Shyam's Slide Share Presentations


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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Researchers Have Actually Figured Out Dollar Values Of Social Media Recommendations 05-01

Researchers Have Actually Figured Out Dollar Values Of Social Media Recommendations

In the online world of sharing and "likes," the recommendations of friends, family and even strangers turn out to have real, measurable value.
Positive online recommendations can boost the price consumers are willing to pay by an average 9.5 percent, found a study released Tuesday claiming to be the first of its kind.
Negative recommendations meanwhile can reduce the likelihood of purchasing a product or service by up to 11 percent, said the study commissioned by the social data company ShareThis and The Paley Center for Media.
The study highlights the theoretical value of sharing on social media instead of the actual impact on prices.
Kurt Abrahamson, chief executive of ShareThis, said the findings are nonetheless significant in measuring the value of online sharing -- such as clicking the "like" button on Facebook, sharing a link to a product or posting a review on rating websites.
"This is the first time someone has tried to quantify the value of recommendations and sharing," Abrahamson told AFP.
"If you are able to generate positive buzz, it does have a significant value."
The study, to be released at a conference in New York on Wednesday, indicates that online recommendations influence consumer purchases more than price and brand, and carry nearly as much weight as face-to-face recommendations.
"There's no question consumers are actively looking online for recommendations and content to help them decide what to buy," said Abrahamson.
"We’ve all known that social sharing is important, but it's been difficult to measure its impact on consumer spending -- until now."
A key finding is that positive online recommendations enable manufacturers and retailers to charge more.
The impact can range from less than a dollar for grocery items to around $30 for technology produces and upwards of $9,000 for an automobile.
The report examined several types of online sharing, including personal recommendations via email or social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn; recommendations of websites like Yelp; in-person or face-to-face recommendations; and professional reviews.
Abrahamson said the message from the study is that brands and marketers should make it easy to share online, and draw from the social world to help promote their products.
But he added that companies should be cautious about trying to manipulate reviews and shared content.
"The voice still needs to be authentic," he said.
"You need to provide the channels for consumers to share, but if you try to manipulate it too much, it runs the risk of creating a backlash."

Don’t Let Your Career ‘Just Happen’: Plan For The Unexpected 05-01

career unexpected

Don’t Let Your Career ‘Just Happen’: Plan For The Unexpected

As I braved arctic temperatures on my way into work today, I was struck by the similarity between careers and the weather.

In her capricious way, Mother Nature inflicted weather extremes on us this week. On Friday, my children were home enjoying a snow day, by Monday the snow was washed away by torrential rain and we were basking in a relative heat wave of almost 55 degrees Fahrenheit. And by Monday night, we were engulfed in a Polar Vortex with temperatures plummeting to -22 degrees Fahrenheit by morning.
Similarly, I’ve watched people’s careers plunge from the executive suite to the street for reasons beyond their control. At one moment company leaders are basking in success, and at the next they’re scrambling to pull resumes together, leaving scorched earth behind and looking for different (and hopefully greener) pastures.
Careers come and go, often through no fault of our own. They can be as uncontrollable and unpredictable as the weather. So how do you “insulate” your career so you can weather storms effectively – regardless if you are just beginning to scale the corporate ladder or you’ve been entrenched in a senior role for a while?
  • Work. Hard. Smart: Give whatever you do 110%+ effort. Don’t hold back. Don’t “coast.” Ever. Every day you are at work, bring your creativity, your enthusiasm, your knowledge, your skills, and a team mentality to the table for your peers, your management, and your company.
  • Be Mindful of Your Attitude: Be positive. Be humble. Be confident (aka, believe in yourself). Attitudes can derail a career as surely as major missteps will.
  • Embrace Change: Don’t be afraid to take risks – however you define them. Don’t be frozen in place and fearful of giving up the ‘same old-same old’ approach in favor of the ‘promising yet untested and untried’.
  • Be Curious: It doesn’t matter if you’re CEO running a Fortune 500 company or an analyst crunching numbers into the wee hours. Always ask questions and learn as much as you can. Learn from every person you meet, every meeting you attend, and every piece of news that catches your eye.
  • Plan For Contingencies (anticipate the rainy day just in case): Your network of contacts requires continuous care and feeding. Remember the rule of karma and build up those ‘karma points’ in the good times – just in case you need them at some point in the future.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

कोसनों के परोसे 04-30

कोसनों के परोसे
—चौं रे चम्पू! जे नेता लोग बोलिबे ते पहलै कछू सोचैं ऐं कै नायं?
—चचा, मुझे लगता है कि गालियां बोलने और कोसनों के परोसने से पहले, उन्हें बनाने वाली कोई टीम ज़रूर काम करती होगी।
—का काम कत्ती होयगी?
—देखती होगी कानूनी दाव-पेच। कह भी दो, पर पकड़ में भी न आओ। एक ने नमूना कह दिया। अब देखा जाए तो नमूना मॉडल को कहते हैं। गुजरात मॉडल की जगह गुजरात-नमूना कह दो तो कठोर बोल बन सकता है, पर पकड़ में नहीं आएगा। चूहों की तरह दौड़ना कहने में भी कानून नहीं पकड़ सकता। सीधे चूहा कहा होता तो शायद चोट सीधी होती। सम्बोधनों का भी आनन्द पूरा लिया जा रहा है। पप्पू, फेंकू, नमो, रागा, शहजादा, दामादश्री ऐसे सम्बोधन हैं जिन पर कानून कुछ बोल नहीं सकता। डैमोक्रेसी में यही व्यंग्य का रंग है। बाबा की टीम बुद्धि नहीं लगाती या ये भी कह सकते हैं कि बाबा ने अपनी बुद्धि का ठेका किसी को नहीं दिया। किसी घर-गृहस्थ ने तो हनीमून का जिक्र नहीं किया। बाबा कर बैठा। वह भी दलितों के संदर्भ में। कस गया कानून का शिकंजा। फिलहाल कड़वे बोलों का बोलबाला जारी रहेगा चचा। एक-दूसरे को तिलमिलाने का ज़माना है। दिल-मिलाने का ज़माना आएगा सोलह तारीख के बाद। सब भूल जाएंगे किस ने किस को कितनी गालियां दीं। अभी तो वृषभ-युद्ध जारी है, दर्शक आनन्द ले रहे हैं। मोदी नाम की नई व्याख्या हुई है। मॉडल ऑफ डिवाइडिंग इंडिया। मोदी ने आरएसवीपी का कर दिया राहुल, सोनिया, वाड्रा, प्रियंका। व्यक्तिगत आरोपों की तोपों से बड़ी खोजपूर्ण उक्तियां निकल रही हैं। कितने दिमाग़ लगे होंगे इसके पीछे चचा, आप अन्दाज़ा नहीं लगा सकते। माहौल गंभीर रूप से अगंभीर है। मुद्दों के गुद्दे सूख कर ठूंठ हो चुके हैं, बेतुके बोलों की बेलों पर बहार आ रही है। मेरा एक मन है चचा।
—बता का ऐ तेरौ मन?
—मैं चाहता हूं कि इन राजनेताओं की सुविधा के लिए कोसनों का एक परोसा बनाऊं। जिसको जो पसन्द हो ले जाए और बगीची के दानकोष की रसीद कटवा ले। वैसे हमारे ब्रज में कोसनों की कमी नहीं है। उन्हीं को संशोधित किया जा सकता है। जैसे कलई खुल जाएगी अगर तेरे मुंह में कलई करा दी। हवा सीटी बजाएगी अगर ज़्यादा मुंह खोला। ख़ुदा करे जैसे अपनी बीवी को भूल गया, वैसे ही प्रेमिकाओं के नाम भी भूल जाए। ख़ुजाने के लिए ख़रैरा रख ले, बांह चढ़ाने से क्या होगा। जब तू लौटे तो अपनी भाषा ही भूल जाए। जब खाना खाए तो तेरी आंख तश्तरी में गिर जाए। जिस-जिस ने ज़मीन ख़रीदी, धरती दिवस पर उनकी धरती खिसक जाए।
—इन कोसनन में कोई दम नायं। सीधी मारकाट चल रई ऐ। इत्तौ दिमाग कोई नायं लगायगौ!
—चलो फिर मैं आपको सम्बोधन के रूप में कुछ शब्द और शब्दयुग्म देता हूं, इनका प्रयोग किया जा सकता है। जैसे छिनट्टे, गुल्लू के पट्ठे, भ्रष्ट भूसाचारी, पचरंगी अचारी, मोटी के मृदंग, नंगधड़ंग, कुर्सी के कुसंगी, तोता-तिरंगी, सड़े हुए सैम्पिल, स्टील की सैंडिल, मिस्टर उड़ंछू, बेतुके बिच्छू, कटी बांह के कुर्ते, बेगुन भुर्ते…
—रहन्दै, रहन्दै! सम्बोधन सब्दन के बार-बार पलटिबे ते नायं आमैं, पलटबार ते आयौ करैं। तू तौ जे बता कै चुनाव की आचार संघिता का बोलै?
—आचार संहिता का पालन कौन कर रहा है चचा! वहां तो सीधे कहा गया है कि कोई दल ऐसा काम न करे, जिससे जातियों और धार्मिक या भाषाई समुदायों के बीच मतभेद बढ़े या घृणा फैले। राजनीतिक दलों को आलोचना के समय कार्यक्रम व नीतियों तक सीमित रहना चाहिए न कि व्यक्तिगत आरोप लगाएं। मत पाने के लिए भ्रष्ट आचरण का उपयोग नहीं किया जाना चाहिए। जैसे-रिश्वत देना, मतदाताओं को परेशान करना आदि। किसी की अनुमति के बिना उसकी दीवार, अहाते या भूमि का उपयोग नहीं किया जाना चाहिए। किसी दल की सभा या जुलूस में बाधा नहीं डाली जानी चाहिए। लेकिन चचा, सब कुछ धड़ल्ले से हो रहा है। आचार संहिता के उल्लंघन को दिन-रात टी.वी. चैनलों पर दिखाना भी सरासर उल्लंघन है। आचार संहिता कहती है कि राजनीतिक दल ऐसी कोई भी अपील जारी नहीं कर सकते, जिससे किसी की धार्मिक या जातीय भावनाओं को चोट पहुंचती हो। पर हो क्या रहा है देख लो।
—चोट की छोड़, बोट पड़नी चइऐ डंके की चोट।
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How Metamaterials Could Change the World 04-30

How Metamaterials Could Change the World

The future of global security and long-range charging innovations may lay in something a million times smaller than your fingernail.
These nanoparticles, synthetically generated in some of the world’s most prestigious laboratories, are bonded together by the billions in specialized configurations to create metamaterials: Cheap, durable, and unusually versatile substances that have potential to radically change the way we interact with the physical world.
Natural materials tend to interact with electromagnetic waves in very predictable ways—metal reflects light, glass lets light shine through it— allowing us to see them in physical forms. But with synthetic metamaterials, scientists are able to manipulate electromagnetic waves in unusual ways to protect individuals and advance existing electronic technologies.
"With the advent of nanotechnology, literally every week or every month, the capability of metamaterials becomes better and better,” Nader Engheta, a professor and metamaterials expert at the University of Pennsylvania, said.
The tangible applications are proving to be exceptionally promising—even determining life or death situations.
Scientists at Stanford University are using metamaterials to develop something of a real-life invisibility cloak, a contraption once relegated to the whimsical imagination of J.K. Rowling. Researchers are convinced that such a shield could help to protect soldiers fighting in combat zones.
The shield made of carefully configured metamaterials is designed to allow soldiers to move discreetly in combat without being seen across enemy lines. While the technology does not yet ensure perfect invisibility, it steers light around the shield, as opposed to absorbing and reflecting the light. As such, the human eye is unable to see it.
The implications for this optical phenomenon are much bigger than high-headed theoreticals. For example, researchers at Duke University are working on a metamaterial superlens to skirt the rules of physics and charge electric devices without a direct connection. Such an innovation would completely revolutionize the way that we approach mobility – imagine, say, if you never had to worry about charging your phone.
In fact, the quest to create smaller, more far-reaching antennas may rely on our ability to develop metamaterials, Engheta said. “We are always sending and receiving electromagnetic waves. Look at your cell phone, your iPhone, your computer—you have antennae there, you have to connect them wirelessly. Antennae are everywhere.”
Long-range wireless charging also could have a massive impact on the way that companies like Emerson find solutions to power issues for industrial operations.
"Metamaterials will potentially allow us to do many new things with light, things we don’t even know about yet. I can’t even imagine what all the applications might be," Stanford postdoctoral fellow Aitzol Garcia said in an article. “This is a new tool kit to do things that have never been done before.”
The trajectory of metamaterial innovation from laboratory to practical use will likely hinge on federal grants and private technology investment.
The Department of Defense, the National Science Foundation, and other federal agencies remain increasingly interested in funding metamaterials, said Engheta. While he is confident that metamaterials, due to their wave-bending properties, will find industry success, Engheta remains unsure of when we will see their widespread adoption.
“We are all hopeful, but the future will tell,” he said.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lab mice fear men but not women, and that's a big problem for science 04-29

Lab mice fear men but not women, and that's a big problem for science

The history of science is one chock-full of mice and men. Historically, biological and medical research has largely depended on rodents, which provide scientists with everything from cells and organs to behavioral data. That's why a new study in which researchers found that mice actually fear men, but not women, has the potential to be so disruptive. It might mean that a number of researchers have published mouse studies in which their results reflect this male-induced stress effect — and they know nothing about it.
"People have not paid attention to this in the entire history of scientific research of animals," says Jeffrey Mogil, a pain researcher at McGill University and lead author of the study. "I think that it may have confounded, to whatever degree, some very large subset of existing research." Moreover, the effect probably isn't limited to behavioral studies, because the organs and cells that are used in medical research, such as in cancer studies, often originate in rodents. "If you're doing a liver cell study, the cells came from a rat that was sacrificed either by a man or a woman," Mogil says. As a result, "its stress levels would be in very different states." This, he says, could have an effect on the functioning of the liver cell in that later experiment.
In the study, published today in Nature Methods, researchers used the "mouse grimace scale" to measure pain responses in rodents exposed to men, women, or their respective smells. Pain is a proxy for stress because stress can, to a large extent, numb pain. So when the mice were confronted with the smell of men, they experienced less pain, whereas the presence of women — or their smell, Mogil says — "did nothing at all."
This might seem like a positive effect, but think of it this way: when athletes get hurt during a stressful game, they often don't feel the injury right away, and they keep pushing. From an evolutionary standpoint, this is supposed to keep them alive by helping them focus on something other than pain. Yet in reality, it mostly just ends up making the injury worse.
But pain wasn't the only indicator of stress in this study. Further experiments showed that the rodents also had increased body temperatures and levels of corticosterone, a stress hormone, in response to the smell of men. And the effect wasn't just prompted by human males, either. Rats and mice "are afraid of the smell of males of any species," Mogil says, because the mice in this study reacted to the smell of male dogs, guinea pigs, and cats as well.
The researchers think that mice react this way because of competition, and not predation. Male mice are territorial, Mogil says, even when it comes to females entering their domain. They also compete with males for mating opportunities, "so it's probably a little bit evolutionarily adaptive to have this effect until you can determine that a male that's around doesn't actually mean you any harm," he says. In all likelihood, mice just haven't developed a way to discriminate between the smell of a male mouse and the smell of other male mammals, so men also elicit a fear response.
Interestingly, the stress response isn't only dependent on the sex of an intruder, but also on the circumstances of his or her approach. "If you put a male-worn T-shirt and a female-worn T-shirt in the same room, the female T-shirt counteracts the effect of a male T-shirt." This, Mogil says, indicates that solitary males represent the real threat. "A lone male is up to no good — either hunting or defending his territory." Fortunately, the male-induced stress effect becomes less pronounced over time, eventually disappearing altogether. This, and the fact that women counteract the effect, means there are a number of ways that researchers could prevent it from showing up in data.
One option, Mogil says jokingly, "is fire all the men — or have them chaperoned by a woman." A more realistic approach, however, would be to have male experimenter sit in a room for 45 minutes before collecting data. That makes the problem go away. But the Mogil doubts that anyone will want to do that because "it's just too boring."
Instead, Mogil hopes that his research — and other studies like it — will prompt researchers to report the gender of the experimenter in their publications. "You don't have to go back very far to see studies where people didn't think the strain of mouse mattered or the sex of the mouse mattered," Mogil says. "But these things all matter," and could be addressed in statistical analyses.
For now, Mogil is looking forward to hearing from fellow researchers who might now have an answer for unusual results. "I expect to hear stories, to hear people telling me that this sort of explains mysteries about experimenters not replicating each other, or having effects and then losing them," Mogil says. Because studies are so large these days, the graduate students who start them often don't see them through to completion, Mogil explains. So, women and men often end up taking on the same work in succession. Whether scientists will want to go back and check if their results were tainted by a male-induced stress response, however, is anybody's guess. As Mogil puts it, "we will have to see."

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Entrepreneurship. Difficult to spell. Harder to live.04-27

Entrepreneurship. Difficult to spell. Harder to live.

I’ve often thought that the biggest hurdle to becoming an entrepreneur is because the word is so frigging difficult to spell. It genuinely took a few months before I could finally spell it without autocorrect.
2 years ago I decided to go out on my own. Cast myself into the frenetic feeding frenzy of freelance (and alliteration) or, its more formal title, entrepreneurship. All joking aside, close friends ask me “How’s it going?”, “Do you think you’ll do this forever?”, “Do you miss a steady job/income/office?” so I thought I’d take this opportunity to get some initial thoughts down.
Let’s get this part out of the way quickly....It is a stereotype
All the blog posts and magazine articles are right. It is feast & famine. Looking at your email and iPhone every 5 minutes willing it to ring with your next gig. It’s a hundred conversations for 5 bona-fide opportunities. It’s a million cups of coffee – and a new caffeine threshold. It’s a Bedouin lifestyle humping your laptop from Starbucks to Starbucks finding that elusive free wifi. Most importantly,it’s a massive rush....
So, Dear Reader, here is what I’ve learnt;
Network or Die: Pretty obvious but if you aint drumming up new leads and prospects you’ll fail. Get over the aversion of asking friends and colleagues for projects. Get over your shyness and look for ways to find new avenues to work. Hank Blank writes a very practical (and prolific) blog on Networking. His tips are crisp, astute and, importantly, highly actionable.
Determine your value: A prospect asked me recently “so what can you do for me?” My answer was so long-winded I think I only missed offering up “Bar Mitzvahs and children’s parties” That’s not a value proposition, that’s value delusion. Yes, I can do many things (including parties) but what is it I do well. Ideally what do I do better than others. Your prospects shouldn’t have to work that out for themselves. That’s your job.
Never say No. Don’t always say Yes: Be mindful of the projects you sign up for. Securing projects you can do “okay” means no bandwidth for projects you can be spectacular at – and build equity/reputation behind. When presented an opportunity always evaluate it against your value proposition – not just your bank balance. Taking a lucrative but ill-positioned assignment could hurt you immeasurably.
Build your partner ecosystem: Business basics. A single person can’t scale. You need partners for numerous reasons. Access to prospects. Differing POV and ability to challenge your ideas. Companionship. Complementary skills. Pretty obvious right. Two things I’ve learnt. Always seek out truth-tellers because that’s invaluable input when you’re on your own. Two, expand your view of partners. Complementary ones are obvious. I’ve find it never hurts to have a few supplementary ones too. Folks who do what you do. Folks you can throw a project to when you’re too busy and who will pay you back in kind later. Remember your clients come looking for a solution, seldom a person, so being able to provide a solution – even if it’s another person – carries weight.
Bond physically, scale virtually: People do business with people they’ve met or feel they know. Your initial gigs will be people you’ve had coffee with. However, use virtual settings to amplify what you’re unable to do in person. Be highly visible online. Write blogs. Contribute to discussions. Build a virtual presence that deepens and amplifies what you physically could never do as a single person. While I may not personally hold much stock in Klout, it is imperative that prospects – and partners – can gauge what you’re all about and whether you’re someone they wanna work with. The default place for gauging that is Google, not Starbucks.
With the zealotry of a reformed smoker I’m a huge proponent of going solo. The harsh reality is that more companies are looking for resources they can turn on-and-off rather than absorbing overhead and benefits. Let’s face it, marketing is also inherently a young person’s game so unless Sir Martin or Mr Levy are buying your agency and writing you a huge cheque, you’d better have a plan for “life after marketing” – going solo is one way to build your Plan B.
These are my initial observations. What have been yours? What landmines have you stepped on that I’ve not addressed? How have you remained committed to the entrepreneur’s life?

Getting Real about Denial 04-27

Getting Real about Denial

When contrary to ALL evidence, the eternal optimist in us (of which I am a proud member!) can become a severe handicap.   

  • When does that occur?  
  • When we keep thinking that things aren’t as bad as they seem or they will get better soon.   And as we deny our paralyzed stand in a field of quick sand, it will inevitably swallow us.
  • We keep poor performers on too long.

  • We fail to let people go when the numbers aren’t there to support them.
  • We fail to act on an opportunity presented.

  • We think our customers will never leave us and so we cut back in R&D and new services.

  • We think we know everything about out industry and fail to seek others that can bring a new or fresh perspective.

  • We stand (and sink) in place – and the world keeps advancing.

  • Denial is a death trap for many businesses.

Question:  What truths are you not adequately addressing?
It is time to get real – face the uncomfortable facts and take appropriate action.   Are you losing market share while competitors are advancing?   Are your margins getting hit?   Are you not advancing your operational efficiencies/capabilities?  If you surveyed your employees, what would they say?  Time to bring real focus and transparent accountability to the things that are holding you back.
Question:  Who have you brought in to your company that has a unique perspective?
Disruptive companies rarely emerge from within the industry they serve.  Who thought 10 years ago that phones would replace cameras?   It is the outsider that thinks differently and brings new approaches.  Who are you meeting with regularly that gives you another perspective?   What industries, other than your own, are you tracking and following to learn about advances that could apply to your business?
Question:   Who or what are you holding on to that you need to let go?
Sometimes there are things/people/processes that have served us well but will not serve us well going forward.   The ability to recognize the time to let go is the challenge of  leadership.   Sometimes it can be hiring a senior team.   The people and skills that are necessary for a Start Up to succeed in times of chaos are not necessarily the same people that will advance a company when it grows and requires structure, process and formal communications.
Are there things that you should ‘get real’ about? 
 Don’t let denial deny you, your business and your employees of success.

Career Curveballs: Embrace Change or Become 04-26

Career Curveballs: Embrace Change or Become 

This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers share how they turned setbacks into success.
If you are running a successful company, one of the most terrifying things you can ask your business partners is: “What do you think about starting an airline?” When your successful company features The Sex Pistols, The Rolling Stones and Culture Club, the idea of going into aviation sounds even more shocking.
To be a real entrepreneur you always have to be looking forward. The moment you rest on your laurels is the moment your competition overtakes you. Out of frustration at poor service and cancelled flights, I ended up chartering the first Virgin flight. It was only natural that out of that frustration – and subsequent fun and excitement! – I began seriously considering the idea of a whole airline.
However, to my colleagues at Virgin Records who lived and breathed music 24 hours a day, aviation was completely alien. While I was no expert, I could see how having an airline would expand the brand, create jobs and provide new adventure and opportunities. Nevertheless, when I told my partner Simon “I’ve got a proposal here,” it should have been no surprise when he called me mad. “For God’s sake!” he shouted. “You’re crazy. Come off it.” Still, entrepreneurs have to take calculated risks. After protecting the downside by keeping the two companies separate, and agreeing a deal with Boeing, whereby we could hand the plane back after 12 months if the airline wasn’t working out, we started Virgin Atlantic.
I’ve often joked about the best way to become a millionaire – start out as a billionaire and launch an airline! While moving from the music industry withVirgin Records to aviation with Virgin Atlantic was a huge career curveball for me personally, it was an even bigger jump for the rest of Virgin, not to mention my friends and family. We went from taking on rival labels in the charts and in the clubs to challenging global airlines in the air – and eventually in the courts!
Despite being independent companies, Records and Atlantic were intrinsically linked (a model that has worked well across the Virgin Group ever since). However, when British Airways’ Dirty Tricks campaign put a huge strain on the future of Virgin Atlantic, we had to make the decision to sell Virgin Records in order to give the airline the financial muscle to compete. It was the right decision, but an incredibly tough curveball moment. I found myself running down Ladbroke Grove in London with tears streaming down my face and a $1 billion cheque in my pocket.
Companies are simply groups of people working together to make a difference – so by selling a company it feels like you are losing a part of your family. It certainly felt like that for me, and for all of the Virgin Records team. However, decades on, Virgin Atlantic has been joined by Virgin America and Virgin Australia (not to mention Virgin Galactic) in the skies, and Virgin Records celebrated its 40th anniversary last year with a new generation of disruptive artists flying up the charts, from Emeli Sandé to Bastille.
If we hadn’t embraced change, we would have become stagnant – and you probably wouldn’t be reading this article.



In my humble 23+ years of Global experience across 50+ countries, I had interacted with many CIOs. Some are very powerful people like in Banking, Insurance, Telco, Auto etc and some quite less powerful but solid technocrats mostly involved in solution companies patching various technologies into one creating some of the most complex solutions which actually can be designed in most simplified manner.


For example in Short term Insurance sector, to manage and dig out fraud we use various analytical tools costing millions but no one would like to implement a simple solution like virtual eye which actually filter out the fraud in very first place of origin. So to invest $50 million to investigate $100 million fraud is better or Invest $2 million for prevent $100 million is better. But unfortunately most companies choose the first one because its lobbied, pushed and a nice future picture is presented by some of the most expensive sales people.

So either way what comes into the end user space is a patchwork of rocket science. The most unfortunate part is that 80% of these CIOs don’t want to take risk of innovation and are just internal brokers for big IT Vendors. For example, we say X client is I shop, Y client is O shop, Z client is S shop and so on.

In last 5 years all big IT vendors are trying to say how good and innovative they are building Cloud as if they invented Cloud for the first time. The fact is, when I opened my first Yahoo account almost 20+ years back, what was it? A Cloud based email??

In another joke, today everyone is racing for Big Data. Yes the amount of data what is generated today is much more then what was there before smart phones and would be far greater in another 10 years. The requirement is Quality Data and this requirement is today and was 10 years back too and will be in future. What is required is a robust simple analytical tool to dig out the right stuff. Even if we get 40% quality data, which is available in current data, the business can jump by almost 250%.

One simple example is “single view of current customer”. Most of customer centric organization like retail, banks, insurance, airline, telco don’t have this in place. They don’t even analysis the user trend with current customers, what they will do with so called BIG DATA?? But still our so called brilliant CIO ask for millions to get it because the big IT vendors have pumped him so much that they believe it will solve all problems.

The fact is that moon will remain where it is and no one can bring it to you weather it’s a big IT vendor or your lover.

We CIOs have to understand that IT is a business enabler and not a business.


The new CIO is not an alien coming from outer space but a person who has the ability of multi tasking and highly business savvy person. This person has to be one who can stand on rooftop and look around. He should be able to understand the effects of other industries on it’s organization and can plan 5 years down the line along with the cultural factor both local and international.

It is well proven that if you have a CIO who understand business and its surrounding well, is the most successful. Unless you look for someone who is either “yes sir” or “file pusher”.

I have seen many customers especially in South African banking and Insurance sectors where the big IT vendors and consulting houses like the I’s, O’s, S’s, A’s, D’s etc have put in their employees as Sector CIOs. I fail to understand how can they bring in innovation since they have vested interest in pushing business to core employer.

Hence in my view based on hand-on practical experience, A CIO is a multi tasking person with business mind set.

Chief Information Officer : In today fast moving space, Chief Information Officer is a combination of 4 core I’s.
  • Chief Integration Officer : The integration officer will connect various IT systems. One important task will be bridging legacy and cloud services.
  • Chief Infrastructure Officer : Top priorities for infrastructure officers will include eliminating "shelfware," adoptingvirtualisation and cloud technologies, and renegotiating contracts in the best interest of current & 5 years of organization requirement.
  • Chief Intelligence Officer : The intelligence officer will be tasked with getting the right data to the right people on the right devices. This includes generating quality data, data mining & analysis.
  • Chief Innovation Officer : Innovation officers will focus on identifying disruptive technologies and finding ways to apply them in the enterprise in an innovative manner then just buying what is sold by vendors.

Few years back, the job was quite simple. You have a need, call few vendors, understand their offerings, and discuss cost and award. If it exceeds timeline, blame it on business and get extra time and money.
Today the new requirement is not once in 6 months or year but almost every week at the least and the biggest challenge, how to deliver the solution to business in the least possible time and money.
These new challenges are not limited to solution but governance, standards and to keep the team together motivated all the time. The world has moved toward 24x7x365 and time wasted is nothing but advantage to competition.

Some of the core challenges where I personal work and experience are listed below. I am sure more can be added and that means one need to learn all the time.
  1. Technology Strategic Plan
  2. The Projects for Business
  3. The Projects for IT
  4. The PMO Office and Approved Process
  5. The Technology SWOT
  6. The Vision / Strategic Choices
  7. The Strategic Alignment between IT and Business
  8. Super Strategic Issues
  9. The Technology Structure
  10. The Balanced Scorecard
  11. The CIO Performance Scorecard
  12. The IT Risk Universe
  13. Risk and Compliance Challenge
  14. King III Scorecard
  15. Asset Health Assessments
  16. Innovation, Cloud and Mobility
  17. Customer Satisfaction Survey
  18. Deployment Calendar
  19. Application Landscape

Till 10 years back, the business had a choice between local operation and global. Today globalization is need and that means changing business expectations. This new dynamics to business has created bigger challenges to The CIO in modern times. The CIO has to change and change very fast. Now its no more a choice but necessity. Either you change or vanish, and till the CIO change, business can’t change.
Hence the new CIO role should have following core skill set / ability.
  • Innovator : Cannot buy source of competitive advantage out of a box
  • Architect : To mould disparate and isolated non-integrated IT worlds into one
  • Personal, Hybrid Skill Set : Ability to blend business and technology experience and knowledge
  • Skills Management : Build Broader IT skills to meet business expectations
  • Strategist as well as a tactical player : Great involvement and focus on activities of a strategic nature
  • Information Broker : Make information and appropriate skills available across the business enterprise
  • New Leadership Style : From command-and-control to lead by example; good people motivator with positive relationships
  • Project Delivery excellence : CIO’s need to make this a key focus area, in alignment with business strategies
  • Build Business Credibility : The CIO needs to build interpersonal relationships with business executives. Get business results from available scarce resources
  • Making a Difference : Continue delivering operations excellence, but now additionally become a business partner in delivering competitive advantage via distinctive project solutions
  • Collaborator : Improving integration and collaboration across boundaries
  • Center of Excellence : Built internal center of excellence for natural learning both on business and IT for continuous team development and reduce dependency on external contractors.
  • Social Media : Today’s CIO should be an active participant on Social Media.
With above explanation of desired skills of Future CIO, the most relevant question is “How The CIO remain relevant for the future”. In my experience and practice following are some of the more relevant steps one need to follow.
  • Simplify the operating environment, governance, work processes and task priorities that form the context for IT work.
  • Move toward a simpler organisational structure for IT, centralising infrastructure responsibilities and decentralising application development and implementation responsibilities wherever possible.
  • Focus some of your time and energy outside the functional IT organisation. Spend time with external Customers, Internal Customers, Suppliers and social media
  • Establish clear, explicit goals for shortening IT decision and development cycles. Focus the entire IT organisation on accelerating all of its core business processes.
  • Manage your own time and personal agenda carefully-and explicitly. Be sure to reserve enough time for reflection, learning, and peer-to-peer networking.
  • Adapt your leadership style to match the needs of your organisation, combining collaborative problem solving with task-focused direction setting to produce a cohesive, committed organisation.
  • Focus your time and attention on strategic issues, on external relationships, and on the future.
  • Develop an open door policy within your organization but definitely your department and motivate people to think out of box ideas.

Greatness in a CIO is not a function of the company they work for, the salary they earn, the size of their title or other factors. There are great CIOs at small companies and not so great CIOs at big companies.

In today’s changing IT World where a CIO’s role is very much in flux. Following are some of the top 10 qualities of a good, resulted oriented, visionary CIO.
  • Good supply management capability
  • A solid understanding of financials
  • Ability to think strategically to support the business’s goals and objectives
  • Managing expectations effectively
  • Tech savvy
  • Selecting a good team
  • Ability to rally the troops
  • Visionary outlook
  • Politically savvy without being political
  • Skilled communicator
It is not wrong to say that in this new world of mobility, A CIO should actually be termed as CTM (Chief Technology Marketer)