ZINGOGRAPHY : Tech/Product/UX/Startup Update # 9

AB Testing is a Cultural & Personal Choice

Ittakes a lot number of weeks of research into white papers of statistics, informative articles on application, Live blogs for examples hunting, speaking to relevant stakeholders in competition & outside companies to discuss & link it with your current situation & problem statements to finally conform on your Approach.

I did the same with AB Testing!

And in all fairness, I have to admit that this has to be one of the most Surreal experiences since I realised there was a missing piece I was not including in the whole Picture/Frame/Painting of Product Design Thought Process.

AB Testing is critical to make your Product/Campaigns/Analytics/ Development Decision making simple & obvious decision making come out with an astounding clarity once AB Testing is conducted.
Plus how important it is to be persistent & have patience with the tests (design, conducting, results) — to know when to stop & when to start again.

There are two places where conducting AB Testing is a MUST :

  • Once when the prototypes of your App Key Pages are ready & you must know the initial response to them from your target consumer personas.
  • Second, before doing the campaigns & scaling the features/products — knowing the intricacies details in the form of headline, text, image, theme, colour palette, etc.

A few things must have technical :

  • AB Testing tool —

for beginners : VWO/Optimisely like SaaS tool ;

for mature organisations : Building the capability from scratch

for organisations in between who wish advanced readymade tool — I would recommend the hybrid way by using an open platform like Wasabi which can be customised to your requirements.

  • Good Quality Team with understanding of Statistics, SaaS Tools, Consumer Behavioural Analysis
  • Data Mart/Warehouse with access to Transactional Data as well as Online Behavioural Data with necessary cuts for segmentation basis Business Intelligence

A Few things in terms of Soft Power :

  • Open Mind — ready to question obvious right answers (infact more if they are obvious)
  • Capability to deep dive & look at intrinsic details
  • Collaborate with different teams/people to check if the findings or the direction of the findings are correct — this in my understanding is the most POTENT!

Organisations must insist their people to only come to leaders once they have collaborative evidences to move in a certain direction.

It may so happen that after spending significant time also — you may not come to an conclusive evidence & one should be open & amiable about the same & not push for an evidence for the sake of it.

I must thank quite a few people for the same but most of all Booking.com to highlight that there is something missing in my thought process — the webinar by Lukas was really helpful!

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ZINGOGRAPHY : Tech/Product/UX/Startup Update # 8

Today I wish to compare the startup spaces in Indian & European Context. Those who read this should know that I share this majorly for my own clarity & perspective and if it helps others then great!

Recently, I have been focussing on 3 main things apart from my daily work & travel :

  • Reading a lot about new skill sets essential for PM especially like Deep Learning, Data Mining
  • Linking it with my current Work & Profile as well as Future Roles that I wish to do
  • Collaborating it with other PMs in different sectors/industries/companies

And there are some Key Insights regarding Different Geographical Consumer Tech companies that I have concluded :

  • Focus in Indian Companies (Startups as well as Big Ones) is to scale
  • Focus in European Companies is to understand the consumer behaviour first & sync all departments of technology, data, customer service towards that ONE Customer Proposition/their USP which will help them Succeed while focussing less or almost nothing on others
  • In US Companies, they go for massive funding & their aim is that – once establishing a prototype (more or less that with a short term vision)
  • SEA are replicating Chinese models more or less in terms of consumer personas as well as Tech Propositions
  • MENA regions are going like Indian Conglomerates – slow & cautious for the models that are already well proven for success

Let me also talk about a few skills which are becoming redundant as in they are understood that you will have when you apply for Product Roles :

  • Digital Marketing
  • Product Design & Strategy
  • KPI Metrics Management
  • Project Management
  • P&L Ownership
  • Business Development
  • Hiring & Training

These are the new skills towards which you need to show inclination & an aptitude for – please remember that though these may seem new worlds, their nuances are based in subjects well introduced to us. So let me give the picture complete for better understanding :

  • Machine Learning/AI/Deep Learning : Maths, Statistics, Computer Science for Coding
  • Blockchain : Telecom, Communications, System/Server Integration
  • AR/VR : Electronics, Robotics, Graphic Designing
  • 3D Printing : Biotechnology, Engineering Drawing

Personally I enjoy first 3 a lot & keep looking how it can be valuable in my current scope of work!

Some Life Changing Moments

Writing some Life Changing Moments, Good & Bad :

  • Apart from coming into the Earth – being born in India, in an educated middle class family, in Northern Part of India, living in a thriving industrial engineers colony with families of different backgrounds, kids from different schools, different aspirations, mindsets
  • Since it was a partially Joint Family – so influence on my GrandMom & relatives being stronger
  • Admission into a Convent & adapting to its requirements – English speaking, strictness for discipline, competition for appreciation, emphasis on being a Leader
  • Playing with more boys in the colony -> resulting into being easily exploited & for no fault of mine
  • Exposure into Badminton Coaching & Theatre Classes – Perhaps the best aspect apart from being Convent Educated
  • Having some great friends like Nishu & Sweta Di for the reasons of mutual appreciation & good quality discussions Only
  • Not being allowed to pursue Badminton on an advanced Level made me quite sad
  • Some great trips to my Maternal Grandparents house – huge bungalow & amazing fruits to enjoy with loads of cousins
  • Moving to Ahmedabad – adapting to new school & friends circle (Uff! – toughness was a new feeling more so for emotional baggage)
  • Tough studies days – exposure to a bigger & developed city life!
  • 10th & 12th Board exams – > BTech admissions (you get exposed to systems & start disliking it there & then)
  • Some new set of people you come across & thinking about your career ahead! (Again UFFF! – This was perhaps one of the Darkest phases 🙂 since I felt everything I have done so far is a waste of everything)
  • Being Introduced to CAT ! <Yippee – 1> Discovered something great! & Totally fell in Love with it & was convinced to do it more & more!
  • XLRI admission & 2 years campus experience – It played a strong role in being who I am & what I hold dear to myself
  • JJMI Internship – Short & Lovely 🙂
  • Tata Stint – was not excited about going there but I think it turned out better than expected! <Travel, Click & Social Circle were found here>
  • Airtel & Snapdeal – They came & went like Firecrackers which shaped my profile for sure but also gave me some unasked pain! Its ok, No Pain so No Gain 🙂
  • Discovering a Permanent Friend in Krishna & Buddha -> Watching Mahabharat & Reading Gita is a natural healing process
  • Current Role Profile – No comments till I move to next role but I will always be thankful for it to give me a chance to build my Product Profile
  • Product Management & UX Discovery – Definitely Yippee -2 Moment as it has given me so much that I wanted to be & do in terms of professional space! I know this will be the path I want to be on & will take me towards my Ultimate Dream Realisations from here!
  • Much of my Travel + Click + Sports (Playing & Watching) + Social Entrepreneurship Moments have given me the Small Joys & Reaffirmations required at different turns of my life! Much Grateful for them
  • How my dependence on my Friends & others has reduced is amazing 🙂 Much more Thankful for that since I know I won’t allow anyone to hurt me emotionally or take advantage of me. How I have learnt to SelfCare & SelfLove & depend on my own instincts gives me the much required strength.
  • concert-768722_1920-1024x683

Its That Kinda India

Yes India is growing & India shall keep growing fast for next few decades! The standards of livings shall improve, the infrastructure shall go up, Businesses shall prosper, education & qualifications shall go up!

There will be alot we will miss & complain – but lets keep that for some other day!

Today, I wish to mention that how Different India will be once it grows up more! We have examples of plenty of developed economies in Democracy & Communist spaces – USA, Europe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan. But India is coming up different – very different from others.

The colours, shades of Culture, Family orientations, Concerns/Fears form very much part of the pattern developing!
It does seem confused many a times – not here neither there. You see alot of aspirations, a lot of efforts not getting completely through, alot of announcements at govt & institution levels, alot of drama in the names of celebrity lives, the great divide between the few privileged & majority deprived, alot of arrogance & over confidence at Youth level, etc. etc.
But it seems to be GIVING ITS OWN FLAVOUR to the whole story!

India shall be dominant in many spaces for sure – Sports, Fashion, Movies, Technology, Health, Medical, Manpower, Agriculture, etc. etc. – everything will have its own roadmap period to achievement & some even might not however the lives of everyone shall be improved without differentiation & that is a DREAM we millennial have grown up with!

One thing is very clear that there is a huge section of Flamboyancy which has found its place in the Indian Social Fabric – lead by movie stars, cricketers + league sports (I would love to slip in National Women’s Cricket & National Football Team), Industrialists, Fashionistas which could be too much into your face many times but it also provides the much needed energy & visibility to Keep Performing, Going, Life in general.

My wish – there was enough importance & visibility & encouragement given to the process + effort that goes behind making our Country Great in fields of science, engineering, administration, law & order, etc. Its these struggles & how people excel despite this is what defines Human Success in my opinion.

Second thing very clear to me is that there is this huge section of aspirational middle class audience which wants fast fame, fast growth, they want to emulate these so called “media created stars” in terms of lifestyle, relationships, fashion genres, etc. It looks very scary & downhill for me + am sure there is a better way to attain that.

Regarding my own space in it – am sure there will be one amongst many/few 🙂

Indian Gifts that will shine always #2018

  • YOGA
  • Ayurveda
  • Indian Education System
  • Family Ecosystem
  • Business Culture of the small families, SMEs & SHGs
  • Mahabharat + Ramayan epics
  • Peace – Buddha, Gandhi, Jainism Message
  • Technology Outsourcing yep – The Brain Drain!
  • Strong depth of History & Culture

What India needs to be known for even more :

  • Creating an indigenous model for rural + urban cooperation in health, education, individual spending habits
  • Lost & Found unique examples of Art, culture, food, handicraft, faith, medicinal treatments, astrology, science, maths
  • Unique Business Models like Dabbawala serving masses involving huge labour & connect with upper middle classes
  • Adopting Modernism in Agriculture (yet to happen)
  • Developing models around sanitation, cleanliness, desalination of water, renewable energy, Better Forecast Mechanisms

My Fears for Indian Growth :

  • Money Ownership concentrated to limited HNIs much like Middle East
  • Aspirations & Representations like USA but lack of system might topple them to the other side
  • So far rapid growth & development in manufacturing, electronics, Digital is due to China (aping)
  • Laggardness in promoting Pride & History like Europe
  • Different cultures & variety like SEA & Europe again proving to be a challenge

In reality – India shall grow by a unique model of Govt & a few HNI hand in hand for now. Remaining Pvt bodies as well as SMEs will have to be alot more cooperative to Govt regulations & financial guidelines to ensure the growth is entirely & completely inclusive. Once that happens & penetration of the Good can go deep, growth will automatically happen which I have no doubt about.

Also India & Indians need to understand a few other things :

  • Less spending time on mobile & digital devices
  • More time being spent on exploring & understanding the world + people around you
  • Less spending time & energy & giving less importance to celebrities & entertainment modes or other distracting modes
  • More time being spent on knowing your trueselves & your true potentials
  • Aping others blindly for solutions, inspirations
  • Being independent, fearless, self reliant in true meaning

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Mithali Raj – Second Blog in 6 mths!

http://www.livemint.com/Sports/P2K1h746W6lHenFvfNWYZJ/Mithali-Rajs-long-innings.html

This article made me write a 2nd blog on her!

I feel so much common with her that its difficult to describe in words. The struggle, standing up for self, not giving up on one’s values, keeping parents & performance first – these are the simple but strong values that middle class girls in India from 80s & early 90s were brought up with.

So many of them gave in to marriage, materialism, shallowness for reasons unknown! Yet it feels so RIGHT when a few of them make it to the TOP & wish to be raring to go even more – Mithali Raj, you inspire me to not give up despite all hardships & disappointments and am most thankful to you for that.

Second, you inspire me how to carry myself with grit & humbleness!

Am sure you inspire so many others a lot more – my wish & pray that girls in India find a permanent place for sports in their daily lives for keeping fit & personality development. Also I hope more parents encourage their girls to not give up on sports!

Human’s Stay on Earth

Have been thinking lately (these thoughts are definitely not based on any recent developments but are based on my observations, interactions, discussions, reading over the past known years).. am quite certain of following views as well :

  • I do not think that Humans were supposed to breed on this planet, this planet was (if) created then was meant for appreciation, wonder, happiness, peace, plentifulness, etc. As story goes Adam n Eve faulted & every one later are bearing the (black) fruits of it!
  • Coming on this earth, in which family, country, religion, etc. are not chosen by anyone. However what one believes, controls, speaks, acts, behaves, etc. are & should be owned by the individual herself/himself. Saying this is how it happens coz of background or circumstances is simply a poor craftsman
  • Now that one has come on this planet & got a life, body, mind, heart – one should make the max use of it to lead a fulfilling life which does not harp on any negativity, demeans others lives, compares, hurts oneself or others, etc.
  • Whatever life one gets – 10/30/50/70 years – one should lead a healthy meaningful life while trying to uplift others around, give hope/faith amongst others. Create & sustain happiness while discarding materialism.
  • In order to achieve this, one is gifted skills/knowledge/awareness which are to be made the most use of to uplift themselves as well as others around them. Acting selfish is going against the basic purpose of this life.

Future Push – Tech & Innovation!

Today I laid my hands on an article by HBR which am sharing here :

https://t.co/ISLUeum30c

Its matrix described gave me a lot of confidence & clarity on how to think for products & future roadmaps for yourself or company or society. Again Sharing here :

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 11.38.23 AM

Most of us (94%) are doing “Basic research” in this space especially at the middle & lower management level.

Some of us (5.9%) are doing “Sustaining Innovation” as Product Managers, Leaders & even in space which is not so well defined from problem statement or domain per se but we assume that this is the solution or expected world so lets go for it.

Very Few of us (0.1%) are trying to do Disruptive or Breakthrough Innovation. Elon Musk for sure lies in the Breakthrough space and so are some of the esteemed scientists in the technology, literature, economics, art, media, etc. spaces.
Breakthrough is really difficult to achieve of all – requires huge research, money, persistence, sharp focus, dedication, sacrifice @ personal, health, etc. level
Disruptive is still achievable if one has fair control on various variables like talent, opportunity, business model, money, knowledge.

So if I have to rate the various models in chronological order, I will say Basic Research + Sustaining Innovation are “all right to have” like the Must Have but not sufficient.
Disruptive is achievable while Breakthrough is really tough but yet possible 🙂
Anyone wanting to excel in any sphere/industry/role should have first two for sure as a constant practice like eating, breathing and achieve disruptive time & again (like 5 – 10 in lifetime) while keep aiming for Breakthrough as it will be extremely rare – one, if you are very lucky then two.

If you have achieved one break- through, then remaining three still are important but your job is done – that’s the AIM ! Great brands, companies, products are known for that one discovery. E.g. Infosys by NRN, Disney by Walk, Apple by Jobs amongst many others.

Some people achieve disruptive time & again e.g. Actors going for 100Mn then 200Mn, etc. marks for box office returns. Or great PMs able to fish out great products time & again, can’t call any names right now 🙂 E.g. Google as a company maybe

So here’s the mantra – keep adding to yourself with the first 3 & make yourself a Break through as a person or create a Break through company or work on a Break Through Product. Mostly in my case, first & last are more probable while middle one is a distant dream 🙂 Amen to all though !

StartUp Advantages – Found My Solace of Split Personalities!

Startups can be almost like On-ground Battles where warriors (I hope am in this category), soldiers, Army Generals come out with their weapons & unleash their true powers, diplomacies, tactics, strategies to simply come out Winning!

buddha-war

Everyone has a personality, a background, a history, her/his own talents + pursuits + motivations! Its exciting hence to come out a winner in a place where everyone is not fake!

Personally for me, its extremely acceptable environment because I get to be myself & not pretend to be constrained in chains which is the case with big Corporate Houses so Thank God for Startups for coming in our lives!

I know now some things clearly about myself which I will never compromise for anything/anyone :

  • Am extremely High Energy & Enthusiasm, I thrive in it
  • Am ‘almost’ passionate about my Work – I love living for it if I see a purpose in it else I love focussing on my health, family, friends, travel, photography, shopping, movies, music, etc.
  • I love being clear headed for myself + my loved ones & having simple, clarity oriented people around me who speak well, high, progressive & modern
  • I love being around self motivated, energetic & idea oriented people
  • I love new ideas, new projects
  • I have my own ways of managing things, people & situations and I like keeping it that way – Open to learnings from People I appreciate & Like but should be careful about the latter to not do it too much as well
  • I can’t take bullshit & not very good with managing that – got to working on defining the boundaries again & ensuring both parties honour it fairly
  • I tend to get self critical about my short term goals, long term purpose, even people which at best be avoided – Just #AvoidSocialism at personal level to push a greater purpose

I have also realised post working in StartUps & Corporate world for 7+ years now that the Game is all about Managing People & Yourself Basically. Deliverables, Results & Negotiation Skills, Achievements, KPIs, Projects, Ideas, Success become very subjective & actually more of a result if You manage the former Well !

One more of my recent sure shot finding are about top B-schools in the country having such different cultures of people (and the recent batches have really diluted the value) :

  • XL + IIMC have cooler & people oriented people
  • IIMA have too hard task master oriented people
  • IIMB are too serious, thorough, professional – almost similar breed to ISB
  • Rest are almost similarly inconsequential 😉

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