We are the Champions: Lessons for a Startup

Champions

Congratulations on the World Cup Victory! A nation’s hopes have been pinned on this victory and this is what our boys have achieved in Mumbai. A billion (and a quarter) hearts pounding together can product a massive impact, and it’s in that din and glory that we will always remember forever our lives.

The Cup of Victory

A victory, however, doesn’t come easy. It takes years of hard work, it takes months of preparation, a lifetime of determination and all that culminates in that one day when all your hard work can either puff up in smoke or create a bang that lifts a nation’s spirits. Champions are forged in this journey – people the nation looks up to, ordinary folks like you and I – who came into this journey as boys but leave as men who leave a mark. However, individual brilliance cannot win alone – the Indian victory was a true team effort – where each man worked harder, complemented each other, backed up his neighbour, and produced a result that far grander than an individual performance – they all gave it their 200% to achieve what not many of us have seen in our own lifetime – a World Cup victory. It’s the story of believing in yourself, it’s the story of the silence that you feel when the whole stadium is erupting but all you see is the next ball. It is the story of chasing a dream – a shooting star, a wish, an idea, a passion – whose true denouement is the victory lap.

In a startup, we chase a similar dream. It’s born of an idea – an idea that we can build something that is larger than ourselves, an idea that one has the ability to build a winning company that the hearts and minds of its employees, customers, stakeholders all around. An idea that innovation can produce a killer product and when you back it up with awe inspiring service – it produces a cracker and the world sits up and takes notice.

Most importantly, it needs the team, its employees to have played like champions. Each an every person – from the smallest right upto the top, has to play his or her part in this larger story, essay a brilliant individual performance in this difficult stage, and at the same time, play the ultimate team sport, come together as a collective, back each other up, and come up with a whole which is far greater than the sum of its parts.

The most exciting part of a startup is not what you build, or what you earn, its about chasing that dream, living that vision, winning in each step, the small battles and the big war, the ability to do something for which one is known always. It’s a long and arduous journey – its never gonna be easy, but its your co-passengers who make sure it never gets too hard. It’s a journey of following an idea till you get to an appropriate climax – and even if the climax is not to your expectations, in most cases you would enjoy the journey. Because at the end of this journey, we would have been there and done that. It’s never about where you end up – it *IS* about chasing a dream.

Congratulations once again on the World Cup win, but remember, the time is NOW.

A Song of Despair

Found this brilliant piece of writing by Pablo Neruda, and thought I’d share it here:

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: “The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.”

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don’t have her. To feel that I’ve lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn’t keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That’s all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else’s. She will be someone else’s. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and forgetting so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.

Found it on PoemHunter

Co-incidences

Was browsing orkut, when suddenly I remembered one of the wierdest co-incidences that has happened to me. This was 2 years back — we had just finished one of the theater sessions in Bangalore and chilling at a coffee joints, and as it often happens when there are enough people and few topics, the discussion happened to meander towards the topic of birthdays. It was one of those early classes, and I was very enthusiastic, and immediately gave a shout with mine. Suddenly, the girl next to me told hers, and (yes you guessed it right) her birthday was on the same day, same year!

All this while, the guy on the other side, had been cut-off from the conversation since we had been talking about relatively boring things, or perhaps busy talking to his girlfriend. Suddenly, he decided to pop in, and this was really wierd, the most unbelievable thing to have happened to me — he was born on the same day, albeit in a different year! Three people sitting in a row sharing the same birthday. How many times has it happened to you?

What is the wierdest such thing that has happened to you?

The Terror Blasts and Twiddling Thumbs

Once again, our country is facing terror attacks in Mumbai. And once again, I’m afraid we will fail to do anything. Once again, we will talk of the Spirit of Mumbai, shrug off, sleep, get up and go back to work. Once again, politicians will condemn the attacks, there will an enquiry, a committee, a review, a panel, a report – all to be lost in a filing cabinet in South Block. Once again, the world will cry afoul, issue travel advisories, cancel air tickets and hotel bookings, and then visit next year and get high on dope in Varanasi. Once again, the army will be called into action, after the intelligence system has failed, rescue people, save lives, and go back to training camps. Once again, we will fear the economy, FIIs drawing back money, FDI drying up, and everybody will forget in sometime. Once again, a tour will be called off, security concerns will arise, but they will come back in no time salivating for the money. Once again, lives will be lost, relatives will cry, friends will mourn, death certificates made, a compensation announced, and will be forgotten in history. Once again, the injured will pick up the pieces, perhaps with no leg, perhaps with no eyes, and live a life of despicable cruelty ever after. Once again, …

But for how long? For how long will this sceptre repeat, right in front of our eyes and we will fail to take any action. Hasn’t this list of events become an all too common phenomenon? Hasn’t it become so blaise that many times we hardly even notice — ignore the page 1 and turn straight to page 3? What have we done to improve the situation? Where is the Corrective and Preventive Action? Have we even prepared a document, let alone implement it? Where are the criminals of the past crimes? Have we punished enough? Has our political establishment the balls to hang the perpetrators of terror? Punish them such that nobody will try to repeat this mockery of India?

We can all keep talking. Will we ever do anything? Will we stand up for India?

I just wonder.

I hope we are a part of the solution – so just putting down some thoughts. Start a dialog. Let’s see if we can come up with a solution.

Vote – The biggest responsibility for Indians is to vote. That’s the way we can bring about a change in our country. That’s the way to show your country you actually care what the situation is. JaagoRe is a great effort – kudos to them – and let’s support them. And next time, let’s vote in a single party, whoever it be, so that we are not crippled by our slow democratic process. If we end up with a hung assembly again, in the cacophony of the Parliament, the terrorists will get away again.

Respect – I believe that we don’t respect the people who save us enough. Everytime, after the war situation, there is a flurry of patriotic films, saluting the soldiers, the commandos, but films are not enough. We need to give them more respect in real life. Perhaps a regular feature across TV channels on war heroes and those who laid down their lives for the country. Increase their salaries. For God’s sake – many of us work for foreigners, write code, analyze, sell, buy for MNCs – but these guys lay their lives for unknown men and women of India, who perhaps don’t even give back enough in return. They deserve to be paid more than most others. Give them more repect in social circles. Treat them as heroes. Only then will we want to join the Army, rather than using it as the last resort and career option.

Love – We can’t cure this ill with hate. If we started a revenge propaganda, things will never improve. We can only heal if we treat both Hindu and Muslims with love, and not get swayed by brainwashing. We need to be careful about identifying the perpetrators, and punish them with determination, but treat the others with love. If the retaliation is arbitrary and unreasonable, things will only get worse.

Spend – Let’s spend more money on intelligence. Let’s beef it up. The only way to fight these attacks is by fusing them early, since once a man who cares not for his own death has a gun in a room full of people there is very little anybody can do. We need to find the clues early, nab them and nip them in the bud. Repeating the earlier point, how many people do we hear of who are working in intelligence? For a nation of a billion people, a trillion whispers, a gazelleon hiding spaces, there is hardly enough intelligence personnel.

Revisit – Let’s revisit the past crimes, and keep track of whether we actually punished the guilty. Our media stumbles from story to story, and in 3-4 days we will forget everything that’s happened today. Let’s keep track of these, keep checking what’s being done, and make sure the guilty are given exemplary punishment, and the good given reward.

Reward – Let’s reward the brave. Citizens who have saved the lives of others. Both monetarily and socially. Let people feel that our society actually rewards those who serve others.

Educate – Let’s spend more on education. Typically, the people most succeptible to brainwashing are those who are not so educated – and unable to think and understand themselves.

I think I’m coming to the end of my ideas. Will look forward to receiving more in the comments section.

First attempt at a haiku

Attempting to write a haiku — for the first time ever! Let’s see how it sounds.

Mad people in autumn

Going around the city – as clowns

Rejoicing thoroughly

It’s wonderful how haiku’s convey so much, yet conceal so much!

One Journey ends. Another Begins.

As I just finish one journey, a wonderful journey, at a wonderful place which has been a home more than home for the last two years — colleagues who have been more than friends, and seniors who have been such wonderful people, I can’t but feel a tinge of nostalgia, a small feeling of void that can not be put into words. As I started writing my goodbye mail, I found myself deleting sentences again and again, because I realized that whatever I might say could not do justice to the experience I have had. Finally I settled for the words of Rabindranath Tagore:

I have got my leave. Bid me farewell, my brothers!
I bow to you all and take my departure.

Here I give back the keys of my door
—and I give up all claims to my house.
I only ask for last kind words from you.

We were neighbors for long,
but I received more than I could give.
Now the day has dawned
and the lamp that lit my dark corner is out.
A summons has come and I am ready for my journey.

Mall’spitol

I recently spent a couple of days at a hospital in Bangalore. While the drab green/grey/white walls can be a bore, there is a lot of humour especially because a hospital is probably the most far removed from the rest of our lives. Once, you enter into the confines of one, you get completely transformed — your priorities change, the way you interact with people changes etc.

But what would happen if we become as aggressive in a hospital as elsewhere? As in a mall? We all search for deals, try to get bargains … how would that pan out in a hospital?

  • Special offer on hospitals meals — get double the quantity for half the price! (and still have food left since nobody wants to eat it)
  • Replace one kidney, and we replace the second one for 50% off!
  • Flat 25% off on CAT Scans every Thursday — avail of the offer now!
  • Make one baby, and we give you two for the same price!
  • New Arrivals: Injections that hurt 25% more at the same price — try them now!
  • Tooth Fairy Special: Replace all 32 teeth for only Rs. 2000 — offer valid only for the next 2 days
  • Visit a Neurologist and we let you consult a Psychiatrist absolutely free!
  • Holiday offer: Stay 2 nights and 3 days in our special resort with a spa and nurse on call — get your brain replaced for as little as Rs. 15,000.

Better still, the following conversation:

Patient: Doctor, heart kya bhav diya?

Doctor: Bouji, yeh wala drunkard hai Rs. 5000, yeh wala cigarette peeta tha – Rs. 4000, Yeh bilkul normal tha – Rs. 10000

Patient: Theek daam batao bhaiya. Aajkal bahut daam badhane lage ho. Woh Reliance fresh mein toh 3000 ka mil raha hai.

Doctor: Bouji, ab woh le lo aap. Woh toh Tutankhamen ka nikaal ke bhech denge aapko.

And what about the advertisements? Will there be an ad-supported heart transplant? Will they put banner ads or text ads? How will they measure CPMs? How many times does the consumer want to buy everytime she looks at a saree or jewellery? They might even sell prepaid cards: After sometime, you would have to recharge if you wanted to continue breathing or your heart beating.

The way things are going — this day is not far. In my own hospital stay, they didn’t expedite the discharge process until somebody else had ‘checked into’ the other bed in the room (I was in twin-sharing).

Ghor Kalyug.

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