Posted in Random thots..

Idea #9: Never Regret


Meaningful-Picture-Quotes-Never-regret-anything

Do not regret anything that happens in your life. “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way”.

It is the past. Swallowed in the black hole of time. Get over it!.

And quite possibly whatever happened might be for the best. Perhaps it will bring out something good in the future. Perhaps it will make you see things in a different light. Perhaps it will help you live life to the fullest. Perhaps it will help you avoid the mistakes you made in the past. So…

Its OK if you were wrong. Some of the most brilliant things have happened in life when people made mistakes. And then, you couldn’t have been right all the time, could you ? ( unless you are Sheldon Cooper, of course! )

It is OK if you left some things to chance. After all, decision making is much more complex than a binary yes or no. And under the circumstances , if you made some decisions based on information you have at hand, and few others based on chance – you needn’t regret if the chance factor didn’t work out as desired. That’s why they call it chance, don’t they?!

It is OK to change your course mid flight. That’s why in flight navigation systems are there in place! That’s why corporations hold strategic planning exercises.. That’s why management consultants are paid such hefty salaries.

The point is – regret is a non productive emotion. It doesn’t give you any solutions , and can only spawn more non productive negative emotions like helplessness and despair. So if you replace regret with something positive like – Hmm…determination. motivation . experience… enlightenment.. 🙂 ,  you will have something much better to work with!

And now. if you think of it.. The more you analyse, the more you will realize the futility of it all..

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.” ! ― Søren Kierkegaard

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Posted in Random thots..

A Small Lesson in Sales


 Lesson in Sales

To cut a long story short- I recently moved to another country with my family and had to sell off all the stuff at my house  before the move.

So I took nice pictures of everything and put up ads in the classifieds. And started getting flooded with  calls – “Is the Computer table still available?”, “Is the price negotiable?” etc etc..

And although this might seem a cumbersome task, which it was in the beginning, I slowly began to get fascinated by all of it. It was like my own tiny social experiment on C2C sales – selling stuff to people who would actually use it!

And with a well intention-ed scientific curiosity, I went haywire designing my experiment, bundling offers to see how people respond to different options. – “Coffee table free with King size bed”  vs “20% discount on king size bed if picked in next 12 hours”  I even had a pipeline for every item I was selling , trying to find some pattern in the madness!

Here are my observations  – some not-so-random findings from this totally random experiment.

People buy for their own reasons:  “So you’ve liked the sofa. Would you like to take the dining table also with it . I’ll give you 20% off on the bundled price on both” – I used this dialogue on many unsuspecting subjects. Well, they will smile politely, and go see whatever else  you offered them.. Engage in small talk.. Phone a friend.. Take an audience poll.. And then politely decline due to reasons entirely beyond their control- “Err, wish I had more space in my flat”.. “Oh no, I just bought a new dining table!”. Bottom line is – do what you may, people buy for their own reasons. You can’t change that!

Buyers always look for Trust:  Nobody will ever tell you on the face (hopefully!)  that -“You look real shady to me”. But before getting into any transaction , people will always want to know if they can trust you. So they ask questions like – how old is your Refrigerator, did you ever need to get any repairs done on it? And they will believe what you say. So although you might not have any papers to prove any of this- if they trust you then they will still go ahead and buy it from you. And the weird thing is – you really cannot define where this trust comes from. Perhaps it’s a gut feeling, perhaps it’s about your body language, or just a culture where people trust each other. But earning Trust is the foundation of any successful sale.

Bargaining is good for any Negotiation:  Everyone feels good after a bit of haggling. Don’t agree with me? Well.. On the last day of my social  experiment on selling stuff  (adding  an academic zing to it!), a guy turned up for my TV Table. He named half the price I had quoted. Since I was on a deadline to clear everything off,  I agreed immediately . And the expression on his face was that of extreme disappointment. He seemed so upset , as if he had been cheated!.. Which is why – if a negotiation happens and you easily agree to the other party’s terms, then they will always  feel that they didn’t  get a good enough deal.  Ergo,  unless it is grossly appropriate – haggle away! 

But then, generalizations are generalizations after all. Every sale is different, as Sales gurus might say – The deal is in the details!.

Posted in Random thots..

Idea #8: Bird by Bird


Bird by Bird

So.. What do you do when you get stuck?

 Do you sit back and mourn your lack of action ..Think of inventive ways to over come your situation?. Or Just wait – thinking that this too shall pass!.

 We all have our own solutions to  dealing  with stuck moments. Some would slow down, blow off some steam.. or if you’re like me, you would go off to sleep!.

And then .. What do you do?

You DON’T give up!.

You come back to the table .. Pore over your shitty first drafts.. Move ahead bit by bit..

Because big changes don’t happen in a instant. Corporations are not successful overnight. Trust is not built in a day. It’s a gradual process. The only difference is that you notice it suddenly.. And people start talking about it suddenly..

In this age of instant gratification, it is easy to think that you will get results immediately. And also get frustrated when you don’t.

Like Alice in Wonderland, we cant wait to reap the benefits of our efforts – “No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.” !!

But in real world, you have to take it step by step.. Bird by bird ..A metaphor used by  Anne Lamott. She narrates this beautiful story in her book:

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’

Then again. What do you do when you get stuck?

You come back. Pick up all the fragments piece by piece. Slowly build it again – bird by bird!

Posted in Random thots..

Idea #7: What is your Winning difference ?


What is your winning Difference

If you are a creator of things, this is the question you hear all the time.

Does your idea  have a USP?. What is your core competency? How will you differentiate yourself from the crowd?

And the more I think about it- the more it seems to be the key question for all you do . I mean if you’re doing something just for the sake of hanging in there, then you’re fine. But if you want to grow up the ladder, get that promotion , make money in your business, get your idea spread .. Then you absolutely need to nail this thing – “What’s your  winning difference?”

And as elementary as the answer might be, the process of discovering it will be the most painstaking one that you’ve gone through . Because if it were that easy, everyone would have done it, right?

When you are creating something.. a new product , a website, an app , a book – the rules are pretty simple. You either differentiate or you die!..

Even in the workplace – wouldn’t it be magical if you knew how to use your eccentricities to stand out in the crowd. So – Are you the creative types, who can offer a new twist or perspective to your team, or the hard nut with numbers who can churn out any what-if analysis in a jiffy? . Realizing what you are great at, and using it to your advantage makes a lot of difference.

The next big question then – Is there an App for that?  😉 😀 .. No app yet , but a technique to give you very strong leads:

  • Focus on your audience. Give them what they want. Solve their problems. Help them achieve their goal.  Whether it is your Boss, your customers or your readers – you make their life easier and they can’t help but notice you!.
  • Experiment with your strengths.  You may find you have this tiny little winning difference. A quirk, a talent, an approach to problem solving – call it what you may. Go ahead – capture and nurture it! . Tinker and experiment with it. Add your dash of mad and crazy. You might think.. Hey this outspoken guy is not me. Or I’m not that risk taker who can take that leap of faith on a hunch. But then – “You must be the person you have never had the courage to be. Gradually, you will discover that you are that person, but until you can see this clearly, you must pretend and invent.” ― Paulo Coelho
Posted in Random thots..

Idea #6: Pause, but don’t Stop!


Pause if you must, but don't stop

 

  • Because you will come across events beyond your control that change the course of your life . Things happen, and life suddenly spirals out of control. So knowing that you can take a pause and continue later helps you reaffirm your faith and confidence in yourself. You can focus on other things that come up in priority.

 

  • Because everything you have done before matters.  The things you have learnt, the people you met, the experiences you’ve had. All of them count towards making you who you are. And stopping after failure is equivalent to throwing it all away. So don’t give up. Count your cards.. sum up your losses and move on!

 

  • Because taking a pause is sometimes great strategy. It’s gives you time to reassess your coordinates and  plan alternate strategies for attack . And “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” ― Carl Bard

 

  • Because time changes us – not in a weird mysterious way, but in a very gradual matter of fact way. And taking a pause will let you assimilate the changes in yourself and help you understand who you really are. What do you really want ?

 

OK. You might be wondering why do all my sentences begin with the grammatically awkward and inappropriate ‘Because’?..

Because, that’s how you can start again after taking a pause 🙂

Posted in My World View, Random thots..

And, We’re Back!


And,we're back

It has been a year long hiatus on my blog now.  Which is sad because there was a time when the posts were cascading in a huge rush. And suddenly it all dissolved into silence…

So if you wondered where I have disappeared, it so happens that I was going through a breathtaking and  life changing event. I became a mother.  And a midst diapers and nappies and crazy sleep schedules, my life suddenly transformed into that of a doting, anxious and occasionally paranoid parent.

With this gigantic change in perspective and lifestyle, my ideas and beliefs underwent a tectonic shift too!. As it is with any huge change, it took me a while to figure out how to navigate this new territory. So I’m finally back in form and figure (?) on my blog, and ready to share the things I believe in.

 I will try to start over where I last left off. So here I am, with my take on Idea# 6, opportunely named “Pause, but don’t stop! “

Posted in My World View, Random thots.., Technology Talk

Idea #5: Fail Early, Fail Fast


A few weeks ago, Apple released its Maps App with the new iOS 6 upgrade. Within hours, the internet was awash with scathing criticism of Apple Maps. It was branded a dismal failure, the L’Enfant terrible of iOS 6 upgrade portfolio. FB news feeds flooded with lamentations about awful maps after upgrading to iOS 6.

Tech bloggers lashed out at Apple, calling it a company which had become arrogant in its greatness. Doomsday predictors began asking – is this the end of Apple’s commitment to perfection and its meteoric rise?

All this brouhaha really irked me. For all those going berserk over the Map App fiasco, wouldn’t it be nicer if we could cut Apple some slack and appreciate the benefits of failing early??

I am not an Apple fanboy, but personally I felt the new Maps app was awesome. It brought in radical features like vector-based maps and breathtaking flyover 3D views (my first reaction on seeing the App was “Wow!”). Yeah, the awesome 3D feature resulted in the most terrible goof ups too. But then, online Maps are complex and you cannot perfect it unless you have millions of people sharing it and reporting back to you. Does anyone remember Google Maps when it was first launched?

The point is, with technology cycles moving so quickly, could Apple have afforded to keep the critical Map app under the hood till the next iPhone release? Absolutely not.

The fact is – if anything can go wrong, it will. And the sooner that happens, the better it is for you and your product. And the most valuable company of our times has sent the message – the future is about failing early, failing fast. And if you do make mistakes, admit them quickly and move on.

Well.. Google does it all the time! (remember Google Buzz, Froogle and Google Answers?)

Getting a minimum viable product out into the world is the best way to kick start your idea, whether it is a new book, a business venture, or a project at work. It helps you overcome the fear of failure, test your assumptions and identify constraints in your solution. So go ahead with your new creation. Get it read, experienced and used.

Because usage is like oxygen for ideas. “You can never fully anticipate how an audience is going to react to something you’ve created until it’s out there. That means every moment you’re working on something without it being in the public it’s actually dying, deprived of the oxygen of the real world.”

So fail early. Learn fast!.

And if you are an unflappable cool dude who hates to admit your mistakes or let the world know about your failures – Just fail early..   And then destroy all evidence that you tried!.. 🙂