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Complexity/simplicity

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When I as a child, we had a bar of soap. Shampoo was there sometimes and not sometimes, it was not a necessity and we managed to keep ourselves clean just fine. There used to be a single bottle of cold cream, used by the entire family. That was not our home specifically, that was how it was for most others as well because that was what was available in the market. Now, of course, things are different. There came a face wash, then it was a hand wash and now there is even a v-wash. You can search the net to see what the “v” in v-wash means. A bottle of cold cream has been replaced by moisturizer and it is not just one bottle, there is a different bottle for face, a different for your body different one for your feet and even a different one for day and for night.

Then we have people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zukerberg who wear the same clothes day after day to avoid an unnecessary complexity.

jobs

“Black turtlenecks, blue jeans and New Balance Sneakers, this is my entire wardrobe. Saves me a lot of time every morning deciding what to wear.”

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Be Bold. Be Stupid

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Kevin Smith

“Don’t be afraid to do weird stuff. Be bold. Be stupid, if you have to: so long as you don’t hurt anybody, what’s it matter how dopey your dream is? Some folks will try to shame you for trying something outside the norm; the only shame is in not trying to accomplish your dreams.”
-Kevin Smith

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Get the listing – By Seth Godin

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Most successful (and honest) real estate agents will tell you that their business is about the listings, and that sales ability comes second. All other things being equal, the agent with a better home to sell will make a better sale.

The same thing is true for baseball managers—if you have a better lineup you’re more likely to win the game. And of course that’s true for the sushi restaurant with fresher fish. And the tech company with better programmers, and the college with better professors…

If this is all so obvious, why do we spend all our time trying to find cheap average inputs and then make them special through our magnificent sales and management skills? Why do we industrialize the hiring process, spend very little time on scouting, and seek out the replicatable instead of the special exception? Our ego demands that we spend all day polishing the average instead of seeking out the exceptional.

Better to invest the time and money on special people and raw materials instead.

This is a repost of a post by the same name by Seth Godin on his blog.

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Holding mutually contradictory thoughts

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I read somewhere about the virtues of the ability to hold mutually contradictory thoughts. I have two contradictory thoughts and believe me, it is crippling

Thought One: To get maximum return on your investment, select an advisor whose fee is directly dependent on the amount of money you make.

Problem with thought one: The advisor is more likely to opt got high risk, high return options and can eventually blow all your money, unless you can work an arrangement where he shares the loss too.

Thought Two: To get good investment advice, select an advisor who works on a fixed fee.

Problem with thought two: To maximize his returns the advisor will sell you options where he gets maximum payback from the investment company. Example are insurance policies that give you poor results and thus offer a large commission to the agents.

Bottom line is you are on your own. Anyone out there to give investment advice is out there for himself, not yourself and is likely to be ready to screw for his personal gain.

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Employee welfare

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All your claims of employee welfare fall flat on the face when you employ contracted staff – like security and housekeeping who have to put in a 12 hour shift everyday.

Your responsibility doesn’t end with people on your payrolls, it has to extend to all the people working for you.

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Is Your Bad Boss Killing You?

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Just spotted a very nice infographic.

See how your bad boss is killing you

A recent survey found that U.S. employees spend an average of 13 hours during the workweek and 6.2 hours over the weekend worrying about their boss says or does. Together that adds up to 19.2 hour a week of lament over bad boss woes. Turns out, unreasonable or ineffective supervisors don’t just affect employee work life, they can indirectly damage family life and psychological and physical health. See how your bad boss is killing you in this infographic created with Keas.

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Long Term v/s Short Term

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After the previous post, here is another one where a post from Seth Godin validates what I have said. I said in “Can your brand custodian see beyond the next quarter?” how important it is to have a vision that sees in the long term in comparison to a vision that can’t see beyond the next quarter.

Seth Godin in his post “Emergency room doctors” has said the same thing.

If all we do is reward fast first aid in what people do at work, is it any wonder we don’t have enough attention to the strategy and choices that would eliminate the need for all that running around in the first place?
-Seth Godin

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Actually, I can make it much worse before I make it better

Posted by Navin Harish - 1 Comment

One way to control people is to make the things much worse for them and then marginal improve them to make it look like an improvement. Let me give you an example

A group of people are demonstrating, demanding implementation of a policy to improve general situation, theirs or their country’s, lets sat they were protesting against corruption. Any group in power that wants to oppress them will not react by having a dialogue with them so the Police come and the people protesting are arrested and sent to jail. Instead of improving, their situation has deteriorated. The corruption is still as it was but to make things worse, now they are in jail.

You have the poor guy by his balls, he has a family and a mortgage and the thought of suddenly being unemployed is scary enough for him to forget about the raise he didn’t get.

Now is the time to have a dialogue. The powerful and influential group, in this case the government, is in a much better position to make a negotiation. It can now offer to release the arrested people if they promise to behave and suddenly, getting out of custody seems like a big improvement in the situation.

This is not unique to the governments; it is true for any powerful groups including corporates. This is true even for the HR departments of the company. I have seen this happen to a friend of mine who was told in his appraisal that the company is not happy with his performance over the year and he should be thankful that the company had decided to give him two more months to show why he should not be fired. Now suddenly the guy who was unhappy with the raise the company would have offered him if things had been different, is suddenly feeling happy not to be fired. He has completely forgotten about his raise. You have the poor guy by his balls, he has a family and a mortgage and the thought of suddenly being unemployed is scary enough for him to forget about the raise he didn’t get.

P.S. The friend of mine is still working as he was working earlier but now since he is happy to be not fired, no one is questioning his performance. May be they will during the next appraisal.

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Your job – a relation or a transaction

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A job is either a relationship where both parties are working towards something meaningful or it is a transaction where hours are traded for money.

Need I say anything more?

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If a dog gets the bone, he never races again

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In the movie The Firm, Ed Harris and Tom Hanks are watching a dog race. To make the dogs run in the race, there is bone that is attached to a mechanical arm that moves on the track and the dogs follow it. The bone is the incentive for the dog to run, not a medal as in the case of humans. Ed Harris tells Tom that if a dog catches the bone, he never runs again.

When you have made the money which was you never thought was possible even in your wildest imagination, what motivation are you left with? There is no other explanation I can think of for the entire team, not just a few odd players, failing not once but eight times in succession.

A cricket player is India earns obscene amount of money every year. Players are driving around in Hummers, have business interests in all sort of enterprise. Even players like Virat Kohli call themselves “senior” in the ads where they appear.

When you have made the money which was you never thought was possible even in your wildest imagination, what motivation are you left with? There is no other explanation I can think of for the entire team, not just a few odd players, failing not once but eight times in succession.

The dog has got the bone, there is no incentive for him to run.

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