Category Archives: Blog

Striving to live the patient life

It’s been a month since I ever attempted to feed my blog. In a self imposed exile of sorts, I decided to do away with the privilege of being ‘always connected’ for a month. The experience has left me saner and in control of a habit that was threatening to drive my very being.

A host of factors contributed to me being off the net all this while. While office errands were chewing their way right into valuable personal time at home, my reliable Dell Inspiron was also slowly succumbing to the pressure of exploitation. It’s hard disk soon crashed, never to recover again. Currently, it lies by the side of the study table, usually in service as an arm rest.

My impatience, as the new Airtel 16 mbps ad suggests, was seeing me spend hours at home on the web, idly signing in and out of my mailbox, sifting through an umpteen social sites and mulling in deep thought as to why some clients behave the way they do.

And so with the hard disk crashing, the net connection was also done away with, leaving me at the mercy of books and family and friends to go out with. Not having a tv only accentuated the situation, giving me even more time.I started looking for chores to do around the house and soon felt some responsibilities sinking in.

A day for me has many more fuller elements to it now. It involves 8 hours of sleep, Fuller and healthier meals and a lot of time to read and explore

I now realize the wisdom of our elders in maintaining that balance. It is important : to live your life but not to abuse it.

Impatience is not my new life!!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

Mumbai Bloggers Meet:Was it worth it?

Bloggers meets have always intrigued me? What is it that binds 100-150 (at a time) and makes them assemble together under one roof? What do you talk? What do you discuss?  and how can one subscribe to the idea that bloggers across are the same?

It is to answer these questions that I, despite the saturday, chose to attend the Mumbai Bloggers Meet organized by mumbaibloggers.net.

The event was like a movie, slowling unfolding, to reveal the story.

It started with the credits, with a lady called Netra Parikh receiving a majority of the applauds…Thank you for organizing this and that and that and this…it felt (and maybe I dont know) as if her very being inspired bloggers to laugh, to cry and ya, to write.

Next came the round of introductions, which for the majority of us, was the chance to get someone to readourblogs.Surprisingly, almost all of them, had a Twitter ‘handle’ (as they defined it) as well, making me wonder if this was a true representation of the ‘Mumbai Blogging Fraternity”

It was time for the sessions and, this is where, I finally felt was a thread that united bloggers across genres.Ashoka is a non profit that describes itself as a Citizen Service Organization and seeks to create and nurture Social Entrepreneurs to drive change across nations. More can be read about them here

Every such organization seeks to drive awareness and the internet, of course, becomes the preferred medium. The internet, itself, however has evolved and it is a web of conversations that drives the internet today. It, is, therefore to create awareness and drive conversations that the Ashoka was looking for “Blogger Guardians”, who would become the voice of the Social entrepreneurs and drive conversations around them across the web…A good thought indeed.

The rest of the meet seemed to revolve around shameless self promotion, a lot of technical staff and a few laughs here and there ( Thakkar from hurrhurr.com).

The few interesting people I either observed or met included

a) An aunty who’s been blogging in malayalam and is quite excited about it.

b)A couple of Hindi Bloggers who are trying to make a social impact through their blogs, one of them being badhas.blogspot.com

c) A surd blogger who visualizes better and puts across meanings through drawings rather than words (wish I could remember his blog id)

Well, time for a final take on the entire event.

  • Being a social media analyst myself, I felt that every such meeting, is becoming a time out for the same group of people again and again.This is not a representation of the true population of bloggers in Mumbai.
  • A lot of talk is revolving around Twitter, which may not exactly be what bloggers are looking for in such a meet
  • A lot of talk is revolving around technology and nuances of technology, which everyone may not understand.
  • A lot of talk goes around SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which I fell, anyway defeats the purpose of your writing for the true love of writing. Also, a lot of us are not even aware of what SEO is and a bloggers platform may first be used to educate people around the same and then delve into serious discussions around it
  • Too commericial. Sponsors, new businesses, promotion takes the pulse away from such sessions. While, for some monetization is the goal, for many it isnt. There needs to be a balance struck to ensure how much monetization one can talk in such a forum.
  • Agendas for such meets needs to be laid out clearly before the meeting itself.

There is probably, a need to verticalize the genres of blogging and then call for such sessions. Value Addition can happen only then. Till then, it only becomes a platform to chit chat and gossip, something I do through the week anyway.

Tagged , , ,

Leaving Oracle: Excerpts from my first Blog

I started experimenting with blogs in January, 2007. Campuses can be lonely places and you need to find avenues to release all pent up energies to ensure that your sanity is not lost.

Anyway, I managed all of three blog posts on my first URL (a blogspot one), 2 on campus and one when I finally left Oracle. Leaving Oracle had been a decision that was both spontaneous and gutsy. I, to this day feel proud of the fact that I was able to take a stand and follow it through.Money and comfort suddenly just didnt matter. I needed to be happy with my job and my leaving Oracle was the start of a quest to find the job that suited me. I must admit, however, that Oracle had amazing people- people who believed in you, people who could make you laugh inspite of all the tensions and frustrations we faced as part of our jobs. Some of them i am still in touch with even today.

The following is an excerpt from my post on my first blog:

September 16,2007
Just back from Mumbai. The past few months,as usual have been eventful.I got placed as a Business Development Consultant with Oracle.my first job and that too in a global brand.The icing on the cake was the fact that I was the first to get placed from my college:IMT Nagpur.A moment to be proud of…a moment to celebrate.A snapshot of my life history flashes past me : from my Columba’s days to the wonderful days in college and finally my post graduation.Life’s been good and God’s been kind and merciful….
….June 2007: It seems to be a mistake….a terrible mismatch…this is not the profile I foresaw on campus.I am doing nothing but sitting and calling.Although am being given a decent salary,I don’t see my MBA being put to any use and neither do I see my life goals being fulfilled in this line.
….August 2007(towards the end).I have to take a decision…a decision now…it’s a risk but I am willing to take the risk.I am willing to break free and pursue my line of interest. A small fear at the back of my mind tries to discourage me : whether I’ll get a decent job after a brief stint in Oracle…”I will “…my confidence surges me forward and on that Friday night I submit my resignation.
…September 2007…Mumbai happens…I call up my friends…faithful friends and ask them to schedule interviews for me. three interviews in a week…not bad at all.Mumbai treats me well and to spend the day running about and trying to gauge the pulse of the city and the ‘Jalad’ local train system is an opportunity in itself.Back from Mumbai Iam loaded with one offer and one offer to be placed.It’s a small achievement but I have miles to go till I can soar in the open skies.

As I compare the above excerpt and the way I write now, I realize I have become much more impersonal. Maybe its because its all part of my job now…I dont know but I shall continue to write

Tagged , , ,

Testing Flickr Slideshow

Was thinking of posting something today on Kerala. Am down with Viral, however, and my brain seems to be clogged with empty spaces.

Instead I thought I’ll post a slideshow of pictures that I had taken with my N73 in Munnar as a trailer to the high res pictures that will come later with some detailed stories and explanations.

This is also the first time that I am trying out a Flickr Slideshow since the day Aparna (my colleague) pointed it out to me.

Update:

Quite unfortunate:It seems that Flickr slideshows are currently incompatible with WordPress.com

Initially tried to embed the Flickr slideshow html on my blog but the preview completely erases the code.

I tried a workaround as well through http://flickrslidr.com but have been so far unsuccesful.

The slideshow feature seems to be throwing up problems across Myspace and Livejournal blogs as well. However they seem to work just fine with Blogger and WordPress.org blogs.

This is what Flickr has to say about the entire deal:

http://www.flickr.com/help/forum/en-us/79445/page3/

WordPress.com doesnt seem to take a clear stand on the issue

All I feel is slightly disapoointed…Hope both the greatest blogging platform and the greatest picture sharing platform resolve the issue soon

Tagged , , , , ,

The Choices I made: Oracle

A good placement, not surprisingly though, is the primary driver for any MBA student. Getting a job of his choice or rather, getting a job of good social standing, is important to each and every student who walks through the gates of any b-school in this nation.

I was clearly a 5 point someone in college. My understanding of the post graduate course was limited to working for the placement committee, participating in inter collegiate quizzes and generally looking for an excuse to travel the world. For some reason, text books and formalized education were things that I abhorred and yet I felt that it was a drill that every Indian needed to go before entering the ‘corporate’ world’

Well, as a five point someone, a combination of my inability to rote learn and laziness, I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive of whether I would even be placed. This apprehension continued on till the first company came on campus.

Oracle: a coveted brand and one of the fortune 500 companies had agreed to come to campus and it wanted to come first. The profile was that of a Business Development Consultant and I believe the prospect of getting into the company itself shaded our ability to think straight. I was ecstatic, especially so since the company was from Bangalore, my region of operations (for the placecom).

In Delhi at that time, the pre placement talks and the interviews were to happen the next day. I booked an early morning flight to Nagpur and by mid afternoon was on campus.

That evening, the entire batch assembled together to hear the suave Oracle guys talk. The session lasted for an hour and the profile sounded like nothing but fun, fun and more fun. Yes, this was the profile I had dreamed of…to be able to lead a lazy life at the helm of affairs (atleast some ) and yet rake in lots of moolah…Only a few fortunate ones had ever managed this nirvana.

The session was followed by a round of telephonic interviews, which i cleared with flying colours (thanks to railfanning…it always works) and I was called to Mumbai for some further interviews.

A final batch of 15 out of around 60-70 applicants left for Mumbai a week later. We were the fortunate ones and here was a chance to be the first guys to be placed since since, well, last year.

Mumbai, the land of dreams, had always fascinated me. It’s beaches (or beach?), its people ,its autos and cabs and its trains have always been awe inspiring. My best friend also studied in this city and more than the interview itself, this was a chance to meet him and spend some ‘quality’ gossipping time.

It is this ulterior motive that kept me motivated through my entire stay. So much so, even a day before the interviews, I was sitting with my friend at Marine Drive, pondering on where our life would take us ( Nothing much has changed…we still do the same).

The d day had been scheduled at the Le Meridian, Andheri. I am not sure what made me more nervous?…was it the interview? or was it the prospect of displaying proper ettiquettes in a five star setting?Around 200 odd students had managed to make their way here from colleges in Mumbai and Pune.

After a rather sumptous breakfast, we were all ushered in for another lengthy brain washing session which involved fun videos, some games and lots of goodies. Soon after the session we were distributed across 3 interview rooms.

Well, my interviewer was a lady, dressed in Oracle colours, including the heels she wore. A seemingly tough lady, she seemed all geared up to swat the insignificant flies (us).

“Everything without God is nothing and nothing wih God is everything”, a chant that my mom taught me, was to me the last bastion of hope as I made my way into the room. The questioning started and I somehow wriggled my way through, gaining in confidence with each passing question. 20 minutes later, I was out of the room, all beaming:Indian Railways had done it yet again.

Another round of mind games and another wait for the first shortlist.”Robin Jacob Abraham”, my name was announced, a confirmation of my decent performance in the interview. Among my peers, only 5 of us had managed to make it to the next round

The next round was with the General Manager and it was entirely his call to select or unselect. The questions were simple and this time Robin Cook’s Invasion came to my rescue. I am somehow convinced that the wild swinging of my hands and a bit of  animated talk (reserved only for interviews) had managed to impress the interviewer.

After the interview, we were made to sit in the main conference room. The tension was palpable and the sweat seemed to be streaming across grim faces despite the air conditioning. A full hour and a half later, the Oracle managers walked in. They had finally come out with a final shortlist after much deliberations and discussions amongst themselves and with the hotel staff ( They had crossed their booked time schedule). I was ready to hear the best (I admit, I would have been shattered, if otherwise).The names soon started rolling out…blah blah…and blah blah… and blah blah…and last but not the least from ‘A’ group…Robin Jacob Abraham. Did I hear it correctly…yes I did…I am supposed to stand and I need to hear some loud claps…As i stood, I saw the entire IMT group ( or watever was left of it), cheering for me…I had been placed and to my peers, it was reassuring to know that if a five point someone could be placed so could they. As for me, I had managed to be the first guy to be placed in college which itself was a special feeling.I could almost see the Cadbury’s ad playing in my head…Pappu pass ho gaya!!…Robin place ho gaya!!…I was sure all my professors would exclaim, either in genuine relief or shock.

I was also fairly confident that my grades mattered no more and I could retire to more mundane activities in the confines of my room (read movies, cream rolls and sleeping). The next 60-90 days were spent exactly that way…

Tagged , , , , ,

Life as it chugs along

Its been a while since I’ve posted anything. The usual suspects: Time, work and lethargy but a sense of guilt kept telling me to feed my starved blog.

Its been more than 7 months now in the “city of dreams”: Mumbai. The city has been kind to me and I havent fallen ill or badly homesick in these months. Friends have remained faithful and work manageable.

7 months ago I came to Mumbai after having the worst imaginable exit from my past company in Delhi. I have a case filed against me under the “Negotiable Instruments Act” which alleges that I stopped payment on a cheque with dubious intentions and that I need to pay a specified amount.

The amount is trivial but I am fighting for a cause I believe in: that an employer cannot take his employees for granted, that he cannot flout all known laws and ethics of employee treatment. It could be a long battle but all I am hoping for is that I am able to stand steadfast in the midst of all this.The support of my parents,my sibling, relatives and friends has been a source of constant strength.

Work here in Mumbai has been good so far. There is much to be achieved and so little time. I am slowly learning all the aspects of an agency’s business. From operations to technology, from business development to client servicing, from proposing to implementation, it has been all round development. We have been growing steadily and it feels great to be part of the core team.

We do, however have our share of hiccups. There is a lot of streamlining to do in terms of work being done Interacting with your colleagues and other divisions and making them understand your point of view can be a real headache. In my observation, most people just do a ‘job’ and are unwilling to think beyond their ‘assumed realm’ of responsibilities. This can be a real headache as these people will try to ensure that nothing that you wish them to do falls in the purview of the “assumed realm” of responsibilities. Getting these people to work and coordinating with them ensures,quite a few times, that you prefer doing the work on your own.

I have also realized that it is man’s lack of focus that constantly drives him to achieve a focus. I still don’t know what I am cut out for but because I don’t know, it helps me try every domain to its fullest potential.As a result, I am always seeking to answer “what next?”. I hope this drive takes me along a fulfilling career road.

On the personal front, life has had its shares of ups and downs.I am now an engaged man and will be tying the knot a few months down the line. Its a different phase I am getting into but I am not intimidated as many assume me to be. Life has had its share of joys and sorrows before marriage and it will have its share of joys and sorrows after marriage. I have also found new friends and still finding more.Social interactions,the kind I like:playing outdoor/indoor games and going to worthwhile events, has also been on the rise.

Life has moved on and it has given me its share of experience and wisdom…it will continue to do so in the future.
This is a snapshot of my life: As it chugs along

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Kawasaki Tweetup:what I liked and what I didnt

Well the mandate was from above and so it had to be done. Besides it was a chance to see the twitterati from Mumbai and a man who’s been associated with some truly amazing ideas.

The tweetup was at 7:00 and we left by 6:00…one auto and a superfast train later we were in the lobby of the Oberoi by 7:30. The meeting had been organized in the business center and apart from our team of 4 souls, there were 22 other individuals including Mr. Guy Kawasaki.

The discussion…well it seemed to take the usual track of geekiness which seems to get more than its due share in all conversations involving Social Media. The war seemed to be between the Mac lovers and the Vista lovers and it seemed to me,given Guy’s association with Apple,everyone just wanted to talk Apple..the macs were covered and so were the iphones. Twitter was bound to come up in the conversation and while we do have around 4,500 members(as opposed to the 2500 mentioned at the tweetup) on it, I kept wondering why is it only a Geek’s paradise in India.

I guess its the adoption of the medium which has been slow. Any web technology that comes out in the market is adopted first by the enthusiasts. I am a keen web enthusiast and so was one of the first to signup for Twitter. I found it to be an interesting tool to be in touch with people in my field,Social Media and primarily use it as a proffessional tool to understand and gauge the industry. However, in India, where primary adoption of Social media is by the teen and early twenties crowd, is there a valuable proposition that Twitter has to offer? I think not.

A large part of this population roams around with the likes of 1100 in nature, the web? well thats to be done from a computer? and staus messages? well doesnt Orkut and Facebook also allow you to do that apart from the hundreds of other features they offer?

I was disappointed with the way Orkut was brushed aside at the tweetup. Well, for one,it’s the most popular networking destination in India. As sophisticated or web savvy i may be, I daily check Orkut.It remains to be my primary communications tool.

Facebook..well I guess its the branding. Every Marketer claims that his/her target audience resides on Facebook? How do you know that? and on what basis do you say that yoour target audience doesnt reside on Orkut?

Most people, I have come across do have an account on both and use both with passion.
The twitterati is in no way a representation of the Social Media in India.It goes much beyond that. It covers forums like a Pagalguy or a Jatland or a tv Masti…it covers networking like an Ibibo,Orkut,Facebook or a Bigadda , it covers blogs and it also covers review sites where thousands of consumers express their opinions on products)brands and services.

I still havent got a chance to attend a discussion where Indian Social Media is talked about.Would love to attend one.

Well, the tweetup did manage to convince me to restore my Twitter account as well as take a look at alltop.com which seemed to be the buzz of the day.

This one’s specifically for my blog’s audience. Follow me on Twitter and do comment here on why or why not would you have an account

My Twitter id: http://twitter.com/robinjabraham

Tagged , , , ,

The Did you Know series

The world’s so full of knowledge that comprehending even a speck of it is a challenge in itself. Indians have always been “Jack of all trades” and being gifted with this heritage, I also seek to gain knowledge across all walks of life.

Well, for “Chugging Along” i intend to focus on two core interest areas through the “Did you Know?” series:

a) Social Media : For starters did you know that Social Media isnt Social Service. Around a week back,My boss got a call from an interested candidate who claimed that her passion in life was to do “Social Service”!!.

When my boss explained to her that Social Media isn’t Social service she claimed she was interested in Social Media as well!!!…so much for focus

b) General Business Knowledge : Was part of the quizzing team in my MBA and always managed to come 4th or 5th in inter college quizzes.The best we managed was a 3rd and we conveniently forgot to take our certificates. Anyway, the quest for the “golden Fleece” hasnt ended and I still yearn for some recognition in this field.

I intend to use these posts to learn and be a documented repository of valuable information.
I shall also be involving some of my quiz mates to contribute on the same.

Did you know…did you know…did you know…as my mind wanders and hands google to search…take a break and come back tomorrow…I shall be ready then

Tagged , ,

My Job: The Need

Most of my friends are clueless about what i do. Social Media…Buzz…Internet Marketing…Blogs…etc etc…my feeble attempts at explanation have only left them clueless with some additional jargon. Here is an awesome video I came across which will tell you why and where I come into the picture.

In short I listen,I understand and I engage with the consumer

Tagged , ,
%d bloggers like this: