Saturday, June 30, 2007

Err-human-super human

"To err is human. To forgive is divine."

Satanic modification may read like - "To err is human. To blame it on someone else is super human. To get away with that is divine."

To get away after passing the blame on to someone else is divine because it does require divine intervention to help you if you try to scapegoat someone.

Please don't do that! :)


Powered by Qumana


"Take your job seriously. Do not take yourself so seriously."

These are the words of wisdom from someone who won an award for achievement in my company. Not sure if these are her own words or from some quotation. But, very meaningful.

When we take ourselves very seriously, everything else like job, friends, family etc.which needs to be taken seriously miss that opportunity. When we take ourselves seriously, we become very unnatural. Unnatural people accomplish very little. "Show them that you too sweat," said some one. That is be open to admit that you are human too. Taking oneself too seriously is a sure sign of perfectionism. Nobody ever has been successful at that.

By taking yourself seriously, you are sure to botch up your chances of doing your best. To do our best, we have to just let our effort flow naturally. Can you let that happen when you are not your real self in the first place?


Powered by Qumana

Assertive communication

Assertiveness, assertive communication is an area that really merits some serious consideration when dealing with people - professionally and personally.

Following link is a good place to start to get some ideas -

We have to note that assertiveness is not same as aggressiveness or defensiveness. It's just being straight forward, direct and honest in communications with others.

Can you always call spade a spade? Not always. Assertiveness works well with people of highest maturity and who understand and respect the value of assertiveness. As with many things in life, only those who have gone thru life's trials and tribulations alone respect assertiveness like they do many good things in life. So, we need to tailor our assertive communications to our audience.

It's best to be most assertive with your managers or leaders. Normally we try to be submissive or sound mild with our bosses because we think if they do not like what we are saying, there may be repercussions. If that is the case, it is too bad and the your boss is very immature for his position. However, it is a good idea to assume that the person who is your boss is in that role because someone thought he has requisite or more than requisite emotional maturity to appreciate assertive communication style. If all were fair, assertive communication is the best form of communication style because it efficient, effective, saves time, avoids confusion and misunderstanding. If your boss is a good boss, he will very much appreciate your assertive style. He will not take your assertiveness in the wrong way. Who take assertiveness from others the wrong way? People who are insecure in themselves. As people mature and reach leadership positions, it is safe to assume that they welcome assertiveness as they are fairly secure in themselves. So, if you want to be at your assertive best, try it with your bosses. If it does not go well, good luck and you probably want to move on from that job.

With your peers, it helps to tamper your assertiveness. Good chances are some of your peers are far more mature that the others. So, be as assertive as you can with more mature peers, be less assertive with people who may mistake your assertiveness for lack of friendliness. Remember, your peers contribute a lot to your success or lack there of. So, it's not a good idea to antagonize them if they do not welcome assertiveness. Tailor your communication to suit their requirement for communication.

Be least assertive with the people who report to you. Because if you use assertive communication with your subordinate, chances are you scare them and freeze them. As such, people find it difficult to deal with their bosses and on top of it if you make it difficult for them, you are not going to get much done. With your subordinates, be friendly and encourage them to be assertive with you. Let them speak their mind without fearing consequences. You have the power to overrule them if you do not like what they say or if their argument if not well constructed. Whatever you do, do not freeze them.

If everything were fair, assertive communication style is the best form. But like many things, playing field of communications is not even. So, be assertive but use it with caution.


Powered by Qumana

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Recently I met my mentor who helped grow my career. He is one of the best I worked for. So after meeting him, I started thinking about what makes a good leader. What appeals to you in a leader may be different than what appeals to me. Some qualities seem to be universal.

I think following are some of the qualities that can make a person a good leader. Conversely, lack of them can have serious side effects to the leader and his team and his company.

1) Approachability - If your people do not feel comfortable and safe to say anything and everything with you, you are not a good leader. Remember your success as a leader depends on what you can get done from your troops. If your troops hesitate to let you know what is on their mind, they will waste a lot of time worrying about those issues which they can not share with someone like. So, first stop shooting the messengers. Do everything you can do to maximize the information flow into you. Look and act approachable. Go extra lengths to make people feel comfortable. Initially you may find this approach does not work. That is simply because people are not used to approachable leaders yet. As you try to become such a leader, they are zapped at what is going on. Be patient. Let people measure you up and they will open up.

2) Reduce freeze response in people - In addition to flight or fight responses which are hardwired into us, people also experience freeze response when they encounter you the leader because of your position. So watch your words and body language and remove any trace of intimidation (real or perceived). Last thing you want is people to freeze. Once again, becoming approachable is the way to reduce freeze behavior. Give people time. Show them you are vulnerable too. When people see that you are like them who also faces similar issues such as being overwhelmed at times, they relate to you better. Do not interrupt when people speak. Let them take their time. Remember many people who report to you do not have as much communication skills as you do. So if they are not direct or take time for words, let them. Here again, if people know that you are vulnerable too, they do not try to act perfect which none of us are. In the process of acting perfect and pleasing you, they might more often freeze than provide you with anything good information.

3) People are more than warm bodies at work place - We spend more time at work than we spend anywhere else. We spend more time with our coworkers than we spend with our families. So, start to get to know people more and use that to develop relationships. What do you say to a friend when you meet him? Don't you have a small talk about his life, family, interests etc.? Why not do the same thing?

4) Mentoring - Mentoring is a lost art. Who does it anyway these days? Everyone is too busy in meeting their short time objectives. Some who are very interested to mentor are scared because of law suits etc. if they have let go of a mentoree. So why take any such risk of mentoring? What if the person you mentor back stabs later and comes to your position? All pointless arguments. The rule is if you are not replaceable, you are not promotable. So, you have to develop a replacement for you before you can make case for your promotion to your boss. If your promotion request plan does not address how do you transition your responsibilities, it should be shot down. So, when grooming your successor is so important for your own good, why not mentor one or more people?

5) Oversight - Let people know that they should not hesitate to pursue what they think is right and you will provide the necessary oversight to correct them if needed. Without such assurance, half the people do not get out of their comfort zones and rest half may attempt to do new things but watching their steps so closely that they manage to accomplish little or nothing. What stops you from letting people know you are there to help them avoid making serious mistakes? You are their leader because somebody has seen you go thru similar issues and get experience out of that. You may not recognize but you are providing the oversight all the time. What stops you from letting people know that so they take some risks and accomplish something worthwhile?

6) Replacements - replacing people for performance is a bad idea most of the times. Of course there are time, when you may have inherited some people who just do not have what it takes to be successful with you. But, most of the times, performance issues point to leadership problems. People most of the time accomplish more than what they are clearly told to. If you can not articulate what you want from people and then complain that their performance is not good, it is the leader who needs to be replaced and not the people. People may not become another leader like you. But, most of them can do what they are hired to do or more only if you do your leadership job well.

7) Delegate - If you do not delegate, you are not a leader. Period. My mentor was one of the most laid back people I have ever seen. Before I got to know him well, I used think what on the earth he did all day. He always seemed be thinking with his feet up on the table. Exactly. That's what leader are paid for. Think and not do. But, what do we see? Most of the leaders are doing and their team is thinking whatever it can. Who is in a better position to think? Leader and not the people.

8) Feedback - "Feedback is the breakfast of champions." Leaders many times refrain from giving constructive feedback because they are concerned that their feedback seems more subjective than objective. Real feedback comes from the gut and like many other gut feelings, good feedback is also subjective. Subjective feedback may be hard to give and hard to receive when the relationship does not exist but once you build a good rapport with the person, he tunes in to your wavelength and he can understand and appreciate the feedback even if it subjective. Do we come up with SMART goals to set objectives for our family members or use similar methodology for providing feedback? Certainly not. Good parents can provide feedback without even saying anything. How? By their example. People observe and learn. First you become what you want others to become. If they do not become what you expect them to become even after you exhibit those qualities, most probably what you are exhibiting are not worth emulating any way. Because people are not dumb in general and they always want to improve themselves by selectively absorbing good qualities in everyone including you.

9) Pay for the attitude and character and then performance - Performance is a team thing. If you reward purely for individual performance, you are going to fail soon. But, if you pay for the right attitude and character, you will build a great team and that will deliver dazzling performance in due course. Good teams are self correcting and good at making up for the weaknesses of team members. Skills you can learn. Experience you get with time. But, character and attitude, you have them or you do not.

10) Focus on the positives - It is easy to call a person and reprimand him when something goes wrong. Before doing that, imagine all the other things that could have gone wrong. Chances are one or two errors are out of many thousands that a person has avoided. Compliment him for those good things. Gently correct him on the short comings. It is hard to see this and focus only one screw up. It's like blaming security agencies for their incompetence of 9/11 when we do not even know how may similar or even more devastating incidents they have prevented. Accept and move on.

11) Prepare for change - People do not want to change. That's universal. So start preparing the ground for people to accept and respond to change well. Worst message leader can send to his team is to say that he does not like change too. It has appalled me when managers have cried their hearts out in front of their team regarding the changes that managers have asked to make. Even if you did not agree with change, you can not look change averse to your team? The change is being forced down on you because you did not have a better idea. Next time, better be the catalyst of the change you want to see than to grumble at the prospect of having to change after failing to effect the change in the first place.

12) Small things matter - Take people out for lunch or outings etc. even if your company does not have budgets for such 'luxuries'. It baffles me when companies prevent middle level managers from taking their teams for a lunch or an outing from time to time when their top executives waste money on corporate retreats or orgy sessions with career coaches. Penny wise, pound foolish. You as the leader should be prepared to shell out a few dollars even if you can not expense them.

Am I saying these purely from theoretical stand points? No. These are some of the good things I have seen in a few of the leaders I have come to respect based on my personal dealings with them. They are running some top business. So, it's not from some biz book jargon.


Powered by Qumana

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Furious and Curious

"You see the world the way you are. You are what you know. When what you know changes, you change and the world you see changes as well." "When you change the way you look at things, things you look at change."

So, it all boils down to what we know. Less we know, less we see the world. So, get to know more and see more world. How do we know more? Answer is curiosity. "Get curious. Not furious." - sums all this up nicely. When we get angry about something, it helps to downplay that emotion and replace it with curiosity which is healthier emotion. As we get curious, we learn many things that we would not have otherwise. When we learn more, we find that many times our initial reaction of getting furious was not justified at all.

So, get curious and not furious.


Powered by Qumana

Saturday, June 23, 2007

God's plans

"Man proposes and God disposes." - this proverb is said for a reason. We make some plans and things turn out quite differently. Many time, this proverb is used when things do not go well the way planned. I had not heard or come across a situation when I feared for the worst but the thing turned out be for far better than I could have dreamt for.

So, here is the deal regarding when the man had proposed the worst and God disposed the best.

I ordered some special car cleaning solvent from a retailer. Looking back, I can say it was an impulsive buy. So, when the reality sink in especially after finding a comparable solvent in a local auto store, bitter feeling started to follow. Here I had ordered something for 60 bucks from the net when I can get by with a 15 bucks stuff.

So, what is next? Cancel the order? That's what I did. Only to realize that this retailer had tonnes of fees for cancellation and restocking. After everything, I would have gotten at most $30 as refund on a 60 bucks order. Bad deal, eh?

So, I first contacted the retailer with a request to cancel the order. I felt little better that the order was not in stock anyway and I did not feel too guilty to cancel it as I did not want to wait for more than a week to receive the stuff. So, cancellation was easy. Since the stuff I had ordered was not in stock, I requested that they waive $10 cancellation fee. I was hoping to reduce as much liability as possible on the cancellation and return. I did not hear anything for a day or two and then heard from one of their sales reps that they would cancel the order, waive $10 fee.

I thought it was all a done deal. Order not shipped. So, I did not have to pay neither restocking fee nor return shipping. Since they are waiving off cancellation fee, I was good as gold. No loss.

Then I receive an e-mail that the order has been processed and on its way. I thought 'oh, sh*t!', these guys screwed up. Followed up with a e-mail. This time the rep told that the warehouse somehow failed to see the cancellation and shipped the order. But, she said she was going to work with the shipper and have the package routed back so that I do not have to send it back.

2-3 days go by and guess what - the order gets delivered. So, they did not manage to intercept. I say - 'man, this sucks'. One more e-mail and what I hear is good at the beginning and unbelievable at the end. First e-mail says they will process RMA (Return Material Authorization) and send it so that I can easily ship back the item. I say good lord, this is good. After a while another e-mail follows and in that they say - 'we apologize for all the inconvenience. We have decided to refund you and also let you keep the merchandise you have already received.' Wow! ' This end result is so different than what I had initially thought. I was bitter at the prospect of losing 30 bucks and a long wait to get the remaining 30 refund and here I am with a 60 bucks profit. OK, I still need to get the refund for 60 and I do not expect that to take anything other than it's sweet time. That's ok.

The lesson is that - as God creatively foils our well thought out plans, he also fixes our doomsday scenarios with his strange acts. So, leave it to God and be happy. Whatever is good, that happens. Whatever is bad, that is prevented. If you are not quick to learn this wisdom, you will simply waste yourself worrying till you get sick and die.

However, I also learnt a lesson that this time I consciously reinforced. That is to remain calm during the times of uncertainty. OK, this was a small thing and I did not care much about how things would turn out to be. Although I had my preference, I would not have really minded even if I had to spend a lot of time to deal with the retailer or be satisfied with only nominal refund.

I wonder how nice it would be to be able to have similar attitude during other situations when uncertainty is much higher and stakes are also much higher. Situation-wise nothing is much different. But, we worry and worry so much forgetting that we only propose that too without knowing what is good for us and what is not when the God has a plan with everything taken care of. That's why I think they say - 'belief in God is the beginning of wisdom.'


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bang for buck education

Regardless of what one has acquired in terms of formal education, one has to acquire basic foundation in 1)personal finance 2)common laws 3)organization for personal productivity.

It's too bad that these areas are not addressed in formal education unless you specialize in finance or law. Organization for personal productivity is not addressed anywhere unless you master it by experience over the years or take some course or read some books.

Getting a good exposure to financial word is very important. Basic understanding of investment possibilities, risk/reward concept, ability to differentiate genuine financial opportunities from phony deals - can make or mar once financial situation. This will also mean millions of dollars made or lost. No exaggeration here. Don't underestimate the power of compounding. Over 40-50 years, even a small amount compounded even at a nominal rate can generate huge cash piles.

What is the best way to learn personal finance? Rather than focusing on personal finance alone, it makes sense to get foundation in finance and financial markets. Finance will explain the theory and practice. Financial markets will expose one to possibilities. Most of the basic stuff is better learnt in a classroom setting. Once you learn basics that way, there is no limit to the knowledge and expertise you can acquire on your own. You need to get a masters degree in finance to do that. Of course, if you can you will be very smart. Even otherwise, a lot colleges, community colleges offer courses which last over a semester or two, which can teach all these materials in a nice manner. You can check these out in your local area colleges and universities. Many do not have any prerequisites and also do not cost much. Once you learn the basics, you can read some classics from Ben Graham, Lynch, Buffet to learn how experts have applied the financial theory to make money in real world. Even if you want to delegate managing your money to a professional, the knowledge you acquire will help you find a suitable, competent and trustworthy financial adviser.

Second is law. Do we realize in how many places we put our signature without realizing what we are agreeing to? Signature we put at the pharmacy counter when we pick up our medicine, signature we put at the garage authorizing the work on our car, agreements we accept when we download the software. List goes on. Doesn't it help to know in advance about such situations we come across on daily basis. That way even if we do not and can not have time to read thru the entire agreement before signing, we at least know what we are getting ourselves into. The best way to do is to read such agreements on the Internet or buy some basic law books which will have cookie cutter templates for common scenarios. That way we only need to worry about situations we are not familiar with and use our basic knowledge to decide which law related situations should prompt us to seek more formal legal assistance.

Third thing is organization for personal productivity. Not many have learnt things such as how to organize files for quick and easy retrieval of information, what are the best time management practices, how should we divide our day so as to maximize our productivity, what are the effective ways to handle e-mail without getting overwhelmed by 100's of e-mails that flood our mail boxes, speed reading, effective note taking, effective writing  etc. These skills are so important as you take more responsibility that if you are not equipped with skills to enhance your personal productivity, you are going to feel overwhelmed when information exponentially grows with increase in responsibility. Best source is to start with David Allen's 'Getting things done' book which is available in paper and as audio book. If you read this book alone, you get great deal of benefit and see your productivity hit new heights.

It is not important to get better using the axe alone. You should sharpen the blade from time to time.

Cheers to  increased smartness and productivity.

Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A school called Life

What is the difference between school and life?

School first gives lessons and then test. Life first gives test and then lessons. Lessons of life are not easily forgotten. So first take a test and regardless of your performance, you will at least realize all that you did not know. Then you can focus on learning those.


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Symptoms of Inner Peace

Symptoms of Inner Peace

Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of inner peace:

  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

  • A loss of interest in judging other people.

  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

  • A loss of interest in conflict.

  • A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom).

  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.

  • Frequent attacks of smiling.

  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.

  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

From -

The list is very comprehensive and accurate. Admire the person who nailed it so well. Otherwise, it is so easy to come up with a list of hundreds of items which are not really the symptoms.

Powered by Qumana

Lemonade to Bloody Mary

"If life hands you a lemon, make lemonade." OK. That is quite well known. How about - "if life hands you a tomato, make bloody Mary." Some creative person came up with this for sure. Found it on the net somewhere while looking for parodies for quotes. What can this person say for rotten eggs? Because tomatoes and rotten eggs are what used as projectile when you have to boo somebody.


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Sunday, June 10, 2007


When people were struggling to keep up with innovative late fee schemes of other video renting stores, Netflix came up with a refreshingly cool idea. Become a subscriber, we will send you the movie by mail, keep it as long as you want, send it back in reply paid envelope when done. What can be more simpler. Especially for organized people this even saves from impulsive decisions which normally result in regret from having watched  stupid movies. Take your time, research movies, read reviews and then keep you queue of movies to be watched well stocked and Netflix keeps sending you the movies as you return the old ones.

I have been a subscriber of Netflix over 5 years now and can say only good things about it. Very prompt delivery. On 2-3 occasions, when movies got lost in the mail, they simply accommodated as part of doing businesses. Of course, they will take a note if too many movies start missing which should not be a concern to most.

Best thing about Netflix is their distribution logistics. They assign you the nearest distribution center so that you get the movies the day after in most of the cases if you mail in them today. This was missing from some other similar services I had tried. They would have one distribution center somewhere and all orders are fulfilled only from there.

Recently, Netflix has started 'Movies On Demand' service as well. They have started making some movies available online which you can watch right in your browser. It's very cool.18 hours per month of viewing time is included in the membership. That's a cool deal if you are ever without a movie.

Their web site is one of the most user friendly web sites I have come across. Simple but the best. For example,when you try to watch movies on line, they can tell you right away which movies from your queue are available for online viewing. Next example is their recommendations feature. If you diligently rate the movies you watch, the recommendation they come up with are amazing. Their intelligent systems start to know your tastes better and recommend good movies. It was due to this feature, I (many others too) got to see some excellent movies. I had not even heard of some such great movies.

For Indian movie buffs, over last 2-3 years, they have added an excellent collection movies in Hindi and other languages. New movies are added in 1-2 moths after release in most of the cases.

All in all a great service for movie lovers.

There was only one instance when I felt they had a shortcoming. I had accidentally mailed back one of the DVDs from my personal collection and they really could not help. When I contacted their customer service, right up front they apologized and said they just could not help in tracing and returning my personal DVD. I can understand that but it should have been one of the easiest services to implement. Just hold onto such DVDs and send it back. It's not that thousands and thousands of personal movies are returned to Netflix accidentally. It may a few per week. Is it that hard? Other than that, perfect service.

Funny trivia - if you think Internet has the highest bits/second of any transport medium. Think again, they ran a calculation and guess what USPS turned out have carried more bits in given time than Internet. Imagine how  many movies (each at least a 1 gig) USPS delivers to millions of customers. With that, is it any wonder USPS is mightier than Internet. At least in that sense.


Powered by Qumana

If you want to dontate your old computer

If you want to donate your old computer, you may want to consider -

They seem to be quite good - at least they were very prompt with communication. You can claim tax deduction against the donation.

They will also reimburse you for shipping costs if you like. Heck, if you are donating, you probably want to cover anyway.

Do exercise usual due diligence to minimize your personal data remaining on the hard disk. As anyone with some computer knowledge know, mere deleting does not really delete the data. Same with uninstalling and re-installing the OS.

You can take following steps to minimize residual personal data before you get rid of your old computer.

1) Back up all that you want from your computer and transfer the data into some media (cd, external hd etc.)

2) Re-install the OS using original CD that came along with your PC. That will nuke your existing partition.

3) Download Eraser utility which really erases data by overwriting some other data over it. It's a cool free utility.

4) Run an eraser job to erase all unused data. That should ensure that only OS and related data remains.

5) At this time you can reasonably certain that most or all of your personal data is overwritten.

After this pack and ship the computer.

Your old computer may be used to teach computers to some third world kid, you get tax deduction and what more you want!


Powered by Qumana

Friday, June 08, 2007 - great place to buy Indian groceries, food stuff and other Indian items online.

Great quality. Most of the food items are quite fresh (i.e. expiration is quite far into the future as opposed old stuff you find in some Desi stores). May be because they are a big establishment, fresh stuff seems to be there.

Prices - competitive. Orders more than $65 get free shipping. Great deal.

Dry fruits  such as cashews, almonds, pista, raisins are excellent. MTR and other ready-to-eat stuff are good. Stuff is packed professionally which is evident when you receive the package. Orders are processed almost immediately.

If you hate to shop in stinking, crowded Desi groceries and are shopping from imperishable, this is a great site. If you have a great local Desi grocer, good for you.

Another thing is variety. Many local Desi shops do not stock all stuff. They only stock what moves and what does not move is normally past expiration.

Give it a try if you like.


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

NO - a simple two letter word. But, the power of this word. A lot.

No is probably is the most difficult word to utter. By design humans are hard wired to be not able to say 'No'. I do not know what was the rational for original design to make it so difficult to say no but there seem to be several possible explanations from sociological stand point.

After people realized how hard it is to say No, some people who had mastered the art of saying know came out some books. In those books, they conveyed the importance of being able to say No and how it helps to retain our sanity. Their point is that if we are unable to say No, we will over commit and under deliver.

I am not sure if I buy the idea that we all should get better at saying No. I do not at least agree with the practice saying No prematurely.

Look back at the situations when you said no quickly when someone asked for something and what happened at that time. Chances are you made that person feel miserable for a moment at least. In all likelihood, the person felt more miserable at the way you said no than the fact that you said no. Once a person gets that treatment from you, he will weigh pros and cons of asking you anything next time. Does that do you any good? You may have gotten rid of that person and possible nuisance of his request one time, but you should realize you also probably lost him for good as far any help or information in the future.

Humans are hardwired not be able to say No that easily because as illustrated above it is injurious to social relationships between humans. It's the social relationship when developed, will lead to all sorts of good things in humans. Social bonding and its power is what contributes to society's success. So, the nature felt that it was good idea to make it awfully difficult to say No.

I am not saying that we should not say No at all. That's is not the case. What I am saying is that if we can take little time to listen and understand what the other person is saying, we will be in a better position to address his or her request more appropriately than saying terminal No and this ruining the social fabric between two human beings.

In most of the situations, people who come up with requests, help etc. become more receptive our saying no if they realize that we have given adequate attention and time to listen to them. Moreover, there are a very few situations when absolute no is necessary. In most of the situations, we can at least suggest some alternatives than saying plain and very cold No. We should at least be able to do that.

Remember the person you think you are going to get rid of by saying No which may seem like a slap of his face is not going to forget how you made him/her feel for a long time. When it is his or her time, you can be sure to be paid back. Do you want that?

Even if you are someone who do not need any favors or help from anyone, you at least need all the possible feedback and information from everyone if you want to get your job done. Imagine you are a manager, if you take the attitude of repelling your people with No every time they come for any help or suggestion, do you think you will be successful? People shy away from asking you even when they must ask you and they royally screw up and create a mess that you will anyway have to clean up. Secondly, people who felt bad or hurt by your saying No will hold back information from unconsciously and thus lead you into making decisions without all the information which many time prove out to be worst decisions you make. After a few such decisions, you are on your way out.

No has the highest potential to make people feel miserable and worthless. So, I think it should be used with a lot of care. The schools of thought which advocate saying no to happiness and relief seem to take a very shortsighted view.

So, next time when you squirm uncomfortable at the prospect of having to say No or to agree to something when you do not want, take a timeout. If you are unable to take time, ask for more information and as more information emerges you along with the other person will be able to develop a middle ground which does not require No.

By all means, read books such as 'How to say No' but also realize that nature made it difficult to say no for a reason and like many other things going against the nature has never helped.


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Thursday, June 07, 2007


"Some people dance in the rain. Others just get wet."

I had not come across another proverb which conveyed the same meaning as "if you get a lemon, make lemonade."

Wonderful quote!


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

CCleaner - great utility

Want to remove junk that accumulates in your PC over time? Want to optimize your PC? Then download CCleaner from for free and see it for yourself.

This a registry cleaner, temp file cleaner, start-up manager etc. in one tool.

Run it from time to time and you will feel the difference how well your computer operates. Removing crud from your computer makes a big difference. Especially registry.

Big thanks to the writer of this software who has spent his resources in developing such a great utility and making it available free.


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Circle of life

I think it was Buddha who compared life to a giant wheel. What goes up, comes down. We will up many time and come down many times. Here going up mean higher life forms and going down means lower life forms. When we are metamorphically at the top of the wheel, we have better chances of evolving into much higher life forms and when we are at the bottom of the wheel, we have to toil and come all the way up before we can re-begin our evolution process.

Smart people will ask how do we minimize the time it takes between the positions at the top of the wheel and bottom of the wheel. They know that in order to make progress on (spiritual) evolution, they have to be at the higher life forms thus at the top of the wheel. They also know that there in no way of avoiding up and down on the giant life of wheel. So, they correctly conclude that effective way to minimize the time it takes to get to the top from the bottom is to get as close as possible to the center of the wheel.

Center of the wheel - that is a gem of wisdom. As you get closer to the center from the circumference, it takes less and less time to go around the wheel. So, as we get closer and closer to our real self (i.e. our spiritual center), it takes less and less time and thus less and less pain of the up and downs of giant wheel. So, get closer to the center and reduce the effects of giant wheel of life.

Finally after many years of spiritual practice we become the center of the wheel itself and that is the nirvana. Once you unite with the center and then the concept of up and down totally disappear. So, you are free from pain and pleasure. You are in the never ending joy zone.

Not sure where I read this fantastic explanation. But, it makes absolute sense. Get closer to our real self, get closer to others and we will finally reach our center and unite with the God who is at the center of every person.


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Monday, June 04, 2007

Executive Pay

Very often we find articles cribbing about how huge is executive pay package, how insane it is when an executive makes so much more than an employed, how pay of executives used to reasonable before etc.

Point is not argue whether the executive pay is sane or insane. Point is to look at different perspectives about the hue and cry about executive pay.

I think like everything else executive pay is also based on risk-reward theory. More the risk, more the reward. Do we know how easy or difficult is to find a job if an executive loses his job for whatever reasons? I guess it is quite difficult. First of all, it is very difficult to down shift. A CEO becoming director is very rare even if the person who has lost his job as  the CEO wants to become a director in a company. Finding another CEO job is also not easy. Many times when a CEO gets booted out chances are he or she is without a job for a fairly long time. I think this does merit some consideration for the huge pay packets and severance these people get. It is similar to why lawyers and doctors are paid so much. It's again the risk and how hard it is to bounce back. A lawyer or a doctor may get embroiled in a messy mal practice suit. Regardless of how the outcome turns out to be, future earning potential of such a professional is greatly reduced. Since reputation is hard to regain in such professions, they command high price for their services to protect themselves from such disasters.

Another reason executives at the very top should get rewarded is for THINKING. As such it gets quite lonely as you move up the ladder. People who can constructively contribute to original thinking at that level is quite small. Most of the people are looking up to a person at the top to set guidelines, motivate them and in short help them to help the organization. Amount of responsibility these people have and amount of THINKING they have to do is enormous. It's a different question if the person at that level is able to think to the extent expected from him or her. Nevertheless, that is the expectation and it does deserve the reward. This also explains why executives as they move up engage the services of high profile executive coaches. It's quite lonely out there.

Thinking is what people are paid for. Pay is in some really odd proportion to thinking. It is like 1 is to 1000. For one unit of thinking, you will get paid 1000 units. For manual labor it may be like 1 is to 1 or may be even lower. For all other professional it may be 1 is to 5 or 10 or 100 depending upon amount of independent thinking  expected.

Another reason to pay for thinking is the fact that ideas are what create value. Not that idea people can alone create value but for every idea person you can have 10 execution people to realize the idea. That itself should be make a point for the enormous leverage you get when you have excellent idea people. Who are excellent idea people? Original thinkers. Imagine having 10 idea people. By the leverage alone, you will need at least another 100 people to realize all their ideas. Add additional people or organize the execution.

The pay for performance follows this order - thinkers, organizers, doers. Thinkers get paid the highest. Organizers around 60% of thinkers. Doers may be 20% of thinkers.


Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Car tires - great variety & good deals

Looking for car tires? May be you want to checkout - Discount Tires

Has a great variety of tires - large number of brands, different price ranges, performance tires etc.

Great shopping experience - excellent web site with full online catalog. You can research tires from the comfort of your home, do price comparisons, read reviews, buy tires online, schedule an appointment at a store near you - all from the web site.

Nice credit facility - you may want to consider this as there is normally an attractive mail-in rebate if you use their credit card which is easy to apply and get approved either before hand or while at the store.

Quick turnaround - I was in and out within 45 minutes. Old tires removed, new tires mounted, balanced, paperwork complete. That is awesome.

Several locations - you should be able to find one within 25 miles from your home in the states they serve.

Excellent service - The sales guy was very helpful and professional. Helped to get the credit card number as mine was still being processed. He had forgotten to apply a discount. Realized only after returning. Sales guy Eric at Fullerton center was very courteous, fixed the error and mailed me the receipt in 2 days. Great service.

Comes with free tire rotation.

Place to check out for tires. There may be some shops who may be able to beat their deals on certain tires but variety is hard to find. The warranty you get on tires is good on any of their stores. That is a great advantage.

Highly recommended.

Ads by

Powered by Qumana

Success & Happiness

"Getting what you want is success. Wanting what you get is Happiness." - Tom Gardener

Very nicely modified from original quote from Buddha - I guess- which goes as "getting what you want is happiness. wanting what you get is happiness."

Not sure if it is the same Tom Gardener of Motely Fools claim. If it is, then no wonder he came up with this nice quote. Tom with his brother started off what was a simple investment advice for family and friends on AOL and what Motely Fool has grown to become is history. It's very rare that an investment advisory service started on such a small scale managed to stay alive for more than a decade and on top of it became a very successful investment web site.

The secret behind the success is not hard to fathom. Right from the very early days Motely Fool adopted 'open source' model. Most of the investment analysis, discussions etc. came from members. Access to most of the web site is either free or nominally prices. Gardeners made sure that an environment which fostered open and candid discussions. They created the environment and the visitors provided the content for each other.

Motely Fool now has several dedicated investment analysts and writers on its roll. Tom & Dave run a weekly radio show and a lot of content on their web site is widely syndicated. This is all achieved in less than 20 years. I think they started in 1995 when Internet was still very nascent and was available thru portals such as AOL and CompuServe.


Powered by Qumana