Friday, April 20, 2012

E- Commerce to E-Work

Here I am today, doing an entire marketing campaign for an Organisation, just sitting at home and spending a few hours on the internet. By internet I mean mostly social media and bulk mailing websites. More importantly just today I realised that my average strike rate is about 23.4%, which is astoundingly high for a marketer. Only 4% of my target audience unsubscribe. Who needs them anyways .... Lol. 

But the point here I am trying to make is, we all knew that ways of doing business have evolved but I guarantee that most of us would have never experienced the real power of this change.

Just a few months back, I would not rely on an online trader or an e-shop to buy items. Not because he would run away with my money but because what if the product is not the one with the right specification as mentioned online. Most importantly am I aware of what specification I want unless I see it physically. And if all these possibilities go wrong, will the seller ever return my money back and take the item back. 

Back home, All that I would do using the power of e-commerce was check my account balance on net banking, book railway tickets, a couple of movie tickets and yes  of course booked our air tickets to NZ. Scepticism surrounded me, whenever I used internet to do financial transactions.

In our air tickets when we booked with an online ticket booking portal, we happened to get a better deal than the agent but we had to re-schedule the flight dates, wherein we incurred a much larger loss.

Most of us would surf online shopping websites but never order a single item. Even the refund policy of such websites is obnoxious. 90 days refund policy (working).... duhhh... that is approximately 120 real days.... Are you telling me that you gonna have fun with MY Money for so many days and also not pay me interest .. On top of that the website may even deduct administration charge. I would like to tell these websites, give me my money faster and you will incur less administration cost and not pay your stupid, dumb*** employees to hold My Money.

But now in this new country the rules of the game have changed. Customer is really the king. I do everything like getting a our car registered, paying telephone bills, rent etc. all online just sitting at home. I also work online out of the comforts of my home. I don't have to get up early morning, take a bath and do all sorts of chores to reach office. I just get up and switch on my laptop. 

I have even tasted the good sides of shopping online. I happened to order a thermal blanket for our king size mattress from Briscoes. The product arrived sooner than I thought but too my late realization, the blanket was smaller than I thought. On measuring the mattress I realised it was a SUPERRR KING size mattress... WTF... I thought its my fault, I should have checked. Few days later I was with a few friends to one of the Briscoes Stores. On a plain casual chat with one of the store person, I realised that they were happy to exchange it for me and would even match the price. Now that is what I call customer service. Finally I got a Super King Size blanket for price which was $2 less than the earlier one.. Wow thats a double deal !! Customer Delight to its real sense (experienced).

Today I realise the true power of e-commerce, not only do I spend online but also earn by bread and butter from working with e-commerce.

Hats off to Technology !!

Revisiting the Remains - Dimholt Road

I always knew that Lord of the Rings was shot in the picturesque back drops of New Zealand. I very much liked the concept behind the film series. Always wondered whether these places are for real or just a conceptualization of the Director's brain. But how difficult it is to imagine an entire set of back-drops without an inspiration. Now I know that Peter Jackson had never conceptualised the back-drops or the scenes, on the contrary he had quite uniquely conceptualised the entire story according to what nature had to offer.I often feel how beautiful is this place on earth and how unique that it can give birth to such wonderful and mystical tales.

Few days back, we had a chance to visit the Pinnacles, near Wairarapa. This place is about 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Lower Hutt (a suburban area near Wellington, NZ). 

The Pinnacles are 100% naturally formed structures. Upon first look in the film, I had readily assumed that this was an artificial set created by spending millions of dollars, but sadly I was wrong back then. They are absolutely real and natural. The Pinnacles were used to film a small sequence in the film which is when Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli take the dangerous Dimholt Road which was a short cut to Mordor. But the trouble was it was inhabited by the Army of Dead. This was from the second film titled " The Return of the King". 

Walking through these Pinnacles and across the valley, would surely give you those chills as if you are in the film and are following the tracks of the fellowship to reach Mordor. The huge and deadly looking pinnacles give you a fierce warning sign to turn back or face the wrath of the Army of the Dead. The minute I reached the place, I started imagining the entire scene from the movie.

It was an amazing experience to walk the tracks of The Pinnacles.

It reviewed within me the spirit of the epic of the Lord of the Rings, urging me to follow the trail and reach Mordor. And yes that is what I am going to do next, reach the Gates of Mordor (i.e. Tukino Skifield, Mt.Ruapehu ) 

Unlike Frodo & Sam who were continuing their journey without any updates, I shall be constantly updating my blog for my progress .  Let  'SAURON' know that I am coming !!  Lol

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Yet Another Come Back

Breathing a brand new air, in a country which I call "The End of the World" - New Zealand. Last year along with my wife, I arrived in this piece of land with plenty of anxiety and fear in mind. This was my big ticket to start up from scratch and make it large (I know , I sound Filmy now !! but can't help it). At that time my fear was greater than my excitement. 

Many people say, when in fear of the unknown, do not worry ... everything will fall into place. I just hope that, the same happens in my case as well. 

I have been in relation with my wife from past 8 years and when we started living together, both of us had our own set of inhibitions. First biggest ice-breaker was that we thought we knew everything about each other, each other's likes and dislikes but sadly we were mistaken. In these 8 months, we have learnt a lot about living together. Major realisations about each other came our way. It seemed like we had missed the target by miles apart.

Some of the things;
1. I realised that she loves watching wild life documentaries... which I thought , I was the only nerd in the entire family who would engross himself in this boring schedule. She also likes watching event documentaries.

2. She realised that I like watching Tamil Movies, despite of the absence of sub-titles...Though I do not follow the movie, dailogue by dialogue,  but yes I roughly understand the story and the characters. Also the central idea of the film.

3. I realised that she is an amazingly good and a fast cook. She can cook Rice, Dal, Veges, Rasam and some other side dish... flat within 45 minutes.. ready to eat. She is the Cheetah....

4. She realised that I am the Leopard. Silent Stalker, the underdog... I take a hell lot of time to cook a single dal... but the dish is always a Killer...

 (This is the impact of continuously watching wild life documentary)

5. I always knew she could multi -task... but never knew that she could do it so well, in fact I never knew any body doing multi-tasking so well.

6. She always knew I was a good thinker, but realised that I am an exhaustively slow thinker.... By the time I reply, she would already lost her cool....Lol...

These are just a few things, there are plenty of things you realize after you share your life with each other.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Brand New Life

A Ray of New Hope : This is a pic of the rainbow which is often seen outside our window.
Hey I am back to my mind again. Let me first apologize for not writing in for so many days. It was like, i had so many thoughts in mind, couldn't focus on one topic. 
Yesterday, it felt like we have actually made  a new beginning. After a very long time we spoke to each other with open hearts. It took me time to digest this new life. I think i was just waiting for this. We went to the park for a long walk, which turned out to be a long talk and we could actually discuss and understand each other. I told her what i have been thinking for so long and she opened what was on her mind. To top it all up the weather was nice and pleasant, the location was amazing without any distractions and we had nothing else to do. We could hear more than each other. 
Many a times it has happened that we used speak to each other, somehow with some distractions / distortions we couldn't understand each other. More than that we were never satisfied with the outcome of our discussions. Yesterday I felt we were quite satisfied with what we spoke. Patience yields Virtue. This small proverb proved 100% correct when we lived the moment yesterday. Patiently listening to each other. Topics were mostly old and redundant but the discussion seemed fresh. 
New life, new beginning, new way of understanding each other. Its actually very enlightening and en living. Wish it always remains so calm and patient for us. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

OMG!! …. What have I got myself into?

For many people, I am a successful regional in-charge of a leading company. People think “Wow, this guy is always on the move, one day he is in Indore, the other in Goa and next time somewhere in a remote village of Maharashtra”. Doesn’t that sound exciting? For many of those, office bound friends of mine, this may seem a dream profile, wherein you travel so frequently, see so many new places and what not…. It was exciting for me, when I joined too.
I thought wow (again), now I will have so much to write about. In my first trip, I did so very religiously and also published it. Yes I had frequent updates on my google status and people use to wonder, what a guy, he has a job which is so dynamic. They were right, there was some dynamism in my life but slowly it become monotonous. I never wrote anything after my first trip. I didn’t even bother to update my google status. Frankly speaking, I never felt the shortage of time; in fact I had ample time to write but never had the motivation to pursue it forward. It was like nightmare for me. Every tour I began, I would feel like crying and saying why couldn’t it get cancelled? Why do I have to do this? Why can’t we do it over the phone?.....there were no answers. Every time I had drag my feet outside my home comforts and move towards the discomforts of a train or bus. And my bad luck or my frustration, whatever time I moved out, I always felt “WTF..such an odd time to have a train schedule or bus schedule” and the second thought “Why do I have to catch an early morning flight from Santacruz or an early morning train or a late night train from Mumbai Central?” (for the readers – I live in Nerul, Navi Mumbai) Why the hell are these Departure points so far from my house?
But once I board the flight or train or bus, things would come back to normalcy and then I could concentrate on my work. Still I never had the mood to pursue anything extra towards self-development. I was never this boring ever. I have suddenly become away from myself. I feel, I am a drone and just doing what is said to be done. I am not able to use my analytical brain which was once appreciated by many. Bottom line is I am saturated; I just travel, do and leave (no thinking involved). And I notice, people around me are all the same.
Deep down inside my conscious screams to me, “VIKAS, you ASS, you are not made for a drones work, you are capable of doing more, and your potential is under-estimated by none other than YOU, YOURSELF. YOU have to wake up”
Few years back and similar voice came to me and I met a philosophic consultant thru one my long time acquaintances. He told me if you feel that you are doing a drone’s job, then you, yourself are responsible for it. You have to innovate the way you do things, the way you handle situations and the way you deal with people. If you think you are so highly gifted with intellect, then prove it in your existing job. I took that advice and implemented it. I was extremely successful in my job then, was promoted and also appreciated. There have been many things which played catalyst to my success.
A. Seniors who always had time to listen to me, if I had something to say.
B. An environment, where you were given a chance to justify and time to prove your own beta (R&D was always promoted at each level)
C. An accurate performance measurement system, which was made to motivate the team to achieve and not to cut costs
These things I had never noticed till the time I got frustrated of my job. It was later after I met the philosophic consultant, that I scrutinized everything I do, in order to be innovative.
I always knew, someday this strategy would help get over such a frustration again. That was a good experience, which cannot be mentioned in a resume.
Years later, I am again in a similar situation (soup) but today the bowl of responsibilities is bigger. I thought since the bowl is big, I have more opportunities to innovate. But to my grief, I have still not found those catalytic factors, which would again ignite the spark in me.
Waiting for the catalyst……

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Orange City – Revelation.

Yes! I am back to my original self. I have again started talking to myself.
This is my third trip to Nagpur (the orange city). This time my mother has asked me to get Nagpur’s famous Orange Barfi (sweetmeat)and like always I was too busy with my work and after work I wanted sometime to relax back in my hotel room. The hotel I usually stay is Dwarka at Sitabuldi, Nagpur. Looks absolutely shady! But what to do, I am here only for a day. (Thankfully not night). But I remember, Last month  I had to spend a night at Nagpur, coz. I didn’t have train reservation for Raipur nor could find any buses to Raipur, thanks to the threat from Naxal’s, many buses from Nagpur to Raipur have been terminated. The night experience was not so bad, had a pleasant sleep but next day I had to travel from Nagpur to Jabalpur via Bus. They said it takes 4 hrs in a Volvo Bus service, but mind it, it took the entire day. At the end of the journey, I was dizzy enough to puke. But yeah that was last month.
This month, this trip, every thing was pre-planned. All tickets booked and reserved in advance. I had planned it so well that there would not be any chance for deviations. But as it is said, if God wants certain things to happen, they will surely happen. I usually take a 11:35PM intercity express train to Raipur, which reaches Raipur at 5:20AM, so that I have atleast 4 hrs to rest at a Hotel. Everything was well planned. I arrived at the platform at 11:15PM, 20 mins before scheduled departure. After waiting till 11:30, an announcement was made that the train is delayed by 30 mins. I thought that is fine, not much deviation. I waited, thoughtless, blank, doing nothing till 12:00 midnight. 10 mins past 12 midnight, another announcement was made, that the train is delayed by 1hr 45 mins.
Here I was, thoughtless, blank, with nothing to do, for another 1 hr 45 mins. I did’nt know what to do. I didn’t have a mp3 player, not even a book to pass my time. Just could look around at people of various backgrounds, waiting for the train.
I have always loved to be left alone to think about whatever I could. But that is ok when you are not fatigued. Here I am fatigued of whole day’s work, standing at the stroke of midnight, with eyes filled with sleep, no entertainment, no companion, no friend to talk to, nothing at all.
As I had nothing to do, not even a proper place to sit, I started thinking of my position a year back. This time a year back, I was sleeping in a Five star hotel, in New Delhi. Had come down to attend an executive education program from Haas Business School, University of Southern California, Berkeley on Economics of Business Strategy. And see the irony, same time this year, I am standing at Nagpur Station, waiting for a stupid intercity express which almost 2 and a half hours late. To add spice to the situation, its raining, the platform roof is broken, its water everywhere and its time past midnight.
I thought, why the hell am I even here in the first place? Utter stage of frustration running through my mind. Is it the right job I am doing? What is the benefit of all this circumnavigation of the globe that I am doing (not literally, understand my frustration) ?
Then in a while it struck me, it is the first hand experience, the exposure, the freedom that you get from this job which matters. And above all, you always loved travelling and now it is the job that makes you do that, so where is the problem? Try enjoying the trips, you will gain something from them.
Also, these trips have now re-ignited my passion for writing. Thus I am back to Speaking Me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Marriage – the union

We have often heard that marriages are made in heaven and they are the union of two souls etc. etc. But my question to myself is “Is it really so?”.... I disbelieve or rather contradict the statement of Marriages made in heaven or they being the union of two souls.
Marriage in my understanding is a union of two different worlds. Let me explain....
The groom’s side and the bride’s side even if they belong to same caste, community , religion, region etc. no matter how many similarities they possess, there always exists a difference in attitudes, behavior, motives, etc. among the two uniting families. So I simply put it as a union of two different worlds. There is always a belief that the bride has to adjust with the groom’s family, but along with it, also is seen the reverse. In order to make the bride comfortable, the groom is usually seen adapting with the in-laws. So the bride as well as the groom; both with equal amount of efforts, try to adapt to each other’s world.
Even the families adapt to each other’s behavior.  The first few meetings, rather I should say, all the meetings before the marriage and a few meetings after that the behavior of both the sides is usually very neutral. Both sides want to make each other feel comfortable and behave in a much polished manner. I do not say that they fake their behaviors, but they usually reflect their best side.
And later, ....... it is like eating Punjabi samosa with Coconut chutney. It tastes all the more better.
Both worlds get to know each other, they share their experiences, feelings, beliefs and many more things. There would be some conflicts but also a lot more love among them. And a lot of advice to the nuptials.
If we talk about the union of two souls, there are many such examples in the world and also in the Indian perspective wherein the outcome of such a union has not been very fruitful. I think the statement is self explanatory. Whereas, there are many more to prove this statement wrong.
I believe that, yes it is a union of two souls. When two very different people decide to spend their life together, to support and love each other forever, then that is the first sign which shows that two parts of a magnet will always attract each other in the right manner. The argument which arises here is; then what is wrong with those marriages which are dependent on compromise or do not last long. My answer to them is, these are not marriages; but are simple, mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship between two individuals, who often separate or compromise when they feel their need or want is not being fulfilled in the right manner. Be it emotional, financial or physical need. Marriage as said earlier being a union of two soul is more than just a symbiotic relation. It is a decision to be together, without any benefits, wants or conditions attached. No hidden or latent conditions either.
There is no force, no compulsion, no age restriction in a marriage.
It is a common scenario that girls and now a days even guys are getting married because of a simple reason   i.e.  “Age”. I mean, what the f**k, what if the person whom he or she is being tied up to is not the proper  match. Then life would be just a compromise. Also a common scenario is, girls seeking for guys with fat salaries, big degrees, secured job etc. etc. So what do you think you are doing, an investment. Being rational is not bad, everyone has the right to think about his or her own future. But, HELLO, marriage is not the share market, wherein you analyze the company's balance sheets, PE ratio etc. etc. and then decide.
Why the hell do you want to secure your future at the cost of your spouse. Why the hell can't you secure your future on your own and let marriage happen without any condition. I have seen things like, a BA pass girl, seeking for MBA or CA boy, and then also getting married to one, only to secure her future. Where is the love in that? And by the way madam, why can’t you secure your future, on your own?
Even worse is guys getting big degrees, only for huge dowry and good girl as an additional feature. Mind it girl or the wife merely being an additional feature. You want money, you have the degree, why can’t you work hard and earn it on your own? Why do you want to loot the poor girl’s father.
Marriage in these cases is no marriage, but merely an investment on life. Like a fixed deposits or a mutual fund, with guaranteed returns.
The definition of marriage is merely, no conditions attached. You don’t get married, merely because, you suck in life right , then why not get some support and a lead a better life.
Real marriages are made in heaven and they are really a union of two souls. It is also about taking the entire family- the two worlds together.
When you realize that there is someone with whom you want to be with, but there is no reason that you should be with him or her….. then that is the sign …. Marriage is on cards for you.

Vikas Yadav.