Bhoo wears the thinking cap!

As if that is possible!

Old times were good!

Posted by bhoo on August 18, 2009

I have often heard the expression that the old times were good!  Yesterday, I attended a great speech by a spiritual philosopher cum chartered accountant (what a combination).  It was so enjoyable.  I agreed with most of what he said, which is unusual.  But, he started mentioning that the old times were too good – there was one Rama who was enough for solving all ills of human life, or one Jesus enough.  He says, today’s world is so bad that we need one Jesus or one Rama in every household to clean the evil.

Wow!  What a thought!  I take total exception of this opinion.

If, in general, people were very good, how can Rama become a hero?  We make stories and news of exceptions, not the general citizen.  We make biographies of special people who possess qualities that are unusual, not the “common man”.

If everybody was chaste, why should we make a hero out of Kannagi?  If everyone was good, why would we make a hero out of Jesus?  If everyone was honest and brave, etc, why would we call Rama special?

I believe that there have been evil and good in all times.   The proportions are also similar at all times.  It is just that these stories are old and hence have gained the “aura” of authenticity over a period.

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Things taking longer than expected time!

Posted by bhoo on August 17, 2009

This is such a common term – I have heard it millions of times, and I have also used it as many times.

Let’s take an example of my recent relocation – relocation from the USA to India – decided in December, acted in April 2009.  What has happened since April 2009?  It took almost forever to get to where we are today – in August 2009, and still, we are not where we wanted to be.  When I shifted, I somehow dreamt that by June 2009, I would be settled with school, a routine, a home, a car and somewhat on the new business as well.

What has happened?  School – our preferred school – only from Sep 30.  We have been managing with a school that is very far, different from what we want Sashank to do, and one that makes us wake up at 5 am and run till 9.30 pm.

We had to settle for a rental house that is on only till Dec 2009.  By the time we bought the car, it was eons, and Kanchana has barely learnt driving by herself.

Business is taking forever – to make the minimal progress, and in bits and pieces at that.  Some days we have a bunch of enquiries and feel that we are busy, but at the end feel disappointed with the minimal progress.

Sometimes I sit and wonder if it is taking more than expected time.

My thought and answer to this question is this:  In what basis did I set an expectation in the first place?  There is absolutely no basis – it is just a projection of an “ideal” scenario.  That is all about it.

In this scenario – what we need to do is to correct our expectation and do some basis for setting our own expectations, and not get frustrated about the apparent delays from an absolutely unscientific expectation.

I should learn to handle my frustration and treat it as normal!

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Schooling – the eternal debate – montessori vs traditional

Posted by bhoo on August 4, 2009

When it comes to providing education for your kid, there are several alternatives – the intriguing number of alternate styles available in India is amazing.

I am limiting my discussion plainly to montessori and non-montessori (traditional) education.  I have put Sashank (my son) in a traditional school since June.  But, Sashank has been on a montessori environment since he was 22 months old, for about 4 years.  I am trying hard to get Sashank back to a montessori school.

My coleague and friend wrote to me yesterday about his son’s recent shift from a montessori school in India to a traditional school in the UK:

Quote (with slight edits):

My son is now able to do all his tables, from 2 to 12 – of course it’s the regular mugging style, but he understands how its done and why we do. In Montessori, he wasn’t even getting past 2.  Their style of not pushing the kid was actually a bit of a negative for my son than a positive. His spelling have also improved by big jumps here- again it’s the mugging, but his montessori background helps in understanding sounds etc. I just wanted to share this with you and I quite surely feel Sashank (Bhoo’s son) might be better off where he is (traditional school). At the end of the day it is this world that they come to face. 

It is impossible to argue and win the case either ways.  If we give freedom for the kids to choose what they want to do – they do not learn as much volume as our education system (particularly Indian) asks them to learn.  But, if we make them learn so much in such a short time – they do not have time to apply the knowledge, or to make clear and concious choices.

I am personally inclined towards giving choice as opposed to giving a guarantee of societal respect.  I believe that if you are a failure pursuing what you are passionate about, it is better than being a success pursuing what you do not care about.

But this is certainly debatable.  Even the assumption that a montessori style education gives a choice is debatable.  I know.

But, it is my choice to give less pressure and less education and more time for childhood and more application.

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I am Back (Again!)

Posted by bhoo on August 4, 2009

My hi to all the fortunate or unfortunate people who visit my blog.  I have been busy with my MBA and almost 2 jobs plus famiy for the past 2 years or so, and this took a back seat.  I cannot tell you how much I miss writing my thoughts.  As a matter of fact, I learnt so much in the past 2 years in Kellogg, that I could have filled and flooded this blog.  But, I did not give priority to that.

I am in India now, and I am ready to write!  Let me restart!

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Customer service in India

Posted by bhoo on December 11, 2008

My dad forwarded me this comment in India currents.

It is almost always assumed that customer service in India is inferior. 

Tamil:  Vaadikkaiyaalar sevai.  Hindi:  Grihak Seva.  In fact, I have seen in many many banks and commercial establishments – a famous write-up from Gandhi about customer service, how customer is the most important person to visit, etc.

 

I have a different opinion on this:  I think Indians are not ready to pay for customer service and pay a premium.  I have operated in India market, and have sold to USA market for so long, and I know how Indian corporate and consumers want the cheapest, with some compromises.  I know how we make choices of grocery stores – go and stand in the line, and be ready to take hardships for saving a few bucks, in comparison to shopping in FoodWorld or Nilgiri’s. 

 

I cannot overwhelmingly call it as an “Indian” thing either.  I know how WalMart here in the USA is more popular than Target, or how very few people are ready to spend the extra money for going to Bloomingdales as opposed to Macys.  In both these cases, customers choose to receive lesser customer service in return for better price.  I know how small the first class cabin is in flights compared to the cattle class, and I know how bad the cattle class in the USA is compared to Indian Economy class in flights.  I do not know if you all know, but recently there was a stampede in Walmart on the Black Friday for getting  a deal!  I know that ecommerce sales – with very less customer service – is striving in the USA because of cheaper prices.

 

Overall, the compromise is between price and customer service, and you get what you pay for.  I think India generally does not want to pay more for better customer service.

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What happened to Bhoo again?

Posted by bhoo on April 12, 2008

Oops!  With a blink of an eye, 4 months are past since my last post!  That is what “adult education” does to you.  I have ended up joining Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, for pursuing an Executive MBA, and that – combined with Aspire and family is keeping me so busy that I am not finding time to write.

Of course, there are a lot of developments.  A new website for Aspire Systems (www.aspiresys.com), a new community blog for Product Enginnering (www.producteering.org) where I have a lot of hands and a lot of writing.

I even wrote an article in NJTC – on Producteering, and conducted a webinar as well.  Please have a look at those within www.aspiresys.com under resources.

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Can captive centers be saved?

Posted by bhoo on December 5, 2007

Here is another article in the series of articles about how captive center is not the best thing to do if you want to do offshoring.  This article gives tips on how to save a captive center if it is just a data-center.

Offshore Outsourcing: Can This Captive Center Be Saved?

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Building a network!

Posted by bhoo on December 3, 2007

I know I wrote a post on this subject earlier.  I recently encountered a book:

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is serious about building a network:

Never Eat Alone.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0385512058/qid=1129837551/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-6971938-7142216?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

I got it from the local library, and it proved to be a great great book in relationship building…

Bhoo

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Resolutions

Posted by bhoo on November 30, 2007

Resolutions:

I know the power of symbolism and the power of tracking annual goals.  Resolutions, particularly during the new year can be a powerful tool for personal improvement and meeting personal goals.

Companies have financial years and quarters of accounting to measure progress.  On a personal front, new year certainly provides for a very perceptible way to set goals and measure progress against.  But, on a personal front, there is no easy mechanism to track – like – a company may have annual sales or growth goals – but – it will typically have it written and baselined somewhere, communicate to a larger set of stakeholders, and also track it quarter by quarter.  It becomes too difficult to do these things for an individual in a personal level.

The other aspect is the continuity of perseverance.  The vigor you feel when you make the resolutions during the beginning of the year, typically looses steam through the year. 

In my opinion – the only way resolutions can be effective is if you do all of these things:

— Prepare a medium that you will keep for several years where you can record the goals or resolutions for each year and monitor progress at the end of each year.

— Communicate it wide, to friends and family – the stakeholders who will give you gentle and encouraging reminders rather than the “non-believers” who will say – “I do not think you can do it this year!”.

— Break-it up into smaller goals every quarter of the year, and set-up weekly goals for seeing progress.  As an example – If you are quitting smoking – and if it is abrupt – weekly progress will be “1 week since I smoked”, “2 weeks since I smoked” and so on…If you are looking at gradual process – Keep a weekly goal again – I am smoking 140 cigarettes a week, and I will reduce it to 120, 100, 80, 60, 40, 20, 0 over the next 7 months as an example and keep a weekly record.

Of course, exceptions prove the rule, and I know of friends who use resolutions as a tool without doing any of these things.

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Second decade of outsourcing!

Posted by bhoo on November 5, 2007

Informationweek article again triggered angry comments.  There is not a single thing in the world that is “ALL” advantages and “NO” disadvantages.

The key is balance.

One angry comment calls outsourcing as “corporate prostitution”.

When you talk about “Nothing matters but the bottom line, corporate prostitution, etc”, it is not limited to outsourcing. As an example – take cell-phone contracts that ties you up for 2 years – or many many other examples.On the other hand, come to think of it – bottom-line does matter. Profits do matter.

It is another thing if a company starts losing revenue because a competitor who does not use outsourcing provides better service. Then, the company that uses globalization will suffer from bad service or products and hence lose its customers.

It is just that in-spite-of the disadvantages, there are firms that have increased their competitiveness due to outsourcing. That is the only reason outsourcing thrives.

If there is a thinking that “customer service” in a company exists because of morality or ethics, I can only call it “naive”. Companies have customer service because otherwise they lose their competitiveness and business. So, the entire “customer service” is a competitive weapon to increase profits, not an “ethics” or “moral” responsibility.

If and when that competitiveness depletes, irrespective of the ethics or morals, companies will move away from outsourcing or offshoring.

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