Of Godmen & GUIs

The ‘Fast-unto-death’ theatrics of the past few weeks, allegedly (sic.) in a fight against corruption in India, have urged me to finally bring this article out of my closet. I wrote it fifteen years ago, almost to the day, for frogdesign‘s rana#3, a brilliant in-house publication that they shelved inexplicably. 

Godmen were around those days too, (their business model hasn’t changed) snaring people into their spiritual concoctions and exploiting India’s superstitious side. GUI was a term almost nobody had heard then. We in India still speak out the letters, not ‘gooey’ like the rest of the world does. Read it, like it, hate it, keep it, share it. Here goes …

India, at the end of History …

… is mystical and hi-tech.  Impoverished and affluent. A billion-strong society in a pulsating state of chaotic equilibrium. Cows and cars share city streets.  Superstitions abound and Godmen flourish.  We will show our palms to people who promise a peek at our destiny, or say they can chant away a terminal disease. We have much to learn, but the world can learn a great deal from us …  Continue reading “Of Godmen & GUIs”

Quiet is the New Loud

Knowledge work is not about theory, tools, methodologies, training or any such thing. It is about attitudes of individuals forming teams. Read the post Quiet is the New Loud.

Riitta Raesmaa | Startup Entrepreneur from Helsinki, Finland | I blog about both personal and professional topics: Entrepreneurship, Technology, Social Business/Enterprise 2.0, Social Media, Cloud, SaaS, Books, Design. Or refer to what my wise friends have written.

Always in Beta. And passionately so.

Excerpts:
1/ We have unforeseen number of software tools and technologies available to support these flows. Still it is primarily not about the tools and processes. Most of all it is about an attitude – an attitude of the individuals forming a team, working group, or an organization.

2/ “Systems Intelligence (SI) involves the ability to use the human sensibilities of systems and reasoning about systems in order to adaptively carry out productive actions within and with respect to systems.”

Condoms & Chapter 11: The story of protection

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Image via Wikipedia

I swear this is a true story. I was at a lawyer friend’s when Swami Nithyananda sauntered in, robe and all. He wanted to understand whether he could file for Chapter 11. After all it provided blanket (pun unintended) bankruptcy protection and you could stretch it to spiritual bankruptcy surely.

“I have been victimised. I was merely exchanging a freely tradeable commodity since the kamasutra days, viz. body fluids. My customers paid for quality of my ‘service’. Now my business is bust and I need protection.” He went on to read out the general provisions … Continue reading “Condoms & Chapter 11: The story of protection”

Twitter is digital Marijuana – Wasted Time or Lost Opportunity

Twitter is a place to tell the world something in all of 140 characters. I’m not about to explain that the underlying sms technology is what creates this limit and it is not a number based on user research or any fancy stuff of the sort. So it’s a great way to waste company time for personal gratification. After all, how can anybody say something in just 140 characters (including spaces). How’s 20-odd words going to convey anything meaningfully?

imageOkay, so you want to be the first to tell the world what’s happening around you. You want to get your thoughts out of your system so new ones can be born. You want to keep checking how many people are following you. And you want your employer to pay for all this. Shame on you. What a waste of time! And some of you even try to convince your marketing guys get a company account for some ‘brand building and preservation’. The world is about ‘conversations’ you say.

Sorry, but I just don’t get it. Okay, the Dalai Lama tweets his spirituality. And Continue reading “Twitter is digital Marijuana – Wasted Time or Lost Opportunity”

Overthrowing the incubation regime

From an earlier post Business Incubation 101 that forms the preamble of my incubation idea. Thanks for all the offers of support – shows me that the idea resonates with many.

1. First bring the academia out of the safety of the cocoons we’ve woven around them. Have them check out what the world looks like. Today’s world. Today’s India.

2. Next, focus towards incubating ‘people’. They should be the real focus. Find real mentors. People that have been in the entrepreneurial world even if they have failed. They are the best teachers. Not professors of colleges. Don’t talk about incubating business. Leave that to the Western world.

3. Next, teach people to fish. No point in teaching fishing in your living room aquarium. At least walk them out to a brook. Pick up all the university incubation centres and physically put them off campus. That’s where the world exists. Not in the time warped government funded institutes.

Entrepreneur-ism is not socialistic. And capitalism doesn’t necessarily mean greedy or mercenary – especially in the context of India’s ethos. Make entrepreneurship an attractive lifestyle and stop being condescending irrespective of the preamble of our constitution. That goes for all those holier-than-thou bankers and VC’s.