Sunday Special: The #Imperfect Cricketer #Dhoni

As one reads the title, its anyone’s guess what I am talking about.

M S Dhoni, the Imperfect Cricketer who went on to rule the world of cricket hung his boots on Aug 15, 2020 at 1929 hrs.

Dhoni embodies one of the finest blends of –

  • Just enough talent
  • Just enough aggression
  • Just enough cricketing skills
  • Just enough discipline
  • Just enough team play
  • Just enough innovation
  • Just enough fitness
  • Just enough political acumen
  • Just enough opportunities to showcase his skills
  • But a never ending quench to excel despite knowing his limitations

The world had been entertained over the years with an excellent judgment of this blend while squatting behind the three stumps.

No technology or automation or artificial intelligence can replace this kind of blend.

Indian cricket legends like Sachin, Dravid, Kapil Dev, Sehwag, Gavaskar, Vengsarkar and many more such were known for their one specialist skill. But Dhoni was a specialist in none but excelled in a combo of things to give a perfect recipe for success.

Even your parting was just enough adieu to your fans…

Thank you for all the great things you did in the world of cricket and also for things you didn’t do but made an honest attempt for.

Here is that one winning shot that won hearts of a billion people…

#Vows for an #Independent #Future

Indian Independence Day 2020 74th Swatantrata Diwas Difference ...
Source: Amar Ujala

आज फिर वही कहानी याद आयी,
बुंदेलों से शुरू हुई थी वह लड़ाई।
वीरांगना ने किया था बलिदान,
फांसी को चूमकर भगत सुखदेव ने दे दी थी जान।
लाठी लेकर चल पड़े डांडी की ओर गाँधी,
जड़ से उखड गये शासक ऐसी आयी थी आंधी।
यह स्वंतत्र भारत की गाथा ऐसे ही नहीं रची है,
बड़े बड़े महान लोगों के खून से लिखी और बलिदान से सींची है।

यूं तो आजादी के संघर्ष और भी कईं हुए हैं,
विश्व भर में लोगों के ऐसे और भी चर्चे हुए हैं,
नमन है उन सभी वीर सैनानियों को,
जो अर्पित हो गए अपने देश को,
याद रहे शान्ति का मार्ग पर चलना मामूली बात नहीं है,
परन्तु आज़ादी की ऐसी विजय ही केवल सही है।

पूरे भारतवर्ष में यह लहर उमड़ रही है,
अब फिर हमारे सामने वही बलिदान की घडी है।
आज फिर सामने खड़ी ही गयी हैं ऐसी समस्याएं,
मिलकर करें सामना नहीं तो मिलेंगी केवल आपदायें।
कुछ शत्रु बाहर खड़े हैं लेकर अपने औजार,
कुछ कर रहे हैं मौत और खौफ का व्यापार।
लेकिन पहले हमें अंदर के हमारे द्वेष को मिटाना है,
एक भाई को अपने दूसरे भाई से मिलाना है।
जात पात, धर्म और रंग,
सब भूलकर एक हो जाना है।
चूँकि एकजुट होकर जब जब खड़े हुए हैं हम,
बड़े से बड़े दुश्मन ने तोडा दिया है अपना दम।

इस स्वंत्रता दिवस पर हम लेंगे ऐसा प्रण,
फिर कहलायेगा भारत स्वर्ण चिड़िया,
लगा देंगे अपने शरीर का एक एक कण।
मन से स्वच्छ, और सोच से आत्मनिर्भर,
जमा देंगे धाक भारत की फिर से पुरे विश्व पर।

जय हिन्द।।

Sunday Special: #Parallel #Play and #TikTok Race

Dilbert on Twitter: "Comic for July 03, 2018 #dilbert ...

Credits: Scott Adam’s Dilbert

In the pre-COVID world, my young son used to fascinate us with his behaviour when in company of other kids. During his evening play time, he would indulge in one activity alone while other kids will play whatever they feel like. Our son would sporadically look at what the other kids are doing but then would continue to do his ‘work’. This real ‘work’ could be any of the following –

  • Moving small stones from one part of the park to a small pond in out apartment complex
  • Digging into mud and then putting it aside
  • Just taking his ball and rolling and picking it up
  • or any other such numerous things he used to do

The other kids, especially the old ones, may indulge in some sport like volleyball or cricket or even cycling but our son would focus on what he is doing. He wouldn’t sway. Temporarily, when somebody used to go to him, he would get distracted from the activity but then he would go back to whatever activity he is doing.

At times, he would do what others are doing and if he enjoys doing it, he would continue doing it or he may disregard it completely and go back to what he was doing, as if nothing happened at all. Or as if there is nothing else happening in his surroundings.

This is a common children phenomenon and is popularly known as ‘Parallel Play’.

Its a very important element of human behaviour that can teach us many things both personally and for the companies.

Personally, we should understand the wiring that we get in the very beginning of our life i.e.e the importance of focus. A recent study says that people in UK spend only 2.5 hrs of productive work at their work place. Rest of the time is spent in checking things like –

  • What colleagues are doing?
  • What is happening with their friends in social media?
  • Checking what is happening in the world with news feeds?
  • Going through emails randomly etc

All this contributes to significant distraction and so loss of focus. If we go back to the basic human behaviour instilled with ‘Parallel Play’, we should focus more on what we are doing than trying to find out what’s happening somewhere else.

Additionally, within an organisation, this has a lot of relevance in both intra- and inter- departmental synergies.

Within the department, leaders tend to standardise things across the board as it makes it easier for them to monitor and manage. What we lose in the process is the essence of parallel play.

Different departments and different teams within the same department of an organisation of scale have different roles to play and are unique while still united in their own way of operating, and the purpose they serve for the org. Their situation is the one that likely demands so. Trying to standardise and build common sense of ‘doing things’ can lead to losing out the ‘focus’ of the parallel play. It is imperative for the business managers to assess the utility of standardisation before destroying the creative and relevance element of parallel play in attempts to generalise or standardise things.

Parallel plays inherently help in enriching the ideas from multiple teams as one team borrows the ideas from the others. And then they test the idea till they adopt it fully.

Generalising while important, at times, diminishes the organisational strength somewhere.

Having the context right is one of the best tools before ignoring the parallel plays of the individual teams.

In software development, we see multiple teams adopting different standard methodologies like Agile or SAFe etc but with their own set of tailoring. To that extent, generalisation and building commonness makes a lot of sense. However, individual teams should be allowed to perform parallel plays beyond that.

At the same time, newer intrapreneurially -driven or entrepreneurial initiatives need to be seen from a different lens altogether. In general, these initiatives are chasing a larger purpose but at the same time have to continuously adapt to the speed of change of the market dynamics.

Attempting to force-fit the same rules of generalised approach may prove to be counter productive for such initiatives. However, parallel plays can keep the things in the right perspective and keeps them alive.

To understand this, lets take example of 2 startups – Uber and Lyft. Both the companies started off with catering to last mile commute using the cab service. Uber started with the ‘Uber Black’ service as its first offering. Lyft started with its name as “Sidecar’ and used to have non-pro drivers using their own cars more for peer to peer cab service. Uber watched Lyft for sometime before finally launching its own similar service by the name UberX. Uber did not pivot from the Uber Black but added UberX as an add-on service.

So, before we see at ways to standardise things, we should reflect and ponder on the degree of implementation of this, to ensure that the parallel play stays in the team, to the extent it is required to meet the overall objective.

Unknowingly, TikTok and other short-video sharing apps are at the cusp of a similar thing. After few recent government announcements, TikTok is looking at ways to stay relevant in its largest serving markets. However, there are a whole bunch of its ‘parallel play’ buddies, who have growing attention from the markets.. Some of them are listed below –

  1. Reels from FB
  2. Triller
  3. Byte
  4. Clash

All these wanna-be TikTok are similar platforms that had indulged in a similar but a parallel play to TikTok. TikTok went miles ahead with its recommendation engine that differentiates it from practically all other platforms.

With the new dynamics, a standardised approach or a common strategy by the other competing platforms to TikTok may not have given them the advantage of building an enhanced experience for the users if they didn’t continue their parallel play.

Who will win the battle to be the next TikTok? Or whether TikTok will survive this storm? Only time will tell. At the moment, the only thing that’s ticking is the deadline for some changes in this space.

Before we conclude, here is the pick of the week. Its a nice ‘All Avengers Stars’ video singing the song ‘We didn’t start the fire’. Enjoy your Sunday 🙂

Sunday Special: #Relaxation #Cutting #Edge and #Recovery

This is my WhatsApp pick for this week.

Again got pushed to ruminate.

What does it mean to be ‘on the cutting edge’?

Aren’t words like ‘on the cutting edge’, ‘bleeding edge’, ‘cut-throat’ etc violent in their own definition?

Do they make any sense in their conjunction with opposite and non-violent sentiments of relaxation, peace, calmness, meditation etc?

Unfortunately, the humour of the cartoonist puts one into a pensive mood to explore just this. The question to wonder about ‘where are we headed?’

In the modern age of intense competition and oneupmanship, there is a constant strive to be better than the rest. There is a never ending churn to try and beat the best.

Charles Darwin gave the concept of ‘Survival of the Fittest’. It essentially meant that in an ever-evolving world, only the ones who are fit to sustain the change will survive. The ones who cannot adapt will perish. Its a natural cycle of nature.

Modern world has grown way beyond just survival. Its more about elbowing out others and being combative. Long gone are the days to be accommodative.

Success at any cost – is the latest lesson being taught. But what is the definition of success?

Pervasive tech has opened new definitions, criteria and mantras for success.

There is an open debate on how do we measure success.

  • Some measure it through bank balance and net worth
  • Some measure it through fame – number of citations in the media or relevant prints
  • Some measure it through airtime
  • In current times, some measure by the number of followers on social media
  • Some measure if with their designation or with their position in hierarchy
  • Some measure it by the budgets they are managing
  • And the list goes on

Anything that gets measured and gets expressed in numbers ought to become a success criteria. Or in other words, new ways and means to measure almost things are being invented every single day.

With a booming world population, these numbers becomes a reliable and comparable metric to define success.

Hence, this forward holds a lot of significance. If one wants to be ‘on the cutting edge of relaxation’, what could be the success criteria for it –

  1. How many hours spent in meditation?
  2. Number of relaxation sessions attended?
  3. Amount of money spent on relaxation?
  4. Number of relaxation gurus known?
  5. Number of books read on the topic? Or even written on this?
  6. Number of times this is discussed in a day?
  7. Number of people added to the ‘herd’?
  8. Number of apps helping to do it?
  9. and so on…

We may need to wait for things to evolve better to understand this. Someone somewhere is surely working on this.

While we may need more time to assess this and come to a ‘Global Standard’ on how do we define ‘being on the cutting edge’, one of the charts from last week that caught my attention is the one by McKinsey on the recovery duration of some of the sectors in post COVID-19 world.

Its clear 2020 is a write-off year for almost all the businesses. Though hopes for a V-shape or a U-shape recovery continue to drive the markets at a broad level.

Thats all for this Sunday. Have a good time with your loved ones 🙂