Social Media: boon or bane?

October 24, 2017 Leave a comment

White it is true that social media platforms like Facebook have restored long lost friendships, helped people find friends or classmates from the past and created friendships across the planet, isn’t it also true that it has caused people to identify themselves with people who have views just like theirs? In other words, hasn’t it compartmentalized people into smaller groups that increasingly alienate themselves from the rest? This Newsweek article characterizes the division quite well. In addition to this divide there is also a micro divide within families that is largely unnoticed: people are busy “socializing” with their friends on Facebook ignoring the family members living under the same roof! Distance is the new social?

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Summer break too long!

September 5, 2015 Leave a comment

The new college year is upon us. After a nearly four month long summer break the kids are heading back to college. About time. If you add the more than a month log winter break it feels like college spend more time out of college than in it. Is such a long summer break necessary? While it is true that many kids may work summer jobs as interns in the industry (not necessarily relevant to their majors) spending so much time away from college may be detrimental to their education. After all they will be spending most of their adult life working so why not increase academic rigor by making them spend more time in classes?

Categories: Uncategorized

Everybody should learn to sell

January 30, 2013 1 comment

Until recently I had a very low opinion of sales people. I considered them as lying and conniving weasels who would do or say anything to earn their commissions. This is despite the fact that my father was a salesman. All that changed when I read this book. This is not a book about sales. This is about the traits that make a person a good salesman. Let’s face it. We are all trying to sell something to someone all the time. A job seeker sells his skills to the employer who would pay the most; a school kid sells a vague excuse to the teacher on why he didn’t do his homework. The list goes on. There is nothing unnatural about sales. As an engineer I wish I had the skills of a good salesman. It would greatly help me to sell my ideas to egomaniacs 🙂

To sell is human. Just ask Dan Pink.

A middle class guru?

January 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Recently I was privy to a discussion on a guru who, supposedly, has captivated the minds of the middle class people in India. I was a passive listener to the conversation. What struck me most was how people classified this guru as a “middle class” guru. Guru, in Sanskrit, means one who removes darkness or ignorance; one who shows the way to the truth. Without getting into heavy duty metaphysics I tried to make sense of this classification. As most people know India is the land of gurus. There are gurus of various stripes all over the country. So I did some research on this particular guru. Turns out this man, most Indian gurus are men, is an engineer who got enlightened in his mid-30s. He drives fast cars, flies helicopters and glides on water in speed boats. He may drive fast bikes too but I am not sure. Then it struck me. The Indian middle class probably embraced this guru more than any other because of his style. They see him as one of them. Though they may not fly helicopters they know very well that this guru will be the last one to ask them not to pursue these things. I say this because truth is one. No matter how a guru slices and dices the message of truth will stay the same. What is appealing to the people more in this case is the messenger rather than the message itself.

Truth is universal. It is all around us. Let us not diminish it by subjecting it to our narrow and judgmental filters. We can learn, hear and see good things from anybody.  I learned about dedication, integrity and hard work from a rickshaw puller who would take me to elementary school and back every single day without fail. Rain or shine. Thank you Malayappan. You were my guru and a true karma yogi. I am sorry we didn’t stay in touch. I could have learned a lot more from you.

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The power of taking baby steps

January 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Happy New Year. I am not going to talk about resolutions. Instead I want to share a simple technique that has always worked for me. That is the power of accomplishing little things through baby steps. Don’t underestimate the effect it has on reclaiming your mojo. I don’t know the chemistry of it but I am pretty sure it gives the much needed boost to jump start your brain if it is stuck for some reason. Facing a task that appears to be too daunting to even begin? Start with the simplest of steps and execute it with all your attention. Then observe yourself after completing that little task. Nine out of ten times you will notice a feeling of quiet confidence in you. Move on to the next small step. Then to the next and so on..Next thing you know you are well on your way! Sure there will be some missteps along the way but your confidence level would be high enough to overcome those.

Where is the generosity Harvard?

December 20, 2012 Leave a comment

I subscribe to emails from Harvard Business Review. The latest email is a pitch to sell one of their publications-a guide for job seekers in a tough job market. Seriously? Anybody that’s looking for a job knows how difficult it is to find one and the last thing they need is yet another guide to reinforce that. Wouldn’t Harvard be serving the world better by giving this book away for free? Isn’t it in their best interest to help people find jobs so that they can afford to send their kids to Harvard? Besides, Harvard is not in dire need for some extra cash. Come on Harvard you can do it. Not everything needs to be profit driven. I am sure you are giving back a lot to the community and one more contribution to the needy is not going to make a huge dent in your endowments.

Good news for a good life

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

It is not uncommon to find news of rape, murder or assault when you open the newspaper; or when you watch the news on TV. Despite the advances in technology and communication the most basic function of our brain is to keep us safe. It is always on the alert for anything that may threaten our existence. The media moghuls know this quite well. That’s why they keep feeding us news that they know our brain will process. We should get out of this mode. Sure there is no guarantee of safety but we can’t be anticipating something bad to happen to us all the time. We have to make sure the higher level functions of our brain is put to use more than it is. This can be done only by seeking out information that is not a threat to our existence. We can’t count on the media to do this. We have to actively seek out positive news that will inspire and enrich our lives. Only then the world can be made a better place. If we are forced to always worry about survival then there is no difference between us and animals, is there?