Sunday, October 31, 2010

Understanding Money

This is a beautiful article about "Money" - What Truly "Wealthy" people know about money.

There are some excellent thoughts in this article and one of the aspects in that article which I want to talk about is the formula

Wealth = Value Provided by Y * Number of Entities that Directly Value Y

(Where Y is the product, employee or subject generating wealth).


The key aspect for wealth in this formula is the value that is provided. At an organizational level or a individual level it comes down to the same thing. If you want to make money you need to have something that provides value. At an organizational level it is the value of the intellect the organization holds. If the organization does not innovate and keep ahead of the intellectual curve it will fall away and stop providing value. It is same for the individual - if the individual stops learning and stops innovating and keeps ahead of his peers in his ability to provide value then his wealth disappears.Once there is no value nobody needs the organization or the individual and that's when all wealth - financial, mental and physical disappears.

The Number of entities that directly derive value will automatically grow based on the amount of value you provide to them and the bandwidth you have to manage them. When you provide true value the entities that seek that value tend to find you faster than you wish for.

So the bottom line is to introspect and understand if each and every one of us at an individual capacity and an organizational capacity provide value. If we do, we will automatically become wealthy - financially, mentally and physically. If not overnight it will happen in time.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Yourschool - Create a website for a school in less than 5 minutes

Yourschool.in is a product that we have conceptualized and developed. The idea is to be able to provide a school a platform to create a fully functional, interactive website in less than 5 minutes. We have achieved this by incorporating the following into the product

  • There is no installation to be done. Just register your institution on the website.
  • You do not need to have any technical personnel to operate the website. All you need to know is basic computer knowledge and you will be able to post content about your institution.
  • You can use the site from anywhere 24 X 7 and update the content as it is completely on the internet.
  • No need of high bandwidth dedicated internet connection from your institute to operate the website. Broadband connections with a minimum of 256 kbps is enough to operate the website.
  • You can change the information published at any time by yourself thus giving you complete control over the website with no dependencies.
Some of the features provided by the website include
  • Change content on the website by yourself. All the information published on the website can be changed easily by the school administrator without having to interact with software developers.
  • Provide logins for teachers and students. Each teacher and student can get his/her own login to the website. Unlimited number of logins can be created.
  • Dynamic Photo Albums to showcase the activities and the facilities in the school. Unlimited albums and photos can be uploaded directly from your computer.
  • Messages can be sent between parents and teachers. Using the messaging within the yourschool.in
  • Post news about the school that is displayed on the homepage.
  • Publish Documents and newsletters on the website. Choose whether the document should be publically accessible or only for logged in users.
  • Change how the website looks by choosing a theme from our wide range of templates available. We continuously add new themes to this library from which you can choose.
  • Publish a school calendar on the website with the list of holidays and events of the school.
  • Visitors can send enquiries directly to the school from the website.
  • Class Timetable - Publish the class timetable so students and teachers can refer to the class timetable any time
  • Send SMS Greetings on birthdays to students, teachers and support staff of the school - An automated message goes out to the registered mobile of the user on their birthday.
  • Send Bulk SMS Messages to all the users.
We have started a twitter feed where we are finding out when admissions are starting for various schools in Hyderabad.  Follow us on Twitter. To learn more visit the website http://www.yourschool.in or visit our blog http://blog.yourschool.in. All kinds of feedback would be greatly appreciated so that we can truly improve this product so that schools can create a more informative and up to date presence online.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Social Web - Changed for the better

A few months ago I wrote this article Social Web does not work for me. Life has changed with regards to my social networking since then for the better. Some examples include
  1. Started to tweet a lot more and people have started replying to my tweets. So there is a nice conversation going on.
  2. Met some old friends on Facebook who i lost complete touch with over the years.
  3. Met business acquaintances on Linked In and have successfully executed business with them.
What has caused this change? Initially it was a challenge. My initial challenges were
  1. What do i post about ? 
  2. Why would  anyone be interested in what I wrote about ?
  3. Why is nobody responding to what I posted ?
  4. Is anybody reading what I wrote ?
  5. How do I get more friends ?
But i kept posting and just writing about what I thought people would be interested in reading and slowly I gathered friends, followers and acquaintances. Then the conversations started to happen the connections started to be made and the whole thing suddenly started to turn around.

What did I learn in my journey on the social web ?
  1. Be careful about what you post. Think about what would your friends and followers would be interested in.
  2. Try to make sense of what you are posting each time as not everyone may be part of the conversation you are having from the beginning.
  3. Do not accept every friend request that you get - it becomes unmanageable very quickly.
  4. You will find your friends and your friends will find you eventually - do not spend hours and hours seeking them out.
  5. Try to make what you post sound relevant - do not just post anything that comes your way.
  6. Have fun, do not look at it as if it is a job to do.
  7. Its nice to have the social media applications readily accessible like on the mobile phone - you never know where you might get a thought you want to post about. Once the moment passes its hard to recreate that thought.
  8. Do not get discouraged by the initial lack of response. Unless you have posted something the application will not have enough to let your friends find you.
  9. Do not post about anything you will not say in public.
  10. Always keep reviewing what you have posted from time to time and delete stuff from your time line that do not sound relevant or meaningful.

Problem solving skills

We have been on a recruitment drive for the last month or so and its been quite a frustrating experience. Our recruitment process for junior developers involves a written test, technical interview and a HR interview. We have found a lot of candidates have cleared the written test and are able to answer technical questions with regards to definitions and syntax of programming languages. They do this with ease and its a very text book like answer. If you wander into the domain of making them think by twisting a regular problem slightly they are taken completely by surprise.

I think this is due to the way we are taught in India. We are very good as long as one does not deviate from the bookish suggested approach of understanding and solving anything. We are taught how to "by-heart" everything even if one does not understand it. For example, my 4 year old daughter is forced to learn Hindi poems each 4 lines long even though she does not know what the words in the poem mean. All you have to do is give her the cue word and the rest of the poem flows out fluidly. And this has been my experience in the interviews as long as you stick to the tried and tested questions you will get very text book like answers.

From our experience we have realised that its easier to train a developer that can think on their own and can look up a million resources on how to write the program once they have identified the solution. If a developer cannot think of the solution on their own then you end up helping them to come up with the solution and also helping them to solve it which takes up a lot of ones time. Also it is very hard to teach someone how to think. It is relatively easier to teach them how to program or the syntax.