The Victims Curse

I have been thinking about this for several years now and finally attempting to capture a tricky thought.

We are often a victim in our own story. Several times in life we get cornered into a situation where we feel helpless and we consider ourselves as the victim. It has happened with me at school, college, work, with friends, family … basically everywhere. At the same time I have seen so many of my friends being bogged down by this feeling of being a victim. And knowing how real that feeling is, I always fall short of telling them – GIVE IT UP.

It is easy and a very weak choice to think of a situation from a point of view that ‘I am a victim <insert your sorrow tale here>’.

Holding on to that pain and considering yourself a Victim has a payback. A sympathy value that you give yourself, a reason to not take responsibility for what happened. That’s the Victims Curse. It is only an excuse for living life in a certain way. A seemingly easier way. Over time our memories fade, we reconstruct what happened and only consolidate our position as a Victim.

Do you really want to carry that baggage?

I would also make my first public recommendation for Landmark Education. If you are serious about your life and its impact on this world, you should consider Landmark. Feel free to contact me if you wish to explore Landmark Education. 

PS: Thanks to @arpiit for introducing me and also once pointing out this Curse.

Figuring Trust

The genius that I think I am, I once defined Attitude problem. Several years later, it still reads so well to me. Been there so many times since. Here is what I had written:

A while back I sat down to analyze what really is this Attitude problem. And I have an answer to it today: When you Trust someone, you expect a lot of it in return as well. If you don’t see that coming your way … you develop this wall of unanswered questions, concealing your depression, complaints and sorrows. That’s attitude problem.

 Another bit I had come across was this:

well basically if any one’s ever called you a ***** than you need to check yourself, i believe that when someone has an attitude problem usually the person who has it also has a problem with trusting others and actually paying close attention to what they’re trying to say, people get offended if they think you dont care and are not paying close attention to them it’s a big nice metaphorical slap in the face.

However today I feel like revisiting the Trust Matrix. A much simpler way to look at it would be with Integrity. If your words and actions match, trust exists. If your words and actions don’t match, trust fades. 

Of course, the more technical formula exists. I don’t care about it as much anymore. 

Intuition

Intuition – The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning

I have for long talked about relying heavily on the first opinion formed about a person. Intuition plays a large role for me in choosing whom I am friends (or friendly) with. It is hard to think of a case where my Intuition failed me in warning about a bad deal. But that’s not what I am talking about today.

A sudden realization yesterday was the flip side of this intuition. While I may decide for myself on whom I want to be friends with, do business with or anything else for that matter; the other side of the equation is something I cannot control. I can be certain about not being friends with someone or do business with a given entity. However, when I choose otherwise, I can’t guarantee if the other person would reciprocate.

It is a no brainer, yet it took years to realise this. My Intuition doesn’t necessarily mean that something will work, there are factors that go beyond my control and I would accept when it doesn’t go my way. Regardless, I won’t stop believing in my Intuition.

This can be considered an update to ‘I Made A Choice’

Commitment

Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time architecting myself to be a self improving being. I care deeply about this. Given any situation, I like to come out with a sense that I have learnt and would do better the next time I am in that situation. Or simply put, every passing day, I want to push my limits in every area of life.

This begins by constant self evaluation of my actions. It often involves questions like – was there a better way to do this? Did I meet my commitments for the day? Did I make a positive impact to the space around me? My ‘alacrous soliloquy’ tag, today partly comes from such discussions in my head.

The side-affect? I would get upset over small issues and welcome seriously large problems as new opportunity to learn, to test myself.

What I do hope for, is to strike a balance. To know when not to care about what went right or wrong, to accept facts I cannot change and to limit the harshness emitting from this learning process.

Journalistic Integrity & Samsung Mobilers

We saw a controversy around CJ’s Berlin visit with Samsung today. The story is evolving and a lot of to and fro would happen. I don’t want to get into that here. I tweeted about an incident where we were offered Nokia T-shirts to wear on a trip to Goa where the Belle series were introduced. I along with a couple of others didn’t wear it. Some bloggers who are taking great offense to Samsung’s treatment to CJ agreed to wear a Nokia t-shirt and being filmed / photographed during the trip.

Now before I make my point, here I am not pointing out malpractices by any company or something that I have an objection too. My point is about my conduct as a journalist / blogger. 

Samsung Mobilers?

My friend Raju suggested that the bloggers (or some bloggers) visiting Berlin with Samsung aren’t reporters on a media Junket. They are part of a marketing program called ‘Samsung Mobiles’. That is debatable, but let’s consider it too.

If I were to be a Samsung Mobiler (under a marketing program and not a reporter) and I also run a technology blog. I might even give a quote or two for a local newspaper about technology and tweet my opinions on the tech industry. The question is, shouldn’t my audience, the reader know about my affiliation with Samsung under a marketing program if I am writing about Nokia or HTC or any other mobile company for that matter?

Consider the flip side, if I am visiting Berlin under the Mobilers program believing myself to be a journalist / reporter, how would my readers trust me if I am wearing a ‘Samsung T-shirt’ and covering their products? Doesn’t that reflect bias?

During my time at OnlyGizmos, this was a tussle I had with the environment at times.

I may not know what Mobilers is, but no matter how we brand it, a marketing program or a modified media junket, it raises doubts on how the journalistic integrity is maintained.

Maine Bola Tha

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” – Henry Ford

One of the most ridiculous and irritating argument I have heard time and again around me is “Maine Bola Tha”. Sounds much like someone predicted the end of the world and it came true. And this applies to so many things, be it politics, cricket, family, relations or business. The part that I am focussing on today is business.

Most startups fail and things hardly ever go as predicted. You are almost always short on resources and what defines success is choosing what not to do and when. So if you think you are a leader / entrepreneur, better learn to take the bitter pill and get out of the ‘Maine Bola Tha’ club. Humans need gratification, appreciation and admiration. Seek it. But not for things you thought, but for things you did.

If you think it through, you would have done it, provided it appeared as a must do. You didn’t do it, you didn’t make it happen.

The race wasn’t won by the ones who predicted what would happen, it was won by the ones who put their money behind that prediction.

To win you need to do. So shut up and start working. Anyways, nobody cares.

Update: A good read on this topic by Seth Godin – When to speak up

Value

Long time back I had defined friendship upon trust. A few years later, I would like to revisit that bit and base it on Value. What I said back then was

“Friendship demands trust. For me trust is the respect that a friend gives me, I value that and I like to give the same in return. For any reason (and generally many) If I fail to see that respect for me and/or I feel I cant give that respect to you, we shall seize to be friends!”

and I still believe in it. However in recent times I have started to realise (thanks to great coaches in my life) that Friendship or any relationship is driven by value. A relationship could simply be adding value to each other on an ongoing basis. And the value may be as simple as making me smile.

So how does the belief change in the light of Value?

“Relationship is driven by value. I gain tangible or intangible value from every relationship that I maintain and my existence in that relationship adds value to the other person as well. If for any reason, I fail to see value for me or my value addition to a relationship or put another way, if for any reason I do not add value to a relationship, perhaps that ship is just dead weight”

One of the reasons may be trust, but it may not always be the factor affecting value.

The choice I now make is to add value to every relationship that I carry. I may not always be able to do so and should I give up on those relationships is something that I haven’t figured.

Probably some other time… I would want to revisit this and align my thoughts.

Startup Founders Are Clerk -2- CEO

I have been thinking this ever since I met Kashyap of Inkfruit at the first Startup Saturday I attended in February 2009. Apparently the founders of Inkfruit have titles like ‘Maharaja’ and ‘Nawab’ instead of CEO and that made me think if a Startup founder should really use a CEO tag?

While it most cases it makes no difference to what business one does, but we do have people who would frown at a CEO tag used in a 5 people company. I wouldn’t care much on what a founder labels himself, but if I am to propose a title, Startup CEO’s are ‘C2C’ (Clerk to CEO). That’s what you really do. The day you have a CEO tag, you are probably a mid-sized company, not a startup anymore 🙂

PS: You can always act like a startup. No matter how big you are.

Startup CXO

Update on the Airtel Incident

Before I begin, I want to thank everyone who took time to tweet, share and comment on my previous post: [Audio] The Police Officer On Behalf Of Airtel – FIR, Threats etc

Your words and support has been my energy for the past two days. I really appreciate it. Here is an update from my end.

a) Airtel has contacted me with several calls since I posted the article along with the audio clips. I do believe that they have taken the matter seriously. Airtel has confirmed that they have cancelled the contract of the agency who was responsible for the unscrupulous call.

b) Airtel (@airtel_presence) tweeted to me today and said:

@annkur Hi! We once again apologise for the unethical behaviour by our vendors. We would like to inform you that we have discontinued the services of the agency in question for violation of Airtel’s code of conduct. Regards

However I noticed that they have been tweeting a slightly different version to everyone else:

@ishita_I_am “Airtel does not condone any harassing or unethical behaviour by any of its vendors or people. We have discontinued the services of the agency in question for violation of Airtel’s code of conduct.Airtel follows the standard industry practice of using the services of collection agencies only after duly following up for settlement of dues with the customer for a period of 90 to 120 days.”

You may have noticed that I haven’t spoken much about my original dispute with Airtel in my previous post, that was for the reason that I wanted to keep the focus on their recovery tactics. However given that they are not hinting on twitter that they have duly followed up with me for a period of 120 days and only then forwarded the case to collection agencies, I feel compelled to reply.

My response: During the duly follow up, Airtel’s collection department refused to look into the billing complaint and said ‘aapne use kiya tabhi to bill aaya hai’, they were often arrogant and non co-operative. They had even agreed to close the account by collecting Rs 2500, reference compared to Rs 5000+ that they are now demanding. Someone from the collection department visited my office with a letter that had my name but a wrong address and phone number to collect the due the last time I had a correspondence with them and the only call I got after that is the ones I mentioned in my post. (Funnily even back then they emailed me from a Gmail ID and the email read this “This has reference to the above mentioned subject, A/C (“a wrong account no”) we would like you to note that the said A/C has outstanding 5,875.91/- for collection of your said account, kindly make payment of an amount of Rs.  2,500/- (Two Thousand Five Hundred Only). Please note that said amount has been arrived at after adjusting all dispute charges. “)

It is only now that they have agreed to look into the complaints and issues I raise about FUP, a lapse in upgrading my scheme (which was accepted by their call center when I was a subscriber) and mysterious Rs 199 under the head ‘gaming charges’ in many of my bills.

c) When I complained about the illegal threat from a lawyer last month on twitter, Airtel looked least bothered to look into the issue and the caller Anoop from Airtel Presence only helped by asking me to pay the bill and did nothing to investigate the call I received. It is only after I recorded another aggressive and illegal call from Airtel that they swung into action. While I do not doubt their statement that they have cancelled the contract of the agency responsible and is taking whatever action possible against them, a doubt sure can be raised as to why they failed to investigate this matter before?

There have been so many people complaining of similar calls on my post, Airtel must answer as to why it was ignored before and confirm if they have initiated any legal proceedings / police complaint against the agency concerned.

d) I am not sure on what next at the moment. I would wait for Airtel to again check my account and I would pay the right due. However as advised by Nikhil of Medianama on Twitter, I would be writing to TRAI with a copy of the call recording.

As I do that, I shall update this space. Thank you.