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Friday, July 31, 2015

RESUME CV SPECIAL .................Dressed up CV? Your career could be cut short

Dressed up CV? Your career could be cut short

Inflating your academic or professional credentials could get you the job you desire, but could also lead to your downfall

Those who assume that organisations simply archive resume cop ies without ascertaining its verac ity and no one ever gets caught, could be in for a shock. For every Tom, Dick or Harry who gets away with suppressing or dressing up CV details, there could be a Johnny who gets apprehended.If CVs were to be nudged to reveal not-sosugary secrets, it'll be no laughing matter for the candidate. They could lose their jobs for misrepresentation or worse, land in jail for forgery. Therefore, it's best to draft a CV that presents facts as they are.
Minefield of frauds
“We come across cases of candidates being sacked due to false information provided by them. I know of one candidate who had lost his job in 2010, but had withheld this information on his CV to show continuity in service. Soon, his new employer found out and he was asked to go,“ says Sunil Goel, Founder and Managing Director, Global Hunt, an HR consultancy firm.
This is not an isolated case. Candidates also commit more far serious offences like forgery. “Quite often, just to get a raise, candidates forge their last drawn salary figure.There are instances where telephonic interviews are rigged, and candidates ask qualified personnel to give interviews on their behalf,“ notes Moorthy K Uppaluri, CEO of HR consulting major Randstad India. In the IT sector, he says has come across candidates who seek to boost their project experiences by listing projects done by their friends or peers. Similarly, dubious technical institutes giving away fake job experience certificates to candidates from companies affiliated to their institutes also exist. Other frauds include candidates providing false qualification details and concealing the number of times they have switched jobs. “This is to ensure they are not seen as unstable,“ says Uppaluri.
Be prepared for the dressing down
Your misadventures with your CVs can land you in a soup, if not in jail. “Typically, companies immediately terminate contracts of employees who are found to have lied about their qualifications, experience etc,“ says Goel. Jail terms are reserved for more serious offences. “There have been cases when companies have reported the matter to the authorities after consulting their legal teams,“ adds Goel. Employers and HR consultants are increasingly adopting technological tools to check frauds. For instance, they may insist on video interviews to eliminate the chances of experts impersonating candidates. They could also hire agencies to conduct background and qualifications verification. “They approach people other than the references mentioned by the candidates. After following these stringent processes, candidates are then probed on the statements made in the CV to gauge authenticity,“ adds Uppaluri. “Compared to the previous years, there are multiple tracking sources available today for verifying and scrutinising CVs.“
Social media, for instance, has emerged as a powerful tool for employers to validate the information provided by candidates.Basic details like age, school and college attended and employers can be easily verified by going through the candidates' profiles on Facebook and LinkedIN. The Internet never forgets and concealed blemishes can be dug out at will. Don't assume that companies won't carry out investigations once you sign up as an employee. If you do not have the expertise or skills mentioned in your CV , you are bound to be unequal to tasks assigned to you, exposing your falsifications. “Job performance and behaviour can lead to a follow-up investigation into an employee's past. In case of dishonesty, it is often accountable for legal action and may lead to termination,“ adds Uppaluri.
Transparency is the best policy
How do you insulate yourself against such criminal action, loss of job and face? By being transparent. There is simply no other way of evading the repercussions of misrepresentation. “Even if you have lost your job, you must say so. Rarely do companies treat it as a disqualifier these days and you could still land the job,“ says Goel. Likewise, you are better off letting go of jobs that insist on minimum qualifications or marks instead of fudging the information and risking long-term damage to your future prospects.
Preeti Kulkarni




Sales of the device are at an all-time high, but so are the levels of customer frustration

Dear Smartphone Manufacturers,
WATER WOES Problems like ‘water or sweat damage’ and broken screens have increased over the years
Congratulations! Most of you have been having a really good time. Smartphone sales are off the charts, future sales are looking even better, many of you have cracked the online selling model so well that you don’t need a single retail store in the country to start selling your phones here. The ‘flash sale’ model, while dishonest and unfair to loyal customers, has been a great way of fuelling more demand. Signing on ‘brand ambassadors’ (who know nothing about your product specifically or technology in general) has become a modern-day lesson in selling snake oil. Most of you are laughing all the way to the bank.
The thing is, I’m not happy. More accurately, I’m really pissed off ! I wrote an open letter to all of you right here in this column, more than two years ago (in April 2013). I was frustrated with the state of the smartphone business then, harsh in both my words and thoughts, and did expect a backlash. What I got was the exact opposite. Every time I met the bigwigs of the industry, I was assured that my letter made sense, that you’d taken it seriously and that real work would be done to make a smartphone truly smart! Things would change, I was told. The frustrations of the customer would be addressed. What I wasn’t told was that two years would pass and not much would really improve. Let’s do a quick analysis of what I ranted about then and how things are now, shall we?

I wrote then... So let me get this right. Every time I want to add a movie, pictures or songs directly to my storage card or switch SIM cards when I’m abroad, I’ve got to pry open the back cover, use my nails to pull the battery out (thus rebooting my phone in the process) and then get to the slot? How about a slot right outside? Pick your favorite spot outside and put the damn slots right there. What you did... Most of you did listen, but not in the way I was hoping. You sealed the phone to make it slimmer and cheaper to manufacture, plus locked the battery permanently inside (biggest pain point on new smartphones) thus forcing you to put the slots out. Some of you went even further and took away the microSD card slot itself. Now I have to live with whatever measly internal storage your benevolent self doles out to me? One step forward but nine steps back.

I wrote then.... You’ve made a device that you want me to carry with me all the time, fish it out of my pocket 100 times, use it 16 hours a day and also made it the world’s most delicate piece of equipment? Have you heard of the term ‘oxymoron’? Can you standardise it so that EACH phone is water proof, dust proof and shock proof as a bare minimum standard of toughness. What you did... Nothing! You’ve made it worse. I know lots of people who carry on using phones with broken screens because they can’t afford to keep getting them replaced. More people have gone to a service centre with a ‘water damaged’ phone (sweat can do it now) and been told that it’s not covered under warranty than ever before. Sony is the only one taking it seriously, but only for their top range. Samsung did get into the game with the S5 but its current S6 is terrified of water. Other phones aren’t any better. Tough phones are super expensive and look super ugly as a special add-on feature. You guys really dropped the ball on this one (maybe I shouldn’t even use the word drop as none of your products can withstand one).

What I wrote then.... Stop adding cores to your processors, megapixels to your camera and pixels to your screen till you can’t add power to your battery. The bare minimum one needs is 48 hours of battery life IRRESPECTIVE of how I use my phone and whether I use 3G or not! What you did.... Okay, let me admit. Some of you got this one right. You saw an opportunity and made it into a money spinner. A new category called long long battery life. But have you seen what these look like? Big, chunky and very ugly. I didn’t ask for a new category, I asked for normal, nicelooking phones to have better battery life. Some of you put in a new ‘ultra long battery life’ feature. Awesome, except have you used it yourself ? Do you know what it does to your phone? Dim black-and-white screen, no data connection, stops most apps that I really need to use and basically takes my super expensive smartphone and turns it into a ` 700 feature phone. Oh wait, even those have colour screens and data connections and apps that work!
I’m not done! We still have to discuss why my brand new phone looks chewed up in less than three months, why the highly touted cameraphone features are still a total gimmick, why wireless charging has become an even bigger joke, plus all the new awesome things you’ve added in the last two years. This open letter is just getting started.

Rajiv Makhni is managing editor, Technology, NDTV, and the anchor of Gadget Guru, Cell Guru and Newsnet 3


APPS SPECIAL..................... 5 Great Free Apps for When You Have 5 Minutes to Kill

5 Great Free Apps for When You Have 5 Minutes to Kill

Randomly surf the web, find a movie to watch, or just chill out for a bit.
These days, it seems we’re more hectic than ever. So it’s nice to have a little downtime, however short. These five free apps can keep you entertained while you’re waiting for that next meeting to start.

Fumble around with StumbleUpon (Android, iOS). Let the app know about some of your interests, and it’ll serve up random stuff from around the web that might interest you. You’ll get straightforward blog posts and articles, plus quotes, photos, videos, and more. If you like something, give it a thumbs up; if not, give it a thumbs down. You can follow your friends to see what they like, too.

Use Flixster (Android, iOS) to sneak in a movie preview here and there. The app serves up previews for current and upcoming movies, passing along showtimes and letting you buy tickets at participating theaters. And if you feel more at home wearing sweats on your couch while surrounded by several domesticated animals, the app will let you manage your Netflix queue to plan out a binge or three.

Try (Android, iOS) for some fun Q and A. You kill time by answering random questions posed by other users. Queries range from a simple "Where are you?" which asks you to take a photo of your surroundings, to more pointed questions about life, love, and work. You can hook up with all your social media connections to see what they have to say, and ask your own questions should you get tired of simply answering them.

Chances are, you probably haven’t fully tapped into all your phone’s features. Drippler (Android, iOS) provides Android- and Apple-specific versions that run down notable features, recent updates, and provide how-to articles that you can use to really get into the nitty-gritty of that handheld computer that’s always in your pocket.

Who says you have to actually do something when you’ve got five minutes to kill? Try 5 Minute Relaxation (Android, iOS) instead. This app helps you chill out for five minutes, with guided meditations that help you return to normal until your next appointment starts. There’s an end-of-the-day mode as well, which can guide you to sleep if you happen to be too restless.

Pocket (Android, iOS) lets you save articles from your computer to read later on a nice, clean, mobile-friendly interface. There’s even offline access if you don’t have a signal.
By Doug Aamoth

BUSINESS SPECIAL................... Growing beyond the core business

Growing beyond the core business

Most companies are seeking growth outside their core business, according to a new survey. But few have made revenue gains as a result—or have the right capabilities to support it.

A clear majority of executives say their companies are pursuing growth in categories outside their core business—and report a strong belief that doing so has created company value. But a McKinsey Global Survey suggests that over time, companies’ aspirations to grow through these activities have produced only modest results and that few companies have the right practices in place to support such growth.
These are the key findings from a survey on how companies expand into product or service categories beyond their core business. Nearly nine in ten respondents say that in the past five years, their companies have either pursued at least one activity in a new category, have considered it, or plan to do so in the next five years. Companies are most likely to pursue new activities through investments in organic growth and with long-term interests in mind. Executives at emerging-economy companies report greater paybacks than their peers at developed-economy firms—but few respondents overall say that over time, the activities have added much to company revenues. This could be because, according to the results, there’s much room for improvement in the ways that many companies identify and evaluate new opportunities.
Significant value at stake—and modest results
At most companies, pursuing growth in new product or service categories outside the core is already on the agenda. Three-quarters of respondents say that over the past five years, their companies have pursued at least one business activity in a new category. Another 14 percent say their companies have either considered pursuing this growth or plan to do so in the next five years.
For many of these companies, growth beyond their core business is a long-term play. Among C-suite executives (who respondents most often say are responsible for evaluating these opportunities), only one in ten say their companies consider new activities for short-term returns. C-level respondents also say their companies are equally likely to consider such a move to access new profit pools as to strengthen their core business.
No matter the reason, though, few executives report significant top-line results over time from diversifying activities. Only one-third of all respondents say their companies’ moves beyond the core generate more than 10 percent of their revenues today. The share of revenues increases with the number of activities that companies pursue. But even at firms that are active in more than ten product or service categories, 35 percent of executives say these activities make up more than 10 percent of revenue. What’s more, when asked about the biggest revenue-generating activity of the past five years, respondents most often say this move has created just some financial value for their companies.

The emerging-economy advantage
At the same time, executives also report notable differences in the value that developed-economy and emerging-economy companies see from these growth activities beyond the core. At companies based in emerging economies, respondents are about 1.4 times more likely than their developed-economy peers to say their biggest move in a new category has created significant value for their companies—likely due to structural advantages in their home markets.
When asked what gives their companies a distinctive advantage over those based in developed economies, emerging-economy respondents most often cite greater opportunities to reinvest retained earnings in new businesses—easier to do than in developed economies, where relative growth is much slower—and a greater ability to leverage their local knowledge and relationships.
Best practices for expanding beyond the core business
Across regions, respondents at emerging-economy and developed-economy firms agree on the approaches their companies use to grow in new areas: investments in organic growth are cited most often by both groups, followed by mergers and acquisitions. Both groups are likeliest to identify their executive teams and boards as the ones responsible for evaluating opportunities in new categories. There is also consensus among both groups that new activities shouldn’t stray too far from the core business. When assessing a move’s value potential, nearly two-thirds of all respondents say unique links between the activity and the existing business are the most important criteria their companies consider.
When asked about different steps in the process of pursuing growth in new categories, few executives say their companies follow the best practices that make this growth successful. According to executives, firms most often struggle to scan for new opportunities, evaluate those opportunities, and integrate new activities into the core business. But respondents at companies that get the practices right are much likelier than others—about twice as likely for each of these three steps—to report that their biggest move in the past five years has created significant company value.

More specifically, the responses in these three areas (scanning, evaluation, and integration) suggest which individual practices link most closely to value creation. When executives say their companies have a clear strategy for expanding into new activities, for example, they are four times more likely than those whose companies have no such strategy to report significant value creation. With respect to managing new activities, respondents are also four times more likely to report value creation when their companies actively and regularly review the performance of these activities.

Looking ahead
·         Understand the market context. The results indicate that a company’s opportunity to grow successfully beyond its core business differs across regions, with respondents reporting that growth in new categories pays off more in emerging economies than in developed economies. We have also seen that diversifying activities can benefit companies in some industries more than others. For companies looking to expand into new activities, it’s important to understand first the extent to which growth beyond the core in their region and industry is either an opportunity or a risk.
·         Find growth close to home. When asked about the criteria their companies use to assess a new activity’s potential value, the largest share of executives say unique links between the activity and the core business are most important. Companies would do well to follow suit and start identifying growth opportunities that are close to home—in other words, ideas or opportunities where they can leverage existing capabilities and skills in their core business.
·         Build the right capabilities. Most respondents report that their companies lack the capabilities (or even a clear strategy) to grow beyond the core, so it’s no wonder that most companies see only modest contributions to revenue as a result of such activities. However, companies with the capabilities to scan, evaluate, and integrate opportunities have a much higher chance to create value with these moves. When planning to pursue new opportunities outside of their core business, leaders should assess their companies’ capabilities to make sure the right processes and practices are in place to maximize the value that new activities can add.


STARTUP FUND SPECIAL ..................How to fund your startup

How to fund your startup

Find out the best ways to source money for your venture as per its growth stage

This deluge has lasted several years, but no one's complain ing. It has been raining start ups in India for the past 3-4 years and, in fact, India ranks fifth in the world in terms of startups, with nearly 3,100 currently in operation. In tandem with the surging enterprise, funds are flowing in like never before and the country is buzzing with options--venture capitalists, angel investors, incubators and banks. Currently , the number of active investors in the country include 172 VCs, 43 angel investors and 48 incubators. As much as $4.75 billion of VC funding came through in 2014 and it has already touched $3.18 billion in 2015, according to Venture Intelligence and Tracxn!, two VC tracking firms. So, how do you go about securing the much-needed funds for your starup? We list six options that you can tap.

These set-ups precede the seed funding stage and help the entrepreneur develop a business idea or make a prototype by providing resources and services in exchange for an equity stake ranging from 2-10%. Incubators offer office space, administrative support, legal compliances, management training, mentoring and access to industry experts as well as to funding through angel investors or VCs. “Most don't offer funding, but make up for it by providing logistics and external support so that the entrepreneur can focus on work without worrying about the nittygritty,“ says Devashish Chakravarty , an IIM-Ahmedabad alumnus, and Director, Executive Search,, which provides recruitment for startups.
These are usually government-supported institutes like the IIMs or IITs, technical institutes or private business incubators run by industry veterans or companies. The incubation period can be 2-3 years and admission is rigorous.One has to provide an application to such programmes and is accepted depending on the quality of idea or other conditions specific to the institute.Some of the top options in India include IIM-Bangalore NSRCEL, Microsoft Accelerator and IIT-Kanpur SIIC.

The first stage of actual funding to get your idea off the workshop and into the market is called seed funding. The funds for this stage are usually secured by entrepreneurs from their own savings or loans from family and friends.However, you can also get it from angel investors or crowdfunding since not many investors and VCs are willing to fund a concept that has not acquired critical mass or traction.
Angel investors are usually individuals or a group of industry professionals who are willing to fund your venture in return for an equity stake.The amounts can range from `5 lakh to `3 crore and are not as high as those provided by VCs since the risk level at this stage is high. “Team, timing and potential market size are the three key things I look at in startups,“ says Anupam Mittal, among India's top 10 angels. You also need to research and tap the angels who are active in your sector.“Some may be active in technology and others in travel or food. You can get in touch through your network for family , friends and colleagues. There are also angel networks across cities and curation platforms like ours,“ says Amit Banka, founder of Equity Crest, which helps entrepreneurs connect with investors. The top angels in India include Rajan Anandan, Indian Angel Network, K. Ganesh, among others.

This is another recent way of getting seed funding through small amounts from a large number of people, usually through the Internet. The entrepreneur can get money for his venture by showcasing his idea before the entire world and convincing people of its utility and success. and Catapooolt are among such forums in India. The entrepreneur needs to put up on a portal his profile and presentation, which should include the business idea, its impact, and the rewards and returns for investors. It should be supported by suitable images and videos of the project. The bottom line is that it should be convincing enough to draw investors. “The biggest problem is that of regulation,“ says Chakravarty . “If you are a private limited company , the number of members or investors can only go up to 200. If you exceed this number, you turn into a limited company and the compliance and paperwork that this entails can be daunting,“ he adds.

After the initial seed-funding stage comes expansion and growth of the venture, which requires big money.This is where VCs come in, offering anywhere from `1-300 crore in exchange for a high equity stake. It is one of the most popular sources of funding for midto late-stage startups and has been in the news after big-ticket deals for Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola. However, one must make elaborate preparations before approaching the VCs. Says Gopal Modi, President, Investments, Orios Venture Partners: “Entrepreneurs should focus on the right team mix, strong product backed by technology, and proven traction, especially in the case of new ideas where there are no proven models globally ,“ he adds.
You can approach a VC by seeking an introduction through fellow entrepreneurs who may have received funding from them. Adds Modi: “Approaching through known networks like exist ing entrepreneurs always works in their favour. VC funds are more receptive to those referred by other successful entrepreneurs.“ When you finally meet the potential investors, be prepared to answer several questions.

Under the Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises scheme, meant to encourage entrepreneurs, one can get loans of up to `1 crore without collateral or surety. Any new and existing micro and small enterprise can take the loan under the scheme from all scheduled commercial banks and specified Regional Rural Banks, NSIC, NEDFi, and SIDBI, which have signed an agreement with the Trust.

Loans from banks and NBFCs help finance the purchase of inventory and equipment, besides securing operating capital and funds for expansion. More importantly, unlike a VC or angel, which have an equity stake, banks do not seek ownership in your venture.However, there are several drawbacks. Not only do you pay interest on loan but it also has to be done on time irrespective of how your business is faring. They require substantial collateral and a good track record, besides the fulfilment of other terms and conditions. They also entail a lot of paperwork.

Riju Dave & Preeti Kulkarni


TECH SPECIAL .....................Molecular transistor

Molecular transistor

Researchers have built a simple and transparent transistor using a single molecule and some atoms. The breakthrough could be fundamental for future gadgets

An international team of physi cists has used a scanning tun neling microscope to create a minute transistor consisting of a single molecule and a small number of atoms. The observed transistor action is markedly different from the conventionally expected behaviour and could be important for future device technologies as well as for fundamental studies of electron transport in molecular nanostructures. The physicists represent the Paul-Drude-Institut fur Festkorperelektronik (PDI) and the Freie Universitat Berlin (FUB), Germany, the NTT Basic Research Laboratories (NTT-BRL), Japan, and the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).Their complete findings appear in the journal Nature Physics.
Transistors have a channel region between two external contacts and an electrical gate electrode to modulate the current flow through the channel.In atomic-scale transistors, this current is extremely sensitive to single electrons hopping via discrete energy levels. In earlier studies, researchers have examined single-electron transport in molecular transistors using top-down approaches, such as lithography and break junctions. But atomically precise control of the gate ­ which is crucial to transistor action at the smallest size scales ­ is not possible with these approaches.
The team used a highly stable scanning tunneling microscope (STM) to create a transistor consisting of a single organic molecule and positively charged metal atoms, (phthalocyanine molecule with twelve indium atoms), positioning them with the STM tip on the surface of an indium arsenide (InAs) crystal. Kiyoshi Kanisawa, a physicist at NTT-BRL, used the growth technique of molecular beam epitaxy to prepare this surface. Subsequently, the STM ap proach allowed the researchers to assemble electrical gates from the +1 charged atoms with atomic precision and then to place the molecule at various desired positions close to the gates.
Stefan Fölsch, a physicist at the PDI who led the team, explained that “the molecule is only weakly bound to the InAs template. So, when we bring the STM tip very close to the molecule and apply a bias voltage to the tip-sample junction, single electrons can tunnel between template and tip by hopping via nearly unperturbed molecular orbitals, similar to the working principle of a quantum dot gated by an external electrode. In our case, the charged atoms nearby provide the electrostatic gate potential that regulates the electron flow and the charge state of the molecule.“
But there is a substantial difference between a conventional semiconductor quantum dot ­ comprising typically hundreds or thousands of atoms ­ and the present case of a surface-bound molecule.
Steven Erwin, a physicist at NRL and expert in density-functional theory, pointed out that, “the molecule adopts different rotational orientations, depending on its charge state. We predicted this based on first-principles calculations and confirmed it by imaging the molecule with the STM.“
This coupling between charge and orientation has a dramatic effect on the electron flow across the molecule, manifested by a large conductance gap at low bias voltages.
Piet Brouwer, a physicist at FUB and expert in quantum transport theory, said, “This intriguing behaviour goes beyond the established picture of charge transport through a gated quantum dot. Instead, we developed a generic model that accounts for the coupled electronic and orientational dynamics of the molecule.“ This simple and physically transparent model entirely reproduces the experimentally observed single-molecule transistor characteristics.


INNOVATION SPECIAL ......................How big companies can innovate

How big companies can innovate

Who says innovation is only for start-ups?

It’s almost conventional wisdom that innovation springs from developers and entrepreneurs based in start-up hubs such as Silicon Valley. But in the following video interviews, Intuit cofounder and chairman Scott Cook, Idealab founder and CEO Bill Gross, and Autodesk president and CEO Carl Bass contend that large, established companies can also make innovation a priority. They discuss why a company should be prepared to spend money on big ideas, how it can remove roadblocks to experimentation, and the merits of creating its very own idea incubators. These interviews were conducted by McKinsey Global Institute partner Michael Chui, and edited transcripts of their remarks follow.

Making innovation easier: Intuit’s Scott Cook

Increasingly, smaller companies—and, in particular, start-ups—are seen as the hotbeds of innovation. So is it now destiny that large companies will be dull, slow-moving, slow-growing and that all the exciting stuff will be done by small, agile start-ups? I don’t think so. But I think large companies need things like lean start-ups even more than small companies do.
If I had to point to one thing that’s made the biggest difference at Intuit—and there’s a package of things—it was to change how we make decisions, whenever possible, from decision by bureaucracy, decision by PowerPoint, persuasion, position, power, to decision by experiment.
Normally, companies put up a phalanx of barriers and hurdles and mountains to climb that may not seem hard for the boss or the CEO but are intensely hard, impossibly hard, for our young innovator to conquer. So our job as leaders is how do we get all those barriers out of the way?
So we put in a series of systems and a culture where the expectation is that if there’s an idea that someone’s passionate about, we put in a system to make it easy and fast and cheap for them to run an experiment. Strip it down to what leap-of-faith assumption you want to prove, and how you can run an experiment next week or next month, at virtually no resources, to test that idea. Nothing signals more strongly to your organization that you want your employees’ ideas. And a culture of experimentation can only work when it’s put in place by leaders. The innovators can’t do it.
Scott Cook cofounded Intuit in 1983 and now serves as the chairman of the executive committee. He previously worked for Bain & Company and Procter & Gamble. Cook is a member of the board of directors of eBay; Procter & Gamble; the Harvard Business School Dean’s Advisory Board; the Center for Brand and Product Management at the University of Wisconsin; and the Intuit Scholarship Foundation.

Investing in innovation: Idealab’s Bill Gross

I think it’s very, very hard for a company to grow big and still remain innovative. There are very few leaders who can balance the short term and the long term together, and also know how important that growth is, and have a sufficiently long-term horizon that they’re willing to sacrifice things.
Steve Jobs was one of those amazing people who could do that. He was willing to cannibalize his iPod revenues, which were $5 billion a year, by putting the whole mp3 player right in every phone. And there were some people in the company who begged him not to do that. But he said he didn’t care.
Larry Page is doing that at Google. He’s willing to invest in Google X,1 where they’ll work on bold, bold new projects. And they’ll put $500 million toward that, like to the self-driving car. Now they have the money. But there are some companies that wouldn’t do that with the money, that wouldn’t take big, bold risks that could be big game changers
I think big companies should visit and start their own accelerators and incubators. A lot of big companies in Los Angeles are doing that; Disney, actually, has an accelerator. It means looking at what models it takes to actually give people equity stakes so that they can act like true entrepreneurs, to give them the autonomy but still have them be connected to the corporation.
I think that’s a model that every big company can learn from. And I think it’s actually happening. The equitization and the autonomy are the biggest factors. Because the thing that actually unlocks human potential is when people feel they have control over their own destiny and they can make a killing if they really succeed on their wild bet.
Bill Gross founded Idealab in 1996 and serves as the company’s CEO. He started the company in order to create and build businesses that capitalize on innovations in areas with significant growth opportunities. A longtime entrepreneur, Gross founded a company in high school that sold plans and kits for solar-energy products. In college, at the California Institute of Technology, he patented a new loudspeaker design and formed GNP Loudspeakers, Inc. And in 1991, Gross started Knowledge Adventure, an educational-software publisher that grew to be the third largest of its kind in the world and was eventually sold.

Taking risks to innovate: Autodesk’s Carl Bass

It’s great that there’s this thread of new disruptors. As a matter of fact, for CEOs or management of existing companies, it’s the greatest thing that ever happened, in some way. It’s like the expression, “Don’t let a good crisis go to waste.”
The threat of somebody doing something is one of the biggest tools you have to motivate, encourage, scare people into taking risks they wouldn’t otherwise do. And most corporations are set up and, in some ways, structured and designed to maximize profit and minimize risk.
Yet what you need to do in order to become the disruptor, as opposed to the disrupted, is sometimes exactly the opposite. So, for example, this year we decided for the first time to build our own 3-D printer, which we are making with an open-source design.
It’s a reference implementation for the software platform. In the 30-plus years that our company’s been in business, we’ve never made a piece of hardware. So that, for me, would be new. And I think a lot of what people substitute for innovation is trying to be three days ahead of their competitor in the market.
Carl Bass is president and chief executive officer of Autodesk, a leader in 3-D design, engineering, and entertainment software. Bass joined Autodesk in 1993, when the company acquired Ithaca Software—which Bass had cofounded—and has since held several executive positions, including chief technology officer and chief operations officer. Bass serves on the boards of directors of Autodesk, Quirky, and E2open.

Michael Chui is a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute and is based in McKinsey’s San Francisco office.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

PERSONAL SPECIAL .....................7 Ways to Put the Spark Back in Your (Ho-Hum) Life

7 Ways to Put the Spark Back in Your (Ho-Hum) Life

Whether it's your job, relationship or something else, life is starting to feel a bit too predictable. Everywhere you turn you are seeing more and more people clicking their heels together as they run off to their next big adventure, while you sit back and make excuses about why that can't be you.
I'm here to tell you it can and below are seven sure-fire ways to put the spark back into your ho-hum life starting now.

1. Live a little (or a lot) right now.
As we grow older it's only natural to get a bit comfortable with where we are in life, but with that often comes a sense that we have to be responsible now so we can live a little later. Life is happening right now and while it might be smart to have a nest egg for the future, that doesn't mean you can't live a little (or a lot) right now. Stop making excuses about why you can't go on that big trip, volunteer in another country, or do that seemingly crazy thing you've always wanted to try. Life is a journey to be enjoyed, embraced, and explored and what good is it to wait to do all of those amazing things if you are too old to enjoy it? Don't wait, do it now.

2. Stop settling for less than you deserve.
One of the reasons most people get stuck in a rut is because they are simply settling for what they have now, even if they desire more. If you aren't in a job you love or your relationship isn't serving you, it's time for a change. Set your sights higher and know that you not only deserve more, but you are capable of bringing your desires to fruition. Be willing to stand by your convictions and trust that what you want is possible the moment you stop settling for what feels most realistic and logical. When in doubt, shoot for the stars.

3. Be willing to shake things up a bit.
If life is feeling a bit ho-hum it's likely because you have been too afraid to step outside your comfort zone a bit. Learn a new language, try new foods, and challenge yourself to get out and meet new people. Sure it can feel uncomfortable at first, but the more you are willing to try new things, the more you will feel that spark of life again.

4. Don't forget to dream again.
As time goes on our dreams tend to fall by the wayside and take a backseat to reality. The truth is, your dreams can become your reality as soon as you give them some quality time and attention. So if you could be, have, or do anything in the world, what would it be? What are some things that have been playing the back of your mind as 'too good to be true' or 'not realistic'? Tap into your imagination and see what amazing dreams you come up with and then take steps to make them your reality.

5. Release & let go of the things that no longer serve you.
If you are feeling like life is a bit stagnant lately it's also likely true that you haven't let go of people, places, or things that no longer fit into your ideal life. Extra stuff (whether physical or emotional) does nothing but weigh you down and make it hard for new energy and experiences to flow. What old stuff are you hanging onto out of habit? When you are willing to release the old stuff, you make room for more vibrant energy and experiences to come your way.

6. Be willing to take risks.
Nothing in life is guaranteed and yet so many of us worry about taking risks because we fear the worst possible outcome. Whether you are risking your time, energy, or money, sometimes being willing to take risks is just what you need to shake things up a bit in your life. Whether you want to make a move across the world or self-publish a book that you aren't sure will sell, taking the risk is often the first step to success.

7. Tap into your inner child again and just have fun!
I can't say this enough. Life isn't meant to be this ho-hum, boring period of time that we simply have to endure. It's meant to be a journey of enlightening and exciting experiences. We don't know how long we have this amazing gift and if you aren't making time everyday to do something that puts a smile on your face, it's time for that to change. Tap into your inner child and do some of the things you loved before you were conditioned to be responsible. Whether you run, play, laugh or sing, make sure you are having fun every single day.

Lamisha Serf-Walls HUFFPOST

MANAGEMENT SPECIAL..................... Strengthening Your Cultural Fortress

Strengthening Your Cultural Fortress

I’ve often wondered what goes into creating a company that people are happy to work for — a company that lands, for example, at the top of aForbes list of best places to work. To gain some insight, I scheduled an interview with Paul Giobbi, the co-founder and CEO of Zumasys, a company that provides cloud-based infrastructure services. Giobbi’s company has appeared on Inc. magazine’s list of America’s fastest-growing companies six times, and has recently been named one of the best places to work by theOrange County Register, the Orange County Business Journal, and Computerworld. Impressive recognition, especially considering that the company had been struggling with an average of 16 percent employee turnover per year only five years ago.
When I arrived at Zumasys’s building for my interview with Giobbi, I found a could-be-anywhere light-industrial business center with a nice, but generic, technology company lobby (clean and quiet, with a stocked kitchen and employee lounge visible for all to see). I wandered around the lobby trying to discover clues as to why this company is one of the best places to work in Southern California. I was briefly interrupted by a lobby-lingering employee offering me the opportunity drink tea from a straw that strains the tea leaves. Nice, I thought, but is this what makes magazines and newspapers heap accolades on this place?
A few minutes later, I was personally greeted by Giobbi. On the way to his office, he proudly showed off the Avocado Award (imagine half of a fake avocado mounted on a wood block) hanging in the hall — apparently, he had won first place at the company’s guacamole-making contest. At that point, I started to get it: the corporate culture seemed to be quirky, humble, funny, and friendly. And as I settled in for the interview, it became clear that something special was going on at Zumasys.
Given the commodity nature of IT infrastructure, Giobbi told me, “The only way to win is with inspired and motivated employees delivering superior customer service.” With superior business results in mind, he has spearheaded a quest over the past five years to “create a culture to serve as a fortress around the company by making it such a great place to work that nobody would want to leave.” With voluntary turnover now less than 2 percent per year, it’s clear that the Zumasys culture quest has been a success.
For the first two years of its turnaround, Zumasys executives focused on hiring people who were self-aware and passionate, and trusted them with free reign to work as they saw fit by setting clear expectations. The company then strengthened its culture by amping up its benefits package and introducing an open-book policy on its financials. At Zumasys, in addition to the typical corporate benefits, every employee gets three to four weeks of vacation, complementary access to the company’s two-bedroom Vegas loft, and the opportunity to qualify for a tenure-based international travel program that, each year, gives four to six employees a week off with pay and a $4,000 stipend to travel to the destination of their choice. The open-book financials are used as the foundation for a measurement-based reward program, with all employees eligible to participate, capped off annually with a trip for award winners.
It was a good start. These changes engendered additional goodwill by underscoring the company’s commitment to employees, but they didn’t have much impact on lowering turnover. Something was still missing. Committed to exploring and experimenting, Giobbi attended a conference where Bert Jacobs, founder of Life Is Good, encouraged attendees to use their companies as a platform for social change. Reflecting on Jacobs’s message, Giobbi realized that what was missing from his company wasmeaning. People want more than fun, perks, or the bottom line — everyone strives to live, and work, for a greater purpose. Upon returning home, Giobbi pledged to donate 1 percent of the company's annual revenue to nonprofit organizations nominated and selected by his employees. He called the program “Happyness Is a Choice.”
He believes that this single decision “has been more impactful than all of our other decisions combined.” But the change didn’t happen overnight. For the first couple of years after the program was established, it was hard to get employees’ attention, and a good chunk of the money remained unallocated. (“Faceless non-profits don’t feel good,” Giobbi said.) He found that the key to gaining traction was to involve employees personally. To do so, Zumasys implemented two changes. First, it partnered with the nonprofit accelerator OneOC to serve up carefully selected, company-wide volunteer opportunities for its employees. Second, and much more powerful, was the company’s decision to allocate 10 percent of that 1 percent of revenue to “people in need in our network,” including relatives, friends, neighbors, and coworkers who were facing hard times.
Giobbi recalled a story involving Robert, a Zumasys sales rep, and Eric, an employee of one of the company’s customers. Robert learned that Eric, who has a spouse with multiple sclerosis, needed additional sponsorship for his participation in an upcoming Walk MS event. Robert arranged for Zumasys to donate, added some money of his own, and jumped on a plane to join Eric on the walk. Eric’s follow-up email to Robert illustrates the power of program:
My wife was overwhelmed with emotions when she found out that you traveled all the way from Vegas to join our walk. She had asked if you had a family member or someone you knew personally that was suffering with MS. I simply told her that you do now. I want to personally thank you for taking the time to be with us and acknowledging our cause. The actions you take every day and the generosity you show to your community are a shining example of what we all strive to be as human beings. We are all blessed to have what we have but to share that with people you don’t even know firsthand is truly a miracle at work.”
According to Giobbi, “This is a textbook example of what we want to accomplish. Most people can’t get beyond thinking about themselves to do something for somebody else, but after this and many other similar stories, our employees are aggressively submitting donation requests and fervently committed to the volunteer events.”
And it’s not just employees. Increasingly, Zumasys’s customers are getting involved with Happyness Is a Choice; every chance he gets, Giobbi invites them to provide their input, telling them, “It’s your 1 percent. Let us know how you want us to direct it.” To encourage broader employee — and customer — participation, Zumasys is increasing the “in-network” allocation from 10 to 20 percent of the 1 percent of revenue in the coming year.
Over time, Giobbi plans to continue experimenting with programs that strengthen his cultural fortress. One idea, in support of Zumasys’s 15th anniversary, involves an RV filled with employees and customers that will travel around the country and host volunteer events. He is convinced that celebrating and serving together will create meaningful connections and lifelong relationships.
Of course, the success of Zumasys’s programs is dependent on the leadership behind them. Ann Rhoades, a company-culture expert and author of the book Built on Values: Creating an Enviable Culture That Outperforms the Competition says, “If there is a secret shared by companies that create customer-centric cultures, it is that their leaders profoundly understand that people really are their biggest assets — and they act on that idea every day. Organizations that truly value people often don’t use it as an advertising slogan. They just do it.”
For Giobbi, the payoff from culture goes beyond the bottom line. Even if conscious capitalism wasn’t good for business (though expert research shows that clearly it is), he believes that each of us should have at least one amazing work experience with a company, and he is committed to “giving Zumasys employees the ride of their lives.”
Susan Cramm