Archive for the ‘/etc’ Category
The blog has been suffering from semi-neglect due to the usual refrains: work and life. While I will be pushing out a few drafts that have been in the deep freeze for a while, it will take a while longer to organise things so that I can start blogging again regularly.
It has been close to 6 months now since I quit smoking and I can’t tell you how good it feels. I sleep much better, the energy levels are consistently higher and better; and best of all, I have more money now to allocate to books, music and movies, which used to be wasted on giving my lungs a very hard time.
That said, there are side-effects that still linger on. Phlegm being the major culprit here. While things are considerably better on this front, it is far from being over and done with and after all, what has taken years to accumulate won’t disappear overnight.
There is no real huge struggle or heroic story associated with my giving up the smokes. Thankfully, I’ve not been addicted to it in all the years that I’ve smoked and given up (twice before this), it has been more of a habit to keep my mind off other things. Or, even worse, it has been a weird sort of act of rebellion that I’d do just to make a point, because nobody could control that part of my life.
What eventually did it for me was one of my usual trysts with a bad bout of bronchitis. I keep getting it every couple of months and over time it was costing me a good couple of days that I could have otherwise spent getting more work done. As far as wake up calls go, I did not really need one beyond that.
The difference it has made still leaves me reeling a bit. My lifestyle right now is not by any means the best I’ve ever had. In fact, it is lousy like hell. I don’t sleep right, eat right or exercise right, but the fact that I don’t smoke now keeps me more active and productive than ever.
Really, if you are a smoker, quit now and get richer!
Of late, how companies are run and how they manage their people has been grabbing more of my attention. It is a crazy world out there right now with most of the traditional benchmarks and rules being thrown out of the window.
There used to be a time when ten years meant not much in setting up and establishing a company and impacting the industry it belonged to in any significant manner. Cut to the present and you will see companies with billion dollar valuations being set up and turning the market upside down in time frames that are considerably shorter than that.
This is a blog entry that really is not out there to say much other than express a sense of wonder at how things have changed. Case in point is the outgoing Red Hat CEO’s message to the world about his impending departure. It was published on the company blog of all places.
The entry is written much on the lines of an informal blog post, reminiscing and ruminating on how the company has grown over the years and even reading in places like a 21st century version of Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire“.
For someone like me, who has spent most of his career doing the one-man-army thing, the past two years of running a decent sized team and dealing with issues related to it has been an educating experience that no fancy MBA or any amount of money can buy. And one of the wonderful things about the internet is to be able to read and cull from such a vast amount of personal experience from others like Szulik.
Sometimes, among all this talk of billion dollar valuations, turnovers and product lines that can change the world in less than five year cycles, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that even these amazing companies are also headed and run by people, just like any other set up.
If you were to look at it that way, there is a lot to be learned and even more to aspire to, for everyone, provided we are willing to go the whole hog and be systematic, disciplined and always keep the longer term perspective firmly in our sights.
The more they remain at the same place? At least, that’s been the case with me. The shorter version of the story (don’t want to get into the longer version since it involves discussing people and events who/that should remain in the private domain) is that unlike what I had written earlier. I did not, eventually, leave Network 18. So, for the time being, things remain the same. And that is all what I want to say about it now.
The news is not exactly breaking or shocking for that matter and the hints were strewn all over the place for the past couple of weeks and this is how it goes: On the 10th of September I resigned from my post as Principal Architect with Web18, which is the online division of Network 18. It has been a very exciting and fruitful two plus years, but now it is time to move on. It was not the easiest of decisions for me to arrive at — there is a considerable amount of my effort that has gone into building of a lot of what is public now and it is a move that is pretty much against the turn of the tide — but one of the most important factors to acknowledge in such matters is dissonance and there has been a fair bit of that in my case.
Web18, of course, is headed for a new, vibrant and exciting future with a slew of amazing products that the proceeding days and months will get to see. Personally, I had to take a call to see if this is what I wanted and what turned the deal was the feeling that has been lingering within me for a while now: that my heart was no longer in it, this is not what I want to do and this is not how I want to do it. I have for most parts been a start up guy: putting systems, businesses and people in place to turn new products and organisations around and I have not felt that way for a while now.
The coming 2-5 years are going to be very critical in the internet space in India and a key factor that will determine someone’s contribution to it is to see where you place yourself in the market when the big wave hits us. In terms of products, innovation, access and scale, what we are seeing now are nothing more than the remnants from the first wave and a frenzied search for anything that will help investors realize that potential. In such a situation, being in a gargantuan company need not be the ideal positioning to ride the wave. In fact, from what I’ve seen, very few companies have the wherewithal to make that muscle work for them. In most cases the same strengths work against them as weaknesses depriving them of quick reaction times, nimbleness and other desirable features.
That leaves me with the part where I get to say where I am headed for. I will be hopping over to another media network, INX, to try my hand at building out an organisation all over again, as Head of Delivery for the online parts of the business. Of course, there are questions that will naturally arise from my choice of destination. I have the next couple of years to find answers to that, but for now, I need to give my considerably beaten up mind and body some R&R before I join the gig and that’s the only plan for the next couple of days.