Friday, July 3, 2015

Stories: Nothing Is Impossible

This is a real story that happened between the customer of General Motors and its Customer-Care Executive.

A complaint was received by the Pontiac Division of General Motors "This is the second time I have written to you, and I don't blame you for not answering me, because I sounded crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of Ice- Cream for dessert after dinner each night.
But the kind of ice cream varies so, every night, after we’ve eaten the whole family votes on which kind of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the store to get it.

It's also a fact that I recently purchased a new Pontiac and since then my trips to the store have created a problem. You see, every time I buy a vanilla ice-cream, when I start back from the store my car won't start. If I get any other kind of ice cream, the car starts just fine. I want you to know I'm serious about this! ; question, no matter how silly it sounds "What is there about a Pontiac that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice cream, and easy to start whenever I get any other kind?"

The Pontiac President was understandably skeptical about the letter, but sent an Engineer to check it out anyway. The latter was surprised to be greeted by a successful, obviously well educated man in a fine neighborhood. He had arranged to meet the man just after dinnertime, so the two hopped into the car and drove to the ice cream store. It was vanilla ice cream that night and, sure enough, after they came back to the car, it wouldn't start.

The Engineer returned for three more nights. The first night, they got chocolate. The car started. The second night, he got strawberry. The car started. The third night he ordered vanilla. The car failed to start. Now the Engineer, being a logical man, refused to believe that this man's car was allergic to vanilla ice cream. He arranged, therefore, to continue his visits for as long as it took to solve the problem. And toward this end he began to take notes he jotted down all sorts of data time of day, type of gas uses, time to drive back and forth etc. In a short time, he had a clue the man took less time to buy vanilla than any other flavor. Why? The answer was in the layout of the store. Vanilla, being the most popular flavor, was in a separate case at the front of the store for quick pickup.

All the other flavors were kept in the back of the store at a different counter where it took considerably longer to check out the flavor. Now, the question for the Engineer was why the car wouldn't start when it took less time. Once time became problem - not the vanilla ice cream Eureka!!!!

The engineer quickly came up with the answer "vapour lock". It was happening every night; but the extra time taken to get the other flavors allowed the engine to cool down sufficiently to start. When the man got vanilla, the engine was still too hot for the vapour lock to dissipate. Remember, Even crazy looking problems are sometimes real and all problems seem to be simple only when we find the solution with a cool thinking.

Don't just say its "IMPOSSIBLE" without putting a sincere effort... Observe the word "IMPOSSIBLE" carefully... Looking closer you will see, "I'M POSSIBLE"... What really matters is your attitude and your perception.

Disclaimer: '#Forwarded' label refers to stories and anecdotes send to me by friends or the ones I came across in net. I neither know the source of these stories nor its correctness. Being said that, I like the story and truly believe that readers will get inspiration/ motivation from these articles.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Coffee at Midnight – Rasta Café

Honestly speaking, I was not so interested. If Daion was not so persuasive, I may not even go. As things often happen in the end, I also joined the journey to Rasta Café. When clock turned 12 at Friday night, we slowly woke up from our caves and jumped in to bikes. We mean - Me, Rakesh, Daion, Justo, Vivek, Gokul, Subi and Vishnu. By the way, Subi was more excited about riding his brand new Duke 200 than going to café.

As it turned out, the only person among us who already visited that café was Daion. Even though he displayed high confidence, we had our own doubts about the location. Anyway, we soon left Madiwala, Jayanagar etc and entered NICE road. Oh, no. I forgot to tell you, this didn’t happen so fast. In fact our Duke, which carried Subi and Vishnu, went in another way and travelled in and around Kanakpura. While they were roaming around the city like ghosts, we were waiting for them on road side as if peacock is waiting for rain. After some 30 minutes or so, we again saw the exhausted faces of Subi and Vishnu.

NICE road was good except the strong wind which always blew right into my ears. Just after crossing 50km in tachometer we reached at our destination. Oh, forgot to tell you, café moved some 12kms after Daion visited it last time (or where he saw it last time)

After seeing numerous boards, I thought it’s a big café. However, it turned out to occupy a small area of a large stretch of land with more than enough parking space. At one side, one can have their normal food and on other side you can enjoy hukka. Statutory warning: Smoking is injurious to health

After marking our entry to the list – 22nd – we started waiting for someone to call us. Like us, there were a lot of people sitting, standing and chatting in the grass, waiting for their turn to come. Someone called Rakesh and we were in. Now the next question was what to eat? After searching a lot in the menu book (and of course checking and rechecking the prices listed against) we finally gave orders… Another long wait for those items to come.

Meanwhile lot of cameras clicked here and there; you can see the result of those actions in this page itself. Ordered items came one by one, and we finished it as fast as we could. After spending some more time, in chit chats and testing all cameras there, we started our return journey.
By 5.30 in the morning we reached Madiwala and drank another set of tea for 1/15th of earlier one’s price. After everybody describes the highlights of the journey we slowly went back to the room for sleeping.

As the proverb goes, journey was better than destination. Especially after seeing ‘Rang De Basanti’, it was my long term wish to have a bike journey in groups at midnight. Needless to say, it was interesting and exciting!!!


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Are celebrities responsible for the quality of products they endorse?

One topic which blew hot for some time and captured the airtime in media (which otherwise are obsessed with Delhi power politics) was, whether celebrities are responsible for the products (and of course the defects it carries) they endorse? Many said – no, and many others said – yes, they are.

What I think is they are very much in the loop. Many brands, for an example consider soft drinks; which hardly have any nutritional value (I don’t think, even the CEO of Coke will say, drinking it is good for health) becomes so successful in market due to celebrity endorsement. Think about Pepsi and Coke without their media blitzkrieg during cricket matches. Without cricket, cricketers and Bollywood heroes these soft drinks may not have the popularity which it currently enjoys. Most often in celebrity endorsement, fans and others in some way or other are getting heavily influenced by the celebrity who actually endorses it.

In this way, while getting paid for those endorsements, celebrities to an extent responsible for the quality of product they are promoting. Isn’t it the duty of endorser to first try and understand the product before pushing it to public? Aren’t they responsible for the sentences they are saying in television? Yes, they are.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Does the era of permanent jobs are over?

An irony I often come across is, people criticize government employees but appreciate government employment. Given a chance everyone is ready to jump in to government employment. Factors often attributed to government employment are – easy, lot of time for personal things, pensions, respect and most importantly safety. As a matter of fact, at the height of socialism our then leadership created mammoth government machinery which works for itself (and current governments are trying to break it down and sell it).

The point I would like to make here is about job safety. In private industry it’s less or not present. There is hardly anyone to represent the well-being of workers in unorganized sector (other than courts).

However, all these things are going to change. When we are hotly debating on what Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav told; what words can be or can’t be used in Hindi movies; whether certain yoga poses are acceptable or not; there is a sea change going on the other side - employment code is changing. Of course, it’s not glamorous and hence may not get enough air time on the shouting matches going on national televisions.

However, the coming employment code is going to rewrite the employee-employer relations in India. It allows employers to hire more people for short term assignments without any overhead; it also removes the need of notice period for contract employees and so many other things. If you are interested, take a look at the proposed amendments to ‘Industrial Employment (standing orders) Act’ and other related acts.

I think we are transforming the job market and making the hiring and firing very flexible. At the same time, we don’t have a social security net of the type provided by Scandinavian countries. It’s critical to the future of employment. When you get free time, give some thoughts to these issues.


Monday, May 25, 2015

RIP John Nash

Remember seeing the movie ‘The Beautiful Mind’ starring Russell Crowe? It was based on the life of one of the greatest mathematicians in Game Theory – John Nash.  His contribution to Game theory, Differential Geometry and Partial differential equations are immense. Probably his biggest contribution to the world is his 28 page dissertation paper on Non-Cooperative games (this includes the now famous ‘Nash Equilibrium’ as well) which eventually influenced almost all part of human life. He got 1994’s Nobel Prize in Economics for the same.

On 23rd of May 2015 Nash (along with his wife) killed in a road accident. He will be remembered forever for his contributions to the field of Mathematics, especially Game Theory.

RIP John Nash.

Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia