Sunday, March 2, 2008

How can we advance our careers??

A topic that I deal with internally and externally is on how I can advance my career. Being a professional in the risk advisory world for about 7 years I have seen quite a bit about the do’s and don’ts of a working professional. I have realized that everyday is sort of like an interview with people meticulously assessing your work as well as your behaviors. I remember being in meetings where I heard comments about how a certain individual acted at say a company sponsored event or how certain individuals come into work late yet always leave early. It appears that little nuances in our behaviors that may seem insignificant to us may be viewed totally different by others. Soft skills I have noted are an increasingly focused element to career development. The ability to deliver an effective speech to senior management gets vital as people move up the ranks in management. All this said how can we as business professionals move up in a cut-throat business culture that may not always be driven by performance?

I have realized that a good amount of professionals choose to be the best at what they do be it more on a technical level or more on a management level. Each individual usually tries to highlight on their strengths and not their weaknesses. However I believe that to truly become excellent professionals we have to hone in on our weaknesses and strive to develop them into strengths. The issue I have realized is that most people are usually pushed to deliver on their strengths and not vise versa and hence the problem of creating developmental opportunities arises. Even though we may acknowledge this, how can we ensure that we find these opportunities to develop ourselves? Even though most companies talk about strong mentoring networks, only the select few through whatever reasons are developed into roles within senior management. I have realized that it is not enough to just have ambition…everyone needs to find a way to advance their careers when they see potential roadblocks. The question is how can we effectively do this?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is the blog the new resume? Really??

I was enlightened when I read the blog from Joshua Porter titled “The blog is the new resume” on how some companies in their recruitment efforts would look to make decisions on job candidates based upon the set-up and communication lines from their individual’s blogs. The first thought that came to mind was: What jobs exactly are these where company’s will look to review an individual’s blog? To me it would only make sense for me as a company to read an individual’s blog if that person is some sort of writer or columnist where I in the company’s shoes will want to see the quality of that person’s work as well as that person’s mind set it his/her communication of various issues. I would certainly not care to read the blog of say an accountant, a doctor or even a technology specialist.

I view blogs as a communication medium to share ideas and be able to draw deep perceptions and view of one’s audience. Hence as a job recruiter I would look for such individuals who had this capacity to draw people to their blog articles especially those issues of relevance. Large traffic to a blogger’s website would indicate to me that the individual is communicating well with an audience and I as a recruiter will be more than inclined to evaluate the context of the blogger’s message. I would be aware that no matter how excellent a resume appears for a writer, being able to draw an audience is more important that just excellent technical writing ability. I will however start my review from the resume. The writer’s blog to me will be icing on the cake if well written and able to generate large internet traffic/hits for the type of audience the company wants to attract. The same analogy holds true in other endeavors like business: innovation is worthless without a market!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cybertwins - What's next Robotwins?

I was in awe when I read an article from CNET News online, dated April 2, 2007 that commented on an Australian website (link - providing software that would allow users to create and customize a virtual personality that is able to chat with others when the actual person is offline. My initial thought on this technology was a concern on why people would want to have other real chatters talk to their cybertwin instead of themselves. Even though you can tailor and customize your cybertwin to answer various questions based upon your personality, various FAQ’s that you can set up I still wondered on how effective this line of communication would be.

I also wondered whether the real person being chatted to would know that he/she was talking to a cybertwin. My personal opinion of communication is that you can’t really rehearse what to say to another person if the conversation sways one way or another. Cyberywins may be useful for answering FAQ and other static information but how can anyone use a cybertwin for say dating? Another benefit I thought was maybe, the user of the “MyCyberTwin” software may use this powerful tool to reach multiple websites (i.e. multiple people – e.g. for political campaigning). Even though I may try this software one day, I am still very skeptical that “MyCyberTwin” can fully represent me in an on-line conversation… conversations are way too dynamic for a computer software. On the other hand I may be willing to trust my robotwin if he can at least look and act like me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What is LinkedIn?

What is LinkedIn? - LinkedIn provides a web based networking medium for people to connect with colleagues and old classmates, a source for career advancement opportunities and an access point to a whole lot of intellectual data frm industry experts.

The webpage for LinkedIn is noted below:

A link to one member of my blog circle is that of Javaid noted below:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"The Internet makes us dumb"...Really?

An interesting article I read from the TechCrunch on-line magazine highlighted some drawbacks of the Internet from the viewpoint of Doris Lessing, the recently awarded nobel peace prize winner. This article from TechCrunch appeared to mock Lessing’s viewpoint of the internet. According to an excerpt from the article, Lessing noted that:

“the inanities of the internet have seduced a generation, and we live in a fragmenting culture where people read nothing and know nothing of the world”.

In reading this I wondered about the context with which her statements were being interperated. I have long been a proponent of not judging a writer without reading his/her entire article as complete reading usually puts into context various opinions of the writer.
To obtain a complete picture I read the entire article she wrote from “A hunger for Books” – Doris Lessing (published by The Guardian) – 12/08//07. This article allowed me to put into context what Doris meant in the article. As we all can agree (including Doris), the coming about of the internet was a revolution for information access. However this ease of access to information can stump a child’s intellectual development if not used in the appropriate manner. Take for instance the networking sites of Facebook and Myspace. I know too many people including myself who spend hours a day checking status, email, etc. These hours could have been spent doing something more productive.

From the article “A hunger for books”, Doris appears to be frustrated by the sharp contrast in demand for novels by kids in well-off societies versus those in impoverished societies. There is no dispute that reading a well written novel is better for a child’s writing development than reading a short article on-line. It was however interesting to note that Lessing’s unflatering remarks about bloggers may have some truth to it. As I read through the comments posted to the TechCrunch article I noted for a fact how most bloggers had not read the entire article from the Guardian, but instead chose to leave blog comments disagreeing totally with Lessing phrased comments about the evolution of the internet.

As much as I see the value of blogging in communicating between different people it was apparent that a lot of bloggers failed to put into context the nature of Lessing’s remarks. While bloggers tend to critique others shouldn't they also be evaluated?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Innovation - What does the consumer want?

In reading an October 2004 post from Business Week on-line titled “Nike’s New Public Studio – where consumers become designers”, I quickly reflected on what innovation truly meant to myself and to the best of my ability what I thought it meant to other people. I pondered on the role consumers played in the innovation process and how their reaction to a new innovative product ultimately determined how that product was viewed.
What I did realize after awhile is that there are various tastes and preferences that certain unique groups of people have and that a truly innovative product usually impacts a wider group. Take for example how innovative Apple’s ipod has been over the last few years. Sure enough the tape and CD walkman, MP3 player were innovative products but none of these had the level of impact to both consumers and suppliers that the ipod had. The ipod through iTunes also had a snowball effect on the music recording industry by providing another outlet for specific and select sales.

In defining innovation which is popularly viewed as “groundbreaking technology” it is important to note that not all “innovative” products are successful. So with this what exactly is innovation? I searched on Google and came up with this definition:

“The test of an innovation is whether it creates value. Innovation means the creation of new value and new satisfaction for the customer”.

Does this definition then mean that a product is innovative only if the customer wants it and thinks it is? But then again, how many companies roll-out a series of innovations on an existing successful product that transform that successful product into something unrecognizable and undesirable by the customer? An easy example of the Volkswagon Phaeton comes to mind on this…
Nike (through NikeiD) and IBM (free use of supercomputers to certain users) are examples of companies trying to test product innovation in the market. Remember that consumers are a company’s market….why not have them indirectly through a sharing of ideas, analysis, etc tell you what they want?