2 February 2017

LIDAR – if you were ever afraid to ask about it!!!

First there was the world. Then the dinosaurs came. From there, somehow we meandered into film cameras. Then on to digital cameras. And then came LIDAR. And today LIDAR itself – with breakthrough innovations in Geiger, Single Photon, Bathymetric and such technologies – is poised for another technological revolution.

Valerie King, the Managing Editor of POB (Point of Beginning) has done an excellent job of explaining LIDAR and its potential in this article. The article is remarkable in its depth and breadth without making it too detailed or too surface skimming.

You can read it for yourself here: The Latest in LIDAR

P.S. I am part of the same team as the Mr. Meade quoted here extensively and in our trips to customers and partners together, he often tries to explain all these innovations to me. And I usually retaliate by asking him a lot of inconsequential trivia 🙂

13 September 2016

Linkedin Invite Decorum?

You probably get deluged by Linkedin invites much more than I do. But whatever little I get is enough to make me tear my hair from my head. Well, if I had anything left, that is. Every Saturday I sit down and go through the invites. For each one of them, I look at the face and try to figure out if I know this person….. have met before…. should be knowing at all and so on. Many times I try to read their profiles – which often confuses me more than helps me.

What I cannot understand is an answer to a simple question – “Why are you trying to connect with me?”.

“I would like to connect” makes no more sense than all those emails in my inbox from people wanting a phone call – only 15 minutes – to save us so much money that all our employees put together could not somehow think about. Or for that matter all those Nigerian princes. At least the Nigerian princes are very clear what they are seeking.

So, here is a tip – why not just drop a line or two – maybe a small paragraph on who you are and why are you interested in a connection with somebody. And care about it. It is okay to say “I was wondering if you could help me with my job search” or “I was wondering if you had a job in your company” or “Hey, we are in the same field. Just wanted to stay in touch with you” or “I have nothing to ask but I felt with your experience you can help me some day. This is who I am…. Would you mind staying connected?”.

People will help you if they can. People want to accept you in their fold. But people also relate to a little personal touch than those standard mindless Linkedin provided default text that one might be tempted to short cut thru…

Of course, if you know the person for quite some time or is your childhood friend or you just had dinner with that person the previous night, that courtesy would be superfluous.

16 May 2015

Have we really strayed this far?

On my flight to Dallas, I opened up the USA Today online and went to the Tech section to see what might be interesting. There was an interesting article about “8 things you are still doing wrong with your email”. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/saltzman/2015/05/16/email-mistakes/27243937/

Here are a couple of suggestions from the author:
1. Set your email system to send mails to your boss very late at night so that (s)he thinks you are burning the midnight oil. Smilarly set times of delivery of your emails so that everybody thinks you are working when you are really on the beach.

2. If you are late on delivery, change the time on your computer, send the email (it will carry the wrong date stamp) so your boss would think you did it on time – there were some server issues only.

Good God! Have values like general ethics and integrity completely escaped from Corporate America?

I have half a mind of sending that article to all my employees with one rejoinder: nobody cares about the hours – only what you get done and if you are slipping, talk to your team and manager and ask for help – ask them to have your back – they will respond. Whatever you do, don’t start cheating. You will be amazed how those small ones quickly snowball into big ones.

2 October 2014

“Would you hire this person”?

Living in Atlanta, Delta is my natural airlines of choice. And airlines do not exactly make the whole experience very enjoyable these days – what with all the ever increasing extra charges and ever shrinking legrooms – not to talk about all the confusion about seat up or seat inclined :-). However, most airlines do very well by their frequent flyers.
Certainly, from the vantage point of being a very frequent flyer, I have had many experiences which have made me admire Delta. Their whisking away elite passengers in waiting Porsches 🙂 and free drinks at the club immediately come to mind. Then there was the time I flew with the CEO of Delta and was stunned to see him go straight to the coach class and sit in the last row. (I was flying first class). Let’s also not forget that one time when the pilot on our way back from a family vacation left a lovely hand written note on the backside of his business card on my seat.
Today was a very unique experience with Delta. And I was nowhere near an airport. I actually had called up their call center for a simple, quick help. I am sure they take special care of the frequent flyers – and this was no different. But the real interesting thing happened after the lady (who I found out during the call hailed from Samoa.. yeah yeah yeah.. I try to create “intersection points” over the phone too 🙂 ) was done with me. An automated message came on asking if I would take a one question survey.
Normally, I would keep the phone down. This once, for whatever reason, I said “Ok”. Want to take a guess what that question was?
I could have never guessed it. The survey asked me “On a scale of 1-5, 5 being highest, what is the likelihood that you would hire the person you talked to if your business had a customer support call center”?
I pressed 5, put the phone down and started thinking about what just happened. That was the weirdest survey question, I thought.
And then I started getting it. Not sure if Delta changes the question up but certainly, it is a safe bet that the most traveled passengers are business people and are likely to give an answer from experience. So they hit the right segment of customers.
But the real brilliance was in the question itself. Delta nailed one truth – it is seldom about how the problem was solved. It is always about how was I treated. That is what I remember the most. And there is no such thing as a company called “Delta” that I really interact it. That is an abstract construct. I interact with a real human being. How I felt with the whole experience absolutely reflects on and is totally influenced by how I felt about the person during the interaction.
And what better – and business-wise astute – way of judging that by simply asking – not “did you like the interaction?”, not “was he/she knowledgeable?” – but “would you hire him/her?”.

Very well done, Delta!