Whatsapp – Email overload & Enterprise social networks!

The last few years I have been really getting acquainted with several companies in my line of a work as tech sales guy. I see several organizational problems that I see building up due to unfettered tech and its wrong usage.  I’d love to solve them and have a few suggestions and being who I am they are inevitably about the more adoption of technology! I mean hey Whatsapp just got bought for like $10 +billion and people have a huge opinion about it. But all it did there was just move text messaging from the voice on CDMA+GSM spectrum network to the Internet Protocol/data network on the GSM+CDMA spectrum and added a layer of take and share media and files, create private friends or family social networks and on the mobile!

Email overload at the workplace is the latest big thing now that I really want to handle – it is so current now that were you to type in that search word – damn there’d be an article an hour back like say this one when I started to type this out. The solution is not too tough really – all you have to do is move that traffic else where on other servers that can handle it and is not as crowded and with less noise.

Go Yammer  and the ESN way. ESN is something I think I coined if no one has used before: enterprise social networks. If you don’t want to use Yammer – you may as well use FB – create corporate FB Ids centrally etc. But the point is it is they are there and can be used. You could try moving to the sales force dot com platform and use that as your workflow and sales force automation systems also and create that process. People like it or not read their FB messages, twitter feeds, Whatsapp dialogues more than anything else. More than SMS perhaps! There is even bug report on mozilla asking to see if reddit can be used to replace yammer?

Also the medium makes it such that people are forced to stay on script; brevity is the soul of wit as said Polonious in Hamlet  – a Shakespearean play. People need to have to be brief by the urgency of the medium and the forced restriction of space. Occasionally it spawns it’s own language like BRB, IMO, IMHO; LOL; BTW! Plus it brings in the concept of presence ; you know who is logged in on a server somewhere on the internet and can send receive files etc!! There are also possible videoconferencing and tele calling available which makes ESN the best way to go to handle email overload. In a very Marshall Mac Luhanesque manner; the medium becomes the message! Also it is open source capable and can be mostly configured for free with admin levels rights requires payments but it gets the work done!

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Mumbai and le mondial!

 
I wrote about Mumbai some time back about how it is rude and all – as per RD – a right wing american rag. And now Mumbai’s just had a few more bombs go off and people die. And guess what – that is the thing about Mumbai – it is back on its feet and doing what it did – nary a care that bombs went awry where men once swung.
I have lived in that town – and man it is a hard time there  for all they that are not born there or do not claim with it a deep secret bond of mystique that makes pleasure of all pain. It is a tough town out there and it is a lot like – ok go hit me – guess what I will bounce back – not hit back – but just stay standing. I will wear you out! That is what Mumbai is – a tough town and it has shown yet again that no bombs or busts or bulls or bears or what have you can ever bring it down.
 
Everyone is a jehadi these days and the guys that get caught in the crossfire – well the US state department calls them collateral damage. It somehow minimises the fact that people died; lives were lost and children orphaned.But a prayer to their souls nonetheless.
 
What is it that makes man kill man; what is it that makes a footballer head butt his opponent in a momement of great and blind anger? They said insult – some deep insult so deep that violence is the way out? Who wins? No one does – in war there are no victors – only surviovors – some one once said this!!!!
 
I do not think anything is ever worth this much angst – nothing; and then you are in a position where the world sees your folly and makes decisions and judgements and you are the captain of the national team of a country that gave the world Descartes; De Maupassant; Pascal and even Napolean. And at that august company  do you wanna be known as the guy that caused what the french are calingl – le coupe de bouille? A headache? After all they even have their own name for that magic game there – le mondial!
 
Why then did a footballer do what he did then; why then do bombs go off in what the portugese once called bom bahia (the good bay!)- because everyone is a jehadi these days. And cause nihilism and a desire for anarchy is back – people want a new order – it is just that they do not know what order means. It is for us people then that must do our own little bit to ensure that it stays away and humans retain their sanities and all that is good and might rules and all that is bad and ugly stay away!

On Refrees, TV experts and other really bad people!

I dunno – the world is really become bad now – people aint kind to their fellow men and except for childern – innocence and other nice things cannot really be expected to be seen in a human! Such is how bad things are – Reader’s Digest – that great American right wing collation of articles has just published a ranking of global cities on politeness and as usual we have come in there some where (http://www.rd.com/content/openContent.do?contentId=27599&pageIndex=2)last Mumbai is the rudest damn city in the world and NY is the most polite!! And yes elephants can fly and have wings!
 
That is how I felt when I read that but well I also knew if it came to rudeness – us Indians can really pile it on and well having lived at Mumbai when it was Bombay and all that – I know that town could be tough on the un suspecting! But then again people such as I that must as we have – query why ’tis such and not otherwise – must state that the test that they put them poor mumbaikars to was rather unfair! In their own  words…they performed 3 experiments: "door tests" (would anyone hold one open for them?); "document drops" (who would help them retrieve a pile of "accidentally" dropped papers?); and "service tests" (which salesclerks would thank them for a purchase?).For consistency, the New York tests were conducted at Starbucks coffee shops, by now almost as common in the Big Apple as streetlights. In all, 60 tests (20 of each type) were done.’
 
Some of that stuff don’t work at Mumbai. In 1993 they had a lot of bombs rip them apart – much before 9/11 – lot of people died (but lesser than did at NYC) and well I guess people just got a little bit untrusting and do not really pick up documents dropped – a little less courtesey maybe. There are a billion of us Indians out there and that is a lot – nearly as high as China so I guess it strains behavior a bit? The closest asian rival that we have in these sweepstakes of the low – is in fact Kuala Lumpur at Malayasia!
 
 
And then there was football and I was trying to make sense of refrees that bought countries hitherto strong and relentless down to their knees. What was that Spanish  guy thinking when he pulled a free kick on Australia for a guy tumbling on a fallen player? I don’t know what his name was and I don’t want to know it but he bought down a match. Then again there was that Russian madman that pulled 12 yellow cards in one game and some one else upped that and  pulled out 3 damn yellow cards!! That is againts the law man – 2 cards is it!

The system and us!

Back when I was younger – a small kid really, I heard a lot of young folk (twenty somethings) crib about the ‘system’ and how they couldn’t break it and how it just overpowers. It was then that I kind of got like really wary of this thingy – ‘the system’. The roots of the term – ‘the system’ I think (there is not in my mind any ready reference that I can cite here) originated around the 1960’s – 50’s and was something that the young at that time perhaps fought against?
 
At the wild west that was America then there were I believe gentlemen of some amount of disrepute like Allen Ginsberg; Ken Kesey; Jack Kerouac to Bob Dylan who gave a generation something to sing about and supplied us the beatnik!Many historians have asserted that this philosophy of anti-materialism, combined with its fundamental soul-searching impact led to the lyrics of popular 1960’s musical revolutions like the early Pink Floyd; The Beatles, and was thus  the precursor of a generation.
 
In India poverty stricken as we were – some of the biggest thoughts and movements around that time were writ in the grim realities of the landless and the classless and the severely marginalised. I cannot confirm if any music came out of this – but it would be fair to assert that Ravi Shankar did play at Woodstock! Yet there were battles against the system and artistes and the populace revolted in their own ways. Che Guevera might today just be a T shirt – in those days he was more potent than anything anyone had ever conjured up. Revolution was at every corner; nook and cranny!
 
But things wither and age as do ideaologies and idealogues and so we are the wiser and older – the time is gone; the song is over – thought we’d all had somethings more to say! I look back at those days when they fought the system and look in to myself and I think – you soon stop fighting the system – because the way it goes – after a while you become the system! I am not the expert on this one and to be on the right side of all concerned – must clearly state that these are my own opinions here – but the best way to beat the system if ever there were one – is to become it! It was an young leader that queried  and prompted us to ask not what it is that the nation does for us but rather what we could do for it?! And that is where the system is and that is where it must be changed.
In the modern world the here and the now is most important and existence has devolved into a primal selfish survival kind of an instinct. The sociopolitical mileu today is vitiated such that most people expect the worst in everything and institutions such as the government are often scorned. No one wants so much to be an hero either most of the times at least; they are happy just watching the world go to nuts. It is the season of reality TV – ennui takes over and people live vicarious lives. No one wants to get involved any longer. I think back in those days – the 60’s they call it – I think people were somehow more concerned – or so it seems – where did that feeling go?
 
Yes there are some people who dare rise and make a difference and they are often feted for that act – but there are not many – not even appropriately or representatively as many as they should be! I fear this is due to a feeling of helplessness perhaps or maybe an idea that one cannot hope to make a difference that plays havoc with a person’s choices. But it is not true, in our own little ways we can hope to make small little differrences and these if done long enough and with enough feeling will soon grow and become a movement potent enough to overthrow anything.
 
In China a few years back a small little series of breathing excercise and indigenous aerobic caused quite a stir. A political stir fry at that! This activity – a lot like ‘tai chi’ another Chinese breathing excercise – was called Falun Gong and scared the people who control that country enough to ban it. Practioners were hounded out. It is a lot like if ‘yoga’ at India became so bad (or contorted!)  that they had to ban it here. The chances that yoga will get there are fairly low – but it did happen in Beijing! A small little thing can make a big change – all we need within us is to make that effort and try to change one little thing around them that they’d rather not see happenning!

Youth, enthusiasm, impetuousness – for what?.

Those who forget history they say are condemned to repeat it and we see that all around us as mandal 2 unfolds – as names go a rather casteist one! Again young students start on an inflamed passion and yet I hope not as I type this.
 
Youth is a beautiful thing – the most beautiful in fact – people from ages unknown have prized it and in modern days have tried vainly and hopefully unuccesfully tried to retain it well past it’s possible lifetime. The Mahabharata in the Adiparva had an interesting anecdote about King Yayati who lost his youth due to his philandering ways and the curse of the father of his wife who he had done wrong by. He wrangled it out of one of his many sons with a deal he cut with one – Puru – his youth for Yayati’s kingdom. I do not kno whow history judged him – but such is the beauty of youth that many have done a lot to retain it!
 
 
The thing about the young is their enthusiasm – the way they take it upon them to be well young and cheered and you know enthusiastic! I remember my first brush with the ‘reservations’ issue – I was perhaps in class 8 then at high school when these young enthusiastic types – sophomores probably, came and shut down our school and took us to a long march to the town hall – in protest. I was a tad perturbed then as I was not the marching types. But it gave us a day of school and I figured this was a fair excuse to take two more days once I got back home as parents would certianly be concerned. Later in life whilst my self in the first year of graduate college – the ugly R word raised its head and we got a few days off college. I took some time out to try and get ahead with this young lady student in my class who was otherwise besotted with the equally young college leader. I did not succeed – but the students did and the R word was pushed back. But somehow it does not go away as it probably cannot in a society as primeavealy class based as ours.
 
 
And also the fact that the people who bandy it about – the elected leaders of our nation and the who’s who – for their children – study all in foreign climes whence the ugly societal menace of politically motivated short term affirmative action initiatives have not destroyed their youth’s future.  Whatever else has happenned to the world – nothing’s really gotten better. There are famed climatic eventualities called ‘El Nino’ that bring about weather changed that make humans die. Religion promotes one human to blow up many more in the name of a war of righteousness – self righteousness.
 
But this ugliness – I wonder will it ever provoke once again some of the stuff that Majumdar & Sanyal tried to bring about in 1967? I hope not once again and I pray not – it is not for youth to be blown away at the altar of meaningless unrecognised sacrifices – enthusiasm that leads to impetuousness. Live to fight – live to change – live to try. The revolution shall come – there are many that want it – but come it must not in a nihilistic fashion with anarchy. Living well – an American humorist in his syndicated show once said – is the best revenge.
 

cynicism & the 21st century – will this be the defining trait?

I remember when 2000 AD hit; I was at my computer trying to keep tabs, connected to the internet on a dial up connection on how the world’s network was doing. The roll over to the 21st century was if you recall when everything was gonna go kaput and you know real time judgement day scenario. I recall very clearly articles run in Time magazine and Newsweek as to how people in the US were stockpiling for d day. Out there in America they always love a good scare – a bogey they call it & boy was Y2k it or was it ever!!! I even can recall many a ‘software company’ around here at India doing Y2K conversion work and god knows what not.
 
And of course Y2k rolled over – people soon realised they had been conned – as they would have in every time bound scam. Only so many people had gotten scammed and so many people made money on this fear psychosis thing that hell when the costs had to be weighed out – they all thought it better to forget and you know look at new stuff (scams?) like say the dot com boom or bust – depending upon when you came onto it ?!?
 
But that is when it all started on that journey downhill – human beings kinda got into being cyncial; trust went out of the window and life got a bit more steely, stuff got tough. And hey I am not saying it was just because the Y2K roll over crisis did not tun out to be as worse as what every one had cranked it up to be – people kind of realised how easy it was to go on a ride that did not go no place; how to jump on to that gravy train that did not have any gravy in it.
 
People are definitely a bit more thorough in their evaluations and the booms and bust are of shorter terms now and then we had those corporate loss of faiths with Enron and Dynegy and a chief exec on a binge at Tyco. People had  a lot to lose faith on and whether it was more than it used to be in the last century – well I haven’t mathematical data to prove it – however I will wager that it indeed was.