Friday, December 27, 2002

Life and Death

Look at it this way...hilariously here.

Via Ram's Filter Coffee (That was really fabulous).

Sometimes its the most unexpected and the most low profiled people who teach us the biggest things in life and that too in a very simple way. At such situations you can't avoid feeling like Arjun in front of the Vishwarup of Lord Krishna. It happens in Kaliyug too...

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Englishmen have left a drastic impact on India. Divide and rule still works more efficiently than the last century. IT industry takes credit in inheriting this technique from the British. And unfortunately they are successful in that, most times.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I exist therefore I am

"I exist therefore I am" echoed a firm voice on Saturday 14th Dec 02 on the IIT Grounds, Chennai. And for a sweet surprise it was Kamalhassan's voice which stressed on the motto behind The Banyan. He was dressed in a sherwani with a shawl around him. A few comments came from my friends that he was trying to pose the Big B.

It was a show called Netru Indru Naalai [Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow], organised by The Banyan, a public charitable trust which reaches out to destitute, mentally-ill women, who are often to be seen wandering through our streets. The Banyan was created in August 1993 by two college girls Vandana Gopikumar & Vaishnavi Jayakumar . This is a yearly event organised to collect charity for Banyan.

Kamalhassan was not the only star in the event. It included a host of other stars and singers like Suhasini Mani Ratnam, Revathy, S.P Balasubramaniam, K J Yesudas, Sujatha, Karthik, Srinivas and ofcourse Mumtaz and Sneha.

But the show highlights was Kamalhassan and his promotion to his latest movie Anbe Sivam. When they played the teaser of Anbe Sivam, Kamalhassan came to the stage, singing the theme of the movie. Looks like he is trying to portray that Love is the only god. The movie line is about a train accident and its aftermath. Kamal plays as an artist of a village art and looses one of his legs in the train accident. He also damages his face badly and the movie goes on to say about love and stuff like that. This is the storyline that goes in rounds in the cinema circle but I am not very sure if this is true one. Madhavan too plays next to Kamal in this movie. Vidyasagar's theme music is fabulous. Well about songs, we need to wait and see.

Kamalhassan went on to sing his few songs in the unplugged fashion with a famous Pianist (forgot his name). It certainly was a great gesture by Kamal to come to such an event but few had a feeling that he hijacked the show for his movie promo.

Then came the historical duo of tamil cinema, KJY and SPB. Songs they choose to sing weren't the best ones indeed but it was nice to see the two on stage. SPB accepted like before that his breathless song in Mannil Indha Kathal was just jazzed up tech stuff and he sang it, ofcourse taking a breath.

Shobana and her fusion bharatnatyam was extra-ordinary. This is not her best again but the fusion music to which she dance had more depth in it.

What reverberated in us when we came back was the meaning of I exist therefore I am. True indeed.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

Hurray !!! lazygeek.net is mine

Finally found some time to buy a domain from net4domains. Got http://www.lazygeek.net for 495 bucks and I have no clue how i am going to use it. I would probably host my blog on to this domain or forward the domain to my blogspot address. I need your advices tp proceed ahead. Also tell me the best hosting place in India or abroad.

Had a superb weekend. Went to a cultural show by Banyan Org at IIT, Chennai. Will write more on this special event probably tomorrow.

Here is the domain's whois source.
2002 Year-End Google Zeitgeist

2002 Year-End Zeitgeist offers a unique perspective on the year's major events and hottest trends based on more than 55 billion searches conducted over the past year by Google users from around the world.

Track the course of the past 12 months on the timeline and graphs plotting the most popular search terms as they occurred throughout 2002. Check out the year's top gaining and declining search terms as well as the most popular brands, music, movies and women on the web as seen by Google users.

The above text is copied from 2002 Year-End Zeitgeist .

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Overheard at iWay:

Well, I know it is absolutely nasty to overhear something. But someone beside you in a net cafe, just a few yards away, laughs his way to glory and yaps at top his voice is impossible to ignore. I first thought that the few guys sitting in the next system to my side were just showing off their decibel levels. They were the ones who were managing the whole net cafe. One of them kept talking a lot and the other two were a sharing a headphone, one per ear.

After some giggles and 'wow's, I finally decided to see their system what they were upto. They were listening to an audio track in Winamp and 'heck', I thought. But the guy who was doing all the talking, made me even more curious. They were a bunch of younsters who worked for a Call Center. Each one had a nick name which was american and they answered to the customer calls and provided them support. Since these guys used a IP Telephone, they answer calls through a PC. And these naughty guys recorded their customer call as audio files, uploaded them to the net and downloaded them at the net cafe and were having fun laughing at it. It didn't sound a funny thing to me. And they were also making nasty comments about the female customers. One guy said when one of his female customer demanded an explanation, he had called her by names in vernacular language, which obviously she didn't understand. If this is what we desi's are upto, then the future of call centers are a BIG ????

Also the companies, for ex : Companq, Hp, AOL etc.. which have call centers, can be honest enough to their customers back in US. They can say that they have a 24/7 support center at India. This would stop having these guys to have a nick name which sounds ridiculous. When I spoke to those guys after they told, they need to attend 100 calls a day and then they can do anything. And they also said because of this they are in constant pressure of taking 100 calls and also finishing it as soon as possible. They accepted that they don't provide their fullest service to the clients, reason being this target of 100 calls. They guy named Karthik had a nick of Jason and Ramaswamy was called Rich. Sounds stupidish...

They are also sure that they can't make a career out of this call center jobs. Their attitude was like going to a temp job till they settle down with HCL, TCS or Wipro as software consultants. This atittude is dangerous for the company also because they would not be able to extract the fullest productivity. One of them told he gets good girl friends there and girls are in dozens there. He is able to take atleast one on a date, everyweek. He said all what a call center company looks for is English and anyne who has a degree from a university can talk his way out. The additional qualification is to spend 1500 bucks to one of the institutes in T.Nagar to get the american accent in one and half months.

With IT enabled services becoming the biggest grosser of this year and also in the coming years, we have to get more serious about this business. Else we will be left out in this rat race with china.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Comments Changed :

Since Yaacs was on downtime frequently, planned to switch to Haloscan which aditi was using. Was impressed by the neat way it was presented and also I hope !! this one will have less downtime. This application has 100 of different commenting templates to choose from.

Happy commenting !!

Monday, December 02, 2002

First, Break All the Rules

The following is an email attachment, which I got from an ex-colleague. Leave your take on this in the comments section. Would like to know your ideas on this.

Early this year, Arun, an old friend who is a senior software designer, got an offer from a prestigious international firm to work in its India operations developing a specialized software. He was thrilled by the offer. He had heard a lot about the CEO of this company, a charismatic man often quoted in the business press for his visionary attitude. The salary was great. The company had all the right systems in place - employee-friendly human resources (HR) policies, a spanking new office, the very best technology, even a canteen that served superb food. Twice Arun was sent abroad for training. "My learning curve is the sharpest it's ever been," he said soon after he joined. "It's a real high working with such cutting edge technology."

Last week, less than eight months after he joined, Arun walked out of the job. He has no other offer in hand but he said he couldn't take it anymore. Nor, apparently, could several other people in his department who have also quit recently. The CEO is distressed about the high employee turnover. He's distressed about the money he's spent in training them. He's distressed because he can't figure out what happened.

Why did this talented employee leave despite a top salary? Arun quit for the same reason that drives many good people away. The answer lies in one of the largest studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization. The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers and was published in a book called First Break All The Rules. It came up with this surprising finding: If you're losing good people, look to their immediate supervisor. More than any other single reason, he is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he's the reason why they quit, taking their knowledge, experience and contacts with them. Often, straight to the competition.

"People leave managers not companies," write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. "So much money has been thrown at the challenge of keeping good people - in the form of better pay, better perks and better training - when, in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue." If you have a turnover problem, look first to your managers. Are they driving people away? Beyond a point, an employee's primary need has less to do with money, and more to do with how he's treated and how valued he feels. Much of this depends directly on the immediate manager. And yet, bad bosses seem to happen to good people everywhere. A Fortune magazine survey some years ago found that nearly 75 per cent of employees have suffered at the hands of difficult superiors. You can leave one job to find - you guessed it, another wolf in a pin-stripe suit in the next one.

Of all the workplace stressors, a bad boss is possibly the worst, directly impacting the emotional health and productivity of employees. Here are some all-too common tales from the battlefield: Dev, an engineer, still shudders as he recalls the almost daily firings his boss subjected him to, usually in front of his subordinates. His boss emasculated him with personal, insulting remarks. In the face of such rage, Dev completely lost the courage to speak up. But when he reached home depressed, he poured himself a few drinks, and magically, became as abusive as the boss himself. Only, it would come out on his wife and children. Not only was his work life in the doldrums, his marriage began cracking up too. Another employee Rajat recalls the Chinese torture his boss put him through after a minor disagreement. He cut him off completely. He bypassed him in any decision that needed to be taken. "He stopped sending me any papers or files," says Rajat. "It was humiliating sitting at an empty table. I knew nothing and no one told me anything." Unable to bear this corporate Siberia, he finally quit.

HR experts say that of all the abuses, employees find public humiliation the most intolerable. The first time, an employee may not leave, but a thought has been planted. The second time, that thought gets strengthened. The third time, he starts looking for another job. When people cannot retort openly in anger, they do so by passive aggression. By digging their heels in and slowing down. By doing only what they are told to do and no more. By omitting to give the boss crucial information. Dev says: "If you work for a jerk, you basically want to get him into trouble. You don't have your heart and soul in the job." Different managers can stress out employees in different ways - by being too controlling, too suspicious, too pushy, too critical, too nit-picky. But they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents. When this goes on too long, an employee will quit - often over a seemingly trivial issue.

It isn't the 100th blow that knocks a good man down. It's the 99 that went before. And while it's true that people leave jobs for all kinds of reasons - for better opportunities or for circumstantial reasons, many who leave would have stayed - had it not been for one man constantly telling them, as Arun's boss did: "You are dispensable. I can find dozens like you."

While it seems like there are plenty of other fish especially in today's waters, consider for a moment the cost of losing a talented employee. There's the cost of finding a replacement. The cost of training the replacement. The cost of not having someone to do the job in the meantime. The loss of clients and contacts the person had with the industry. The loss of morale in co-workers. The loss of trade secrets this person may now share with others. Plus, of course, the loss of the company's reputation. Every person who leaves a corporation then becomes its ambassador, for better or for worse. We all know of large IT companies that people would love to join and large television companies few want to go near. In both cases, former employees have left to tell their tales. "Any company trying to compete must figure out a way to engage the mind of every employee," Jack Welch of GE once said. Much of a company's value lies "between the ears of its employees". If it's bleeding talent, it's bleeding value. Unfortunately, many senior executives busy traveling the world, signing new deals and developing a vision for the company, have little idea of what may be going on at home. That deep within an organization that otherwise does all the right things, one man could be driving its best people away.

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