From TODO to just DO list

May be we should all just stop calling the TODO list the way it is called now, and just call it a DO! list. May be that way we could bypass the first bad assumption that the act of doing is somewhere far in the future, and the second bad assumption that the thing to be done can be done at any point of time in the future. Essentially, the word 'TO' brings in two uncertainties. So much for such a two lettered word!

A goal is meaningless without a date and time attached to it. Nothing ever gets done without a 'sense of urgency', borrowing words from Professor John P. Kotter, the author of the book "A Sense of Urgency", Harvard business school publishing, and from my Change Management professor Adam Carstens, both of whom have been connected in their professional lives in crafting a structured way of facilitating change management.

Again, no more TODO...just DO. Hmmm...may be Nike knew this all along.

Organizations, Awesome people, Heaven and Hell

Long.. long... ago I heard this story from someone/somewhere. So long ago, that I have forgotten its source. So long ago, that the story has gone through version changes in my head.

The story is/was approximately like this:

"A good farmer died and ended up in hell. To his astonishment, hell was filled with all good people you can think of from our world's history. Yet, he was angry with the God as he was a good guy all his life. There he was - In Hell. God being a nice person sent him to Heaven, where he found all bad poeple you can think of throughout our world's history.


Confused enough, he asked God. "What's this all about?"

God told him that there was a small error and things got changed a little bit. The contents changed but the names, hell and heaven remained the same. However, to the astonishment of God was the fact that hell had become a better place to 'live' in. So much that God was spending 80% of his office hours in Hell, cos it was awesome now."

Moral of the story : The awesome organizations, the awesome teams and awesome products are the outcome of awesome people coming together. 

Question of the story : If you are a small part of a larger something, are you awesome enough?

Are you the one changing "Heaven to Hell ...or... Hell to Heaven"?


The Color Red, in China

Red in China, then.

The Chinese have always favored the Red color and used it to symbolize happiness and celebration. It is used in the bridal wedding gown, known as the Qipao. Red, they believe wards off evil, so much that even the modern buildings are coated with Red. The number 13, being referred to as an unlucky number, many Chinese believe that by wearing Red colored clothing or accessories would ward of evil spirit or bad luck (Kirsi Kommonen, 2011).

“Red expresses happiness. In Chinese history, we seem to have never disliked red. The Chinese red is a yellowish red from cinnabar; this gives us the feeling of happiness. Consequently, red is used in celebrations; in the bridal wedding gown, in New Year’s celebrations.” quotes a color professional in the study by Kirsi. Colors are more of an art, than a science. Or is it? Could it be more of a science than an art? This becomes the realm of this post.

According to Satyendra Singh (2006), color Red is associated with increased metabolism and increased appetite. This could be the reason the Chinese People’s life expectancy is 73.5 Years (Wolfram Alpha, 2012) by enabling them to metabolize food faster and be healthier. Not to forget that state of mental happiness accounts to a much healthier life as well. Health also translates into reproductive health, which might explain the high population in China.

  • Is this color playing a deep role in everything that makes China what it is today? Can we safely extrapolate that it will continue to be a major influence in what China will be tomorrow, if the emphasis and importance they place on this color continues?
  • Are the businesses, marketers and advertisers using this color's full potential to sell?
  • How longer will this trend go on? Besides the fact that this has been going on for centuries!
  • Kirsi Kommonen, 2011. “Narratives on Chinese colour culture in business contexts”. Cross Cultural Management 18 (3) pp.366-383.
  • Satyendra Singh 2006. "Impact of Colour on Marketing". Management Decision 44 (6) pp.783-789.

The Present State

However with modernization, urbanization and globalization, there comes westernization and the color Red is starting to fade away into the international hues of grey and pink, which is not very Chinese. “The present society is high in tension. If all the colors are grey, we will not have the joy of Life”, notes one interviewee in the Study by Kirsi.

In this hue shift, we are seeing the rise of a modern China, whose youth are defining their own identities, by bending the values that have existed for centuries. What implications could this have, on health, culture, wealth and everything else that you can think of?

This article was originally written for an article submission in my management studies curriculum, and has been modified here and there for blogginess, with not much success! So if you are a regular reader of this blog, and find something fishy/academic/referenced/not-very-Ram-writing-style...You just have great observation skills. Cheers.

How to make people remember(or not forget) you?

Remember(or don't forget) them, at least not their names. Apart from the name what else do we have in a person to be remembered, after we met them for may be a minute? And yes, remembering and not forgetting are two sides of the same coin, but very different things.

Thinking out of the bubble

The box is a harmless comfort zone, with five sides perfectly closed and sealed, and one side open to let you breath. Seriously, you don't lose anything by living within the box. However, when you think out of the box, it does have its advantages. And most often you are rewarded handsomely for having thought out of the box.

Whereas, thinking out of the Bubble may not be all that rewarding. But NOT thinking out of the bubble can be downright punishing. Some bubbles of note are your identity, your job, your passion, you etc. Your bubble is not what you are, it's what you think you are. It makes you float higher and progressively higher, and reaches an unsustainable altitude and then bursts. Hence, thinking out of your bubble can really ease many a bubble bursts, as and when they come.

Common known constants, beautiful paintings, and words we both know.

His knowledge can only reach her, in terms of what they both already know. I really wish to explain you this, but If I were to do that, I would use words, sometimes in writing and sometimes by speaking. Because words have a specific meaning, and the speaker uses them in a particular sequence/combination, often coupled with some rules, to convey a message. This transfer of messages is communication, and a communication is only successful when both the parties receive what has been sent, with absolute accuracy. So knowledge can only spread via the common known constants. Right now between you and me, it's the words that we both have agreed upon to be the common known constant. And that's why paintings are beautiful.

You know the Drill...right? Right?


What else?
Are you able to think of something else?
Is that doable?

Of Black Turtlenecks , Blue Jeans and Apple.Inc

Steve Jobs was a wise man. Irrationality is wisdom too, if it can put to good use. In this case, to create a technological Giant called Apple.Inc, the most influential technology company of our times. There are a few unconventional elements that clearly went into the making of this super-shining technological company. One of them clearly was the black T-Shirts and Blue jeans. The dress code which the then CEO, Steve Jobs and the then and now Apple employees, in the apple stores (the kind of employees that actually come into contact with the customers), adorn, both with equal pride.

This might seem to be a very simple and easily replicable strategy. Then why is it not easily done by everyone else? The challenge, curiously, does not rest with the frontline employees. They are, unfortunately not in a position to choose what to wear, hence any nicely done uniform sporting the brand logo will do just fine for them. It's then upto the CEOs to make the move, and to drop those pricey lustrous dark Suits. The art and the wisdom is in empowering the frontline employees.

Just imagine this and it will be all clear. Imagine your company's CEO making sure that he/she wears exactly what you wear every single day, and chose to do so for the rest of his/her life. You wear blue, he too does. You wear green, he does too. How would that make you feel? That's how they feel.

" Man 50%, dressing 50%" is the crude translation of an old Tamil (A Dravidian Language of the Southern India) saying. So if not anything else, you are 50% of what the CEO is, going by your dress code. The discretionary decisions that the frontline employees, "the biological-living faces of the brand", make with the customers can be roughly weighed to be 50% percentage of what the CEO makes in keeping the company healthy, alive and profitable. That's psychological employee empowerment at play, with just one party knowing how it all fits and works. Or may be both parties know it, but accept it happily, keeping their egos aside. Whichever be it, it does work.

Photo courtesy : Flickr user -

A place for Life's serious Businesses

"Gap between the response and the stimuli"...Makes all the difference. While reading the Stephen Covey's Seven habits of effective people, I stumbled upon the line that explains about the gap or space between the response we make to a stimulus. The more we are in this space, the better we respond. It is a way to exercise and building the patience muscle. It is in this space that the wrong, as well as the right decisions and hence the actions, are made. These lines, Stephen Covey claims, struck him fresh and stuck with him ever since. I write these lines now, in a dark space,during a power cut, in peace. The realizations are many. Firstly, the book reading happened when Steffi was sleeping and I was sitting close by her, for she was having fever and chills. The doctor advised rest, good food and as anyone would guess, a few pills containing paracetamol. To provide her the peace, I had to ensure an environment that was peaceful for her, at least peaceful enough to enable her mind and body to enter a brief slumber. In doing so, I discovered the peace too, after a long time. Steffi, caring enough to not let me be bored, asked me to watch TV if I wanted to, but I chose to read, and hence the peace continued to exist, both inside and outside the mind, and the reading went on and these words are being typed here. A place for serious businesses of Life. While reading the book in absolute peace, I realized, all over again, that we all need a place, a well kept one, to deal with the important thoughts and aspects of life. A place in which introspection and reflection would not be interfered by the noise of the daily earthly routines. A place, say, to reflect on the journal, to sit in dark and see the life with the eyes closed, a place to read good books, a place to write the book which others would read in their respective peaceful places. This idea is definitely not anything new. We all know this, I knew this before, you knew this all along. All good principles and ideas are just like this, and this is best put by borrowing a line from the same book, "an idea whose time has come", an inward revolution. 

Being selfish, for good.

It is only human to be selfish. Or better, it is only natural of all living things to be selfish. Self preservation is built into the very core of our behavioral DNA. The very purpose of life is to live, especially to live long enough to leave behind a progeny, so that the species continues to live on. Or better if the time permits may be leave behind a great idea or a product for the generations to come. Hence, it is very important and only natural to be selfish, and make time and resources for yourself.

I typed (about two months ago) this as I was watching a man in his sixties struggling to walk inside the bus (yes, while it is moving), he was definitely not healthy enough to maintain balance and walk firm. He could well have been, had he chosen, a few years ago, to be selfish for his own health. He could have been selfish and could have spent some time and money everyday to keep himself healthy. But he did not, because he had other priorities to attend to. His family, kids, parents, relations, work, aging parents and the same stuffs that we all have and must attend to in our lives on a daily basis. And now it was his turn, to transfer the burden to his kids and be the aging parent. And The cycle goes on.

Be selfish, for good. Loving yourself, at least for the important others! Hmmm...Interesting.

If you just had one year ahead to live...would you...

Would you be still working there? OR Do something that you always wanted to?

Would you still be saving money to start that business? OR Would you be up and running?

Would you still be putting up with those people? OR Choose to be with those whom you really like?

Would you still be hesitating? OR Ask him/her?

Would you still be in the relationship you are in now?

Would you be checking e-mails and Facebook every morning/moment? OR travel extensively and meet real people?

What hairstyle would you have?

What lifestyle would you keep? OR What lifestyle would you throw away?

What language would you learn?

What magazine/newspaper subscription would you choose to end?

Would you be reading all those books? OR Would you rather write that book of yours?

What's that thing that you always wanted to buy, but haven't bought yet?

Which pet will you keep? What will you name him/her?

What plants will live along with you, in your garden?

Will you tear away the mask, or choose to keep it till the last day...?


Puma, the Apple of shoes.

Today I had a good opportunity to go shopping for running shoes, which was because of my friend buying it for himself. I can't think of any other reason for which I would enter a Puma showroom otherwise.

As he was shopping, and I was tweeting and chatting with no idea about running shoes, all that I could notice was the emphasis Puma places on the design elements and the general branding aspect. I was lost in the symbols of marketing and branding, and such related soft touches of a big brand for quite a long while, the long while that Gautham (here: the friend) took to narrow down to his choice of shoe.

As we were riding back home, drenched in an unexpected yet comforting rain, I was comparing in my mind Apple to Puma. They seem to be doing stuffs alike. Good.

Doing anything well. How to...

Do anything.
But as you do it, keep saying, "I am doing the right thing".
And then do it well...
Also do it more often....
More often than not, it would turn out to be right, correct and successful.
Reason : Cos you did it well, and more importantly avoided having doubts about it in the process of doing it.

The Three-level Password : Password Management Strategy

Let's face it. Passwords are a pain.

Especially for the majority of Internet users who have the need to maintain anywhere between 40 to 60 different passwords, some for work and some for personal use and not to mention the lover-passwords, and/or friends-passwords. The latter two are more like a set of shared passwords which friends and/or couples share. More like a sign of trust and faith. Great going!

So we all kinda know what we are talking about right now. You know what to expect out of this blogpost. "A password strategy" that will not be a pain on your memory neurons and at the same time does not compromise your online security and privacy. You are reading the right write-up.


What kind of Passwords do systems require these days?

Password requirements vary depending on what you intend to use the password for. Windows password can be a simple word. Whereas, a bank password should not be a simple word, or it could be the other wat if your Windows OS has all our crucial data, but the bank account has nothing-to-lose! So categorize your requirements and plan your unique ways in which you will put this three-level strategy to work.

First Level

A simple password. In short, anything that you can remember. This will be the 'word' on which the complexity will be added.
Eg. loudspeaker : A simple non-guessable word.

Second Level

A password that requires atleast one caps(Uppercase alphabet), and one number.

Third Level

This is becoming the standard slowly, and this is where you can be at your creative best. A password with atleast one caps, one numeral, and one special character!

Eg. "Loudspeaker5%" or "Loudspeaker5^". That is, any special character above/next to the number you choose to suffix.

So essentially, you use the same word, which now is the only thing you have to worry about now. Make sure other's can't guess it.
Let it be not these:

"Mom / dad / girl's / pet's / bike's name
Years which you think only you know about...
You get the idea right?"

"Not guessable" is the keyword.
"If guessable" it's not a password.

What if my employer/organization wants me to change password every 15 days??

Do this...

  1. Loudspeaker5%
  2. Loudspeaker6^
  3. Loudspeaker7&
  4. Loudspeaker8*

and keep re-cycling your password.

It would be far more efficient if you can also change the 'words' often. And they too must follow a pattern. A pattern, that you are comfortable remembering.


  1. Himalaya1!
  2. Clipper2@
  3. SilverStar3#
  4. ClassicMilds4$ etc. 

Also, please add your password ideas/problems in the comments.


Cloud or Cloud 9. Specs don't matter.

"I am now on cloud, doesn't matter if it is cloud 9. We don't care about the specifications."

The year, five years ago. Age of specifications.

It was in my college times, when a girl I knew, when asked about her computer's specifications, did not know it. She just used her comp. That day, which was five years ago, and she seemed to be stupid. Today she seems all the more correct. No wonder I had a latent crush on her!

The un-definable years of computing.

This is 2012 and the world is being woken up to think beyond the specification of its computers. This change is being fueled by all the IT Titans nowadays, with the first being Apple, followed by Linux and now recently Windows. To write a blog post like this has become really difficult, as the definition of personal computer is changing, often crazily. The definition now includes anything from a Desktop PC, to a laptop, to a netbook, ultrabook, ipad, tablets, iphones and all other smart phones which seem to be using the same processors as our computers a year ago once did. 

This spec, that age.

My first laptop had 256 MB RAM, my present mobile, a Motorola Backflip has 512 MB RAM. But we are not here to cribb about this, are we?! The point of the post is that, we don't care what's in the device. All that we care about is what can the device do, and how well can the device do it. That's what smart means, isn't it?

Apple, past specification.

When I bought my Apple iPad, the seller convinced me not with specification, but only with what the device can do. It did make sense. Why would I bother which MegaPixel my camera is, when I can be sure to have a crisp photo from it, every time. The problem started with literacy, when after completing Engineering (or any technical degree), we needed a purpose or scenario to put that knowledge to use. And so the specs! finally.

In the process we forgot that we were consumers, who should not give a damn as to what's inside. All that we need is.. "will the device live upto it's promise." If it's retina display, I don't care to know the exact pixel count, the only question is, "do I feel happy looking at it?". Simple.

Even Windows does it, these days.

I am typing this, as the windows 8 consumer preview is being downloaded, it is currently at 72%! But one thing that inspired me to write this post was this, unlike how it used to happen those days, my computer was not bothered to ask me, "___ these many data are to be downloaded,____ it will take this long, ___close all other applications etc". Instead, the download is happening happily, and the message says "Feel free to use your computer!". Very unusual, but very very sensible. 

Windows phones, rethought. 

I don't have to access facebook "app", do I? Simple as it may seem, this architecture must have caused headaches and costed million of Ramen noodles, coke and cigarettes for the designers and engineers. In the end... everybody happy! The OS is integrated with facebook, twitter and other such usual "app" stuffs. I feel this is more like a positive mutation, rather than an evolution. Evolution is what Apple does.

Whatever be it, we are diving deeper into ubiquitous computing. And I am happy, cos I am a guy, and technology for us is raison d'etre! I am now on cloud, doesn't matter if it is cloud 9. We don't care about the specifications.


Dear Cafe and Malls. Internet is a basic amenity too.

Receptionist : (Fake smile) Thank you for the Stay sir. Hope you liked your stay here. If there was any inconvenience, we are sorry. But please let us know and we sure can serve you better the next time.

Customer : (Sarcastic smile) Electricity, water, soaps and shampoos and Air conditioning were not asked for, but provided to me as a basic and default service. I am here in this Hotel, and obviously not carring my Internet around. You must have provided me with Wi-fi. 


It often amazes me when I see public spaces like malls, cafes, restaurants, gyms etc spend huge sums of money on Interiors, chairs, tables and sofas, lighting, water temperature, soaps and its fragrances, AC temperature, ergonomics, Newspapers, magazines and a few hundred other factors, to win the customer's heart. But they miss the most easy and catchy form of service a company/institution can provide to its customers - Internet Access.





How do hobbies work? Explained.

Hobbies are important, no wonder generations after generations, our resumes have been carrying the information about our interests and hobbies. Ever wondered why you feel fresher after a brief period spent on your favorite activity? A lot has been said on the energizing nature of hobbies. But brain activities don't create energy, they consume it. Entropy rules! Then why or how do hobbies re-energize?

"a penny saved is a penny earned", a very old proverb. In fact the proverb here is so out of place that this discussion just lost its charm. But the saying says a lot. When read as "a calorie saved is a calorie earned", it makes sense, at least in this context. So getting back to how hobbies work, Hobbies are those activities that we choose to do, since we love or cherish doing them. Or better, passionate about doing those activities. Be it by nature or nurture, we all develop our unique interests and there is a part or module of our brains that is very capable of handling certain activities better than other people can.

Some paint, some sing, some write, some dance and some solve sudoku and crosswords. Not all can do everything. We do what we do best. But our jobs don't necessarily have to be the kind of activity that we might relish doing. You might be a painter working as a Sales person. Now this is tough, at least until when your brain learns new ways to efficiently form neuronal patterns that can handle new activities better, like remembering names (memory), mailing, thinking, decision making and calling, all at the same time (multi tasking) etc. Most of which are something not generally the kind of things that introverts do. So in the process of doing these new stuffs, our brains consume huge amounts of energy, simply put, more glucose and oxygen. So after a while (until the stamina gradually increases with practice) we are bound to feel tired. That's just normal and fair. For the brain needs rest now and then, to re-energize and form better patterns. In order to make something out of the gathered information, we humans need rest.

Hobbies, on the other hand, are activities our brains are better capable at handling. The patterns of neurons that makes a painter a painter, is unique to him/her. Your unique thinking patterns process data more efficiently and effortlessly. Passion fuels these activities. This makes the brain exercise a different part of the brain, which is already well designed to handle that specific and unique favorite hobby or hobbies of yours. So, you spend lesser energy as you indulge in your hobby, and by this time, the tougher job's data has been sorted and you are good to go again.

Not to mention that you are emotionally charged again and the hobby facilitated dopamine and endorphins are doing their magic. Congratulations, you just got more productive.

A "Thought Leader", answered I...

I had to answer a question. I loved to answer the question, too. I was just glad that I now stay with friends who ask me such questions. The question was...

What do you really want to become dude? When will you consider yourself a success?

It made me think for two seconds, not because I had to generate the answer, but because the processing speed of our brain is much more faster than the flexibility of our tongue muscles. The sentence got compiled in those two seconds. I answered...

Success is a relative term. And going by that definition, I am already a sucess. But if a goal were to be attached to quantify the success... then I want to be a "Thought Leader".

Now a friend who asks such a queston, is sure a serious question shooter. He was, and he went on...

So is it like you want to be a CEO or something? A business entrepreneur kind of??

Now this question demanded more of my processing potential! I had to phrase it properly, I had to deliver the answer with accurate precision. The entropy of the information had to be minimised as much as possible. I went ahead and replied...

A thought leader is one who makes it his responsibility to innovate, which requires a deep understanding and conherent thinking across many domains, to create a holistic and innovative concept/product/anything that was previously undone, but that which needs to be done with an urgency more than ever.

In short, if you think CEO's are the cream layer, a thought leader is one who lays the framework/model by which the CEO's think, and hence the term thought leader. He/she does what a scientist does to science. Science and scientists are in a symbiotic relationship. But, a thought leader and management science are in a mutualistic relationship.

By the end of the answer, the pulses of neuronic firing that existed in my brain embodying these concepts, gained a crisp clarity and identity in the more universal and Generic language of English. 


Wikipedia too talks on such stuffs, it would be a lot more easier if you could read about "Thought Leaders and Thought Leadership", using the link below. For in wikipedia, thousands of thought patterns converge to form an article, and at times such crowd-wisdom's co-creation is easier to understand.

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A Soft New World : Paradigm shift in power, porn, and population

Soft-Skills... Soft-Power... Soft-Ware... Soft-Porn...

we are in the age of fine refinements. 

Soft Power

British Empire, just a few decades ago was famous for wielding Hard Power, with strong expansion policies. Now, things have changed. It is the era of Soft-power, you are reading and I am writing in "English", we all watch and listen to BBC, we download BBC podcasts, become members of British Library's Cultural relations 'programme'. The expansion policy still holds good, but it is soft. It is refined. Enter the Soft New World.

Soft Porn

Porn is a different game altogether. BDSMCFNM, BBW, MILF and many more perverted concepts are gone. Porn industry now is focusing on 'Female-Friendly' porn! Wonder what that means! In simpler terms, it is a porn where the emphasis is not 'Sex' but to  'Make-love', emotions matter here, and that's all that matters. A Softer porn, more like our everyday life stuffs. Blame it on your mirror neurons. 

Softer Softwares

We don't see major software and OS designs anymore, or at least, as frequent as they used to be. All that we see are OS updates/upgrades, Software patches that are pushed when we are online. We don't want to shift environments, do we? Isn't it? Apple people/Android People/Windows people?

Soft Skills

Soft-skills, are the norms of the modern corporate. Frederick.W.Taylor's Scientific principles are slowly taking a back seat. Behavioural Economics are shaking up the very mindset of corporations and governments worldwide. It is in the small things that the major bucks are hidden. Advertising is not just tag lines anymore. Advertisements are now a very psychologically thought-about form of marketing. Sometimes called Neuro-marketing or Synaptic Branding.

Why all these Shifts?

Simple, we are not hungry anymore. We are not at war. Our Governments are fairly functioning well. If at all we are at war with the government, it is not because we don't have food, freedom or electricity. The soft-revolutions are now more about making the governments more efficient, free of corruption, better legislation, better administration, better global policies. We are at peace! 

A Brave New World? 

Nope, this is something better.

The Soft New World.

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