28 February 2009

Manage your online presence!


Nothing is a secret these days! The word privacy has taken a new meaning all together. While we are still brooding over the dilemma of whether to give our mobile number for office purposes an entirely new problem has raised its hood. Its omnipresent, its dark and its scary!! Your Virtual life is CRITICAL to your real life!
My manager used to say “International exposure doesn’t necessarily mean going abroad and working there. Dealing with the clients based abroad and interacting with them over phone, teleconferencing, client visits also amounts to exposure “. While I was dealing with them on numerous occasions I had to take their number for communication. None of them were willing to give their mobile numbers. Their plain response was ‘Call me on my extension’.
I was surprised, as giving our mobile numbers was a Sine-qua-non in India! But they were willing to give their mobile numbers only when the issue was critical and they had to receive their calls while at home. A World of difference would you say!
The simple fact I want to emphasise wit this anecdote is how much we value our privacy!
Nowadays every one has their profiles created on Facebook or Orkut. (Though some are saying that Facebook is already outdated !) We all have websites, blogs, and some of us also live a ‘Second Life’ ;)
Though blogs were started with an intention to express one’s opinions and view without any apprehensions. People were hooked onto Orkut and other networking sites to find their old friends and keep in touch with distant ones. There was an air of casualness and it was more fun.
Google began commercialising it by scanning our mails and posting ‘relevant’ ads. Then other marketing companies started using networking sites for their Viral marketing campaigns. Every one started impinging on our personal spaces and everything is commercialised these days!
The most recent development is that Prospective employers and companies started monitoring their employees via Internet. They started tracking their blogs and accounts and what they say and what could their future plans be!!
Two glaring instances:
1. A teenager was fired just for her remark that her work is boring. We tend to say casual things when on net. But imagine being fired because you scrapped your friend saying I am getting bored t my office. People talk to freedom of speech! Does it cover Facebook?? (The report)
2. My friend was a student form a prestigious engineering college in Delhi. His classmate was hired at a plush salary by a manufacturing major. The company HR apparently found his profile on Orkut and saw that he had joined GRE forums and was planning to go abroad for his PG. He was sent a regret letter within a week of his placement !
Go figure!!
One thing we can do is to be exceptionally careful about what we write/ post online. Another simple solution is to use the greatest advantage of internet – Anonymity!
Use different login names and create mail accounts completely unrelated to you. Are we getting closer to living a Second life – It’s time to keep Mr Anderson away from Mr NEO

18 February 2009

Harsha Bhogle @ SPJIMR, Mumbai

This was one of the defining moments during the annual Biz fest: OJAS '09 @ SPJIMR.
The audi was packed and everyone waited anxiously to be listen to Harsha Bhogle. As he strode in it took few moments to register that its him, due to the drastic change in appearance - he looked leaner, and much younger :)

He took his seat on the stage and instantly struck a chord with the audience, who greeted him with a huge round of applause. What struck me were his manners and calm and composed answers and of course his razor sharp wit and humour.
Though some of the points he made were general, they were profound. The manner in which they were delivered, left us all with a happy feeling at the end of the talk.

Real world vs virtual world: People are getting too attached to their virtual existence. They have presence over the web and are party to thousands of communities. But in real life their only companion is their laptop! When we go to work, we have to deal with real people and they have real problems which can’t be avoided. He quoted a person “Good coaches coach players, Great coaches coach people”.

Don’t run behind salaries: Since most of the MBA students are early in their career, they should focus more on building their careers and look forward for roles which will help them in getting a great opportunity later.

There will be sunshine soon: Everyone is worrying about the downturn and are worried day in and day out. It’s more psychological than actual. Though there are few sweeping changes occurring in the world, it’s a necessary change as it acts as a speed breaker and restore normalcy in the world. The salaries may be a little on the lower side, but once things pick up, it will prove that we are actually lucky to have this skill set in such times. It will also harden us going through a downturn early in the career.

Don’t go looking for shortcuts: If there’s a shortcut and no one’s taking it, we should pause and think why.

Work your backside off! : Harsha said that every successful person he met had worked very hard at some point of time. Nothing comes on a platter these days. We have to find our passions and go after them. It’s heartening to see some people mention entrepreneurship these days and not looking for a run of the mill jobs. But one thing’s for sure : Hard work is irreplaceable.

Don’t look for coaches: We tend to look for solutions to our problems. We expect that someone will come and solve our problems. Sadly, that doesn’t happen in real life. We ought to fight our own battle. In Australian cricket there was a common practice that no one was allowed to go to their coach with a problem. They can go to him only when they also have a solution to the problem. We try to blame people / circumstances for our problems, but in the end WE have to look for the solutions.

Luck by chance?: In response to a query he said that though luck is a part of life. It’s more to do with our efforts and planning. Some people are working while the world is sleeping, so when the opportunity arrives, the person is ready! It reflects a famous quote “It takes 20 years of perseverance to become an overnight success”!

The talk ended with a crisp vote of thanks by Prof Suranjan Das and was met with a resounding applause. He said "when I was in IIM A in 1991, I was jealous of a professor who addressed Harsha on the stage. It took 20 years for me to get on the same platform! “

Since my coming to SPJIMR I have heard a lot of executive, CEO’s and a lot of great people. But his talk was heart warming and left me with a good feeling.

In 2009 I had my Valentine ’s Day dinner with HARSHA BHOGLE. A night to remember ;)

- K K Kishore