Being Boring

Loved this Wired story that talks about something I care about a great deal - stability over disruption in technology . Among the work I have done for clients over the years, I am most proud of things are the normal, boring and reliable. They could use it for years and not even notice the thing existed - it just hummed away in the background and improved what they did or allowed them to focus on their strengths rather than battle with non-core functions.  The boring stuff lives on for ever, fads come and go in cycles of two to five years, the Kool-Aid of the day generates buzz, conference keynotes and such but inevitably the hype will fade and folks will turn to tried and true. I never saw the point of random new technology certifications - its like requiring a chef who went to culinary school for years and ran a restaurant for a decade to prove that they can follow a certain recipe.  There is a level of stupid such requirement exceeds and I find it impossible to condone. Ask developer

One Size

Good starting point with the 5 Whys here for Bed Bath and Beyond  but it did not answer the question what was ailing in the first instance before the new guy from Target decided to replay what worked there and found it to be a mistake.  The main miss in the story that that the strategy of pushing private labels was in response to problems that the store was experiencing when they brought in the new CEO. The article does not say what those problems were and how they came about. Perhaps that context would help one appreciate the desire to push out branded goods to make room for private label.  BBBY should have hired someone like Hubert Joly -- who crafted a winning turnaround strategy for Best Buy by first listening to employees and customers. Before imposing a pre-packaged solution, make sure you are solving the right problem Completely agree that identifying the right problem is key but the author is making the exact same mistake he is accusing the BBBY leadership of. His wants to prov

Bringing Change

N and I are working really hard to get our common friend B to start taking care of her physical and mental health which have both been suffering for the last few years. B is as stubborn as they get and refuses to listen to us even though she knows we care for her deeply and want nothing but the best. It is not enough to trigger the change that is needed and at our age, people do get set in their ways. If roles were reversed and two of my close friends saw a problem in my situation that I was oblivious to, not sure how much they would have been able to influence my thinking. Reading this Kakfa quote put into words our struggles with B One has either to take people as they are, or leave them as they are. One cannot change them, one can merely disturb their balance. A human being, after all, is not made up of single pieces, from which a single piece can be taken out and replaced by something else. Rather he is a whole, and if you pull one end, the other, whether you like it or not, begins

Starry Nights

Watching stars in the sky has been an activity people around the world have enjoyed largely unfretted for all long as there have been people. That will likely change soon with a man-made shiny object crowding out smaller things like stars. It is an allegory for what is wrong with the world - a few very rich and influential people decide which way society moves and what our priorities must be. I doubt anyone mentioned in the cast of characters who have the means to pin shiny things in the sky and cause global vision pollution, have the education, enlightenment or edification of the poor huddled masses.  They are interested in commerce facilitated by connectivity and access. All the buyer has to do is see a picture of the thing they want and push a button - nothing beyond a 3rd grade education is needed to accomplish, By then most children can count to as much as they need to understand what something costs. Infact, its best that stay around that level so they can become buying bots. Wh

Drinking Water

Recently, I thought I would have a 5 gallon jar of spring water at home as a way to make drinking water as easy as it used to be in my childhood out a simple terracotta surahi wrapped in a piece of wet cloth during the summer months. It sat on the kitchen platform and the water was always at the perfect temperature. I am not sure of the source of the water but would guess it was the nearby river. The town did have a water filtration plant so it was not quite natural water but the taste was very pleasant. At the time, I was not aware water could taste any other way. But when we traveled out of town, I noticed the water did not taste quite the same. Since we would be back home in a few days anyway, that was not such a big deal.  Since leaving what used to be my home in India, the taste of drinking water has always been problematic. To workaround the issue and stay hydrated, I took drinking tea. By the third or fourth round in the same pot the output become more hot water and less tea. Th

Different Lens

Coming from a family of Indian partition victims who had to flee Bangladesh to become refugees in Kolkata, I am not a fan of the British royals . As with any peoples who are colonized and abused by a foreign nation, we have in some part atleast our own people to blame for our troubles. That being said, the atrocities of the colonizer does not become less heinous because they had help from the natives. To that end, I very much appreciate Kadyan's sentiments:  Numerous observers noted how the British Empire plundered around $45 trillion from India over two centuries of colonialism that resulted in millions of deaths, and how the Kohinoor—one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, with an estimated value of $200 million—was stolen from India to be set in the queen mother’s crown. “Why are Indians mourning the death of Queen Elizabeth II?” asked Indian economist Manisha Kadyan on Twitter. “Her legacy is colonialism, slavery, racism, loot, and plundering. Despite having chances, she

Learning Joy

 Interesting read about how our brains tag experiences as good or bad . It would be great to extend the study to see what interventions a person could make in their lives such that they tag fewer things as bad and consequently have a sunnier disposition, better mental health, Serving others in whatever way possible seems to be one way to get there - it expands a person's world view seeing others tagging things very differently from them. For me personally, one particular experience stands out as a recalibration trigger in my brain. The guy was a fish-monger in the small town I grew up in. He had very little going for him - sat in the corner of the market for the smaller vendors who could not afford to hold big fish in their inventory. He was maybe ten years older than me and supporting his family who lived in a nearby village. My father would chat with him every time we bought fish - I was frequently there with him. K was one of the most cheerful people I had seen. Never saw the br