‘ Diary ’ category archive

Re-purpose?

July 14, 06 by Bharani

It was around 8:15 p.m. I don’t know what struck me, A bulb flashed in my right brain and I suddenly thought “Is there some smart soul who has already thought about a business of ‘Jargon Consulting’?..” You know, the business which will essentially create new jargons for these consultants (so that they can use them to impress their clients) or for analysts (who can use in their powerpoint presentations)…Never mind… So I open up the google search engine and carefully enter “Jargon consulting”. I click the first link that is displayed and an unpleasant looking page opens up with a topic “A tongue-in-cheek guide to business jargon and management buzzwords”. I shrinked my face initially. But, I totally enjoyed reading those descriptions for the next few minutes ..Awesome in my opinion :)

Totally tongue-in-cheek!

Watch out for the descriptions about buzzwords “High level”,”30,000 feet”, “wet-signature”, “wetware”…and the new catch word that I learnt was “re-purpose”!

On the lighter note, non-mba grads can actually try these jargons with their managers and see for themselves the weird reactions (Like “Oh man, I am buried…now there is no differentiation between us” )! Fun apart, this post is more of self-deprecating humour and I am in no way affecting the feelings of good and solid MBAs….So please hold your fingers back from typing counter-comments…and use that energy to play piano :)

The crux of this post is over. What follows is a post-script :) Stop reading at this point of time, if you have something important to accomplish…

It is infact true that I am also part of this ‘Jargon club’ and some of these jargons are coming naturally to me. I am sure it comes naturally for most management graduates. But some people overuse it and cross the boundary of acceptance thereby landing in the zone of annoyance. My quadie in ISB who was famous for jargons can share lot of gyaan on this ;)

One of his creative phrases was “Unsustainable Uncompetitive disadvantage” [The opposite of Sustainable Competitive Advantage]. Try deciphering the meaning….”Jargon club” can actually be a nice-little enjoyable hobby…

Dilemma or Choice?

July 13, 06 by Bharani

1. Work-life balance.
2. Start up environment vs Corporate environment.

I want to maintain a work-life balance. This thought has become so ingrained in me that I am feeling a sense of guilt if I work hard (well, work long hours). I am busy and slowly extending my work hours without even realizing the passing of time. I am glad that way. But I am missing out on my hobbies and other activities. The books are slowly collecting dust. (As of now there is exactly 2.234 millimetres of dust…). I am not keen on watching movies on HBO/Star movies/laptop. Fitness centre has become a weekend affair. Room is not so clean anymore, as washing the clothes has become a weekend affair too. I am logging my daily activities to see where I can fit some activities/hobbies. As long as I have this sense of guilt, there is scope for work-life balance. The key for work-life balance is to maintain a high level of productivity during the 8 hours of work. Working towards that…

I was working in a start-up environment before ISB. There was very little bureaucracy. Things get done faster. But in Corporate environment, if you make a request, you have to expect that the other party will come back with a way to turn down the request. Then you have to employ your convincing skills to get past the first-level road-block. You can call yourself lucky if there are no further road-blocks. Things like getting PCs, purchasing softwares, hiring resources are also made inefficiently formal! For each decision you make, you need to pursuade so many other parties. Justify your actions. Sometimes, these things kill the initiatives. I am just adapting to the change. The problem is complicated because of the stagnation layer prevalent in big companies. The people in the stagnation layer might have been stars once, but they have stopped learning long back and are not stars anymore. They are getting paid for their past laurels, at the expense of new and raw workforce. Some of the organizational inefficienceis originates from the insecurity felt in this stagnation layer. When your team/BU is different from this ‘corporate’ environment, you have to face the threat of being labelled as “incompatible” or “rebels”. This threat is amplified when your “incompatible” approach looks promising to yield impressive results! Interesting…

I am also slowly building rapport. Investing time and energy on colleagues too.

Managing expectations…

July 07, 06 by Bharani

The Business Unit is 40-50 strong. It is small compared to the size of other Business Units. The director of the group is pretty jovial, technically strong, broad-minded and informal. He has almost 20+ years of experience. I report directly to the director. The director reports to the Managing Director of the India centre. So,in a way I am only 2 levels from the top ;)

I am given in-charge of an initiative. The initiative grew out of an organizational need. But gradually a vision to carve out a commercial product out of this initiative is emerging. Time will answer.

The initiative needs buy-in from higher levels. Fortunately, we do have buy-in at Vice-president level. That’s a big bonus for us. The initiative is not funded by the organization. So, the Business unit has to fund the initiative through its own budget. This currency constraint coupled with human-resource constraint is trying to drag the initiative down. So, we are undergoing the same emotions as entrepreneurs undergo while setting up a venture.

Activities performed by me: Research [Analysis of existing products in the market, Identifying the needs for the organization, Proposing the features to be implemented etc.,], Design and Architecture [Working with Technical leads to come up with Scalable, robust, component-oriented design], Requirements Analysis [Business Analysis for the first customer], Project management [Planning, Scheduling, allocation etc.,], Training and mentoring, Chairing tele-conferences to demo the product [High level people participate in the conference]…The Business Development part [Selling the concept to other business units/customers once the initiative takes shape] will come later, though it largely depends on the success of the initiative initially.

Though there are organizational red-tapes, I enjoy relatively more freedom and command [I am talking about the command of situation, resources I have, style I can follow etc.,] compared to many others in the organization. That part I am happy about.

I have joined at a level/grade which is normally given to people with 9-10 years of experience. That is a significant ladder-bypass for me.

Since I am working on the organizational initiative, I have some concerns in terms of not learning/mastering enough domain expertise relevant to my firm. I have made some plans to cover the weakness by utilizing the resources/facilities available within the organization. In few months time, things should take good shape.

One thing I would like to mention here is “Manage your expectations. Sometimes, what you expect might be vastly different from reality. Give some time before taking rash decisions. Patience is a virtue. If you leave the job, do so only after making sure that it is not for you.” Another point. “Just because your role is Strategy consultant/Business development, you are not necessarily insulated from project management or people management. The promised role will be given to you. But it will come as a part of package containing other mundane roles too.”

The problem about expectations can be published as a book in itself.

PS: A dialogue that I had about expectations some time ago…

Talk was about marriage…
Me: Dude, I don’t have high expectations.
Friend: So, why don’t you marry a girl from slum?
Me: I don’t have high expectations. But I do have expectations :)

Where is the Safety?

June 30, 06 by Bharani

Today early morning, around 3-4 a.m., there was an attempt of theft in the flat just opposite to where we live. Apparently, the house owner has gone to US for 3-4 months I guess. The thief has managed to break the big lock that was put up and even the main lock inbuilt in the door! We were actually awake till 2:30 in the morning. But we all were in to deep sleep by 2:45 a.m. Luckily, the flat owner who was living beneath us had heard some sound and went down and took Security person along to check out what’s happening. By the time they both reached the flat, the thief became alert and ran away. Now, none of us know what has been stolen…Now the people who live in the house have to spend the rest of their days in US with loads of tension…

Since hearing the news, I am disturbed a lot. I mean, what’s the point of all those ‘more security in apartments’ argument. Thiefs do notice the empty houses and attack it. Safety is in our hands…But, no matter how much external security we have, if our time is not good, we can become a victim.

I think we should seriously consider shifting the apartment. There were rumours that this particular locality is prone to thefts. Now, it is not rumours anymore. There should be peace of mind as far as safety is concerned. Once that is disturbed/threatened, then it is very difficult to convince myself from not shifting the house. And we have invested bit heavily..that gives us extra concern…! OK, we all are bachelors and are awake late in the night..but what if all 3 leave for the weekend…I think we should deploy traps like the kid in ‘Home alone’ does!!!

Safety…is a deception.

Pedal…Pedal…

June 27, 06 by Bharani

Cycling…

Whenever I go to fitness centre (I have visited fitness centre only 30-40 times totally in my life), my legs take me automatically to the cycling equipment. I just love pedalling…After seeing lance armstrong and the way he beautifully pedals in a rocking motion, I have developed a liking to cycling…rather pedalling…

I normally set a target. Say 10 kms. Every time, I will try to beat my previous performance. The latest is 10 kms in 17.3 minutes at difficulty level 4. It’s always easy to reach 2-3 kilometers. It is the middle portion which is tough to sustain. You will feel like giving up…That’s when, my prestige takes over…”What the F#@*, be a man…”!!! Then, I pedal…pedal…look sideways…look up…look at my own image in the mirror…murmur to myself..”I can..I can..” After some time, I will stablize..Then, legs will begin to hurt… feel a sense of bulging on thighs…on the calf muscles…sweat pouring like heavens from your head…Finally, when I reach the target, automatically the smile emerges on the face…the victorious smile…! A sense of achievement…:) For that short duration of time, I am Lance Armstrong…no one can take that perception away from me…!

Only when I plant my foot on the ground will I realize that taking even a single step is going to be a herculean task…Not ready to show the tiredness, I just stylishly lean on to the nearby support (wall, equipment or some god damn thing!) as if I am posing to a photographer……and wait until I sense that I can walk normally…man, I am weak yet I am strong…it’s all in the mind…

But there are all kinds of people who come to fitness centre…6 feet vertically or 5 feet horizontally or 7 feet circumferentially! People with huge biceps roughly the size of my thighs! (Well that’s an exaggeration..Let me correct it…actually the biceps are bigger than my thighs!) Fat-burners…muscle-builders…People who lift all the weights in one stretch and people who lift just the bar…diversity at its best…

I always use to wonder, everyone wants to spend calories when they come to gym…basically give away the excess calories..why not convert those calories to something useful…say electricity! Say, you pedal…so connect the wheel to a generator through a conveyor belt and efficiently convert the energy to electricity…the more electricity i generate, the more I feel like Shah-rukh-khan of Swadesh! Same applies to all the equipments…Anyone interested in a good business plan? please feel free to implement it..no royalties please :)

Man, I am so happy today…because after 15 months…I spent the complete 8 hours in work only for work!!! so, just letting my fingers type whatever it wants…

blame…worthiness!

June 25, 06 by Bharani

10:15 p.m. Not much traffic on the road. I was walking back to my room after purchasing some food stuff. An autorickshaw fled past me. I felt a sensation of something being sprayed on my body. Since it was dark, I could not realize what it was. When I closely observed, I saw dark droplets spread all over my right hand and pants. They were ink drops. I looked around and saw a plastic ink bottle lying on the ground, completely deformed in shape, literally road-rolled. Those ink drops are not something that goes away. The ink is meant for ballpoint pens. I was so enraged…that I shouted…”S..H…I..T..”! on the empty road and it echoed in the empty roads…By this time, the autorickshaw had already transformed into a mini-dot in the distant…

I was so pissed off by the thought that my pants have become useless…I blamed my friend for bringing me along with him to the shop inspite of my resistance…I blamed the autorickshaw for driving on the bottle…I blamed the person who threw the bottle on the road…I blamed the corporation worker for not doing the clean-up job properly…Blame, Blame, Blame was all I did…The more the parties I tried to blame, the more I was enraged…I was atleast lucky that I was wearing an old T-shirt…

Only when I came to my room did I realize that I did not kick the bottle away from the road..Now, I am responsible for someother good pant getting spoilt…and I will be part of somebody else’s blame…! Next time, I will try to maintain calm and see how I can control the damage…and when will all our citizens co-operate to maintain the cleanliness in public places is a question that needs to be answered…and thought upon…

PS: I bought the pants only 20 days ago…I tried to clean the pants..but to no avail.

Tale of Online search…

June 23, 06 by Bharani

1. Post my profile in TeluguMatrimony.com [With a very short-and-sweet description, no photos uploaded, no horoscopes uploaded]

2. Explain the Online matrimonial facility to my parents and the benefits associated with it. Impressed with such a facility available in net, they pursue me to add more details. I even ended up paying Rs.1750/= to acquire the paid-benefits of the matrimonial site [Like sending personalized message, password-protecting the photograph etc.,]. Can’t believe it!

3. Go through the profiles matching my preferences. The most important filtering being “Search profiles who has put up photographs”!! Later, I realized that most of the people who put up photographs have published a well-crafted, studio-quality photographs. The bright-white teeth, the angel-like glow behind the hair and extremely fair face (a closer analysis will reveal the huge contrast between the hand color and the face color!) makes you wonder “How come everyone is so beautiful”??

4. Wait for someone to contact me. You know, the typical Why-should-I-make-the-first-move thought. Fed up with the dismal response rate, I begin to analyze the reasons…

5. Decide to search for profiles without photographs. I learn to patiently read the description written by the parents/friends/siblings. It turns out that genuinely interested people do not publish the photographs (or atleast password-protect the photographs).

6. Decide to make the first move. Express the interest to the newly found profiles and wait for response.

7. Decide to publish my photograph and put up my salary figure. Within 24 hours, the response rate improves dramatically. Agency problems??

8. All the while, I forgot about the Horoscope compatibility. I cannot seek the service of a Purohit each time to match the horoscopes nor can I learn the astrology overnight. Think…Think…Finally, I find an online Horoscope matching service which does a good job of matching.

9. Match the horoscopes of profiles to decide whether to proceed further or not. The service gives a score on a 36 scale. Minimum of 18 points is needed for horoscope to be compatible. If the points is 30+, then the match is excellent! But the score is not just enough..There are more checks like Manglik dosha, Nadi dosha, Masala dosha, Paper dosha etc.,!!! If there is any one dosha, then even if you have a score of 36 out of 36, the horoscopes are certified as incompatible! [A small fact, 46%-53% of people in the world are Mangliks]. Manglik dosha is the result of Mars positioning himself/herself in some specific squares in horoscope. Now is this what is meant when someone say “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”…Juz Kidding ;)

10. It turns out that 5 out of 8 profiles that were up for matching are incompatible.

11. I get more responses [both response to my responses and fresh proposals]. The horoscope funneling eliminates the responses!

12. A close friend suggests to remove the salary figure and put the photograph (password-protected). Also, a few modifications in the description. I follow the same.

13. Two prospects have been contacting me since then. Also, they received a score of 33 out of 36 in horoscope compatibility test! One prospect asked me to meet the brother of the girl in hyderabad! Scared by the thought of being interviewed mercilessly by a stranger and by the speed at which events were taking place, I decided not to respond. I will let my parents do the initial talking.

14. One profile caught my attention, but for one thing. The HEIGHT! She was 170 cms. I remember my height as 169 cms. I wanted to confirm my height badly…I even bugged my flat mates to help me in measuring my height!! At that moment, I was complaining to god for being vertically challenged :) Anyway, I don’t want to end up as the shorter one after the marriage! So, with heavy heart had to let go that profile…and updated my preferences to reflect the height…

15. After few cycles, the preferences have evolved and many confusions are cleared. I have even come up with a bank of questions to ask whenever I get a chance to meet a prospect! There is also a document of “things that I would like to do for my life-partner” so that I can impress her in the future…you see, the problem of seeing too many Tam/Hindi love movies :)

16. Now comes the anti-climax. It turns out that my preferences have narrowed my choices way too much. Caste, Place, Education, Career, Height, Looks…etc.,

17. Totally confused and frustrated by the futility of the online search with such a preference, I finally decide to not log into matrimony site anymore. Atleast not for the next 1 month. As I was not lucky enough to find a life-partner on my own so far, I will leave the job to my parents…provided my preferences are satisfied. It’s going to be a long-drawn process…that’s for sure and it better take time, as it is a question of life…!

Only take-away: I got to meet/interact with 2-3 new people. It was great to know about their interests and ambitions in life.

For a brief period, there was a great interest to get married and settle in life fast..Now, the interest has died down (is gradually dying down..)…With the excitement and fun away, it’s time to kick-some-mighty-a** in work :) The momentum is finally picking up at work front…

PS: There was a big dilemma whether to publish this or not…Question of excitement vs consequence…finally, excitement prevailed…hope I am not wrong….

Dhadkhan…

June 19, 06 by Bharani

I have a feeling that, for past few months, I am leading a very cushy cushy life, without facing any major struggles to fight with or any major obstacles to overcome. May be this is due to the positive attitude that is growing day-by-day or May be because life has been really been kind on me….

Deep down, I want to struggle…I want to face difficulties…In the past, when I faced difficulties and when I had major challenges to face with, and I overcame those, I felt COMPLETE. Each time I overcome the obstacles, I felt the growth within me…

I thought I got a small set of wings out…but not quite so…God, I want to struggle more….and get the wings out of my cocoon….and finally fly high…May be it’s time that I start working towards my long term goal…earlier than I planned to start…

My heartbeat…instead of “LUB DUB….LUB DUB” is “TAKE RISK… TAKE RISK”

Power of Association…

June 16, 06 by Bharani

Guest House: (May 8th)

3 Wipro guys in front of me..all freshers…introduce themselves to me…I introduce myself…and theres comes the word “ISB”…the looks on their faces change…a mark of respect emerges….from then on whatever I say, they listen with silence….with attention…They want to know more about ISB…a lot…they have already started GMAT Preparation…!!!

Guest House: (May 11th)

New set of people come to Guest house (Google guys). This time, I don’t do anything…The Wipro guys convey that I am from ISB…”He is from I..S..B..”!!

Convergys: (May 16th)

Some of my colleagues come to me (freshers)…talk with me…want to know more about ISB…”Bharani, We would like to sit with you and want to listen to your experiences about ISB someday..”. “How much score should I get in GMAT?”…and the list goes on..They see me with respect…talk to me with regard…I would definitely help them out in whatever way possible…of course nothing is official…

Convergys: (June 8th)

A new person joins our team. We kind of introduce ourselves. This time, I don’t say that I am from ISB…After quite some time, he comes to know that I am from ISB..”Oh…you are a product of ISB…? great!”. The look on his face changed to some kind of respect….

Convergys: (June 15th)

Induction program…I introduce myself…mention that I am from Indian School of Business….The looks on the faces of people changes….they pay more attention to what I say…I infered from couple of coffee chats with some of those people that they wanted to work with the team which has grads from ISB! Some people already are planning to prepare GMAT!! They say, “Who better than you to give gyaan about MBA courses…we would like to hear from you about that sometime..?”…

Man, this kind of respect triggers a kind of ‘nashaa’…It’s a good feeling..but should not fall for it…it is very tricky…the expectation on me is higher…They would like to see some magic from me…that kind of pressure is too much…I sometimes think, “Oh man, they think I am a superman…what if i screw up this?”…May be I am disillusioned…but there are more evidences to support that it is not disillusion, but a genuine expectation dilemma…

The last 2 years of impressive placement performance and the incredible media coverage executed by ISB this year has made sure that ISB is known as a big brand…reputed brand…ISB brand is growing…at a rapid pace…

Similar to “Burden of command”, this is called “Burden of ISB”!!! People judge the quality of ISB based on quality of you…if you are really good, then perception about ISB goes up…but if you are not that good, perception about ISB goes down…atleast among the people who observe you daily…

Now I know why some IIT guys and IIM guys move around with a shield around them….and don’t even talk to some people from tier 2 colleges…it’s because of this ‘Nashaa’…it’s because of this “Power of association with a great institution”….I am hoping that my humility will not let me down and help me to walk with a level-head. This ‘realization’ should keep me on my toes and help me to perform well…

Welcome aboard!

June 15, 06 by Bharani

It is hardly 45 days since I joined the firm and I am taking session in the induction program for freshers…Well, had to cover for a person who was supposed to take the session…

It’s very refreshing to see fresh graduates straight out of the college, with a great amount of enthusiasm and interest gleaming in their eyes. They don’t have any idea about how the organization works and how the teams function. But they want to do some geeky things. Develop great software. Make big bucks. Buy gadgets. Do lot of things….When they join the organization they are like babies. At this stage, their learning curve is very steep and they absorb concepts/ideas/techniques in large amounts. They are clean from organizational politics. I liked interacting with them…REFRESHING….

My colleague who accompanied me explained to the freshers about lot of fun things that happens in our BU. Overall, we projected our Business Unit as THE PLACE to work in the organization…That’s a big deal given the fact that we did not even had any PPT’s to present!

Another incentive for taking sessions for freshers is that you can check out some smart girls….and if you want, do a little bit of fun ragging as well :) (But we didn’t!). A funny incident. Since we were the 5th Business unit to present, we did not want the freshers to go through another round of boring introductions! But at the same time, the curious harmones in us wanted to know the name of some girls….So I began asking, “Is there a person in this room who knows every person by name?”. Not even a single hand raised! Luckily, a person from the last bench raised his hand. I said, “Give him a big hand, it’s a commendable thing.” After a brief applause and making sure that he felt happy about the achievement (no sarcasm here, it’s very tough to remember the names of many strangers at once), my colleague interrupted, “Wait, I don’t believe you..Tell me the name of the person here” (Pointing to the girl)!…The cycle continued until we knew what we wanted to know!

Fun apart, I proposed to my superior that myself and my two colleagues will be taking all the induction sessions in future (about our Business unit). With the rate of expansion that is happening, I guess there will be induction sessions every fortnight or even week! Nice exercise to spend the time….until we hit the 100% utilisation rate…