Archive for September, 2010
This is a continuation of my previous blog post on mind reading !!
So lets play sherlock homes.
I was pretty surprised when I saw the message
If you look at the information here, There are 3 things that Nakul dug out to catch our attention.
1. My name (Vinay)
2. Name of the Book (Black Swan)
3. The page number and the line (Uncertainty of the Nerd)
The name of the Book was quite easy to crack, I had to pick from a lot 4 books. The other 3 books were ordinary looking, almost the same size, similar kind of color on the cover but this Book the Black Swan was a lot brighter and catchy, slightly bigger in size,overall it had a superior feel and stood out !! So it was an obvious pick !! Its like asking you to choose one from Rakhi Sawant, Jennifer Aniston or Sherlyn Chopra. For the fairer sex, say pick from Brad Pitt, Niel Nitin Mukesh & Bobby Deol. The point is Jennifer and Brad are much better packaged and have a much higher probability of getting picked.
What kind of baffled me was my name in there. How could he predict that. You walk into a room of around 100 people where you just know a handful of them and you find your name being called out in the end . So did he know that I would be the winner right when in walked in ??
At snacks post the event, I picked up my plate and happened to spot Nakul in conversation with another person, I walked up to them and asked “Can I?” Nakul replied ” What if I said, I knew you would come here !!” Well thats the guy for you, he’ll play it so well with that smirk on his face that you’ll just stand and notice. I was curious and wanted to know how did he pick me? He said there are lot of clues that one could pick up and make such a decision, Like, when he asked people to volunteer, I was the first to stand up. Clues that we normally ignore, Nakul would pick it up and form a pattern. So it was clear that the inking my name happened during the event. But when ?
If you go back to the previous post when I said, the 8 of us went on stage and he asked us questions.
“Next he got to me, gave me the same probing look for a while, I was eager for my question and shrugged my shoulders. He said “I haven’t asked you anything yet” for which I replied “I didn’t answer anything either”. Nakul said “You did !!” I thought he was just acting smart “
Here Nakul was not interested in the answer, he was looking at how we answered it and more importantly our body language/facial expressions. Thats why the probing look (he did that to every volunteer on stage) So when we exchanged this..
Nakul: “I haven’t asked you anything yet”
Me: “I didn’t answer anything either”
Nakul: “You did !!”
I gave away information through my expressions. May be it was eagerness, smartness (I would like to believe), dumbness (I would not like to believe) which was enough information for Nakul to place a calculated bet on me. So when I thought that he was acting smart, Nakul was actually smart !!
He went around picked up the sheet where all the other info was there previously and he just inked in my name in the space, put it in the eighth envelope, sealed it and passed it to the judge. (In the show he will do it so seamlessly that you will hardly notice it)
As for the page number, it still beats me !! It was my friend Vivek who read out the page number and he was very sure that there was no slip up. Nakul stopped the very moment he was asked to.Unless all the pages of the book were numbered 122,123 which wasn’t the case. He pulled a pretty good one out there. Full credits to him on this. But if any of you can help, then we crack it all
So now if you look at the whole thing what nakul was doing was just picking up clues. Just in the first couple of minutes (standing up to volunteer and with the simple questions on stage) he had made up his mind for a result that would present itself only half an hour later.
This entire episode opened up a new window for me. To pick up clues that we normally ignore and to read body language (I’m sure it takes time) closely that can help you deal with people. No I’m not thinking of picking a wife. Its a big plus for business. After all business is all about people skills.
btw, Nakul is an x-texhie who is now following his dream, Like he says,to be Mandrake the Magician !!
So whats stopping you from following yours?
Wouldn’t it be amazing to read the mind of the pretty girl you are talking to and find out if shes going to marry you !!
or the mind of your client to find out whether he is going to give you Big Business??
Well, not on the same but something similar happened a couple of days back when I was in Bangalore to attend the website launch of Paul Writer (some great articles on marketing in there) In the end was a mind reading session by this person called Nakul Shenoy !!
Nakul Shenoy was introduced as one of India’s best and a world class mind reader ! He claimed that he can actually “read” minds, He asked for 8 volunteers to come on stage to prove that. Now I don’t trust these kind of guys, So I almost instantly volunteered.
The 8 of us had to introduce ourselves. He starting off asking us some questions, which we were supposed to answer instinctively without thinking, like described in the Malcolm Gladwell book Blink. He stood in front of the 1st person, looked at him probingly for a while and asked him “Up or Down” the reply was “down”. Next he got to me, gave me the same probing look for a while, I was eager for my question and shrugged my shoulders. He said “I haven’t asked you anything yet” for which I replied “I didn’t answer anything either”. Nakul said “You did !!” I thought he was just acting smart and then he shot my question which was “White or Black” and I answered “White”. So there you are.. just some random simple/silly questions shot at all 8 volunteers. after which he got back opened his file, did something. Got 8 sealed envelopes numbered 1 to 8 out and handed it over to a random person in the audience whom he declared The Judge !!
The rule was that the Judge was supposed to cut open each envelope and read out aloud the message that was inside !!
So the game starts, Nakul read out the first one, which was something to the effect..
Envelope 1, “Listen to the questions carefully and act responsibly, If not you will pay for it !! ”
So the stage was set !!
Envelope 2 read, “Any 4 of you take a step forward !!”
That was simple, I stepped up and so did four others, So we were 5 in all. Nakul asked if anybody wanted to step back. One person did. So we were 4 left !!
He now asked the other four to stand behind us !
Envelope 3 read, “The ones who did not act and take a step forward, Kindly get back to your seats”
So the 4 on the back returned to their seats..
Envelope 4 read, ”Any 2 of you raise your left hand”
I guess I pulled up first, we were 3 who had our hands up !! Again, On being asked if one would want to opt out, one of the gentlemen pulled his hand down !!
Envelope 5 read, “The ones with the raised hands stay !!”
The other two got back to their seats. So it was just the two of us now !! Me and my friend Vivek.
I was finding this kind of funny !! and then
Envelope 6 read, “One of you take jump ahead and strike a pose !”
That is something we both did, I guess I was a little slow. So was asked to stand back !!
Envelope 7 read, ”Its very easy to jump in front and hog the limelight but its tougher to stand back, So the one who stood back is the ‘Winner’ !! ”
Now I was the only one on stage , It was a little confusing but then I was fine “Winning” now Nakul wanted to give me a gift so he pulled out 4 books and said “Choose One”. I went through the title briefly they were on game theory and so on. The choice was upto me, I could choose any book and I picked the “Black Swan”
Nakul ran through the other book and showed me that nothing was handwritten written in there, he now asked me to open mine and I found the below (expect for my name which he wrote much later )
It said “The Impact of the Highly Improbable is rather Intriguing !” and “Thank You for making all the Right Choices !!” Signed Nakul Shenoy.
I was surprised !!
Now it gets more interesting
Nakul picked up one of the other books, asked a person form the audience to stand up,Nakul was going to run through the pages of this book and whenever he heard the word Stop!! he would stop at that particular page. He started running through the pages, There came the Stop !! Nakul asked if he was sure or should continue flipping , The person said “No, Stop it there” !! He gave him the book and asked him to read out the page number, It was 122/123
Now asked me to get to that page number in my book and said read the 2nd line, and I read out
and finally the Judge was asked to open the Envelope 8 which read :
I guess there were close to a 100 guests in the hall and we had all seen him handing over the sealed envelopes to the Judge. This was surely impressive !!
This surely freaked me out a bit, I dont believe in these things and there he was reading my mind !! Had a brief chat with Nakul after the show and kept thinking of it on the entire drive back to Mysore.
You must be thinking “How the hell did he do that??” well..now even I can read minds huh
I eventually figured most of it !!! and i was thankful to Nakul for not revealing that part of my mind which was also looking at pretty chicks out there.
Keep thinking guys !! It always helps
This is a post about my recent visit to the Infosys Campus in Mysore ! It all started with a cold email (I’m guessing there must be some word similar to a cold call !! ) To be true I had been trying to get in touch with people from Infosys for a while now but without luck. Then one of my friends gave me this idea of just shooting a mail to the Infy Mysore DC (Delivery Center) head. So back I was on this modus operandi of cold calling (The only way for start ups to get in touch with people) Off I sent the mail to Mr Nagarajan Srinivasan, the only difference this time was the reply said “I have heard about you before” !! which made me believe like Paris Hilton, Any kind of publicity is Good Publicity
Mr Nagarajan Srinivasan (I shall take the liberty of calling him Snags, thats how he popularly known in Infy, plus I think it also sounds cool !!) Snags wanted to get his leadership team at Infy on the walking tour so we exchanged a couple of mails back and forth to decide the date and in between he suggested if I would be interested in coming down to the Infy Campus to talk about my experience with Royal Mysore Walks, They had their Leadership meet coming up and he extended the invite. You know for me if its Talking then there is no Stopping ! So gladly I accepted. The Walking tour also happened for their small group. Great audience to be doing such tours for. Well read, well traveled folks who have this strong love for the city !!
The date of the talk arrived and there I was at the gates. Now anybody who has been to the Infy Mysore Campus will tell you about the kind of security cover it has got, No!! not the Group 4 kind of joke that passes for security, In wake of latest terrorist threats Infy has armed CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnels guarding their campus, There is a “Quick Action Unit” too (Don’t know how exactly they act though) stationed out there. Trivia ! Infosys is the first corporate organisation in India to get CISF cover !! Anyways considering yours truly is not a terrorist getting past the rings of security was not too much trouble.
The Infy Mysore Campus has always been a kind of a crystal maze to me (the couple of times I have been there before) But thanks to my friends there this time, I got to the building I had to get to without much trouble.Here I met with Ms Soumya (who happened to be a alum from my college,SJCE) ,who took me to Snags chamber.A very unassuming personality who would put you at ease. The three of us headed for lunch to this restaurant called Rajadhani, Places like these are generously sprinkled in Malls all over but to expect something like this in your office food court must surely be soothing. After a sumptuous meal where the waiter in a traditional attire forces you to have more like you are one of the members of his family I hope do people get back to work after lunch here !!
Snags had given me this option of touring the campus post lunch, either by Walk or on a Buggy! No points for guessing what I chose !! Hopped on to the buggy with Soumya who is this pro at doing these campus tour and she was very polite in letting me know that,”The Buggy is used only when they have a client visit or important guests. Even the top bosses don’t get to use it in the campus” So she said I was privileged !! It sure felt good but it also made me realize that with a Kurta you are undressed for the occasion!! I was from this Gandhian Era when everybody else on campus was ‘tie’d up, in spite of the heat !! Anyways off we were on the tour. The shapes of the buildings unique stretching towards weird (for this common man), The running tracks, 7 food courts, The Global Education center, which makes you feel you are in Rome !! The sports complex, the series of Tennis, Badminton,Squash Courts, Rooms for Yoga, Aerobic, Super Market, Mini Hospital, Banks, Manicured lawns all over the place. In short you could say that they have whatever a man (even a woman for that matter) could ever need. But wait, they didn’t sell beer !! They also have this magnificent Multiplex which on the outsidelooks like a Cactus !! Soumya declared that this is better than the PVR multiplexes (Trivia !! PVR stands for Priya Village Roadies,A joint venture between the owners of the Priya Cinema hall in Delhi and Village Roadshows,the austrailian production firm, the folks behind the movie Matrix !! ) Anyways I thought she was kidding but when inside you are proved wrong. A 1000 seater big screen place was where the much coveted TED Conference took place last November.
Since the Mysore campus is their central training facility. The campus has approx 13,000 beds, The capacity to accommodate the highest number of people in a single complex in whole world !! Snags tells me that The Venetian in Vegas comes 2nd with 7,000 odd rooms , The MGM Grand again in Vegas with 6800 odd rooms comes 3rd !! Now this one place where Mysore beats Vegas huh ! and like Soumya quips, “If ever the software industry collapses, Infy can turn this facility into a world class resort !!” I’m sure their code will run the slot machine if that happens! The hostel accommodation is spread across their sprawling campus and it almost never ends. At the end of the tour my respect for the facilities team increased who are always on their toes to keep the campus in shape and for Soumya who in spite of doing this tour for the nth time was so full of enthusiasm !!
I can already hear most you saying, I must be a great campus and all that but but whats the big deal !! Well, I too have seen my share of world class facilities but thinking of it some 30 odd years ago, A time when our Mulayams and Lalus were calling for a ban on computers in India because they thought it would take away employment, A bunch of guys from middle class backgrounds in the 20s decided to give up their cushy jobs to pursue their dreams and in the process they built a World Class Corporation !! Yes the Big two tech companies in India are TCS and Wipro, not taking anything away from them. The former always had the Tatas behind them and Western Indian Oil Products had made its money in the FMCG sector before entering the IT space !! Talk to most entrepreneurs today and they’ll tell you that they look up to Infy story for inspiration. Doubt the Infy founder had somebody to look up to in our country back then ! Which is why their story is so commendable. Back in Snags cabin, waiting for him to finish his work, got this thought, here is a person who is the Associate Vice President of the company today and The Head of this sprawling campus which trains 25,000 people each year !! But 19 yrs ago right out of college he joined Infy as a Software Engineer, when it still wasn’t a flashy company and climbed up the ladder to the position he is in today !! Its people like him who probably truly represent the Indian IT success story! And you ask him how ? His modest reply “I was at the right place at the right time” then you couple that with his smartness and shrewdness and you’ll know why he got there so soon !!
Went for the talk which was their Leadership meet for Project Managers and above, Great audience to get across to. It was about “Converting your passion to Entrepreneurship” It was about my short journey so far of trying to club my interests and making a living out of it, with the challenges faced. It was close to an hour. After the talk over coffee I was still curious how would a one man venture addressing the leadership team of a billion dollar company help ? for which Snags replied “We would want our team to think like entrepreneurs not expecting all the decision to come from the top” He was right , Ownership makes all the difference. Something the Japanese Auto companies did very well and the American Auto giants didn’t !!
Here I was to to share my experience so that they could get a different perspective and probably learn from it but in the end I it was a great learning experience for me personally !! Happens so often than not that you get back more than what you could give… Aint it
n hey by the way.. Snags is a SJCE alum too !! I’m so proud of my alma mater I tell you
PS: Here I’m not trying to change anybody’s mindset on Infy !! Because even now I know i will have my friends complaining over minor issues in the company, I too did not appear for the Infy campus interview in college because back then I thought they were too big !! now I feel every entrepreneur should read the Infy story, It sure is a very humbling experience !!
Something happened last week that confirmed my belief even further that twitter means business !!
I know that ”I’m feeling so sleepy” or “I miss my dog” type tweets get on most of our nerves. Even now most of us junta uses networks like twitter and facebook to tell the world about things we are better of not knowing. But these very networks can also be a powerful tool !! Just like that knife in the hands of thief or the robber theory.. Read on..
Having read and liked Rashmi Bansal’s last book Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish and after interacting with the author last week I decided to buy her latest book Connect the dots considering the good reviews it been getting. Being the lazy guy I am I prefer buying books online plus you get a good deal online these day.
Not being too happy about the online book store http://www.infibeam.com since their last delivery Maharajas came in a not so nice a condition after being partly drenched the rain but still usable. In spite of which I decided to order this book through them because they were selling an autographed copy. Since I my collection of Author signed copy book is slowly growing I decided the small increase in price compared to the other online stores was justified, So i went ahead with the order.
The Book was delivered (I must say is very good condition this time) but my repeated efforts of trying to find some ink on paper was in vain I felt cheated that they dint keep up their word on an Author Signed copy !
You know I am not the ones who keep will quite.. right I looked up infibeam.com on twitter and found them , It helped that I also found their rivals flipkart and the author Rashmi Bansal on twitter. Tweeted about my bad experience with infibeam.com something I hadnt faced (so far) from flipkart. Also gave them my order number asking them why I dint receive an Signed Copy.
10 mins after this tweet I get a phone call from their Customer service. They apologize for their slip up explaining that they had run out of the signed copies. They offer to ship me one as soon as they got stock. I refuse saying that its not about another copy (and cutting more trees for books) Its about failing to keep up your word. They accepted it, offered me a refund of the amount (I dint ask for it) for not keeping up their promise. In the next hour I get a mail with the refund credit and the news that they have removed the Author Signed copy offer. I was impressed with their swiftness !! Now with the refund they are forcing me to try their service again, They have a chance of winning back a customer if they get their acts right. Smart move there !!
It was nice also to heard back from the Author about infibeam.com running out of Signed copy.
So the next time before tweeting about your girlfriend’s dog or neighbor’s daughter.. Thinking again about twitter power !!
Last one, Since we are taking about books and buying them online, this is one simple and great site which is give you the best prices online. Great service for book lovers