Friday, November 19, 2004

Work, Family, Personal Life: Why Not All Three

We have lost the capacity to fall in love, for many reasons, but above all else because we take ourselves so incredibly seriously.
(Rabbi Shmuley Boteach)

Before you think am into some mushy/preachy kind of stuff, this is a quote from a article covered in HBS- Working Knowledge series. The quote was made at Möbius Leadership forum session titled "Walking the Tight Wire: Family and Career, Finding the Balance".

There were three spaekers at the conference, Myra Hart (HBS professor), Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a popular speaker and author and Scott W. Ventrella, a management consultant & an adjunct professor at Fordham University's Graduate School of Business.

Two take aways from the whole story....

a) Work & Family life balance is being covered in business schools and not left to self help books and such similar mentors. Also means they have more competition at their hands now :)

b) I hope I am not sterotyping but, what struck me was, the proff's(a female herself) research work was specifically done with female graduates of HBS. According to her about 40 percent of HBS female grads take time out from the workforce at some point in their careers to either raise families or pursue other options such as working at nonprofit organizations etc. If this is the case in Harvard wonder would be the percentage for females who attain higher education in India.

Wonder why men don't have to do that. Though work life balance as an issue started with men, it indeed has bigger connotataions for the fair sex. In case of men it is more about giving attention to family while in case of women, the issue somehow boils down to her having to make a choice between the two.

Why is work life balance not an issue for the males? Two possible expalnations can arise. either u expect & appprove of males neglicting one of the two. ( No need to specify which one would not get their attention). Or is they we force males to put a strong face, not come out with rheir problems and not ask for help in trying to live a better life because its not manly enough? I guess either of the explanations is not the kind what we would rationally approve and yet we continue with age old traditions.....

Interestly if this was not all , the Rabi had another observation about equality of sexes. According to him,

women have fought for equality and in so doing have lost their souls. They have responded to the model of the classical hero...Equality for women was a step back for women.. real greatness is where you don't have to prove yourself constantly

(This reminds of a little tiff I had with a team mate this evening over some project work. My rather weak attempt at delegating a difficult part to him on the pretext that he is a guy, was met with 'try to a behave as equals' retort)

Anyways....maybe i'll go with the proff's opinion....

I think you have to look at how you value your choices on multiple dimensions.... People shouldn't just choose work based on prestige or salary.....If you're satisfied with the kind of work you're doing and the place where you're doing it, you will be successful...... And so you will open up doors you can't even imagine. But if you let others define what success is…then it's easy to lose sight of yourself.

Let the woman of today define her success. Maybe this is the only way she can lead a balanced life.

Online ads.. more

Well continuing from my last post, this piece from Vikram's blog is a must read.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Ad spend is growing but, aren't you missing the point ? | Media industry
Was reading this story as to how the advertising industry seems to be back. Revenues for media groups and ad agencies are picking up. What I found interesting was the fact that not only media but also Internet Advertising specially that targeted at the search engines is increasing.

This is in line with a rise of 40%, to $4.6 billion, in the revenues from advertising over the internet for the whole of America during the first six months of the year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a firm of consultants, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). In Britain, such advertising is growing even more quickly, albeit from a lower base. There, revenue from advertising over the web grew by 75% during the first half of the year.

Put all this in the context of the project we did for our Marketing Research course. We found that really net savvy people the sample including students here with 24X7 access and professors (Dr, Madhukar Shukla & Proff Fenn) along with others whom we roped in for our online survey outside the campus, clearly indicated that internet ads are not effective. Forget about purchase intention, internet advertisement did not generate any significant recall.. Not one of them could recall an internet ad with product, brand and usage correctly matched.

Infact I put forward this point when I attended a panel discussion at the imes Group Media Conclave at IIMA.
Yes we do need new ways to target the consumer, as the marketing head of ICICI Prudential mentioned. Infact ICICI Pru's circulating pamphlets through the now famous - "Dabbadwallas" of Mumbai is a great viral marketing idea. One pamphlet being read by a group of 10/15 executives at a lunch table and loads of Word of Mouth publicity after that. But I disagreed with Yahoo India's country chairman Mr Neville Taraporewalla's suggestion. He believed Net is that one breakthrough different medium that can capture customer attention, in this cluttered world.
Not in India, not just as yet......

Infact I still stick to my point, media seems to have lost respect for the customer and probably has forgotten that too much indundation leads to switching off. It has already happened on TV, the trend is fast catching up in case of print and on internet.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Bush or Kerry- My two cents

Nov 2, the Us presendential elections. Over the last few days the media has been ablaze with news about out how Bush and Kerry are tied in the race. Infact this election saw candidates fighting it out on the last day breaking the old traditions.

Another election joke goes that when asked to mention his three mistakes , Bush's answer was..Last Debate, this debate and the next debate. :P

The London based Economist has picked up Kerry over Bush. The Economist tries to do an fair analysis of candidates. Afganisatan thus is as a sucess for America & Bush. Though Osama was not captured, all Taliban training camps were destroyed. And now we have had successful elections there. Even Iraq according to them is not a mistake ( Probably a result of -" The coalition of the Willing" being supported by UK). However according to economist whats wrong was the way the aftermath of Iraq war was handled. The treatment given to POW and also the American treatment of Israel-Palestine issue. Infact a friend of mine working in America prefers Bush because - 'He has leant the ropes' , a euphemism for ' he has made all the mistakes he could'.

Kerry's vacilating records on foreign policy, Iraq war and his protectionist attitude & fiscal policy preferences against deficit are his problems. However in the end the paper decides for Kerry without any convincing arguments except stating that Bush has refused to learn from his mistakes. Infact to my surprise they approve Kerry because

...his plan for the next phase in Iraq is identical to Mr Bush's, which speaks well of his judgment. He has been forthright about the need to win in Iraq, rather than simply to get out . I could not understand why the paper believes that Kerry will definitely approach the palestine issue in different way.

The full article is here

Which brings me to my conclusion. A Duke university proff today said that the choice in US elections was about Bush/No bush rather than Bush/Kerry. All over the world outside USA atleast people seem to be deciding whether Bush is should be the next president or not. Thats wat the BBC correspondents in different countries concluded. And that is the way ecomomist seems to have decided - No Bush an therefore a Kerry

Am not a great bush supporter and the first paragraph of the economist story probbaly sums it all for me..

This year's battle has been between two deeply flawed men: George Bush, who has been a radical, transforming president but who has never seemed truly up to the job, let alone his own ambitions for it; and John Kerry, who often seems to have made up his mind conclusively about something only once, and that was 30 years ago

Monday, November 01, 2004

WB aid for Faridabad YMCA Engineering Institute & related thoughts

Faridabad YMCA Engineering Institute gets WB grant
My college has been selected as a World Bank "Networking Institute" to get an aid under "Technical Education Quality Improvement Program" to improve the infrastructural facilities.
Googled a little more to find out that similar aid has also been sanctioned for fifteen other colleges to Karnataka (including REC Suratkal) to develop them into centres of excellence. Considering how India is becoming a a center for skilled manpower we definitely need to improve both the quality and quantity of institutes part from our flagship IITs and IIM brand names to get the required critical mass for such leadership. I have seen the growth of engineering colleges in Haryana since my final year in the engineering college. Private ownership up of institutions was allowed around then. Unfortunately, I have also seen how quality was compromised in the process. Private partnership in education is needed to ensure we have sufficient number of institutes to serve our growing population. But the loopholes in the system need to be plugged. Unfortunately AICTE has not able able to ensure it, not in haryana atleast. Am wondering if ranking of engineering colleges like business schools is a way to improve things.