Thursday, December 29, 2005

Looking Back At 2005

First of All I would like to thank all of you for your response to my previous post . it was really encouraging to see that my blog is being checked regularly by so many people . I recvd at least 20 emails from friends and friend's friends who checked the last posting and liked it . Thanks a Ton ! Keep Coming back .

Now  as  the year end is approaching I think its time for some serious bookkeeping . During this time of year  Most celebrity blogger posts their  prediction for the upcoming year . I will save that for my next post for  now let me recollect what all happened in 2005

To begin with 2005 was an eventful year for me . both on professional as well as personal fronts . so I decide to list them here . some of the news are global & you might have read them in news paper and some are very personal and nobody know about them . all are equally important for me .So here we go ..

  • 2005 started with me loosing a chance to sell SkillPoint at Texas Instrument's Bangalore operations . It was a real set back as that deal could have given  us a solid reference base in bangalore corporate market .But I think I pretty well make up for that . now we have Big companies like  Idea Cellular ,Xansa  and couple of other US Based Staffing firms as our  client .
  • After much of delay I launched my blog . only to discover that world is too busy to read my crap . but slowly and steadily people begin to visit it regularly . having the blog URL in my Gmail signature helped .
  • Much awaited Google IPO and a spur of activity in Internet market . Euphoria like Dotcom Days .
  • Nishant was blessed with a baby girl and I am still not able to visit him and see the baby . Sorry Nishant !
  • Some people from my College Gang  decided to take the "Red Pill" (they joined Microsoft ) and moved out from Delhi. So I am left with very few folks of mine in Delhi . This year it was  little more lonelier here.
  • This year I took my first Flight .It was SpiceJet Flight from Delhi to Pune . Being in Air did excited me but over all experience of Air Travel was very disappointing .I prefer traveling by Indian Railway :AC Second Class  . It has more leg room .
  • I lost my Grandfather this year . my first encounter with the death of a family member  . living it once was bad enough so I will not even mention it here in details  .
  • We got our first client in Hyderabad , Chennai ,Pune and USA .I meet with K P Pandyarajan of MaFoi . A really dynamic person .
  • My brother Vikrant Became a Sr.Software Engg at Quark and visited USA . as per his word "America Bahut Achee Jagah Hai , Wahan Log aate Jaate aapko Greet Karte hain" (USA is a cool place . people (read Girls )  greet you Good morning even if you don't know them) .
  • Discovered Paul Graham  and his writing on net  . the guy is a genius .
  • One of my college time buddy who used to look like a good partner in my crusade of living as a  confirmed bachelor  was floored . He is happily engaged and a bit too busy to call .
  • Visited SHIMLA  a  really very very beautiful place .


  • Somebody in  Microsoft  did a great job of  integrating linux with windows  so much so that his "Mahual" conquered  Himalya and River rafted in Ganga . Congratus !



  • Mating season started  EBAY  bought Skype (no body knows why  ?)  , Yahoo baught ,Google bids for riya  .


  • Somebody very close to me reminded that being in a better College/Job/Company require to shed excess baggage of past . that special person taught me that I am still very very disposable . Thanks ,Lesson learned .

  • Rohan ,Vivek  got Engaged .
  • I learned how to cook chapatti it was easier than I expected.
I Can't remember  anything else of much significance .wait for my Predictions for Year 2006 .

Wishing all of you  a very Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lost In Transition

From (Astronaut, Scientist ,Entrepreneur, Lover )


( Driver,Manager,Husband )

Lost In Transition

When I was a Kid ,my dad used to live in Middle East due to job . every time before coming back to India, daddy used to ask us (by postal mail ) about what he should bring for us . almost invariably I used to ask for Rocket or Airplane . Every body in my neighborhood knew I wanted to become an astronaut. I really believed that someday I will step on moon. I will be first Indian to step on moon . ( I still have the chance to do that J )

Somewhere while growing up I lost my dream of becoming a astronaut . I don't really know the reason . I never cared to explore them . By the time I was in my teens I wanted to be a Scientist but after enrolling as a student of Science with Non Medical I focused on becoming a Engg. And then fornext two years of my life I eat, slept, breathed and smelled P.E.T / JEE .

During my college days I wanted to start a company and my folks were sick of hearing my plans, but currently I am trying hard to become a manager in my current assignment .

During college I was attracted toward a girl & wanted to be her lover ( FYI : she rejected me and I am thankful to her , because she could have done something more cruel , which someone else did to me recently ,& I am thank full to her also . but more on that later. ) and now my parents want me to be a husband of someone of their choice and I don't know how long I can withstand the pressure .

This is my story and I believe this can be the story of any other boy in our times . each of us sometime in there life want to be an Astronaut, Scientist ,Entrepreneur and Lover but more often than not we are reduced to Driver, Manager & Husband . Why ? from being a boy to being a Man what do we loose in transition ? is it inevitable ? do we have a choice ? Is this the cost of Growing up ? Lets see .

I think that one fundamental difference between the ambitions of our childhood and goals of
adulthood is of conformity . As we grow up we tend to become more and more conformist . I tell you this is a very cozy feeling when you know that you are one with the people around you . you are acceptable , you belong . we tend to believe that its safe to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally .

Of course we never admit it to our self and try to glorify our current position and I am not trying to prove that there is no effort or glory involved in the last three roles . all I am trying to find out is why we shed our goals and never realize it until its too late to do anything about it . All of us are working hard , all of us are busy and intelligent . so how on earth we can miss the point . why we scale down our ambition .

Local Maxim

One reason we never realize what we are doing is that often we are trapped in what I call a "Local Maxim". a short term win on the cost of a long term victory .I still remember how my friends used to feel down and out when they were not able to make it in Campus Placement in College . It looked like the end of world . Funny thing is even some girlfriends switched loyalties during this time .( well that was not shock to anybody it was expected in my college )

Another case in point is of my friend who was working in a company where his project was to write software to mine data from unstructured source of information like text file . just when his project was in most interesting phase he got an offer from another company and they were offering a huge jump in salary . he asked me for advice . he was in love with his current assignment but still he was making a lot less then his classmate or friend in US who is working on $/Hr basis in a valley based firm . I advised him to stay but under the pressure of family and wife he switched his job . He knew he will not going to enjoy the work but still he did it .He don't talk about his job now. he opted for a local maxim .

We all do it sometime or other . all of us are busy ,all of us are achieving something or other but our effort ,our victory our energy is not aligned with our long term goal . we keep penny so close to our eye that we can't see the dollar behind it .

One way to avoid the trap of local maxim is to have friends outside of work, industry, demographics and beyond your financial profile . As a sales person I have meet many top notch professionals who make a packet of money every month & budding entrepreneurs on shoestring budget (some time on serial credit cards) . Based of my experience I can tell you both teach you a great deal . its better than having friends who are only programmer in some IT firm. It gives you perspective and vision to look beyond local maxim.

Who wrote the Script of My Role

" You know someone said that world is a stage ,and we all must play our part ,

fate has been playing in love, with you as my sweetheart ,

Act One was when we meet I loved you at your first glance,

You read your line so cleverly and never missed a clue , Than come act two .

You got changed and acted strange and why I never know .

Honey you lied when you said you love me and I have no doubt on that

But I rather go on hearing your lies than go on living without you ,

Now the stage is bare and I am standing here with the emptiness all around

And if you are not coming back to me that they can bring the curtain down "

Elvis Presley In "Are You Lonesome Tonight"

Legend is that king Elvis was in love with a girl who was equally in love with him . but he was a Truck Driver @ that time .And no self respecting uptown family in USA like the idea of their daughter getting married to a truck driver . Girl finally ditched Elvis Presley to marry some one normal . later king wrote this song for the same girl who never cared to say a proper good bye to him before partying ways .Nobody really know who she was . and everybody knows such girls.

Now lets for a moment think like that girl . In Her shoes she might be taking the best most thoughtful and calculated move of her life .When she loved him she was a girl and all she cared was that boy should be good looking, caring and madly in love with her . but now she is a women soon she will get married and as a consequence will have kids. Now think of it will you like to raise your child in a house of truck diver . so the poor girl acted wise, she thought like a wife /mother /homemaker and married someone else . girl in her lost her voice . she grew up .

As we all grow up at some point our friends ,family ,society give us the script of the role we have to play . they define what you are supposed to do as a father , son, wife , husband and everything else . we tends to believe these script as a fundamental premise.

Every person is unique so should be the script of his life . But we forget to ask a basic question what we are supposed to do as a person ? we should have a purpose of life beyond playing these pre scripted roles . but sadly this is rarely the case .Most of us never try to explore our role and write its script . sounds like a Matrix .

Now think for a moment about another girl . Her name is Gauri Khan , wife of SRK . think of her decision of marrying SRK .An average looking guy, a struggling actor with no steady source of income and on top of all these he was from a different religion . she must have faced an hell lot of resistance from her family . every body must have tried to push those scripts about "Good Husband Material" down her head . but she opted otherwise . Why ? what is the difference between approach of Gauri & approach of the girl who ditched Elvis . Honestly only Ms. Gauri can answer that . I will not even attempt to guess .

We have many example of people who opted to write their own script . Sania Mirza , N.Kartekeyan, Sabeer Bhatia , Narayan Murthy ,Dhirubhai Ambani list is end less.

DNA of Enterprenuer (If Any)

An Astronaut moves in general direction there is no path for him to follow and a Driver drive on roads with the help of maps . an entrepreneur tries to create new market where- as Manager only optimize the returns on existing market . Lover symbolize adventure and Husband smell security .

As we grow up we tend to be afraid of taking unknown road , we don't venture in unexplored territory. We trade adventure for security . we trade surprises & excitement for predictability .we tend to believe that our sense of worth is function of our job, possessions, salary etc. we don't see it as something intrinsic to us . at that juncture , we loose our chance . that feeling of intrinsic self worth is the thing we loose in transition .

That is the only thing which makes the difference between living for work and working for a living . lets hope more of us are in First category . lets write our own scripts and lets live a firsthand life .

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Feed Reader In Gmail

Google is  now offering web based RSS /ATOM  feed integrator  bundelled with Gmail .  I can see a though time ahead for companies like . sometime back there was a rumor that Microsoft  is going to offer desktop based feed reader with Vistas and currently a crack team of Microsoft is sniffing web for possible targets . newsgator was surely one hot prospects .

i am wondering was it true . i am using web based newsgator for past sometime  i expected that any company looking to gain a footstep  in this sector will acquire it but they missed newsgator . perhaps they developed something inhouse .

what does it means for aspiring  Entrepreneurs  ? is era of your start up being acquired is over ?
i don't think so Google is in talk with riya ?

for companies like google  only thing that matter is the technology and  how good it integrate with there system . they will not go wacko  like MS did in buying  hotmail . No irrational exuberance this time .

watch out  your time start now


Thursday, December 08, 2005


just checkedn Meebo

Great site guys . its simply allows you to chat with your friends in yahoo or msn msgr buddy list without worrying about installing the IM Client . though there are some issue like speed and integration with yahoo voice . but its a great idea .

interesting thing is that its a Three (03) person start up and now along with its the latest buzz of tech circuit

do check it out

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Confession of an HR Manager

It's been 1½ year since I joined WebPlains, during this time I have seen, talked and meet with a lot of HR Professionals. Most of them were handling the recruitment function for there respective organizations. Most of them were plain English speaking crap. Some were intelligent and very few were shockingly genius. All of them were frustrated.

In our age and today's market conditions I think this statement can be made just about any function in an organization be it HR, or finance or Marketing or Even Software Programming J. But I found a fundamental difference here. Most of the people in function blame HR for bad policy making and stuff. Whom does HR blame?

Theoretically HR's job is to Hire bright people , ensure they get right environment to work and help functional heads to do a fair evaluation of there performance . In short to manage Human Capital . So much of HR Crap !

I can bet this definition is written by some PR Agencies and it is not remotely associated with the actual job of an HR Professional. Based on my experience I can say that after Marketing , HR is the most hated group in a organization . HR is another thankless job . like the way I was intrigued by the people's attitude toward sales and discussed it in my previous posting here I enquired about the cause of this hidden resentment toward HR .

My quest for answer took me to a friend of mine. An energetic young man in his late thirties , working as a HR head of leading IT firm .his colleague call him "SAGE" .

when I discussed it with him he smiled and said " It's a dirty secret of business world . why do you want to know it ? " when I insisted he said that " I will tell you my work history and that will explain a lot of things " so we decided to meet on weekend for coffee at barista near Signature Tower, Gurgaon .

what he told me was really insight full . I don't want to damp the impact of his narration so I am trying to produce his account as it is for you in First person. here is his Story in his own words ,which is perhaps the story Evolution of HR in India .Read on…...

" I am an MBA in Social works from a B Grade Business School and I have around 12 years of experience in this domain .In initial years of my work life I used to work in a Big MNC manufacturing firm in Gurgaon. Over there management's expectation from HR Deptt was fairly limited . We were called personnel department . Our job was mostly of paper work . leave application tracking, payroll , group insurance and maintaining cordial relation with Union etc .fairly routine work . given my middle class background I was happy doing that. I was not involved in core group of company and I didn't harbor any illusion of shaping the destiny of company . truth of the situation was that I needed company more than company needed me .

Than there was a fad of Quality enhancement in my company suddenly core team was highly quality conscious and every where you began to hear terms like " kaizen , poke yoke , Six Sigma , TQM , ISO etc . people in-general were happy with the initiatives . some said its because we really want to be known as a quality manufacturer of auto components . some said its because of the teaching of some spiritual guru of whom our CEO was a disciple .

Some of my Sr. colleague who were eternal skeptic dismissed the whole idea of Quality and working condition enhancement as just another way to bring business . they said that our company want to have some business from the Japanese and Korean companies and these companies are very strict about the work culture and working conditions of there vendors . there stance was that it is not because our CEO wake up one fine day and realize that his employees are working in a filthy factory so it needs to be clean , prime motivation is to bag the order and collect the money. All this talks of loving your employee are absolute hogwash

I shrugged and dismissed that argument thinking that because these guys were working in bad conditions for past 30 years so this sudden change of culture might be a shock . it may be looking too good to be true so these guys are skeptical. After all you can't change much after a certain age . I should focus on younger workforce and ensure there buy-in for this projects .

I did it as a crusade and it was a success . but after a while the company fired a good lot of them and decide to fill the posts with temp workers . I was shocked an year back same core team was making a lot of noise about Employee being there extended family and crap . now even when all of the soon –to be - fired guys were doing there work properly they need to pushed out of the door.

I checked with a senior manager he said " Actually competition is brutal margins are wafer thin, so too increase our unit's profit we need to cut the operational cost . and the temp firm is providing the same set of workforce for 60 % of cost . "

I said "Workforce ?? its sounds too mechanical. we are talking about real living people here. who come to work here daily . how can you tell them the news ? and specially when we are still in profit . only margin is suffering because of market conditions . for god sake they are our extended family !! "

Manager smiled and patted on my shoulder "You believe that crap ? I thought you are much smarter than that " .

Yes I should have been smarter than that . I should know that Sr. Management's incentive depends on how much profit they show on quarterly basis . and buy this 40% saving there will be a 20% jump in profit and CEO will get a huge bonus . its all in numbers .

I did the bad work of breaking the news . it was terrible . it sucks!! there were some middle age workers who were there from past 20 years and they were so much part of this place that I can't even think of the factory without them and now I have to tell them to get lost . so that bloody CEO can have his annual bonus . To my great surprise episode went with a little agitation and lot of mourning . since that day everybody in plant was living in fear . Fear of being the next casualty of CEO s bonus . I was disillusioned . Job lost it's charm and I started looking for other options .

During My MBA I had done a project on " Managing a Diverse ,Cross Cultural Workforce " . somehow HR head of upcoming BPO firm noticed that in my CV . So in spite of my Manufacturing Industry background they gave me a job of Sr. Recruitment Executive . I was happy again . I thought that it's a new economy company , a knowledge economy firm . we all call each other buy there first name . we all are equal . it's a good place to be . it's not like my previous firm .

I was an idiot. This illusion lasted only for a week . after my induction and orientation course in BPO firm . my first assignment was to hire Cust. Support Exe. For a process which was being shifted to India . I got two set of envelopes in my cubicle . One was from Sales team in Head Quarter it contained details of process and client requirements and other envelop was containing Hiring guideline it was from our office.

Now if you want to understand the real meaning and philosophies of a BPO firm you should look at there hiring guidelines .

  • If the candidate is exceptionally intelligent or qualified , don't hire him
  • If the candidate is speaking good English and he look like a " good for nothing "bum hire him .
  • If candidate is a bit energetic and analytic and have many interest . Avoid hiring them as they will eventually get bored and will leave
  • While choosing among females prefer Single girl over married women and Outsider girl over Local girl.
  • While structuring teams ensure there is a proper sex ratio . make a point to put a single girl in the team of married guys .

I very well understood the reasons behind these guidelines but still I didn't expect them to written in Black & White . Needless to say I didn't lasted there for long . I stayed there for few years . I watched how bright young fresher were recruited in chunks. Stuffed in pigeon hole like chairs with a headset and do a grunt work and consider it a career . I did the bad work of designing the advertisements which claimed that " Join XYZ BPO " and change the world .

I have heard about sweatshops in Bangladesh but after working in BPO I can say I have seen it first hand also . was there a difference ? yes It was a sweatshop with difference it had a vision and scale . soon it was acquired by a global IT service giant .

I moved to my current company 3 years ago . Back than it was a start up we had a hard time convincing people that we are not a fly by night firm and there job is secure here. After my last two experiences as HR I didn't believed it too . still for the sake of job I keep on doing it like a zombie . We are a mid sized company now with a decent brand we need smart guys and can't afford to mess up with a single candidate on the ground cost cutting to boost profit , we prefer smart all rounder and intelligent people who can take a leadership role when we will expand in coming future .

When we will expand ? this is a Q I fear most . my experience tell me that when a firm grows beyond a certain size .people loose touch with each other and Well defined tightly defined process are put in place . we being to do a Cost –Benefit analysis for every thing we do ? and somewhere in the process firm looses its soul.

Ms Excel Takes control and Power Point goes in background . people cry " this is not the company I joined " and they are right .After IPO whatever is soul which is left in group is vanished away . HR again became a instrument to deliver good bad or ugly news in a polished manner .

I am afraid of the day cause I knew my job in the firm will be over that day . I will have to move on .

Now the secret of the business world which I said in the start . there are two secret

MNC or Domestic , New Economy or Old Economy , IT or Airlines every firm says that there people are there biggest asset . if that is true HR Person should be the most important guy in the company ?

Than why don't we ever see a V.P( HR ) elevated to the post of CEO ? Why ?

second secret is more of a observation. in any firm ,attrition rates shoots up dramatically 2-3 years after IPO . Why ?

I can think of only one reason Business is not about managing people , its about managing money . CFO & CEO Runs the show here . HR is just a tool, an instrument to dress up their deeds in such a way that it is presentable .

HR knows the real truth and still ask people to believe in fables .that's why people hate him . but believe me HR is as helpless as anyone else in company ."

This is the confession of a HR Guy . I really can't do much about it because whatever he said is true . If your company is different please share it with me . I will ask my friend to check it .

Till than , goodbye !!

UPDATE: There is an interesting discussion about this post on CiteHR Forum . Read it here

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Subscribing To Ad Sense

so finally after much much delay i subscribed to google "Ad Sense ". now google will send some advertisement in the banner on the top of page . and if any Great soul clicked on them i will be getting some money .

How easy !!! Isn't it ? I Love Google .

some of my folks told me that . Ads will be the most intrested thing to read on my blog :-) .
In any case its a win win deal .Now what you folks are waiting for ? Do your bit in making me a billionare and click on the link .

Friday, December 02, 2005

Few More Snaps From Shimla Trip

hey i missed some of the good photos so here are they

My Host @ Shimla Mr. Pankaj Parihar ( Burn the Dance Floor !! )
In Custody @ MallRoad (Usual Suspect)

Few more coming soon !!
Enjoy the Week End

Thursday, December 01, 2005

An Evening In Shimla

so fianlly i managed to get photo of my shimla trip on my disk . here are some of them rest i will upload soon . enjoy

Arial view of the city

one more view

on mall road ....................................