Archive for Managment

Decision fatigue and why Obama always wear dark suits.

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“Making decisions uses the very same willpower that you use to say no to doughnuts, drugs or illicit sex,” Baumeister says. “It’s the same willpower that you use to be polite or to wait your turn or to drag yourself out of bed or to hold off going to the bathroom. Your ability to make the right investment or hiring decision may be reduced simply because you expended some of your willpower earlier when you held your tongue in response to someone’s offensive remark or when you exerted yourself to get to the meeting on time.”

Jone Tierney  

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits,” he said. “I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.” He mentioned research that shows the simple act of making decisions degrades one’s ability to make further decisions. It’s why shopping is so exhausting. “You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”

 Obama’s Way

Image courtesy:  Athena Currier

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Sridhar Vembu on building a software product company in India

product companies have another dimension that is usually not a big concern for services companies: marketing. In fact, marketing can be as important in the success of many products as the quality of R&D. The reason is that even the largest services companies do business with a fairly small number of global corporations (typically a few hundred) so that their sales teams can reach them easily. Product companies have to reach a much broader audience, so marketing is crucial. Yet, this is easy to overlook, particularly for people with an engineering background. I certainly have made my share of mistakes in this area, so I can speak from personal experience here.

One of the hardest things about marketing is that it is so hard to measure its effectiveness. Internet traffic is easy enough to measure, but how do you measure brand perception or market credibility, which can be very important in understanding whether a product is successful or not? This lack of measurability trips up a person coming from a typical services project management background, where precise measurability is the gospel.

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Dilemma of a Indian Software Engineer

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I am having 4 years of experience working in a software MNC, had onsite oppurtunity, earning a decent salary and had good learning in initial years of working but now i have started realising that i am not moving anwhere, there is nothing much left to learn as part of product i work upon, my work more or less resembles with the fresher that join the organisation, or its about helping/ mentoring them, I will be gradually moving to project management but there also i dont see much learning , i hardly see my manager working they are just responsible for some project schedule maintainence , people management and so.

Most of the projects don’t require much technical competence, they are mostly legacy products that continue to evolve by copying code from here/there , Job which most of the people do can be done by traning any plain graduate and that is why software companies had people from all sort of colleges doing the same type of work.

There is hardly any recognition of talent because in reality nobody needs it here . All you need is a good luck to be in right project that can fetch you a onsite for a year or two and promotions. I know i am sounding very frustrated but believe me this is the truth and story of various of my friends.

Extracted from Rashmi Bansal’s awesome blog.

My response to query (as in comment on her blog).

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Rashmi , I wish guy/gal who raised ‘Whats wrong with being mediocre and happy’ question  few weeks back is reading this post. I am sure he will find few answers in this interesting query.

I am in similar situation from quite a while. I considered many options as suggested by readers of  your blog . After years of thinking  I am still a software engineer.

The Dilemma of SW engineer is whether he should take a low-on-everything ( excitement, motivation, creativity,risk) but high on social quotient (respect + money + status + rewards + lifestyle) or adre himself to take  road less travelled.

Nobody outside industry understand that SWITCH companies are sweatshops, serving bottom of the pyramid in software industry using most abundant & cheap resource available in india : underskilled unemployed young graduates. I am not complaining. If there is some one to blamed its’s our education system and ministry of HRD. Business is about making most of what you have. In a nation with 26 % population living BPL giving a decent standard of life to lakh of janata is commendable job by all measures. And I think nobody had any issue untill last few years.

So what exactly happend in last few years that triggered this ‘ Mujhe change chahiye’ (I  want change) phenomenon ?

A lot. We had two technology boom and busts. Then reality boom. Stock market boom and  bust. With indian economy clocking at 7%  plus rate from past many years we have witnessed rise of many other sectors. There is follow of overseas money in indian market and standard of life in india has improved for many. We have seen rise of indian middle class.

Whats this change ushed for a software engineer ?

Decline in social quotient. Earlier they had class of their own much higher in hierarchy. Now slowly but surely loosing that status. SW industry is maturing and with that benefits enjoyed by sw engineers.For a software engineer  this dilemma is not just about quality of work (creativity, motivation, risk- reward equation)  but its a sort of identity crisis. He want his status back. At higher level  this crisis is a harbinger of  bigger change in society . In coming years a critical mass whose  roti-kapada-makan needs got satisfied will start  seeking for more.  They will demand even better stanadard of life. This will not only create new challenge for individuals but to society and government too. To sustain  high standard of life and make class out of middle class require much more the what SWITCH companies can provide. To meet  this need we need a revolution more powerful then agriculture revolution, white revolution and another YK2  opportunity  put together. 

Talking about MBA and startups.I think both measures  are faddish. I meet many MBAs facing same issues as discussed. Startups need different kind of people. We know most of us do not have right startup DNA and startup environment is very unforgiving . Starup expect a lot. Talent, risk appetite, belief in delayed gratification, I-do-not-give-a-damn-what-society think attitude and lot more. Having  some tags like  MBA/IIT/IIM /ISB can  only make life little easier but will not gurrentee anything.

Do I have any  suggestions?

No. I have none. General  advice serve no purpose. Everybody want different thing from life.You have to decide what you want. Make sure you do not do not compare your inside with somebody’s outside.

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Worth reading: Matthew Stewart on MBA education

On MBA experience

“”the impression I formed of the M.B.A. experience was that it involved taking two years out of your life and going deeply into debt, all for the sake of learning how to keep a straight face while using phrases like “out-of-the-box thinking,” “win-win situation,” and “core competencies.”

On Frederick Winslow Taylor

Taylorism, like much of management theory to come, is at its core a collection of quasi-religious dicta on the virtue of being good at what you do, ensconced in a protective bubble of parables (otherwise known as case studies).

On Managment theory

The world of management theorists remains exempt from accountability.

Between them, Taylor and Mayo carved up the world of management theory. According to my scientific sampling, you can save yourself from reading about 99 percent of all the management literature once you master this dialectic between rationalists and humanists. The Taylorite rationalist says: Be efficient! The Mayo-ist humanist replies: Hey, these are people we’re talking about! And the debate goes on. Ultimately, it’s just another installment in the ongoing saga of reason and passion, of the individual and the group.

In a sense, management theory is what happens to philosophers when you pay them too much.

Philosophers vs MBA

” two crucial differences between philosophers and their wayward cousins. The first and most important is that philosophers are much better at knowing what they don’t know. The second is money”

Source:  The Management Myth

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Best investment that you can make: Warren Buffet

The most important investment you can make is in yourself. Very few people get anything like their potential horsepower translated into the actual horsepower of their output in life. Potential exceeds realisation for many people…… Just imagine you’re 16 and I was going to give you a car of your choice today, any car you wanted to pick. But there was one catch. It was the only car you were able to have for the rest of your life. You had to make it last. So how would you treat it?

Well, of course you’d read the owners’ manual about five times before you turn the key in the ignition. You would keep it garaged; any little rust would get taken care of immediately; you’d change the oil twice as often as you were supposed to – because you would know it had to last a lifetime….

Then I tell the students you get one body and one mind. And it’s going to have to last you a lifetime so you’d better treat it the same way. You’d better start doing it right now because it doesn’t do any good if you start working on it when you are 50 or 60 and the little speck of rust has turned into something big… The best asset is your own self. You can become to an enormous degree the person you want to be.”

Source : During the question and answer session at the AGM of his Berkshire Hathaway

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Dee Hock on Management

I stuble upon  on  this    interveiw with Dee HOCK.. I am really impressed with brevity,honesty and simplity of his thoughts. An interesting read.

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Friendster story and lessons

Gary Rivlin at the New York Times  his written great piece on Friendster. This could be considered as  best overview yet of the terrific bungle of social networking company,which sparked the social networking revolution by allowing friends to hook up with others.

It is a great tale of how Jonathan Abrams started the site as a way to get a few dates, turned down a $30M buyout offer from Google (which would be worth around $1B in GOOG stock today), and opted to raise VC money from John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins and Bob Kagle of Benchmark — trying to create the next big thing.

Friendster had everything a “dream Start-up” seek.Great idea, first mover advantage, was backed by best VCs the  in market.All this  failed to make Friendster  a “success “. 

Friendster story tells us many thing  us we should do as well as few we should we should not do.It tell us about role  managment team play in success of a venture.It tell us  how important  its that we use and believe  in the product we create.Focus is crucial as we grow and CEO and managment arrogance can kill  grand product in no time.

Friendster make a great case study for all aspiring WEB 2.0 enterpreneurs as we all know failure store more lessons for  us then a success.

Here is a interesting discussion about Friendster  story on Techcrunch.

Source:New York Times.
 

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