innovation

by

needs time.

If all your energies are dedicated to just completing a task, you will almost always decide to do it a way you know for sure will work. To innovate; to find better, simpler, faster, or more elegant solutions, one needs to have time to think about the problem at hand. Innovation needs you to experiment, have time to make mistakes and recover from them.

Naturally no one has infinite time to solve a problem. But if you are very hard pressed for time, processes will stagnate. Innovation will almost come to a stop. I believe that one should always be pursue innovation. That means that one should always have more time alloted for a task than strictly necessary.

The road to innovation is not by thinking out the best way. But by experimenting on several alternatives. Making the mistakes along the way. And learning the lessons forever.

Keep experimenting. Keep innovating.

Never work under a dumb boss

by

I am sure all those working normal jobs have at some point cribbed about how dumb there bosses are. No boss can be dumber than one who wastes the time of his team. There are several ways to waste time. I will not elaborate on those here. If you get a dumb boss, move on. Smart people are hard to find, but they are always good to work with. Hunt such smart people and work with them. Forget the rest. Respect your time. Someone who doesn’t respect his own time, and doesn’t care about yours; is wasting your life.

It is just your very immediate boss that matters. How do you know if you are working under someone dumb? Well, I am sure most of you can tell, but still: someone who wastes you time in needless tasks, isn’t confident in the skills of their team, takes all credit for things that go right, and blames the team for everything that goes wrong. The easiest way to find someone unfit as a boss is if the person doesn’t take responsibility for his team.

And I am back!

by

Yes, I have been gone long. Given how the web works, I doubt if ppl are still reading this site. So for the blog, this is a new start. I love expressing my ideas in words, and will always do so, talking to a friend, chatting on some IM or here.

Q: Where have I been?
A: A lot of places. Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brugge, Brussels, Cologne, Dinant, Paris.

Q: Was that a vacation?
A: No. I was working in Antwerp, for AXA. It was a nice place to work.

Q: Did I learn dutch or french?
A: I did not. Most of the people of Antwerp speak english, so I managed just fine. I did learn a few words and phrases though.

Q: Will I be going again?
A: No. I quit that job. Joined a startup Finacus, that makes financial products. Learn’t C# there; using it to develop a RAD framework. Its fun to be working with friends here.

There will be a lot more blogs, rants, cribs here soon…

The more problems you face, the more you learn

by

Yesterday was one of those days when a lot of things went wrong. An investigation into the exact cause of what caused the trobule taught me a lot of things I was not aware of earlier.

Often when things run the way they are supposed to, no one is bothered about how they run.
When you flick a light switch you expect the room to be lit. No even thinks at that moment the number of things in the background that need to be just right for it to turn on.
You need to have power-supply. There needs to be a particular minimum voltage. Your bulb needs to have a proper filment… if you really want to think more… the bulb needs to have an inert gas in it and all..Do we even have the time to think of all this every time we put on a switch?!

You know what the problem with problems is?! Some people learn from their problems, some people just don’t. You can solve your problems yourself. Or you can look for an easy way out. Lets take the same example: The bulb in your room does not turn on. You would probably check your power supply(I am assuming any human would do this basic check before accepting that the bulb does not work). Now you have a choice, you can find why there is no power… or you can take the easy way out; just call an electrician, and he will do it for you. If you call an electrician you learn nothing. Then there are those times when you are left without much of a choice, like my case. When the electrician is just not available. You could live without the bulb, which would be really messy. Or you could call it a bad day and get down to solving your own problems. In the process you learn what an electrician does.

Learning from other problems is like studying history. Its really good to know it… I don’t dispute that. But it is so damn boring. But solving your problems… your own way; is fun! It feels great when you pull yourself out of a mess. Now historians will tell you, you could have stayed out of the mess in the first place. But when you goof around, you put yourself in a bigger mess… you learn more. The bigger a mess you are able to pull yourself out of, the better you feel.

Be goofy! Learn more!!

Code phata!!

by

I don’t know where and when this phrase originated, or how it came to be part of the indian IT scene. But a very comman phrase that many must have heard of was “code phata”.. Phata is a hindi word, that literally means tear. Now we all know that compueter programs are not written on paper, and it cannot in the normal sense tear. So when does the Indian IT engineer use it?! It is used when the program crashes or throws exceptions. So when someone yells “code phata”, they have found a bug; that causes an application to crash

When I heard it for the first time, I thought it was something that just my programming team used… one of those phrases that a team develops when the work together for a long time, but later I learned that they all had picked it up from previous work places. Being a little inquisitive, I spoke about this to college friends who are now in IT too. And they all had heard it at their workplaces too.I have not been able to trace down the origins of this phrase, but if you are an Indian IT engineer, chances are very high that you have heard it.

Why am I writing about it?! Well, it is not popular enough yet to be included in a dictionary yet… lets say the dictionary of Indian IT slang! But who knows, one day it may just make it. I guess this is how language develops, borrowing from other languages where there is a confluence  of cultures; coined by groups who need new words and phrases to communicate cause the language does not offer simple alternatives. To catch a jargon in the making would be quite cool, isn’t it!

To all you programmers out there, hope you keeping writing great code, and that you don’t hear ppl yelling “code phata”, around you.

Living your dreams

by

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live” – Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter, in “The Sorcerer’s Stone“. How very true! I am sure you will agree. But dreams are not all that bad. Just remember that the real world is very different. Remember that you have to live here. Dreams may make you happy, but they can never get you satisfaction. True happiness is what you get out of a sense of achievement; a feeling that you have beaten the odds, beaten reality to make your dreams come true. It is when the line between dreams and reality vanishes; probably that true one may find true happiness.

Paulo Coelho is a remarkable author. If there is one thing that he tries to convince his readers, it is to follow their dreams. He says that we like to believe that we never had the opportunity to follow our dreams. When we do get the chance to pursue many don’t. We just like to believe that life could be much better, but rarely are ready to run the risks to fulfill that dream. Why do we love this dream world so much?

Probably because the dream world does not show the whole picture. We see things the way we want. I recently watched the “Matrix”. It is my favorite movie. Many people never wanted to come out of the dream world. When we dream we do not see the challenges and difficulties along the way. You have thought of all the difficulties? Well I am sure not. Why? Because real life does not go as you want. Something or someone will perform some action that will hinder your plan. You see yourself doing things rightly and succeeding. But this does not always happen. You may have overseen a small detail. Someone may foolishly do something that hampers your job. If you dream of going somewhere, you may see yourself parking your vehicle at the destination. You rarely see that you get caught up in traffic, the parking lot is full, and that someone moves in from the wrong direction and takes the last place available. I am not saying all, but something like this may occur. At this moment although nothing much has changed in your dream, you start feeling that life is not as good as you would like it to be.

But look carefully and you will realize that you did make it to your destination, and there is no reason to feel bad about. Just look back a little, you will find a hundred things that you thought of and managed to do. So rather than holding onto memories of defeats, hold on to memories of deeds that you performed. It will make you feel a lot better.

I am lazy

by

I am really lazy… you too should be!
I am really lazy… and who knows, one day civilization may progress due to me!

Did that sound stupid to you? Think again! Those who are not lazy, usually go about doing the same routine tasks daily. And most of them even feel proud about that. It is us lazy ones who bring about change, invent new ways to make our lives easier, and that is how civilization has progressed.

We need to be very clear about one thing here: we all usually have some work that has to be done. There are those “non-lazy” types, who will start right away and slog like a beast of burden till they have it done. But most work is repetitive; the most apparent way may not be the easiest. If you have to move a group of boulders, starting to push them right-away is not the best solution. The lazy types like me spend some time to find a couple of logs that you can roll under them.

Mechanical or routine jobs are meant for machines and should be entrusted to them. If you do the same thing everyday, there sure must be a way to make a machine do it. Of course in the real world this may not always be feasible… but when it comes to computers, you can automate all routine work. That is when it helps to know programming. No I am not evangelizing that you learn programming (it is always good to know it though), I am just saying that, any job needs some thought before you start of. That brings me to the, “I didn’t know” types. Oh, putting logs under that boulder would make it so easy to move it, I just didn’t know. You didn’t think. You didn’t even bother to find out the various possibilities. There are so many innovations taking place every day, you need to be looking out if you want to save yourself of some trouble. There are sufficient lazy people around the world trying to make life easier. Someone may have found a better way to do your tasks.

Ignorance is a crime. Laziness is not. Not to have the want to learn something, not to try out new methods to doing things is to get stuck back in time. But most of the “non-lazy” fellow beings seem to resist any change introduced to them. They love the routine. I simply hate it. I need things to keep changing. That is what makes life lively, worth living. A very common belief is that lazy people don’t change a thing, but it they who make most of the changes that matter.

Now what do you think!! Would you still look down upon laziness? I hope not!!

So, go ahead; be a less ignorant and more lazy and make your life worth living.

Avoiding technical jargons

by

I work in the IT industry. So for most of the workday I am surrounded by people who work with computers and often do a lot of programming. And you can’t help but to notice the use of words, metaphors and even jokes; that a non-programmer would not be able to understand. There are cases, like when you are discussing a technical issue, where the use of technical words becomes unavoidable. I believe every profession has a jargon that only fellow professionals will understand. Then why am I so vehement to avoid technical jargons?!

But this becomes a habit and people use jargons even with non-programmers who would not know them. Using jargons hampers communication. The best method of communication is to stick to a simple language. It needs conscious effort to keep your language understandable to all. Isn’t it good that everyone should be able to understand you?! The more people understand you, the more you exchange ideas. You will find several problems that you can solve that way. Language generates a gap between those who face problems and those who can solve them.

When I formally learnt communication at college we were taught that you have to always keep your audience in mind. Audience is every person who listens to what you say. Not just when you are giving an important presentation. When unsure of the background of your audience simple short words are what you need. Yes that communication barrier that you heard about can exist even with people you know, and programmers more than others seem to be falling prey to it.

 

Avoid Jargons! Communicate better! Live smarter!!