Visiting original iPhone on the 10th anniversary

September 13, 2017

Instead of writing, I recorded a small video.

iPhone X is exciting, but for me more exciting was to hold 1st iPhone. In this small 4 min clip I am going to show you my 1st generation iPhone.

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“When you can not change things in a hurry, change the context”

April 3, 2014

Imagine this :

You were the world champion in a particular sport for over 6 years, you lost that title to someone almost half of your age, your performance declines further and people have started writing you off. There are comments with a near cetainity that you were finished and your days were over. Next year you enter into the tournament, winner of the which would be challenging the world champion. Before the event you are not even amongst top 3 favourites. And you emerge as a winner with a thumping victory.

Stop imagining.

This is the real story of Vishwanathan Anand who just won the candidates tournament, undefeated, earning the right to challenge the current world champion – who defeated him in 2013, in November 2014.

On his return to Chennai on April 2, in an interview on NDTV among other thing, Vishwanathan Anand talked about “what it felt like playing with his young son, Akhil” The response to that question had a great insight and a message. I have enclosed the audio clip of that response here. For me it had three insights :

 

1. Change of context : When you can not control what has happened or what is happening, you need to find a way out by changing the context or getting into another situation – mentally or physically. This is what he said he did when it was a tough time to accept that he was no longer a world champion. He spent time playing with his son. Which basically relaxed him, helped him forget what had happened and most importantly helped him prepare for the next phase.

2. Playing with your son (or kids) : This is another important aspect. Spending time with your son is so much relaxing, it is such a stress buster. It gives so much happiness that it makes us mentally strong to face the world.

3.  When I was listening to the interview, I thought his son might be 8 or 9 years old, old enough to play chess with world champion dad. But when I googled, I found that he is just 3 years old. And if a world champion dad feels good about playing a 3 years old boy, he must be really really good, another world champion in the making? Lets wait and watch.

 


What I learnt from Amanda Palmer’s Ted Talk

March 23, 2013

Ask pic_sLong after I delivered my talk on “Psychology and Science of selling” various issues are still ringing in my head. While watching this Ted Talk by Amanda Palmer I could instantly connect it with the job of a sales person.

I didn’t know about Amanda Palmer till I watched the Ted Talks and then I briefly read about her.

Her Ted Talk about ‘The art of Asking’ took me back to my thoughts on ‘Psychology and Science of selling’.  I wanted to address the question on why people are afraid of selling, what are those fears and how can I help people become better at sales. Among the things that I had heard from people who are afraid of selling was this huge resistance to ‘asking something’ from people.

I could instantly connect with Amanda’s view that if we ask we get it. I realized how effectively she has leveraged crowdsourcing. How she is able to organize gigs in less than 24 hours ( read about it on her blog here) just by asking.

It is so important in sales role to be asking – asking for information, asking for purchase order, asking for referrals.  At the same time we have to approach it very confidently. We need to remove the notion that asking is akin to begging. We need to be clear that we are also giving something in return so it is absolutely fair – the point Amanda has highlighted in her experience with the family in Miami neighborhood. Same thing in sales cycle – as a sales person we are brining something valuable to the table and we are asking their money in return, so it is absolutely a fair thing to do.

I found people are more comfortable when they have this feeling of ‘giving’ (at least in Asian culture). We need to realized that sales is not just about asking we are also giving something in return but unless we ask we will not get an opportunity to ‘give’.


Why it is so difficult to measure the impact of social media

December 23, 2012

My interest in social media and its impact on business has led me to dabble into social media for a fair amount of time. It is quite a new medium but has made significant impact on businesses, politics, opinion making, brands and what not. I consider the channels like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest, blogging, Youtube, Slideshare, Instagram as form of social media tools. There are many more being added.

However there is a great deal of debate happening among the marketers about measurement of its impact on business – sales, revenue etc.; for example  this  article in HBR .

“If you think pageviews, unique visitors, registered members, conversion rates, email-newsletter open rates, number of Twitter followers, or Facebook likes are important by themselves, you probably have no idea what you’re doing. Those metrics are the most common false idols of analytics.”….

Likewise there are many views about which metrices are right or wrong.

In my opinion, social media is one of the channels of reaching out to the customers. Depending on what you are offering you can leverage this channel to achieve any or all of the objectives, namely : direct sales, message dissemination, improve speed of communication, brand enhancement, reputation management, create engagement etc. Eg.Personalities, political parties, social activists, news channels are using Twitter for giving out information/ opinion; restaurants, consumer goods are using Facebook to reach out with promotions.

We need to make use of the social media and its impact in the similar way as we use AAA approach – Awareness, Appreciation and Adoption cycle. But social media has added few additional dimensions that makes it interesting to use for direct engagement (not just communication) with the stakeholders at lower cost, provide response and enable experimentation with offerings at more targeted audience in less time. There are many examples of brands, personalities, services that have leveraged the media successfully. Business like  restaurants, shoe brands etc are able to get their audience’s opinion, create offering suited to range of audience or even let their audience create an offering based on their products ( eg. paintings / hand decoration using their material).

Thus every business has to create its own metrics depending on what it expect from social media in the given period of time. We work with our clients by first talking about business objectives and challenges they are facing in growing the business. Then we identify who are potential customers ( are they new ones or we need to tap into new ones). Then map them where these potential customers are spending more time ( which social media). And make a plan to reach out to them.  Based on that we create a metrics for different phases of time.

There are no right or wrong rules. Unless you take a plunge you can not experience it and hence can not correct it. If you are a newcomer at trying out social media do your basic home work and get going.


2 technologies that are shaping business transformation

November 1, 2012

I wrote this blog first for my company’s website.

We all know how IT has become center stage of business transformation in last few years. It has its own challenges that are unique and at the same time has opened up new opportunities.

The senior IT executives have to deal with operational and strategic level challenges all the time.  On one hand there are project delivery, cost management, resource management, vendor management issues on the other hand there are other strategic challenges such as aligning IT to business needs, creating a roadmap for business transformation through IT, keep pace with new technologies and protect the bottom line while doing all the above.

Being in the IT industry for more than 22 years, I am able to understand how challenging it is to satisfy the constant demands from businesses.

I just wanted to share with you two trends that I foresee would be the foundation of enterprise computing (that would replace traditional IT ) and how we can help you.

Open source is one of the key technologies that has shaped the enterprise IT and now shaping the consumer IT. Actually with BYOD kind of trends, the consumer and enterprise IT is converging. I do not have to tell you how Linux, middleware such as JBoss, database such as PostgreSQL have come to become trusted technologies in large enterprises. The major stock exchanges, telecom companies, banks and technologies companies such as Google, Facebook, Salesforce etc, have embraced open source technologies to drive business needs.

We certainly see the bright ‘clouds’ on the horizons, as a new technology that we think would shape the coming few years of IT and business. Cloud computing does not mean putting everything on the public cloud. We certainly see big merits in bringing the cloud computing as a way of managing IT infrastructure inside your data centre. The agility, flexibility and scalability (both – up and down) this model brings, is what all the CIOs and CEOs have been looking for.

We, as a boutique consulting company are specialized in helping companies bring about business transformation by use of open source and cloud computing technologies.


Why should I care if it is Android or Symbian or….

January 15, 2010

When a common man wants to buy a mobile phone does he look for its operating system or its functions, applications and aspiration value (if there is any). I guess in most cases its the later. Then why all of a sudden there is so much noise about Android.

These are few viewpoints.

When you buy iPhone, most of the time users don’t know and don’t care about what operating system it is running. In fact operating system has never been a consideration for common man to buy the mobile phone. It was always functionality and applications it was running and in case of handsets like iPhone it was about hype, curiosity, aspirational value in addition to above things.

So the question is, is Google trying to change the dynamics of marketing and messaging? Is it trying to make “Android” a brand that consumers would understand? So that it would create differentiation in the market over iPhone? If Google wants to create a brand in the mobile phone industry, then why not Google itself as a brand? “gPhone”? “GooglePhone”?.

Google is very smart about not just marketing but also about creating communities and embracing collaboration to grow the business. Google understands that “Google” Vs “iPhone” is a long drawn battle with outcome hard to predict. Also it may divert Google’s attention from its core business. And mobile phone per se is not its end objective. It wants to control the platform through which consumers are connecting to internet. Android is such platform. Phones and smart devices are increasingly going to be the important modes of connecting to internet. Hence it is collaborating with players like LG and Motorola to bring Android based phones and you can call them smart devices as well. It is encouraging more players to use Android platform so that the combined effect is much more powerful than just Google’s efforts.

Then why Nexus? Is it competing against its own partners? Its not about selling phone, it is about putting Google’s might directly behind Android, create more awareness. Consumes are likely to take note of Android because Google is behind “Nexus”. As this brand (Android) establishes, it helps all the players, it helps them to sell more phones. Google may or may not remain in handset game for ever. It may sell its brand “Nexus” to HTC and make good money. It would go back to strengthening the platforms for the devices for internet access. And it would continue to embrace collaboration as its growth engine.


Show Me the Money

September 18, 2009

A great deal of activity is happening around opensource – not just in the software but through overall forces of – collaboration, openness, sharing and networking. These principles are not new to the mankind. They have been used in the context of social development, education and research in many ways.

But the key difference this time is that these principles are being leveraged for businesses. Whole new businesses have come up and entirely new concepts of doing businesses are shaping the industry. eg. Wikipedia, social networking, Innovation Exchange, Red Hat etc…

Right in the middle of our own businesses in IT industry, open source software such as Linux, JBoss, KVM, Alfresco, SugarCRM are making impact on the our customer businesses. These software offer great value to the customers at the same time pricing, packaging, promotion are significantly different from what they are used to be with proprietary software.

While on one hand open source software is a growing trend and becoming all pervasive in customer’s infrastructure, it throws up interesting questions for the resellers and solution providers as to how to leverage this opportunity – given that open source is considered free or low cost. Can it increase the % margin, can it help get net new customers, does it need more investments, what kind of skill sets required, are the promoters of these software companies – RH, Novell, IBM doing enough to support the partner eco system. What kind of changes do we have to bring about in our business practices to leverage these trends.

While some questions would require to be dealt in the context of specific software and promoters, the common areas through which partners can leverage open source software are :

Acquire new customers

Acquiring new customers is the most difficult part of the business, more so in the proprietary software space. In the growing market of open source software and solutions there is a great demand for the suppliers. There is a tremendous pull from the market. Grab this opportunity to grow your business. It is relatively low cost way.

Gain customer mindshare :

If you don’t talk about open source software and solutions, some one else is going to. Apart from this, open source software is on customer’s mind. So you better be the first one to acknowledge it and garner customer’s mindshare which leads to garnering wallet share.

Additional opportunities

When customers try one set of open source software (eg. Linux) they are ready to adopt other software also. Partners should proactively tap into these opportunities and get grow its business.

Annuity business

Most commercial open source software are sold on annual subscription basis. It is important to keep in mind that these subscription are not the AMC of proprietary software. The subscription renewal business is a good opportunity in terms of $$ value as well for forging better relationship with the customer.

Uplift your profile

Every partner has an aspiration to move to next step of value chain from box pushers to solutions vendors. You can leverage open source software opportunity to bring about that transformation as the cost of acquiring technology is very low and number of customers are embarking upon the adoption cycle are still growing at a healthy rate.

Tap into services opportunities

Depending upon your plans, tap into the services business opportunity that open source software offers. This is equally true for existing hardware partners as well as software partners. There are many areas of services that each partner can tap into. For example – Hardware provider can get into infrastructure / implementation services of OS, the packaged software provider can get into customisation and implementation of software solutions. But these areas need to be based on individual partner’s plans.

One area to be mindful of :

Expectations about margins :

I have seen many partners take up to selling opensource software just because the margins on selling traditional software are falling. If you look at the $ value of margins on open source software, very often it turns out to be lower. So one must be clear about the expectations of why it is getting into this business. As mentioned above, the advantages are many, one needs right alignment of the business.


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