Sunday, February 24, 2008

Jumper

Story of a boy who gets to know about his teleportation skills. Where the director could have focussed on the teleportation aspect, it gets weaved into the plot as a given and thus degenerates into "old wine in a new bottle".

Doug deserves credit for thinking through aspects of the skills, the visuals, the way people's reflexes adapt to a new skill as they become second nature and so on. However, to me, teleportation seems to be a natural evolution in human skills, so I wish the director spent more time here. However, instead, pitting teleporters against people who are bent upon killing them ("paladins"?) is a cliche.
At the later half of the movie, everything moves in blinding fashion and it is difficult to make much sense of what is going on. Overall, it appears that the movie missed it's mark by quite a distance.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Get to" vs "Have to"

Read Seth Godin's post about this topic.

What distinguishes something that you "get to" do and something that you "have to" do? The way both phrases feel within itself is different.

  1. It is clear that either attitude that we is of our own making
  2. "Have to"'s - we perceive, knowingly or unknowingly, as being pressed upon us (bills, exercise - anything under the sun, depending on who we are talking about)
  3. "Get to"'s - we jump at the opportunity (movies, food - anything under the sun, depending on who we are talking about)
So what causes us to behave either way? Our involvement with the situation in question. Despite many situations being reflexive "have to"'s or "get to"'s, this is the variant that decides how we really feel about it.

So increasing our involvement on any situation will push that situation from "have to" to "get to". Agree? I think so!

Now read Sadhguru's quote - "If you are deeply involved with the simplest aspects of your life, you will see every aspect of your life is spectacular"

:) :) :)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Random thoughts on a weekend...

Too many random thoughts? I don't know!




The cellular industry in India is booming. Typically, when I travel in a bus or a train, upon casual observation, I notice everyone has a cell phone. It created a paradigm shift, so much so that watching someone listen to music on his/her phone or fiddling with an SMS message is normal now (a few years back, it would have enlisted curious onlookers). But sadly, user control of cell services is still primitive. When compared to the US, or probably other countries, what the individual user can control in aspects of service are still not available here. I think it is time for cellular service companies in India to take this to the next level. Some examples of what can be done:

1) Revamp websites and offer complete service control to users. This includes changing plans, adding add-ons to existing plans, bill payment (yeah, they have covered this one aspect!). Current websites of most service providers is very primitive and poorly designed

2) Voice Mail - there is literally no concept of this here and would be a great value add. The way I see it, the company in India that is going to first come up with this option to the users is either going to make a killing or is going to cause others to do the same (think Google's 1GB email inbox - it caused Yahoo and Microsoft to introduce the same - in a fashion insisting they were thinking about it all along!) A couple of service providers offer voice mailboxes, but the service plan is a joke. You will need to pay them every time you check your mail box! Only corporates can afford this. Consider T Mobile in the US as an example. Their voice mailbox limit is 500 hours (no kidding) and you can completely customize it's usage.

3) Relating to (2), phone manufacturers in India can come up with a voice messaging system built into the phone (again the first company will make a killing)!

4) Group messaging

5) I think this is a TRAI action item. Allow people to change providers without changing their number

6) Powerful email to SMS (and vice-versa) capabilities



I am currently reading a book by MSFT Press. Surprisingly, this is a non-technical book. The only thread that links the concepts of this book to MSFT is the usage of Outlook. "Take back your Life" is a good surprise and is definitely a worthy read.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Random thoughts on a weekday...

For a change... :)

Somebody asked Sadhguru once, "What will youngsters do with Yoga? For the stress they're undergoing, don't they need things like discotheques etc?"
Sadhguru replied, "Discotheques are temporary relief. What they really need is something that is with them every moment of their life. Only Yoga can provide that"
I had a live demo of that today! Typically, when work pressure gets overwhelming, the tendency of skipping Sadhana for that day is a normal one. But in reality, we're forsaking something vital - especially when we need it the most! The horse never gets tired, even when the jockey does :)

2008 edition of Kailash Mansarovar Yatra has been announced! "gulp"

Watched some of thennavan the other day. One scene in the movie, the BGM is a replica of "Barbarian Hordes..." from Gladiator. When I say replica, I am not even referring to reorchestration or adaptation - it's the IT equivalent of copy-paste. YSR, the son of such a great composer :-(. I hope Hans Zimmer doesn't set sight on the clipping :)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Human Dynamics

This week, I was speaking to my manager, where an official conversation slowly turned unofficial. I've been fortunate in my career, where my managers have been more of friends. I have been able to tell them what I really felt about things instead of mincing words or being diplomatic. Also, at this stage of my career, managing the needs and expectations of people is such a big challenge! To summarize - the task or art is to make every one in the team work as one single unit irrespective of differences (think "Isha")!

Anyway, back to the conversation, my manager was speaking to me about "human dynamics". Essentially, he was telling me to look deeper into the surface of things where things are always not what they seem. Human dynamics make colorful complexity. What he meant was this:

  1. No two human beings perceive the same situation the same way. In a 1001 different ways, this depends on how they have been brought up and what experiences they have gathered to the point of here and now
  2. What people would do to promote themselves (if required, demote others) - several nuances and subtleties involved in every little aspect of people's behavior!
He pulled up an email, which was very trivial and innocent looking, but was addressed to about 5-6 people. He gave me an explanation which was mind blowing. He uncovered a game hiding within the email, which if you were not careful, you would easily overlook. With 150 emails coming in every day, this is certainly not a trivial task. Add to this, what people say, do all through the day and the way the listeners minds are influenced by these. I am not saying my manager's explanation was the reality, but it certainly was a possibility.

Apparently, he was giving me feedback! He was telling me to be watchful and look below the surface of everything. "Human dynamics" is a beautiful word, but it is very easy to overlook this as a catch-phrase! Understanding human dynamics is an exercise of a life time, not just on the job, but off the job as well.
 
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