Networking is BS and Other Truths About Building Relationships

Few years ago, when I used to work for a large consulting firm, Networking was the in-thing. 

You could see the word everywhere. Inside work cubicles with motivational posters urging you to not simply work, but network to achieve collective goals. Even inside dining rooms which probably meant that you better have a working lunch to get your net work done with, well, eating business.

Woody Allen And the Truth About Enterprise Collaboration

I love Woody Allen's movies. How can any writer not adore this auteur with a sweet tooth for words on celluloid? In one of his masterly creations, crafted with his giddily effervescent energies, To Rome with love, Woody tells the story of a mortician Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato) who loves to sing in the shower. The trouble is that the man sings well only in the shower. And so, when a grumpy retired Opera director(Woody himself) decides to promote this tenor's talent, he installs the shower cabinet, soapsuds and all, in the theater.

Digital Transformation Delusion

The term "Transformation" doesn't ring too well in my ears. There is something axiomatically pejorative about it, when used in a business context. That the term is liberally used by technology consultants, prescribing bright, shiny objects for pain points within an organization, is widely known. Its deeper implications in the way we perceive and formulate change isn't. 

Before I inquire further, let me share the provocation which triggered it.

41 Ways to Probe Employee Engagement

Can I be brutally honest?

Employee Engagement can be a bitch.

If you’ve spent a lot of time addressing this pain in the patootie through shiny little objects for your clients, you would know what I am talking about.

You can either blame it on the Digital Utopia hype piping in the air right now. Or on the enterprise collaboration vendor’s popcorn content which pops in, every now and then, with fantasy stories about the digital workplace, conquering the evil forces of hierarchy, breaking the tyranny of emails, and promising us the ego-less, networked paradise where humans live in harmony with machines of loving grace.

When Bad UX Led to Serendipitous Customer Experience

The best of the brains in the industry are spending too much resources on persuasive technologies and too little on appropriate technologies. Why?

It was yet another day at work, burrowed inside slides and excel sheets, quietly nibbling away my body’s energy and my laptop’s virtual memory. It took me a second longer to notice my wife calling from home.

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.