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Monday, November 30, 2015

JOB SPECIAL.....How to love your job

How to love your job

You hate your current job but need it nevertheless. Devashish Chakravarty tells you how to stay in your job and be happy about it too.

Do you feel like a reluctant school kid each morning as you head to work? Here is how to rework your situation, refresh your per spective and recover happiness.

Get intentional: 
The first step is to state “I want happiness“. Write it down and keep it in front of you or put it as a wall paper on your cell. Writing down and reminding yourself of what you want keeps alive your desire, triggers new ideas and pulls you back from activities and thoughts that lead you astray.As the statement takes hold in your mind, you become aware of events and situations that make you either happy or depressed.The next steps help you work around triggers and thoughts that depress you.

Get identified: 
Who are you? How do you think about yourself? If your self-image and identity is grounded solely in your job description, then you have a huge problem. If you always introduce yourself as an accountant, a salesperson, a lawyer or a CEO then you are hostage to your professional circumstances. Choose an identity outside work that can make your self-image multi-dimensional. Are you a loving parent? A good cricketer? An aspiring musician? A connoisseur of good writing or great food? A traveller, a wanderer and adventurer? If not, create an identity and reinforce it with plans and activities on a weekly basis. Your new identity will lessen the burden of your work routine and you will be able to smile through your days to the amazement of unhappy colleagues.

Cover your ears:
 In one scene of the movie Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith discourages his son from playing basketball because he is unlikely to excel at sports. When his son heeds his advice, Will admonishes him and tells him not to ever let someone else decide what he could or could not do. He tells his son, that if he wants something, he should simply go for it. Similarly, if your environment is filled with negativity, just cover your ears. Ignore and avoid conversations and people who smack of pointless criticism and failure. A substantial part of your unhappiness stems from your participation in disempowering communications. Avoiding these helps you focus on your dreams and more importantly lets you enjoy the journey.

Let go: 
Drop the negative conversations in your mind. Like all happy people, let not your past define you and your emotions.Think of your past as a fictional story. Each day thus is a fresh start where you begin with what you have in the morning and seek what you want by evening. As you choose to ignore your past, you start letting go of the grudges against your boss, your self-recrimination at not performing well, your personal labels of being unsuccessful because you missed a promotion, jealousy at your colleague's success--and all those thoughts which serve no purpose except to make you unhappy. It is not easy, but as you get better with practice, you will learn to discard each day's negativity by the time you reach home. Take what's yours: Make a list of activities and situations at work that you control.It could be your team's output, your sales route, sequence of tasks in a day, purchase of supplies, people you meet, mentors you learn from or even how you decorate your desk. These are the high points to be exploited. Take complete ownership of your span of control and list out the set of actions and outcomes that will give you most satisfaction. Exercise your autonomy and experiment to find the right mix of thinking, planning, people and activities that help you end each day with a smile.

Play a game: 
We all love playing games.Observe one of the most addictive mobile games--Candy Crush. If you haven't been afflicted yet, you have seen people who are hooked on to it. The point of this game is to work through increasing levels of difficulty each of which simply signifies your current mastery while offering a greater challenge.Thus games engage us by letting us compete against others or against our own selves.Then why not convert your dull routine day job into a series of games? Create simple goals like number of calls a day, average time to respond to an email, time spent to complete a presentation etc. As you invent new levels in your games, not only are you engaged in your own world of fun but also you progress in mastering your chosen skills.

Search for meaning:
 Viktor Frankl--a concentration camp survivor and psychiatrist--states in his book Man's search for meaning how identifying an energising purpose and continuously imagining that outcome helped Holocaust prisoners experience moments of bliss and survive their horrendous circumstances. Similarly find a life purpose or meaning in what you do at work, in what your firm does or even your own contribution to family or society. What value do you deliver? In whose life do you bring a ding to? Imagine that outcome in great detail as if you have already delivered it. The intensity with which you define and imagine this future will determine how happy you are.
One grateful step: Last but not the least, look at what's on your table right now. What do you need to work on this moment? How can you do so in a way that it takes you a step closer to your created purpose or mastery in what you have chosen? As you take that single step, express gratitude for the freedom and opportunity to control this moment and step. Like all happy people, you will discover that your mind is absolutely incapable of being unhappy while expressing gratitude.


COMMUNICATION SPECIAL ...................The Next Generation of Social Media in the Office

The Next Generation of Social Media in the Office

Bottom Line: Email is still the king of office communications, but company-hosted social networking platforms are gaining in popularity, especially among younger workers.

When you need to get a message to a colleague, what’s your preferred mode of communication? Do you dash off an email, pick up the phone, or maybe send an instant message via the company’s intranet? A lot has changed since the era of interoffice memos, and how you choose to communicate could well be a generational choice. According to a new study from Peter W. Cardon at the University of Southern California and Bryan Marshall at Georgia College, age differences increasingly result in sharp divergences in how employees connect and correspond with one another. And these differences present a challenge for businesses seeking to implement advances in communication methods while still extracting value from the knowledge-sharing activities of employees from all age groups and with varying levels of technical proficiency.
Email still reigns supreme in the workplace, the authors found, but social media networks are poised to take over. Thus, companies should start thinking about integrating new technological platforms, indoctrinating older workers into newer communication streams, and establishing guidelines for how employees interact with one another. Although social networking sites were first embraced solely by the younger generation in the early 2000s, they’ve since become mainstream. As of 2014, 74 percent of adults in the U.S. — and half of those older than 65 — use public social networking platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
As the use of public social networking sites has grown, so, too, have company-designed platforms, hosted on the corporate intranet and designed for better workplace communication. Several major software vendors — including Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP — produce social network platforms for companies, which include instant messaging programs, file-sharing sites, Facebook-esque interfaces, and RSS feeds. But what does it mean for the office if discussions around the watercooler have been supplanted by in-house blogs, message boards, and wikis?
A wealth of analysis exists about the technical challenges of implementing social networks, but researchers have yet to compare the value of these new communication platforms with that of traditional channels. Aiming to fill the gap, the researchers surveyed a wide cross-section of business professionals about the frequency with which they use traditional channels versus Web 2.0 platforms, the effectiveness of various communication formats, and their attitudes about using social media for team interaction.

The authors grouped participants into three generations: gen Y (21- to 30-year-olds), gen X (31- to 50-year-olds), and baby boomers (51- to 65-year-olds). Employees at companies that host dedicated social networks are much more likely to use nontraditional modes of communication, the authors found, and tend to share documents through wikis, send instant messages, and post to in-house message boards far more frequently than their colleagues at firms without a social networking infrastructure. This is especially true of the gen Y group: About 71 percent reported using wikis or document-sharing sites regularly, and 57 percent communicated with colleagues via instant messaging daily.
But workplace social media platforms still face an uphill climb. Although exposure to corporate social networking engenders optimism about its future, most employees remain wary of it. Even among the most enthusiastic demographics — gen X and gen Y employees with access to company-wide social networks — only half expected it to become the prevailing form of communication, and most didn’t think it improved their work or interaction with colleagues.
In fact, the authors conclude, even if firms implement new communication platforms, that doesn’t mean they can close down the conference room or eliminate landlines. Overall, the study found, employees and managers of all ages still regard traditional methods — such as face-to-face conversations, phone calls, and email — as the most effective means of communication, regardless of whether they had company-wide social networks available to them.
And for the next few years at least, email in the workplace will remain king. More than 85 percent of employees with access to social networks still used email hourly, and 83 percent considered it effective. Even 90 percent of gen X and gen Y professionals said they preferred email, whereas only 42 percent considered texting or instant messaging to be effective for communicating with team members.
That said, it won’t take much to push workplace social media platforms further into the mainstream. The technology is still nascent — only 26 percent of the survey participants worked at firms with social networking infrastructure — but the number of employees who express enthusiasm about the benefits of team communication could herald a major shift. The authors speculate that Web 2.0 channels could overtake email within the next decade.
As the number of younger professionals in the workforce swells, using instant messaging or posting to a message board could be as commonplace as sending an email or drafting a memo. The challenge for companies is to keep their employees on the same (wiki) page and ensure that all sections of the workforce can communicate in effective, efficient ways — no matter what the technological platform.
Source: “The Hype and Reality of Social Media Use for Work Collaboration and Team Communication,” by Peter W. Cardon (University of Southern California) and Bryan Marshall (Georgia College), International Journal of Business Communication, July 2015, vol. 52, no. 3

Matt Palmquist
Matt Palmquist is a freelance business journalist based in Oakland, Calif.



A collection of books that every MBA student recruiting for startups should have read to interview well and perform in hisher role.

1 The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz Genre Management
In his book, Horowitz, cofounder and partner at Andreessen Horowitz and one Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley's most respected entrepreneurs, provides insight into the challenging moments of running and leading a business, like hiring and retaining the right people, laying employees off, and managing the politics that come with trying to simultaneously please investors, managers, executives and co-founders.The common theme throughout is that the hard thing to do and the right thing to do are usually one and the same.

2 Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan Genre Product
While there are many fantastic books out there on product development, Inspired is recommended for several reasons. First, the book has been around for about seven years and therefore presents a proven perspective on product development.Furthermore, Cagan lays out concepts in a clear, intuitive manner while delivering content that is highly practical and aimed at those operating in the real world. The book also covers all the nonproduct challenges that product managers face, such as managing the often opposing goals of engineering, sales, design, marketing, executives, customers, and other stakeholders.

3 Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight by John Foreman Genre Data
Foreman is the Chief Data Scientist at MailChimp and his book Data Smart really is the data science guide for MBAs. For starters, t teaches modern statistical approaches and algorithms using Excel. And it takes content that can often be challenging and technical, and makes it accessible and understandable. Foreman focuses on the practical applications of data science techniques, rather than the theory behind them, giving the material a certain dimensionality that is often lacking in more technical sources.Importantly, Data Smart contains enough instruction to start running actual analyses right out the gate.

4 Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers by Geoffrey A Moore Genre Growth
This is one of those books that everyone in Silicon Valley has read more than once. Moore shows how successful technology product adoption follows a pattern called the Technology Adoption Life Cycle.Beginning with the innovators and early adopters in a particular market, a deadly chasm separates the early majority, late majority and laggards.
After laying out this framework, Moore goes on to explain how companies have successfully “crossed the chasm“ before and why those that failed, did so.
The third edition of the book has been updated to include more recent examples of high-tech companies that made this transition, such as Salesforce, VMware, and Mozilla.

5 Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist by Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson Genre Finance
In Venture Deals, Feld and Mendelson explain the ins and outs of venture capital from the perspective of the entrepreneur, demystifying the term sheet and explaining the tradeoffs between economic value and control.
In addition to covering the technical aspects of venture, the book covers the various participants in the fundraising process and how the capital structure of a venture backed firm is meant to align and protect their respective interests.

businessinsider in


WOMEN SPECIAL ........What Women really Want

 What Women really Want

India's ecommerce industry is frenetically trying to right a gender
imbalance as the ladies stand up to be counted

When Suchi Mukherjee decided to start a woman-centric online fashion
discovery business in 2012, several in vestors she approached laughed her
out of the room.
With a background at internet ventures such as Skype and then Gumtree,
an eBay company, she certainly knew the market well. Yet, potential
 backers couldn't fathom why someone with Mukherjee's pedigree would
 chase women consumers, who at the time con stituted under a fifth of
 India's online population and an even smaller sliver of actual consumers.
“When Limeroad was founded in 2013, everyone laughed at us... the entire
ecommerce industry was male-dominated,“ recounts Mukherjee. Rather
than targeting over 80% of India's internet population, Limeroad was
attempting to devise a social discovery platform for the minority, and
that had observers amused and appalled. Just two years on, the story
couldn't be more different. From a time when women consumers were
a distinct afterthought for most ecommerce ven tures, today they are
scrambling to meet their every whim. In the past 24 to 36 months, there
has been an explosive growth in women coming online and in mobile
penetration. Consequently, a raft of new ventures are focused on this
opportunity and several older ones tweaking their business model to
 chase after it. Today there are 28 million active internet users in India
 in the 18-44 age group in SEC A and B cities alone. Add another
28-30 million from SEC B and C towns, and there's a fast growing market
 for the likes of Limeroad to target. “In January 2013, Limeroad was an
outlier, but today we're at the heart of what is India's most attractive and
fastest-growing online opportunity,“ adds Mukherjee.
Mukherjee and Limeroad are hardly alone in going after this booming
 opportunity in India's ecommerce market. Across this industry, companies
 of all shapes and sizes are in hot pursuit of this prize, ranging from focused
startups to large horizontal ecommerce giants such as Flipkart, Snapdeal
and Amazon. While most of them today get around a third of their business
from women, executives believe that this number can easily be more
than 50%.
“Most women's categories are predominately unorganised and difficult
to access,“ says Rishi Vasudev, vice-president, fashion, with Flipkart.
 “We give them a platform to access products made anywhere from
Kanyakumari to Kolkata.“ While typical categories such as apparel,
accessories and personal care see the most purchases on Flipkart,
other segments such as furniture and home appliances too (typically
a male purchase) are seeing strong traction with women buyers.
Ecommerce companies are trying to reel in more customers such as
Naina Shetty. The 33-year-old public relations executive in Mumbai
(she doesn't represent any of the companies featured in this article)
has gone from a stage of paranoia over online purchases (primarily
to deal with security of personal information) to being a staunch votary.
From slowly finding her feet online, Shetty has become an avid online
 shopper, first for groceries that ate up hours of her precious weekend,
then for gifts for friends and family, accessories and apparel.
“Buying everything online has helped balance out my otherwise
chaotic weekend,“ she says. “The saving in terms of fuel and time,
combined with practically year-long sales and promotions, make
ecommerce a compelling proposition.“

Women-centric Brands
For Richa Kar, the founder and chief executive of Zivame, an online
 lingerie retailer, the internet provided an opportunity to give women
consumers a far better shopping option than an existing inefficient
and uncomfortable offline experience. “We not only offer a broader
range and more styles, we also help with fitting,“ she says.
“We have leveraged technology to solve this problem and built a
womencentric brand from the ground up.“ She claims that 18% of
 Zivame buyers made their first online purchase on the lingerie portal
and the company is looking to move more such potential customers online.
“We have barely scratched the surface despite our apparent growth...
 with almost no marketing we are seeing strong brand recognition in
tier II and III towns... we want women to buy their entire lingerie drawer
from us“ she adds.
Deepthi Gohain, an HR manager with a Bengaluru-headquartered IT major,
says she shops online because of the convenience of not having to step out,
and of being able to compare prices and check reviews online. “If I had to
 buy a dress from a shop I'd have to visit four or five of them but, online,
I can easily check 20-30 options. And there are discounts almost throughout
the year. For shopaholics like me, the ease of accessibility is a big reason
I shop online.“ It's also easier to impulse-shop online, she says.
Most websites are much better than they used to be earlier. And an easy
returns policy is what can build consumer confidence. Fashion ecommerce
app Myntra, for instance, is willing to pick up returns the next day, no
questions asked. Most etailers, though, have still to get their act together
on the returns front.
Rahul Taneja, vice-president, category management at Snapdeal, believes
online companies need to mimic the setup of offline retailers if they are to
successfully reel in wom en consumers. “Both online and offline, we think
that women shoppers compare a lot, are very social with their purchases
(sending pictures of interesting options to friends and family by WhatsApp,
for example) and take longer than men to decide on purchases,“ he contends.
The online world seems to be coming to grips with these nuances -for example
 Snapdeal's Shopo unit allows buyers and sellers to interact directly on its
platform, to detail and debate product specifications.“We will be introducing
more features targeted at women consumers... around the areas of social
shopping, bargains and comparisons,“ he adds.
For Prateeksha Sharma, a regulatory affairs manager with a German
multinational, buying online began because she didn't want to endure
the chaos of Delhi's Nehru Place, a hub for IT peripherals she used to
patronise for products such as USB thumb drives.
What began with cheaper online purchases evolved to shopping for these
drives, and then expanded into apparel and accessories, food, groceries
and even electronics. “Most of these ecommerce sites (and apps) have a
huge range and a very convenient returns policy, making it really tempting
to log on,“ she says. “Now, there are also sites to compare prices across
the board, making ecommerce an even more attractive proposition.“
Anisha Srinivasan moved to Mumbai a few months ago from Bengaluru
and discovered that finding stores in small lanes in a strange city could
be a challenge. And, wading into Mumbai's monsoon for something as
small as a soap dish, seemed a foolhardy idea. Instead, the entrepreneur
 decided to log and clear out her home shopping list--ranging from the
soap dish to shoe organisers. “Going online helped me quickly buy
products that would have otherwise required a prolonged offline struggle,“
 she says. Having used Amazon Prime when she lived in the US earlier,
she's a frequent online window shopper here in India, but says she's yet to
find anything of interest here.
Small-town Action
A few months ago, a female senior citizen in Pune logged onto Quikr to
clear out a bunch of potted plants to make space for her grandchildren in
 her home. That was her first visit and since then she's logged on a few
more times to clear out unwanted goods from her house. Pranay Chulet,
founder and chief executive of Quikr, says women shoppers have quickly
 be come the centre of the online used products platform's strategy.
“Younger women use Quikr for a makeover, while older ones use it to
clear out their stuff,“ he says. “Women control a large share of spending
across categories and several of our initiatives ranging from QuikrNxt
(a chat platform to keep contact data confidential) to our latest campaign
for our soon-to-be-launched real estate foray are all women-centric.“
As the benefits of the internet (especially on the mobile) have percolated,
Quikr is seeing women from smaller towns and poorer backgrounds use
its platform for an assortment of purposes. For example, one woman used
 it to sell her prize milch cow, Radha, fielding numerous enquiries on her
 phone, as she tended to the bovine.
While she hasn't yet bought a cow online, Kriteeka Saxena has bought a
lot else -including groceries, home supplies, apparel, food, white goods
and electrical and electronic products. “The only time to go to a mall is
in a dire emergency,“ declares the digital marketing associate. “Once
you know your size and fit, products such as apparel and accessories
are a breeze... I even bought decorative lights from a store in Delhi
sitting in Bengaluru, so there's no reason not to be online.“
With many sites also proffering a no-questions-asked-refund policy,
her online shopping is only likely to increase. “Many brands seem to
stock a wider range these days online... this, combined with the promise
of rapid deliv ery, makes these options more compel ling,“ she adds.
Vineetha Chandy, director of SpecsCraft, a soon-to-be launched online
eye-wear re tailer, buys clothes, shoes, diapers and other baby products
and electronics online. “I shop for clothes online because of the deals,“
she says. “It's also easier to find more sizes on ecommerce sites.
Otherwise, I'd prefer to buy clothes after browsing in a mall and trying
them on ... Impulse shopping is definitely easier because you keep
browsing sites and might up end up buying something you like.“
She also questions the app-only stance of Myntra and some other ventures.
“Myntra being app-only is in convenient -if the same product is available
for the same price on (a tradi tional website of ) Jabong, I'll buy it from
there because you can see it on a bigger screen,“ she adds.
Company executives admit women consumers are initially hard to please,
 but maybe a strong long-term bet. For example, Flipkart's Vasudev says
that men typically look at no more than five options during a browsing
sessions, according to the company's estimate, while women look at
least 10 to 12 variants in the same time.
Even if women do make a purchase, return rates are higher (as much
as 30-40% more for women, as per industry estimates), which again
means women try out far more options than men. Technology is
expected to play a key role in bringing more women to these sites and
apps. Rather than an assorted jumble of products, ventures such as
Flipkart, Snapdeal, Limeroad and Zivame are leaning on analytics
and algorithms to try to read the mind of the women consumer.
“What you see is different from the options your friend sees... based
on location, purchases and browsing history, we can now more
accurately tailor products for our women consumers,“ says Vasudev
of Flipkart.
This kind of detailing may be of interest to Lavanya Akarsh, an architect
 in Bengaluru, who has expanded her online shopping from accessories
and apparel to books, groceries, food and even electronics. A seasoned
shopper, Akarsh says she has quickly tired of the sameness with wares
 sold in malls. “You get a sense of freshness and exclusivity when you
shop online because they have a far larger catalogue and some sites
such as ASOS and Koovs offer products which aren't otherwise available
 offline,“ she contends.
Ecommerce executives also believe that the internet is allowing a large
group of previously disconnected women to get networked -thanks to the
mobile phone.For example, Flipkart's Vasudev says the company sold
over a million sarees in nonmetro cities during its Big Billion Sale.
Other executives too say that bringing women online has thrown up
some interesting nuggets of information.

The Northeast Factor
While Snapdeal too claimed to be selling two sarees a second at the peak
of its festival sale, it also discovered that its largest percentage of women
shoppers came from the northeast -a function of both a healthier gender ratio
 in the region and more women getting online for the first time.
“We are focusing on building the right assortment and merchandise to
 attract picky women shoppers,“ says Taneja of Snapdeal. “To be sticky
customers, women demand more creative inputs with what's in fashion,
design cues and other style inputs.“ Elsewhere Quikr, the online seller of
used goods, discovered that 80-85% of its users over the age of 55 are women.
It isn't just the nuances that attract women shoppers. Multiple industry
executives say women tend to be fairly selective with their online
 destinations, but demand the moon of these sites and apps.“Women
demand almost infinite discoverability and freshness... every month,
we have 30 lakh new looks on Limeroad,“ says the firm's founder and
 chief executive Mukherjee. “We are building a business that is all about
freshness on steroids.“
She claims that Limeroad has slowly grasped the intricacies of dealing
with picky women consumers and browsers use its app at least 10 times
a month -well higher than the industry average. “We have already made
deep inroads into the fashion segment and believe we have a loyal
following,“ she adds. “We want to use this strong base to consider a move
 into other women-centric markets such as home furnishings and wellness.“
Backed by around $45 million in VC funding (its most recent round in May
 this year), Limeroad thinks reservations over touch and feel will be trumped
 by discoverability of new styles and products.
Despite the bubbling enthusiasm of the likes of Limeroad's Mukherjee and
 her peers, avid shoppers argue that these companies are far from the
finished piece.
For example, some shoppers such as Ramya Mudaliar, a homemaker
in Mumbai, say that product descriptions are vague and shoppers are left
 to use their imagination while making purchases.“Product descriptions
could be a lot more specific in this industry... if you're buying something
online, you want as much detail as possible, not as little,“ says Mudaliar.
“Is this material thick or thin, is this apparel suitable for summer or spring
 ... these finer details could make or mar an online purchase.“
Even before you get to the buying bit, other shoppers think the browsing
could do with a rethink. Akarsh, the architect in Bengaluru, thinks that
user interfaces for many of these ecommerce ventures are too cluttered
and do more harm than good for these companies' prospects.
“I'd like to shop online and want a curated and orderly list of options...
most sites today bombard you with options and that's a massive turn off
if you shop regularly,“ she explains. Srinivasan, the budding entrepreneur
in Mumbai tends to agree. “There need to be more specific instructions
on areas like product storage or cleaning and washing that ecommerce
companies could give women,“ she adds. Sharma in Delhi too piles on.
“You are bombarded very clumsily with options,“ she complains.
Online women shoppers also agree that product returns, often used as a
way to get women hooked, cut both ways.While some companies have a
smooth returns policy (picking up products as quickly as the next day),
others are slower and even involve a trip to the local post office.
Uniformly, this inertia with returns prickles women consumers.
 “I don't like the returns policy across most sites ... it involves multiple
 phone calls and a waste of time ... if I buy a piece of furniture and it
takes me ten days to have it returned or replaced, I am stuck sitting on
the floor,“ she says.
With the opportunity to switch loyalties just a flick of the finger away,
ecommerce companies will need to go out of their way to pander to
India's demanding online women shoppers.

Rahul Sachitanand & Indulekha Aravind
ETM 15NOV15 

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