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Khoon Chala

Posted: December 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Musings | 4 Comments »

It all started in 2008.

I used to read a lot of blogs and one of them happens to be Youth Curry. In Sept, 2008, her book Stay Hungry, Stay foolish was launched. I knew this phrase from Steve Job’s famous commencement speech at Stanford University of 2005. The book is about 25 stories of entrepreneurs with a common thread of IIMA alumni. I wanted to read the book as soon as it was launched but during that month I was in The Netherlands for my office assignment.

So when I came back to India in Nov, 2008, the first book I wanted to read was obviously Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. I had heard about most of the entrepreneurs featured in book or about their companies, this made the book more interesting. I finished the book in two sittings in a single day. The stories were inspiring. interesting and fascinating. This was definitely not the first trigger for my entrepreneurship dreams because I have long been reading stuff about entrepreneurship but yes this definitely made me more ‘wannabe-entrepreneur’. After this book, I developed interests in reading books and coincidently got to know about Flipkart at the same time, ordering book was more easy now and a pleasurable experience, it translated into more books being read. I started reading a lot of stories and journeys of entrepreneurs.

I joined Twitter in Jun, 2008 and like most of the people, I also have same question ‘whom to follow’ and what to do with Twitter in the beginning. But after reading about entrepreneurs, I started following them on Twitter, got a lot more resources to read than ever before. One link led to other and got to know about initiatives like Startup Saturdays, Lpad, which further fuelled my aspirations to be an entrepreneur.

Fast forward to Dec 2010. I mustered the courage to quit the rat race. 20th December 2010, I have resigned from my day job and will be walking the aisle of entrepreneurship full time :-)

At this point, I just have these lines in my mind from the movie Udaan.

कहानी ख़त्म है या शुरुआत होने को है,
सुबह नयी है ये, या फिर रात होने को है,
आने वाला वक़्त देगा पनाहें
या फिर से मिलेगी दो राहें,
खबर क्या, क्या पता

(Very loose translation of the lyrics)

is this the end of the story or a new beginning,
Is it a new dawn or it’s going to be another night,
will the future be my shelter
or will I come across another crossroad,
nobody knows

More follows soon in next post. To be continued…

P.S. If you are just wondering what does the title of this post mean, it’s a track from the movie Rang De Basanti. Listen it on Google Music

Congratulations, You Are hired

Posted: December 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Musings | 2 Comments »

In the last decade, I have been involved in several aspects of hiring, from appearing in interview to screening candidates and interviewing them and making final decision, if the person would be a right choice. After so many years I’ve realized that there are a lot of flaws in hiring in big companies and MNCs and processes of hiring in so called ‘process driven’ companies are also not error free.

The first thing is employee referrals. I believe the employee referral schemes should be leveraged for healthy and more productive work environment because when team members know each other well then results can be real good. But we don’t live in an ideal world and in my opinion employee referrals are sometimes used as a vehicle to get your known person get a job anyhow, whether s/he deserves it or not is a different thing. I believe if the interviewer knows (by a reference or directly) the person who has referred the interviewee then there will most certainly be some prejudice involved. I don’t want to imply that every employee referred candidate is not worthy of his position but the person will enjoy some discount which non-referred candidate might not.

On the other hand, I’m aware about incidents in some companies where a referred candidate will not get an interview call from the company but as soon as the profile is forwarded through a placement agency, the person will be interviewed. I have experienced it personally.

In an another incident, when I was looking for switch last time, I received a call from a company (which claims that they deliver high performance), the very next day of uploading my resume. My interview was scheduled promptly and I did not get an interview call even after 3 months but I did receive 2-3 calls about scheduling my interview but needless to say the interview was never conducted. I do receive an email from the same company after every 3 months that my profile has been archived in their system and I can use the reference id to appear for an interview in future. My other colleagues got their interviews scheduled at least 4-5 times and then they got call for an interview, some had to appeared for interview twice/thrice in the same company.

I just wonder if there is something like non-prejudice, unbiased and uninfluenced hiring which really judge the skills of a person and how s/he can contribute to company growth rather than who does he know?

Apart from referrals, there can be other biases as well. Can I claim that I conducted interview in an unbiased manner after I knew that the interviewee hails from my home town? if the person worked with me in one of my last organization and I hated him? if the person is real good and I think he can be a threat to my position? She looks good, should I select her? I have also experienced two cases where a person was not hired because of his religion/cast.

From interviewee point of view, there is a other side, what if the interviewer doesn’t know what kind of questions to ask? what to look for in a candidate? He is not competent enough to judge a good candidate. What if he wants to show his own authority, ‘dude, see-how-much-I know-and-you-dont’ than what the candidate’s real knowledge is?

There are so many such questions/situations which bothers me and that’s why I don’t truly enjoy to get involved in hiring processes partly because sometimes I feel that I don’t do justice to the person being interviewed ( impostor syndrome?) , and partly because I feel that I cannot be ruthless to reject a person if a person has potential but doesn’t has the credibility in his resume.

In one of the Startup Saturday Pune, someone ( was it @mhegi?) suggested that look in for commonsense, adaptability and learning ability in a recruit and rest can be taken care of. But then hiring for a startup is quite different than hiring for an MNC.

What has your experience been in hiring? It would be interesting to know your experiences.

Disclaimer: I’ve been interviewed as an employee referral on two occasions and I do like to believe that it was unprejudiced on at least one occasion.

Pune, The City So Far

Posted: November 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Musings | 9 Comments »

It’s been almost 6 months in Pune. it’s enough time to get to know the city and form an opinion about it. I wanted to write this post for long but got busy in something or the other.

So, here are my observations about Pune.

The very first thing you’ll notice when living in Pune or even passing by it, is the real estate hoardings and billboards. The Pune real estate market is booming like Dot Com of 90s. In fact the only billboards you will see will be that of buildings only. These ads make sure that you are teased every few KMs that you can’t afford a home (at least holds true for me). In these ads, you can see some real interesting and creative ad which makes you at least think about buying a home.

The other very common site is, girls walking/riding like bandits. They’ll dress up and all but will cover their face under a veil. So, it’s kinda boring to drive when all girls have their face covered :-(. I believe the pollution level in Pune is far less than Mumbai or any other metro but still girls might have their own reasons to hide their pretty faces behind a piece of cloth. Also, I haven’t seen so many girls riding a motorcycle in any city but a girl riding a Royal Enfield remain to be seen though.

Something which amuses me most is the names of places in Pune. Some are lovingly awkward to pronounce. For eg. Bhosri, Dapodi, Ghorpadi, Pimpri, Pimple Saudagar, Wakad, Khadki, Pashan and Hadapsar are to name a few (Tip: Pashan (stone) is one of the posh areas of the city :-) ). During my initial days in Pune, it was pretty difficult to remember the places’ name. I still struggle to reach from point A to point B without asking for direction when Google Maps doesn’t help.

If you travel through auto-rickshaw then be prepared for a dual surprise although the auto rickshaws do have fare meters, they hardly ply by it. If they do then fare is calculated by a formula which I have no idea about. But, you can improve your bargaining skills by hiring a rickshaw.

Pune is not a cosmopolitan city and practically has no night life. As most people in Pune are from Maharashtra, you can earn some brownie points if you have basic knowledge of Marathi.

The city has well laid cycle tracks in most of the part. Cycling on a dedicated cycle track is fun. It’s a different thing that when traffic is on it’s peak these track work as additional road for motorcycles and auto rickshaw and sometimes mini vans too.

If you love visiting new places during weekends/holidays then Pune is the best choice. You can visit beaches, forts, plateau and hill stations; all not more than 150 KMs away from Pune.

Still, 6 months is not a very long time to get to completely know a city like Pune. I still find something surprising, amusing and fascinating about city every day.

The Infibeam experience

Posted: July 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Musings | No Comments »

I’ve been using Flipkart for ordering books for almost a year now. Their service has been exceptional, books have discounted price and most of the time, I have received books with under 36 hours.

However, recently when I used Swaroop’s Book price compare tool, I decided to buy a book from InfiBeam as the price was less than any other book shopping portal. The book was promised to be delivered in 5-7 business days, however, after 6 days of my order, I get the below e-mail from InfiBeam.

Due to an unusually high volume of orders we have run out off inventory for the following items. We have tried our best to source the inventory but are unable to do so at this time. Hence, we will not be able to fulfill the above items. The cost of these items including any promotions & gift certificates have been reverted to your account / bank account / credit card. Please allow 3-5 days for the refund to get processed from your banks end.

* Wellsprings: A Book of Spiritual Exercises

The book in question was published in 1986 and I don’t see any reason for “unusually high volume” for this book. And after 6 days of order, Infibeam realizes that the book is out of stock.

Recently, I was looking to order Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. Flipkart was accepting pre-orders for book, however, InfiBeam claimed to deliver book in 4-5 days ( The delivery time was different in three different place varying from 1-2 days to 4-5 days). Excitedly, I ordered book from InfiBeam, however, after 2 days I got a call from InfiBeam that because of some bug in their system the order was accepted and the book is not available. It cannot be delivered as it has not been released in India yet and would take another 15 days to deliver the book.

This was consecutive second disappointed experience from InfiBeam in two months.

After these two incidents, I’m sure that I’ll stick with Flipkart even if InfiBeam offers more discount on books.