Personal

May 29, 2013

My way of assessing professionals

The tough question is: What is your assessment of Mr. X? Do you think you can work with him?

I have always answered it from the "gut". However, there were always few fundamental principals behind them. With time, I have been able to identify them better and hence this small post.

I call it the 3-way test. Does the person in question have:

  • Integrity
  • Commitment
  • Capabilities

Everything else comes after these fundamental characteristics. A little bit more about them.

1) Integrity is paramount. It goes without saying that there is no value in working with anyone who does not have integrity. It can be defined as (as per wikipedia) "Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulnessor accuracy of one's actions."  So, in brief, someone who believes in "Do to others as you would have them do to you".

If someone does not have integrity, I cannot work with him/her. This is the first and foremost test.

2) Second comes commitment or responsibility. It is important to be responsible and committed towards a given task / job. If someone is not responsible, there is no assurance that the job will be done. It is great to work with someone on whom you can rely and be rest assured that the job will be done.

If someone does not have commitment, he can be mentored. It needs a lot of effort to adapt to this change as it is a behavioral change where the person believes "the job must be done" instead of "i have tried my best".

3) Capabilities are highly over-rated. If someone has self-belief, intelligence, commitment and is hard working, he / she can develop any capability. It is actually the easiest thing to acquire. And, in the current world, people need to cross-skill, up-skill and unlearn all the time. However, as we are starved for time and every minute costs us a lot, it is increasingly important to work with people who have the right skill set for the given job.

If someone lacks in skill, he can be trained. And therefore, I will surely try to make the relationship work.

Therefore, the simple formula is: 0-1-2. Integrity issue – the relationship deserves 0 chance; Responsibility issue – the relationship deserves 1 chance; Capability issue – the relationship deserves 2 chances. It is not that I am able to follow this rule religiously. But, the closely I have followed it, the more I have benefited. After all everyone (including me) deserves to have good company.

Whats your thoughts on this?

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May 26, 2013

How to get your first job?

You have to get your first job. At times, this is the most difficult task-at-hand. IMO, the reason for this is the lack of basic marketing principals applied to yourself – segmentation, positioning and differentiation!

So what can you do about it?

1) Avoid copy-paste / or template based resumes

You are unique. Prepare a resume that represents you. Highlight your personality traits and soft skills (max three) – keep it short but effective. Your soft skills are what make you stand out of the masses, because every one in your batch has the same degree and they have gone through the same lessons. When mentioning your technical skills, highlight the ones you have mastery in.

2) Achieve depth

You learn so many things during four years in your college. You may connect with selected subjects. You need to go deep into those subjects (even if your college curriculum has a touch-and-go policy for the same). You must base your academic projects on the same and explain the same in detail in your CV.

3) Do you have a pet project? What have you done on your own?

Lets say you are a software engineer. You have always dreamt of being a software engineer. You are in love with this subject – right? (If not, then software engineering is not the right career for you, even if you have studied so!) So, show the love! If you are truly in love, you must have played around with an idea or two. You must have created a pet project of your own (even if it failed). You must have picked a technology or two which has no mention in your course curriculum.

Talk about that pet project. Talk about those learnings. Employers want to hear about them. This is your key to the job.

4) Apply selectively, but firmly

When you apply for a job, do so selectively. Make your application specific to the company and put strong reasons and the capabilities that you bring on board in the email.

5) Gain experience

When you are in college, try to gain some experience by working as a freelancer for a company or a startup. If you can work evenings, do an internship in a software company in your neighborhood and gain practical experience. Do not look for monetary reward as the prime objective in such engagements. Do not leave any such opportunity.

The above five ideas will help you position yourself well infront of the segment of the companies you wish to go and work for. And hopefully you will have strong differentiators in comparison to thousands of applicants which will flood their mailboxes.

Happy job hunting.

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Career 101 – Career Tips for IT Professionals

I have mostly been on the "hiring" side of the table. Based on that experience, I am listing down few career tips – mostly around soft skills. Again, the tips are directed towards professionals in IT industry, but it should be applicable in every industry with some modifications. I am happy to hear (or read) your perspective and learn from the same.

1) Pace out your career!

There is no rush. You do not need to achieve the pinnacle of your career by the age of 30. It is not important to simply scale the peak. The journey is more important than the destination. It is equally important to stay put or at least climb down gracefully when your capabilities are not in line with the ever changing and growing demand of your professional career.

It is okay to push yourself and improve your capacity and capability in a sustainable way. But do not be reckless.

2) What is your ROI?

Think over it. Calculate it. Ensure that you calculate it before your boss does. Are you able to deliver what is expected at your level? You can only grow if your value proposition is high, distinct and visible. Set clear and high goals and milestones. Make sure that you only work with a company that has alignment with your personal goals. Align your goals with your organization's. Take help from your management team to do so. Without clear ROI, you can never have a satisfying and rewarding career.

3)  Stay well oiled

If your job is to carry heavy machinery on your shoulder, make sure that you exercise and keep your body in top shape. If your job is to write software code, ensure that you exercise your brain. You can do so by learning new technologies (with self initiative), having intellectual discussions around your subject to add to your knowledge. Observe how people make decisions, ask questions, understand the decision making processes – this will make you sharper and valuable.

4) Love your work

Do not take up a profession that you do not LOVE. If you do not love unearthing accounting frauds, do not get into Audit as a profession. If you do not like writing software, do not get into a programming job. It will be an ordeal – for you and your employer. If you are doing so – change it today. It is said "Do what you love, and you will never have to work ever".

5) Work for excellence

You must be proud of your work. Not for the sake of it, but because you are confident that your work is best in its class. It needs a lot of passion, hard work and self criticism to achieve this. To be excellent, you need to have laser sharp focus – to learn, to observe and to absorb from your peers and ones who have excelled.

6) Love your company

Yeah, I know – its being idealistic. But, honestly if you do not respect your organization, you should not belong there. It is important to have a feeling of ownership, a sense of mission and a state of belongingness to be able to achieve and deliver. Every organization (and people) will have their strength and weakness. We need to understand, adjust and improve them ,if we can. Criticizing them wont help anyone. If the weaknesses far out-weights the strengths, and you cannot love your organization, its time to move on. But, as long you are associated, there has to be 100% commitment.

7) Surround yourself with good people

In every organization you will find different kind of people. It depends upon you, whom you choose to spend your time. Spending time with the right people will help you acquire the desired skills (soft and hard) that you need to achieve your goals. Indulge in healthy debates and discussions.

Avoid smalltalk and gossips. Remain positive. Have your own perspective that you must derive from your own logical thinking instead of simply adopting conclusions from people around you. Share your opinion and thoughts – not only with your colleagues, but also with your seniors and take feedback. Keep your mind open. Every coin / thought has two (or more) aspects.

8) Create value for clients

You work for a company, but your salary bills are paid by the clients that the company has. Think about them. Benefit them with your skills. I call it top-down value creation. If the client benefits, your company benefits. If your company benefits, you have better ROI (see point #2). And if you have clear ROI, you move up the chain.

9) Let go the ego

The higher you need to rise, you need to shed the weight of your ego. Some learn it the difficult way, and some adopts humility as the way of life. The higher you move, the more you need to get things done from your team members AND the more you need to align up with clients. If you want to take them along, you need to respect their ego more than yours.

10) Ethics – the real #1

My definition of morals and ethics is: Do to others as you would have them do to you.(Luke 6:31).  I have seen many people justify their acts as "ethical" and "legal" because that benefit them. But the best way to judge that is – will you like your friend to do it to you? or will you like your employee do it to you? This is the real #1 tip!

Remember: The journey is more important than the destination.

I am sure you all know of 100 more tips and feel free to add to this list..

 

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April 23, 2012

Technology Trends for 2012

I was thinking of writing this post for quite some time. But, @twitter has made me lazy. However, I have finally taken out time to summarize some technology trends that I see emerging and strengthening in 2012.

  • Mainstream adoption of mobile web – It seems mobile web is finally here. The tablets has fueled the growth and has also increased the horizon of mobile web from essential info search to default information consumption device, which opens doors for a lot of interesting innovation in days to come. With tablets overtaking the production of laptops and desktops in number, this trend is set to grow.

    We, at Indus Net Technologies has adopted a mandate that we will design sites for tablets and then make sure that it renders well on laptop / desktop resolutions.

  • Mobile Transactions – With mobile payment infrastructure, regulations been put together and advent of NFC, mobile payment (or wallet) is a reality. It is however to be seen, who vests the power – the network providers, device manufacturers or the app developers. The collaborative competition will be interesting to watch.

    It shall also gradually replace visiting cards and catalogs / brochures. I have increasingly felt less anxious when I meet people without my visiting card in my pocket. I know, we can connect through mobile (will become easier with NFC / Bump) and social networks.

  • The OS / browser war is ON – With Android (from Google), WinMobile (from Microsoft) and iOS (from Apple), the old OS and Browser war is back. This time it is not separate – it is integrated, as web has emerged as the new platform.
  • Interactivity is changing – Interactivity has moved on from keyboard to mouse to touch (the last one literally turned around Apple's fortune). And now it is set to move into the domain of voice and gesture. Innovators are working hard to make them mainstream.
  • Convergence – Though, there has been talks about convergence for quite some time, but it will be visible in consumer use this year. TV, Internet and Mobile will finally blur with the advent of Smart TV, Android PC and Android based tablets / mobiles. All these can run same apps, which will bring in integrated functionality and give us access to content and functions irrespective of the medium.

    This will have path-breaking impact in the verticals of entertainment, education, home automation, productivity, etc.

  • Cloud (IaaS, SaaS and PaaS) becomes mainstream – IaaS, SaaS and PaaS is rapidly becoming mainstream. Though IaaS seems to remain under the reign of the big boys, SaaS will remain a favorite for technology start-ups! However, this year will see the growing popularity of PaaS, which provides a middle path to the enterprises who are averse to adapt SaaS.

    This paves the way for wide adoption and growth of XML based 4GL and 5GL languages. From application development perspective, does it mean the end of the tedious coding cycles, which has fueled the growth of offshore outsourcing industry so far? Only time will tell.

  • Social media gets mainstream – From the fancy muse of technology enthusiasts, social media is set to become mainstream. The rising concern among the political circles about the freedom of speech due to the social networks like Facebook and Twitter is a clear indication that they have proven their importance.

    The multimedia part of the social media will continue to evolve and improving intuitiveness of interaction will bring more users contribute / consume content. If my 18 month old daughter can hook on to Youtube for her favorite video, there is no reason why 70 year olds (most of those who found it difficult to adopt to technology, as they had to learn it) cannot.

  • Video will emerge as the most popular and common content / media for mass communication replacing text and images as we have on most websites. It stimulates all senses and gets the message across quickly and precisely. In a world with such low attention span, who has got the time to patiently read a 1000 word brief of how a new gadget works or how Company A is changing the world.
Whats the next big thing? It may not happen right now, but they are not very far either:
  • The idea is to reduce improve the signal vs. noise ratio. Something that will allow us to focus on the essential and stay away from the bloat in the age of information overload. There seems to be several attempts, but no product seems to be the "winner" yet. This may be a little far away, but "objectiveness" will become a more and more desired skill.
  • After network of sites (Google) and network of people (Facebook), it will be time for network of objects. Technology / platform to leverage the same and get the most of it, thrusting us in the machine age is not far away.

    Several companies are already working on prototypes and proof of concepts and it is not far before innovators will start putting business models around them. Technology is already available – it is about making it easy to use and show the best possible use of the network of objects, so that it becomes a "need" for masses from a "aspiration" or "sci-fiction"

  • On a sad footnote, the print publishing industry has been pushed to brink at a faster pace than they (or even I) expected. Try to reflect on yourself – do you really find it difficult to stay away from newspaper. If you have not tried, its worth giving a try.

Beyond doubt, the rate of change in technology is accelerating at a pace that is unprecedented. It will be exciting to see how this post / trend spotting matches with the real result in a years time.

It was summarized by a statement made by a friend of mine who is in corporate debt finance –

"I have to work harder, I have to keep reviewing the companies and their state every couple of months now. Gone are the days when companies used to take 10 years to be built and same amount of time to be killed due to mismanagement. 10 years has shrunk to 10 months, if not less"

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January 22, 2011

My interview @ Mixergy.com

Recently, I was interviewed by Andrew Warner of Mixergy.com. Here is the video for you. Please post all your reactions at Mixergy only (link given below), so that the conversation stays in one place and everyone can relate to it.

P.S.: The positive emails after this video interview has inspired me to do a detailed video story of INT. It is not the biggest story ;), but I am sure there will be few takeaways and I will be happy if it helps anyone.

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February 14, 2010

Winning Strategies – A career perspective from Arun Agrawal

Last week, my friend Arun Agrawal agreed to do a guest post on my blog. I found the subject interesting and aligned to the taste of my readers. So here it goes:

Winning Strategies

What is your formula for incredible success in any field that you decide to work in? Technical skills, right connections? If you ask me, I will suggest you try 'passion'. This is your secret USP for success. If you have a job and are looking for a raise, demonstrate your passion in executing your assignments and your team leader cannot help noticing your attitude and recommending you for that coveted promotion. If you have an entrepreneurial venture, develop some great products or deliver passionate customer service and you are sure to have lots of business all the time.

Remember – “One passionate person is better than 40 people casually interested!”

I will now do something that people don’t do on academic and business platforms. I will be sharing with you, 2 spiritual tips for winning almost any battle of life – be it studies, job hunting or business success.

1. Forgiveness:

Forgive everyone who has done anything bad to you. Yes, your girl friend who has ditched you, your friend who avoided you when you needed his help, your brothers and sisters who played loud music when you were studying – get rid of all the anger, frustration and resentment and you will feel a tremendous relief. Your mind and body will feel very light and you will be able to achieve your future targets so much more easily. This is an abstract thought – difficult to accept and act upon – but you will feel the difference in a day when you apply it.

2. Gratitude:

Be thankful to everyone around you. Be thankful to your institute which gave you the education that prepared you for a successful career ahead, to your parents who brought you in this wonderful world and your clients who ordered your services.

Think a little and you will be able to find ‘at least one’ reason to thank anyone you come across. And to follow my own dictum, I thank you – heartily – to have visited this blog and read my ‘tips’.

I will like to close with this parting message. We humans have great potential and are capable of achieving a lot. Believe in yourself and get on your job. Some French general once said “Difficult problems are no worries for us; it is the impossible that takes some time!”

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February 10, 2010

Interview on SEO Outsourcing by Kelvin Newman @ SiteVisibility

I was recently interviewed by Kelvin Newman @ SiteVisibility.

Here is the link:
http://www.sitevisibility.co.uk/blog/2010/02/09/a-crash-course-in-seo-outsourcing-offshoring-with-abhishek-rungta/

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September 7, 2009

A short interview

I got a very interesting interview (questionnaire) from TiE Delhi. I think this is smart and I enjoyed answering it. So here it goes:

  • I was born in Kolkata.
  • When not in office, I like to be at home.
  • Favourite holiday destinationDarjeeling.
  • The quality that impresses me most in people is honesty and professionalism.
  • Book I recommend others to read Getting Things Done & My Experiments With Truth
  • If I were not an entrepreneur or professional I am today, I would be a mountaineer
  • My pillar of strength is my family, my integrity and my persistence
  • Top 3 ingredients that go into making a successful venture are hard work, customer focus and innovation
  • My leadership style/mantra is atomic fission – do not let organization become too big. Break when needed and get new leaders grow and manage each new atomic unit.
  • Entrepreneurship is a state of mind

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August 31, 2009

Seeders – Angel fund and incubation for the tech startups!

I had precisely three envelope entrepreneurial ambitions! I call them envelope as each of them encompass several small ambitious projects. All three are aimed to change the world in my small way and make it a better place:

  1. To build a successful Internet technology company which can enable millions of businesses
  2. To bring mass scale change in education system in terms of quality, content, reach and cost
  3. To become an investor with a difference!

To make sure that my journey at least start off to fulfill all the three ambitions, I (along with my partner Pallav) started up a technology specific angel fund and incubation center called Seeders. This is our attempt to bring finances, infrastructure, resources, connections and mentoring (technical + business) to the aspiring and daring ones.

For the more curious ones 😉 –

We will be investing in technology companies which uses Internet as a strategic enabler. These can be software product companies, SaaS projects as well as niche knowledge services. Any wild idea that makes business sense is also welcome! And yes, the venture must be based out of Kolkata or must be willing to shift its base to Kolkata (at least for incubation phase).

More on this project will be soon posted on http://www.seeders.in

So keep tuned in.

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August 10, 2009

Kolkata Bloggers' Meet

Hello Friends,

A fortnight back, I was having some communication with Kamanashish Roy (@doubts) and he told me about his interest in organizing a Kolkata Bloggers' Meet. The idea struck a chord in my mind as I always wanted to organize an "Internet Strategy Summit" in Kolkata. So I thought let us start with the Bloggers' Meet and check out if there is sufficient demand for the mega show that I was dreaming of! And I chipped in with the required funds to organize the event.

The discussion started off on twitter and soon the idea picked up steam with a steady flow of people showing interest. The list of attendees kept on growing and soon it crossed 160+ registered blog addicts who showed interest to turn up! The interesting thing was use of twitter for spreading the word and coordinating the entire event. We hardly exchanged emails!

The event was organized at Cafe Coffee Day in Sector V, Salt Lake. 125+ blog enthusiasts turned up to share their passion and ideas about blogging. It had talks by Arun, Saptarshi, Aji, Vikas (via video conferencing) and yours truly.

There was energy in the air as the most vocal and active Kolkata + Web2.0 citizens gathered to learn, make friends and speak up! It started with a cake-cutting ceremony by the youngest blogger who turned up for the event – definitely a great way to encourage someone. Participants were given an opportunity to do a one minute elevator pitch. Very few could actually do a 'real elevator pitch' and hardly anybody maintained the one-minute deadline. But nobody complained. Everyone was enjoying the experience. This was followed by presentation by speakers and ended with product demo of FusionChart (by Sanket Nadhani) and HeadStart (by Mitesh Ashar). Throughout the event, networking was ON.

We all got to taste the de-facto Cafe Coffee Day cold / hot coffees and snacks. When we thought all is over, we were surprised by the dinner (surprised – since we were so engaged in the event, we felt that 'we are full'). This was topped up with t-shirts and an ELearning CD (from Indus Net Academy) as a parting gift.

The success of the event is evident from the fact that even after 10 pm, participants were in no mood to return home 😉

My small presentation was on blog monetization. I tried to cover both the audience – i.e. a blogger who blogs for a company and as an individual. Here are the slides for you!

The four people behind the success of this event (in my opinion) are the guys who represent a virtual organization called Webreps.in. In fact I was amused to know that there is no structure, format, legal existence of the organization. But then I realized – who cares! I have myself flouted the 'conventions' so many time. And this is cool. There guys are Anirudh Lohia, Kamanashish Roy, Shimul Aich and Saikat Sengupta.

Photographs of the event are at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/album.php?aid=128692&id=129612851702&ref=nf

Can someone share the video links to all the presentations?

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April 24, 2009

Talking @ Internet World on Three Dimensions of Internet Strategy

Friends,

I will be speaking @ Internet World in the Web2.0 theatre on 28th April 2009 from 16:40 hrs on "Three Dimensions of Internet Strategy"

The talk will revolve around an approach that let businesses put together a comprehensive Internet strategy order to optimize their revenues and profitability by connecting – communicating and collaborating more effectively with the stake holders of the business.

The slideshow is attached 🙂

So, do drop in. 

Regards

Abhishek

P.S.: Internet World will take place @ Earls Court in London between 28th-30th April 2009

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March 12, 2009

Technology is as good as its implementation

There are so many people working to get a new technology out to masses – a new invention to make things better. However, in my experience I firmly believe that:

Technology is as good as its implementation.

Many a time, little imagination is put into implementation of the technology which is existing. If the existing technology is properly explored, understood and implemented in creative and innovative ways, I think it will do a lot of good to the mankind than decades of new inventions. For billions, the usage is falling behind the rate of discovery.

Let us implement the available tools and technologies properly, because poor implementation will not make any difference to the mankind and the guy next door (for the sake of simplicity).

Thoughts are welcome…

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February 21, 2009

Why am I enjoying the downturn?

I was wondering last day –
Why am I enjoying the downturn?

Today I got the answer at Seth Godin's blog.

Because it brings around change. Status-quo is being challenged.
Things will not work the way they used to work. Innovation and hard work will score over luck and speculation.

It is a problem for those, who were lousy in their work.

It has not changed anything for the fit entrepreneurs and enterprises. In fact, it has just opened new opportunities for them. They will survive, for they remained grounded to reality. But, unfortunately, thousands of people took the sunny days for granted. And I am sure those people will wake up to this new world and realize – "Someone has moved their cheese".

I feel much safer today – for I know that my adaptability and hard work is setting me apart from the vulnerable one. 

So, if you are a creator and someone who have always "been in action" and loves to be "in action", I bet you are enjoying these days!

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February 9, 2009

The entrepreneurial pledge

I have recently taken an entrepreneurial pledge led by National Entrepreneurship Network (nenonline.org).

Please go ahead and take this pledge at http://nenonline.org/eweekPartner.do?method=fetch&businessFn=eweekPartnerRegister

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January 27, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire – a sadistic satire

The hype around Slumdog Millionaire hit me and I ended up in the theater to watch the Anglo-Indian movie which bagged the Golden Globe and is nominated in several categories (ten nominations to be precise) for the Oscars. To be honest, I went with high expectations. But it turned out to be a sadistic satire.

There was no takeaway from the movie:

– No entertainment
– No message
– No reality

If the movie is all about its technical excellence, I did not see anything exceptional (as an audience).

I found the story line to be a sadistic satire, which picked up the the 'worst' of the slum life and has portrayed on a large canvas to tell the world that India is not only a country of snake charmers and call centers, but also a country of slums!

It seems the movie follows Murphy's Law – "If it can go wrong, it will go wrong".

I was also shocked to see the nomination for Mr. A. R. Rahman. It is not that I don't like his music. Undoubtfully he is one of the greatest musician in India. But he has done better scores than the ones that have been nominated. The ones he has done for Slumdog Millionaire does not come close to his best. If he has to be honored, then why not honor his best work. Why was he ignored in past? Only because he was part of a Bollywood production house?

These nominations leave a lot of questions unanswered.

I wont be excited if they win the Oscars. It is unfortunate.

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