Showing posts from April, 2012

'The right kind of ambition' - its about the people *and* the environment

Some of my favorite posts come from Ben Horowitz's blog, and I love the phrase I first read there -  the 'right kind of ambition'.

It refers to employees who are ambitious, but whose ambition is directed towards great outcomes for their company - and out of that, great outcomes for themselves. That attitude in employees (especially senior employees and leads) is critical if companies are to make good decisions and stay successful.

While hiring employees with that attitude is key, what I've realized is just as important is maintaining an environment where these employees feel they will be rewarded for keeping that attitude.

I realized this when I was talking to a younger person (I've also realized I'm often the older person in a conversation now :-))  whom I've always believed had those qualities. But this time he was asking for advice on exactly the wrong things - about how he could get ahead and not what the right thing to do was and how to get it done. I …
I can't remember when I last read a series of articles twice.

This collection of articles from  about new manufacturing technologies and processes, the shifts its bringing in how companies are thinking about manufacturing is absolutely fascinating.

I spent an hour afterwards trying to learn more...

Think fast enough to stay silent!

"Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute"  - Josh Billings
I am an introvert and shy by nature so, when I was younger by I naturally listened a lot more than I spoke. I enjoyed presenting and debating, but only when it was my turn to be on stage. In personal, smaller conversations I generally just sat back and smiled and listened to other people speak.
Then I grew up and was in environments with people that talked a lot and talked fast. I also suddenly realized that I thought fast enough to keep up and started enjoying hear myself speak even as I was forming what I wanted to say - particularly when we were debating a topic or an idea. Before I knew it, I found myself talking over other people - not intending to be rude but generally because I saw where the other person was going and figured what I had to say just had to be said right then. #facepalm
Furthermore (and I have an MBTI personality test that confirmed this :-)) by nature I tend to look logical flaws in peo…

Advise, Mentor or Teach - just talk about something that you're excited about to someone just starting it

I realized that on some Mondays, I felt more energized and enthused than usual about work. Right away, I also realized why.

I help with Noogler orientation and on a few Mondays (when its my turn in the rotation), I talk to new Google employees about Google (the culture, what we do, why, how, what it means to be a Googler etc.) and answer some of their questions.

It leaves me incredibly energized for a couple of reasons
Verbalizing is powerful - "Words become Actions"In particular, new employees have an energy, passion and optimism that's hard to match.

Starting with a clean slate, new employees (indeed people that are starting anything new) have an innocence, energy and enthusiasm that often fades for anyone that's done something for a while. I find the sessions almost as useful to me as they are to new employees, and there's a lesson there.
No matter what you do, if its something you love, talk to others about it - advise them, mentor them or teach them - You…

The Rashomon meeting!

Imagine a bunch of really, really smart people in a room... but they also had me. :-/

They meet, talk to leadership, feel like they had a great meeting and then go away. They're pumped and excited about the great discussion they had.

Now fast forward to a week later - I find the Rashomon effect in full force.

Everyone agreed (more or less) on what was said at the meeting, but most had drawn slightly (in some cases significantly) different conclusions as to what to do next.

This is hardly unusual and extremely understandable - everyone came in with slightly different view points and ideas, and so focussed on (or extrapolated) different parts of the discussion. As a result they drew different conclusions.

Now this shouldn't have happend and wouldn't if we'd run the meeting like all Google meetings should be.

Moral of the story:

Take notes - always. Make sure you appoint a note-taker at the start of the meeting or before it.������������������������������������������������…

Why don't you love Chocos, America?

A few days ago I had the following conversation with a customs agent at San Francisco airport - as an Indian returning from India I get sent to the customs line even when I check "No food" on the customs form. :-)

Agent: "Any food?"
Me: "No"
Agent: "Sure? No jira or cadipatta?
Me: "No....     well actually I do have a box of cereal."
Agent: "Huh. What? Really?"
Me: "Yes. Its a brand you don't get here."
Agent: "Seriously. Even in the Indian stores? I've never heard that before."
Me: "Ummm....yeah."
I love reading local customization stories, particularly about how international chains tailor their offerings to local markets - the food industry has the best examples of these - check out this McDonald's story about the McPaneer, or how KFC is incredibly successful in China.

But I seem to have missed that the customization extended to breakfast cereal. Turns out the Kellogg's Chocos brand which …

Rest In Peace - Sharad Nagesh Salgar

My father, Sharad Nagesh Salgar, passed away on March 21, 2012 at the age of 71. A few days ago, we completed the final rituals as per tradition. 

The time since his passing till today has been a bit of haze, but as messages of condolence and support - via phone, emails and visits at home - have come in, I've been able to reminisce about and celebrate the incredible life that my father lived, even as we come to terms with ours being emptier without him.

What I remember most is the incredible spirit and passion for life my father had. Everything was exciting and something he wanted to tackle. No problem was ever insurmountable and no challenge ever daunting. 

Success, and indeed any reason for to be happy, was relished, shared and quickly celebrated with everyone around him. Failures and adversity was shrugged off with a smile and an unshakeable belief that things would be better tomorrow. The frequent professional and personal challenges I saw my dad overcome with always with a smile…