Archive > September 2007

Politeness is virtue

Ashwin » 28 September 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments

In a corporate world, politeness is the key, when you are confronted with the following situations -  i) When you wish to provide your comments or suggestions, to a peer or senior ii) When you must really say ‘no’

Based on my experience in the professional world, I would like to share my thoughts, on how to handle each of these scenarios.

When you wish to provide your comments or suggestions to a peer of senior

  1. Make sure that your comment always sound like a suggestion.  For instance, instead of “You should have done it that way”, one can say “It would be better if you done it another way
  2. Never provide a comment about a particular approach, without yourself knowing the alternative or the appropriate approach
  3. As much as possible, try to speak to the concerned and give in your suggestion.  Emails can sometimes sound offensive
  4. If direct contact is not possible, an email can be used.  Make sure that the mail is worded properly.  A mail, considered offensive, will never serve its purpose
  5. When sending an email, make sure that CC is required, only if it is extremely important to broadcast.  Unnecessary broadcast would offend the concerned and also the larger audience would have nothing to gain from your suggestion
  6. If your comment or suggestion has a flaw in it, accept it right away.  There is no harm in accepting that you are at mistake, rather than hiding it

When you must really say “no”

  1. This is one of the very difficult things to do, in professional life
  2. Before giving any commitment, make sure that you do your home work on how to proceed
  3. If any clarifications are required, make sure that they are explicitly communicated to the manager (or whoever assigns you the work)
  4. After the analysis, if you feel that the work cannot be taken up due to technical or time constraints, state explicitly.  Never wait for a long time before you say “no”
  5. In case the work cannot be taken up, be ready to give an unambiguous justification and provide alternatives.  For instance, rather than saying “I cannot do it because I have not worked in J2EE”, one can say that “I have not worked in any J2EE projects before.  I can take up this next week, after spending some time understanding the basics of J2EE”
  6. In case of hurdles during execution of work, make sure that you communicate them to your manager.  In many cases, the hurdles can be overcome with help from the seniors
  7. If the hurdles are not resolved even after the help from seniors, make sure you buy some more time or ask for transferring the work to someone else

If you have any more suggestions on this front, please feel free to communicate.

Have a great weekend! 

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Tags: Corporate Behavior, Professionalism

Future of Indian IT

Ashwin » 28 September 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments

We have been seeing ups and downs in the Indian IT Arena, connected mainly with the slump in the US Economy.  This is a very much anticipated outcome, as a major share of the revenues of Indian IT Majors come from the US.  So what really does the future hold for the Indian IT Population?  Can the industry survive long as a “low-cost” destination?

To rationally analyze these questions, we must understand why India is viewed as an ideal destination for IT MNCs all over the world.  I would attribute this to two main reasons - Good quality of labor and Work getting done at a lower cost.  

First, let us consider the latter for discussion.  Getting work done at a lower cost, is purely an economic phenomenon.  Today India might appear to be the low-cost haven for many economic super powers.   But in the future course, if some country ‘X’ offers to do similar work at a much lesser cost, these super powers are sure to be lured.  Even with the appreciation of rupee, India still holds the top spot among countries which can do quality IT work, at a low cost.  But we cannot rely on this alone, as economy is bound to change over a period of time.

Next comes the discussion about the quality of work done.  It is a widely known fact that Indians are good with their logical and analytical skills.  These skills are so vital for the IT industry.  Further, Indians are very good at grasping stuff taught to them and are also excellent in adapting to changes.  These essential skills and the low cost have been attracting the international IT majors towards India.  (Please note that this post is limited to only IT Technical labor in India.  I am not considering the people working in other fields, who attract international majors).  But again, with the evolution of the Internet and the knowledge spreading its wings to all parts of the world, what is the assurance that India would not be pushed back in this aspect too?  China proves to be a prime competitor for India in both these fronts (low cost and quality).

So after discussing both these factors, we can clearly see one thing.  Going forward, India cannot be a leader in providing IT services, only with both these qualities.  I think there is a dire need to concentrate on the third aspect too - Innovative and Creative population.  So this has more to do with research and development, than with providing quality work.

I can see many Ph.D. fellowships offered in India by few IT Majors like HP and Microsoft.  Also IBM have their research labs located in New Delhi.  But, I still do not see a major thrust or interest in the younger generation to take part in innovative and research related activities.  Many MNCs call India as a hub for their research, but I can only see the economic reasons behind this.

I think one of the ways to make the future certain for the IT Industry, is for the Indian companies to concentrate on research activities.  They must encourage and support their employees to be innovative.  I would love to see more patents filed by Indians, related to Information Technologies.   India should really become a hub, for research related activities.  Right now our IT industry depends mainly on the US economy.  This must change and the international investors must look at India as a source of innovation.  They must come here only because of the creative stuff we do and which they would get nowhere else in the world.  This coupled with low cost and quality, would make India a real super power.

Thus learning new technologies is essential but creating and innovating new technologies must be our vision.  Now we have reached a stage where we are known to the world as good service providers.  It is high time to move to the next level, where we would be viewed as innovators and those who cannot be ignored even if the Rupee appreciates :)

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Tags: , Indian IT

Indian Hospitality??

Ashwin » 25 September 2007 » In Social » Comments

We hear a lot from people that Indians are known for their kind nature and hospitality.  But there are a few “unworthy” citizens of India, who bring shame to our nation’s image in the world arena. 

I was really shocked at hearing this news.  Though the visitors from Japan were so naive in believing the persons just because of their fluency in Japanese, the act committed by the miscreants cannot be undermined.  It has come just at the time when Japan is partnering itself with the Indian economy, by sponsoring industrial growth along the Delhi-Mumbai corridor.  This incident will surely be remembered as a black mark in Indian Tourism Industry.  Strict punishments should be meted out by the cops on the accused, so that no one dares to repeat such a heinous act in future.

Also, the tourists must be advised to take the help of Government recognized agents while looking for their accommodation.  Before performing such acts, these persons must think for a moment about the shame and dishonor that this would inflict on their nation and behave in a conscientious manner.

Jai Hind!!

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Misspelling my name…

Ashwin » 25 September 2007 » In General » Comments

I have seen quite a few emails from people, who have my name misspelt as “Ashiwn”. The correct order of letters in my name are “Ashwin”.

But sometimes, to my wonder, I used to make the same mistake when typing my name in the e-mail signature or in any other form.

I thought for a while today and got to know the root cause(!!). This particular mistake occurs, more often with people who are well-versed in keyboard typing (i.e., they have formally trained themselves in keyboard typing). As the alphabet “i” comes immediately after “h” and the trained ones are very good in typing “a-z” in the appropriate order, they are bound to misspell my name as “Ashiwn” (Note the “i” following the “h”).

So I have to conclude that those who misspell my name as “Ashiwn” are formally trained in keyboard typing (or they are self-trained in typing).

I would love to hear any such permutations of your name, that are commonly used by people…

P.S.: Hope you must have got my message that I am formally trained in typing, as I make the same mistake :)

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India, right at the top!

Ashwin » 25 September 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments

Fans dancing

Pakistanis praying

Indians shouting

Crackers bursting (already…)

Heart stopping

Dhoni thinking

Joginder bowling

Misbah-Ul-Haq swinging

Sreesanth looking (at the ball)

And then it all happened….

INDIANS are the World Number ONE in Twenty20 Cricket!! 

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Tags: Cricket

World Cup final with India and Pakistan!!

Ashwin » 23 September 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments

Hmmm… Now the real contest begins. India played some really good cricket against the world champions yesterday and I was really itching to write this post.

It was a very confident and positive decision by Dhoni, to bat first. India did not have the best of starts. At one stage, they were struggling at 50 runs for 2 wickets, in about 9 overs. This marked the commencement of a partnership between in form Yuvraj Singh and energetic Robin Uthappa. Both of them played with so much of ease and were hammering the bowlers all around the ground. It was for their magnificent effort and a little cameo by Dhoni later in the innings, India managed a “winnable” total of 188.

Australia started their chase well, maintaining a fair run rate. They kept their wickets in hand, to make sure that a required run rate of about 10 an over around 15 overs, is reachable. Sreesanth bowled with a lot of vigor and Pathan was good too. Picking up 2 important wickets, Sreesanth had given runs only at a rate 3.0 per over, which is remarkable in this form of cricket. Hats off to him! But, when Australia needed just 30 runs off the last 18 deliveries, I considered India to have lost the game. A sensible batting from this point on, should have taken Australia home. They made the blunder of trying to heave the bowlers, who were bowling really well. Pathan picked up the key wicket of Symonds and Harbhajan that of Clarke. RP Singh bowled a very miserly penultimate over, which left Australia requiring 22 runs off the final over. It seemed almost impossible with Haddin and Lee struggling to even hit the ball. Credit must go to Joginder Singh, who kept his nerves and bowled really well. Finally, it turned out to be India’s day and they comprehensively made their way into the final.

With Australia dominating all forms of cricket, I was wondering about their weaker sections. And finally they have their weakness too and India exploited it wonderfully well.

The final is sure to be a cracker of the game with Pakistanis in awesome form and Indians beaming with confidence. After all, every India vs Pakistan game is viewed as a grand finale!!

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Tags: Cricket

Books to read this month (October 2007)

Ashwin » 21 September 2007 » In Uncategorized » Comments

I always have an obsession for books. I used to read a lot, but I have never made any conscious decision in selection of books. Nowadays I read a lot of blogs and get to know many many books on various topics. So I have made a conscious decision to choose a set of books every month and streamline my reading habit.

I have come up with the list of books I am planning to read in the month of October (Remaining of this month would be eaten up by Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, which I had just started). I have a rough categorization in the selection of books, which goes something like this - One self improvement/personal branding book, One Biography/Autobiography, One Fiction. Fourth one could be a wild card and any book that interests me can fit in there :)

Books for the month of October

Brand You 50 By Tom Peters

I came to know about this book from an article written by Rajesh Setty on ‘Personal Branding for Technology Professionals’. Tom Peters is considered a Guru of Personal Branding and I am waiting to lay my hands on this book

Gitanjali By Rabindranath Tagore

I wanted to read this book for quite a while now. I would love to read the stuff which won the author, the most prestigious award in the world.

iWoz by Steve Wozniak

Apple is one of my most admired companies, dealing with information technology. I am yearning to read this book by Steve Wozniak, one of the co-founders of Apple. (Also, I want to read this before reading Steve Jobs biography)

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

I have heard from many of my friends, that this book is supposedly an encyclopedia for life. Let me experience the pleasure and then share it with you…

Reading these 4 books, would roughly translate to a book per week (Which would mean that I will be writing a book review almost every week). Let me see how far my plan works out for this first month.

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Safest state in India??

Ashwin » 21 September 2007 » In Social » Comments

In some time, Bihar might become the safest state in India, in terms of thievery.  Residents of a particular village in this state, are carrying out a unique and dangerous means to punish the alleged thieves. 

This is indeed the roughest of the ways to punish wrong doers.  I read about a couple more incidents where policemen were involved in such inhumane activities.  One incident involved a chain snatcher tied to a motorcycle and pulled along the road, and the other involved an young girl in UP taken all around the town by policewomen for staying in hotel with a fellow guy.

India has a lot of policemen and policewomen who take their job as a privilege and toil for the social good.  But some elements do exist in the department, who don’t apply their minds and get involved in heinous activities.

Though it is partly true that crimes might reduce if the punishments are made severe, these are no ways to treat a wrong doer.  If public start punishing the miscreants, the whole judiciary system would lose its significance.

Nevertheless, these incidents might make people think twice before committing a mistake.  But if this trend continues, then it would surely lead to a chaotic society.

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Ashwin » 20 September 2007 » In General » Comments

Unofficially, yesterday (September 19) has marked the 25th year anniversary for the smiley : - )

(I am typing it with spaces so that the smiley can show its real face…)

Nowadays we seldom have a chat session, without using the smiley. There are numerous variations of the smiley (a.k.a. emoticons), which are used to express our emotions. I sometimes used to wonder about the origin of the smiley. Today I got the answer, after reading this article from CNN.

Almost every instant messenger converts a predefined variation of smiley to its corresponding icon. Without the smiley we would just be using something like (smile) or (wink), instead of :-) or . How boring that would be? Even though Scott E. Falhman is not officially the inventor of the smiley, nobody else claims that honor… So we can safely assume him to be the first one to use it.

So let us all wish our own sweet :-) many happy returns and I am sure that the smiley is immortal.

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Google Docs Presentation is here!!

Ashwin » 19 September 2007 » In Web 2.0 » Comments

Finally, the much awaited Google Docs Presentation is here! I took the first sip, by creating a sample presentation which can be accessed here.

Presentation templates are limited and that is very much expected in the Beta launch. Nevertheless, it has almost all the basic features that a desktop based Presentation software has. You can give your presentation online by just publishing/sharing the document. A chat window on the right side of the online presentation helps to have a real time conversation. You can couple this with Google Talk and there you go for a conference, with a presentation!!

But I am really keeping my fingers crossed for the SlideRocket :)

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