Macchars don’t wear sweaters

Archive for October 2009

Having been a student of management, and spent 5 years working, I think I am in a position to say a few things about the subject.

In terms of the response elicited by the customer in reaction to the company’s services or product, there has been an evolution in what companies aim for as follows:-

rendering of services/products > customer satisfaction > customer delight (thats where it stands right now)

In keeping with the globalization of markets, and intense competition, recessionary pressures, and the commitment by organizations to use their managerial prowess for the good of the community and society, the logical next level to vie for is customer orgasm. As responsible producers, settle for nothing less than AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhh………hhhh, from the customer.  This value has the added advantage of being easy to measure. Just look for a wet spot in the crotch area.

Similarly, customer service have also climbed through different levels as follows:-

no service> customer service> customer care

for the reasons cited about, we need to be constantly pushing the limits in this area as well because we, yeah you got it, cherish our customers.  So obviously, we need to start providing customer love.  I can envision a conversation which goes like:-

Sir, mai Airtel se call kar rahi hun. kya mai aapka thoda wakt le sakti hun?

ji zaroor

Sir, apna naam batayenge?

Pankaj

Pankaj ji, i love you

Pankaj ji, aapka pichle mahine ka bill pending hai. kab tak pay kar sakte hain?

aap ghar executive bhej sakti hun bill collect karne ke liye?

aapke liye to mai kuch bhi kar sakti hun

To sign off, an invaluable lesson I’ve learnt over the past few years.  Management is not about solving problems. Its about rephrasing problems so that they’re not problems anymore.

More when i can think of more.

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I came across a discussion on YouTube, a must see for anyone who is vaguely interested in the debate of religion. The video showcases a rare coming together of contemporary intellectual heavyweights, the bastion holders of rationality in our times, exponents of what is called the movement of “new atheists”. These are Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. Apart from Dennett, I had already seen a good number of debates featuring the others, and had a fair idea of what they stood for. For a measure of their eminence, Dawkins is a renowned biologist, best selling author, voted the 3rd most influential public intellectual in the world in 2005 and one of the 100 most influential people in the word in 2007. Hitchens is a journalist and best selling author, voted the 5th most influential public intellectual in the world in 2005. Sam Harris and Dennet are also best selling authors. These are the Bertrand Russelian figures of our age, the men one supposedly turns to, for perspective, when one feels sickened by an irrational, power driven world.

The four are best known in recent times for their scathing attacks on religion, which they see as the root cause of all the evil in the world today. I have frequently seen them tear to shreds priests, rabbis and mullahs, who try to argue for the cause of a God. The thrust of their arguments is to decimate a literal belief in a greater power which created the universe, in all forms the belief may be expressed – at one end the assertion that there is a disinterested god who created the world and never interfered thereafter, and on the other end a god with all possible theological trappings – a god interested in personal human fortunes and god of miracles, one who rewards prayer and punishes sin etc.

They have also been accused of going for the “soft target”, i.e., literal belief in god and the contents of holy books (that was my impression as well before reading Dawkins “the god delusion”, and the feeling although somewhat dispelled wasn’t completely got rid of). Someone who argues for God as a real entity is always on the losing side, because it a forever un-provable proposition. I partly understand their attacks on religions underbelly, because that’s how debates are, and the fact that people who believe in religious dogma word for word comprise a vast political force, and are in the majority rather than minority around the world.

I hoped this discussion between these four intellectuals supporting the same side would unravel some deeper questions, which the question of religion leads to, which touches upon the very essence of the human condition, and the subtlest questions of philosophy – is it more important to know or to lead a wholesome life? Can one be without the other? What are morals? Where do they flow from? Religion? Human nature? Or is it a fundamental psychological need as Jung suggested? What role is faith to play in our lives? Why the universality of religion? Has it been a positive force of good rather than evil? Why is a philosopher’s misery better than ignorant bliss?

And very importantly, I wanted to know why they felt it worthwhile to devote their intellectual energies to the critique of religion, as opposed to the vast political forces at play in the world, considering the current strife around the world, the danger of nuclear war. In their world view, how come religion was the main culprit? I detected a subtle underlying discourse of something else, which i also wanted to verify.

To be continued:-

I’ve been following the XYZ’s Got Talent (India, America, Britain) shows on youtube the past few months. I’ve seen many stories of obscure people – a farmer (Kevin Skinner), a cancer survivor (Barbara Padilla), a village mom (Susan Boyle) a group of laborers (Prince dance group in India), making it big instantly, almost in fairy tale, fantasy fashion. There is something about people climbing from obscurity to great heights that captures everyone imagination, and that is the stuff these shows feed off.

And these people indeed seem to be living a dream. When they tell their story over and over (i had never stepped out of my town before this/i battled cancer for eight years/i couldnt attend last years audition because my brother died), one can see the stars in their eyes blazing, the distant look. Although the channel may add violin music for effect, and stage manage the settings, one can see the truth, the earnestness behind their constant refrain “this is the best moment of my life”.

As the judges of the show, pile on the praises, educate us about our own greatness, we drink, savor, wash ourselves in every word. Maybe all of us want to be washed in the gaze of the world, to be aknowledged by the world for our worth, our talent, to be given sympathy for our sufferings, our tragedies. To absorb the applause, and see tears for us in everyones eyes. This really is what in our heart of hearts, where we always wanted to be, what we always considered finally being what we were constantly becoming. The culmination point of our life. It was great to fall in love, the first intimate touch, to have children, to spend joyful moments with friends, revel in everyday acheivements, but, this really is the “best moment of my life”.

And then comes the grand finale, the big moment, when your greatness shall be finally sealed, your place forever guaranteed amongst the stars, the final brush stroke in the grand script of your life.

And the winner is – someone else!

Your dreams are shattered with the force of a hammer driven through a glass pane. Or like a lovesick girl who thought she had finally found true love walking into the room to find her lover in another’s arms.

The smile is still there on your face, the smile you had imagined for yourself for the victory, but the eyes are bewildered. The applause is still there, the drumroll, the confetti. But it is not yours. The limelight has moved away, and you are left in the darkness of the stage to assess your state.

You suddenly feel like an absurdity.

Where did the grand script, with you in all your great suffering and struggle, the grand hero, go wrong, and you suddenly become an absurdity?

It never was your script. It was their script. A circus sequence, where you had a part.

To be fair, someone wins. But even he (or she) is living their script.

Finding the meaning of life on the stage has its perils.