Wednesday, January 31, 2007

An interesting reflection: Slow Down Culture

Just happened to read this email yesterday. Really made sense to me ... read on

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalize processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm, has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say
anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will
be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think? Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!".

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

INDIA Poised

INDIA Poised - Its all about jolting the new genration to rise up to build a better tomorrow for INDIA. A great initiative by one of the leading brand names of the country. With great achievers coming out and discussing the future INDIA, am sure its gonna ignite the flame in at least a few hearts.

Here is an incident that kinda froze my feet in the middle of the road and made me think. Maybe she is the real hero cause she doesnt need any achievers to remind her to do something for her world, her country. Being so small and illiterate, am sure she doesnt read the TOI and neither would she even understand the words INDIA Poised.

It happened on a sunny Monday Mumbai morning, not very long ago with me dragging my heavy feet slowly towards my workplace. WIth the road between Sewri station and my office undergoing concretization, as always i saw half-clad kids playing around. The scene tht i saw there was what made me stop and think. A mother standing in a dug up hole and filing clean water in a bottle (may be from a leaking pipe) and not far away from her was her 3-4 year old daughter running towards a tree ... in fact a plant with a stem hardly an inch think and height - about 36 inches ... with that bottle. On reaching the tree she just bent down and watered the roots of the tree .. and did her bit... towards her small world, towards our world, towards our INDIA.

Turning back to us .. why are we the today's generation so selfish, where the central focus is always on 'me' and never on the 'we'. Why cant we do something simple yet make a difference. When was the last time we went and planted a tree? When was the last time we did our bit for our INDIA? If u need to think and search for such an incident ... you surly arent doing enough ... I myself am not.

Wake up, i believe NOW is the time to make a difference ... even if it goes un-noticed ... u would be doing your bit to build INDIA and the world.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Saw Serendipity a few days back and really liked these lines.

Dean's orbituary for Jonathan ...

Johnathan Trager, prominent television producer for ESPN, died last night from complications of losing his soul mate and his fiancee. He was 35 years old. Soft-spoken and obsessive, Trager never looked the part of a hopeless romantic. But, in the final days of his life, he revealed an unknown side of his psyche. This hidden quasi-Jungian persona surfaced during the Agatha Christie-like pursuit of his long reputed soul mate, a woman whom he only spent a few precious hours with. Sadly, the protracted search ended late Saturday night in complete and utter failure. Yet even in certain defeat, the courageous Trager secretly clung to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences. Uh-uh. But rather, its a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite, sublime plan. Asked about the loss of his dear friend, Dean Kansky, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and executive editor of the New York Times, described Jonathan as a changed man in the last days of his life. "Things were clearer for him," Kansky noted. Ultimately Johnathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients used to call "fatum", what we currently refer to as destiny.