Remembering A Friend

We lost a friend this morning.

I was 24 when I met him as a colleague. He was a senior. But we immediately became friends as if we had always been together. Our friendship was a natural extension of ourselves. He spoke good English. I looked up to him to fine-tune my language. I enjoyed his company. He spoke with a vocabulary which was beyond my reach. He made me at ease and helped me learn. He did crossword puzzles and that made him a demi-god to me. He taught all about it to me. I had another peer colleague who is as good with language. Hence we became three-some awesome friends. This senior guy was just then married. When his mom was with him at home, he used to take us to feed us, the bachelors. If not, he used to invite us saying we had to be guinea pigs as his new wife learned to cook and gave us wonderful food made by his wife. He included us when we were in town to the dinner outings that he took his wife to. He had a car and four of us always went out in that red maruthi car. We always went to that town knowing well we had a bro and a home.

We had many funny moments. He was good at catching me with my inadequacies and teased in a way that I enjoyed them the most. He taught me humour. He taught that the definition of humour is that the person at whom it is aimed at should be able to enjoy it the most. This taught me good humour.

His was the first car that I got into and drew my inspiration to make it a senior(car was a senior’s privilege) by hard work. When I got mine, I told him that. There was a day when we ran out of petrol in his car. For years to come it became a starting point to remember those old days. Once we drove up a hill with the hand-brake on and we came to know about it when we smelt the smoke of the tyre. On all occassions he was solid with his humour. I could have never learnt to think when in distress if not for his kind of humour.

He was big. A well-built man. Big eyes. Quick tongued humour. Impeccable language. A soft heart. Sincere in relationships. Better than a reel hero in looks, and a real hero as a person.

He accepted a special programme initiated by the company in those days. When I inquired as to why he accepted it, he told me that he heard about the markets of the special programme, and since it was closer to the station that I was based, he took it. His thoughts floored me. All the time during the special programme visits, we had a gala time. He was liked by many to the extent that some of the seniors were even possessive to let us be his friends with the same closeness. That only increased our love for him.

I met him a few years before at his house function. Same big hug. Same warmth. Same humour. I shall just remain with those thoughts forever.

I never thought, with the kind of healthcare in this age, genetic predisposition can strike someone with lame things like heart attack.

My prayers to Lord Renganatha to give strength to the family and all of us, friends, to cope up with this huge loss.

Last but not the least, thanks to the common friend who thought of me(after all these years) and informed me the news. Thanks buddy that you understood our friendship, and how close I was to him.

Diagnose And Repair

diagnose and repair1990- I bought my first motorbike. An AX 100R. I had always given it for service in the authorized service centers. My reasons had been simple. They are trained for that vehicle and equipped with materials to do repairs for that vehicle. They are not one-man show. There are specialized people to look at various parts of the services that the vehicle requires. They tend to be more responsible. For all these put together, their charges might be higher compared to a road-side mechanic who is all-in-all in his shop, who deals with all kinds of vehicles, has limited equipments, cannot replace spare-parts readily, over-worked as one-man show, equally responsible(let us say), charges a tad less. But I always had a feeling that one-man mechanic will do what is absolutely necessary, might not foresee problems and act on it, whereas the service-centre guys will go by the book and hence might do the necessary changes if it is in the change-this-threshold already.

Stop. Over the years I have been with my Doctor friends(yes I mean the health care practitioners) and have always been fascinated by their diagnosis, treatment methodologies. I mean the way in which they diagnose and the way in which they treat. Generally when a Junior doctor joins the senior, to start with, he will be asked to kind of sit with the senior, watch, learn, and at the end, the senior will dictate his Rxions for the junior to keep writing it. So, for outside world, it will look as if the junior is kept like a clerk to write down the senior’s dictation. But, they know what they are doing and representatives like us understood it well. When the junior grows, the senior will ask the junior, “What is your diagnosis? Why?” and then teach him why and/or why-not. This is hands-on training. After that knowing the senior’s Rxion habits he would write out on his own. Sometimes, the senior will cross-check. So, from this we can easily understand that diagnosis is the most important part. That made correct, treatment follows. By and large, the success of the treatment lies in right diagnosis.

I had seen senior paediatricians walking on the in-patient wards and stop by to tell a mother to feed, short-circuiting their original orderly rounds to go and check a baby. These, I understood, happened because they can differentiate between a cry-due-to-hunger and a cry-in-pain. They will also stop by and ask their juniors to identify “cries” in the wards. Later in clinics, I had seen doctors who would shout-out to their compounders or staff to let a crying baby in first(though the patient’s order could be well down the order of turns). And their instructing the staff to ask the respective mother to feed the crying baby. Again they can differentiate by listening-in the cries.

Stop. Today my 70cc XL didnt start and I had to depend on a road-side mechanic. He entrusted the job to a junior and the junior fiddled with the vehicle one at a time. First, he diagnosed that spark-plug was the problem and cleaned it. It didn’t work. Then he thought carburetor was the issue. He cleaned it. It didn’t work. By this time he had taken a full 45 minutes. The senior guy came around and asked him if he checked the motor for current. Then he checked it himself and then found that faulty. I had to go, get a new one and we replaced it. 5 minutes job. It was ready.

I explained to both the guys that they should not venture in to a treatment process and should diagnose first. I told the all-in-all senior owner mechanic that he should  follow the doctor methodology to train his junior. He didn’t agree. He said only if the junior worked this hard(doing unnecessary things) he would learn and also would respect him(the senior). Luckily, these guys did not become doctors. World puts up with these bike-doctors this way. I made a resolution once-again not to go to the roadside all-in-all mechanic next time.

Posting this story out helped me calm down after going through this experience. If you had come this far, a big thank you for reading this.

Mid-Career Equations

As kids we were used to being posed the question: What do you want to become? That question comes back in our mid-career for most of us, this time, posed by our own-self.

A lot of us in our mid-career take stock of where we started and how we grew till now. Most of us are happy with what we are now, though there are things, we always think we could have done better. But, the million-dollar-question is, how do we do better than this in future? While we are happy where we are, are we ok to do this for the next 10-20 years?  What kind of skills do we have? What kind of work do we want to do today to grow in the future? Should we take a step back and learn new skills? Or should we continue to run this race wherever it takes us? Do we have a choice? More importantly, are we ready to talk it out? Are we flexible in what we shall do for that bargain? Or do we think, in some magical way, those things will come to us? Ask yourself these questions. You will make a great start.

I am sure you have your own set of questions and answers. It helps to talk it out.  Decide your part of the equation first. . Say what you will not do for sure. Decide what you are ready to do.

A lot of people talk to me on their forthcoming interviews for a new job. Some ask me what they should do to start on their own. Some talk just to crib. Some think if they maintain what they have got now, for a life-time, it would be a Himalayan achievement for them. A lot of people ask me what I think about it. They ask me because I know them. They ask me because they want to talk aloud. They ask me because they find a listener in me. They ask me because I put people together to explore.

Keep your thoughts open and share what you think you are doing to decide your own future. Share your interesting ideas and anectodes on the same.

My Cloud Story

MADP

One of my friends used to say often,

“You should not go where the horse takes you. You should take the horse where you want to go.”

I apply this for technology. It is horse power to your advantage if you use it well. One such technology is Cloud Computing.

I was introduced to cloud computing 3 years back by way of solutions to my work needs. Then on, no looking back. Cloud has served me in every way. Cloud has made me more competitive. Cloud has freed up a lot of my time. Cloud has given me so much of flexibility on how and where I do my work. Cloud has given me business opportunities. Cloud has made me my customer’s first choice to check, and hence I have always had the first choice of refusal even for the projects which I did not do. If you are in business, you understand what a great privilege it is to be in such a position with the customer. Cloud has helped me earn a tremendous "top-of-the-mind-recall" with my customers.Cloud has saved me money.

It rubbed off on my life too. Cloud has made my life better. Cloud has given me more family time. Cloud  has given the whole family a better way to collaborate. Cloud has given my kids wonderful backup for their slokas and music files. Learning has a new dimension with Cloud.

Productivity everywhere. Thanks to managing my work using cloud, I could even pursue and finish my long-cherished dream of doing a post graduation. I did that in DivyaPrabhandam for the last two years in a regular course M.A(Divya Prabhandam) without compromising on the work-front. Thank you Cloud!!!

Are you using Cloud to your business advantage? During the last two years I shared some of what I learnt about Cloud. Check out the links as follows:

How are you served by Cloud Computing?

A boon in your personal life

A competitive edge in your professional life

Cloud Computing Promoting IT in India

Cloud Camp #unconference See my twitter stream in this post and people mentioned there.  You can learn a lot of Cloud Computing by following some of them in twitter.

The concept of APPU

The power of collaboration through web as a business strategy

I started 3 years before with this post: Access Your Data And Apps From Anywhere, 24×7 and my enthusiasm has only grown from strength to strength with results supporting in my favour.

I have been in so much love with Cloud Computing that we have a company called CloudsDirect to advise businesses on how to leverage Cloud for business growth.

In the last 2 years the journey of life and business has been a wonderful one. So much of wonderful business stories and business results. Thank you, Cloud!!!

Sometimes I wonder

Nothing says FUN like Math 'n' Stuff.
Nothing says FUN like Math ‘n’ Stuff. (Photo credit: Divine Harvester)

As a small boy, I had visited our regular store whenever my mom sent me over there to buy stuff. While the man packed efficiently, he would tell us the rate per kilo and expect us to calculate by mental maths and would tease us for not being fast. We always wondered how he had things at his fingertips to the last paise, whatever the variations were and how many ever customers stood in his shop. These vendors inspired our mental maths abilities. I am sure he just had his primary education.

In later years, I used to see his son who is elder to us and studied till pre-university use a paper and pen to calculate and give the customers the chit to verify.

Today I saw his grandson (whom I understand has just finished his college Engineering education) at the shop using a calculator to do the same simple addition or subtraction.

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Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

My #12in12 for February 2012

February 2012 Lock Screen Calendar Wallpaper B...
Image by Brian G. Wilson via Flickr

Last month I shared My #12in12 for January 2012.

I think I fairly did a good job about it. Excepting 3-4 days, I have been getting up before 5am. After first few initial days, my biological clock had started working and has been waking me up. Though I still use my alarm clock, even before it rings, I stir and I know that its my internal clock waking me up. Since I am up before 5am, when I call someone at 8am I forget that it is too early. There is a good improvement in how I tick-off my to-do lists on a daily basis. Post-lunch is a little bit difficult period. But I make it a point to do small errands so that I do not doze off on my work table or while someone is talking. I have made changes to my food habits and time of eating to suit the new style. Looks a bit more healthy. I intend to continue it.


My #12in12 for February 2012

This is my 22nd year of work after graduating out of college. I have met many good people. A lot of people have contributed to my learning and growth. I have learnt to like and dislike people seeing them up closely. Both has contributed to shape me up. I have tried to be in touch with many of them over the years. But the hectic life we live sometimes takes a toll on relationships.

I intend to check, this month, my list of known people from the past and try to touch base with some of them for an update. I will start with people with whom I have not spoken to in the last 2 years or so. I will try at least one contact per day. I may have an old email of theirs or a contact number or they might be in one of the social networks that I am in. I will dig out, check around and reach them to say “hello”.  Let me think through this. Let me try this. Let this be my #12in12 for February 2012. I will share with you my experience on the last day of February when this ends.

What about you? What did you do or not do in January? Its never late. You can start any time and can read about the concept of 12 in 12 here.

Feel free to share your comments.

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Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Change In Time: Start New Things

English: Alert 'RED' ! Red squirrel jumping be...
Image via Wikipedia

As I keep talking about futuristic solutions to business owners, I find that it brings about a lot of cultural changes and the biggest challenge is in adjusting to this new change. Training people to adapt to these changes is a necessity and challenge.
The best way to change is not stopping what you are doing, but to start doing new things.

Suppose you are holding a weak branch of a tree and hanging. You are aware that is the only source of survival. You are also aware that the branch is not very strong. It may not let you hold it  long enough to survive. Naturally you will only look for a near-by strong branch to shift.

Imagine your systems/habits to be the branch that you are holding. If you understand its a weak system/habit and not contributing towards your objectives, you should move to better/stronger systems/habits for survival.

The key is not to think about leaving the old habit/system. But to think about catching the new one. The moment you catch the new one, the old would have left automatically. The issue of thinking about leaving the old habit/system is that it hinders the process of change.

I have read about this experiment somewhere in the past. The experiment was about power of words and habits. The experiment was done with two sets of kids. The kids were on a branch of tree and with the fear of falling instilled, the parents were asked to instruct the child to move them to safety. The first set of children were instructed first to move to a stronger branch. The second set of children were first cautioned not to leave the branch and then were instructed to move to a stronger branch. Obviously, the first group did much better than the second.

So my advise to do better, be it life or business, is to catch a new better, stronger branch of tree if you feel the one you are holding is not up to your expectation.

How have you changed your systems/habits? What are the new changes that you recently brought in? How did you do them? Feel free to share.

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Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

Secret Is What Is Known Well

Passion


There is so much of talk about Entrepreneurship and passion and it is still a dream for many. Is doing something called passion? Then, when we hear someone say “he does it passionately”, what is that? So we understand that there are two things “doing” and “passionately doing”.

A mother. Her son in is a faraway country. She keeps thinking of him. She loves him. He has promised to visit during the festive season. As the season approaches, her expectation/interest grows. Just before the season, due to some reasons, he could not come. He communicates the same to his mother. When her expectations are broken, she becomes emotional. Such a worldly relationship gives you love, expectations and emotions. This can be seen all over. I should say that this can be seen even with animals. A neighbour’s son is also in a faraway country. But this lady is not worried or anxious about the neighbour’s son. So, as long as you do not think it is yours, you don’t get the passion. Simply said, only when you think of something as yours, you get that passion. So the key to passion is the thinking that it is yours.

You love because its your own. Expectations because of and with respect to time. Emotion when it doesnt happen or even when that happens. This is called passion.

If you keep the same passion on your business or work, it is passionate work. If you keep this about everything in life, you are living life passionately. So, that love for what you do, in all spheres of life, is the key.  With your love for what you do, you find love everywhere. Your world becomes lovely.

Living Life,Work, Business-everything will remain as mere routines unless you get this passion into them. You can decide whether you have to live your life with mere words or make it passionate.

Secret of Success


If you work with passion, even if you don’t achieve the expected results, your work itself will make you happy. If you don’t work with passion, whatever results you achieve will still not bring in the happiness you seek. This is the secret. Secret is what is known well and not practiced as contrary to the popular belief that it is something known only to a few. More so, in this digital era. It is practiced only by a few and hence secret is known only to a few. Practice is the key to the secret of success.

Towards passionately practicing this secret I am currently doing My #12in12 For January 2012.


How about you? What is your definition of passion? How did your NewYear start? Feel free to share.

Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

I Am Doing This For That

Give More Than You TakeImage by Your Secret Admiral via Flickr

We are full of activities. Various kinds of activities. We do every activity with a lot of expectations. Activities bring both success and failure.

I am doing this for that

This is a common statement anyone can understand. Isn’t it? In all walks of life, we are familiar with the meaning of this. Such a simple thing.

Wait, let us dissect this and see.

We have seen people who say “I am doing this for that” and “do” only when “that” is fulfilled. A typical reaction from the other person would be “Let me see what your “doing” is”. A tug-of-war ensues when you insist “for that”. Not many are successful with this approach with obvious exceptions of choicelessness of the buyer. A lot of our activities fall under this category. Its a typical WIIFM(whats-in-it-for-me kind) on both sides.

I am doing this

There are activities that people do where the stress is not on “for that” but “I am doing this” becomes important. Examples include all kinds of egoistic activities. Sometimes even what we do for our kids come under this category. The extension of “for and with whom” depends on the individual. But the stress is on the “I” factor.

Doing This

These are activities that you simply do. Not necessarily “for that”. Not necessarily insisting “I am doing”. The examples are plenty. The most common examples are those passionate activities which individuals do. Just-do-it kind.

Our activities are generally a mix of these. Sometimes they are in right place and perspective. Sometimes a mis-match.

Apply and categorize every activity of yours and see how it looks and where you stand. This applies to all walks of life.

Now, Is there a lesson here for New Age Marketers? Can you extend this to your Marketing? I think so.

A Way of Marketing

Today there are great tools for showcasing and conversing with your market thanks to Social Media. I stand by my theme that Social Media is people talking to people. Today you can convey your “I am doing this for that” briilliantly. From Sell, Sell, Sell to Give, Give, Give and making the sale look incidental.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to share.

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Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com

My #12in12 For January 2012


January 2012's calendar :: iPhone4 with calendar
Image by Headphonaught via Flickr

I love waking up early in the morning and spending the first two hours reading or listening. The habit contributed immensely. I lost it somewhere. So as my first objective for 2012 I am going to start that again.

Is that part of my resolution for 2012? No, it just got better with an idea that I read here 12 in 12.

One of my favourite saying on learning and change is “one at a time”. I think this article gives a better shape to my idea of “one at a time”.
So I will let you know how I progressed and my next update on this will be in February.

Do you like this? Go and find your 12 in 12 for January 2012. Feel free to share.

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Originally posted on http://blog.varadh.com