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Prison BPO

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

I just realized that the prison runs a BPO unit or is planning to start one very soon. This has made me a more cautious about the way I speak to telemarketers. Even now when I get such calls, I try to be as polite as possible and even address the caller as “sir” or “ma’am” however in future I want to be extra careful not to lose my cool even if they just won’t leave me alone. I mean I don’t want someone telling me “You just wait till I get out of here, then I will ask you if you need your gold card to be upgraded to platinum or not”

Trying to make this whole operation even more successful is the ex Satyam chief Mr. Ramalinga Raju. He is being used because he is an expert in BPO operations. Well, he is an expert in other things as well and I hope he doesn’t find the situation tempting enough to swindle some funds there as well. I mean, imagine embarrassing it would be for the government to be fleeced by someone who is already in a prison?

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Does you “arse in seat” time matter at all?

Posted by Navin Harish - 2 Comments

In his latest book Linchpin, Seth Godin tells us that the jobs where we get paid to just turn up are gone. Those jobs are being fast replaced by jobs where you have to be a Linchpin, in his words, you become indispensable.

When I think about it, those new jobs demolish a lot more than just the old structure and the biggest of those is the office itself. If you have managed to position yourself as the best in what you do you have also ensured that you will be assessed by your output at the end of the year/quarter which in turn ensures that you are not judged by the time you spend in the office. Your “arse on the seat” time has no meaning or value.

Taking this a little further, you see the annual paid leave is also not something as it existed in your dad’s time. If your next appraisal is based on what your output is, it doesn’t matter if you go on a vacation once a year or 5 times an year.

You can stop looking at the clock, you decide when you come and when you leave

So does this mean the companies and employees will stop obsession over annual leave? I don’t know. however what is the point of even trying to negotiate here when it is pre-decided what all a person is going to accomplish in a year.

His work load is not going to be shared by anyone so if he is going away for a week, either he has to deal with it before he goes of after he comes back, in a scenarios like this, how does it matter if he goes away for a week or for a month? Of course there are issues of being available on particular times for particular activities but I am assuming if you are a Linchpin, you will have considered those before making your holiday plans.

So what do you say, would you like to be in charge of your own office timings or would like to be led? Do share your opinion as a comment.


For the want of an empty slot…

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

a broadband connection was denied.

I asked Airtel to give me a broadband connections and they have been ultra quick in their response. One guy was at my home half an hour after I made the call to collect the initial payment, a cabling guy dropped in next day. The guy who was supposed to connect it all up called me up the next working day to tell me that he will come in 15 minutes.


After 15 minutes he called me again to tell me that the empty slot in the Airtel box outside my house is faulty so I “may” not get a connection. And the best thing is if they can’t give me a connections, they will refund my money in “one month.”

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Twitter killed the blogging star

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

The objective of having a blog was to express yourself. However there is little point in expressing yourself if you don’t have an audience. It is very difficult to have a readership and get people to come to your blog. However it is very easy to take your blog to where people are.

Facebook and Twitter are two such powerful tools. It is far easier to read a status update or a tweet than to visit a blog and read it. It’s perfect, you can know what others are doing in one site only and it is brief so it quick as well. The growing popularity of both sites is all the proof one needs.

Taking a step further, Happycog has removed the conventional “comments” from their blog. You can only comment using Twitter or by posting an entry on your own blog. Here is the link to Cognition, the blog of Happy Cog and why they have removed the comments feature.

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CWG Games are over so lets also forget about scams and corruption too

Posted by Navin Harish - No Comments

Recently concluded Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi are a very good example of how short public memory is. The games are over and everyone is raving about them and how India has done well in games and I am sure there will be no further discussion about corruption and the swindled money. You know it is a little like calling in sick at work. Even when you know a person is lying about falling sick, no one says so because they know that they have done the same in the past and will be doing it in the future as well. Similarly all the politicians and bureaucrats who were thrashing CWG committee and Kalmadi know they have taken bribes and will be doing so in the future so they will not try to stir a hornet’s nest.

Kalmadi got rich... along with a lot others

Shera is smiling and Suresh Kalmadi is laughing all the way to the bank. I am sure so are a lot of other bureaucrats and politicians.

Thinking about it, who is Suresh Kalmadi when it comes to relevance and influence. There is a Sports minister, there is a chief minister and lots and lots of people who are more influential than Kalmadi, it would be naive to think that only he got rich bu these games.

Spoke too soon it seems.

I guess I have spoken too soon. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has ordered a probe and it seems all is not going to be swept under the carpet. Let’s see what happens…

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The user is not a moron

Posted by Navin Harish - 2 Comments

Sometime the client or the client services people suggest things which are, for the lack of a better word, stupid. Now this is not because they are idiots, it because they think the customer is an idiot.

Making things simpler for your users in helping them, assuming they are morons who can’t tell their arse from a hole in the ground is an insult for which they won’t forgive you.

I remember a conversation I had with a client servicing person who was handling a particularly difficult client. We made a banner ad and a landing page.

“Navin, can you change the button in the banner to say ‘Click here to know more’ instead of ‘Click here’”


“Click here for what, it sounds incomplete, why would someone click on it?”

“Anyone who surfs the internet knows clicking a banner will take him to a page with more details, as it is the button is not required, why do you want to make it even bigger?”

“I understand what you are saying, but we need to have more information”

“In that case why don’t we have the button with test ‘Click here to know how XXX will give complete nutrition to your kid and help him avoid skipping school due to illness”

He got offended but eventually we ran the banners with only “Click here”

The worst mistake you can make is assuming your customers are stupid. This image is a result of that assumption. This is an ad for Toothpaste, there is a person wearing a white gown. It is obvious that this is a doctor and since it is for a dental product, it must be a dentist. Was it really necessary to write “Dental Expert”?

Dental Expert! Oh really, I thought she was a baker

“Dental Expert! Oh really, I thought she was a baker”

Making things simpler for your users in helping them, assuming they are morons who can’t tell their arse from a hole in the ground is an insult for which they won’t forgive you.


An exclusive deal… for everyone

Posted by Navin Harish - 4 Comments

One of the best ways to make a luxury brand desirable is to make it exclusive. People want things that are out of the reach of most people.

This is exclusive, a credit card for which people keep pestering you is not

A Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – this is exclusive, a credit card for which telemarketers keep pestering you is not

The other end of the spectrum is things that rely on volume and trying to make them feel exclusive is the most idiotic approach. Take the example of credit cards. I got a call from HDFC bank informing me that I am among the lucky 250 people who have been selected from Delhi. The question asked when I tell them I don’t need a card is “Can you please refer someone?”

“Refer” someone for something for which only a lucky 250 were “selected”!