When Bad UX Led to Serendipitous Customer Experience

My latest post, reflecting on my Ola Cabs experience is here. Go. Read. It should take you about 4-5 minutes to read. 

The Story of My Mentor

A deeply personal post about my dear friend, mentor is out here.  Do check it out. 

Are your clients asking for a boat?

Some clients will ask me for a boat.
What they actually need is to cross a river -Ronald Shakespear

When I discovered this quote canoeing through my social stream, I was delighted by the sweet scent of familiarity. Any technology consultant worth his salt would narrate to you (probably after few mugs of beer) anecdotes of consulting engagements that went awry after painfully coming to terms with the futility of nailing down the scope and requirements in the aftermath of stakeholders' radically different world-views and expectations.

Among the ones that I have heard of, my favorite anecdote is the tale of a disgruntled Share-point Consultant. In a last, desperate attempt to break the project deadlock with the client stakeholder, the share point consultant decided to catch up for a casual, coffee chat. Sipping his cold coffee, the client stakeholder coolly asked,

"Can you tell me what is the difference between SharePoint and Skype?"
Seeing the consultant wear the countenance of a child lost at the fair, the client continued to explain, “I can collaborate with anybody in the world using Skype for free, and even call regular land lines very cheaply. Why should I pay half a million bucks for SharePoint to collaborate?”

Not Another Brick In The Wall

"..I somehow knew this...the present schooling system was not the best that we could have come up with to educate our children. We who have come up with wondrous symphonies, unbelievable art work, innumerable myths and stories to explain the mystery of human life, could have come with something way way better, something much closer to the way all of us learn, something that gives space to our curiosity and not a system that systematically destroys it..."
Amit is not just a dear friend of mine in Hyderabad, but my oasis of silence and reflection in this noisy modern world. In this TEDx talk at IIT Kanpur, he shares his journey so far. The transcript can be found here. This should take you around 10-12 mts, if you choose to read in one go. I think you will like it. You can view the video here. Do share your thoughts/comments.

What I learn in LinkedIn

My new post examining the subtle messages conveyed by LinkedIn platform is here. It is very brief.I  should not take you more than two minutes to read. Do check it out and share your thoughts. 

Curated Writings: On writing sentences

From the little I have written on the Web, I can relate to a writer's travails. The excruciating pains of labour in constructing a sentence that stammers to sound right. The inconsolable pain at staring the blank white screen endlessly. Vikram Chandra, in his part non-fiction, part memoir, "Mirrored Mind", captures the essence beautifully.   

"Writing sentences felt like construction, and, also, simultaneously, a steady, slow excavation. You put each word in place, brick upon brick, with a shimmery sense of what the whole edifice would look like, the shape of the final thing. But each phrase was also a digging inward, an uncovering. You tunneled, dug, dug, On good days, you emerged from your labours tired but happy. On bad days you were left quivery, stupefied. There was risk and danger involved in this work. You always got strung out, ground down, strained thin. Ended up a little sad, maybe a little mad. Not a way to spend life."

7 habits I never realized I had picked up in school

And finally, my new blog post in Medium exploring the habits I had learned in School is out here. 

This is one of the most intimate pieces I remember writing in the recent times. The post is fairly long. It should take you around 9 minutes, if you choose to read in one go. I hope you like it. Do share it and let me know, if it speaks to you. 

Guest Post: Charlie Hebdo, God and Earth Spirituality

Editor's note: I will be taking part in a three-day Earth-Spirituality confluence from March 7-9. More details about the event can be found here. This paper, written by one of the event organizers, Raghu Ananthanarayanan, will drive some of the key conversations during the gathering. More Essays on Earth spirituality can be found here.
"Human beings experience hurt and pain. They seek refuges from hurt and pain. They seek refuge in wealth, they seek refuge in other men, they seek refuge in knowledge and they seek refuge in the idea of god. They can see easily that neither wealth nor other people are true refuges. The other two refuges are beliefs and they unleash much violence before their falseness becomes evident. It is only when a person gives up his search for refuges that he takes the first step to ending dukha"                                                                                                      - Gautama Buddha
The Hypothesis
We don't have to protect our environment, we don't have to protect our idea of God, we just have to discover how to transform the violence that seems to be the defining characteristic of man.

The Framework
We need a shared framework through which we can examine this hypothesis and discuss its merits. Groups function through the dynamic balance between three ways in which human beings interact with each other. These three ways are collaboration, confrontation and collusion. The ground this stands on is a shared idea of self and the other.