When Confidence Speaks…

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It’s a day of strike today here in TamilNadu and it’s a wonderful day to drive – though everybody is a little scared to go out and do that. The ruling party is protesting against the stay on reservations.

I’ve heard both sides of the story, and there are cases for and against it. Well, my statement is simple. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, and you cant help them without hurting someone who really needs that help. When we get to a point when we (and I mean as a nation) refuse hand-outs and are confident that we can gain that and more on our own hard work, thats when we have any chance at all to get somewhere. We are simply pathetic and whining until then, crying rivers about our woes, as if no one else in the world is suffering.

What a waste of a perfectly good day!

 
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Birthed on Stability

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When a company is born, most of the time, it seems that they are judged on the basis of month to month revenues. I am not sure if that will work for long. After the company proves its business plan, by virtue of breaking even, the first thing they need to do is call for a meeting with all their senior management and hands-on board members, and discuss on a plan to stabilize the company. What do I mean by this?

Well, there are companies that make 200K one month, and 0 on the other. That is the most unstable company that you can think of. If that company was on the public market, very few people would take a look at it. In other words, when building a company, you probably need to start looking at it, as if it was in the market, and if so how would you manage its stability.

So, how does one go about it: I’d say, take a graph of revenues, partnerships, deals (enquiries and deals won, along with the percentage ratio of it), number of employees, and profits of the company and plot it on the graph. Do it month per month and make sure that they are rising. If it rises on one month drastically, figure out how to sustain that growth. The keyword here is very much on “sustained growth”. If you can manage that…. I need not say what awaits you.

 
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The Ideology of Bevolent Dictators

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Dictatorship. Aristocracy. Veto Powers. Over-riding Authority.

Read those words. Understand them and read them again. Is the mental image at the back of your head, somewhere close to the pre-90s timeline?

Jimmy Wales. Linus Torvalds. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates.

When you think of them, can you associate them with those words? Yet the fact is that, they are more closely aligned to those words, than a democratic society where everyone and anyone runs the show. Yet, despite a dangerously aged, and often mistrust ideology, they all seem to have achieved to reach milestones. What does it all mean?

Let me hear your thoughts. There is a post on this, coming very soon.

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Barcamps, Barcamps, and…*Yawn*

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The concept of “Unconferences”, single-heartedly goes to the web2.0 camp, who are trying to remake the good ole days of 1999 and to recreate the next bubble – mostly out of monetary ambitions, but also with the desire to revolutionize the web. Let’s, for the sake of all the beauty pageants who wish for world peace, assume that it was and is the case of the latter and for the common good. Still, where does barcamps lead to?

I am sure it was quite an earth-shattering decision when a group of folks, who were absolutely certain that they were as knowledgeable as anyone else was left out of a “invite-only discussion”, decided to start a club of their own. Barcamps they called them. The defining concept of this model was named “unconferences”.

Let me start with a bit of a disclaimer: I was responsible and involved with the organization of more than one barcamp, and with quite a geographical distance. I did enjoy it. Now back to the proceedings…

But I am afraid that its being overdone, and the point is getting lost. There is too much chaos, absolutely nothing new shared and it is all swept under the big, huge, heavy carpet of “unconferences”

A lot of people quote to me that “the collective knowledge of the audience is more than the knowledge of the speaker”. Well, I would agree, disagree and might even try to do the horizontally-vertical nod to depict “maybe”. Let me try to explain this:

A group of folks get together under a roof and decide to learn french. Everybody knows about two words and some grammer in french and they decide to put all that knowledge before the group. End result, you probably know a bit more french, than what you went in with. You also probably figured out that half of what you thought was french, wasn’t french. That, would be a typical unconference-style barcamp for me. You learnt something, and got some feedback on your assumptions, and that’s awesome.

The point is that, there are two conditions here. People are participatory. and Everyone attending has some “more than average” knowledge of the subject matter at hand.

But, what seems to be reality is that, there is an increasingly number of barcamps organized, on topics unknown to them or their forefathers, and still playing the tune that somehow the knowledge of the crowd is greater. Well, if you none of you can even spell french, you are probably not going to get out with anything more than that – and if there is only one person who knows french and everyone else is learning those two words out of him, well then thats your typical conference.

I am sure there is an angry mob waiting outside my door by now.

barcamps are vital. But they should remain small. They should be elitist. They should cater to a focused group and it should be about growing exponentially with radically different ideas shared during that moment. None of which will happen with an open door and audiences that you are not even going to say hello to.

Barcamps are personal to me. Every meeting that I have with my close friends and associates and the intense debates and discussions, are what grows and expands my horizons. And I long for barcamps where 90% of the audience would know what they are talking about, and are the kind of people who are pushy, daring, radical explorers and can come up with as crazy ideas as possible. Trust me, even those 10% who are around them, will catch that crazy flu!

I propose this. Actually, I dare this thought to the next group which is planning a barcamp. I dare that you organize a group that is small and personal. Take the effort to introduce people who are attending the event ahead of the event and get some discussions flowing. Share your backgrounds, the work you are involved in and what your pet peeves are – with the warning not to ever go near them. Show me a barcamp where the partipant to speaker ratio is close to one. I challenge, dare, and I would use any word that comes close to carrying the meaning of the word “urge”, that it will be the best discussion and time of your life you’ve ever had.

Credit: I agree with Atul chitnis, along the very same lines of thought of keeping barcamps small, simple and effective.

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