Tying up loose ends

I consider most phases of my life (and of my career) as specific projects. Projects which have a certain outcome tied to them. Projects which need metrics to track and project closures which have targets to reach.

In this obsession to be objective about things, I got involved in a couple of projects which were of subjective nature.

What are subjective projects?

Subjective projects are those where the progress of that project is dependant on individual opinions and feelings. An example of such a topic could be Career.

Career fulfillment is a subjective thing. For some people a fulfilling career might be a one which involves loads of payment, for some it might involves getting respect from peers, others might look at impact. You get the drift?

It’s not even about individual feelings as well. As a person supporting a family, the subjectivity is made more complex by not only your belief of a fulfilling career, but also your immediate family’s.

Suddenly, that one question – What does your son do for a living? becomes real.

As a parent, I would love some bragging rights about my children’s achievements. That may or may not be aligned with what my children want to do. So, the moot question was how to go about objectively defining success for a subjective topic.

Numbers help

Some key measures of success do help. Let’s stick with the Career example –

  • My son makes a lakh a month
  • I manage a team of 6
  • My daughter has been working with GDFC Bank for over a decade
  • She got an 20% salary hike this year
  • My son runs his own company that employs 100 individuals
  • I wan’t to be able to take atleast 10 days off in a year to interesting destinations around the world

What’s the problem with this subjectivity?

And here’s my problem with this subjectivity thing. It freaking keeps changing the measure of success!

Sometimes it’s years of experience, sometimes it’s people employed, sometimes it’s cash in hand … and there is no clear metric you optimize things for.

The problem in this world, is where the team which decides the success of this subjectivity has not taken the pains of articulating What is Success.

When this is not articulated enough, you tend to optimize Career (in this example) on some parameters which might be an implicit rubric for you, but may not be understood by everyone else. Hence, the need to articulate.

Another example

Here’s one more example which works for most people.

What’s a good life mean for you?

Can you put down metrics on which if you measure your life, you will be able to answer this question?

If yes (and I haven’t done this yet), then are you doing anything which helps you increase those measues?

In life, or in our Career (my last example), we have these tiny niggling doubts at the back of our mind. These are the loose ends I am talking about.

Can we use metrics and measures to answer and squash these doubts. I think so, but to get there, we need to have a definition of what are our measures of success. I used to post my yearly resolutions for a couple of years on this blog, and then I stopped. Primarily, because of this subjective struggle. No one cared how many posts did I put up on the blog (not even me!), so how did it matter that I post one a week or more.

Measure for closure

So, what are good measures of success for the year 2017 for me? And what would the year 2018 be measured against. Well, that’s what I have a month to figure out!

PS – This is a thought experiment I am doing to see if I can indeed wield measurements and analytics for improvement. It’s a belief that I have long held close to my heart, now I am putting it to the test. Those who know me would know that I am fundamentally lazy and putting in these measurements as a life practice involves a certain discipline. That is my personal challenge.

Happy New Year 2013!

People ask me what will I be doing this new years? In the past, I would be partying during my bachelor days … there were some other nights when on New Years, I was installing Ubuntu alongside with a glass of scotch! (yes, this has happened on two separate New Year occasions in fact!). This year end, I plan to spend quality time with my family and away from the machines.

As time goes by, one’s personal opinions on certain issues also change. 2013 for me is going to herald such changes. Resolutions for me have always been a no-no. I used to think that resolutions are just another way of breaking a rule that you set for yourself. As we enter the year 2013, I am making these resolutions … not for breaking them but as a sense of maintaining some personal discipline!!

Here are my resolutions for 2013

  • Be more regular on my blog, with at least 1-2 posts a week.
  • Not just write about games or random topics, but try to write around a niche of topics that are ACTUALLY interesting and USEFUL to people.
  • Wake up at 7am every day (yes, even as lowly as this one … I can’t help it … sometimes I just manage to oversleep till 10!!)

I’d like to stop here since I never tend to follow-up with things when I overdo them. The thing with resolutions is that they need to be measurable … and then we need to follow through with reviews and rinse-repeat!!

  • That means I need to post roughly 81 posts in 2013 (right now I am at 504, exactly a year after I write this post, I need to be at 585+ posts). Perhaps a small widget displaying the post count this year would do this task! Saw this post a day after I published this post – it’s the commitment which pays and why there is no such thing as writer’s block.
  • I have decided to write more about WordPress, Google Analytic and, Google Adwords. How do you track useful to people, hmmm … one metric could be traffic! another could be the number of returning visitors! A third an perhaps more relevant metric could be the share of Most Read Categories to switch from games (which is now at 39%) to Technology.
  • This is a completely offline event, so you need to rely on my reliable reporting! Which means that I report faithfully what time I woke up and keep a track of this for a year! Ughh … I am hating this resolution already! A percentage metric would then be a simple matter of find how many days I woke up at 7am.

I will leave you with this lovely quote I stumbled across on the interwebs

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.

Wishing you all a very happy new year!