This is what Jeff Bezos has to say to dreamers

Inspiring Stories

19 July 2019

This is what Jeff Bezos has to say to dreamers

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

 

Earlier this year, Amazon hosted re:MARS, an AI event for Machine learning, Automation, Robotics, and Space. The event saw eminent personalities from the industry come together to share how these fields will shape the future. While the event featured profound and insightful discussions around AI, the world’s richest man and Amazon founder & CEO, Jeff Bezos,had quite a few nuggets of wisdom to share. “Come to me if you are willing to play the gamble with me on disruptive ideas,” he said. Read on to get a glimpse of what Jeff Bezos considers as crucial to success.

  1. Dream Big

In a freewheeling firechat at the event, Bezos emphasized that he is very stubborn on big ideas. “I’m flexible on the details but I don’t like to give up on things that we’re working on”, he said.

The journey to a successful business is laid with many setbacks and hurdles. We live in times dominated by ever-evolving customer needs, where technology is creating ripples through the market every minute. Amid such unpredictability, it is a firm belief in your idea that holds your business together and motivates you to stay ahead of the market trends. In fact, according to a recent research by SmallBiz, 90% of the new startups fail while 44% hardly survive 4 years.

Your idea may seem unrealistic to you at times. Self-doubt is inevitable, but it shouldn’t give way to quitting on your idea; if anything, it should only motivate you to take your idea to the next level. Take it from the successful people; Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos, they all started with a firm belief in their ideas, and the rest is history.

  1. Customer Centricity

“If you want to be an entrepreneur, the most important thing is to be customer obsessed, so don’t just satisfy your customers, figure out how to absolutely delight them”, Bezos told the gathering.

Truer words haven’t been spoken. The market is continuously evolving, and customers have more options to choose from now than ever before. In fact, according to a recent report, 67%customers are willing to switch brands because of poor customer service. So just satisfying their demands isn’t going to make the cut anymore; you must go a step ahead and craft solutions and services that absolutely delight them.

Delighted customers are the cornerstones of a successful business, as is evident from the success of companies like Apple and Microsoft.

  1. Passion

“The number one thing is passion — whosoever your customers are. You have got to have some passion for the arena that you’re going to develop and work in. Otherwise, you’re going to be competing against people who do have the passion for that. And they’re going to build better products and services”, Bezos maintained at the event.

Passion is what drives you to do what you love; it bestows you with a unique vision of the world that most others miss out on. Steve Jobs, for instance, had the vision to create a phone with just one button on the front. Jeff Bezos was passionate about creating an online store that sold everything. Passion is the fuel that drives you to success, a core belief that keeps you going strong even when others don’t see it your way.

  1. Willingness to take risks

“The good news is”, Bezos added, “at Amazon, we still take risk all the time. We encourage it. We talk about failure. We should be failing.” He further said it is important that risk takingand customer centricity are encouraged at startups.

Nothing is achieved overnight. It takes determination, perseverance, andwillingness to tread the unknown, risky paths. Had Elon Musk not invested his last $35 million when Tesla was facing financial strain during the recession in 2008, the company would never have become worth the $2.5 billion it is today. Same goes for Twitter, which promptly rejected a buy-out offer of $500 million by Facebook in 2008; today it is valued at $26.4 billion!

Conclusion

Every successful business is built on the foundations of passion and commitment, and an unflinching vision, come what may. Take it from the world’s richest man himself: “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you – what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind – you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.”

7 Inspiring Indian Entrepreneurs Through the Decades

Inspiring Stories

20 August 2019

7 Inspiring Indian Entrepreneurs Through the Decades

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The world’s largest democracy, India has seen the rise of quite a few entrepreneurs over the decades. Their passion, vision, and commitment to their dream, despite all setbacks, has inspired and continues to inspire generations. At times when market volatility was at the mercy of a completely different set of socio-economic variables, these entrepreneurs went all in to create history and write the score for the stable Indian economy we know of today. We celebrate 7 such Indian entrepreneurs who redefined the notions of doing business in the country. Read on.

Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata (1904-1993)

Who doesn’t know the pioneer businessman and Bharat Ratna awardee, JRD Tata?His unparalleled business acumen along with his humanitarian works have earned him respect worldwide. He will always be remembered as a benevolent and ethical businessman who put the interests of his company and its people before his self. Not to mention his legendary ability to take risks and think out of the box! Who else would have thought of venturing into civil aviation in 1932 when the world around was reeling under war and the technology market was hot? You guessed it right; no one else did, and that’s how Tata Airlines (now Air India) was born!

Dhirubhai Ambani (1932-2002)

Dhirubhai Ambani, the man behind Reliance Industries, needs no introduction. His commitment to the shareholders’ interests and his marketing vision will keep inspiring generations to come. His keen eye for identifying opportunities, howsoever small, and converting them into hugely profitable ventures at times when the environment wasn’t very business-friendly, hasn’t been matched so far. He literally shaped India’s stock market by bringing in hordes of retail investors in an otherwise monopolised marketplace. His success story is proof of the fact that with the right attitude and a keen eye, every challenge is an opportunity for growth.

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (1953-present)

One of the first women entrepreneurs of post-independent India, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is a name to be reckoned with. She came in as a rookie in a largely male-dominated business world and pioneered the field of biotechnology in India with her company, Biocon Limited, which she launched in 1978. Despite facing credibility challenges, owing to her young age and an unheard-of business model, her indomitable spirit is what kept her going. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is worth $2.4 billion today and is a living testimony of how unwavering commitment to creating a nichein an otherwise hostile environment can go a long way in crafting success.

Sunil Mittal (1957-present)

The founder and chairman of Bharati Enterprises, Sunil Mittal has scripted one of the most inspiring and enduring success stories. Bharati Enterprises faced several failures in his initial years, but Mittal patiently waited for his moment for almost 20 years to eventually incorporate Airtel in 1995, and the rest is history. His incredible growth, despite the roller-coaster journey, to become one of the richest Indians is an example of the fact that perseverance can move mountains.

NR Narayana Murthy (1946-present)

TIME magazine has described him as the father of the Indian IT sector; need we say more? NR Narayana Murthy’s success story is underlined by humility, patience, and a customer-centric approach. In the words of the man himself, “If we wanted to create a great company, we should be optimistic.”He launched Infosys in 1981, at a time when India wasn’t even an open economy and still made it possible to outsource IT services; that’s the kind of vision and courage he possessed!Not to mention how crucial he was to the design and implementation of the Global Delivery Model of IT services that actually keptthe Indian economy from falling apart.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma (1978-present)

Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the founder of India’s most successful mobile payments company, Paytm. From going bankrupt in 2005 to being named as India’s youngest billionaire by Forbes magazine in 2017, Vijay’s journey is nothing short of awe-inspiring. His belief in himself and his passion for crafting unique solutions is what held him back from calling it quits. In his own words, “There is no fun in doing what others ask you to do, the real fun is in doing what people say you can’t do.”

Bhavish Aggarwal (1985-present)

A tech prodigy, Bhavish Aggarwal launched Ola Cabs in 2011 in an attempt to capitalize on the then nascent M-commerce market. He had the clarity in vision to identify the gaps in the market and release a product that would allay the pain points of the customers in a simple and effective manner. Today, Ola is the most popular digital cab aggregator service in India with a net market worth of $6.2 billion. This only goes on to prove how implementing scalable models is crucial to business success in the present market scenario. According to Bhavish, one of the best and safest models one should adopt is running a business with zero inventory.

Conclusion

The road to success is quite often set with a lot of setbacks and hurdles, and it takes unwavering determination and belief in oneself to make it to the end. As JRD Tata has rightly put, “Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without deep thought and hard work.”

Millennials: perhaps the most misunderstood of them all

Inspiring Stories

13 May 2019

Millennials: perhaps the most misunderstood of them all

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

They’ve been called lazy, entitled and not willing to pick up their share of the load. But they’re also confident and assertive, and care for the world! Say hello to the millennials, the most misunderstood bunch of people (a rather large bunch!) in the world today.

If you found yourself nodding your head vigorously at all the descriptors, chances are that you are a millennial. Provided you were born anywhere between the early 1980s and the early 2000s. That’s a rather large time period to consider; then again, it’s a rather large bunch of people to consider across the globe. It is the entire next generation!

Meaning: who are the millennials?
But let’s do these guys a favour, shall we? This impression that people have of them is just that, an impression. The truth is that this generation simply thinks and works differently from the generation that came before it, the Generation X. Yes, the irony isn’t lost on most: calling the previous generation the ‘Ex’ generation. Because the millennials show the promise to change the world and the rules that govern it, and they are changing it – one brunch at a time.

But first, a bit of history.

History: how did the term originate?
The term millennials isn’t all that new-fangled. Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe coined the term way back in 1987. This was when kids born in 1982 were entering preschool, and everyone around was talking about them being the high school graduating class of 2000, the first of the millennium.

Other names were tossed around too, Generation Y, or Gen Y, but nothing stuck as beautifully as millennials. They are sometimes also referred to as Echo Boomers, the offspring of the baby boomers. Psychologist Jean Twenge even went on to call them the ‘Generation Me’. No cookies for guessing why.

Generation We, Generation Next, Global Generation, The Net Generation and The Burnout Generation are some of the other not-so-flattering monikers that this group of individuals has got for itself. These snowflakes (as some are wont to call them) are considered to be entitled but they have time and again shown greater resilience than the middle-aged generation. How many 20-somethings have been seen screaming for the manager when their sale coupon expired a few days back? And of course they are bound to be miffed when they see someone drawing a 6-figure salary unable to comprehend how to rotate a PDF!

But yes, we still believe that they are a misunderstood and misjudged lot. They are not slackers (not all of them) and there is a lot that the earlier generation needs to learn from them too.

Present Day Scenario
Millennials are confident and tolerant, but we have to take that with a healthy dose of narcissism. They are the selfie generation after all, aren’t they? But come on, haven’t we seen enough older people stopping to smell the roses and taking selfies while doing so? But no one labeled them narcissistic, now, did they?

What is the truth? Surveys taken over various groups of millennials have in fact shown that this generation is less narcissistic than the earlier one; and that levels of narcissism are gradually going down. According to psychologist Jeffery Arnett, millennials ‘are exceptionally generous and show great promise to make the world a better place’. And we all know how badly we need that!

So where did the assumption come from?

Millennials have been known to make more personal improvement commitments than any generation before them. They spend twice as much as their parents did on self-care essentials, such as diets plans, workout regimes, therapy, life coaching, spas, and apps that can improve their well-being. That makes them self-obsessed? We think not. In fact, we all could do with a little more self-love, couldn’t we?

Further studies expand this glimmer of hope even more. Millennials are predicted to be the first generation in years to become more civic minded, with a strong sense of community, local as well as global. One just needs to cast around for the numerous innovations that are being built to cater to the grassroots of the world to believe in that prediction. They are the avocado-on-toast munching kids who espouse the values of going vegan and saving the polar bears, all in one breath.

The millennial in the workplace
It is in the worker millennials who are often sneered at by the earlier generation. Generation X prided itself on putting work first and laid strong emphasis on loyalty, steady career, work ethics and compensation. It simply cannot handle a new wave of workers that demands work-life balance and a preference for a flat corporate culture. These new kids on the block want meaningful work, a creative outlet and immediate feedback. As they continue to seek greater meaning in what they do, their career paths are dynamic and unpredictable. In the words of the earlier generation – inconsistent, unreliable, erratic and picky. But on the flip side, when they do find the one thing that they are passionate about, they will keep at it until it kills them. After all, YOLO!

Conclusion
Face it, though, being carefree and stress-free is something we all could benefit from. But as a passing jibe, here’s what someone quipped about the millennials on the unforgiving www – “There should be a millennial edition of the Monopoly game, where you just walk around the board paying rent, never being able to buy anything.”

Why do we all love Dilbert so much?

Inspiring Stories

30 April 2019

Why do we all love Dilbert so much?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Who hasn’t heard of Dilbert! Whether you are an engineer or not, Dilbert gets you, right? And that’s what makes it one of the most popular corporate comic strips out there. Conceptualised and created in the US, this comic strip of Dilbert and his office mates understands and lightens the gripes of working-class people across the globe.

Dilbert captures classic mismanagement and workplace inefficiency beautifully, bringing it to life through a bunch of characters that are lazy, holding on tenuously to their middle management positions. These ‘dysfunctional time-wasters’ suffer from the baffling vagaries of upper management but never openly complain. Perhaps that’s what makes them so relatable to most and it helps us all swallow the bitter corporate pill easily.

No one really knows why Dilbert works, but it does and that’s all that matters. Let’s see how the creator of the comic strip got around to creating it.

About Scott Adams
Scott Adams was born in 1957 to a postal clerk and a real estate agent. The middle child with two siblings, he was a fan of the Peanuts comics and by the age of 6 was already drawing his own comics. Once school and college was out of the way he joined the corporate world in 1979 and worked as a management trainee, computer programmer, commercial lender, budget analyst, product manager and a supervisor. All these positions and the countless dealings he had with numerous people gave him fodder for Dilbert and he started the strip while still working. Submissions to various publications met with a dead-end but it was an encouraging letter from a fan that kept Adams going.

It was in 1989 when he was working for Pacific Bell that Dilbert was first published by United Media. It was also while working here that he encountered various personalities who went on to become the characters in his strip.

The history of Dilbert – from then to now
The comic strip originally revolved only around Dilbert and his pet dog Dogbert in their home. The early plots mostly highlighted Dilbert’s engineer nature and his bizarre inventions, and some told the audience about his megalomaniacal ambitions.

Later Adams decided to shift the location to Dilbert’s workplace in Silicon Valley and the comic strip began to parody technology, workplace, and typical company issues. This gave the strip more impetus and its fan base started to grow rapidly as more people could relate to the humour.

In Dilbert’s world, bureaucracy and office politics hamper everything, including productivity, and employees’ skills and efforts are not rewarded; in fact, simply appearing to be ‘busy’ is praised. The audience is appreciative of the humorous situations where characters take ridiculous decisions that are natural reactions to mismanagement.

Perhaps the appeal is of what cannot be acted out in the real world which finds its release through this comic strip.

Top characters
Dilbert, the main character, is a skilled engineer but socially inept, with a poor romantic life.

Besides Dilbert there is the Pointy-haired boss, unnamed so that most people can see their own boss in him. He is unimaginably incompetent and compensates for his lack of ability by organising group sessions and strategy meetings that usually never go anywhere. He does not understand technology and he always tries to disguise it, ineffectively. He isn’t sadistic, just uncaring, and uses his employees to his need, without bothering about what happens to them.

Then there’s Wally, an employee who walks around calmly drinking coffee through all the upheavals of a corporate setting. He hates work and will work hard to find ways to avoid doing anything. He is even more socially useless than Dilbert but isn’t aware of it. Wally was originally conceptualised as a worker looking for a severance package but now just hangs around as part of Dilbert characters.

Alice is a competent and hardworking employee who doesn’t feel adequately recognised. While she blames it on her gender, it is most likely because of her short temper, even with the Pointy-haired boss.

Dogbert, Dilbert’s anthropomorphic pet dog, is a highly intelligent megalomaniac who comes in and out of the strip as a high-ranking consultant or technical support. He is cynical but at times has pulled his master out of tight spots.

Catbert is the evil director of human resources who was supposed to play a cameo once. But the audiences loved him so much that he came back as the HR director.

Asok is immensely intelligent but naïve about corporate culture. He is optimistic and the strip shatters his illusions frequently. He is obviously Indian and has graduated from one of the IITs.

Elbonia is an underdeveloped, made-up country that is a reflection of any country as seen by typical Americans.

Dilbert merchandise
Dilbert is a highly successful comic strip that appears online and in 2000 newspapers and magazines in 65 countries and 25 languages. The popularity has seen many merchandise opportunities spawn off the original brand. There are computer games, hand-held card games, board games, video games and calendars. Besides these obvious merchandise choices, there is also a vegan microwave burrito that comes in four flavours, a limited-edition ice cream flavour, and a line of Dilbert mints.

Dilbert goes digital
In 1995, Dilbert decided to go online. It was the first syndicated comic strip that was published for free on the internet. Adams puts his email address in each strip, creating a ‘direct channel to customers’ which allows him to make changes to the strip based on their feedback.

In April 2008, Adams took this collaboration a step further by announcing an interactive feature on Dilbert.com which would allow fans to write speech bubbles themselves. This, according to Adams, ‘makes cartooning a competitive sport’.

Whatever the future holds for Dilbert, it can safely be said that this strip has had a massive influence on many webcomics that followed it and helped establish the ‘nerdcore’ genre.