2017 App World!

Came across an article (http://zeenews.india.com/apps/top-5-superstar-apps-of-2016-that-will-continue-to-rule-2017_1966067.html), where in the apps that are supposed to rule (don’t really understand the term and would have preferred serve well instead of rule, but kudos to who so ever thought about the same 😉) the App World in 2017, were mentioned.

Happy to get into the names, Paytm, Big Basket, UrbanClap, Netmeds & Roposo and would begin by congratulating the wonderful work being done by the respective teams.

While I was about to close the link, sought of an after thought, wondered what it was all about. Let’s look at each app individually and see why they are supposed to rule. 

Paytm, well, understandable, especially because of the latest demonetization move by our PM, Narendra Modi and people at times choosing and more so being forced to move towards a digital era when it comes to transactions.

Also, because of the recent permission of a payment bank that they have got, which would propel their customer acquisition in a significant manner.

Big Basket, at a customer level, more so because of convenience and freshness, which ideally should have been a top priority, in many a cases, have become a second priority. Also, demonetization adding to the woes of mom and pop stores in the short term.

UrbanClap, had to be one, isn’t it? Considering the non-availability of qualified service providers, just a click away, and scope for getting professional services, on top of that, someone to look into the feedback and get resolution for things such as bad behavior and service.

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Netmeds, again because of convenience and availability of medicines. Though good for the companies, I just wonder what this means for our society as a whole.

More the sales, more the  number of people, who end up falling sick, speaks a lot about our consumerist lifestyle that we have got so habitual to living. Food for thought for us all!

Roposo, haven’t we all, at some point of time in our lives, tried to emulate what our idols, or Bollywood stars tend to do? Have we not wanted to connect with them in one way or the other?

Probably, all the key words that come out of the above (Money, Food, Consumers, Health & Fashion) make up what we mortals do on a day-to-day basis. 

Are you a little surprised not to see any travel app in the top 5, meant to give you happiness in the arms of nature and let’s say a wellness app or a preventive app in the healthcare sector, meant to keep you healthy and in a pleasant state of mind.

What I see above is a reflection of what’s to come, just wonder, whether the way we are heading is the way we are supposed to go?

Source for the Image: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204266

TGISUP: Thank God it is a Start-Up!

This one is indeed a futuristic post, indeed one of those which comes out of the blue and is depicting what we might come across in say 5-10 years down the line

Just Imagine:

The buzz word in today’s World is start-up. If you happen to be doing a start-up then you are considered to be a cool chap, waiting in line for your turn to become that billion dollar boy/girl. If we were to go by what media has depicted, the day is not so far when a start-up rookie would be valued more than a civil servant or a doctor/engineer in let’s say Bihar or UP and going by the ever so prevalent dowry norms in such states, a start-up boy’s valuation would come no less than Rs. 1.5 crore; enough for the father-in-law to become that angel investor for the couple.

After all, parents want the best for their daughters and the best is a guy who is about to hit the jackpot courtesy him being doing or having joined a start-up and has plethora of ESOPs or a share of equity. Though these pieces of paper might not hold any value at the moment, yet the immense amount of potential that can be seen by the investors and other market players might be enough for the guy to bring about the wonderful valuation when it comes to getting married to a girl, more importantly a stinking rich father-in-law.

I wonder whether parents, instead of encouraging their folks to go for higher education would ask them to drop-out of schools or colleges and ask them to get on to the entrepreneur bandwagon. The demand from parents’ end would still remain the same: precisely to do something which will make them feel proud about their son/daughter.

Probably the norms in the society will be governed by what the entrepreneurs would speak when invited on different platforms, be it a motivational session in any college/school or be it an invitation floated by the administration struggling to find answers to the perennial issues/problems that have become a talking point of every political manifesto.images

On every nook and corner of the lanes and by-lanes of Kolkata, the thing that would be discussed would be “who funded whom” rather than the likes of Rabindranath Tagore and the prevalent communist agenda. The entrepreneur would be the boss and would rule every little aspect of our society.

Whether this would be a reality, probably no; but whether more and more entrepreneurs would hit the road; in all possibilities yes.

It is a fact that money chases money; similar to investors chasing other investors’ investments and so does an entrepreneur who wants to end up doing what is in vogue rather than focusing on that one issue they feel really passionate about to find a solution for.

Yes, loha garam hai! Yes, there is enough money and takers for good ideas! Yes, there is more possibility of getting funded! But trust me, it’s not so easy. What leads to one becoming an overnight billionaire is the hard work and motivation coupled with patience that goes behind giving in your 110% every day for a period of not less than 3-4 years for most entrepreneurs.

For all those who want to end up choosing the path of entrepreneurship, figure out that one particular problem or issue that you would be passionate enough to provide a solution for. And thereafter go for it, without giving it a second thought. The investors and the success will soon follow if not in the first instance then surely in subsequent ones.

Source for Image: http://www.igyaan.in/98125/10-apps-startup-download/

The Inevitable Change!

Change is the ultimate truth of life. Whether we wish for it or not, every situation is a bit different from the other, every time is not the same, every place has its own ethos and culture, every organization treats its employees differently and every team needs to cope up with people coming in and out of the same pot, some drawing from it and some contributing to the same.

How does a leader or a manager cope with the same is the billion dollar question that seems to have no ready made recipe as an answer. Some are able to think beyond what others can see or visualize, few among them have the guts to take that risk, though at times it might back fire, yet they eventually end up making the first move, few among these emerge successful and few are left to bite the dust. images

No matter whether the leader has the guts or not, what keeps the team going is a positive frame of mind and an ability to rise to the occasion with their favourable attitudes and a passion to succeed. On the other hand, what ruins a team party so to say is ego, over-confidence and complacency that tends to hit the team who get into a habit of winning.

In that case, it is extremely important to have your feet on the the ground and always keep striving for that extra bit when it comes to setting goals and timelines and eventually going on to achieve the same.

This includes not only analyzing your failure to understand what’s not to be done but also scrutinizing your victories to see what worked and whether what worked was because of things that were done in the right manner or because some things happened to fall in the right place at the right time.

This would ensure that one develops a habit and a culture for learning and continuous improvement, which is per say the only thing that can keep afloat a team or an organization for that matter, in these times of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Source for Image: http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

The Winning Mindset!

Have you ever wondered why teams who have developed a habit of winning continue to do so? Why is it that more often than not teams look up to them to the extent of treating them as class apart and losing all hope of competing against them?

Look at the Chinese Table-Tennis or Badminton players who have dominated the scene for quite sometime now. Look at the likes of Australian cricket team which after winning the World cup have once again demonstrated their class and excellence.

Do these teams and individuals do things differently? Of course it cannot be pure luck. It has to do something with the kind of effort and dedication these players are putting on and off the field.

What is it that makes them stand out of the crowd? What is it that keeps them going day after day? Is it inherent in the system that they have managed to establish over a period of time? Is it the work culture and team spirit coupled with an effective leadership program that they have managed to adhere to over all these years?

Do these teams have a habit of stretching their goals and striving to achieve the same? Have they made it a habit to excel, after all what we repeatedly do is who we are and excellence is a habit (according to Aristotle)?

Probably all of the above. Possibly, they have got into a habit of winning. Possibly they believe that they can achieve the goals that are set by them on a day-to-day basis. Possibly they have learnt the art of not giving up and striving to give their 100 percent.images

Management and business are no different than sports when it comes to leadership, teamwork, goals etc. In some companies, you would find emphasis being given upon the nitty-gritties, those 1 or 2 percent of things that tend to be ignored by most. And these are the companies which tend to excel.

The individuals in these companies are imbibed into a culture of thinking that things can be accomplished with passion and hard work. It is the attitude that matters the most. A classic example of attitude, coupled with ability and passion is Rahul Dravid.

Who would have imagined that a guy who hardly managed to find gaps in the field would one day end up becoming India’s one of the most successful finishers. It was sheer hard work and passion more than the ability that led to him becoming one of the greats of Indian cricket.

Hard work and passion can do wonders. And there have been numerous examples in the field of sports as well as management where people have gone on to achieve unimaginable feats.

What is important is to have that winning mindset which keeps telling you that “You can do it“. So, hold on to that winning mindset till you get what you want.

Source for the Image: http://www.emdocs.net/em-mindset-rob-orman-the-successful-ed-mindset/

The Budding Leaders!

Guys who belong to the decade that has just gone by and whose careers were shaped during the same, especially folks belonging to the same batch as mine, some of whom have indeed been able to carve a wonderful professional life for themselves and their family, and are now looking forward to entering the very important leadership/mentor role cannot help but think, “how I can become an effective/successful leader?”

From implementing things to now getting things implemented is a totally different ball-game. From being the listener to being the speaker, there is a transition that needs to be accomplished purposefully. From being the follower to developing new followers, not because of authority or merit, but because of the persona is an art and skill that needs to be honed.

Many a times, guys who have just entered the arena of senior management, tend to find themselves  perplexed by the complexity of the situation at hand. The time perspective that one needs to think about changes from say, 2-5 years to 10 years down the line. One, often doesn’t have the bandwidth to be able to instill such a long perspective.

Consequently, the job at hand starts looking very dicey and a feeling of disappointment tends to creep in, not being able to find a solution to the problem that the situation and expectations from the job tend to pose.

As a result, the potential leader tends to quit his/her job to find another leadership role in another company, which tend to offer the same set of challenges and the person starts doubting his/her own potential.

Why is it so that the transition that was supposed to be smooth and natural doesn’t turn out to be the same? Why is it that the person is not able to develop a long perspective over a period of time when he was an implementer? Does it have to do with something that is very much a core part of most of the organizations? Does it have to do with a lack of mentor ship program in the organization?

Probably all of the above would be able to explain why such a thing happens on a regular basis and only a few are able to evolve successfully, some credit for which goes to the mental strength of the individual and the ability to cope up in a complex environment.

Thus, for any organization, it is a must to have a leader/mentor program in place, where the selected few should be prepared in a manner to whom the bait can be passed and a smooth transition can be made.

And the onus for this lies on the HR department in any organization. Many a times, I have heard from the operations team that HR does nothing. Considering the importance of Human Resources to an organization and considering that the present and future of any organization lies on the shoulders of this very HR department, I guess it’s time people start thinking about the department in a much higher regard.download

Another aspect that lies at the heart of success for any organization is the constant change with respect to which any organization needs to adjust and evolve. When we say adjust, it’s more of a reactionary nature, so I would prefer to use the term evolve, as it involves being able to think about what’s going to be the situation in let’s say 5 years down the line.

Being able to vision the same, some say, comes with loads of experience, though there has to be minimal amount of mental acumen that a person needs to possess. This leads to the controversial concept of “Requisite Organization” proposed by Elliot Jacques where he goes on to say that the right person for the job is one who possess the right ability to be able to think about different time perspectives associated with different roles in an organization.

If one were to go by what this theory has to offer, one would have to believe that man is limited in his thinking and abilities and there is a fixed path on which he/she will tread. If the same person is forced to occupy positions which are not meant to justify the kind of ability, attitude and temperament one has, then it would not only result in failure of the person as a professional but would also lead to organizational failure.

Thus, the identification of the right potential for the right job is a must, if an organization and hence an individual has to succeed in what he/she does, the onus for identification for which again comes on to none other than our HR folks.

So, all leaders out there, if you want your organization to grow and evolve in coming times, start building a platoon of budding leaders who will be ready by the time, you guys are happily preparing to find solace on a beautiful island some place in Thailand.

Source for Image: http://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2013/jan/31/university-leader-career-progression-training

Connecto! Journey of a Start-Up

Every start up has its own share of fun and challenges. And so does, Connecto. If you are wondering, how it might have all begun, it was an idea and a desire to satisfy a need that made the founders of Connecto embark on this wonderful start-up journey.

A need that we all as consumers want to be satisfied, when it comes to website browsing and a need which makes us feel like being catered to by the very owners of the website, be it an e-commerce one or a blog.

The founders were quick to realize the gap in the services that needed to be filled and they went on to develop this wonderful customer engagement tool which allows the website owners to engage their customers in a more meaningful manner, sending customized messages, offering them to fill survey or feedback forms or even request for a call back.

Initially, it was difficult to convince the website owners about the effectiveness of the tool. With the belief that the founders had in their tool and in order to instill the same kind of belief among the website owners, the founders decided to offer this tool free for a month.

The proposition put forward by the IITian founders was that only if the website owner was convinced of the tool and only if the tool helped them get better conversions and ROI on their sites, would they discuss the terms and conditions of the tool.

It didn’t take long for the website owners to realize the power of this wonderful tool. Since then, the founders have received considerable acceptance for their tool.

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Those who have used it want to continue doing the same and those who haven’t been lucky enough to get a taste of the same, are eagerly looking forward to receiving the wonderful service provided by this wonderful tool.

Yes, the start-up has had its own set backs. Going around convincing the owners wasn’t easy. Yet, the founders stuck to their beliefs. Initially it was perplexing for the founders as to why the website owners weren’t able to understand the value addition that this tool brought along with itself.

The founders decided to change their approach and decided that they would offer their tool for free in order to overcome the barrier presented by the mindset of the website owners and a rigid approach towards conducting business.

What followed was extremely pleasing to see. The website owners backed by the wonderful results witnessed by them concerning their conversion rate and ROI, became open to the possibility of Connecto doing wonders for them.

Today, as we look back on the journey of this wonderful start-up, it has been a tremendous learning and eye-opening experience for the team.

What lies ahead are exciting times! With an intention to meet needs of the consumers and with an intention to partner the website owners and the various businesses around the World in their journey of growth and success, Connecto is all geared up to keep innovating and keep evolving their product/tool at the same time developing new ones.

Source for Image: http://www.inqbation.com/lean-startup-starting-a-business-in-reverse-order/

The Feedback!

How many out there really believe in having an honest feedback from the person you are providing services to or from any shubh chintak whose intention might be to bring about a positive change in the way you do things?

Well, considering the amount of hard work that one puts in implementing something coupled with the harsh realities of life that everyone seems to be dealing with at every moment of their lives, not many would want to be questioned for a task which they take great pride in implementing.

Recently, I came across a very agitated conversation that ensued in a restaurant  between the chef (C) and an anonymous person (P) who happened to visit the restaurant hoping he would get what he expected.restaurant

So, how do you find the food?”—–C

I will be honest with you chef. Actually, what I was expecting was a more spicy and tasty prawn dish. I guess it has a western taste which we Indians don’t like so much. It is a little too simple and plain to my liking.”—-P

I appreciate your feedback, Sir. Let me modify it a bit and get back to you.”—-C

Great response from the chef, isn’t it? And then after sometime he came back along with the dish.

Sir, I have made it more spicy. Please taste it and tell me whether you like it or not.”—-C

Ya, certainly an improvement. But still, it is not meeting my expectations. You see, when I taste the prawns alone it tastes blunt. The juice has really not penetrated inside the prawns and that’s the reason why it is tasting so blunt.”—P

Sir, with all due respect, have you have had a chance to eat authentic Chinese food in your past?”—-C

Yes, of course. It is not the first time.”—-P

By the looks of it, Sir, it doesn’t seem so. And let me tell you, we are the finest Chinese restaurant in the city, and you are questioning our best dish, which we take great pride in serving, which in turn makes me believe that you haven’t developed the taste for it. May be you can try some Indian Chinese stuff being served in other restaurants and not the authentic Chinese dishes that we serve in our restaurant.”—-C

What kind of response is this? Can I talk to your manager?”—-P

You can talk to anyone you want. I don’t care. Moreover he will also tell you the same.”–C

A fight of sorts ensued which ended in the manager being called, who tried to restore peace in the restaurant after a much deserved apology that the person wished to be coming his way.

Later on, I came to know that the anonymous person happened to be related to a political family in the state and as a consequence the chef was fired for his bad mannerisms.

Somehow, the professionalism seems to be lacking among the service providers. Many a times, instead of accepting their mistakes or taking feedback in a positive manner, many service providers go in a defensive mode and end up straining their relationships with their clients which could even lead to a chain effect resulting in loss of other prospective clients, which they could have got, courtesy the strength of the word of mouth that in today’s World, seems to propagate even faster than the speed of light, thanks to the technology revolution.service provider

So, for any service provider, it is extremely important to value client’s feedback and take measures to improve upon the same as in this competitive market scenario, one got to have that edge as compared to the others competing in the same field, and a good customer service division could be a great niche to possess.

Source for Image: http://vecto.rs/design/vector-of-a-cartoon-couple-dining-at-a-restaurant-outlined-coloring-page-by-ron-leishman-19374, http://www.mybuzzmarketing.com/service-provider.php

VC!

There can be various full forms of this two letter word. For some, it might denote Voice Chat; but for those who are really interested in the commercial things of life and are into hard core entrepreneurial start ups, these letters seem more important than any other what so ever.

It can mean the whole World for them. In all senses of the word, it can be really instrumental in those make or break years of an individual. Yes, I am talking about none other than the Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors.

For a start up, it can mean an opportunity to survive and make it to the IPO one day. It can also mean that the initial bearers of the entrepreneurial flag will not let their company starve due to lack of funds, which come in plenty once the VCs and the like agree to fund the idea.

And as you know that every good thing comes in small packages, so it is with these Angels, especially in the Indian context. First of all, there are not many such Angels around. Secondly, the kind of terms and conditions these investors put forward are at times exploitative and put forth in an aggressive manner, not at all in coherence with the liking of the founders and the core members of the company.

Only some among the sixty or so in India qualify to become the real Angels for the start-ups. As a result, the focus shifts to family and friends who end up supplying the kind of funds needed for the same.

One cannot but imagine the kind of stress and pressure one goes through. Only a person having gone through the whole grilling process is able to appreciate the state of mind one tends to be in during this struggle phase.

If you are wondering why I am suddenly talking about start-ups and VCs is because one of my very dear friends is a founder member of one such start-up and I really appreciate the kind of effort entrepreneurs put in with an ambition to make it real big one day.

With immense amount of stress that they end up working in, coupled with the expectations that family members have of them is enough to drive one crazy, especially if one is in in e-Commerce.

You might call it bias, you might call it selfishness, but I sincerely want to be selfish for my friend and want to see him make it big one day. On this note I would like to wish him all the very best for his venture and would like to salute his efforts and positive energy that he never fails to demonstrate whether it be day or night.

Source for Image: http://www.bundlebaazi.com/

Farewell: Narayana Murthy

The man who made a moderate beginning some 30 years back didn’t know that he would make it so big. He had no idea at that time that he was going to change the IT scenario in the country, but one thing that he surely had was a revolutionary idea, the idea of outsourcing in which a company in US could off shore work in a company in India which was prepared to work overnight.

That ways, he provided the Americans with an opportunity to conduct business 24 by 7 and this indeed brought a revolution in the mindset of the companies, who were ever on a look out to make more money. 

What Narayana Murthy gives to a billion people in India is a hope that if one works hard and is ready to give his/her best to an idea that he/she has confidence in then anything is possible. He represents the face of Young India which is ready to take risks and go on an entrepreneurial path.

As he steps down from the helm of Infosys, we all take a bow to the man who indeed changed the ways of doing business.

 

Source for Image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Narayana_Murthy,_Chairman,_Infosys,_at_the_Horasis_Global_China_Business_Meeting_2006.jpg