Hackathon – how to run it

Hackathon are not about tweaks. They are all about exponential thinking. This is about taking a moonshot within 36 hours or so. The teams get down to building prototypes and speed-coding. It is best if they can create a working prototype in 36 hours. That too about a goal that is crazily tempting simply because of the impact that it could have. And then again… it might fail. So what. Hackathons are not for the faint-hearted. It is race to complete an impossible task.

Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella

Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella

Hit Refresh (publisher: Harper Collins) is a book that is the blueprint Nadella has in mind as he tries to change the culture of Microsoft from know-it-all to learn-it-all. The new culture at Microsoft is all about listening, learning more and talking less. The book is a terrific study in changing culture. Nadella’s decision to launch Windows 10 in Kenya instead of Sydney was an effort to build a culture of inclusion. Both countries have educated and tech savvy customers as well as skill gaps. Building a culture that obsesses about the customer is not easy.

How to build more curiosity

How to build more curiosity

Curiosity matters. Human beings are born curious. The baby’s eyes wander all over even as he/she is a few days old. They are trying to make sense of the new environment that they have entered. This quest continues even as they grow older. They bombard the older people around with questions. Some questions are simple. “Why do the stars twinkle?” <see if your answer matches an astronomer’s> Curious people are […]

The Talent Delusion

The Talent Delusion

Have you ever wondered how to define talent? In ancient times the word talent was referred to as a measure of silver that was paid in exchange of someone’s work. Better output by the person resulted in more payment – hence more “talent”.
We get fooled because we believe since we spend a lot of time with human beings we must be good at evaluating their talent and potential. There is a science of human behavior and a science to talent, just like there is science to astrophysics.

Japan, McDonalds and Goldman Sachs

Japan, McDonalds and Goldman Sachs

Wall Street cheered McDonald’s decision to have digital kiosks in 2500 locations to do what cashiers would. The shareholders cheered loudly and McDonalds shares hit an all-time high. The move is part of an initiative ironically named as “Experience of the Future.” These “McJobs” have funded many students and families with living wages. That may not happen for long.

Culture Eats CEO For Breakfast

Culture Eats CEO For Breakfast

Travis had described the 14 values as a “philosophy of work” that Kalanick and chief product officer Jeff Holden, an Amazon vet, had spent hundreds of hours putting together. The values were built on a world view that there was room for only one ride sharing company in the world. There was no doubt that it demolished the taxi service companies that used to limit the supply of cabs to be able to charge arbitrary prices. Supply of cabs was restricted keep demand higher than supply. Uber demolished all this.
It was built on a view that for me to succeed I must kill my peers. The value of “principled confrontation” was designed to encourage employees to challenge authority without fear. On the ground, it translated to bullying the weak colleague.

Learn, earn, reach and teach

Learn, earn, reach and teach

If you have never been active on social media, do not try to make up for lost time by getting hyperactive. Think of unconventional choices. Have you thought of being your own boss or pursue your passion for teaching? This may be a good trigger to get started. If you want to run fast, then social media could be just the running shoes that you need.

Book Review: How We Learn

Book Review: How We Learn

Every family will have that one cousin who does everything right. In my case, that cousin had a study routine that she followed every single day throughout the year. She had that calendar pasted on the wall and her study hours were allocated. Unlike the rest of us she never put the radio on while she had her nose buried in the books. The rest of us did. When she […]

The Dark Side of the Gig Economy

The Dark Side of the Gig Economy

The new world of work is still run with old laws. Uber, which started in 2009, now has more than 7,00,000 active drivers in the United States alone, which is nearly three times the number of taxi drivers and chauffeurs in the country in 2014. Gig workers have flexibility but no paid sick leave, no time off and certainly no pension. The government may need to legislate the labor platforms where there is an urgent need redefine labor laws. The laws must not stifle innovation but must certainly prevent exploitation. It is time for new rules.

The Four Jobs of a Boss

The Four Jobs of a Boss

Being the leader of people is an honor. The leader must ask every day, “Am I worthy of discharging my responsibility? Do I have what it takes to lead them today?” That means doing these 4 tasks without fail.

What To Do When Machines Do Everything

What To Do When Machines Do Everything

Machines already embedded into everything we do. How can we stay ahead? The book suggests five approaches that form the acronym AHEAD.

5 signs your job maybe at risk

5 signs your job maybe at risk

Anyone, anywhere, anytime is the new approach to work. Work can be sliced, diced and distributed across the globe based on skill and cost. Work can be done by people any time, across time zones. The workspace is anywhere. That also means that jobs are no longer what they used to be. They don’t come with a lifetime warranty any more.