “One should not be greedy. I don’t need this”. Little did she realize that she had astounded an onlooker. When my mom later pressed a bag and Diwali Sarree into her hands, she took them and smiled her way out to the road. It was later that we heard from one of our neighbours that when the latter had stopped her after seeing a broad smile on her face, Nagu had grinned and showed her the bag and Sarree and when the neighbour told her that they were nice, she asked her if she wanted the bag! She was apparently very happy about the gifts but was ready to give away the bag when someone told her it was nice! She would keep only the Sarree because it was essential. Or maybe she would have given that away as well if some one had specifically asked her for it. This natural workaholic who has only 2 light meals a day is worth more than a biography.

The next story that I want to share is inspiring as well. The director in me wants to give it a title just to make it a little dramatic. I shall call it ‘The Making of the Murukkus’ (Murukkus are a deep-fried south Indian delicacy made out of rice flour, urad daal flour and other ingredients): Amrutha Akka as she is popularly known in the village is no mean businesswoman. She apparently makes anywhere between RS.500 to Rs.1000 a day by making ‘Murukkus’ and a few other popular delicacies. She is perhaps 65+ years old and has a pet cat called Meena (whom she calls Meeni). She employs fewer than 10 women to make the Murukkus and other eatables and a few youngsters for odd jobs. She runs the business herself (CEO, CFO et al) and has unfortunately/fortunately no heirs. (I say fortunately because heirs may end up splitting businesses these days) Her home (a glorified hut) is almost covered completely with sacks of raw material – her inventory – and cooked eatables – the products – and a TV. She has some free space which she uses to place 2 chairs for her customers and to quickly and efficiently pack the orders (that range from 1 to 1000s) with the help of one of her ‘employees’. Local village kids run in and ask for one or two of the chosen delicacy while families coming in from the cities into the village for weddings/festivals order 1000s. She insists on advance orders and delivers on time. The quality has been good mostly but there have been some orders that were not up to the mark, which she promptly denies. She poses for me with her cat, Meena. Also shown is the place where the Murukkus are made. Hers is a clear success story. She does not market/advertise and sales are completely through word-of-mouth channels. I think there’s a lot that idle/unemployed and pessimistic youth and people in general have to learn from her.

If you thought I was done, let me tell you that, in my perception, the most amazing part of the trip is yet to come. I think it is the most amazing part as it is almost unbelievable. It was what happened at the virtual end of the trip. At the end of the journey back to Bangalore! The climax, so to say! I came into my home in Bangalore and went into the washroom and turned on the tap and bent down to wash my face when I heard a series of continuous beep sounds and almost froze. It sounded like ‘Tweety’. I lifted my head and looked out of the window at the Mango tree outside as if expecting the tree to bring up the next moment quickly and unfreeze me…and nature did not fail me. A tiny bird that seemed to be a distant cousin of the bird that I was so tantalized by in my village flew down from somewhere and alighted on the branch of the mango tree that was in direct view of the window. The bird stayed on the branch for 4 seconds while chirping continuously before flying away. I was stunned beyond action or words. It was as if nature wanted to please me and specifically make me aware that birds that are very similar to the bird that I so admired in the village live in the city as well and visit my own garden in particular. The experience was Alchemistic in nature – one goes looking for something in a far-off place only to finally realize that what one wants was available right there in one’s regular habitat. But of course, it is the trip to that far-off land that adds to the experience and learning and brings about the awareness of what one wants. But let me tell you that I stood rooted and frozen to the spot for quite some time after the bird gave me a dekho. I don’t know if you believe this episode, but believe me; I myself was not able to believe it and seriously considered it be a hallucination of sorts in the beginning. Since then, I couldn’t lay my eyes on the bird till yesterday (thank God for Sundays)– I heard the bird chirp and went out quietly and stealthily and spent quite some time crouched below the mango tree to watch this perky little bird play around on the leafy branches. I will probably set up a camp under the mango tree every week and watch this guy go about his life in an animated manner…. Life is dramatic indeed. Tweet tweet!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs @ Stanford

Goal Mall ;-) (Read in English. Not in Hindi)

I’ve been gleaning a lot of information on goal-setting, planning et al for sometime. Guess I just reached the ‘tipping’ point and decided to record my ‘knowledge’ - blog– on some tools I've discovered/used for Goal Setting and the corresponding Planning Phases: in my opinion, these tools need not necessarily to be used in the same order – especially the last 3 steps:  


- Goal Maps (goal setting - benefits, when, why etc) - MS/templates

- Mind Maps (initial elaboration and setting boundaries) - tools

- PPT (information gathering and structuring and planning) - MS

- Concept Maps (linking, relationship building and the big picture - clarity) - MS/tools

- Story Boards (precise steps leading to action/visualization) - MS/templates


I’ll come back to this list in case I get to know of more tools that may be of use. Meanwhile, if you’ve come across effective tools that help in goal setting and associated tasks including execution, then you know what to do….! :-)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Zig Ziglar - Ten Steps to Achieving Your Goals

I am clearing my inbox after quite sometime and am going through another 'Zig Zig' phase of discovery :)

....Here's one more great article.

The Gist - Commitment, Plan (detailed and broken-down), Execution based on Values, Ready for challenges and changes, Team work, Visualization for inspiration....

Training Lesson - Ten Steps To Achieving Your Goals

You've got (less than) 90 days to accomplish your goals for 2005!

We're now into the final quarter of the year, and that means there�s less than three months before 2005 is history. How are you doing on accomplishing the goals you set for this year? Right about now, many of our readers can use a little goal-setting boost, and so here's Zig Ziglar's 10-step formula for accomplishing goals.

1. Make the commitment to reach your goal. 'One person with a commitment is worth a hundred who only have an interest.' Mary Crowley.

2. Commit yourself to detailed accountability. Record your progress toward your goals every night, and list the six most important things you need to do the next day. Daily discipline is the key to reaching your goals.

3. Build your life on a sold foundation of honesty, character, integrity, trust, love, and loyalty. This foundation will give you an honest shot at reaching any goal you have set properly.

4. Break your intermediate and long-range goals into increments.

5. Be prepared to change. You can't control the weather, inflation, interest rates, Wall Street, etc. Change your decision to move toward a goal carefully--but be willing to change your direction to get there as conditions and circumstances demand.

6. Share your 'give-up' goals (i.e., give up smoking, being rude, procrastinating, being late, eating too much, etc.) with many people. Chances are excellent they're going to encourage you.

7. Become a team player. Remember: You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.

8. See the reaching. In your imagination see yourself receiving that diploma, getting that job or promotion, making that speech, moving into the home of your dreams, achieving that weight-loss goal, etc.

9. Each time you reach a goal your confidence will grow so that you can do bigger and better things. After accomplishing any goal, record it in your journal, Weekly Planner or Palm Pilot.

10. Remember, what you get by reaching your destination isn't nearly as important as what you become by reaching your goals--what you will become is the winner you were born to be!

Zig Ziglar Full Newsletter

I love this piece of inspirational writing...

From Zig Ziglar - "Training Lesson:Using Your Mistakes To Springboard To Success"

Each of us at one time or another has thought about how wonderful it would be to have as much foresight as hindsight. Then we could avoid making mistakes! Not only is that hope unrealistic, it's also unwise. Mistakes are often the springboard for major accomplishments. Here's a good example:

Thomas Edison was working with a lab assistant who was coming up dry after over 700 experiments. In discouragement, the assistant told Edison that after all these mistakes, errors, and false starts, he simply didn't believe that the project was valid. Edison quickly told him that he wasn't wasting his time and that the assistant now knew more about the project than anybody alive. Edison wisely observed that the assistant hadn't made mistakes but instead had acquired an education as to what didn't work. Needless to say, the assistant went back to his project with renewed vigor.

If you take Edison's approach to life, you end up accomplishing much, much more. You need to understand that after every mistake you can look back and grow from the experience so that you can move forward with confidence and avoid making the same mistake again.

Here are three tips for handling a mistake, either at home or work:

1. Don't let a mistake depress or discourage you. See a mistake as a step on the road to a solution. Realize that depression and discouragement are negatives that limit the future.

2. Admit the mistake. Yes, admitting your mistakes takes courage, but recognition of errors is a sign of maturity. Not to recognize them is to deny them, and denial limits your future.

3. Understand that when you confront your mistakes,"

Why Is Microsoft Afraid of Google? - Knowledge@Wharton

Why Is Microsoft Afraid of Google? - Knowledge@Wharton



"Those who can laugh without cause have either found the true meaning of happiness or have gone stark raving mad." - Norm Papernick

:-) Ha ha ha ha ha


Women; Innovation; Business Management

Working Well with Others