Are you having fun at work?

Are you having fun at work? My answer to this question was ‘Yes’ because I get to work with a good team, I am working on exciting programs that will make a huge impact, I am passionate about what I do, and overall, I am having a good time doing it.

As I wanted to synthesise this further – which led me to Google and Twitter – I landed on this NY Times article by Catherine Price. 

Catherine defines ‘true fun’ as when there is a confluence of three psychological states called playfulness, connection and flow.

This resonates with me as I can use this definition in all areas of my life. In light of the above definition – I am having fun at work as I have autonomy and creative license to bring playfulness in my work and team, I feel connected with my team and stakeholders and the time goes quickly (flow) as I find engaged and focused on driving outputs and helping my customers.

What’s your take on ‘fun’ at work?

Culture starts with YOU

How is the culture of your team? Do you want to improve it or transform it all together? What would you do?

Let’s start with definition of “culture”. What is a definition of culture?

One definition that I like is ” A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.
Culture in its broadest sense is cultivated behavior; that is the totality of a person’s learned, accumulated experience which is socially transmitted, or more briefly, behavior through social learning.”

If you are not happy with the culture around you and want to re-define it, start with defining your own culture and transforming yourself. Each thing that you do and perform should be a reflection of that culture. Culture both good and bad are infectious. Create a culture that infectious that it propagates at the pace of fire without you having to tell people in your organisation that you are trying to change it! Be passionate about it. Immerse, live and breathe the culture you want to spread in your house, your team or your whole organisation.

Culture is a very personal thing and should not be copied from other teams or organisations just for the sake of it. Like many things copy and paste strategy will not work. Things that work well elsewhere will not necessarily work at your organisation because the people and the story is different.

Stories and actions stick. Long agendas and meetings don’t neither do empty promises. Also “You” define the culture not just fancy Power Point decks or beautifully decorated posters.

Business Model Innovation

Business models don’t have the same shelf life that they used to and need to be constantly challenged, evaluated and refined.

One thing’s for sure, business models can no longer be treated as stone tablets divined by wise men on mountains to last for eternity.  They have become increasingly perishable. Saul entreats us to “think big, start small, scale fast.”  Sounds like good advice.

via Business Models and the Singularity | Digital Tonto.

Spotify to Google Play Music

Google Play Music became available in Australia today and I took the change to check it out.

Google Play Music
Google Play Music

I have been a paying Spotify user since it launched in Australia and have been a happy customer for the most part.

The good part?

  • I was still going to pay AUD $11.99/month, same as Spotify Premium.
  • Based on my initial search it has the songs that I am after
  • Search is good
  • I won’t need any app on my desktop and I will be able to play  it from the browser (Spotify does offer the same as well)
  • I can upload upto 20,000 tracks

The ugly

  • Cannot share on Facebook and Twitter (this can be potentially a deal breaker)
  • The iPhone apps needs more polishing!

What I miss?

  • Not having iPad optimised app
  • Again – Not able to share the songs I like on Facebook and Twitter


  • Google can bring over my likes, dislikes, favourites from YouTube and recommend me music to my liking
  • More Indian songs
  • More audio book collections

As the service gets more traction I am hoping that the service improves. Spotify while I check and test the service out I will remain a free user.

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Perfecting one thing at a time

One thing that I have learnt over the years working on various projects is the need and the importance to ship  on or before time. Want to dot all “i” and cross the  “t’s” and there may be slippages or a “no-go” in project lingo. Shipping things just to get it out of the door [or to look good on project tracker] and it might be ineffective or virtually useless.

Trying to make yourself a perfect candidate before you apply for that role or ask that girl out? Well while you wait and work on that, the bar may keep rising and you or your product might never be completely perfect.

How about finding a problem or an opportunity, identifying what’s most important to get going, setting or identifying timelines, picking the most top priority thing to perfect and work on it till you get it and then ship it out.

Be Agile! Update, re-iterate and ship again.

Shipping often would not only boost your [your teams, your customers] confidence but also allow you to learn quickly from your mistakes and act accordingly. God did not make humans as we are in one day, He took millions if not billions of years to perfect us. He just kept on shipping better iterations.

Lessons Re-Learnt from Startup Weekend #IYW

Few weekends back I attended ‘Startup Weekend’ here in Melbourne. The intention was to live the experience of working on a startup story and developing a prototype over a weekend. More importantly to be a part of a team, which I did. Experience the pivoting and to be a good listener.

I knew that I will re-learn a lot of things in the 3 day event that I attend. I just wanted to live through some of the experience in ‘Entrepreneurship’ having read so much about it over the years. I have already experience a failed attempt at starting something on my own before.

The format of the ‘Startup Weekend’ is as follows in a nutshell:

  • People pay up to $99 to attend a 3 day event (Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday)
  • Attendees can decide if they want to pitch their idea. If they do, they will get a set amount of time to do so in front of the whole audience (can be daunting to some)
  • People vote on the pitched ideas
  • Teams are formed (attendees work out on which idea they want to work with and if they have skills required or that can be offered)
  • Formed team start brainstorming with an intention to produce a prototype product by end of Sunday evening to be presented to the audience.

"Portrait Parle" Class, Paris (LOC)
Here is a list of things that I learnt/re-learnt through 3 days.

Pre-network – This is an important aspect. Like anything else, networking activity works best before you need people to work with you, not just in time. Make people your fan and wanting to work with you even before they hear your idea.

Be persuasive – Just because the most persuasive wins the race (most of the time if not all the time).

Be clear in your pitch – Practice your pitch before hand, not once, not twice but 20 times or more. Be really really clear on what message you are going to deliver in your pitch. This applies not only for startups but even if you are going to pitch an idea to your manager or your neighbour.

Be creative with the messaging – Yes, be creative. Don’t make your pitch using a boring PPT Slide or a bullet points scribbled over a butcher paper. Have great examples, have humor and have fun.

Developers are in demand and they sell fast

Networking – be open and network more

Smile and smile more

Non-developers – if you are not a programmer than you have to be more persuasive

– get better at selling yourself and your idea

– attract people

– be original

Passionate, creative, fun loving people win more often

– be excited about your own product

– Come up with Useful products and disruptive ideas

– Choose your team wisely

– Focus, focus and focus. Focus on the core idea and take things from there

– Have clear expectations and clear delegation of work

– Talk less, work more

– Cut the bullshit

Nothing new is written here that hasn’t been written 10,000 times before already if not more. But it was very consistent that the people who did not have their ideas selected, people who did not win or did not get a huge level of support lacked in some of all of these areas.

Such is Execution

So the “new iPad”  is announced  today among other Apple products. No big deal you say, sure. But what was the big deal was the manner in which things were executed. The launched started, the launch finished and at the same time the “new iPad” images are seen on Apple websites throughout the world all updated and ready for pre-orders. Now that is what I call execution! Yes, I am a fanboy and such execution makes me one Big Fanboy. Yes, you say that it’s not a big deal with today’s technology, but then how many examples do you see of such execution. Please tell me so that I am follow more of such organisations and products.

Brilliant Idea


Brilliant Idea because:

1. It is doing the site visitors some good. The site allows them to relax and think/ponder
2. The site’s simplicity is its beauty
3. The site has business potential, if nothing more the site will make money alone of its Amazon powered book store
4. The site is creating a community on its Facebook page.

Thinking about buying a new smartphone, think again

Owning a smartphone is becoming a norm for an information professional (or for that matter a lot of us). Buying a smartphone is not the end of the expense but rather a beginning. With more and more smartphones arriving in the market and people wanting to try new gadgets, switching smartphones running on different platforms is going to become increasingly expensive.

The three major platforms are Android, iOS and Symbian that Nokia uses and the up and coming Microsoft Windows Phone 7. All these platforms have their own marketplaces where application developers can sell their apps.

When we buy a smartphone, we primarily pay for:
  • the phone itself (outright or through the contract)
  • data and phone call usage
  • applications and subscriptions that run on the smartphone
  • accessories
People are spending more and more time on their smartphones doing productive things apart from calling and responding to calls. And they are doing so by using applications that run on their smartphones. A lot of these applications cost money. The challenge is that these applications like any desktop application is platform specific. So an application developed for an iOS device is not going to work on an Android based device or a Windows Phone 7 device and vice versa. So when people have spent 100’s of dollars on their smartphone apps to make themselves most productive while on the run, buying a new smartphone on a different platform will become an expensive affair for them as they will have to spend money again to buy apps so they can play same games, use productivity and utilities apps again on the new smartphone.

I have idesk at home [iPhone, iPad, iPod and Macbook] and don’t intend to buy a smartphone on a different platform anytime soon, but if I decide to buy a smartphone on Android based platform, it will easily set me back by few hundred dollars just on getting similar applications.

Switching from iOS to Android is not going to get any easier if I have subscribed to newspaper subscriptions or to magazines like Project which at the moment only work on iPads.

If you have switched between smartphone platforms, what was your experience?