Monday, January 16, 2012

Cricket and IT - They go hand in hand

After our Indian cricket team recent failures in overseas, too many things have been said and written and why not, it is because of people like us ("Fans") that the Indian Cricket players make their living, if we didn’t exist then they wouldn’t. So it makes a lot of sense when the angered Fans call for the heads of some players, have opinion on everything that surrounds Indian cricket.

Of the many theories floating around about our players, these - They don’t practice enough, they have fun during tours, Don’t last all the 5 days, Transition is not happening -, are what being heard loud and frequent enough.

Since I belong to the IT industry, I can co-relate all these things and I find it ridiculous on the part of the "Fans" to accuse our players this way, why? Let me explain

  1. They don’t practice enough

Most of us who are in IT do our work, let take the case of a programmer, between the office hours (typically 9 -6, or whatever time suits the individual) and then during non-office hours most of us (almost 100%) either only check emails or watch TV or spend time with the family and not practice programming even when at home/outside office similarly, our cricketers play during the match and when not playing match they have their right to spend time the way want, how can we expect them to keep doing the same thing even during non-playing time

So lets stop bull shitting and don’t expect out players what we cant do

  1. They have fun during tours

Lets take the case of a programmer who travels to onsite on business visa (obviously for work), but tell me how many come back without seeing the places around the city that he happens to visit, actually to be frank they plan well in advance and sound to all their friends onsite that they are coming and to make sure that they can have as much fun as they can, does it mean that they didn’t go their for work and just fun, no it is having fund while work is our mantra and so is the mantra of our cricket team, so why blame them when they are doing exactly as we are??

Lets stop being stupid and correct ourselves first

  1. They don’t last all the 5 days

I equate the 5 days test match to a project, what is the dream of every manager in IT, to finish project well ahead of time so that it saves both time, money and human resources.. Well our players are also doing the same they are finishing the 5 days match in 2, 2.5 or max 3 days, instead of appreciating/rewarding them we tend to make them look like villains. Imagine what all our players can do in those extra saved days - they can attend dinners to raise fund, sign autographs, endorse more products, visit schools, do charity - all these helps in improving revenue and at the same time improve India's image

So lets give credit to our players instead of admonishing them

  1. Transitioning is not happening

Tell me all you IT folks, which project you have handled/worked on has had a smooth transition or a successful transition - well 95% answer would be none. The people from whom knowledge has to be taken will always delay or give ridiculous deadline, we need to understand that by taking their work away we are in turn being responsible for loosing their job. Obviously we start complaining, not understanding how difficult and painful is it for those giving up their work and most of the time when you check the status of a project in transition it is always "In Progress". Well the same is happening with our players, lets give the seniors their due credit and give them time to decide on the transition, because only with their full co-operation would this be successful.

So please stop being na├»ve and don’t always complain about transition - it will happen when the time is ripe

Now the only problem is when the board of directors (selectors) would have a knee-jerk reaction and take some Hotchpotch decision which would have a permanent effect on the company (Indian cricket team). My only suggestion or request to them is not to kill the golden goose and instead do the following

  • Start accepting more projects in countries like Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, West Indies, Canada, Ireland - give them the MFN (most preferred nation) tag
  • Always accept projects from Australia, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka for in bound and not on-site, this way we can control the end result
  • Keep allotting more shares, more salary to the VP's of the company (seniors in the team), this ways once their revenue are intact they will start involving in better decision making exercises

And for all those people from Non-IT, you have every right to point fingers at the Indian cricket team, ask for the heads of the seniors, request for wholesale change in the team, burn effigies, throw stones at the players house..

Because as they say "The play should go on, even if the actors are dead"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Points, Redemption and the Art of maintaining kids

Its a straight lift from the best selling novel title..but yet when I told this after it worked with my son, Amitha (for those who don't know, my lovely wife) told me that it suits well for what I am doing with my son.

Well the story begins this way, Pradhyumna (my son) is slightly asthamtic and we wanted him to start learing swimming, so once we moved to Bengaluru and settled at L&T SouthCity, we put him in the swimming camp that was starting.

Everyday he gets up early and gets ready without being egged on much and is all ready to leave home for his class by 8:15 am, Amitha took him for the first 2 days and on a saturday and since had nothing much to do at home, she asked me to take him...all I wanted to watch was how does he react to the coach instructions, does he talk back, ask questions etc... I was happy that out of the 8 kids he was the only one checking with the coach and ask him if he was doing it correct, I wondered how come he is doing this, he never talks to anyone when we go out or someone visits home. Then..came the best part, the coach after going around the pool, picked those kids doing the things that was taught, in the right way and saying to them "bravo, you are doing it get 10 points" that made my son happy and I realized that rewards/appreciation works across all ages and for all occasion.

Fast forward couple of hours later...son was troubling his sister to the core and she was screaming at the top of her voice and literally brining down the house.. I was trying to concentrate on reading a book and got literally wild and gave him one slap on his back...he went to his room and didnt come back for nearly half an hour...I really got pissed with myself for having lifted my hand and realized that if some stranger can give me points (which has no value) and my son feels happy... why not me?

So I started this...(lets fast forward again to dinner time), while having dinner again he was pulling his sisters hair, I told him if he doesnt trouble bebo (daughters nick name) for the next 30 mins he will get 50 points, it didnt seem to make any difference to his behaviour...he continued troubling bebo, I was totally taken aback and felt bad that my points arent worth than the coach even though I was liberal enough to give him 40 points made me think hard and then I told him for every good thing he does, he gets points and once it reaches 1000 points he gets a McDonalds toy (before all those people reading this start hammering me that I am encouraging junk foods, he doesnt like the burger but only the toy, so the junk part is for me/wife) and bingo, the entire night went of peacefully and actually he instead started playing with his sister and make her laugh..

Next day I introduced one more condition, everytime we find him bad things (troubling his sister, not listening to his mom etc) will make him loose points.. well it didnt go well with him...he started cribbing saying I give few points and now I am taking away..I realized this is no different from the performance appraisals that happen to us and we exactly behave how my son is doing... good happens we are happy, bad happens we crib.

This excercise of giving points, redemption for toys has worked but not fully...maybe once he sees his first toy from the earned points he will start throwing less and less tantrums

By the time he grows up, I wish he becomes immune to the peformance evaluation and does what is right...well that was not my intention when I started this whole excercise with him...but what the heck if it serves this purpose also I am happy.

He has collected 950 points till now (in last 5 days, he got a bonus of 500 points when he helped his sister to put on her shoes and also remove it)....the last 50 points wil be his best 50 points he will ever earn, I am sure of that.

Finally before I forget, Amitha is his book keeper, I mean maintains his points

Friday, March 04, 2011

New rules for Indian Cricket team by ICC for 2011 WC

ICC mulling over the possibility of allowing 13 players to play for India as lot of adv revenue is at stake in case India is eliminated before SF.

Other possibilities (at this time rumor) is that

- If a opposition bowler takes 2 wickets,
he would be asked to change his bowling arm
- If a batsman scores 30, he would be asked to retire and come back again after 2 dismissals, if there are less than 2 dismissals after he retires, then he looses his chance to bat again
- If an India bowler is bowling well, he can bowl extra 4 overs to compensate for lack in bowling department.

ICC is in talk with all the other teams to take it further...
Speculation is that BCCI has a major hand in twisting ICC to take this further.. BCCI nor ICC spokesperson declined to comment.

After I posted this on my FB profile, below are the comments I received...

"Dhoni already told.. they don't want all these favor from BCCI.. they are going to give their 120 % effort... extra 20% as VAT :P"

"Couple of more rules that i could think of
1. Fielding power play: A ball hit in these overs cannot exceed speed of 50kmph so that our fielders can do a heroic chase and save.
2. Switch substitution: Teams could substitute max of 5 players during a single match
3. Live auctions: Working together with ministry of external affairs, any team could buy any player on auction with immediate nationality."

"I think the rule should be: no Indian batsman can be declared out until he agrees to go and an opposition batsman should have to go if an Indian bowler feels so. An umpire should be fined his match fee and his assets frozen if he ruled an Indian out. Also, replays should be banned for the public. Only Indian players should watch it, and for their entertainment only!"