I’m a Team Leader alright!

In the last 10+ years many asked me what I did for a living. I proudly told them I was a trainer. Few understood what that meant and many didn’t.

Here is how a typical conversation occurred. I had one recently which gave me an idea to pen this down.

Imagine I bump into someone from my home town when I visit for a festival or a holiday.

After the initial pleasantries are exchanged, well wishers get into the career part of my life.

-So, what are you doing these days?
-I’m a trainer.

-I thought you were a Software Engineer!
-I kinda am. I’m in the IT industry.

(Anything related to IT/ Software Development/ Computers = Software. You have a tag and an ID card. If you have a cab pick and drop you from work, you’re working in a Call Center)

-What’s IT?
-Software. Software, sir. Software.

-Do you work with computers?
-Every [freakin’] day, yes.

-Where do you work?
-Hi-tech city.

(I tell most people I work in Hi-tech city, irrespective of my location. That is where many non-IT people I know relate ‘Software’ industry to.)

-Which company do you work for?
-XYZ.

(XYZ = whatever organization I’m associated with at the time)

-Not Satyam?
-No.

-I was told that Satyam is a very good company?
-Yes.

-You didn’t get a job in Satyam?
-I didn’t apply. I don’t want to work with Satyam.

-I was told all good Software Engineers work in Satyam?
-Umm, well, uh, …

-You were a clever student all through your schooling/ college, right? You passed ‘first class’ all along!
-Well, yeah.

-Then why didn’t you get a job in Satyam?
-As I said, I didn’t approach Satyam for a job!

-Why not? It’s a good company! How about Infosys, Wipro?
-Didn’t apply!

-Oh okay. Those are good companies, you know. Software companies!
-Well, yes.

-So, what do you do?
-Training.

-You ‘take’ training? Or, ‘give’ training?
-Yes, I provide training. I train employees on certain aspects.

-What training?
-Well, there’s technical training, product training, soft skills and much more.

-Like C and C++?
-Not exactly, but yeah, something close.

-So, when will you become a Team Leader?
-What?

-I was told Team Leaders get more money than others.
-Okay.

-So, are you a Team Leader?
-No. I’m a trainer.

-When will you become a Team Leader?
-I won’t. It’s two different streams!

-So, you’re a normal Software Engineer?
-Trainer!!! I provide training to employees and clients!

-Team Leaders have 8-9 people working for them, you know!
-I know!

-Why didn’t you become a Team Leader?
-Apples and Oranges, sir. Apples and Oranges. Both are different streams!

-Do you have any employees working for you?
-Not really! I do have employees attend my training sessions.

-So, you ARE a Team Leader!
-Well, umm, …

-You’ve been working in Hi-tech city for a long time now, aren’t you?
-Well, yeah.

-I was told Software Engineers get promotion after 2 years and become Team Leaders?
-Well, in some organizations, yeah.

-So, you should be a Team Leader now!
-Well, thank you! 🙂

-Good to see you become a Team Leader man! You were this little when I first saw you, remember?
– 🙂

(Most probably, they are indicating with their hand that I was at their knee level or waist level when they say “this little”)

-But I hope you get a job in Satyam! That’s a big company!
-!@#$%^&*()

-Anyway, am still happy that you’re a Team Leader!
-I’m a Team Leader alright!

A treadmill from Facebook

It was television some time ago and now it’s the Internet. It’s making us sit for long durations and is causing harm that we might not even realize immediately. For some, it’s both; TV and Internet.

Sounds like a fair argument, right? You’ve heard this before, multiple times. And you agree too!

If you spend 50% of the time you currently spend on the computer on a treadmill, imagine the benefits! But again, Facebook is fun; email is essential and Internet is useful. We should find a way to access these without getting obese.

I remember a viral status share on Facebook some time ago that made me go ‘wow!’

Here is the summary: “Internet should be integrated with treadmill. It should stay connected only as long as you keep walking. Even better- the download speed should be directly proportional to the jogging speed!”

Now, how soon do you want that latest flick? 😉

I seriously like the idea. You should be rewarded for all the time you spend on Facebook. You should be getting slimmer and fit as you browse through your friends’ pictures. You should be burning out the calories from that birthday cake you had in office, as you watch a recent Bollywood item number on YouTube. If you want to download a movie for leisure Saturday night, you should workout for an hour or so to even get it. Or even longer if you want it in HD! 😀

I like the idea so much that I would like to extend the dream! Seriously! Wouldn’t it be a breakthrough?!

While we run on the treadmill, it should actually generate power. May be to run a laptop. Or at least enough power to charge a mobile phone. As you anyway work hard, why not channel it into something useful? Considering the current design where you use electricity (loss) to get fit (profit), why not generate electricity (profit) while you get fit (profit) and browse through the web (profit and fun!)? Isn’t this what is called a win-win-fun situation?

Imagine the same with other machines. When you want to check your email, you head straight to the workout bicycle (or cross-trainer) and start pedaling. 60 secs and you generate enough power to light up a screen. Pedal for another 60 secs to connect to Internet. You pedal for as long as you want to spend in the Inbox. Would you still open email from unknown sources? And am sure you’ll warn your friends about sending those large attachments then! 😛

We now have program modes on these machines that say Cardio, Fat burn, etc. You would then have modes that might say ‘email’, ‘download’, ‘music’, ‘Facebook’, etc. Oh, and ‘Chat’ too! 🙂

I know it’s not possible, at least in the immediate future, but I’m really excited to even think about it!

If somebody has a design to make this work, can you make one for me, please? 🙂

I hear Facebook is planning to launch a phone. We already have plenty of smart phones in the market. It would be wonderful if they can make this treadmill instead. Many of the Internet users are always on Facebook anyway! 🙂

Hyderabad City needs to Kill Car demand to decrease Traffic Congestion

For traffic solution road widening’s are temporary though we may require in lot of area’s for widened-ed roads, create cycle lanes and Pedestrian Zones.

When it comes to Vehicles on road, We are growing city and vehicular traffic will only double in next 5 years. In that scenario, no road widening will help. What we need is a comprehensive plan. My suggestion incorporates 2 major world cities which decreased car usage.

In London city, the city implemented toll to enter major city areas (excepted for electric cars) that itself made a big difference. For a growing city such as Hyderabad this alone is not sufficient.

In Singapore, city with same population density manages traffic very well. Thats because every year Singapore allows limited amount of cars on city roads for which they have buy 10year Licence board permits and price’s of open Auction and this is only valid for 10years. So every year, if one wants to buy a car they have to spend at-least 50,000$ on Licence boards for 10years. All this money goes to spend on Busses, trains, priority lanes for busses. This makes singapore roads very empty with regular bus services (including Air-conditioned). Still Taxis permits are cheap and readily available. This makes taxi rates lower and comparative to world cities. The argument here is people coming from offices don’t spend 30$ on taxi while the Air-conditioned bus cost 1$. Such a system eliminates large traffic conjession, pollution and sound.

We are not a city state, so we should have Singapore model together with London model on vehicles coming to city. Some road widening’s may require but it is not a long term solution. Long term solution is to kill the demand. All real estate and businesses get advantage with this solution, because lower cars mean lower parking space. Parking space is an important expenditure for houses and offices. Together with this allowing electric cars without such a licence requirements (non polluting still are expensive, limited mileage) , pedestrian and cycle friendly.

We need a transport system which works. That is immediately, our roads need to take more buses later on we have build in much wider scale a metro and sub-urban transit systems together Pedestrian zones and Cycle’s area’s. We have to decrease cars on road by at-least half. And replace existing Motor cycles with cycles or electric power cycles. Then our city can be made beautiful with walkways, clear roads, trees and greenery.

To Zoomin, with love

Dear Zoomin,

Thank you for taking care of all my printing needs for the past year or so. If it weren’t for you, I seriously wouldn’t have printed these many photos, flipbooks, photobooks, photos on coffee mugs etc. May be one or two as gifts, but not these many for fun for sure.

I’ve made use of many offers you rolled out, starting with the initial free 6″X9″ free flipbook, to less than half of regular price 8″X10″ matte/ luminous/ glossy prints, to XX% off on photo mugs etc.

I printed for myself, my family, my friends and my colleagues too.

We even bought a Canon Digital IXUS Camera on Zoomin Online Camera Store. I think a few of the goodies we received with the cam are still valid. (free shipping coupons, etc.)

I even printed a complete set of pictures for a photo exhibition. You sent the shipping a day late, but it eventually worked out anyway.

I’ve also introduced more than a dozen friends to Zoomin and few of them are addicted now. It might be hard to believe for you when I say people call me, ping me on chat and send me email once in a while with questions about zoomin. I only get back when I can, but still.

With this relationship between you and me, I think I can take the liberty of making some recommendations:

  • Affiliate marketing: The referral program you currently have isn’t a proper affiliate. The least you could do is provide a personalized link and track new introductions through that source. It shouldn’t be very hard to implement that. I’m thinking you can penetrate into the market even more with the right affiliate program. You’re doing good now, but I seriously think you can do better.
  • Business cards: I see you have greeting cards too, good. I should try those sometime! Can you also print business cards? I love the way http://uk.moo.com/ or http://us.moo.com/ do this. May be you can start something similar here, um? Take a look at those amazing ideas and designs when you get a minute.
  • Shopping bags: I was discussing about making these few recommendations to you and a friend jumped up at the idea of a shopping bag. Can you print a photo on a shopping bag? Or a collage may be! A paper bag to actually present gifts could be a brilliant idea, don’t you think? It works like a personalized gift wrap. Sounds exciting to me!
  • T-shirts: I see mouse pads, magnets etc as gifts but not T-shirts; one of the very popular personalized printing merchandise. Is dealing with size the concern?
  • Monthly coupons: You promise to reward the spends with points and then convert them into money. I like the fact that this money can be used as a discount in the next order. However, I don’t like the way you convert it (all points, ever month, mandatory) and the duration it is valid for (generating a coupon and expiring in a couple of weeks). I would like more control on when I want to use it and how.
  • moo: Are you both related? Now, there is a difference of color but earlier even the color (along with the layout and template) used to be same. This is not a recommendation point, just curious! 🙂
  • Photo frames: They are too expensive, I think.
  • Offline builder: For some reason it takes me more than a few hours to even design a simple flipbook of 20 pages. I would appreciate the idea of an offline builder. Similar to the desktop photo uploaders you use. We can install the application on PC and use it to design photo products offline. We can upload the resulting ‘project’ when done, for printing. I’ve heard there are applications and vendors that do this. Why not Zoomin?
  • Tracking: It almost never works. Every time I click the link to view status, the resulting site either shows “no info” or “invalid number”. I know your FAQs address this by dropping the ball in vendor’s court, but it would make me comfortable when things work as expected when I branch off a link from your website. Actually, when I contacted FEDEX with my most recent order, they told me they had no clue what I was referring to! 🙂

When I unpacked my recent flipbook, I saw that ‘thank you’ card asking for feedback. So, I thought I’ll send you few of my thoughts.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, am off to prepare the new zig zag mini. As I have to do it online-only, I need more than an hour.

Cya!

Update:

Read the response from ZoomIn here.

How to craft your Internet

If you spend more than an hour online everyday, it’s your Internet! You are an active Internet user!! And, that is a very powerful tool!!!

As it is said- “With great power comes great responsibility!” it’s also your responsibility to ‘maintain’ it.  🙂

More than anything, it’s easier than you would think!

I see Internet usage broadly in two ways:

  • Give
  • Take

While most of the Internet users just ‘take’, it’s only fair enough we ‘give’ once in a while.

Consumption:

This is what most of us do everyday; ‘take’ content from the Internet.

  • We login to Gmail, process a few email and sign out.
  • We open a news website and read a few articles.
  • We open YouTube and watch a video or two.
  • We open Facebook and scroll through the feed for an hour.
  • We open Flickr or Picasa and check out a few pictures in an album.
  • We search in Google when we are looking for something and skim through the sites for information.

All these are the ‘consumption’ activities. Users that do just this can also be called as passive users of the Internet (leech might be inappropriate, heh?).

It’s as good as watching a regular TV.

To keep the Internet active, fresh and lively, it’s important we contribute as well. Make it interactive!

Contribution:

It’s possible we contribute at the same time we consume the content from the biggest ever pool of information.

  • Upload pictures of an event/ travel/ pets/ occasions etc., to Photo sharing sites or personal galleries.
  • Upload videos to  YouTube or any other online location and share.
  • Add comments to pictures and videos we watch.
  • Participate in discussions where possible.
  • Interact.
  • Add comments to facebook updates, pictures, videos.
  • Share articles, pictures, videos etc., on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Write blogs, add comments, or share the ones of value.

Unless we add more content and just keep consuming the existing one, the Internet experience eventually becomes stale; a long way to go but still possible.

Craft:

Along side consuming and contributing to the biggest library ever, we can even ‘fine tune’ the Internet to serve better on what you want/ feel/ need/ like/ prefer etc. Most websites/ tools that we use today use intelligent algorithms. So, our feedback is actually put to use and the content is refined.

I personally think networks like Facebook are a huge hit and addiction because they allow us to consume, contribute and fine tune- all at the same time!

  • When you receive a spam email, mark it as spam instead of just deleting it and moving on. Spam filters learn by your action and do a better job in the future.
  • When you see content on the web that you like, “Like” it if there is an option.
  • When you think some content might be useful to somebody else, do not hesitate to “share” it.
  • Sharing content can be through email, or social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.
  • Find a balance between creating original content and sharing. When we share too much stuff that is useful to nobody (like a picture with just quotes “Hit Like if you think love is beautiful” or “Hit Like if you think cats are cute”) will make Internet think we are all idiots.
  • We are not idiots; tell Internet that!
  • Share personal experiences, reviews, preferences; as you benefit from other’s content, let others find some content to weigh their options.

Like everything else, there’s a line between doing it and over-doing it. So, of course know how much is too much and consider your privacy preferences before you post your bank statement or bad appraisal letter snapshot on facebook. 😛

If you already ‘contribute’ enough- adda boy! You and I are making Internet a good place! 🙂

If you don’t, and want to, you can start by expressing your thoughts on this very post and/ or by sharing this post with others! 😛