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Showing posts from 2015

Every day is an interview day

Over time, most organizations descend to the mean. What happens in such cases is slow and simple: people start taking things as if they are entitled - to the culture, to their right to define culture, and to their special right to understand how the company works.

This is not a designed event.

It happens gradually as people become comfortable with their success.

It is also a result of the very factors that made the place extraordinary in the first place.

Extraordinary results come from founders and their mindset that is coded into behaviors that reinforce each other: scale that comes from a shared understanding; the understanding that forms a culture; culture that drives the quality of interactions;  quality of interactions that result in people being friends with co-workers (and vice-versa); the natural give-and-take of social norms that becomes the unwritten cookbook.

Without care, these very same factors become a potential place of stasis.

What happens cannot be noticed easily.

Mo…

How transformation/change could be hard - an analogy from Life

The illusion of steady change
Most changes are gradual. Or it appears to be, as you read stories and narratives about successful people. Be it successful CEOs, scientists, artists, startup founders, you name it -- almost every one who has reached a state of success, it seems, has had a steady run of successes.

We want to believe that these fine folks transformed their lives because they worked hard,  had talent, or had help, or many other things -- and it was simply effort and reward.


But we all know this is not true. Otherwise, we'd be doing more of what we do best, every day.

What is it that can explain great changes? It is a transformation. Yes, it has gradual bits and habits thrown in. But in the end, they were ready to transform themselves. They were ready to re-work their brains, bodies and life into a new combination.

Example from the chemistry of Life
There is an example in Life that may shed some light. Treat this as an analogy, but it has some lessons.

To illustrate, …

Timeless management

Managing your time is incredibly hard in today's world. Email, social networks, news, apps, places, things, books, relationships and one-on-one interactions - there are many that require our attention.

With such diverse sources, things don't happen in time, they simply surface like infinite waves in an ever present ocean.

This is the side of a communications utopia that we wanted but not quite anticipated.

You dip your sense into this ocean and scoop up a sea of things to do, and ideas to think about.

Your mental near field is an idea forest.

Its far-field is receding farther as you move faster towards it.

Abundant, yet mercurial, filling, but unfinished, pointed, yet leading to aimless frittering of your time. It seems that those magical pyramidal neurons have caught their idea virus and are unable to rest. Time passes, yet there is no end in sight.

How do you create your purpose? How do you manage the flow of time?

In the journey from ignorance to information, we are slowly…

Intangibly nice people

Being nice is so obviously a good thing.

The fact is that you'd be hard pressed to get a single, succint definition of "nice". Courteous? Yes. Reciprocal? Yes. Well mannered? Yes. Not rude? Yes. Win-Win? Yes. Giving? Yes. Etc. Etc.
In public interactions, nice is synonymous with keeping peace, moving in unison, making things easier for everyone. This is absolutely the right way to conduct oneself in the world, if we want to move the world. It is the habit that many of us mold our childhood innocence into, to make the world a better place every time we practice it.
But the nice that I want to frame today is different. It isn't a quality, but more than that. Without offending all of us, it is safe to say that only a few people are this nice. Of course, some of these nice embodiments are given to you - parents, siblings and early childhood friends. Their niceness lasts a lifetime if you are gifted enough to tend them against the escape velocity that space and time sepa…

The Zen of Trust

Zen master Himadri was reputed to be a great leader who built stunningly successful institutions multiple times in his life. One of his disciples, Supyo, wanted to know the secret to his success, so he could build an organization himself.

Himadri said, "leadership".

Supyo was a little irritated with this answer. He had read everything about leadership. Countless tomes, written by countless leaders. Every one explained how they (or someone else) succeeded in building something that lasted for a long time. But none of it explained how someone can succeed so well so many times. Supyo wanted to not just create something once, but may times, much like Himadri. And he knew he had other precedents (none of whom had written about their success, strangely.)

Supyo had heard of Master Jobs and Stargazer Musk. He considered these two giants to be the only exceptions to the rule - that it is rare to even get one attempt at creating something stunning and extraordinarily valuable.

Then t…