Monday, August 30, 2010

Quantity over "Quality"?

The fallacy of putting quantity over 'quality' (where quality might mean things like purpose, clarity of thinking, long-term goals etc), with a typical Calvin and Hobbes flavour.

Strip sourced from here:

By Bill Watterson

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Guest Post by Alexis Bonari on KM

Augmented KM Success: Just Add Collaboration

Knowledge management is an invaluable tool for any business, but it’s best when collaboration is an active contributor. Where KM meets collaboration, information shouldn’t just be managed; it should be exchanged, archived, and made available to the entire company. Because all employees have the potential to contribute to a company’s strategies, tactics, and capabilities, a communal unit of stored knowledge is an ideal concept. But how can that idea become reality?

The Benefits of Collaborative KM

Traditional management techniques assign constrained, prioritized duties to employees and leave the brainstorming to a select few. That’s starting to look like a dated and myopic strategy as collaborative KM arrives at a variety of businesses and companies. Baseline, which identifies itself as a guide dedicated to planning and implementing next-generation IT solutions in business, has conducted a recent study of collaboration’s role in KM. Out of 342 managers, 33% stated that KM strategies had helped them to achieve their original KM business goals. However, out of the managers who used collaborative KM strategies, 58% achieved their goals. The collaborative facet of KM is revolutionizing the way companies run, interact with customers and partners, and relate to employees. 

Encouraging Collaboration

The first step to pursuing a knowledge-sharing initiative is to increase knowledge productivity among employees. One strategy to achieve this goal is the implementation of collaboration tools and applications. There’s a lot of software (such as CenterStage or KnowledgeBase Manager) aimed at the idea of collaborative KM, so it’s relatively easy to choose a set of tools for a specific business. Introducing collaborative tools to employees is the hard part, but successful implementers have some strong advice for managers who want to try out the tools. Staying serious about the company-wide use of the new tools is effective, but it’s also important to manage expectations and introduce the tools with deliberate care. With a younger set of employees, it helps to choose collaborative tools that use social network-based interfaces. Not only do these tools enjoy considerable popularity, but they also encourage employees to spend less time on Facebook and more time on the constructive, work-related version during office hours. Although 58% of managers stipulated that collaborative tools and systems had to be customized to maximize their potential, they agreed that collaborative KM benefits are worth the extra cost. 

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at, researching areas of online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Photo: Public Domain

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Quote Quota

Here are two brilliant quotes that will probably give me enough motivation for many days to come.

No dream is ever too big. No step is ever too small. No question is ever too impertinent. No answer is ever the last word. Believe. Do. HT: @umairh (Especially love the bit about no answer being the last word)

The man with outward courage dares to die. The man with inward courage dares to live. - Lao Tzu HT: @masareus  - What a truly mind-blowing observation! BTW, can both courages co-exist?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Apparently, some body of research conducted - surprise, surprise - research on conversations and came to the conclusion that 43% of the conversations we have are meaningless. Not sure if that means the conversations themselves are meaningless or they are ultimately meaningless because we don't do anything (take action, change behaviour etc) after we have had a meaningful conversation. ;-)

Incidentally, this morning, I wrote something on conversations for my official blog. Thought I'd reproduce it here for some, well, meaningful conversations on the topic of conversations. :-)

So, here are some random thoughts (on the remaining 57% of the conversations we have):

- Sometimes, you need to have a conversation to know what's on your own mind

- A real conversation is one which involves a genuine effort to understand the other person's perspectives and share your own insights and experiences

- A conversation is, arguably, not one where you start off with an inflexible and pre-determined objective to get the other person to toe your line or do something. This may prevent you from identifying the 'actual' objectives, challenges, concerns, solutions etc. Though you may have to state the objective of your conversation at times, you must be prepared to see it undergoing changes...

- Unless we are talking about extremely focused people, a conversation that gets the best out of both the parties having it is one wherein both are approachable, understanding, patient and aware of multiple perspectives

- Sometimes, a conversation involves compromising on something a la a tough negotiation

- A controlled conversation (largely led and guided in a particular direction by perhaps one of the parties) is necessary during certain situations but may not always lead to great consequences. A free-flowing conversation that is allowed to chart its own path may lead to more serendipitous discoveries and get the best out of the participants  

Caveat: However, there is a likelihood of one of the parties completely hijacking the conversation if the other person involved displays an open mind, seems vulnerable and fails to be assertive. Tch.


Friday, August 13, 2010


Ultimately, Identity = What we (think about + believe in + behave like + pursue + create + share). Your thoughts?

Update (16th Aug):

Came across a somewhat similar post by Pravs World this morning. :-) Talks about the richness of life being a consequence of our dreams, friends, ideas etc.

C&H on Life

If you are a Calvin & Hobbes fan, you might want to thank me a million times for sharing this. At least, that's what I'd like to do when I see the person who shared it with me! :-) @Kirti (and then @masareus)

Picture courtesy: From the page shared above
I exaggerate but this is the bestest discovery ever. What? Every C&H strip drawn by Bill Watterson, on the topic of Life, collated on one phenomenal page! Wow! 206 pages and 282 comic strips! Sigh...wish it could be downloaded as a PDF! :-| Or will someone please publish a nice book on these lines?

Twitter Moments

Valuable twitter moments:

What is seen as Good becomes Evil when it crosses the invisible line between Popularity and Hegemony. Ask MS, Google and Apple

As long as one values happiness & learning above every - single - thing else, one simply can't be down for long. Try it, try it

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. ~Edmund Hillary

A truly awesome quote. Best left as it is. 

The Arrival of Aha!

"Learning, creating strategy, and innovation are parts of a single long journey. The journey is iterative, interactive, and full of small steps. Nobody gets a big aha one day. Instead, there is searching; there are missteps, experiments, and doubt." - CK Prahalad

Open Letter to Airtel

Dear Airtel,

I have already complained multiple times about sudden and strange downloads and subscriptions that my mobile seems to be subjecting itself to without my asking for it.

Despite all that, I have been charged for some unknown Java downloads and MadRat subscriptions which I have absolutely no clue of. I just complained again and was told I could subtract the charges applied for these two items. Unfortunately, I (surprisingly enough) ignored similar charges in my previous bills and have probably ended up paying 10% more money than what I was supposed to pay every month. Glad I woke up and realized something was wrong and decided to put a stop to it at least now. 

Anyway, I have what I think is a reasonable idea which you will hopefully consider.

If you were to not cheat customers and get them to pay Rs.50+ every month and increase your overall revenues by 5-10% and rather provide more honest services to them, your revenue might actually shoot up by 20-30% instead. Think about it. (I tweeted about this earlier and heard back from at least 5 people who have faced similar situations wherein their mobiles showed some strange independence and downloaded stuff from the Internet) 

A Well-wisher 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Horse Has a Million Dollar Question

My faith in mankind is tottering big time. Quick, I need some strong support (Isn't it ironical that I am asking for support, uh?). This is a clear case of blasphemy. Shameful right down to the skeleton. My ex-colleague's profile - something he apparently shared when invited for a talk on KM by another organization - says he was 'instrumental' in my receiving the patent that was awarded to me (which has my name as the Inventor but is commercially owned by my ex-organization). Sigh. And what's the truth that the horse is duty-bound to reveal? A card on my desk says "Stand up for what is right". And so I will. Neigh! (That's the horse not just standing up but stomping around) Every single piece of my patent-related work was executed when I was reporting to another colleague - who deserves the credit for every bit of encouragement I got. See the amusing difference - when I thanked my actual mentor for the encouragement after I was awarded the patent, he stoutly refused to take the credit and said it was my "passion and hard work". Somebody said it once. And I've repeated it on many occasions. I'll have to say it again. It takes all sorts of people to make this world.

I normally shy away from washing dirty linen in public and talking about such issues but this incident really rattles me and wants me to cry out loud and demand that the world drop everything and tell me what is happening to it. This man who craves for credit that he doesn't deserve, fortunately, cannot say he created the framework, methodology and toolkit because the patent document will indicate otherwise but he can still say he was 'instrumental', because that may never be questioned. Instrumental, my foot. ROFL. :-) He had absolutely no clue what the whole thing was about until he asked me to make a presentation on it to his team. (What's more, inside sources tell me that he also- apparently - walked away with the prize money that my ex-organization allocates for patent holders) 

Interestingly enough, it was just a few hours ago that I was wondering whether I should introspect and blog about a piece of advice that I find coming my way occasionally. "Accept the world for what it is and adapt yourself to its nature". It may mean two things a) I live in my own idealistic world and prefer to imagine that the injustice, imperfections and not-so-nice anomalies of the world will rectify themselves b) I constantly give people the feeling that I want to change the world. I suspect it may be an unequal combination of the two. The first attitude, admittedly, contributes generously to happiness at times when thinking otherwise will surely, only, lead to depression. The second attitude is what might ultimately propel me to do my bit to restore some sanity and perhaps some playful insanity in the world. (I'm saying that with as much modesty as is available to me. I am sure each one of us can make the world a better place if we really want to. I don't claim that to be a trait or motive restricted to some people alone)

Meanwhile, in other related news, Paulo Coelho just sent out a tweet that seems to have come at the right time for me. "We shall choose our adversaries, not the other way around." A whole ton of food for thought. Should I waste my time and energy and take this thing head on and prove a point or two or just laugh it off, let this conscientious MBA from one of the top few B-Schools in India be the way he is while I focus on more worthy things in life? What do you think?

Note: This post is more or less a spontaneous outpour of thoughts and emotions exactly as they are. I may want to elaborate upon this later on. For now, this is how the story reads. 

OK, here's more of the context and background. I started working on a KM toolkit long before I even knew that the person mentioned above existed. It was when I was a part of the central KM team and was an internal Knowledge Manager handling one of the largest business units. The head of the KM team was a different person at that time. I did not discuss the toolkit with anyone because at that time I considered it something more playful than something that would help me in consulting assignments and the like. I kept working at it whenever I was inspired enough and I think it finally evolved into something substantial and reached a logical end. But it remained just a simple PPT in my PC. This was in the year 2004 or so. 

I then moved to a new business unit as a consultant wherein my job was to come up with KM point solutions for a particular domain. I began to report to Mr.SK (a Utilities domain consultant) and he is the one who deserves full credit for supporting me and encouraging me to conceive a KM framework and methodology that could be used as a solution for customers setting out to formulate a KM strategy. It was during this period that it suddenly dawned upon me that I could get back to the toolkit and develop it further and use it along with the framework. Also, I was inspired by the upcoming APQC conference and decided to present it at the conference in the year 2006. That was in the middle of an assignment that I was carrying out for a Utilities major in UK and I was still reporting to Mr.SK. Once I came back, I decided to join an independent KM consulting team (not restricted to a particular domain) which was when I first started interacting with the person mentioned above. By then, I had already obtained Mr.SK's permission and approval to file a patent on the framework, methodology (already used during my consulting assignment) and toolkit. So, when I first met our 'friend', I had already completed my work and filed a patent as well. Now, for the life of me, I don't know how he could be instrumental in my receiving a patent on something he was introduced to only after I had filed the patent! The only potential confusion here is that the patent was finally granted by the US patent office earlier this year and I had quit the organization 2 years before the patent was declared as mine. Unfortunately, this person was/is in charge and thinks it means he deserves the credit.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Manipulative Machiavelli or Straightforward Sam?

I am extremely tired of people who are manipulative, those who love playing mind games and aim to be a scheming Machiavelli who can easily deceive everyone else into doing whatever they want them to do. This may seem counter-intuitive to many but I strongly believe that, in the long run, the ones who are better off are the ones who are honest and straightforward (but polite and kind) in their communication. So, this article strikes a nice chord.

Source: (Emphasis Mine)

The Power of Disengagement

Rather than being heart based, some have learned to play mind games or go on power trips in the service of their ego.

For better or worse, many people have been raised to believe that communicating in an honest and open way will not get them what they want. They have learned, instead, to play mind games or go on power trips in the service of their ego’s agenda. People stuck in this outmoded and inefficient style of communication can be trying at best and downright destructive at worst. We may get caught up in thinking we have to play the same games in order to defend ourselves, but that will only lead us deeper into confusion and conflict. The best way to handle people like this is to be clear and honest with them. 

As with all relationships and situations in our lives, we must look within for both the source of our difficulties and the solution. Reacting to the situation by getting upset will only entrench us more deeply in the undesirable relationship. Only by disengaging, becoming still, and going within can we begin to see what has hooked us into the mess in the first place. We will most likely find unprocessed emotions that we can finally fully feel and release into the stillness we find in meditation. The more we are able to do this, the less we will be bothered by the other person’s dramas and the more we will be free to respond in a new way. In the light of our new awareness, the situation will untangle itself and we will slowly break free. 

Whenever people come into our lives, they have come for a reason, to show us something about ourselves that we have not been able to see. When unhealthy people try to hook us into their patterns with mind games and power trips, we can remind ourselves that we have something to learn here and that a part of us is calling out for healing. This takes the focus off the troubling individual and puts it back on us, giving us the opportunity to change the situation from the inside out. 

Friday, August 06, 2010

A few minutes back, I bumped again into a poem that moved me immensely when I had first read it - which was probably many years before I started blogging. My first thought was to save it on the blog and share it with those of you who may have not seen it. 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.            
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

- Mother Theresa 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Inspiring Thoughts

I liked this article by Jay. Extremely practical and simple and yet inspiring enough to push you.

Points I'd particularly like to highlight are: (comments mine)

  • Learn people skills above all else (Comment: I think most of us are not naturally good at handling people. We must necessarily expend some effort to learn how to deal with people and our own unconscious mind - like the author points out at the start of his list)

  • Question everything you hear! (Comment: Well, sometimes you have to be smart enough to realize what cannot be trusted or taken at face value)

  • Your beliefs create your universe (Comment: Be very careful about what beliefs you invite and nurture and understand how exactly it impacts you)

  • Never sell yourself short. Ever. (Comment: The complexity of the relationship between humility, self-confidence and selling yourself right may be hard to deal with)

  • Stay in control of yourself at all times (Comment: Genuine emotions are a sign of a good human the border line)