Being Laid Off is SO Much Better!

Posted in Big Thought, Business, People, Pulpit by Harsha on March 10, 2009

Time has a great article on the subject of finding out which is better – being laid off or being employed living in fear of being laid off. Here is an interesting quote:

It’s better to get the bad news and start doing something about it, rather than languishing in limbo.

The quote refers to patients waiting for their biopsy results feeling more stress at that time, rather than when they get the results, even if it meant they had cancer. Once they got the news, they could then take the necessary action either way.

Shame on companies that do not communicate enough, as I know from personal experience, to quench employee’s thirst to know more about the life of the business, about their own jobs, when the economy is in the crapper. I do not think you can over-communicate the issues. It does not mean having daily 9am meetings to talk about the “economy”, and “how it affects us”, but being open about sharing details about the business, I think, helps.

Most employees are not going to feel the same about the business as the founders or senior-level managers do. You need to communicate at their interest level. Telling them things are going to fine when you are firing others is the surest way to increase their stress.

While managers are spending time figuring out how to keep their own jobs and those of their employees, I believe the one thing that will calm everyone’s worries and put them in the frame of mind as that of the patients who got their biopsy results (even if it meant cancer) is to talk with each other openly as two equal human beings. A lot of us get caught up in the titles and pompousness of a “senior level position” or believe that “I am the owner of the business or the manager of this division and I know more”. Sorry, you do not. You are the same as I am. You may have more money than I do, but we both have the same amount of time in a day. That is what equals us.

I think once business owners intrinsicly feel this type of equality, then the communication lines will open up. That is the way I believe that these stress levels will go down.

I speak from experience.

I am way more relaxed now, by the way.

Tagged with: , , ,

A Way to Make Money

Posted in Business, People by Harsha on February 21, 2009

Here is an easy way to make quick cash from an unemployed me.

Have a high-level meeting to find ways to make money in this bad economy. Dust off your files and pull up a super-old (and incorrectly) issued parking ticket. Notify the State first and make sure that I cannot appeal it. Either I cough it up or risk being towed. Finally, assign a frazzled employee to respond to my call only to say “hey, I had to pay my ticket from 1984, so…”.

Congratulations to MassBay Community College and its President Dr. Berotte Joseph on finding a truly unique way to raise cash in this tough economy. My $25 is in the mail.


Status Quo is Unacceptable

Posted in Big Thought, Business, People, Pulpit by Harsha on February 11, 2009

People say “Change is the only thing that is constant”. That is meaningless as it states the obvious. It shows that stuff you know and take for granted today, will change in the future. The marketplace will change for the better or worse. Your marital life may change as well.

But what do you do, now that you have this knowledge. How do you translate that into actions and those into results you want?

Status quo is unacceptable.

If change is inevitable, then why not energize it yourself? Flip the switch on things you’ve been doing the same way for a long time. Take a hard look at your sales process month by month. Remove what does not work.

Tagged with: , , ,

Layoffs in India

Posted in Business, Questions by Harsha on January 25, 2009

With globalization, India is being affected as well. Oddly enough, the Finance Minister has stated recently that India will not be affected by the US and global recession, provided that domestic demand keeps up. I’ve not looked but quite a significant chunk of India’s GDP is in the IT & ITES sectors, so I wonder how that will hold true.

Times of India article on American Express laying off (sacking as known in India) workers.

How to make money on PDFs

Posted in Big Thought, Business by Harsha on January 20, 2009

I just read the TechCrunch post on how Adobe is pulling the plug on an idea that planted ads in PDFs. TechCrunch says:

First, who wants to click on ads in a document? It is an unnatural act. Second, unlike a Website where advertisers at least have some sense of who the audience is, PDFs get passed around and downloaded willy-nilly. There is no good way to track who receives them, or who ultimately might click on those ads.

Adobe’s PDF and Flash are ubiquitous tools. I think both are as popular and as employed as the other for vastly different uses, which is great because you now use Adobe when you watch stuff on YouTube while you’re sending out a document to colleague.

I suspect one day we’ll hear about the great scandal in ads and how they never worked for anybody but the platforms (i.e. Google). Until then, I think there are plenty of other ways that Adobe can monetize PDFs.

If Adobe can deliver PDF ads, then they can deliver PDF apps. There are plenty of ideas like dictionary, translator, synonym lookup, on-the-fly spelling-‘corrector’. They can also open up formats – allow me to quickly convert to Word, for a small fee of 99 cents.

What software is discovering today, thanks to Apple, is something you’ll find prevalent in Asia in consumer products. The big guns like Proctor & Gamble and Uniliver understood that they will stand to penetrate the market only by cutting the volume and price of their products. I think that’s a great lesson for IT as well. Make bite-sized products at bite-sized prices.

Rare Quote from an Everyday Guy

Posted in Business, People by Harsha on January 8, 2009

“If you allow yourself to have other people continue to dictate your future, you’re at their mercy.”

– Michael Rimm, PRM Consulting

Taken from a recent CNN article. Standout quote in my opinion. An easy-on-the-brain quote to get you off lifesupport and start some independent thinking. A great lesson for me and seems to come quite timely. Interesting because:

All the careful planning, though, didn’t remove his fear, Rhim says. But he discovered something remarkable. Once he committed to leaving, doors suddenly opened for him: People materialized to help him and amazing coincidences led to business opportunities.

Doors seem to open when you decide to forge ahead. Now that is a comforting thought and I can say that such doors have opened for me as well. Pretty cool!

In his case, it was about starting his own business. My situations have been more personal, things I cannot delve into but things that had a significant impact on my life. For the longest of time, I felt under the control of others, but now realize that you are controllable to the level you let yourself to be controlled. I know of people who know what they want and are very clear, so no matter what the goal is, if we are able to prevent others from literally dictating what we should do, then I think doors will open because you are now looking for them. It does not have to do with finding a new or a better job, but applicable to personal and non-business situations as well.


Posted in Big Thought, Business, People by Harsha on November 25, 2008

I found this funny ..


Tagged with: ,

Cool site!

Posted in Business by Harsha on November 5, 2008

I came across this cool site for Non-Resident Indians living abroad but need assistance with stuff in India. While it is not designed really well, the service seems solid and pretty cheap.

Check it out:

Bank of America Customer Service Issue – Update

Posted in Big Thought, Business, New, People, Reviews by Harsha on September 4, 2008

Someone has been listening at the Bank of America corporation.

Last night, I got a call from Tara ***** (last name blanked out to protect identity), from the Executive Relations and Office of the Chairman. She read my blog after receiving the email from the PR/Communications team and called me to profusely apologize for the issue. She said that the 0% APR reinstatement and the $39 fee are unrelated, i.e., just because the 0% was reinstated, it doesn’t mean that the $39 fee cannot be refunded. She also said that the representatives (the one that threw me off the line and the other who would only give me 1/2 fee off because he was not “authorized” to refund the whole fee) AND the manager who never called me back, will be coached. Apparently, representatives are permitted to refund this fee.

Not only did Bank of America refund the other half of the fee, but it also has extended a $50 Amazon gift card as an apology for the inconvenience. Of course, Tara also made sure that I understood that I will need to make payments after the 22nd, which believe me, I will not forget! And if I do forget and end up committing the same mistake, then shame on me.

Here are some take-aways from this situation and I think it applies to both small and large businesses:

1. People generally at the top (either as pure managers or as owner/managers) care about what others say.

2. Everything is radically transparent: Information on LinkedIn helped me contact Bank’s Communications team

3. Don’t be a brat when trying to solve a problem – remember the person at the other end is just like you.

4. The web is POWERFUL!

I say the take-aways are similar for large and small companies because I faced a similar situation a month ago. A client of my employer’s wanted us to make good on a consulting engagement that was not completed as promised. While they had approved the work after it was done, they soon realized that it was actually incomplete. Now, I could have hemmed and hawed like a colleague of mine did when she heard this news, but my focus was crystal clear – we have to do what it takes to satisfy this client because it is about the overall relationship. It is never about this one transaction so while in the short run we lost some money, in the mid to long term, we have generated extremely positive brand recognition.

So, thank you Tara for the pleasant call last night and acknowledging that there was no logic behind what transpired. You are the right person to call in such situations because you could have been nonchalant about it, but you were not. You said the right things and hopefully learned a little from this situation as well. Please feel free to send in a comment on the issue.

A hearty thank you for everyone who commented on the previous posts – I believe in the power of us.

The Power of Blogging

Posted in Business, People by Harsha on August 29, 2008

I am touched by all the supportive comments and the email messages I have received from all of you. You can’t buy this type of unity with all the money in the world and it speaks directly to the power of blogging in connecting us all.

Thank you!