Start-ups and Upstarts

A co-blogger and an expert in start-ups, Sushrut has written an excellent post on reasons why one should join a start-up and what are the pitfalls one should look out for before joining a start-up.

The reason why I am re-iterating this point is simply because many start-ups demand the kind of dedication from their employees that is not needed and certainly not justified … all in the name of it being a start-up. Tum mujhe khoon do, main tumhe ESOPs dunga seems to be their mantra. While this works out for people who know exactly what are they signing up for, it comes out as a shell shocker for those who join the band wagon expecting a different culture altogether.

It’s the culture that could be a defining moment for the start-up. I am not dishing out gyaan here. It is true … the culture of an organization can go a long way between success and failure.

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Convergence

I think I have already written a blog post by this title, this could be a continuation of the same. When I was working with TechMahindra as a part of their leadership cadre, some of us were asked to meet up with British Telecom’s (BT) Vice President, Warren Buckley. He launched into how telecom, ISPs, content providers, etc are soon converging into one maelstrom of user enabled content. That was the first time I heard of the term Web 2.0. Back then one of BT’s top concerns was that Google will eat up the entire market. That was 3 years ago. This is now.

I am currently working with I2itelesource Pvt Ltd as a Delivery Manager. The organization is into deploying cutting edge solutions for telecom service providers and mobile network operators. They do a lot of business in the Asian subcontinent, and a lot of business comes from Middle East. The kind of demands and promises our sales team does is stupendous, stupefying and sometimes plainly stupid.

Coming back to convergence, back then it was very difficult to plan and put together a service platform for content providers. Now, they can be built by taking ready-made blocks and clubbing them together. Service Oriented Architecture and Web Services in full flow. Makes my mouth water J. Imagine streaming content in real time off a media/streaming server, encoding it so that the user can watch it only once, creating the charge records and charging the customer’s account and delivering the content to an IP-based device (TV/Computer/Projector, et al) for a seamless on-demand service. Can this be done? Yes.

There would be a time when telecom, internet, television and other new age media would converge in one seamless integration. Imaging checking your email on your TV while you are watching a cricket match. This can be done. Playing hookey at work seems so much easier, yes?

The Unusual activity

I clocked roughly 200 blog posts last year. That’s a post every alternate day. Impressive no? The feat was particularly possible because of my previous employment. I ruled the IT Infrastructure there (which was in addition to my actual role). The good things about being ‘God’ (read admin), are that the laws don’t apply to you. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Start of the new year, I got an opportunity with a Mumbai based tech startup. Hours are long, pay is decent, I am home sweet home. Rosy picture aint it? Well for now it sure is. The catch is, no net access, especially Gmail, so no blogging L and no chatting. Thank heavens for Twitter!! Hopefully the email api of blogger still works.

New leaf

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An extension of the last post, but I figured – that it deserves a separate mention. So, here we go!!

On the day I touched Mumbai, one of the first things I did was back-up my machine and format it. Formatting is like a cleansing mechanism for me … like turning over a new leaf. A new OS, a new folder structure, my choice and my will to decide how I want to proceed forward. The data of the past legacy long forgotten and the freedom to take decisions as I want them.

Erasing all the baggage and getting rejuvenated for a new life. As I write this, it gives me a secret thrill … to be on the verge of a new year, in the middle of an economic crisis, without getting shackled to a conventional “job”. Have decided to benefit from the past years, and the advises given by friends … and here is my resolution for the new year (I know it’s early, but I intend on keeping this one).

To be more critical – because chalta hain does not cut it.

Think about it.

Relieving

image This week I hope to be relieved of all my duties. After a mammoth 3 months of notice period, it feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. I guess I can take up to a month of living without any responsibilities. But that’s the future, lets just focus on getting relieved on time, yeah?

Fingers crossed.

PS – The next time I put my John Hancock on any acceptance letter, I will make a note of checking the notice period. The last 3 months were a bitch.

So you fcuked up! Move on!

I would like to take a view au contraire to the recent global meltdown. With most of the companies looking at slicing off their costs by targeting their cost centers … they are doing a big mistake. What they should focus on, is how to monetize their cost centers … how to turn their cost centers into revenue centers. Instead, what do we see … job slashing … 1000 sacked! … 50000 sacked!! How is that going to help you? Yes, in the short run, your Quarterly statements might be able to absorb the hit the financial crisis has had on your revenues, but in the longer run, you have just sunk deeper into sinkhole that you are trying to rise from(pardon my french).

The entire reason why companies are seeing the financial crisis is because the finance giants were not cautious enough in making the investments on which they bet their proverbial asses, and are now reeling with the losses. So you screwed up … big time. It takes a great man to admit his mistakes, it takes an even stronger man to move on. In Hindi there is a phrase … agar yeh nahi to wohi sahi.

Organizations are there to do business, and there is business to be done. If the world says that the total amount of business has gone down … well they have to be wrong 🙂 … or they are not just looking in the right places. So what if Lehmann Brothers closed up … what if AIG has gone for a second round of rescue … there are other firms who will step in the shoes of the fallen ones. Global business … the show … must go on. Where to look at business opportunities one might ask – see a problem, fix it … can it be simpler than that?

So lets see the world back on its feet and totter to the trot that we were used to seeing.