Friday, May 31, 2013

One month of being mobile free!

It's been one month since I disconnected my Vodafone connection, and it's been uplifting to say the least. Here's why:
1. No dependency on electricity: Using a landline at home and at the shop, means that I don't have to think about charging ever again. There are actually people who didn't know that you didn't need electricity to run a landline :P . Being in a village, means that you regularly get power cuts, so it's always a mad dash to charge your phone.
2. Be as wild as you want to be: Want to dance in the rain or just enjoy the first rains? No more do you need to think about how well protected your phone is from the rain and moisture. So I don't even need to bother about carrying an umbrella or a raincoat even.
3. Talk as much as you want: Talk on and on, without worrying about whether you're in coverage or not, and whether you have battery or not. Best part is, your landline will never heat up or even cause you brain damage :p
4. No phone calls when you're spending valuable minutes with your friends who've just come into town for a day or so: Having lived in three cities almost simultaneously, it's refreshing to sit with friends without calls from other friends who want you just to drop them or help them out.
5. No running out: Being in a village, means that there's no coverage inside the building, so you usually end up having to run out everytime there's a call. You can take calls right from your desk.
6. No spam: This is the best part. Vodafone used to message me with bill reminders, early Sunday morning. Then you'll get all the insurance calls, and all the calls from ex-clients who think you're still with the old company. Again, having been in three cities simultaneously, means that the spam calls are usually from other states or cities. Even the SMS messages are crazy, most being from unknown numbers.
7. No calls while travelling: I hate calls when on the road, whether car, bike or bus. It's always so difficult to first hold the phone, and secondly to have a decent conversation. It just spoils the whole experience of travelling.
8. Amazing internet experience: I realise that with WiFi, I would try to use my mobile, even when there was a desktop or laptop around. Now this creates a lot of hassle, since now most videos on Youtube don't display properly on the mobile. Also most sites aren't still easy to view on the mobile, especially LinkedIn. Even my blogging has improved, since nothing beats a 19 inch screen with a full keyboard and mouse. I watch mostly videos on broadband. On the mobile, the EDGE speed in the village was almost 1/10th the speed in the city.
9. Applications need broadband: I realised that most applications like Skype and Whatsapp, need broadband, despite the tallest mobile operator claims.
10. Using the cloud to be device independent: Once I synced my phone to Skydrive and started using Outlook.com, there was actually no need to back anything from my phone, since everything was already on the Microsoft cloud, which I frankly trust way more than Google. I can even Google Chat from Outlook.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Why men hate women!

 There has been just too much of hate against women, especially in India.

So here's my definition of top ten reasons why:

1. Pseudo power structure: For years, men used to strut around like peacocks, while their women fawned over them, letting them actually feel like the lord of the mansion. But the irony is that the system has actually been matriarchal, especially in states like Kerala and the overall change to a patriarchal system, has been purely politically driven, as men are way easier to manipulate than women.
In Kerala, men don't actually meet women, till they marry them.

2.Change in Power Structure: With more and more women, earning way more money than peer men, the main differentiator, being money power, is slowly disappearing away. Women no longer have to depend on men to drive them around or to take them to the supermarket.

3.Holding the cards: Women for years, have been holding certain skills to themselves, under the belief that if these were shared with the men, it would deny them their right to the household. One of these skills, is cooking, where the women have been passing down these skills, generation to generation, via the women. Even in families where there are no daughters, the mother chooses to teach the women servants, rather than her male children.

4.Minority power: For years, women have enjoyed the minority power, from the small pleasures like the ladies only seats in the bus to special coaches in the train, to being able to leave office during closing hours, rather than stay in late, as typical batchelors are expected to do.

5.Establishments need women:This kind of dichotomy dictates that the woman is needed more than the guy, in some cases as the ticket, for establishments such as nightclubs and restaurants which sternly state "No Stags allowed". Creates a big insecurity that a guy needs a woman to feel whole.

6.Beauty in the eyes of the beholder: In India, the biggest gap between the man and the woman, exists in beauty and basic hygiene. Men just don't take care of their bodies as much as the women. And if they did try, they just give in to confusing messages about deodorants and body gels. If men just worked on keeping their tummy tucked in, their bodies active and their nails clean, living with a woman would be so much easier, for both parties. Women keep men out of their actual social structures, like the parlors and thereby indulge in community wisdom.

7.Lack of actual finishing schools: Both to get a job and to get a suitable partner, what we lack here in India, is a great finishing school system, similar to the sororities, fraternities and football clubs present in American geographies, which enable men and women to meaningfully develop relationships. This means that the first time a man meets a woman, he is usually stumped about the right thing to say, because his mind is usually clogged up with his misconception of what women actually want.

8.Expression: Women are always more expressive than men, more so in this age of the internet, where more women blog than men. This creates frustration, since the man would like to express himself, but he isn't sure how much is socially acceptable, in the male archetype which he strives to fit in.

9.Social structure at home: Sheryl Sandberg isn't the only one who has to change her man to fit her lifestyle. The typical social structure dictated the woman to be always at home, at the beck and call of the husband, where she worships the ground he walks on, and feeds the husband, before she feeds herself. How does a man suddenly learn to fend for himself, when the wife is out at work.

10.Lack of egalitarianism: Gujarat is the only state in the country where egalitarianism is practiced, evident in open social structures such as the dandiya and the garbah. Also the only state where enterpreneurship is encouraged, hence great ability for man to manage his business and his family simultaneously.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

College Graduates need un-learning to become employees!

I always remember when I met my CEO and said "Sir, I've been putting in my hundred percent, but all I get in evaluation is zilch!"

That's when he said "Werner, there are three kinds of kids in school:
1. Those who get the highest rank
2. Those who get medium ranking
and 3. Those who get zilch, i.e. lowest rank.

The reasons are:
1. Those who get the highest marks, are completely focussed on what is within the syllabus, what are the main questions being asked and what is the best way to answer them. Hence, bingo! First in Class.
2. Those who get medium ranking, are stuck in between, with a little distraction thrown in, hence they try to focus, pick up a few things, then get distracted by other more interesting pursuits.

However 3. Those who get zilch, are extremely focussed in what they do, however, the direction they're focussed in, is the exact opposite (180 degree phase shift) from where the syllabus and the content on which they were going to get ranked on, is."

And that, in a gist, is why the education system in any form, is great for creating sheep, but terrible for creating great people to work with/for/around.

I consistently got the lowest marks and used to constantly fail in subjects, despite being considered bright in school and college.

Schools never have space for people who are multi-disciplined. They use a definition of all-rounder, but they actually mean "One who scores high in every sport and every subject".

Why can't someone, just enjoy a few subjects and a few sports, rather than all of them.

Hence the irony of being with the smartest kids in school and college, but the back seaters and perceived drop outs, being my friends too because we'd be sitting together repeating exams together.

In engineering college, after being angry that I scored so low, that we had to pay extra tution fees for the 'paid' seats, I started going one hour every day to the reading room, to study my hardest.

That only helped me getting a reputation as a "guy who hides to smoke", since I actually still failed in a maths subject. That's when I knew, that studying was just not for me, and I had to find other ways of passing my time in college.

That's when public speaking came my way, something which brought me into a different kind of cool, the cool of being a performer, where the laughter and the tears of an audience were my only benchmarks, where laughter was the highest rank achievable and stone cold silence the lowest.

That then graduated to theatre, where theatre taught me a lot more about MBA, than MBA ever did.

Once again, all my peers, wallowing in their depression about whether they would get summer placements or final placements. And me, wondering when I could escape this rat race and enjoy the wonderful solace and embrace of theatre rehearsals, where people were who they were and you slowly figured out who you were.

Theatre teaches you to focus on the end product, to think and visualise about what the final outcome would feel like.

College is about slinking in and achieving diplomacy through constant sucking up to teachers and students who would willingly bend over to let you climb up over their shoulders and then bite off their heads.

The overall impression is that of a fiefdom, where the lord be thy teacher and thee dwell below the radar to risk invoking the wrath of thy lord and losing thy priviledges.

Corporate life, on the other hand, globally, is more about learning the ropes, and identifying thy role, thy position, in the overall scheme of things.

Just because you may be low on experience, doesn't render thee incapable of training 5 year seniors, as long as you learn to show humility and then watch them then dance to yours.

Business, is about slowly growing your own garden and then ruthlessly trimming what needs to be removed, for the overall health of the garden. It's more intuitive, hence it must be played by ear and the ear must listen constantly.

Hence, the missing skills of a college graduate:
1. Humility and dignity of labour - No job is too menial, no salary too light, for the ambition so bright. Just because you started work as a waiter or a door-to-door salesman, means not, that you could be running your own company or be the head of an even bigger one. The more skills learnt over time, the more ready the graduate is ready for corporate life.
2. Confidence - No senior, no manager, is more experienced in your opinion, than you. Asking a question will always seem silly, but the resounding knowledge will make your confidence in your subject rock solid. Everyone has something to teach, and something to learn. Communication must always go both ways.
3. Jugaad - In college, you're always taught to compete with everyone around so that you get the highest rank possible. In life, the network of people you have, the ability to jugaad with everyone, defines whether you'll be successful or not. True innovation, is achieved only through sharing of ideas and thoughts through like-minded thinking.





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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wireless life - WiFi over Mobile connectivity

Now the first thing which confuses people, is "I have a landline connection, so how do I get a WiFi connection?"

The answer is "The WiFi connection is just got by using a device which makes your landline connection wireless, so that you can connect to it even from a mobile phone, iPad or laptop"

Now I used to constantly werner "How do you prevent phones ringing in churches, movie theatres and in cars?"
And then it hit me - by making the phone WiFi only.

Now it's been nearly two weeks since I made my phone wifi only and it feels great.

It means no obligation to text people during mass, or to text them during a movie.

And now, while travelling, bike car or bus, there is no need to engage in a conversation at all, because the phone never rings.

Oh, and WiFi only, means that the battery life easily goes on for two days.

Since I'm either at home or at Brahma Kamal Goa from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. , it means that I'm always available on phone, through the landline.

Which also means that I don't get disturbed during conversations with friends, family or clients.

Oh, and long calls on the landline, only leave your ear numb, not burnt from an overheating mobile phone.

Why the move?

Well, mainly because after fighting with my mobile operator for over a year, there was no improvement in the internet and voice connectivity, here in the village of Calangute.

And that's when I realised that there was a better option, landlines and wifi zones.

It's sad when you realise that no one uses landlines anymore, especially considering that the network will always be a hundred times better than the mobile phone.

Also dongles like Tata photon, work terribly on beach stretches here in Calangute, so WiFi with speeds around 1MBps are way better.

The main issue in my village and most villages, is that people prohibit the installation of mobile towers. Which is fine, but the irony is that they still expect awesome network on their mobile phone.

I understand the need to be always available on phone, when your company is paying your phone bills and expect you always on call.

But when you run your own enterprise, why do you need to be always on call, when most things require actual personal intervention, or work out just over mail.

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Thursday, May 09, 2013

Competitions shouldn't be limited to geographies

The irony today, is that most companies, launch competitions just to reach out to people only within specific countries.
But what if, they actually launched competitions where anyone could take part from any part of the world.
I mean, yeah winning is a part of it, but isn't "playing the game" the most important?
Imagine that by running one competition, you cover the whole world.
And you save money too.

Today, to limit a competition to a specific geography, you actually pay more.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Make Your Own Family Tree

Facebook has been about friends, and see what a huge, though loss making, hit it has been!

But think about it for one second.

What happens when all your friends are gone, and when the boss who so doted on you, suddenly realises his affection and politics were misplaced.

Where do you go?

I know.

Back home to Pappa! Back to family. Back to the village you came from. Back to all those relations you would usually meet only at weddings or birthday parties.

Well, what do you know? Blood is thicker than water.

The truth is, we live in this illusion in the city, that if we have friends, who needs family. Well, when the city disappears, and the friends do to, what are you actually left with, Einstein? ... Bing! Family!

So yeah, most people have their family in the village. If you live in the city, then the city is your village.

And in the village, only one question rules "Tera Baap Kaun Hai(Who's your Daddy?)". You get jobs and invitations based only on who you're related to. People will talk to you, only if you're related.

And that, my dear friend, is what the million dollar question to living in the city is all about. Finding and figuring out your family tree.

So yeah, this is where you say, 'Dude, it's so freaking easy, there are tonnes of websites like Ancestry.com and Geni.com which already have my tree within.'

Reality Check
Each of these websites, are all paid, except for Family Search, which coming from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, means that no Catholic would be caught dead there :p

So far, the one website which I actually found tonnes of information, is Geni.com, but they want me to pay upwards of $9 a month, to view my own family tree, which for an Indian, is sheer heresy.

So the simplest way to handle this, is to actually log out of Geni, then search for my ancestors, which in my case is super easy because my paternal family tree has a unique name Egipsy, which should cover not more than 20 living people. Geni showed me around 26.

Value
Ancestry.com actually links your genealogy data with birth certificates and the like, from the national database.
But none of these websites do this for India, they can't.

Solution
Use an open source solution like Gramps to make your own family tree.
Then when someone like me is ready with a solution, just send in your own, so that all these family trees can be properly grown into a full database which anyone can share and explore with.

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Thursday, May 02, 2013

Why I hate Google! .. especially on the mobile

Google may seem ubiquitous, but it is just turning into the virus I can't really get out of my system.

1. Gmail irritated me for the longest time, by refusing to let me add attachments through the mobile page.
2. Youtube used to be so awesome for uploading and viewing videos on the phone. Today on phone, you can't view most videos (because the message says that they don't allow mobile viewing), they don't allow you to upload videos through the mobile page.
 3. Third party integrations, like Nimbuzz with Google Talk and Gmail with Outlook, are directly refused, on the suspicion of illegal sign-ins. Obviously Google doesn't want any more third parties on its platform, atleast not someone they can't directly buy out.

I realise that the only reason for this kind of approach, is due to their interest to first hook everyone onto Google products, then slowly drag them onto the Android platform where they are quite literally stripped naked and shown for the world to see. 


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