Trust

A friend pointed out some days back that I trust people too quickly. I agreed and however many times I may have felt cheated, I still continue to do that. Why?

My logic behind this trust is, if I start any new relationship without trusting the other person, the relationship will surely fail. Here’s how.

If i don’t trust the person, the other person will never have full confidence in me. And thus, will keep doubting my intentions. We will both be second guessing each others’ statements and hence will never be fully committed to me. This will eventually lead to low motivations and the objective for which we joined hands, will never be met. Ultimately, there will be a failed commitment and a sour relationship.
In the end, I will just say, “see, I told you this person isn’t trustworthy” and prove myself right.

On the contrary, if I had shown full faith and trusted the person, the results would have been different. Clear intentions, high motivations, great results! And then also I would have proven myself right, “see i knew the relationship would work out”. Both ways, I will prove myself right. But its the latter, that will take me ahead in life and give me satisfaction, no?

I want to thank everyone who has shown faith in me and trusted me with their goals.

Discipline

Back in May 2012, Niswey used to work from a shared office space in Connaught Place, Delhi. I used to wake up everyday at 6.30 and reach office by 8.30. Nobody used to reach by then I used to keep a set of keys with me, open the office and start working. We were just 2 people then at Niswey. And had 2 customers. So we would work the entire day and left everyday by 8PM. The building had some security issues and had to be shut down by 8. So if we would be still working, the security guards would come over and ask us to shut down the office. Initially i used to get irritated with them but slowly I gave in. Looking back, this was a blessing in disguise as it put pressure on us to wind up the day’s work before 8. Some days I used to even reach before 8.30, to squeeze in another few minutes of extra work.

The office was 1 hour away from my place. So by the time I would reach home, I would just have dinner, walk a bit and then fall asleep while reading a book. I made it a point not to open the laptop at home, unless someone was dying!

Since we were just 2 people, it wasn’t necessary for us to go office everyday. We could work from home, unless we needed face time. But we chose to come to office, everyday. It brought a great level of discipline in me. Which, thankfully, is still there. Another, brilliant, thing that happened in me was that it increased my ‘focus’! Since I knew everyday I had a limited 12 hours, I just concentrated on getting. things. done. Period.

Friends & family didn’t matter for me. Not that I broke relationships with everyone but I cut down my time with them. Especially where I didn’t feel it was important. A lot of times I used to get invites for gathering at a friends’ place, but I used to politely deny. Just because everyone is going, didn’t mean I had to join. Similarly, just because the entire family was meeting, didn’t mean I had to go.

For a long time I carried on like that. Those who understood why I didn’t join them, had no complaints, those who didn’t, anyways were not important for me.

The best thing is, this focus and discipline has stayed with me since then. Niswey survived through tough times and is 10 people strong. To this day, I start work at 9 everyday, whether from home of from office, and make sure that I am in office everyday. Plus, I do ensure that I don’t work once I reach home. And I don’t have to spend 12 hours in office everyday either. Productivity levels are much higher!

Want to thank my well wishers and stars as I could learn such important life lessons early in my life 🙂

Stop blaming. Take control of your life!

If my parent’s hadn’t pushed me to do engineering, I would have never done it!

I hate doing this stupid IT job but my family wants me to do it

I don’t want to get married but I have no choice

Almost every week I hear these lines. Sometimes multiple times in a week. Most of the times I would just do a “hmmm” and move on while on a few occasions I would try to give some advice. The advice would normally be around how to solve the situation instead of running away from it. My ratio of advising vs “hmmm” is not better than 1 out of 10. A few years ago this ratio was much better. 9 out of 10 if not 10/10. Over a period of time I realized that people don’t want to solve their problems, they just want to blame others. These include parents, society, spouse, kids, managers, government, roads, rains and what not. In short, the universe is to be blamed for all their problems. And this is why I stopped advising anymore.

If you can’t do anything about your problem then you are to be blamed not anyone else. Not your friends, not your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, not your parents, not God, no one. Period.

Also, please stop blaming your parents. If your parents asked you to study something then that’s because they thought that’s best for you. If you had something better in mind then you should have told them and maybe pursued them to allow you to study that course. If you didn’t pursue then probably you did not want to really study that. It was just because you didn’t want to do what they said even though you did not know what would be the best choice. In which case, isn’t it fair to just accept what they are saying? Later on if you find something better, go study that. To share, even I didn’t want to be an engineer. After 12th, I announced that I don’t want to be engineer. The entire family (parents, uncles etc) gave me a good scolding and told me I was behaving stupid. Honestly, I didn’t know what course should I go for if not engineering. Now I can tell I would have loved studying Mass Communication but I hadn’t even heard of such a course back then. Nor had anyone in the family. So? They made the best choice as per their (and my) understanding. And I am grateful for that.

Similarly, if you hate your IT job, why not find out what you like? And then make an effort towards it? Yeah, I know you want to start a restaurant and be your own boss but ask yourself what have you done for that? (BTW, somebody already answered that why you can’t/won’t be able to do that. Read: Tumse Na ho Paega)

Just like any other engineer in this country, I also joined one of those labour (IT) companies with swanky buildings, nice coffee vending machines, well dressed folks (at least some of them) who were bitching about their jobs and managers all the time. BTW, that’s the norm these days. Anyways, just because I joined one such company didn’t mean I had to stick forever in that job. At least not when I don’t like it. Yeah, again, I didn’t know what to do, but this time I made an effort. I went to a career counsellor. Yeah, some of you might term it “stupid”. Another few would have already termed me a loser by now and might not read any further but then obviously this post is not for you. Let me tell you, going to the counsellor was the best thing that happened. Even though the counsellor could not figure out what should I be doing in life, but still it changed my life. The story there is a blog post in itself so I’ll write that some other day.

The point I am making here is that I made an effort to actually figure out what I want to do in life. And then the universe conspired to make things happen! I could have easily blamed parents, family, society, girlfriend and everyone around to say they did not want me to leave my job. Yes, I did not tell any of them before I quit but how does it matter? A few days/months of hiccups and then everything was fine. Looking back, those months are nothing as compared to the life since that day.

Please remember, our loved ones care about our happiness, nothing else. For that they may keep suggesting/advising you stuff that *they* think is right. If you don’t agree with them, figure out what you *think* is right. If don’t have an answer, better accept their advise and move on. Stop blaming them! Meanwhile as Steve Jobs would say, “keep looking, don’t settle”.

At the end of the day, the universe will conspire to help you achieve what you *really* want. Mind you, what you really want.

And for whatever you are and whichever state you are in, just be grateful to your well wishers and loved ones! Thank them!

Why I like traveling alone (and maybe you should try it too)

Pardon me for the excessive use of “I” but I guess writing this in first person will make more sense.

I like to work really hard and get exhausted and then take an off. So for 6 months or so I would work my ass off, mostly on weekends too and then get exhausted and take a break! I took a break about 6 months back where I was on a no-laptop, no-phone trip and had truly enjoyed every bit of that 7 day off.

This time around I am traveling alone – yes, all alone. I had decided about a week back that I will take a break and put a leave notice to the company immediately. I needed time for myself. In fact all of us do but most of us never realize it.

In the daily rut of life: clients, partners, colleagues, bosses, friends, parents, siblings, GF/BF, spouses, kids and some other stuff (like Facebook, Twitter) we don’t find time for ourselves. I have an identity of my own and if I am not spending time with myself, I am not nurturing that identity. I feel, in this fast daily life, if I don’t stop and take care of myself, after a few days I feel lost. Completely lost. So much so that for every task that I do I would ask myself, why am I doing this? And before I could even find the answer, I would have another task lined up and would rush to that without putting in much thought or answering it. We normally kill that voice and move on. After a certain time, either we will stop and say “wait, let me answer that first” – which is what I do or we say “aah, let that question be there. It keeps coming back, “we will answer it later or not answer it at all” – and the voice – gets a slow death.

By the time we realize that voice again, its too late. In some cases, these turn into what this nurse disclosed as the Top 5 regrets by people while on their deathbed

So I took a lone break, primarily for three reasons:

  1. To think about my own identity. Whom am I? Am I doing what I really want to do in life? Why do I do what I do? If something needs to be stopped? Whether something needs a course correction? Whether I am fulfilling all my roles and responsibilities (being a son, brother, boss, partner, colleague, friend etc) or being just myself? Where am I lagging? What am I overdoing? So I answer these and a few more of these questions. And more importantly, I take decisions – some of them tough ones.
  2. To actually take a break from work. Being in a client servicing business, there’s barely a moment when I don’t worry about a client deliverable, irrespective of whether its on track or not. Being an entrepreneur and not thinking about getting more business all the time, I feel, is a sin. To be a manager and not think about the growth of your team is another impossible task. So a few days off without worrying about answering calls, replying mails, sending texts, discussing new opportunities, making proposals, getting more business, conducting more internal trainings – is a blissful time. You forget all this and focus on other things in life. It could be anything. Even a small cup of tea (without worrying about the things I mentioned above) seems W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L.
  3. Its about getting out of your comfort zone. This is a complete complete blog post in itself and I’ll write about that in the next few days. [Update: Wrote Getting out of my comfort zone]

So then what I do on these lonely trips?

First and most importantly, I switch off my phone. And keep it that ways until I return back to base. How else would I avoid those calls, texts, mails? I’ll be honest, this time I had to switch it on midway because it was new year time and I had to make a few calls, and was expecting a few too. So 31st eve, I switched it on and got back connected to the world. But during my previous trip, I kept if off for an entire week!

Secondly, keep minimum gadgets with yourself. You may or may not agree here. Last trip I didn’t carry my laptop either. This time I did, will explain below why.

So now that I was disconnected to the world, here’s what I did:

  1. Explore the place, obviously. I purposely chose a place which I hadn’t visited earlier. I strongly feel the best way to explore a place/thing is to visit/do it alone. You just have to do what your mind says and if there is any element of curiosity in you, you’ll end up exploring a lot more than with anyone else. Alone, I can keep walking and exploring stuff and not be dependent on the people who are accompanying me. I am a great lover for long walks, especially when on unknown paths. And often I’ve found myself in a position where I have not been able to do this when I am with others. It becomes difficult as I/we have to take care of everyone’s wishes. Not everyone can walk long distances, or is inquisitive enough and in a group it becomes difficult that ways. Please don’t be offended if you have been with me on a trip and are reading this. Its not that I always want to travel alone or that I don’t enjoy the company your company, but sometimes, I do need a lone journey too, as it gives me “freedom”. I walked almost 5-6 km daily (on days I could step out) and stopped at random places, noticing weird things, clicking (un)interesting pics and doing foolish stuff. When with others, you can’t do all of that, believe me.IMG_0904
  2. Made some plans for the next year – no these are not new year resolutions before you think that. I have a long list of things that I want to accomplish during my lifetime, so this time of the year, each year, I take calls on what needs to be done next. Not that I achieve all of them, but at least I know what my destination is. Helps me reach somewhere instead of being nowhere. And it keeps me aligned to my life goals as well. Just had a look at my last years’ list, I’ve achieved 50% of that – which I feel is not bad I feel. It kept me focused and has shown me my path for the next 12-18 months actually. Some of them turned unimportant during the course of the year and now I can strike them off, easily and not be guilty or regretful about it either. Knowing what you want to do is important but I feel its equally important to know what you don’t want to do! So I worked on my goals, hope I accomplish more than 50% this time. [This is the reason, I carried my laptop]

Important thing to note here is that, like in the previous case, where wandering alone helps me explore more, in this case where I need to plan, I need to be alone too. Disconnected from the world. Its because all these answers come after a lot of time, when you’ve been thinking uninterrupted. So often I would see that I would start thinking something, then move out of hotel for anything, then carry on to explore the city and during this city exploration I would see something or something would happen that would give me the answer to my original question with which I started from the hotel. Amazing! Isn’t it?

And this cannot happen when you are in your own city, even if on a leave. Distractions would keep occurring and you would never get that “me time” or “mind space” to think all this.

Obviously, these are things that I chose to do. And I chose them because I wanted to nurture my identity. You may find your own reasons and find a lot more other things that can/should be done. Meditation is another thing you should must try.

By the way, guess what? I am not the only one who travels alone:

Oh and one more thing, I heard (and learnt) from Freeman Murray – traveling alone allows you to meet more new people and make more friends, because when you are in the group – you talk to only that limited set of people 🙂

View outside my hotel room in Dalhousie

View outside my hotel room in Dalhousie

If you are a lone traveler too, do share your thoughts, would like to learn more from your experiences.

Do you feel this for your job?

Off and on I have come across various people in life who’ve told me (or someone known) that they don’t want to do the same things everyday at office. Okay, fair thing to say. We all want variety in our life, don’t we? But the question is how do you define variety?
Let me share a couple of real life stories.

Story 1: Life of a lift-man: My office is in a building which has 12 floors. This building has 2 lifts in working condition. Unlike modern day offices, these lifts are operated by lift-mans who press floor keys what people ask them to. They do this in and out the entire day. One day my colleague had a small conversation with one of them:

Colleague: “don’t you get bored doing the same thing for 12 hours a day every single day?”
Lift man: “I have been doing this for the past 20 years”
Colleague: how can you do the same thing for tt-twenty years?
Lift man: Why can’t I? Sachin Tendulkar has been playing cricket for more than 20 years, has he got bored?
Colleague: *astonished* *a minute’s silence*
Lift man: One single day if I am not there, there’s complete chaos in the building and the lift is in complete mess!

I was really happy to hear this conversation, primarily for 2 reasons.

  1. He took so much pride in his job that he compared himself to someone like Sachin Tendulkar!
  2. Even though you might think that its a simple job and anyone can do it, he doesn’t think so. In fact he displays his importance in a manner that one is bound to agree how important his job for the organisation (he works with) and that he is a valuable asset

Simple question, Do you feel this for your job?

Story 2: Life of a soldier: A few days back i was in Kashmir and trekked to a mountain top at an  height from where I could see the last Indian army post, a few metres ahead, Pakistan border started. I met an Indian Army soldier there. I got into a conversation with him.

Me: sir do you have to stand here the entire day? What about night and what is the temperature like?
Soldier: Yes. During night its pretty cold, 6-7 degree celsius and so we take some shelter but still do our duty.
Me: what about in winters?
Soldier: its about -35 degrees!
Me: so then you would be leaving this post that time?
Soldier: ? Why? Its our job (and duty) to stay here. And we do it!
Me: but isn’t it obvious that nobody would at that hour?
Soldier: that doesn’t matter and we don’t think that. We do what we do.

After a few minutes a few more trekkers came along and started asking the soldier whether they’ve seen militants? How do they respond? Where’s the border? Etc. After some more time, a few more people came and asked the same questions about militants etc. in a short while I noticed that the soldier was being pestered with the same set of questions and each time he was responding with full enthusiasm. I realized, apart from doing the same boring job all day, just staring at the fields and mountains, he has another boring job, answering the same questions every single day!

While most people (including myself) get frustrated answering the same questions again and again, this brave army man did it with the same enthusiasm each and every single day of his life. All this while wearing a 9.5KG heavy jacket and holding a 3.5KG gun all the time!

Forget the physical labour, can you even think of how much pride this gentleman has for his job? The amount of enthusiasm he carries to work EVERY SINGLE DAY in his life?

I repeat my question, Do you feel this for your job?

Set expectations right to avoid a mess!

From what I’ve experienced in the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of business owners or the sales guys commit things which they are not able to deliver or fight really hard to get things done by the deadline that’s been mutually agreed upon. What happens is, in the process the stakeholders end up having not so good conversations/relations either with their own team or with the client. To share an example, I know of 2 companies working in the same domain. While 1 of them has declared an off for the entire Diwali week, the other has 2 alternative days as off. This year, Diwali being on a Tuesday, these 2 off days are Tuesday and Thursday. For obvious reasons, most employees in the company have taken 2 leaves, of course the days being Monday and Wednesday. That leaves it with just 1 day to work and we all know how much work is accomplished on a Friday, that too when the rest of the week was off. Not to mention, some of them would fall ill or maybe have already taken a Friday off as well by now. That eventually means, work gets delayed by a week or at least by 3 working days! Now if you’re the client facing person, you know that you’re gonna slip on the deadlines by at least 4-5 days and face the wrath. By the way, you wouldn’t want to imagine a scenario if you’ve set your deadline somewhere in *that* week.

By now you would have understood that this 2nd company is going to delay projects by a minimum of 3-5 days. In some cases, the client would be ‘just okay’ while the others might complain a bit. Either ways, whether the client complains or not, why would you want to deliver a wrong message for your company? Who knows, this small bit might result in you losing out to some good referrals. Word of Mouth still remains the best form of marketing, right!

We have a lot of festivals in India. While on most of those off days we might end up working, but, let’s be honest, there are some days when you want to keep work aside, even if you are an entrepreneur. These are the days when you just want to be with your family & friends. Most of us would agree here but some of them might just want to work. What is important to understand here is that whatever way you feel (taking an off or not) your employees would definitely want to take off for a day or two. In most cases, even your clients want to do that, right? So why shouldn’t you just declare that week off? Even the west completely shuts down during Christmas after all, with auto responders always set!

So I would believe this first company has done a great job – has kept employees happy by giving them a week off and at the same time communicated this to the clients that they would be shutting shop for the Diwali week and the deadlines set accordingly. To me this sets expectations clear on both the client’s and the employees’ point of view. And if both the sides are happy, I believe you as a sales guy, a project manager or an entrepreneur would never have to hear harsh things from anywhere!

Agree/ Disagree? Share your views in the comments or shout out to me @AbhinavSahai or on LinkedIn

Cross posted on Dare.

10 things to learn from 3 Idiots

3 Idiots, the biggest blockbuster of the hindi movie industry, a movie everyone saw and enjoyed too. Why did everyone love it? It was because it talked about points which we all wanted to do/implement in our life but never really did. Probably no one looked at small instances where we can apply some of them. Just thought about 10 small things which I learned and wish to share with you.

Life is a race – I dont think so

1. Life is a race – I dont think so. Ladki, bus, train and even exams/job – ek baar gye to dubara fir aate hain (girl, bus, train and even exams/job – all come back after some time so no point in running after them).

Apply your knowledge

2. Apply what you’ve learnt in school/college/job. Knowledge is of no use if you don’t apply it.

Fear – man's biggest enemy

3. Fear – man’s biggest enemy – It actually is, 2nd is Desires. Kill both of them, NOW!

4. Marks are not the only thing that students should be looking for – there are so many live examples – Sachin Tendulkar is the simplest one.
In the case of professionals – Trainings/certifications/Ratings : that’s not the only thing.

Letters need to be posted

5. Letters need to be posted, not to be kept in the bag, we have nothing to lose. Remember the famous song from Hrithik’s 1st movie – “Khali haath aaye hain hum, khali haath jaenge”.

Lying sometimes helps

6. Lying sometimes helps – really – as long as it does some good to someone. [Mind you – SOMETIMES]

7. The last step towards our goal is the most difficult but is the most important also. Had Farhan never said to his dad, he would have never become a photographer.

the last step towards our goal is the most difficult but is the most important also

8. Parents are happy if we are happy. Nothing gives them more satisfaction than that. Forget about what neighbors/relatives/acquaintances will think. According to the circle of life, there is a very small closed set of people that matter to you in your life. Recognize them and make sure you don’t hurt them. Rest will be knocking at the door of your circle, some enter and move out while some never even enter. Very few stay there forever.

Its really difficult to find friends like those in real life

9. Its really difficult to find friends like those in real life. Don’t try to find them, you will come to know who they are when the situations arise. Remember the saying which we learnt in kindergarten “A friend in need is a friend indeed“. So if/when you find them – never ever let them go.

Friends are forever

10. Necessity is the mother of invention. I know what’s shown in the movie is almost impractical but all of us come across situations in life where need to innovate. Invent then!

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Bonus point: This one is personal, maybe you won’t agree – bookish knowledge is waste, ALMOST always. Don’t need to mention, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates etc etc, never completed education! Had they, there would have been no Windows and no iPods!

Bookish knowledge is waste

Its difficult or almost impossible to follow all the learnings but the more we are able to do that, the more we can be satisfied of our lives. Its all about being satisfied and happy at the age of 70, not about the number of zeros we have in our bank accounts!

Do share with me what you’ve learnt or applied out of these or something else which I didn’t notice.

Previous movie learning: Things which we can learn from Rock On!!

*Images used are screenshots from an original bought DVD. No pirated stuff*

5 things I learned from a driver in Delhi

On a recent trip to Delhi, I had the chance to engage in conversations with drivers on a couple of occassions. Since the journey on both trips lasted for more than a couple of hours, I had the chance to delve into the lives of a driver and was highly impressed with them, their beliefs and the way they live their lives. – truly King Size. Overwhelmed with the chat, I wish to share my experience and learnings from them.

Driver
No, not the image of any of those drivers

1. Work while you work and when in need, JUST WORK! [The drivers here don’t sleep for 24-30 hours on the trot].
Karan, a driver, was there to drop a colleague one day. The next day I called a cab, Karan was again there, though he had come to pick someone else, I chatted with him for a while and got to know that he hadn’t slept since then – 32 hours! In this case, his need is money. He would sleep 10-12 hours a week, work the rest and then rush off to spend the weekend with his parents.

2. Respect your job/profession like anything.
Rajkumar, another driver, was a class 12th passout, still he was driving a vehicle for living. He knows how to operate a computer and understands what a pen drive is. When I got to know that I told him that he could get a better job if he wants – his reply simply stunned me. “Sir – Main dilli aaya tha job dhundne. Jab 6 mahine tak naukri nhi mili to maine gaadi chalane se hi kamana shuru kiya hai, isi se kamaye paise se apni behn ki shaadi ki hai aur pitaji ko dukan khulvayi hai, ab agar ise thokar maarkar kuch aur karunga to yeh is naukri aur mere liye dhokha aur sharm ki baat hogi” (Sir – I came to Delhi in search for a job. But after 6 months of unsuccessful job hunting, I started earning through this profession, married my sister and bought my father a shop with the money I’ve earned through Driving, Now if I kick this profession and switch to another, it would be a disgrace to me and my profession.)

3. Respect your subordinates, give them more than they want and they would reciprocate – Learnt from his employer
Rajkumar’s employer started with 3 cars, now he owns a fleet of 82 cars, just within 6 years of operations. Still, he drives the cars, plays cards and dines with his drivers only. Shows no signs of a bossy attitude. How does that help? His drivers are available on a call 24×7 happily and have never let him down in the 6 years of his company’s history.

4. Build trust. It pays you more than anything else in your life.
The driver’s sister had to get married. His employer, without even telling him, transferred 1 Lac Rupees in the driver’s father’s account, and told the father that it was a part of his son’s pending salary. Two months later the driver got to know about that, when his father asked him what was his profession that he earns so much. Rajkumar, though explained, but was stunned to know that. 6 months was all that he took to repay the money, 99% of us cannot do that, especially at a driver’s wage! Just shows the trust Rajkumar has built with his employer. Reminds me, even I have huge pending debts, less than Rajkumar’s and my salary is more than him….

5. Build relations, money is secondary.
Rajkumar told me that people who travel in his cab often give him a tip, depending on the financial status of the traveller. When I got down and offered him a small tip, he refused to take it – “Sir, aap mujhe sharminda kar rhe hain, aapse to dosti karli hai, ye nahi le sakta main” (Sir, you are making me feel embarrassed, I have built a friendship with you, I can’t take this).
Another incidence same day, the first driver, Karan, called me next day to find out whether the colleague whom he dropped the previous day had reached his destination perfectly or not? Never seen a driver/stranger to that. I obliged and talked to him over the phone for a while. After 10-15 mins he said, “Sir itni der to meri setting bhi mujhse baat nhi karti, mujhe bahut achha laga aapne itni der baat kari mujhse“. (Sir, I even my girlfriend doesn’t talk to me for so long, I am really glad that you did). To end the conversation, he even offered me to shift to gurgaon and he would assist me in finding accommodation at the cheapest prices, even though I don’t plan to shift, I was moved with his gesture, especially in the tone in which he said that!

Just to mention why I say they live King Size – Both the drivers had almost double the salary offers from different organizations, but they had refused for reasons highly unknown in today’s world – Freedom, Respect and Loyalty to their current employer!

Probably we can learn something from them. What is that you would want to learn from them?

Joy of Giving : What did you give last?

Last week Teach for India celebrated the Joy of Giving week. There were free hugs campaigns in Pune and problem solving free marches around the city (2nd october- TFI fellows along with volunteers went around the city talking to people asking what problems they see in the country and what are the steps they have taken or plan to take in order to eradicate them). Being in Bangalore I could not be a part of the campaign but does that mean I should stop giving? Of course the answer is NO.

Joy of giving week reminds me the thought of giving. We often give gifts to our loved ones, we give money/food/clothes to beggars/needy ones, we give …. probably lots of things to people but what is that that cannot be measured in terms of money? I thought for some time that what is that I have given to the society that doesn’t involve monetary transactions? What is that which I gave or wish to give in future for nothing in reward? What is that which I gave and made me happy, just that feeling of happiness? Yes, I came up with an answer, it was ‘Knowledge’.

As a student and even now as a professional, there is one thing which I don’t stop giving or sharing and that is knowledge. Educate somebody about something, spread what you know and preach what you practice. There are some things which we can learn only from our peers, and education is one of them. Everybody reads the same text books but still someone knows more, someone less. Why not share our knowledge and make the world a better place by giving everybody the power of information. I have often seen people hiding their knowledge or not sharing what they know, reason being they fear their friend might overtake in the particular field/subject. How can someone overtake you if you told him/her how to take the first steps? And even if he does, you should feel happy about it, and that too for two reasons. First is, someone listened to what you had to say and has actually implemented what you were trying to convey, how many of us do that? And secondly because if he knows more than you some days later, you can learn all those new things from him and that too in a much lesser time than you would have originally spent. So its always good to ‘give’ and the joy of giving can never supercede any other joy.

Now let me know (in the comments section) what is that you’ve given or plan to give in future which would give you ‘Joy of Giving’.

How a bad Advertisement timing can spoil your Brand Value

I recently came across an advertisement in The Economic Times, a national daily newspaper arguably read by each and every businessman across the country. The ad started with the words :

Kind Attention CMD’s, CEO’s, COO’s and top management

Following the address, it had information regarding the program which was succeeded with a 2 line statement about advertiser’s background. Now I guess we can imagine how much information can be dispensed in a 3″x4″ ad. And hence as a result of which the ads are always suffixed with a website link, an email id and a contact no, assuming the advertiser and the addressed people have enough technology exposure. You must be thinking so what’s wrong in this ? Nothing ! Absolutely correct.
The website has a single page and that page contains nothing more than a 1 paragraph information of the company. There are 4 other links on the website, one of which links to a related external site, good enough. But out of the other 3 links, 2 do not work. The last one says “News”. Hoping that this will have information at least about the ad, I clicked that link. And guess did I see.

This post has been deleted.

I assume that, okay, the website might be having some problems so I pick up my phone to call on the given number. You can’t believe what reply I got,

Please check the number you have dialed !!!

What my first reaction was, I probably cannot write here.  Still assuming that IT’S OKAY,  there might be a printing mistake, I gathered  some courage and clicked on the only link that was working (the linking to an external site). That website, though functional,  also did not have any info about the advertisement. Somhow I found a landline contact no and I had full confidence that atleast this should be working. Alas! it was not to be. No, the numbers were correct, but none of them was recieved. I dialled both the numbers but to no avail.

Harms caused by bad timing
Harms caused by bad timing

Can you imagine what sort of impression would this sort of campaign do. It’s done more damage than you can imagine. The website’s not ready, has no information, the news section says post deleted, the mobile numbers don’t exist and nobody is bothered or responsible enough to recieve the landline calls. Waaaoow ! I am impressed. And in case you forgot, then I may remind you that the post was addressed to CEO’S, COO’S and CMD’S. No, I am not anyone of those, but yes I do own an organization or rather a startup I should say and the advertiser is connected to me due to previous background.

Things they lost from all this :

Trust :   Confidence :   Loyalty :   Growth/Business (for a short term and with some concerned people at least) : and the most important BRAND VALUE, if they had any.

Lesson to be learnt : If your soldiers aren’t ready, don’t FIRE !

This is a perfect example why you should synchronize your advertising and marketing/branding campaigns. Probably they should have waited at least till the date the website is ready. Since a bad impression lasts longer in the human brain, I guess next time such or may be any ad from the same organization, wouldn’t be treated trustworthy or would get the response it expects.

By the way, after all this, I didn’t bother to try the email id.