Yesterday on 27th June, I got my first Mac. :-). It’s a MacBook Pro. Exactly after 20 days of intending it I got myself a mac. It’s not like I won a lottery or someone else gave a gift to me. I just realized that we could afford it with all the other things that are going on in our lives. My life has been transformed once I started to live intentionally. Law of attraction rocks and it is directly proportional to your faith in it.
Thank you Universe!
Long time back when I was reading 7 habits by Steven Covey I learned that for everything in this world there is a ‘Core Principle’. There is always one Principle and the practices, implementations and usages are many. Every individual on this planet has his/her own way of practicing some core principle. This stuck with me for a long time and I tried to use it in my software job. When ever I am lost or confused or too many voices around me – I think what is the principle of this thing bothering me? This clears a lot of air and gets me to focus on the core principle and not get bogged down by the many practices that I come across.
Today I realized that this similar concept happens in becoming wealthy. Wealth as such is the principle. The practices of wealth are – money, property, possessions etc. There are many implementations of this one principle of wealth. So, to become wealthy, we can struggle with one of the many or multiple practices and never know or learn about the principle – which is what most of the population does. Or to become wealthy, we can just grasp the principle and then the practices are just details. So, when people talk about making money, buying house and buying car – most of the time the approach is reversed. We are trying to achieve or replicate a practice.
Suppose, my friend bought a house. Which is the most common thing to happen in the Indian community who are based in US. A lot of Indian people consider owning a house is the most important thing. So, my natural thinking after looking at my friend buying a house is to think of buying one too. So, what I am trying to do here is to replicate a practice. The practice is buying a house. When I try to replicate a practice, it may not work out. Because we are all unique beings and we all have unique environments so me copying the practice of my friend may not work out with me. But instead I choose to think of the principle behind it – having a safe place to live in a good neighborhood, it might change my mindset. Now I am thinking more about the principle – which would result in me buying a house or moving to another country etc. By concentrating on principle I get what is suited to me rather than imitating what my friend did.
Similarly, when we want to become wealthy – it is very important to choose to be conscious of the Wealth principle. It could be cash, it could be stocks, it could be Gold, it could be possessions. But it’s very important to think about the principle of wealth and be conscious of it. I may lose my money, but if I am conscious of my wealth then I will always make it no matter how much I lose.
I think this is key thing that differentiates from people who are wealthy and who are not. People who are not wealthy and who want to be one – are wasting time on the practice – like making more money, or owning stuff. But if they shed the practice and just focus on the principle then the Universe will bring in the wealth into their lives from various practices suitable to them.
I am a fan of SaaS (Software as a Service). I love the Salesforce’s model of hosting software. Even though ASP (Application Service Provider) model has been around for a long time, I think Salesforce has injected fresh energy into this market. But this is mostly for business people. I think we should have something called spiritualforce.com. A web services hosting provider for all the new age guru’s like Deepak Chopra, Bob Doyle, James Ray, Wayne Dyer. This site would have facilities for:
- Hosting each Guru’s course ware in all media formats: audio, video, text etc
- Providing easy contacts and mailing list options
- Able to conduct selective pilot programs with pre-selected members
- Provide discounts for members of one Guru to another or across the domain
- Once a week or month have a public panel of all the Gurus’ together online at one time so that member can watch them discuss and ask questions.
- Providing live chat with Gurus.
- Every teacher will have his/her own blog.
This basically will make it easier for any spiritual teacher to open up his own shop and teach what he/she believes in. I am sure this could either be done as a Salesforce module but I think it would be cool to have just spiritual people gather around one set of software services. I also believe the with enough customizations Drupal or mephisto could be used too. This will reduce a lot of redoing of the software for these teachers.
I was always fascinated by books. I read, buy and collect so many of them every month. I believe a person’s bookshelf tells a lot about a person. When I see pictures of famous people sitting in their library or holding a book – I am more interested to see their book collection or what books are they reading right now. That is one way of knowing what their thinking(at least) for that period of time. May even tell a lot about their tastes if you get a list of the books they are reading. So, following this idea I think there should be an easy way to maintain a virtual book shelf online. So, here is an idea…
- Registered users will key in the ISBN # for the books they have or own.
- The site would create a virtual book shelf and store it online
- We will also have small widgets, for blogs so that I can show off my book shelf on my blog
- The books in my book shelf (that is being shown on my blog) link to my choice of book seller (amazon/bn) there by if someone follows the link and makes purchase I would get an incentive.
- I should be able to mark the book public or private or protective meaning only people I choose can see that I own that book
- Whenever you make a online purchase, you are also given a choice of adding it to your virtual bookshelf.
- Ideally I should also be able to keep my e-books and audio books in my book shelf.
- Amazon can advertise, discount and sell a whole row of a bookshelf from any popular person’s bookshelf.
I am sure someone must have thought about this. There must be a site which already does this. But I have never seen one so far and also this could be a great pet project to do in Ruby on Rails.
Listening to ‘The Secret‘ and reading a lot of literature on Manifestation and other techniques, it reminds me of some of the old sayings of Upanishads and Vedas. There is one saying that comes to mind ‘Ekam Sat, Vipra Bahudha Vadanti‘ (more here) meaning -“The truth is one, the wise call it by many names“. So listening to Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer and The Secret has definitely changed my life. But it is amazing to know that this path has been shown and tread by many teachers and sages since age old times. It’s been documented so throughly in our ancient scriptures. I am only aware of Indian origin scriptures, but I am pretty sure we would find the same language scriptures that are from other lands.
Another quote which resonates with me and which Swami says so many times is – ‘ Yad Bhavam, Tad Bhavathi‘ meaning – “As you think so you become“. This rhymes with the very core concept of all the new age gurus talk about. The reality which we sense with our 5 senses is an effect. It’s an aftermath of what is created inside of us. Within us lies a far bigger universe seeded with potential choices which needs to be manifested into our so called sensual reality. This means that we are in charge of our lives and it’s been said and documented since aeons.
So, the questions arises, how come after all these things have been said in our scriptures which are about 5000 years old – we still are being controlled by our environment? That’s something to think about and another blog post.
Tonight we had a talk with one of the Apple tech guys at a Apple store nearby. We both were excited as to how Apple would convince us about the switch and also give us some good options of acquiring one. We both were so much excited that we were even planning on to getting a mac book each. But alas, it didn’t go that well.
The tech/sales guy at the store was nonchalant. He had NO urge to sell us the laptops. He didn’t talk how cool the apple laptops are. He just hovered the mouse pointer over the task bar icons and told us what all software it comes with. He asked if we had questions. When we asked about financing options, he said we would have to do that online. The scheduled chat was supposed to be for 30 mins. It ended in 5 mins. Sangita was bored by 3rd minute already and strayed off the discussion.
One thing that guy sure did was to bring along a big board saying ‘Apple tech talk going on’ something like that and put it around the desk during our chat. I am pretty sure it looked pretty neat for others who were watching us. But for us it was a dud experience. We were expecting more from Apple and the experience was kinda downer. Now we don’t know we will ever think of getting a mac. Bummer.
When I think about Google and Salesforce, a very distinct trait comes to picture. Both the companies are doing exceedingly well and one common thread that runs between them is they work very hard to differentiate. Google was born after Yahoo. They could have just gone along and trusted their super search algorithm to make it work for them. But NOPE. With their search algorithm, they could have just sustained in the present. As time went on, no amounts of tweaking the algorithm will keep them ahead. So, what they did was to invest in future. How? They did it through ideas! The 80/20 principle.
Imagine working at Google – 1 day of every week is the day you can work on the most creative thing you have invented or thought of. With that in place, even the people who think they are not creative will become creative. Yes, there would be plethora of ideas and it would be impossible to manage. But what people miss is this – this idea fodder will feed Google forever. Even if creative people leave Google, the impressions they are going to make on Google is so immense that Google will actually benefit from it. Google differentiated from Yahoo and became a leader. The idea is so cool that, even if today Yahoo calls it out and starts to implement 80/20 principle in their company they might actually beat Google. But we all know about corporate hubris – it’s far more bigger than individual creativity. Yahoo will find it shameful to follow the trail of Google. But it could only be justified if they come up with their own creative idea generation. Whatever process they follow – they need to label it and let it hang out there so that everyone at Yahoo is aware of it.
Now about Salesforce. They differentiate a whole lot different than any other company. They follow something called the 1% solution. This is far bigger than what Google does. In this company we are no where at the individual level. It’s at a community level. It’s a about giving back and there by attracting more. You can only give if you have. The more you have the more you can give. Same reason why Warren Buffet can give so much money – because he keeps having more and more. So, Salesforce went up to a higher level by basing their company on the principles of giving back to community. It’s not about the individual anymore. They are aiming far bigger than Google. Salesforce may not be as big as Google in the markets, but among community it’s far bigger than Google. It’s not about us looking at these companies with a competitive eyes. These companies are excelling in their markets because they are differentiating. There is no other company I know of so far which does this 1% solution.
Imagine a company whose roots are based on giving back to community like Salesforce. And whose financial momentum is based on 80/20% rule like Google. Now that would make one great company. The GForce!
Hand Painters Network would be creative network of artists who would hand paint things of imagination, photos, ideas, concepts and thoughts. It would work in the following way.
- A user would submit a photo of his childhood to the website.
- You also specify the price you are willing to give and time you have.
- This would get posted to all the artists, some of them who choose to take up the project.
- Say, for example – 5 artists draw up your childhood photo using various colors and hand painted them.
- They get posted as reply to your photo.
- You pick the best photo that you like.
- The artist gets paid the amount you specified
- You hold the rights to the painted photo. You can get it printed at any digital printers like Ink2.
- Or better you can make a poster of it.
What I like the best of this is – this is such a creativity task when you want to draw/paint up a idea or concept. Our figment of imagination, a community logo etc.
Today I visited a local whole foods store for the first time. I have been to one before in LA, but not the one in Oakland/Berkeley. I was so happy to be there. They had amazing array of food items, which are good and Satvic. I was very surprised to see “Kichadi” was being sold. The most interesting thing happened when I went to the hot food section. There was a guy at the counter, who was so friendly and amazing at customer service. He would talk nice to everyone, smile all the time. He would ask you, if you want a sample of anything. He was proud of what he was doing. He was striving for the best and he knew he was good. He loved his customers and we all loved him too.
This made me think about how we interact with customers in our work. My day job doesn’t even let me close to our customers. The customers for whom I write software. I know there are thousands of them and it would be impossible to know or interact with them. But I always loved the part where customer care would come up with a issue where some user has found a novel way of using our software. That’s as close as I could get to our customers. How can this be changed? Why would I want to change? I want to have more interactions with the users of my software because, the whole idea of writing software is to serve a purpose and thereby people. So, if I don’t take my user base’s feedback, then I am missing out something important.
How can I have more customer feedback for my software? A feedback form is a start. But how often do I get inspired to fill up a feedback form on any other site? There should be easy ways to get user feedback to me. The whole idea is to interact with my customer and get his/her input. The people who interact well with their customers are the people who base their software on the feedback. My thoughts went on and on as I kept thinking of how best I can interact with my customers.
Let’s take a look what kinds of feedback mechanisms are available in software world.
- Feedback form
- Comments on a blog
- Write to the editor
- Send email
- Live chat
- Forums (?)
- Mailing lists
- User groups
- Customer care – 1800 number
Looking at the list, I feel like feedback mechanisms vary depending on the user base. Forums, may not make sense if you have only 40 customers. Live chat would be useless unless you have staff assigned for that.
In any case, my perspective towards caring for the customer and valuing feedback has changed after my visit to Whole Foods. I would be thinking more and more on this in future.
How can we have a secure passwords which are not easy to hack but also easy to remember? I was thinking about it and thought I would share a idea which I got recently. How about making the password a square root of some number? For example – I can say my password would be square root of number 786 which is – 28.035691537752372695618339855308. This way, I don’t have to remember my password and it’s not hackable and a calculator is easily available on all the computers I access.
I know that different computers might give out different number in the fractions, so I can agree that I would just take first 10 characters as my password. That way I avoid all the problems with fractions. I can’t think of anything else that might be very wrong with this idea. I mean, yeah if people were looking over your shoulder they would know your password but this trick could be used for some extremely annoying accounts like online registrations for NYT or Fandango etc.
We can expand it and make it Cosine of it or Tangent of the number. Or for an advanced user may be a MD5 sum of a number. We can build a Firefox extension which would computer a MD5 checksum of a number and give you the value and you can drag drop it in password field.