Monday, October 19, 2009
Diwali today, should have been a usual morning, except that at 6:30 my mom woke me up to reverse the car for getting it washed. And I thought it would make sense to go running, a choice made initially difficult but finally easier because of the not so recent gain in weight. I stepped out and started walking towards the ground. Saw a few children, the oldest being 10 and the rest of them 6-7 years old, getting ready to play football. Started my jog around the 300-350m perimeter park and after about the first 800 meters a known feeling came back; where the body gets slightly warmed, the breadth a little heavier and body wants to say, let me be, let me rest a bit. A feeling that I have always overcome. Football was just getting started, the goal was international size, field covered almost half the ground. They were 6 in all, three girls, three guys. The older guy and a girl were in one team. I kept running, thinking that around 3kms (10 rounds with the last half a sprint) would be a good first day distance to cover. Still 3-4 rounds to go, slightly tired but given the lower temperature, no sweat. I noticed the older guy was wearing Adidas spikes and relied on outrunning the others (which was quite easy) and shooting hard into the wide goal. One of the two younger chaps was putting up some fight. Everyone else kept hitting the ball with their toes and mistiming; sending it packing off into the wrong direction. Couple of times I passed the ball back. I was into my last round and was looking forward to the sudden feeling of tiredness that would come after the sprint.
It was over. Doing it after a few months had made worsened the tiredness but made it all the more sweet. I still kept walking, bent over a little with my arms swaying in front of my legs, my eyes on the football playing guys. The younger fighter chap was making a sprint kicking the ball along, the older guy picked up speed, came from behind and started pushing. Couple of shoves and the younger chap rolled hard, the older chap seeing this did an automatic fall, wincing his face, catching hold of his leg and simultaneously shrieking ‘your foul’. The younger chap was crying and the rest of the team rushed to him. The older guy was still saying ‘his foul’. I was quite close by, walked a little closer and said ‘chote waale ki koi galti nahin hai, tumne giraya hai, you pushed him from behind and didn’t even touch the ball’. He started to argue, knew too soon it would be futile and stopped. He walked over to the younger chap who was still howling, telling him ke kuch nahin hua, khelte hai.
I started walking back towards my house wondering if I should go back, slightly worried that the younger chap might stop playing aggressively. I wanted to talk to the younger guy and tell him that he was playing well, to keep fighting and not stop, this would keep happening. I wanted to talk to the entire team, tell them to reduce their goal to 1/4th, field size to half, not allow air balls and hit the ball with their side of the foot if they wanted to learn and enjoy more. By doing this I could have helped them improve, motivated the young guy rather than just speaking against what I felt was not right. In the short 100 meters towards my house, I realized I had more choices than the one I took. While writing this last line, I realized that there is another choice that I missed thinking of earlier, one of just walking away after the 3km run, one that I have rarely taken.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
This final year student was scheduled for a telephonic interview . I try his cell number and he does not pick . I try the landline number we have and his father picks up. I mention that this is regarding an interview with his son and we are unable to reach him. The father tells us that he will reach out to his son and we can try again in 5 minutes. Then he mentions that "child is brilliant aur 'aap dekh lena'. He is a very dedicated kid".
I reach out to the student 5 minutes later and we start the call focussing on the skills he has mentioned in his resume ( let us say html, php). So I quiz him around basics of html. He mentions casually that it has been a long time since he did that project. Then suddenly the phone cuts. I try again, he picks up. Second project, same story. The phone cuts. I try again no response. I try again, again no response.
He calls up 45 minutes later and says 'Sorry, I had to go to the washroom.'
This is an extreme but true example. The student in question is a Tier II - III city student who more than anything else 'should' want a job. The education system should have made him a competent engineer by now or he should be worried to death about having spent 4 years and not being educated. None of this has happened. What has happened is that we have a callous 22 year old living with his parents who have spent a fortune in making him an engineer.
The other side.. .
But this guy I am sure is on Orkut and probably on Facebook too. He can manage 10 chat windows without a problem and be witty and quick in his scraps. His language though is not the usual polished english but difrnt qik smthgs. He has potential.
. ..and what we are doing
Technology I believe will make the difference. We are using technology to tell him about what companies expect and how to go about getting a job. We are telling him about the importance of skills. We are shooting videos making him more confident about his skill sets.
Companies and colleges will also follow suit. Facebook has used technology to gather users across the world. Companies can also do the same with candidates thus effectively cutting costs and increasing student engagement, training him while he is studying. Colleges can use technology to manage students and increase placements.
CoCubes intends to be THE place where companies can reach out to colleges and students to engage/train/hire online, talking in a language which both understand.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Education System in India
There are 17000+ colleges in India from which 40 lakh students graduate every year. Though unemployability has been cited as one of the major problems another critical one has gone unnoticed. Everyone graduates at the same time of the year for jobs which are available at different times of the year. This creates a unique challenge for IT companies as they don't have the facilities or the projects to take them onboard at the same time. Hence staggered joining and “sudden unemployability” leads to wastage of thousands of months of manpower.
Solution: This is a problem which could be reduced easily if different universities operated their curriculum so as to allow at least 2 or 3 times within an year when students graduated (a practise prevalent in US)
Saving of time = Area of shaded region = 10 lakh man years and using 70 as the average age of humans = ~14285 human life spans _________________________________________
1. 40 lakh students graduate and everyone gets a job over an year
2. 20 lakh graduate at two points in year and get job within 6 months
Monday, January 26, 2009
Two Principles that I believe are good to follow and would have signficant affect on success or failure of person/organisation
- First things first (prioritize) - assuming that you are smart enough to figure out what to do if we can do it in the right order, it could lead to a dramatic increase in output. Let me take a very simple personal example. Our office starts at 9:15 am. Everybody is supposed to be there. But for me there is this habit of reading newspaper every morning which takes half an hour and given that I have been sleeping late, I kept on getting late by 15 min and used to hate it. Made a simple change. Now I go to office and read the newspaper
- The ones who survive are neither the smartest nor the strongest but the ones most adaptable to change (obviously Charles Darwin). I believe this is true for all success stories
A Corporate Learning: "All processes in an organization will evolve and change". Which leads you to practical things:
- Keep reviewing processes as you grow
- Don’t try to make the most comprehensive process possible for starters. Start with the means (read time) you have to build and manage the process. Just get off the ground
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Mom: My house can look cleaner, infact way cleaner with just 2 hours of effort. And this is high output/input ratio. When motivated my maid knows how to work hard.
Dad: Raddi waala (old newspaper collection guy) had come to take newspapers and bad day for him, my dad was here. He totalled all raddi (old newspaper) to be ~15 kgs. My dad came, took one look and said, 'He is off by 100%. This is minimum of 30kgs.' Well, I was sent off on a 'weighing machine scouting tour' which thankfully I managed to find. And you know what, it was 33kgs resulting in doubling revenue from the sale with all bottom line impact (I gave him two bananas to compensate for it). Moreover, he showed us how he actually does it. It is surprisingly simple. Give me a buzz to know.
My dad then proceeded to do a simple analysis on how collecting raddi can be a profitable venture as well by creating micro collection centres through guard of the society plus a macro collection truck each month!!
Last but subtle point: We have a white board at our place (it is a thin sheet which sticks to the wall automatically) where each of our team member writes a message each morning!! I was quickly rubbing off yesterday's with a duster and writing a new one when my dad interrupted. He said 'Son, take a wet cloth and clean it properly'. It hardly took me 30seconds to do but now I am sure I wont have to change the whiteboard each month.
I realised I was running and while I was doing a lot more things, simple rules were being forgotten, making life more complicated than necessary. Technology may have had a big role to play in this complication, but as I read in the newspaper today morning ('A man can fall a lot of times, but he becomes a failure, only when he says someone pushed him'), the onus is on me.