Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Spot fixing? What's wrong with these youngsters?

This post has much more to do with cricket! What a lovely game it is! Only, it is getting constantly tarnished by match fixing claims!

The most recent one being the Lords Test between England and Pakistan, where two of Pakistan's fast bowlers -- the hugely talented Mohammad Amir and the brilliant Mohammad Asif -- are said to be part of spot fixing! What did they do? They are said to have delivered no balls, during a specific time of the test match, and received some payment for it, as alleged by the News of the World in its telecast.

When I see Amir and Asif bowl in tandem in test matches, I wish India had such a pair of fast bowlers. But when I read about what they have 'supposedly done', I wince! Why? Just look at Amir, he is not even 20 years old! And Asif, barely 27!

Why is it so easy to sell you country for the love of money? Don't you love your country guys?

We in India are always very pleased to welcome and see cricketers from Pakistan in action. They have always been a talented bunch. And well, and India-Pakistan game has its own charm.

Post 26/11, all such bilateral tours have come to a standstill. Following a brutal attack by terrorists on a bus carrying Sri Lanka cricketers in Lahore in early 2009 has led to nearly every country boycotting Pakistan. And then, not a single player from Pakistan made it to IPL 3.

Given this status quo, it is a wonder whether we will see the likes of Amir and Asif bowl to greats such as Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid anytime soon in a test match in India.

What's wrong with these youngsters? Perhaps, it's the quick money, silly! Perhaps, it is the background they hail from, where youngsters want a better life for their families. Perhaps, at this age, their minds are really naive, and they are easy to fall into bad company.

Perhaps, youngsters of today need serious mentoring, a father figure to hold their hands and show the way.

Do not ever disrespect work!

If you do not like this headline, please do not read this piece! :) Cheers!

I had a friend with a very peculiar habit of disrespecting any work given to him. I always wondered why he had this nature! As I could understand, he always considered work = money, which is correct, but not completely. And, he probably did not respect the person who was bringing him all this work, simply because the money involved was perhaps, too small.

Neither was he a good communicator. He was either very slow or late to respond to messages to contact or call, which irked people no end! This led many times to him receiving angry messages, especially from his boss/mentor asking to get in touch at the earliest. And invariably, this led to verbal and personality clashes.

Further, in case the work was small, in terms of the money earned, the effort put in by this friend was either lacking or not quite visible. Also, there was a tendency to take such kind of work for granted.

Very soon, this friend lost projects he was working on, or could barely manage to sustain projects. Time and again, one aspect stood out -- the effort was seriously lacking. Finally, the mentor also gave up!

Work, which could have provided him with more opportunities to grow, turned on its head, and consumed him! No one wanted to give him any more work thereafter. It is frightening. However, he was lucky, and got into some other job. Hope he is doing fine now.

Work does not always equal money. You are getting the relevant experience to handle a variety of work. You are getting several networking opportunities, which will stand you in good stead in the years ahead -- provided, you respect your network. Next, you come into great association with a lot of people, and particularly, your good bosses and mentors -- if you have such people around you! Finally, knowledge, which is simply priceless!

No amount of money can buy these four things, ever! And, no amount of money can ever substitute either experience or knowledge!

I have a tendency of loosing my cool when I see such people who do not respect work. Maybe, I am wrong, and I will always be wrong. My behavior and action is not correct. I am not related to such people and should not loose my cool. I have lost friends as I used to loose my cool and say things, which I should not have said in the first place.

Today, some of those friends or people, who received my wrath sometime in the past, are doing quite well. Some among them have even cared to thank me for showing them the importance of work, however small it may have been.

For all such people, who think that work always equals money, here's an advice -- DO NOT EVER DISRESPECT WORK, and DO NOT DISRESPECT THE PERSON who is giving you that WORK.

No one knows what the future is going to be like. What you sow today, you will reap tomorrow. If you do not keep positive thoughts and maintain necessary action that is required for doing work, you will carry that negativity and lazy action on to your future jobs. You may even succeed for a while. But, not for long!

And that's when you will wish: hey, I should have listened to that voice, which wanted me to hear it! Chances are, that voice -- of another friend, or well wisher, or a mentor, or a teacher, or even your parent -- would have been lost by then!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New intelligent summarizing software provides solution to information overload

This was sent to me by Smarbee. You decide if it is worth a look!

OMAHA, USA: Smarbee Inc. has launched the GetRecap family of products, intelligent software that “reads” through documents and delivers meaningful, executive-level summaries – right on the desktop.

The family of products includes GetRecap for the education market, GetRecap PRO for the business market and GetRecap DOC that integrates with Microsoft Word. In addition to providing summaries, GetRecap PRO and GetRecap DOC identify keywords, phrases and themes, and allow the user to select words to exclude when summarizing.

All of the recaps delivered to the desktop provide links back to the original content. This saves the researcher time by knowing whether there is content of specific interest inherent in the document, and being able to get right to it to learn more.

“As the US economy becomes dominated by knowledge workers, more and more people are responsible for research and analysis,” said Kelly L. Kirchhoff, CEO of Smarbee. “The information explosion caused by digital media means people have to sift through mountains of information to do their jobs. The GetRecap family of products is the hot, new software available now that helps them do their jobs well, saving time – and money. There really is nothing else like this in North America.”

According to a March 2007 report titled “The Expanding Digital Universe,” the amount of digital information created, captured and replicated in 2005 was 151 billion gigabytes, which is about three million times the information in all the books ever written. That number has now increased six-fold to 988 billion gigabytes.

The GetRecap family of products digests most digital documents, including
Word DOCs, PDFs, html, website pages and more.

Free 30-day trials are available via Smarbee.com. GetRecap PRO sells for $199.00 for a lifetime license. GetRecap is available for $49.00.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Enterprise 2.0 – drop the Web 2.0 myths

This one's an Ovum comment! Up you, to agree or disagree, folks!

Dr. Steve Hodgkinson, Research Director, Ovum.

AUSTRALIA: When Enterprise 2.0 first hit the radar, many of us were excited by the new social collaboration tools and their power to usher in new collaborative behaviors.

Some of this promise has indeed been realized. The market for Enterprise 2.0 software is strong and growing, with social computing functionality such as profiles, wikis, blogs, microblogs, tagging, and presence now widely available, both in specialized Enterprise 2.0 products and embedded into office productivity and unified communications suites.

Organizations that are happy with their Enterprise 2.0 platforms find that they actually do lubricate interactions in ways that earlier, more rigid, groupware and content management solutions did not.

Sustaining participation in Enterprise 2.0 is harder than it first appeared
While some organizations naturally embrace the collaborative paradigm that lies behind Enterprise 2.0, others remain recalcitrant. Participation in Enterprise 2.0 platforms can be slow to take off and fragile once the initial burst of enthusiasm from the passionate is over. It is becoming apparent that many organizations find it more difficult than it first appeared to sustain an architecture of participation in the workplace in the way that it appears to happen naturally in the Web 2.0 world.

Challenge the myths
One theme that is emerging more clearly is the folly of assuming that innovations and behaviors that work in the consumer realm will simply self propagate in the enterprise. In the consumer realm anything goes, and whatever survives and prospers is deemed to be “good”.

The enterprise realm, however, is more constrained in its purpose and population. Enterprises exist to pursue their mission, and are rife with processes and behaviors that stifle the social dynamics that exist in the wilds of the Internet.

It is time to confront some common myths. Enterprise 2.0 is not just about appealing to “Generation Y” and digital natives – we must engage workers of all ages. Not all people will leap to Enterprise 2.0 platforms without training and support. Not everyone in the workplace loves hyper-transparency.

It is not OK that 1 percent write, 9 percent comment, and 90 percent passively consume; workplace collaboration needs more pervasive participation to be useful. Not everyone is naturally collaborative – collaborating, or not, is a learned behavior at work. Collaboration doesn’t necessarily “just happen” when a platform is provided.

Web 2.0 is a survival-of-the-fittest jungle, where people opt in to sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn for their own self-actualization and entertainment. Enterprise 2.0 is a designed, purposeful space, where particular behaviors and activities need to be created and nurtured.

Think like a gardener, not an engineer
Enterprise 2.0 requires a different approach to traditional IT systems implementation. Implementing a transaction processing system can be viewed as an engineering task because the users really have no choice. They must use the system to do their jobs. User participation in Enterprise 2.0 platforms, in contrast, is entirely voluntary. People choose to collaborate, or not.

Organizations that are experiencing disappointing outcomes with Enterprise 2.0 need to take a fresh look at how they are going about it.

Thinking like a gardener rather than an engineer is helpful. Choose the right business problem to solve, create the initial structure sensitively, seed the conversations, moderate them carefully to stimulate engagement and shape behavior, show commitment to “feeding and weeding” the collaboration, acknowledge good behaviors, and manage the lifecycle of topics and threads to keep things vibrant.

Successful implementation of an Enterprise 2.0 initiative is a social thing. It is all about changing people’s behavior. Enterprise 2.0 platforms are simply the gardener’s tools – if the garden dies it is seldom the tool’s fault.