Nov 28, 2011

What does it take to become a CEO?

I was done checking my emails, signed-out on Yahoo, and was about to hit bed when a news article on the Yahoo! home page attracted my attention. The title read "I did not want to wait till 40 to be a CEO" and I opened it. It later turned out to be the success story of a economics grad named Ishita who at the age of just 25 become the CEO of the company she founded: 99Labels.com. Although I did not login, it looked like another online apparel shopping website. I liked the article, appreciated the woman for taking that initiative at such an young age. I was about to close my laptop before which I scrolled the page downwards only to get tickled by the comments on the page. 

There was more dispraise than words of recognition/encouragement. People literally vented out at her saying many negative things like "they cheat", "never deliver on time", or even worse - "never deliver at all". One said "This is paid news .... to attract people on this site ... there are lot of e-retail shops in market .. nothing is new ....". Of all the negative comments, there was one guy who wrote a blatant rant (which received 16 thumbs-up) that went like this:

I don’t know what people want to show….Being a CEO at the age of 20, 25 etc..Became fashion these days. Its not a big deal. You can also be a CEO or entrepreneur by just investing Rs 499. Create your own website in just Rs 499. and you will be owner of this site ..CEO and Entrepreneur. The main thing is your or companies turnover and faith of customer on your product or services

There were many agitations to that comment and among all that, I liked this response.
With rs 499 u can be CEO , but yahoo wont launch a´news about you buddy. be sport, clap for that lady. ( meanwhile i have question do you own a company? ) 

Absolutely true. I realized that reading news article comments is a more interactive activity than reading that news article itself. There was optimism, naivety, praise and dispraise, all over the same topic. While I was patiently reading all that, it suddenly struck me, "What does it take to become a respectable CEO?".  Why people could not accept the fact that she is a CEO? Even be it, a paid news. What is the image that comes to their mind when the see the word CEO? I contemplated over it, lost my intent to sleep during the process, and that's when I started writing this blog.

I think that 499 guy is right. Google offers domain registrations for just $10 an year and any one can start a .com site. My blog is hosted on a custom domain and I pay a similar amount. Just because I registered it as vikkee.com, I cannot say I am a CEO. If this blog is a simple online log of my life experiences, my other blog is not. I started it-kids.blogspot.com with a specific purpose, which is to share my technical knowledge in a friendly way for the people of my state. Though I founded it I saying myself as a CEO of that will sound odd and even absurd (Atleast, to me it does!). So the basic question still remains unanswered. How come a CEO receives respect?

AGE:
At 25, you will be very immature and adventurous. Only at 40 you will think about loss, wrote one person. So is AGE a factor the prevents people from respecting a CEO? I remember writing about the world's youngest CEO who started his company at the age of 14. Here is Suhas Gopinath for you.

POPULARITY:
I don't even know your company name. How can you be so boastful about being a CEO?, wrote another. So only the CEOs of renowned shopping websites are CEOs and not-so-famous-ones are not? How many of you know that John Donahoe is the CEO of EBay? or Jeff Bezos is the CEO of Amazon.com? Even I just now googled and found out!

SIZE:
Does the fact that 99Labels.com is not so big a player as a rediff.com or a flipkart.com is in India obstruct people? Does the CEO of Pepsi. Co deserves more respect than a state-based Mango juice manufacturer? Both of them play the same role. They manufacture liquids which people consume. So the volume of the business makes a difference?

MARKET SHARE:
This is a tricky one. If your company owns very high market share, you are a big time CEO. As of August 2011, Microsoft Windows has approximately 82.58% of the market share of the client operating systems. So the Microsoft CEO deserves all due credit? What about the beautiful Apple OS? Their share is only 10.4% and the audacious Linux is not even 2%. This brings another topic to the table: Reputation.

REPUTATION:
You like Steve Ballmer more or Bill Gates? I will go with Gates because I have seen what he brought to the world and Steve is yet to make miracles. Or tell me how much admire like Steve Jobs? the man who triggered the iRevolution? Do you know who preceded Jobs? Probably not. Only those who closely followed Apple know that Tim Cook is his successor. He is the exact same position now at Apple, as Jobs did but he certainly don't have that much followers yet. 

MY CONCLUSION:
Do you think a CEO should be a Visionary? The dictionary neither says so nor expect his company to have all the above above attributes I discussed. It just says "The corporate executive responsible for the operations of the firm; reports to a board of directors".

Everyone faces failure at some point of time in their life. It is a proven lesson that helps them do better in the next time they do it. This girl may be just 25, and her company may not be so famous, and they could have delayed your shipping orders. These are all just not reasons to drown them down.

There is no CEO who reached fame overnight. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard founded HP in a one-car garage. 70 years later, HP has now become the World's largest PC Manufacturer. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook.com in his college dormitory. Here is another garage story of Apple. Sam Walton, of WallMart fame started his venture with a small retain store in 1960, which expanded and went on to become the largest retailer of the world today. There are many entrepreneurs who work with sheer determination and ambitions. They may go on to become the next Bill Gates or Henry Ford. Encourage them, or at least stop demotivating them.  PERIOD.

Btw, here is the news article that took my sleep away.

Nov 27, 2011

The Clouds 365 project

I am a nature lover and I love to travel to beautiful places. I admire the way the planet has shaped itself and I astonish at the diversity it has. Humans can never artificially create something as magical as what nature has brought into our planet. Over the years, my admiration for nature has exponentially increased. Green looked gorgeous whenever I toured hill stations, red looked ravishing when I once saw sunset from Kanniyakumari, and blue is so beautiful whenever I sit at the sea shore, and stare at that deep, blue, thin imaginary line at the end of the sea. 

Sky & Clouds are the other elements that add beauty to this awe-inspiring little mass called Earth and that is the topic I planned to write about.  The Clouds 365 project!

November 24, 2011. Taken near San Antonio.
This project is a photographic experiment started by Kelly DeLay (@ravedelay) with an objective of shooting clouds 365 days an year. He started doing it on July, 1 2009 and has been successfully doing it all these days, mostly in the U.S. He also started the Clouds 365 community from which people from around the globe can post pictures. 8500 members have posted some amazing pictures over the past 870 days, and it is maintained in the website dedicated to this project.

You open that website and you see a scenic collection of snaps taken over the week. Four other navigation menus at the top helps you filter pictures based on Year, Month, Date and Time (Wow!) of the day which ranges from 10 AM to 10PM over a 1-hour split.  I thought about this man's initiative to take up a project as creative and challenging as this, and I appreciate his consistency in delivering quality pictures every day, every hour. Also interesting to see is the community contribution to the project which took it to a whole new level.


If you are a nature/photography enthusiast, this is a nice place to share and view pictures. Here are some links from the project. Using the SHARE PHOTO link on the community page, you can share your pictures.
 
www.clouds365.com/
www.clouds365.com/community
www.facebook.com/clouds365
www.twitter.com/clouds365

Nov 24, 2011

Why this Kolaveri?

If you are reading this somewhere in Siberia or in some corner of California, it is very likely that you will not know what I am writing about. All of a sudden, facebook brought it to my attention after my wall was populated with one word, repeated over and over: "Kolaveri". It is trending on Twitter big time, and it is all because of a song that has this word in it's title: Why this Kolaveri.  Before you google it out, I will tell you what it is. Kolaveri (கொலைவெறி) is a Tamil language word which would mean, "Murderous Rage" or "Deadly furor".

This song had a whooping 4 million views after just 4 days of it's release and everyone immediately started loving it. The lyric is very simple and amusing. The music makes you tap your feet, and simultaneously flip your fingers without your permission. Dhanush's voice added the right blend of informality. An attempt to try something different has turned out a huge success for Aishwarya R. Dhanush. 

Irrespective of your nationality and fluency in English, you will enjoy listening to this song. It appeared as the number one Indian trend on Twitter this 21st of November. Asia's second famous actor - Rajinikanth's daughter has found the right channel to popularize her first directorial venture: 3. (Three is the name of the movie in which this song is featured).

Update: #22 Dec, 2011
This song now has 26 Million views on You Tube.
It was featured on BBC, TIME and CNN.
Reached the 15th spot of YouTube 100 under Music category.

Here is a promotional version of that song, along with lyrics.



CAUTION:
Whether you press play or pause, it keeps playing inside you, indefinitely! Listen with care.

Nov 9, 2011

What's your Schema?


I haven't been blogging a lot these days. Many interesting topics await publishing in my Blogger draft. I am sharing here, a blog post I wrote at the beginning of this year, in a different forum. This blog is related to a non-technical topic which I choose to write in a technical way to fit that forum. If you understand what an XML and XSD is, you may like it a bit more than those who doesn't. But still, incase you don't know what it is, XML is pure plain text expressed in a particular format. XSD (XML Schema Definition) is something that defines a 'particular format'. If XSD is grammar, XML is a sentence.
So, this non-technical post is related to emotions and human psycology. A possible answer to When and Why you get frustrated? When and why you attain happiness?
You get frustrated when you are waiting in a long queue to get something from somewhere like office cafe, theatre, or a billing counter. You become happy when you get your plate of food and walk out of the queue, or when you get your ticket and walk into the movie hall, or when you finally pay the bill and walk out of the counter with your shopped stuffs.

Good, you are happy now, but you are soon to get frustrated again. You will have to take your vehicle outta the parking lot. HONK...HONK...HONK...No one moves. You slowly manage to move out of the place and then comes a "Phew!". Happy again, but screwed up sooner. You reach the traffic signal, waiting for the green bulb to glitter, amongst those awful lot of vehicles around you. Frustration surfaces again. In fact, Waiting in car would've been much better for you can have Shreya Goshal singing a super number on the stereo and/or your family/friends will be sitting with you. Think about waiting in a two-wheeler. You will have to inhale all the  exhausts from those Honda's & Hyundai's. It's the most horrible time (unless your GF/BF is sitting behind you) one can have. With all the carbon-di-oxides, monoxides & all-other-crap-oxides I inhaled over the years, I could build my own chemical compound and compete for a Nobel prize with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan. As he is from my hometown, I later choose not to compete :P. Now, forget the Nobel laurations. Most of the ideas struck you when you are waiting in a traffic signal. Even the intention to write this post occurred to me when I was waiting in a signal, this morning. By the time you complete a contemplation, the GREEN candescent comes up. Back to happy mode, you start to steer only to get frustrated by honking again at the old man in his 60's snailing in his sedan, blocking your way. Happy again, after you cross him.

So, What happens here? Why is our mind shifting to different states so much in such a short span of time? We are the reason behind that. It's all about who we think we are which is the key reason behind all your emotions. Every human being has it's own definition of itself. Say, like an XSD. You will define yourselves with certain qualities. Tall/Short, Smart/Dumb, Calm/Cantankerous, patient/short-tempered. Every incident that happens in front of you (Input XML) is validated against your definition of yourselves(XSD). If the input conform to the schema, then the successful validation takes you to a positive state of emotion (or no emotion). If the validation fails, you attain a negative state of mind.

Let's take one example in our life. You feel (or define) like a piece of work you have done (a code/doc/proposal) is done in the best possible way. Someone says, "You did an amazing job, nice work". This comment is an input to the definition of your work being the best. It validates well and you are in harmony. On the other-side, if the comment is, "This is good but could've been even better", then the validation will fail. Someone said something different from what you believe. So you reach a negative state of mind!

This schema not only includes your definition of yourselves but also on other people around you. For Example, everyone thought Sachin Tendulkar is the best ever cricketer to have played the game. He did not have a good time during 2007 which resulted in the questioning of his ability to continue. The definiton of his greatness failed the validation. Ian Chappel bluntly wrote that it's time for tendulkar to hung his boots. But when the same Tendulkar came back strong with blistering performances , it earned him not only the Player of the Year award but made Chappel to re-think and re-write his Schema :)

You want to eat as soon as you enter the Cafe. You want to watch the movie as soon as you reach the theater. You want your bill as soon as you complete your shopping. The parking lot is only for you. You want the green as soon as you enter the signal. The road is laid only for you, and you don't want oldies' obstruction who drive in front of you. All these definitions failed which lead to your frustration. When you change the definition, believe that the world is big and everyone will have a part in it, frustrations will start to reduce. You can never change the  world(input XML). You can only change the schema and you are the only person who can do it. More successful validation = lesser frustrations. The way to experience a clear and peaceful state of mind is to realize when you are not in it and why you are not in it. When I started analyzing every such situation, after reading Howard Falco's I AM, I get frustrated very less these days. This book is a very good read. In technology, the Schema never changes. You only have to put in the right XML. It's vice-versa here. I will not be surprised (or frustrated) if you disagree with this.

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