Move on

I still remember that day in 2007. It was the 17th of September. It was evening and I was stuck at the airport, waiting for my delayed flight at Hyderabad; making one of the biggest decisions of my life.

I had been offered a meaty role in a start-up firm, and internally had decided to take the jump. However, the lizard brain was nagging me and urging me to not go ahead.

I made two phone calls. The first was to my parents, to let them know about the switch in my life. They accepted my decision and told me that I was going to rock :)

The second was to the only man approachable and who had operated in several organizations in that role. He was and is a role model; Thomas Sir. I had not spoken to him in the past three years, yet he immediately recognized me and asked me what he could do for me. I told him my background and told him that I was thinking about joining a start-up. Pat comes his reply, if you want to work in Cleartrip, I can see … all said and done, the amygdala was quitened.

At the end of the conversation, he told me one thing –

After this, there is no looking back

I did not fully understand the depth of this. I think after 3 years, I am getting it. After that jump from the corporate wagon, I don’t think I will be going back to a large corporate. Ever.

However I am only human and when I go through a rough patch in my life, I make the mistake of looking back to the day I made this jump. The moment I do this, I remember that one piece of advice … I move on.

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What’s your ideal?

I had written about Purpose and also how Perspective can be used to change the society, well … what does one do if one has neither? I did not have an answer for that now … if a person is devoid of both, then is his life a wasted time? Does he not achieve fulfillment??

Today, I get to throw one more term in this quagmire of confusion. If one has neither, then one need not worry … one simply needs to choose an ideal and uphold it. Simple. Pick an ideal of your choice, and live by it. I know its an axiomatic way of life, but imagine a world without living by any ideals.

Without an ideal, one may not know what is good or what is bad (think about this before you dismiss it). We talk about work-life balance … well, we choose work because we have career success as an ideal, we choose life because we choose being a good son as an ideal (or a good husband, a good father … the list goes on). \

The best part is that, there are no rules once you choose an ideal and live by it. Choice making is easier. I know a friend who lives by integrity as an ideal. Even if her job depends on it, she will choose to go take the path of integrity.

So what’s yours?

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3 idiots & i-become

3-diots I read Chetan Bhagat’s novel, enjoyed it … but sadly the book lacked a certain message. It’s either that or it’s been 3 years and I dont remember the book very well. 3 idiots is a stark contrast.

The basic plot is the same, but once you go in the details, both the stories are distinctly different.

One of the central themes of the movie is about following one’s passion. To aim for excellence and not for ability. The scene where Aamir Khan talks about being well educated and not well trained is a must see. I can really identify with that, since its very much related to a vision that I am currently working on.

This is i-become.

i-become is about realizing your career not as a place just to earn money, but as a place for following one’s passion by utilizing one’s full potential. The way Madhavan decides to follow his passion for Wildlife photography, so should each one of us aim for our aspirations. Without a purpose, a goal, an aspiration … life is nothing but a empty shell.

What do you think?

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Nirvana or Selfishness?

At a common friend’s wedding, a friend and I had an interesting discussion on nirvana. The discussion started from the idea of how does one go about becoming inside-out. Prompt came the answer from him, that one should not take external factors into consideration. One should act because one wants to and not because it has been forced on someone. I have known him for a decade or so now, and I think he really practices what he preaches. The problem with that reasoning is that sometimes an individual is not just responsible for himself, but has other obligations (family, job, friends, etc). This binding to the society ties us to worldly problems.

For this reason, when an individual seeks to move towards nirvana, he first needs to take the consent of his family. This consent gives that person a freedom to be inside-out. That act cuts off his liabilities, and he can then transcend to a truly enlightened individual. A person who chooses to do so without the consent of his family and dependents, is merely a selfish person who chooses to ignore them.

PS – not gyaan, but just an observation.

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Godfather: A Collaborative framework

image If you have read Mario Puzo’s Godfather, then there is a lesson to be learnt on Knowledge Management. Don Corleone knew the best methods of collaboration. One of the first scenes in the book is when a pall bearer comes to the Don with his problem. The Don welcomes him with open arms, and listens to his problems. Then he chides him about not coming earlier and most importantly not recognizing Don as his friend. He accuses the man of becoming the Don’s friend only in the time of need. Then he solves that man’s problem. The same guy comes to the Don’s use when his own son (Sonny) needs a proper funeral. But that’s not the point of this post, is it.

Successful collaboration between multiple people requires – co-operation amongst the people who have proper skillsets. Don Corleone knew whom to choose for which task, and how to get it done.

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Web 4.0: The Enabling Web

Forgive me, this post is going to be a long one.

In the brief span of its existence, the web has evolved at such an alarming rate, that it outstrips evolution of any living organism. Even as Indian web users and web development companies are creating (and using) Web 2.0 platforms, the more developed nations are already talking about Web 3.0, the semantic web.

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Not so surprisingly, I have found to my chagrin that 80% or more of the Indian populace associate Web 2.0 with client side technologies instead of a collaborative technology. People associate it with all the wrong ideas … I do not blame them. Awareness has always been the bane of comprehension. Having said that, I decided that it would do some good if we can somehow capture the evolution of the internet in these already popular phrases, and somehow manage to extrapolate what the next stage could be – so that we are prepared when it comes ;-)

Or even better, a host of Indian companies could bring in the era of Web 4.0: The Enabling Web. So what are these evolutionary milestones?

Web 1.0: The Information Superhighway

This is the internet of yore. Those were the days when people would make separate HTML pages and upload it on the net. Content was written within these pages and uploaded. It was authoritative in nature, since most of these sites were a one way communication stream. People came to different sites with the sole aim of gathering information – hence the name, the Information Superhighway.

Web 2.0: A Collaborative Medium

This is the internet that we see around us these days. The web is more social now, its a place to meet interesting people – to collaboratively create content. Content is not written within pages, content is created by the users themselves. The more the users, the more the content. What the developers create is a platform which enables this co-creation between the users. A great example of this is Wikipedia or IMDB.

Web 3.0: A sense making layer

The new era of internet is coming, this can somehow make sense out of the user’s inputs and act accordingly. So when I say “Show me a blue lotus”, the internet should show me the image of a blue car instead of a blue flower. How does it do this? It already has my preferences for cars over flowers somewhere. This is where collaborative filtering mechanisms and business intelligence algorithms are used to correctly profile the user. The internet is capable of understanding what the user is speaking. It differentiates a Gandhi from a Hitler. Some examples of this would be WolframAlpha or Amazon.

Web 4.0: The Enabling Web

So what happens when the web begins the “understand” the user. The sole question is – “What’s the point?”. If it can understand the user, it can also understand the purpose with which the user is driven to visit a particular web application. And, if that can be done, then it won’t be too difficult to understand and provide what other resources would help the user reach his outcome. The web suddenly becomes a more intertwined place with each web application talking to others, so as to provide the best experience to its user. Not only experience, but to ensure that the user is enabled with the right set of resources to get his job done. The purpose of the user is kept at the center. That’s my vision for web 4.0 akin to a more evolved Ubiquity extension of Firefox.

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