“Your call is important to us …”

Call me old fashioned. I hate answering machines.

I miss the busy tone I used to hear that told me two things; that you were there at the other end AND you were busy speaking to somebody. Auto ‘Redial’ came in as a great feature because my phone could keep checking with your phone and would call us both right back when they became free. I could do something else meantime, instead of sitting by the phone fidgeting impatiently. But I won’t say that the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) feature was a logical step in the right direction. Firstly the ‘voice’ became impersonal. Second, I could go on and on pressing buttons and finally wait on end — I have waited as long as a half hour before I hung up in sheer frustration on an airline’s ‘customer care’ line at LAX — I could hear spurts of lo-fidelity digital music randomly interspersed with,

Your call is important to us … All our agents are busy at the moment … [silence] … Somebody will be with you shortly … [music] [silence] ” looped a gazillion times.

You ask me why I stood by the booth with the handset to my ear for a full 25-odd minutes.

Well, tell me, what were my choices?

My only fault was that I apparently believed their claim that my call was important to them. No doubt there’s great merit in technological progress, but the way it is applied today leaves me wondering if technology has overtaken our lives. Continue reading ““Your call is important to us …””

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.

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.”

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”

Business as ‘social’?

Young people interacting within society.
Image via Wikipedia

A few months ago, a journalist friend asked for my view on What would motivate technopreneurs to consider building businesses around social technologies?”

My answer …

Building businesses around social technologies is like attempting to achieve the ideals of Communism using the methods of Capitalism. Look at the open source movement. It is not hard to guess why it has gained the status of a movement. The clues to countering the monolithic tendencies of technology builders are evidenced by the success of the open source philosophy. What it clearly shows is that power centres can and will be dismantled, it will be

less by the hunger for the power to own and more by the willingness to belong;

less by the striving for independence and more for the mutual value of interdependence;

less by the aggression of competition and more by the power of collaboration.

Golaiths beware the Davids are here to stay. The proof is Web 2.0. Here’s to the new wine and to the new bottle as well. 

There’s little value in prefixing the word ‘Social’ to media, networking, technologies, welfare or any other word. Wordplay sounds nice, looks good in a presentation and creates great news hooks. ‘Social’ has to do with society – a particular society. And society is shaped by people that have passion, conviction and a sense of urgency.

Technology is merely a toolbox for social change and technopreneurs must take it as their duty to identify the value that their ‘products’ will provide to those who will use them to positively transform and sustainably impact society as a whole.

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Cynicism 101 – Does India need Facebook?

I know nothing about sex because I was always married. – Zsa Zsa Gabor

With due respect – and with a slight twist while keeping the flavour: 

We know everything about social networking because we were never social.

I’d like to dedicate my quote to all social networking initiatives, sites, professionals and users. (And by the way, I too have memberships of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn).

First, a bunch of disclaimers:
1. If it creates controversy, great. It is meant to. If it provokes your intelligence and emotions; and punctures your ego, my job is done. It is intended to.
2. I have no intention here to suggest ‘mine-is-better-than-yours’ OR that Indian culture is any better than others.
3. This is not a patriotic or a political rambling. So please read between the lines. (If you read only with your eyes, white space is all you’ll see).
4. This post is an ‘equal opportunity, equal responsibility’ piece. Me included.

My thesis is simple. India does NOT need Facebook.   Continue reading “Cynicism 101 – Does India need Facebook?”