What Customer Wants

A sales manager was deciding which of two salespeople to recruit. Passing over a ball point pen, he said, “Sell me one of these.”

The first salesperson took the pen, examined it and said, “This is a very good pen. You will note the transparent barrel which indicates the color of the ink as well as showing when it is about to run out. There is a stopper at the end to prevent the ink seeping out. The top fits well on the pen and covers the nib so that you can clip it in your inside pocket without fearing ink will stain your shirt. When you remove the top, it fits neatly on the other end so ensuring that you do not lose it. It also balances the pen well for writing.”

The sales manager was impressed and passed the pen to the second salesperson. He took it, snapped it in half and said, “You need a new pen.”

Source: Ken Langdon | TheWorkingManager

Baltimore vs Bangalore vs Beijing

Obama called the kids in the US to raise the bar to compete against those from Bangalore and Beijing, if they care about a better future. As usual with his talks, this got some applause from the domestic folks. But the truth is, it is not just difficult, it is impossible.

Because, foundation of education is built on social culture. And it is known that America is a low context culture while India, or China are high context culture (read more here). In the latter, a lot is unsaid, and need to be derived from the context of usage which makes its people very good at analytics. A low context culture calls for everything to be explicit and said. There are no hidden meanings. This reduces the need for analytical thinking to figure out day to day life. But that gives people room for out of the box or creative thinking, and question stated facts openly. Over a period, low context cultures become less analytical and more creative. (At the same time, high context culture excels in areas that thrive on hidden or layered communication, films for example)

Given these, asking an education system to move from creative to analytical planes, ie., to a new direction is a huge task, and if attempted will take at least 4-5 generations to reach anywhere near. And then the culture itself will prevent that from happening since they will openly question the need itself. So it is safe to assume that Baltimore and Bangalore will stay as is for sometime to come. If Obama is hoping otherwise, it’s habitual. That is all what he has been giving the Americans all along – hope!


I am not trying to tell you what you didnt/ must do. I am just pointing out a perspective that you *may* have missed. It may not be the proven fact but a possibility.

Walk and Talk

Amarendra, a friend, was talking about an email signature – obviously, from a new father – that he saw: “First twelve months you ask your child to walk and talk. The next twelve, it’s sit down and shut up”.

Ever since I noticed that my conversations with Joshua during his first year revolved around the words No, Slowly and Carefully, I wanted to blog about it. And just the other day I was asking my wife about the most common words that she uses when with him. Not too different, I must say.

Ashes to Ashes

I admit, I like to see Australians’ – especially Ricky Ponting’s – long drawn faces when they get beaten. Does a lot of good for their inflated egos. It may not be as exciting as the 2005 win, but England winning 2009 ashes *is* something to cheer about. And my quota of cricket for this year is done with. The rest of the mela can continue. Thank you very much 🙂

WordPress to Blogger

After some Googling, I figured that one cannot import from WordPress to Blogger. WP allows import from Blogger though. Looks like Blogger may loose some users due to this limitation. Dont they care at all?

I am keen to come back to Blogger because I like the easiness of post by email feature. WP also allows the user to do so, but it’s not so easy. And my WP is getting HTML insertion attacks lately.

Anyways, Blogger doesnt have categories and that is probably the reason why WP posts cannot be imported. From a user centered design pov, well, I see two solutions:

(1) Just ignore the category markups in the XML and file all under a default category. How difficult is that? At least I get to save my posts. I am happy.

(2) Happier solution: since Blogger allows tags to posts, file the category of a post while importing as a tag. After all, category and tag are the same thing.

I am trying an experiment by removing all the categories from my posts in WP and try import it into Blogger. Not sure if that would work. But not addressing interoperability sounds like a monopoly situation especially in a social networking model. Where are the Blogger researchers? Solve this problem for me, please.

Saving the world

At work, no one bets on world peace. Let me explain. You may want to do the right thing, though at times it is not possible. So as Kafka said, we all want to start with what is right, not what’s possible. The PM or Director will then say, “Let’s not aim for world peace…”, or “In a perfect world, yes. But…” So who else is trying to save the world? Apartment Therapy. Their tagline says it all — saving the world, one room at a time.

Washing Machine

If you are disillusioned with your life/ work, dont aim to be a manager. After each day (or worse, week) looking back on what you *did*, managers tend to draw a blank. Meeting a deadline is a task. It will come and go, to come back again. Another regular task is to resolve issues (read fights). Someone or the other has a problem with another. Or someone had a bad day. Manager’s job: Listen; Resolve; Repeat. Much like a detergent. And tumble around.

Involved vs Committed

If you havent heard of it already: On your breakfast table, having egg and milk make chicken and cow involved in your meal, but when you have ham as well, sure, the chicken is still involved, but the pig is committed. Managers were always the seagulls, now they are chicken as well. No need to guess who the pigs are, right?

Blogger’s Block

(Phrase): Delay in working on one’s blog for a long period and closing the login window every time. Usually occurs to someone who is neither a blogger, not a block. See also, Hello World.