Monday, December 10, 2012

Social Media Marketing Honeymoon is over – HELL NO. IT JUST STARTED

Friday sunny morning Рback-to-back meetings and I am glad I am working on some of the big bet product launches @Infosys with veterans. I landed on this article today morning: The Social Media Marketing Honeymoon Is Over which primarily says social media marketing is no more a preferred channel for marketing. David says Social media, social media marketing, and social networking have been the subject of much hype, buzz and marketing budget disruption for big and small business alike. May be true but the other side of story is many organizations have leveraged social media in multiple ways. For example we have had a phenomenal year @ Infosys in terms of Employer branding Рwithin no time our FB page reached 1 million fans. Social media is not a pass̩ it is the way organizations will do business for years to come.

Here are few points on how to create and sustain social as channel for an enterprise:

1. Create a Social Media strategy for your organization

2. Start treating social media like a tool that reaches out to customers

3. Stop believing it can magically conjure sales, if only you get it right

4. Realign your expectations to meet reality

5. Create a strategy to build on the achievements of your social media marketing

6. Be creative and innovative in how you look to further increase trust and engagement online

7. Make sure you know ways to measure your Social ROI

8. Re-visit your social media strategy

9. Be very relevant, honest and conversational - across all your social channels

If your organization does not have a social media strategies make one today. I will soon be writing about organizational social media goals for 2013 :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Social Media DO's and DONT's for fresh grads and interns

It’s been close to six months I have been conducting various programs for students across various B-Schools in Bangalore. One question that I have come across more than 100 times in almost all my sessions was “HOW do I get my job or internship using Social Media? Does my presence on social matters for my job hunt?”

Here is a small write-up on how graduates can leverage social media for their job or internship hunt. Social media is a great networking resource when you’re looking for a new job, your first job out of college, or an internship.

I have been working on extensive hiring at Infosys, I’ve sifted through lots of resumes and internet stalked my candidates, like every (smart) hiring manager in this day and age will do. I wanted to share some of the DO’s and DONT’s with you, so you can avoid these snafus. Keep in mind that every hiring manager is looking for different things; these are few generic things that a hiring manager in India may take into consideration.

Here are top 10 things you should NOT BE DOING:

1. Don’t have a profile on LinkedIn

If you’re not on LinkedIn, you basically don’t exist. That’s clearly an exaggeration, but I’m much more likely to bring in a candidate if I can find his or her profile on LinkedIn. LinkedIn provides job seekers a place to showcase their work experience and projects they’ve worked on, share their website(s), and gather recommendations. Recommendations are something that you can’t find on a resume, and I’d much rather see some glowing compliments before interviewing a candidate.

Being “just an intern” isn’t an excuse for not being on LinkedIn. You can still list your extracurricular activities, prior internships, and part-time gigs, and gather recommendations from your managers and peers.

2. Write negative about prior job or internship in your blog

Most people like to find an outlet to blow off steam. No job or internship is 100% perfect. But if you’re looking for a new gig, don’t let that outlet be your blog. In today’s day and age, anything you write under your own name is findable online. And smart hiring managers will do their homework. We want to work with motivated people who will take one for the team without publicly bashing their job for all the world to see. And if you do complain about your prior internship in your personal blog, for goodness sake, don’t link to it from your resume. This happened. True story.

3. link your personal blog on your resume

It is great to maintain a blog and write regularly. If it’s a professional blog, or even a personal blog about your hobby, please add it to your resume/cover letter/LinkedIn. It gives hiring managers more insight about who you are as a person, and what you might be like to work with. If your blog is an “uber-personal” blog in which you rant about life, post pictures of scantily-clad women, or stress about your latest breakup, that’s fine. Just don’t link to it from your resume/cover letter/LinkedIn, or even your Twitter bio (while you’re job searching). It’s not appropriate, and makes you seem less of a business professional.

4. Irrelevant updates and photos on Facebook

While hiring managers will want to see what you look like on Facebook, we don’t need to see pictures of you doing keg stands with your buddies. So be careful about your privacy settings. Don’t make yourself completely invisible to search (so that your own real-life friends can actually find you), there’s no need to be that paranoid. But just make sure that you only display the photo albums and status updates you wouldn’t mind hiring managers to see publicly.

5. Tweet TV shows, movies and friends on Twitter

It’s generally best-practice to stay away from mundane updates on Twitter, even if you’re not looking for a new job. You may notice a dip in followers if you consistently post about sitting on your couch, eating pizza, or watching TV. But be especially careful when you’re on the job market. Tweet smartly, and include relevant articles to your industry, informative blog posts you’ve written, and insightful comments you have about your work, classes, and culture. Just stay away from the mundane. And of course, just as you shouldn’t rant about your job on your blog, you shouldn’t rant about it on Twitter either.

6. Contradict yourself during an interview

If you’ve recently written a blog post about the “10 reasons why XYZ is bad for the ABC industry,” stick to your guns in person. If you contradict yourself during the interview by saying XYZ is brilliant, your interviewer will know that you’re just trying to appease them. A smart interviewer will have internet-stalked you before your interview, so already knows your opinion on XYZ. Disagreeing with the norm does not (necessarily) make you a complainer. It makes you someone who recognizes flaws and will strive to make a positive impact on the company in which you’re seeking a job.

7. Post not interested in current job updates

It’s absolutely ok to look forward to the weekend. Just don’t publicize the fact on Twitter. Posting “TGIF” or “can’t wait for 5pm” or “today’s going so slowww” can make you come across as an unmotivated whiner, even if it’s not true. Just be careful of public updates like this while you’re applying for a new job.

8. spelling and grammar errors

Avoid common errors like mixing up their, they’re, and there, or you’re and your, even in social media. This will show that you’re detail-oriented and have a solid grasp of writing the English language. If you’re constantly making mistakes online, even if it’s “just” social media, it will making the hiring manager afraid of constantly needing to correct your work.

9. Abandon your social media profiles

If you don’t already have LinkedIn and Twitter profiles set up, it’s great to take the initiative to set those up. But don’t just set them up and abandon them! A blank profiles or Twitter stream is just as bad as not having one at all. If anything, it shows that you can’t finish a project that you’ve started.

10. Spend all day on social media

At the opposite extreme, if you’re spending all day tweeting, that doesn’t look good either. That makes it seem like you’re not spending any time on your actual job or school work! Like anything else in life, moderation is key.

Hope these help you in creating a positive personal social quotient :)

This was originally authored by Diana Urban - she blogs @ u stand out on various social media topics.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Two great things that happend (Young Leader & Speaker at National Conference)

This month has been extremely exciting for following reasons:

• This is a festival season in India – Navratri (I get to eat so many verities of sweets)

• I almost successfully completed teaching a course to my MBA students in Christ University (Subject: E-commerce and ERP)

• Loads of new things to learn at work

• Yukta’s mid-term results are announced and she has done extremely well 

But two most exciting things that happened this month are:

  • I have been nominated for “Young Leaders of India – 2012” program by Economic Times (watch out for more updates on this).

  • I was invited as keynote speaker at “National Conference on Green Entrepreneurship – 2012” hosted by New Horizon Leadership Institute in association with AIMS (Association of Indian Management Schools), NEN (National Entrepreneurship Network), World Academy of Productivity Science and APJMER (Asia Pacific Journal of Management and Research). Here is my PPT:

It was a phenomenal experience to present at a national level conference on topic that I love :) I was delighted to share the stage with delegates from IIT Madras, IIT kharagpur and IISC Bangalore. For the first time I presented to a large audience of (350+ attendees) and it was indeed a dream come true.

I have always enjoyed presenting and speaking at academic events and this was best till date. I will be speaking on the same topic next month at IIM K and hopefully in Jan at another national conference in Bangalore.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

An outstanding Customer Delight Experience

After living in 8 countries and banking with close to 11 foreign banks (Royal Bank of Scotland, National Bank of New Zealand, Bank Of America to name a few) it takes a lot to say a nationalized bank in India is excellent. For most of the folks in IT and especially for people who have enjoyed priority banking with banks like Citi bank a nationalized bank would be the last resort. I have been juggling with the decision to buy a new car for quite some time now.  I have been talking to various financial institutions to decide on the final one to opt for car loan and every bank had enormous enthusiasm in the beginning and gradually started treating me (the prospect) as just another customer. One bank that gave the warmth and comfort of banking was SBH Indiranagar.   

The two key rockstars of this bank are: Mr. Mahesh Murthy and Mr. Pranesh Hunasgi. Mahesh is the branch manager, a very efficient leader and treats the customers with utmost warmth. My very first interaction with him made me feel I was in safe hands. On the other end Pranesh ensures that you understand the process, terms and everything related to your loan that a customer must know.

My relationship with SBH goes back 6 years when I first met their MD (MS. Renu Challa) a true visionary and then their next MD (Mr. Amithab Ghoa) during my tenure with Goldstone Technologies Ltd. This bank is keeping up to their vision statement: “To be the most preferred and trusted Bank”.  They have very nice online banking, Mobile banking and all latest technology adaptations. For more information click here.   

Friday, August 24, 2012

Entrepreneurship & Life lessons from Yukta

I woke up today at 6:30 to realize it was off for Yukta (her teacher’s had training to attend).  I obviously enjoy baby-sitting her. I wrote an email to my boss very hesitantly that I would work from home today on few pending stuff. What amazes me about kids (Yukta –specially) is the way they teach us lessons about every damn thing. I was reading an HBR Review (my boss sent this morning) on 14 lessons to learn from Steve jobs :) Personally Steve jobs is one of the finest creations of God to me (or for any struggling or wanna be entrepreneur). Then I was wondering there are so many things which Yukta already teaches me on everyday basis from these lessons. Everything this little kid spoke or did taught me tons of things. Here is a quick mashup of things you can learn from your kids about entrepreneurship or life:

  •          DO NOT FEAR – I was talking to BD (Desikamani) last night – did you know Humans are probably the only creatures that do not learn to swim when put in water after certain age – Reason  - FEAR. Children’s teach you to be Fearless.
  •          HONESTY – Kids are extremely honest since they are not aware of the art of manipulation – I wish Yukta stays the same all her life
  •          SPEAK YOUR MIND – They do not care to impress you nor are they aware if they hurt you – they speak their mind
  •          What they Think DO and Speak are all in Harmony (most important)
  •          Do what you love to do
  •          Give your 100% in everything you do
  •          Your best competitor is YOU – being brought up in a Brahmin Middle-class family we are used to comparing kids with siblings, friends, neighbour’s kids ……Yukta just doesn’t like it – I have noticed she believes in beating her own records…
  •          Love unconditionally
  •          FORGIVE and FORGET – I tend to lose my temper very quick when she doesn’t act the way I want her to – RESULT- I raise my voice and shout at her – She cries and gets upset but when you say Sorry and hug her – she Forgives and Forgets

The list will go on but I am truly surprised the lessons she teaches me everyday J It’s time for me to get back to work again.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Speaking engagements

It’s been close to 2 months I have visited my blogger dashboard. I was super excited and little busy with our Cloud offering launch. We have successfully launched first of its kind Cloud offering: The Infosys Cloud Ecosystem Hub. I was very fortunate to be part of the launch and it involved humongous learning :)

I was also little busy addressing students of various specializations in different B-Schools in Bangalore. The reason I do this is I love being associated with the college and campus. Every time you enter a college you can feel the adrenal rush :)

Here is a PPT I presented at Christ University on E-commerce and E-biz:

Every time I prepare to address a class it gives me so much of time to read and refresh concepts….the learning continues. Though it takes some time and little efforts I feel it’s worth the efforts.

Here is a PPT I presented at NHIM Bangalore – I was addressing the students during their orientation program:

Third motivation behind visiting colleges is to ensure my weekends are productive. I have reduced significant time on watching movies since my weekends are packed either with lectures or preparations for lectures.

Here is PPT I presented at Christ University for MBA IT students:

I strictly travel and address students over weekends – weekdays are @ work.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I Love Infosys

Sitting in building 39 (1st floor) tearing my hair apart to generate some content for one of the product launches I look outside the window, I see a gang of youngsters at a coffee day chilling out discussing some cool stuff I guess. I then decided to take a walk to the coffee day to grab a cappuccino (Irish flavor) while I took the walk I was enjoying the fountain and beautiful (Infosys Bangalore Campus). When I reached to grab the coffee I saw the date June 6, 2012. Does it remind me of some event? Yes, last year this day, I was awestruck stepping into this massive campus (Infosys Bangalore India) for the first time. I smiled and congratulated on completion of this wonderful 1 year :) this journey at Infy was so amazing and exciting I didn’t realize my calendar flipping 12 pages. Since, I am a social media enthusiast I could not hold myself back and started tweeting and updating on all the social channels.

Fig 1: This is the arieal view of Infosys Mysore campus (the structural marvel - INFOSYS)

After an hour one of my colleagues realized and wished me over the lunch table. Then my phone started buzzing constantly all the wonderful people I have worked with and friends I have known from school and college days were pinging to talk to me. To my surprise the calls were more to enquire what I am doing in Infosys than to wish me happy anniversary. A very good friend of mine works for world’s largest software product firm calls me to say “Oye pagala gaya hai kya…infy mein kya kar raha hai tu? Apna stream kyun chod diya? Services company mein kya kara raha hai?” (For my English readers he said: “Have you gone crazy…What are you doing in infy? Why did you changes your stream from products company to services major? ). It did not make sense to me to respond or give him the reasons why I love working at Infy or what I do at Infy? But after repeated questions from many such friends I thought it was worth blogging about it. So here is my Infosys Anniversary edition :)

I hope this blog will also serve some help to new Infosicions or laterals willing to join Infosys.

It truly is a different experience working for product company Vs Services major but here is the catch we @ Infosys have a PPC (Products Platforms and Cloud team) this gives you a twin benefit: gives you a start-up environment (Innovation engine) + Core focus on developing cutting-edge products.
Pic 2: I created this logo (I am not sure if this is a copyright violation - reuse @ your own risk)

Okay here is a very short list of things you will enjoy @ Infosys Bangalore (rather I love):

• Lush green massive campus (more than me my lungs love this campus) – nascent oxygen which is otherwise rare to find in Bangalore campus.

• Vibrant crowd – If you opt to travel by bus, during the morning hours at the entrance you get to see the vibrant young and enthusiastic employees entering the campus. Every time I see the crowd I feel I am in a university (I love being in a university or academic setup).

• There is always so much to learn from your peers, PSD (Professional Skills Development) so many to list down

• If you love reading and exploring books – Infosys has a humongous library

• The list is never ending (Food courts, activity clubs for bikers, runners, circket…….)

Though, I miss working @ product companies, I enjoy life here at Infosys. It is so much fun to be here. Feel free to write to me if you need any further information.

Disclaimer: (1) The images used and the thoughts in this blog are entirely mine and not my employers.

(2) I have typed and posted this from my BlackBerry Playbook – please ignore grammatical and semantic errors :)

Monday, April 30, 2012

From good to great "Manager"

Even before I start penning down this blog, I would like to thank all the managers I have worked with right from HP, Google days to my current managers and leaders @ Infosys. Every manager has a unique way of managing the team to ensure the objectives are met and I get to learn so much working with different leaders. I have been reading all the HBRs that I had missed over past few weeks as part of my Harvard program. One of the articles that really caught my attention was about the next generation of managers.
Before we summarize on the article and go any further on this topic, let’s start with the definitions and basics: A team is a group of people who do collective work and are mutually committed to a common team purpose and challenging goals related to that purpose. Teams are more productive and innovative than mere work groups. They produce results that exceed what groups of individuals can do through simple cooperation and coordination. This commitment creates compelling social and emotional bonds among members, who come to believe that "we" will all succeed or fail together and that no one can succeed if the team fails. In every team, "we" trumps "I." Unless you've been part of a team yourself, it's hard to understand the exhilaration produced by this sense of what "we" can accomplish together.
This mutual commitment, this "we," the potent interpersonal bonds among team members, spring from two related sources: 1. A mutual sense of purpose. Every high-performing team believes it exists for a compelling reason and that the world will be better for what it does. Its purpose is not the task or work it does but the benefit it delivers. It's the difference between "We scrub hospital floors" and "We prevent the spread of deadly infections." This is what pulls people together and makes them feel part of something bigger than themselves. 2. Tangible goals based on that purpose. Purpose must be made concrete or it will quickly wither. To sustain its sense of purpose, every team needs to strive toward specific, real achievements that will fulfill that purpose. In short, purpose and related goals are the glue that holds a team together. Purpose without concrete goals is just a dream. Goals without purpose are aimless activity. But although they are critical, purpose and goals are not enough. A team also needs clarity. In particular, team members need clarity about: Members' roles and responsibilities — not everyone can do everything Important work processes — the way the team does its work, such as making decisions Values, norms, and standards that define what members expect of each other — how conflict, for example, may and may not be expressed The kinds of feedback and metrics needed to measure progress. In a nutshell to summarize Linda and Kent put it as " The Three Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader:" Manage Your Team — the first imperative — is about creating a real team and managing through it. The other two imperatives are Manage Yourself — which is about building relationships based on trust, not authority — and Manage Your Network, which is about connecting and collaborating with those you don't control.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Fruitful Fridea

Disclaimer: No ideas or thoughts below bear any holding to my employer (Infosys Limited) these are my personal ideas and opinions. Fridea copyrights reserved @ Infosys, please do not re-use the term or image.

First thing worth blogging is Fridea :) I was just getting the hang of being part of a new emerging team @ Infy that focuses on creating next generation products and platforms and Fridea happens to me. Fridea – is the phenomenon of fueling your innovation @ Infosys. This is something similar to what we had at Google (TGIF). I am in love with Fridea for following reasons:

• I get to see the working product demo of so many products  this week it was Cloud…if not for Fridea I would not know how our cloud ecosystem looks like.
• An overall update about the unit – makes me feel I am part of right gang.
• Celebrations – celebrating the success of our products and platforms
• Guest lecture – MY FAVOURITE part of the Friday – industries best product managers come and share the best practices. Yahoo and were fabulous stories – so much to learn (follow on @raghavph twitter for Fridea updates).

Last week was action-packed with so many things worth Blogging. Met 2 of my entrepreneur turned venture capitalist (VC) friends, met CEO and founder of ThinkSea Consulting (another friend of mine) and few other great folks from Google (my ex-colleagues). Most of our topics we discussed in these meetings had following #tags (topics in simple terms :)) – Innovation, Services VS Product companies, Startups and VC world.

One thing that always amazes me about the product companies is the innovation engine, passion, commitment and the energy levels. Fortunately I don’t miss that anymore at Infosys coz we are emerging as leading products and Platforms Company (I am not trying to sell anything here).

Okay let me give a brain dump of what runs in my mind when you talk about product companies (I am talking about core product companies and not productized services companies).

1. Flexibility: Product companies have flexibility to change the features and timeline of the product, ultimately they run the show and decide what to implement and when to deliver it.
2. Longevity: a successful product company invests in a product and reaps the rewards, through sales, over the life of the product. The product will evolve to meet new demands and include new features but the longer it stays around the better.
3. Constant improvements: a services company typically has one chance to get it right. They sign a contract to say they’ll deliver a working solution in 6 months they deliver it and may never get to see it again other than supporting bug fixes and small enhancements. A product company will go through multiple production releases each time there is an opportunity to incrementally improve the solution - its architecture and implementation.
4. Revenue potential: I cannot compare iPhone Vs any app store application  but make sure your product is also @ apple standards and not ME TOO product.
5. Survival: It is easy for a services company to survive Vs a product company.

The list goes on and on and on but the bottom line is Product Companies are fun to work.

Having said all this I want to end this post with a note: Many companies that make or distribute products lose important profit opportunities because they don't capitalize on the strategic benefits of related services. DO NOT IGNORE IP DRIVEN SERVICES REVENUE :)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Water to Tweet

Summer is close and even cool places like Bangalore have started experiencing the heat. Found this image in my inbox today and thought it was worth posting. Please feel free to share this image or blog link with your friends so that we save the beautiful Tweets.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Social Health 3.0

I have been super busy with work and my second book. There is a fair progress on both the fronts, work and book (work - working on new and intresting product’s, Book – completed my 1st chapter, TOC and plan). It’s been little over 4 months that I started presenting about Social Health 3.0 (application of social media to healthcare) to various leading healthcare providers (hospitals) in India. Being a social media enthusiast I felt I should post this presentation on slideshare for my readers, here you go :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The 12 rules of start-up

It’s been a different school of thought at Infy and I am enjoying my learning here. The work culture, the ethics, the environment and the hierarchy @ Infy is a class-apart :). Every time I am confused about anything literally anything @ Infy I know whom to ask for help – Balaji Desikamani (dearly known as Mr. Encyclopedia at Infy MKTG). Life is fun and learning at Infy is phenomenal. The only thing I am missing the most here is the start-up environment. It’s a different league game to be part of start-up, few things that come to my mind (the one’s I love the most) @ start-up include:

You don’t have to wear formals with tie (Unless you have a client visit) – No one cares wat u wear (LOL good for lazy humans like me).

You don’t have to wait for 3 – 4 levels of approvals to execute your idea.

You don’t have cabins and conf rooms.

You don’t have fixed timing (you spend majority of ur life in office :) ).

First thing first – priority matters :)

Sense of ownership – everyone feels it’s his company and he has to excel in his job.

The list goes on however why are start-ups in India not very successful? A recent study by Inc 500 shows 8.5 of 10 start-ups in India fail during first year. I have been reading many blogs on this and the one I loved the most is written by Mark Cuban (He is a serial entrepreneur co-founder and chairman of Denver-based independent cable network HDNet and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team).

These 12 rules are edited from his book. How to win at the sport of business: If I can do it, you can do it.

1. Don't start a company unless it's an obsession and something you love.

2. If you have an exit strategy, it's not an obsession.

3. Hire people who you think will love working there.

4. Sales Cure All. Know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.

5. Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them. Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but aren't as expensive to pay.

6. An espresso machine? Are you kidding me? Coffee is for closers. Sodas are free. Lunch is a chance to get out of the office and talk. There are 24 hours in a day, and if people like their jobs, they will find ways to use as much of it as possible to do their jobs.

7. No offices. Open offices keep everyone in tune with what is going on and keep the energy up. If an employee is about privacy, show him or her how to use the lock on the bathroom. There is nothing private in a startup. This is also a good way to keep from hiring executives who cannot operate successfully in a startup. My biggest fear was always hiring someone who wanted to build an empire. If the person demands to fly first class or to bring over a personal secretary, run away. If an exec won't go on sales calls, run away. They are empire builders and will pollute your company.

8. As far as technology, go with what you know. That is always the most inexpensive way. If you know Apple, use it. If you know Vista, ask yourself why, then use it. It's a startup so there are just a few employees. Let people use what they know.

9. Keep the organization flat. If you have managers reporting to managers in a startup, you will fail. Once you get beyond startup, if you have managers reporting to managers, you will create politics.

10. Never buy swag. A sure sign of failure for a startup is when someone sends me logo-embroidered polo shirts. If your people are at shows and in public, it's okay to buy for your own employees, but if you really think people are going to wear your branded polo when they're out and about, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money.

11. Never hire a PR firm. A public relations firm will call or email people in the publications you already read, on the shows you already watch and at the websites you already surf. Those people publish their emails. Whenever you consume any information related to your field, get the email of the person publishing it and send them a message introducing yourself and the company. Their job is to find new stuff. They will welcome hearing from the founder instead of some PR flack. Once you establish communication with that person, make yourself available to answer their questions about the industry and be a source for them. If you are smart, they will use you.

12. Make the job fun for employees. Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them. My first company, MicroSolutions, when we had a record sales month, or someone did something special, I would walk around handing out $100 bills to salespeople. At and MicroSolutions, we had a company shot. The Kamikaze. We would take people to a bar every now and then and buy one or ten for everyone. At MicroSolutions, more often than not we had vendors cover the tab. Vendors always love a good party.

One of my Infy friend and colleague (John dearly known as Lovely in the team for his wittiness) is on his way to experiment with a start-up. I wish him all the best and look forward to hear more lessons from him.