Truisms that aint - Part II

Since so many of y'all loved the original Truisms post, here's a couple more.

Exec: The customer is always right
Me: No he's not. Nobody is always anything. My customer just told me that he wants to buy a purple shirt with silver embroidered stars, to wear to a church wedding. Notwithstanding the fact that he's Gujju, he's wrong!!! You're just spouting this mantra because you are a testicle-less wonder of a man who doesn't have the spinal rigidity required to tell a customer he's wrong. Either that or you're selling a product like crack cocaine that is inherently dangerous to your customers. And you know this. And you tell yourself that the customer asked for it, and he's always right, so it must be OK to sell it to them. 'Coz that LIE is the dampener that prevents the already feeble voice of your conscience from echoing around the vacuum that is your soul, you mother fucker.

Exec: You can't make decisions without data. Lets get the data.
Me: Ok. I've got some data here on the GDP of Fuckerabad. That help? You make decisions without data every day when you have the opinion of a senior executive to swing on, you peanut brained monkey. Now when you're caught in a tough situation you want more data? You want more TIME you weak brained twit, so you can wait till somebody makes the decision for you or the damned storm just passes. So just admit it instead of spewing meaningless drivel to make yourself look rational.

Exec: It is corporate policy
Me: While this just sounds like a declaration of a fact, what you are actually implying is that you are loath to change anything that has "corporate" next to it. What is corporate? Who is this corporate? Just a bunch of humans who puked out a policy that troubles the employees. This is either because those humans are unfit and incompetent, or because those employees were Munaf Patel (which is probably the same thing, but anyway), both of which are great reasons to change the fucking policy!!

Exec: Lets be more aggressive
Me: (Running toward him with hand raised!) YAAAAA!!!! MADERCHOOOOOT!!!! (SLAP!!!!!)

Death by Committee.

Yeah I know. Not an original title. You've probably heard that phrase/fragment many times before, I was actually going to call it:
"Death by aneurysm caused by high blood pressure levels brought on by the frustration with the inaction, gutlessness and general pointlessness of a Committee." But that would have made the permalink too long....

There is only one good reason to form a committee - When you do not want to put too much dependence on the opinion of one man. In that case, you get a group of people with varied experiences and expertise to advise - and monitor the actions of - that one dude. For example boards of companies. But even then you will see that the dude (CEO in this case) is ultimately responsible.
But unfortunately, the real reason most committees are brought into existence are one of the below:
a). There IS A NEED for a person of influence and authority, but you have NOT APPOINTED one
b). There is NO NEED for a person of influence and authority, but you HAVE APPOINTED one.
c). A case of special disaster, where there IS A NEED, but instead of appointing a person and giving him authority, you have appointed a titular, incompetent, apathetic INVERTEBRATE.

The only case from the above three that has a chance of succeeding is case b. And that too if the person that you appointed is an exceedingly capable, dynamic and astute leader. And we all know there are very few of those types of people.

If you dont have an explicitly appointed owner for a set of decisions that do need to be made then what will happen is a set of reptiles with lower authority levels will get together and form a committee. Such committees are generally called councils. If the members are truly arrogant pricks, those committees will be called boards.
And what happens at these boards? Posturing, Grandstanding and Backstabbing - that's what. Nothing will ever get done by a bunch of airheads who are flailing like flagella to prove that they are better, and more important and their businesses more successful than the next one.
While there may not be much benefit to the company from such committees, YOU may be able to benefit. If you're capable of swimming with the sharks and playing their politics, you may benefit from the visibility to different businesses and the weaknesses of your competition. And you MAY get opportunities to prove that you're not the petty insecure manager that the others are by taking on something that you can herd the cats toward.

IN the case of special disaster, you're truly fucked. You get a committee of epic failure. It will do nothing, and will disrupt the functioning of various divisions in the company.
When you hire a incompetent apathetic invertebrate and put him in a position that has explicit organizational power, that's bad enough. But generally you will find out quickly he's bad and you can get him out.
But when you put such bastards in a position where there is low organizational authority but where he has to rely on inferential authority or generating influence then he WILL form a committee. Possibly many. And none of them will do anything.
Such insects never give as much as a fly's asshole about what is done or how fast it is done, or whether it is done, but the WILL care about giving out the impression that THEY tried. IF anything didn't happen it's because of the environment, external factors, and other people.
These are committees you should never ever be a part of. Ever.

(Oh and Virat Kohli's century doesn't change the fact he still has miles to go before he proves himself to be worthy. If it were left to me, I would drop him from the team on the basis that he looks like a retard and is overrated. The only thing Virat about him are his eyebrows.)

Truisms That Aint

Last time I posted something about evil dudes in the organizations that use truisms to win or otherwise end arguments. They just spout these statements that for some reason nobody argues with, then they walk away with a smug look on their face that I would very much like to wipe out with a piece of genuine Kashmir Willow.

I always feel like responding to these bitches with spit spraying from my mouth as I berate their use of these truisms, but I am unfortunately often forced to calm the fuck down because of office decorum. So what better place to act out my fantasy responses to those evil bitches in my very own blog. Here goes

Truism: There is no right or wrong answer
Me: Wrong motherfucker. There is. There is ALWAYS a right or wrong answer. It may not be clear to YOU that one of the available options is better than the others, but it IS. Maybe you'll know now or later, but that doesn't mean you just walk off and put the decision making on somebody else you piece of shit.

Truism: There is no such thing as a stupid question.
Me: Yea you're right, dipshit. Questions are not sentient beings. So you can take offense to characterising questions themselves as stupid. But not the people who ask them, right? YOU are stupid. There. Happy?

Truism: We can't get anywhere if we dont work together. Listen, there is no I in Team
Me: No there isn't, but there's U in FUCKER. What does that even mean? The guy in engineering is a no good work shirking dick, and you're just too pussy to do anything about it, so you just ask people to get along? And did you notice there's U in pussy?

Truism: You have to be a leader. You have to BE the change you want to see.
Me: What? Fuck!! So if I want to change that IT database, then I have to BE a database that works? What the fuck? OK here's me being an ugly idiot jumping into a well. Does that now mean you will too?

Truism: An employee's career is his own responsibility
Me: Really? But he doesn't have the authority does he? Otherwise he could have just promoted himself! You scheming bitch. You want him to have the responsibility without having the authority? What kind of delegation is that, motherfucker?

Truism: Quality is number 1
Me: Make up your mind, you idiot, it's billowing in the wind like the blade of grass that passes for your spine. WHICH is number 1? Quality? I thought it was safety? Or is it the customer? You're just making this shit up as you go along aren't you?
Response: There is no right or wrong answer.
Me: Aaaargh

Employee: People are leaving my team because the pay is too low
Evil Supremo: People leave managers. Not the company
Me: Yup. People do leave managers. See ya.

The four types of people

There are four types of guys in every company. If I was a consultant, I would put it as a two by two chart with two axes, like the one shown below.

Malevolence is just another word for evil, but it sounds so much better, doesn't it? And if you're thinking that there are people that have NO evil in them, fuck, bring those people to me.
Remember, I'm talking about corporations here. If you're thinking about bringin up people like Mothers and Mahatmas, while I would enjoy that discussion, note that those people would never be in corporations.


High intelligence low Malevolence people are just great to have around. Lets call them The Good Dudes coz frankly that's what they are. They have it together. They are focused on their personal benefits and careers, but have good lines that they wouldnt cross, and they demonstrate that they generally want to do the right thing and keep the company going in the right direction.

Low intelligence low Malevolence people - lets call them The Commons just because of how startlingly common they are - are ok to have around, if they take direction. Most of the people in a company are doers. You need people who are competent at what they do, and if they have enough intelligence to turn their share of the screws on the line everyday, fucking super. Otherwise Sayonara,

Low Intelligence, High Malevolence people - I call them Satan's Stupids - are the fucking biggest pains around. I say get rid of every single one of them as soon as you can identify them. These guys are not only dumb, but their self serving and evil behavior makes them incompetent, and all they're trying to do every single day is to shirk work, pander to the boss, and give the hardworking less malevolent types high blood pressure.

High Intelligence, High Malevolence people - lets call them The Iagos, first because mother-fucking-self-serving-devil-spawn is kinda long and second because no character represents the evil of this box more than Iago (Iago who? Aw come on!!! Othello? From this moment on I will speak no word? No? fuck he was a hard core villian dudes... fine - Saif Ali Khan's character in Omkara was modelled after Iago). Anyways... Iagos are the most dangerous people in your organization. Because they're hard to find out and are generally good actors. They come off to most people as one of the good dudes and are often able to keep themselves in sheep's clothing for long enough that they either quit and go to another company at a higher position, or get promoted and get so much exposure that one of real Good Dudes sees through his evil cloak.

NOw, you know which one you are. You don't have to tell me. You know.
I'm going to give you a few hints about how to identify others around you.

The Good Dudes: These guys, like I said, generally have it together. They know who their customers are are, and if you are one of their customers, you probably love them. They usually seem happy just because if they aren't they will either change the situation or leave. Very rarely, they're unhappy and bitching about their company. Mostly that prefaces their departure for greener pastures elsewhere.

The Commons: They're all around you. If you're one of their customers, you're probably not delighted, but marginally satisfied. They need clear and specific direction for relatively simple tasks, and tend to take a long time to learn how to do things. They're also mostly willing to help people around them, but if there is ambiguity involved, they may run to their trusted friends - or you - for direction.

Satans Stupids: These guys think they're hotter than they actually are. They're almost never willing to help out people around them, and are generally incapable of keeping most of their customers happy. They publicly make stupid statements, and generally have a very low awareness of the actual work going on around them.

And finally The Iagos: This is the toughest of them all. They keep most of their customers happy by mooching of the capabilities of others, or coming up with fantastic reasons for their failures, or by blaming somebody else foe a job poorly done. They hide behind truisms like "There is no right or wrong answer" or "Quality is number one" when they dont really have anything of purport to say. They schmooze and generally have a great rapport with many people in positions higher than their own, but their employees and peers are generally unhappy with them. They hire, raise and convert people to Satan's Stupids over time, and then use THEM to do their evil bidding.

Look around your organization or team. If you have The Good Dudes, you should take care of them. The Commons who can take direction, take care of them too. They will be your loyal soldiers. Satan's stupids are easy to identify and you should fire them immediately. And finally The Iagos, do not deal with them directly - they're capable of taking you down. Stay away from them, and make sure if possible that they do not get into a position of authority over you.

This is broken

The title of this post used to be a blog run by Seth Godin - a fascinating chap with an even more fasinating head. The blog has since been assimilated into another one of Mr Godin's blogs and has ceased to be much fun. The entire idea was to spot things that make you scream "THIS IS BROKEN", and bring it up to the rest of the world to see. Godin put them in seven categories based on why he thought they may have gotten that way.

It was all good fun, and when I had first heard about it, the idea of screaming out 'THIS IS BROKEN" whenever I see somthing that is just done so wrong connected with me quite a bit. (Out of my mouth the scream would be more like "This is fucking broken!! Which moron is responsible for this piece of shit? Bring him to me so I may roast him in his own spittle and condemn him to a life of pain and penury", since as you readers know, I am given to profanity, verbosity uncontrolled anger, and parenthetical digressions like this one. But coming back to the post at hand....)

You'll see Godin's talk and his aforementioned head below, and I promise I'm not stealing his thunder, but the reason I find this talk (and his now swallowed up blog) endearing and lasting in my memory is that he's not only pointing out things that are broken, but also pointing out reasons why they may be, and four of them are also reasons why so many people in so many corporations around the world are unhappy with their colleagues and are enduring bouts of hyperventilation every day at work.

Not my job: Where if it is not directly your responsibility, you just stand by and watch
Selfish Jerks: Where you do something that will benefit you in some twisted way (as in less paperwork), but will be more work for me
The world changed: Where you keep doing something because it was done that way when Tipu Sultan still ruled over Mysore
I'm not a fish: Where you dont think about the experience I will have using your shitty service or product.

See the talk. I hope you get what I'm talking about above.

Seth Godin at Gel 2006 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

Bonus Plans

Its that time of the year again, when the powers that be get together in their hollowed corridors, smoke cigars, sip on scotch and every once in a while let out a devilish laugh as they pen down the annual bonuses for those who are not their cronies.For all the talk of incentivizing performance through stock grants and variable compensation, I think most of the amounts given away are based on relationships with those doing the doling out of funds and not based on solid performance.

It is also that time of the quarter (can you tell I work for an American company?) where we have the obligatory managers night out. Some of my colleagues I enjoy hanging out with. The conversation is always engaging the opinions are always scathing and the topics are always controversial. Some others I don't mind. They're like the cockroaches you hear got into the food in a restaurant you would never go to. I would have hated them if I had to deal with them, but I don't and so that's that.
And then there are those whose intelligence levels are the only reason that evolution is still considered a theory. I mean we all have these guys don't we? Retards that surprise us with the levels they are in the organization - people who can't understand an argument, can't state a position but probably can either suck the chrome of a exhaust pipe or kiss more ass than toilet paper in a public shithouse.
Whatever their skill, it doesn't bother me except for those days that I have to go drown my friday nights in local beer at a cheap hovel surrounded by these idiots.

And this time I was wondering what my bonus number would be this year. So as I was engaging the pathetic morons monosyllabic repetitive responses, I was thinking about how we could make the bonus system better.
Here's my answers:
  1. Make bonus numbers public inside the managers group. If you have to explain to your staff why you gave Mr A 10 big ones as a bonus and Mr B only 5, you will at the very least have to come up a with an engaging story. You wont be telling them it was because Mr A has a mouth like a vacuum cleaner. And you can't keep making up stories.
  2. Reduce bonus levels after a certain level. Most organizations give higher bonuses to people higher up in the org. For example, I qualify for a max of 40% of my annual salary as my bonus, while my boss qualifies for a max of 60% of HIS annual salary. Isn't that shitty? I mean given the amount of money that senior people in the organization are making, they should already be as incentivized as can be. Do you really need to bribe them to perform? Fuck that. I say you should give them negative bonuses. Give them a salary number and take money away from them if they don't meet their targets.
  3. At the first two levels of management, give out bonuses regardless of company performance. If the guy met his bonus targets he should get the money. Just because the technologists had a fucked up product don't punish the little floor supervisors that built the first 100 in record time.

Of course none of the companies will actually do these things. If you have better ideas let me know I'm always willing to listen. I'm sure it will be better than whatever it is those mindless dumbfucks were droning on about yesterday.

Something nice for a change...

Countries are often unfortunate byproducts of the desire of certain humans to impose order and exert control. The way their borders are drawn and the way states are made up smacks of it.

There is one problem. When we need to organize and when we face big issues, we tend to try and simplify. And how do we do that? We cut the large problem up into smaller pieces. We group people - put them in boxes and draw virtual lines on the ground - in the hope that we can better influence, organize, control the people inside those boxes. And if we can just control all those boxes, we can define where the entire country goes.
In my mind that's just a definite maybe.

When we group people and draw lines, we make assumptions about commonalities,. similarities, capabilities, and the future. And you know what that gives us?
Very often, a big fucking mess.

Our unthinking and unknowing compartmentalization based on frivolous and unenlightened assumptions of egotistical and clay footed leaders lead to internal forces that work in divergent directions, working against instead of for the country.

Look around you. Don't tell me you don't see that in India. Or in your company.
See, organizational structures are kinda similar to how country borders or states are made up.
Success or failure of these organizations is very often dependent not so much on how those boxes are drawn and who is in them, but on some quality or resource they possess, and the need of the external environment for that quality. What's inside of those boxes merely speeds up or delays the inevitable demise or growth of that which the environment wants or needs.

If you take our country, given the unfortunate pillaging we took and the sheer number of us bitches, we went through quite some tough times. But recently though, we've done good. Actually the sheer number of us bitches in this region is what is going to be our biggest strength. The largest number of producers and the largest number of consumers is in this part of the world, and unless natural destruction or war fucks it up for us, prosperity is coming our way.

We (us inside this box called India) can all argue about how we can accelerate this phenomenon, or we can bitch about the incompetence/corruption/idiocy of our fellow inmates. But I have a feeling this is where the future is. They (the ones outside this box) can all point out the lack of infrastructure and the difficulty of doing business, but despite all of that they will have to drag their sorry asses over here.
Some visionary leaders have already figured this out. They have moved themselves or their companies to India for one thing only - its size, either in market or talent pool.

Some tactical, execution hacks are here because of lower labor costs, and others sit on the sidelines and bitch - about government incentives being too little or , or airports being to far away. What they don't get about us is the fact that none of that shit matters eventually.
It doesn't matter how many idiots we have in here, or how many corrupt people still remain, or how many different directions every state wants to go in, and how slow we are at building new educational institutions, and bridges and dams and ports, and how low the labor costs are.
All of that stuff is just a facilitation of the inevitable future - This is where it's going to be.

the point of all of this is, if you had to pick one country to be in over the next 30 years, you can't get much better than this one we're in right now.

Happy Independence Day.

People are Idiots

This is not a rant, but watch the video and you will know how easily it could be one about people not knowing half the time what the hell it is they are doing

This is fascinating. And this was their first research paper. Fucking brilliant.
Below is a BBC Video. Read: The Invisible Gorilla for more.
(note: title of this blog post has nothing to do with either Christopher Chabris, Daniel Simmons, Lars Hall or Peter Johansson)


And you thought I was shittin you.

You thought I was joking here weren't you?
But I wasn't kidding. I really AM going to write a book. And I'm going to call it
Rat Race Rules
An irreverent look at how you can get ahead in your corporation.

And here's the preface.

All Hands. No Brains.

Today I went to an all hands meeting.
There were two executives on strutting about. The first one was so boring that I had to prop my eye open with toothpicks hurriedly grabbed from the not yet served buffet. Towards the end of his speech I just decided to give up the fight and fall asleep much to the delight of my upper eyelids. But then the second turd came on and he was so loud that I couldn't go to sleep. The CIA ain't got nothing on these fuckers in the torture department I tell you.

But they had one thing in common. They both didn't really have any message.
The first one talked about quarterly results and just kinda read the slides out in a tone reminiscent of a metronome that buzzed like a fly instead of ticking like a clock. The second one talked about some corporate strategy type shit that everybody already knew about without adding new information or clarity. I think he thought that if he just raised his volume high enough the people wouldn't really get that he was a terrible public speaker.

Don't get me wrong. I know public speaking is hard, but so what? If you're going to call 200 people into a suburban windowless hall, and expect them to pay attention to what your saying with only the promise of a cold mini samosa and a soulless cup of tea, you better put some work into it bitch.

And there's only so many reasons to subject the unsuspecting masses to an all hands: Energize them, Spread some information, Give out some rewards.
But what people mostly do is the exact opposite.
They bore the brains our of the audience to the extent that half the people are dreaming about something more fun that sitting on a chair listening to drones armed with PowerPoint. (Like say strangling that fucking drone and smashing that slide projector), and the other half is snickering about the speaker and texting other audience members snide messages about the his body parts, speaking mannerisms, or the speaking mannerisms of his body parts (Like "He's talking out his ass. Stuttering Dickhead").
The content is most often already known to everybody in the audience and also to those not in the audience. Like the bastards who made up a smarmy reason to stay at work and not come to the all hands. Even those damned waiters standing listlessly by the trays of perfunctory snacks and uninspiring beverages probably already know what they talk about on stage.
And they always get the rewards wrong don't they? Either they get the wrong person - like the guy who takes diving catches after setting up the emergency himself through his impressive lack of due diligence in the first place. Or they get the wrong award. Employee of the quarter gets what? A plastic plaque?
Really, motherfuckers?
And you got my spelling wrong bitch.
The name David doesn't have a fucking Q in it.
How did the Q show up there?
What were you doing when you sent this to the printers, man? Thinking about the line of people waiting to fuck your mama?

Is it really that hard?
Don't you feel like you should put some thought into this event? Or do you just get your nuts off on putting your employees through pain?

Screw you guys.
Here's my strategy.
Next time there is an all hands, I'm going to step out to go to the restroom. And then hang around at the bar till the meeting lets out.
And when it does, I'll be leaning against the wall with a beer in my hand laughing at the Lilliputian sandwiches and the ass-juice coffee

Organizing to win

So how do you like my blog title.
Sound enough like a lame chapter in a management book?
Good. Coz that was the idea.

Organization structure has been a topic of research for so many years, that the fact that it is not more under control in the real world is something that should tell the ivory tower researchers that their ideas are not translating into the zone it matters.

I've always had that fuming discontent with management theorists. They're over there in some la la land looking into things that don't really matter, and building models out of boxes and arrows that explain the obvious.

I've had a seething resentment about management books too. So many of them are written as if they are addressing the senior management of the company, when really their readers troll corridors much lower than those of power. Like when they tell you how to handle your top talent (Straight from the Gut), and how you should develop the leaders of tomorrow (The leadership pipeline), how are you, the peon in management going to make those changes in your company?
You can't.
You don't even have the influence to get time with those people who have the influence to change something like organization structure or people management policies.


Why don't they write something to applies to us out here in the masses?
Why don't they talk about how to deal with management that makes stupid ass decisions, when quitting the company is not an option?

You know what? I'm going to write my own book.
Tips and tricks for people in the masses who want to grow in the organization from peon to high ranking well paid bullshit spewer.

So first, read my book, and then when you reach a decent elevation (you'll know you're there because the air will be thin, and there will be a guy stuck to your asshole), then you can read the other management books

The IPL Sucks Part Two

It's been a month since I posted the first part of this rant. And mere days later the IPL thing broke out into such a melee. How do you like DEM apples Mr Modi?
Posting about the IPL now just seems like tacking on another tiny piece of glitter in the stereotypical Rajasthani woman's blouse. You know the one I mean? With mirrors on the breast covering part of the blouse? Freaky. If you stare at them you see a million of you looking right back at you... Brrr....

But for the sake of completeness, I thought I'd just post what was originally going to say. Here goes:


So here's the thing that gets me about the IPL. It's fucking overrated in every single way.

First lets cover the easy ones.
  1. Level of Play: One word - Sucks!!! Have you seen the way these people play? There's so little skill on display that you could actually fantasize about getting in there yourself.
  2. Cheerleaders: Overrated as hotties. Why in blazes were they wearing so many clothes? The ones from Chennai were actually wearing trackpants!!! WHAT THE FUCK? Lets get one thing straight. They're called cheerleaders. You know why they get to lead cheers? Because they're scantily clad women with tight asses, firm breasts, luscious curves that can move their bodies in a way that keeps the eyes of hundreds of drunken testosterone carriers fixated on them during breaks, and mindlessly get them to chant whatever the fuck they want. The only owner that tried to get good cheerleaders was Mallya. Props to you my BROTHA!!!
  3. TV Coverage: Too much advertising, too much commentary, but for the cheerleaders, entirely too little airtime
  4. Arun Lal: WAAAAAY to much airtime.
  5. Sunil Gavaskar: I'm just waiting for this tiring annoying know-it-all to retire. Damn.
  6. And the last of the small irritations: Those actors doing the "sidelines" commentary: Guys, your acting careers were on the sidelines of showbiz already. Did you really have to come to the sidelines of cricket and distribute fake smiles and false enthusiasm to all and sundry in your wake?

But the two majorly overrated aspects of the IPL: Value for money

First the value for the advertisers money:
Do you know how many logos there are on screen? 5 or 6 on the players uniforms, anywhere from 3 to 6 on the ground, the hoardings around the boundary that we have been ignoring for years. Even the commentators have been turned into whores. Yelling and screaming, and calling calling out sponsor names at every chance they get! I've got a Carbon Camaal Crotch and you can have a City moment of sucking it mothafucka. And I've not even started on the TV ads and the ads on that annoying screen that they wont show replays on when you go to the stadium.

How many of those companies do you remember? Probably not enough to justify what those guys are paying. I bet that in 5 years, the rates and the number of sponsors will come down to more rational levels. Maybe we will still have the manic pricing of the ads during the Final, like the Superbowl crapola they have Stateside, but hopefully there wont be that much foaming at the mouth when Chennai Sweeper Kinks play the King's XI Nut-jobs in the season opener.

And finally here's what is even more overrated that value for the advertiser's money: The value of the fucking teams.
Did you hear how much that guy paid for the team from Pune? God Fucking Damn.
Probably more than he got for that airline of his when he sold it.
Sell your shares people. Sell your shares. That's all I have to say


And a final parting thought. Thanks to those who send me vicious threats over email if I didn't post soon. I was in the US on business, and I couldn't bring myself to tear away from the hot chicks in the cool bars THAT STAY OPEN TILL 2pm, for long enough to post something. I totally forgot about you guys that are waiting to hear about my latest vexation and laugh pithily at my spiking blood pressure.
But when I came back, I saw all that email and I instantly missed you. I felt wanted. (Not in a Salmonella Khan kind of way, please note.)
I have now resolved to increase my fiber intake.
(Hopefully that will make me more regular. HAR!)

The IPL Sucks

There has been a lot of hand-wringing lately about whether or not the IPL is good for cricket.
I dont know what the big deal about the whole thing is
IPL is a show.
It is not unlike those shows run by Bollywood stars outside India where a star and his league of extraordinary sycophants team up and grind away on a stage amidst unnecessary fireworks and garish stage props.
It's a show that Mr Modi has provided that lets the fatigued minions, browbeaten by their humdrum daily existence, scream away their worries instead of sitting inside a multiplex and watching decreasingly excellent vicarious escapes for increasingly absurd prices. I mean, have you seen the Vivek Oberoi thriller Prince? Why?)
It is not unlike the WWF where fake wrestlers jump around in a surreal atmosphere surrounded by believers and scantily clad women whipping the audience of people into a frenzy that some of my acquaintances can't avoid watching.

The IPL is not cricket. I dont watch much of it either. But if it's making so many people deliriously happy and forget their crazy existence for a few hours a day, it aint as fucking bad as these hand-wringers are making it out to be.
And you know what? Just like Kuch Saas Bahu Ma Devi Kali or whatever those Ekta Kapoor monstrosities are called.... If you dont like it, you can turn it off.

But that said, the IPL does suck in one aspect...

..... To be continued

Do the right thing part two

2. Alignment of managers goals with the shareholders goals
This is a special case arising from the first point above. See the argument for the first point is often that "well the managers should do it, they're paid to do so, and they're paid to make the share price go up etc etc". Well.... No. This is another "right thing to do" that is a bitch to execute.
The commonly accepted way to align goals of managers with shareholders is to give them a large stock grant. Do you think this aligns the interests of managers and shareholders? Nah. All this does is makes them want more stock.
Look, none of these bitches will get fired if the stock price takes a dive. They will just blame it on the economy or the misguided bombers or the hurricane in some hapless coastal town. So, while they stand to benefit if the stock price goes up (or stays level), they stand to really benefit if they get more stock.
The way I look at it, most top managers are already fairly well off, cash wise. And the cash component of their salaries is still nothing to sneer at. So if you give them two options (a). Work hard, deliver bigger market share or higher margins and (b). Convince your boss you're a star so you get more stock, which one do you think they will choose?
Most of these Management Bullshit Artists are good are presenting forcefully their cases - however strong or weak the facts of the matter may be. So like their more evidently bastardish weasel brothers the lawyers - they cleverly plead their way into the top bracket. See the section above on pay for performance?

3. You're just like them
Every individual is motivated by self preservation first and self actualization last. And in the middle are so many factors that mess around with his brain - emotions, perceptions, marketing, etc. You can tell me that you're not one of them, but don't tell yourself that.
All else being equal, maybe some people would do good for others. But if that action starts influencing YOUR payout.... that's when things get messy.

So whats the point of this seemingly interminable blog post?

1). People are all looking out for themselves. You are too.
2). If you want them to do things that are good for you, you have to fool them into thinking that those things are good for them too.

Do The Right Thing My Ass.

I have been speaking to a few of my friends lately who regularly lament the machinations of their top management. Apparently a lot of their actions are not "the right thing" for the employees. A lot of them (the senior management) seem to be doing things that don't seem to be in the benefit of the company as a whole.

I can understand their anguish and frustration. What I do not understand is their surprise.

See doing the right thing requires altruism. You have to want to do something that is good for others, without a regard for what benefit or cost it may bring you. Altruism is a scarce virtue among humans in general, and given the fact that the echelons of senior management are populated mainly by conniving weasels, we can safely assume that in that rarefied atmosphere it is, even more dismayingly, absent.

For all the talk of values and shareholders, the thing that drives managers is 'what's in it for me?' (And in this post when I say managers I mean the top two or three levels of the company)
Every one of them is out to further his own fief, and satiate his giant ego. There are three reasons why these people will not do the right thing. I tried to explain these three items to my deluded friend yesterday, and I will repeat the gist of them here.
One point per post coz otherwise it's too long...

And today's point is:

1. Doing the right thing is hard
A lot of what is touted as the "right thing to do" is simple to say but very difficult to execute. For example - take maddening phrase "Pay for performance". Sounds deceptively simple and seems hard to think of an argument against it. But what a bitch to execute! The devil, as usual, is in the details - residing in the weeds where these philosophies are implemented, not in the clouds where they are formulated. Consultants and their management books often talk about promoting your stars and weeding out your laggards. Great idea. But there are a few complications in implementation.
First is identifying the stars. Who is a star? Someone who did a good job this year? This past six months? Think about the Indian cricket team. Who is your star? Ask ten people to cut the Indian team into the common five performance categories. I bet you get at least 5 different answers or categorizations. Same thing in organizations. Although all the books and papers tell you that you should define the job, set objective goals and so on, all that is terribly difficult to do in a business. Situations change, goals change, and frankly if managers were to do a fair enough job, that would take about 50% of their time. And they just don't spend that much time on it. So they go by gut feel and recency effects - see one admission here.
Second problem - how to rate. Forcing a normal (Gaussian) distribution for the 5 categories is hogwash. The groups that the distribution are forced upon are neither random, nor independent, and sometimes not even large enough to justify the expected fit even in theory (see Central Limit Theorem). Even if the distribution expected is not Gaussian, How much thought do you think your organization put into your distribution? Can they explain to you why 10% of the organization should be in the bottom category while only 5 at the very top (or vice-versa?)
Third problem - How much to differentiate. Say you got 5 categories. You're giving your top category guys a 20% raise, and your bottom guys a 0. What about the guys in the middle? 10? 15? 18.6? It's not a trivial discussion. Sure you should love and nurture your top guys and weed out your bottom performers, but what should you do about the bulk in the middle? The last thing you want to do is shit on them because they provide the raw horsepower that your stars need to get their results. I think you should love them too. Maybe not as much as your top guys, but hey, share the love.
So the point is, it's all nice to say the managers should do the right thing. But given how hard it is, do you think they will do it? That brings me to the next point.

Mumbai and the Marathi Manoos

I must profess ignorance about the Marathi Manoos.
Who is he?
A person with domicile in Maharashtra?
A person who can speak Marathi?
A person whose mother tongue is Marathi?
A person both of whose parent's mother tongues are Marathi?

I want to know because this person seems to be wanting a special status in Maharashtra.
Now special status in and of itself is not new - There is a special status for certain people in Kashmir, for some people in the North Eastern states, and whats more, for certain caste/community/tribe based groups there is a special status for all over the country.
But what is funny about this special status for the Marathi Manoos is what the leaders of this "movement" seem to be demanding. Sample this:
Some politicians came out an compared the leaders making these demands to Fascists and Hitler. I think they were meaning to insult the leaders of the Marathi Manoos movement. I think they are insulting the Fascists!
Some RSS leader came out recently and exhorted his cronies to protect the whimpering migrants, to which some Sena leader has reacted by warning the RSS guys to stay away from issues in Mumbai.

I don't know if the Marathi Manoos actually understands what their leaders are asking for:
100% reservation, Ownership of their city, Squelching opinion, and prevention of other citizens of India from coming in there.
That is another way of saying isolation.
Is that what the real Marathi Manoos wants?

The Sena leaders are braying over the airwaves that they have the unflinching support of the Marathi Manoos. But do they?
And if so - back to my first question - who the hell is this Marathi Manoos supporting these retarded views?
If you know, please enlighten me.

And another thing.
Their whole argument rests on the confidence they have that people want to move to Mumbai.

India's own city of opportunity.
That city is the city of opportunity as much BECAUSE of the migrants as before it. These leaders didn't make it the city of opportunity. They just changed the bloody name!

And you know if these Marathi Manooses really want it - Fuck it. Build a wall around them, and let them have the god damned city to themselves.
We've got other ports.
And the finance and software industry can move pretty quickly.
And Bollywood? Really? Should we even care to address THAT situation?

Let them drive their taxis and speak to each other in only Marathi and descend into a state of chewing destitution.
Lets see how they like that scenario.

I'm Back.

What a year.
Started a business right before the bottom fell out of the financing market, and almost had to shut shop because we couldn't fund complete development. Found a customer with a particularly strong interest in what we were doing. This customer not only provided much needed cash by trusting us enough to buy an underdeveloped product, but also gave us credibility enough to get some financial backing. And after complete development and deployment, this customer bought us out.
I'm now part of the product development team at this customer with responsibility for the lifecycle of the product that we developed and one additional product category.
My two partners are also at this firm, although one of them - guess who - is only here temporarily. (It was part of the buyout).

It was a ride. We almost failed, but are now richer than we were a year and half ago not just in our bank accounts, but also in experience.

The only unfortunate part is that I am now back working for the man.
Though I like and respect the way the management of this company conducts itself, I know enough to realize that in a company of a decent size, the management is inefficient. I know I am going to run into villains, politicians, arseholes, and more than just 3 idiots.

A vent is necessary again.

I'm back.