Monday, January 28, 2008

On friends and friendship!

This post originally appeared in Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

With due respects to Francis Bacon, this is an interesting topic to write about. We come across many, many people in our lives — and most of those go on to become friends. However, on closer examination, we sometimes find that some of those are actually not friends, but merely seasonal friends!

There are some friends who need to be trusted and respected; some to be maintained at close quarters since they may be of help to you at some stage of your life; some, with whom you worked or met during life, but never really got that close, and hence, the distance was maintained; and some others — who only know you so they can ask for your help in their times of need! Some might disagree with these criteria, but then, these are just my thoughts.

They also say that a friend in need is a friend indeed. Rather, in hard times you find out who your true friends are. Now this bit is really the true test of the value of any friend that you may have. Suddenly, when you start applying this criteria, you may realize that most of the people you know are mere acquaintances, at best.

Most of us have Facebook and Orkut accounts, and dozens of other social networking accounts. Well, we enjoy adding as many people to our network. However, how many of those actually care about you or even bother to send you messages? This aspect came up during a discussion with a friend!

Interestingly, this friend has deleted some of his so-called close friends across social networking sites — on grounds that he was actually ‘done in’ by them! Well, he has his own reasons for removing or dropping friends from his lists.

On closer examination of his theory (or practice), I find that I have lists and lists of friends — but hardly few bother to stay in touch! Maybe, they are all very busy, as I am, as you are.

Right now, few know that I am indisposed, and though some of my so-called friends are aware of my situation, very few of them have even bothered to call up and ask about my well being. Now, I should be sad at their conduct! However, I don’t blame them!! I’m neither part of their family nor simply not important enough, and I can live with both the reasons.

What it’s also showed to me — and following on from my friend’s reasoning — that maybe, these folks are not exactly my friends! As he pointed out to me pretty clearly — some of them only come to me for some advice, or to speak something about their office or boss, or help find a job, or help with some technology stuff, or some other problem, which I, as a friend, pay attention to and offer advice, if asked. He bluntly told me, “They only exploit your good nature.”

Maybe, my friend’s correct! Maybe, they are all well wishers or acquaintances at best, who I have mistaken as friends. Maybe, some are gaining something from me — as my friend pointed out so bluntly, the other day! Nevertheless, I’m not the one to decide nor do I intend to sit and judge the actions of my various friends.

I believe that there are still a few good men and women around, who like me, believe in being there for their friends. If some of my friends are indeed selfish and unkind — as some of their own friends think them to be — well, best of luck and try to be much more honest with yourself, and with your so-called friends. To each his/her own!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Speaking the supplier’s language an art!

This post originally appeared in Pradeep Chakraborty's Blog!

Some people never seem to learn from their mistakes. Especially those, who have been at a job for several years and suddenly come face-to-face with a lot of new things. For some of them, it becomes a challenge to move with the times. For some, learning the ropes of a particular technology becomes quite a challenge in itself. Such folks are used to their comfort zones, and don’t want to come out of it.

I’ve mostly worked with various marketing teams and sales forces across Asia Pacific — who, I’ve seen slog hours and hours to learn about the industries they serve. On querying, they say: “If I don’t speak my supplier’s language, how will I succeed!”

It is really commendable on their part to make those efforts in learning things, which they actually may not be required to do. They are either there to sell space — in print and for online, or to develop concepts — based on the editorial calendars that they get.

Having got used to working with such dedicated people, it pains me a lot when I see others — equally talented, but lethargic folks — not making the requisite efforts.

There are several colleagues I can think of — Alfred, Stone, Alan, Eric, Kevin, David, Morrison, Willy, Wallace, etc. — in sales; and Sylvia, Joanne, Canis, Jambi, etc., in marketing. Their methods of learning are amazing. They’d religiously scan the Web sites daily, and then look for information on topics they did not understand on the Web.

It was only when they did not understand certain things, they’d go to editorial. Of course, it helped certain folks — who had an editorial background — and a very strong one at that. They hardly needed anyone to guide them on the technologies, as they knew what to expect and to do. This helped the team they worked with. How I wish, this can be replicated across media houses!

It pays to have strong sales and marketing teams, especially having folks with strong technology leanings. Otherwise, you are a sitting duck! Your clients won’t even entertain you, nor would you be able to prepare meaningful marketing concepts. It pays to know something the subjects that you are trying to sell! Or, in their own words — ’speak the supplier’s language.’

Here’s where leadership also plays a key role. Good leaders encourage their teams to brush up on technologies — especially in the media industry.