Wednesday, April 30, 2008

IPL ...

Quite a bit ... havent written even once about IPL. Though, we are watching the matches daily. And today was a nailbiting finish ... Delhi Daredevils beating Royal Challengers Bangalore. Rahul Dravid got it right ... one big over and they would have made it. But, quite good captaincy from Virendra Sehwag, i must say. The guts to bring on his strike bowler (Glenn McGrath) in the middle of the innings ... saving his over for the last ... quite interesting. Apart from Gautam Gambhir's innings (they could call him anything except Gouti, couldnt they?), Shikhar Dhawan seems to be a very good bat.

Talking about the new names, most of the established ones havent really clicked as yet. Dada (our very own Moshai ...) seems to heave a sigh of relief when he gets out, the biggest name (you guessed ... Tendulkar) hasnt had the chance to play, Dhoni has played a few knocks, but one expects more from him than he has done, as is also the scene with Yuvraj. The team to note ... Rajasthan Royals ... no big names ... but, sheer captaincy, and Shane Warne is showing he can lead the team to more than a few victories.

Watch this space ...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Both Sides ... Web 2.0

I came across an interesting post written by Jay Cross. I say interesting because this brings out both sides of the story quite well. While web 2.0 has the potential of giving power to the people ... letting users create and deploy content as they see best, it also opens up the possibility of misuse. Something which Dave Snowden has written about as well.

I guess this is one of the reasons more and more organizations are looking at deploying web 2.0 tools within the organization. This could also be something which has high value to the organization. Lets face it ... How much of sharing of thoughts, ideas actually happens in an organization. Of course, it varies from organization to organization, but fact remains, even within an organization, content or expertise discovery is a laborious process, and not something which can be easily done. Leaves users going round in circles. And this is where web 2.o tools being deployed even within the organization could open up new channels for knowledge flow in the organization. I believe knowledge flows in the organization in ways which we dont quite understand well, not today, at least. With internal deployments, we are at least making a start in bringing these channels to light, so they could be leveraged more effectively? One more thing to add here ... web 2.0 or collaboration, when looked at within the context of the organization could actually augment the existing content management tools that have been in place for quite some time now. This not only allows organizations to make good these investments, this also enables people in the organization to discover and use these content resources more effectively.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Social Networking

I am trying to catch up on reading ... all the blogs i have subscribed to, and am making some progress on that. Which is why it was only today that i read a post by Luis Suarez (he usually knows what he's talking about, which is more than can be said about a lot of folks, including me!) about the Value of Twitter. Quite an interesting post ... Though i would like to change the direction of the discussion ...

I am looking at social computing within the organization ... Something i have written about before here and here. And this is where i would move away from the numbers ... Bottomline, the success of social computing in the organization depends largely on the adoption of the platform, which in turn is measured by the numbers ... number of hits, posts, etc., but before we can go there, we need to look at the platform itself. I have recently logged into facebook. Ok, so i have been hibernating, but i am trying to catch up. One thing which impressed me a lot was the way a number of third party applications are available for use. These applications can bring value to users, especially with things they want to see. More importantly, the way profiles of users can be used as an advertisement for these applications is amazing.

Let me put it this way ... I need something to complete some work. Is there a way i can discover what kinds of apps are available which can help, and who are the people who are using those apps, and how i can connect with them in the simplest possible way, to make my work simpler. If we assume that things take the shortest possible route, this could be a way we could drive larger numbers, and hence, larger collaboration within the organization. Of course, this is early days, and this may not necessarily take off unless there is a larger eco-system of collaboration apps providers (which there is). However, that said, all this is doing is bringing the process of discovery one level closer to the user, and making it that much simpler. And, i like what i see. And, if you take this to the virtual worlds, the possibilities can be immense. Imagine an island on SL, where you could find out what are the kinds of tools they offer which you could use. Imagine, also, a directory of tool users, and also avatars announcing their latest finds.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wikipedia ... The other side

Dave Snowden has written an interesting one about the dark side of wikis ... Something which is an interesting thought about the darker side of "social computing". My take on this ... The essence of "social" computing is the social part. That social computing is putting power in the hands of the people, to contribute to the web of knowledge, and to derive value from it. Democratizing knowledge, or information ... Thats the very essence of social computing.

Now, in any social scenario, there are going to be folks who use these tools constructively, and those who wont. Something we need to live with. The alternative is controls on what people say. Censorship? There has to be a line between building controls, and allowing free flow of dialogue. And, this line is indeed very thin. Must we look at building in censorship into the social computing world, or can we give the social forces to make sure this kind of behaviour dies a natural death?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Its just Cricket

Cricket is almost a religion in India ... at any rate, it is a passion, an obsession. And, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the richest sports body when it comes to cricket. No wonder then, that the Indian Premier League is a hit with fans. Across the world, i would think, because this features cricketers from across the world, and more so within India. More so, because a lot of us are supporting their home teams ... Delhi Daredevils, and King's XI Punjab.

OK ... By now you must be wondering what this has to do with all that i write about. Here it is ... Check out these ... Delhi Daredevils ... King's XI Punjab ... These are the entries on wikipedia for these two.

This brings out two points ...

1. IPL has been in the news for the last few months, and the matches began last week ... And yet, wikipedia is up to date. This is the power of sharing knowledge ... This is what can be achieved when people come together, and are able to share the knowledge they possess, and enable others to access it, and to build upon it.

2. The information you would find on wikipedia for these teams is far more comprehensive, and easier to grasp than the official websites (though not half as fancy!).

And this is a very important demonstration of the value collaboration, and web 2.0 can bring to the world around us, as well as to the organization.

Nostalgia ... In an Unknown City

I know ... this sounds like an oxymoron ... but, its something i experienced ...

The festival of Baisakhi is celebrated on the 14th of April ... And, this is an occassion to visit the city of the Guru ... Amritsar! Add to this the fact that the weekend was a 3 day weekend, we went for a visit to the lovely city. And, believe you me (or, if you dont believe me, see this picture) ... The Golden Temple ... is a sight to behold. And, a place of Eternal Peace. The waiting in the queue ... Mattha tekkna at the Guru's feet ... Something which is an experience of Peace! Something i would like to do again ... and again!

I have still not told you wh I was feeling nostalgic about the city I had never visited before. The first one ... My grandparents got married in this city. Both my grandfather and my grandmother passed on to another life almost 2 years ago ... the memories, of course, still remain. And, the city of Amritsar was a living reminder ... and, a thought that maybe I should have gone there earlier. Much earlier. Another experience ... collecting the Prasad ... the smell, the look, and taste ... Probably the only time i have ever been to a Gurudwara was with my grandmother. That, too, was as a child. And, then, whatever the Kadha that the Bhai ji gave to my grandmother, only little bits were available to the rest of the family, and the rest was for me. The smell of the Prasad brought back memories ... smells of times when, as a child, i would eagerly look forward to going to the Gurudwara with my grandmother on weekends (weekdays, school was too early as it is ...), mattha tekna, and then waiting for the Prasad ... probably the only reason i went to the Gurudwara. Of course, now i dont think it was the only reason (considering that i would get it even if i didnt go). Which means the reason was more ... And, this reason was something which peeped through the mists of time, to show me the thread of memories, the thread which lingers, no matter how time might try to erase it. The thread which reminded me of going to the Gurudwara, and the smell which took me back almost 30 years.

Another thought ... my friend, Pavan got us a ringside view for the retreat ceremony at Wagha ... The ceremony itself is an experience which one must have ... but, i am not talking about that. There is a point during the flag-lowering when the flags of India and Pakistan are right next to each other ... which gave me the feeling ... so near, and yet so far! But, i am not talking about that either. What i am talking about is that sitting at Wagha, we are closer to Lahore than to Amritsar ... Lahore ... Another city which brings back memories from the mists ... Memories not of something i have seen, but more of things i have heard ... tales of Lahore. A Lahore where Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs lived together ... a city they all called home. A city which was called the Paris of the Orient. A city referred to as "The City of Sin and Splendour" (a collection of stories about Lahore, edited by Bapsi Sidhwa). A city, which lives on in my mind's eye, a picture etched, albeit dated, but a beautiful pitcure at that. A picture of the Lahore before it became a place out of bounds for lakhs of people who knew no other city other than Lahore. Looking at the road at Wagha ... the road leading to Lahore ... brought back these memories. Of course, the real Lahore of today may not have much to resemble the memories i carry (memories which i saw through my grandfather's words), but definitely a city which attracts me. Definitely a city which i would like to see ... though, on second thoughts ... maybe not? It is better to travel hopefully than to ... On other thoughts, a city i should have visited maybe 10 years ago.

As i have written before ...

Friday, April 18, 2008

On Facebook

Its been a few days now ... I have finally succumbed to Facebook. After having resisted the urge for a few months now (basically, I was wondering how different this would be from other websites), I have finally become active on facebook. And, I have already gotten in touch with tons of folks I went to school with (most that I can recognize by name, though not by face, considering the incredible growth in girth a lot of them tend to be showing). But, apart from that, what I was really impressed with was the way applications are sprouting on facebook. Most of them, I have no clue about ... That said, this does have a lot of potential ... especially if we look at the possibility of this architecture, and the concept being unleashed within the organization.

I am talking about an aspect of the organization which doesnt get too much attention, though it does get a lot of effort from people ... expertise location. A facebok kind application could enable the organization ... the people in the organization could describe the work they are doing, and the kind of expertise they are looking for. And, applications specifically developed could bring these two together ... much in the form of a matchmaker ... only, this could be much more significant than any matchmaker, simply because this is taking what people have to offer, in their own words, and in their own expressions, and delivering this to people who need them. A pillowfight could be an invitation to critique an idea ... and so on ... This is nothing but a simplistic description of what I have seen of facebook, and I guess much more can be written about this.