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Lankawi – A photologue of a protean paradise..

Travel destinations usually have a taste associated to it. Himachal for it hilly serenity, Australia for sea beaches and adventure, Europe for its beauty & monuments,India for its multicoloured ethnic outline and enriching monuments etc…etc.. Very few destinations provide experience of  all tastes and colours of travelling. Lankawi is one protean paradise which holds within almost all travelling experiences one wishes to explore.

For serenity you can laze around on its sublime beaches, for adventure you can explore its hilltops and rain forests or go parasailing. If you love food, you can experience almost all kinds of cuisines on a single street. For shoppers its kinda heaven. Here is a glimpse of the fairyland through my shutter, though its much much more than what i could capture…

 

An ethnic dance group at hotel Meritus Pilangi

A view from sky bridge….

Pitstop on the way to skybridge by cablecar

On the way to mangrove

Ancient limestone cave in mangrove

Strait to the sea

Road back to the nest…

The lankawi landmark

At Berjaya Lankawi resort…

 

2 mobiles, 3 laptops and a perennial “low battery” life…

It isn’t only with me, its with all of us. A life infested with electronic devices and the perennial problem of low battery. For me its like my bank account, perennially low, unfortunately unlike banks mobiles devices do not have any “zero balance” option. Once I had to plead a uber driver to change my mobile battery to book a cab back home. Adding to the fun was the demonetisation drive. No money, low battery, little intoxicated and late at night somewhere in Gurgaon (sorry Gurugram)

The world of apps will continue give us a life of “low batteries” and lower attention span. Sooner than later there would be platforms available to develop you own app for your own distinct need in a jiffy.  It will be as easy as opening an email account. And the already endemic “low battery” is soon going to become a global gridlock. Realistically speaking, we cannot entirely shut the app world around us to solve the problem, but what we can do is have a more rational approach to address it.

For the corporate world we already have platforms which can optimise the life cycle and usage of plethora of apps companies develop and use, for us lesser mortals (retail users) i guess we will have to wait for some time. Till that time enjoy the only benefit of low battery…some mobile free time…

Blink Vs Thinking Slow…

I can never forget my first swimming lesson. Our trainer who himself was a teenager inspired  me enough to jump at the deeper end of the pool, and which of-course i did. He eventually dragged me out, violently coughing and gasping for breath. Sounds enterprising but trust me none of us would wish to be in such situations and for us corporate workers it more important than ever to deliberate before executing.

Be it blink (by Malcolm Gladwell) or thinking fast and slow (by Daniel Kahneman), the importance of thought before any action is a must always. However, the approach, which differentiates the two is stark. For me Blink is an interesting book to read but when it comes to real life action, i would rather be slow and take the help of tools and systems in place before the plunge or intuitively establish cause and effect relations

Tectonic Shift & Napping Mammoths

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Traditionally and to a good extent in existing scenarios as well, a Video Conferencing solution remains fiefdom of senior and top management. A non-democratised and straitjacketed room accessible only to privileged few whose travel bills are exorbitant enough to create a gap. A huge investment just to ensure that you are able to squeeze in video (into the conversation) and ofcourse lots and lots of “Identity value”. Vendors till date have been able to do a decent job in increasing the “Identity Value” . Products like Apple, Mercedes, Nike etc have done a great job in creating and maintaining “Identity Value” hence keeping the cash register ringing continuously.
Sadly though traditional conferencing vendors have not been able manage sustainable “Identity Value” though. Not because of brand visibility but because of product usability. Let me elaborate a bit more of it, all of us would have the answers on finger tips if asked to name few video conferencing players who are top players in the market. This is brand visibility. Only two key features and lots and lots of “identity value”.
What is does not offer as seamless integration to its core is
  • Integrated white-boarding for taking notes,
  • document sharing, collaboration or annotation
  • ability to work together from multiple locations
  • Ability to take inputs from multiple sources (Like laptop, tabs, pads, Internet etc). If you needed it desperately add one more device called switcher to the clutter
  • to share MoM/final results after the meeting. These features are a huge contributor to a productive result oriented meeting
  • And limited number of rooms/user participation in a conference
What is the cost to get these additional features and many more?
  • some eagerness to explore and evaluate new things by uses
  • and a manageable learning curve for additional features
  • Willingness to explore beyond traditional
Personally as i shifted from traditional conferencing system to software dependent conferencing system what i had to personally invest was some not so dedicated time (about 2 hours, one hour for two days) to run through the additional features and learn to use them. Now i prefer client calls, inter-region conference calls, intra region team meeting all on my vc/laptop/phone with the capability to take notes on the same device on which we discuss, work on a common document and not mail multiple times, not being restricted to 4 or 5 users but add upto 50 users with a click of a button.
What you get from these new age conferencing and collaborating systems?
In a nutshell
  • Independence from a team of back-office staff to run and support it multiple vendor integrated solution
  • Independence from number of regions and participants barrier
  • Independent from being restricted to one room and one device
  • Ease of use: This is debated many time and users feel that it is not as easy. When users brought their first touch based mobile/smart phones the learning curve was there, however none bothered much over it. This was because the identity value was so high that the minuscule learning curve was nowhere in consideration.
What vendors need to do probably is create a bit more of Identity value and of course allow as many users as one can to try for free and experience with the products. Having said that even without the identity value, the technology wave is such tsunamic that the traditional technology would be wiped off like mammonths

Jogitation – becoming a jogging zen…

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Jogitation- as written, it is meditating while you jog. Good news is, it comes naturally, difficult part is getting over the inertia to begin. Despite undisputed benefits the consistency to practice meditation eludes me consistently. Personally i prefer jogging despite and aches and pains. A 30 minute quick trot gives me enough adrenaline to sail though a day’s rigmarole and an instant high just after the session. Pair of running shoes, relatively easy weather outside that is all we need. For indoors, gymnasium sans the blaring music.

I always wished to include meditation in my regime, having said that, I always struggled to do so and was never able to successfully bring it into my routine. Could be because of my inability to do both (jogging & meditating) on a given day or my inability to be patient through the learning curve.

Jogitation i.e meditating while jogging is something which i realised by chance and later on googled to discover some more about it. Once while I was jogging at a slow pace on a pleasant morning ,i realised could listen myself breathing rhythmically and was finding it relatively easy to just focus on it and keep hearing it and nothing else. I could concentrate on my breathing easily disconnecting many multiple distractions crowding my mind. The second day was not that easy though. Later on i realised that i was trying to begin as soon as i started my jog, warming up before it and probably jogging few 100 meters before it helps get into the role.  Since then whenever I feel like meditating I go for a comfortable jog. For me jogging on a trend-mill does not give as good a result as i get from outdoors.

Few tips if you wish to try?

  1. You can try it outdoors albeit inside your campus or in stadium preferable early morning or late evening when its pleasant outside.
  2. Begin by stretching first (Always a must) followed by few hundred meters of warm-up jog. If you cannot keep track of distance assume one step is approx a meter in length.
  3. Jog comfortable and not hard. Keep your pace constant. Try breathing slow, this will happen only if your jog comfortably and not run. Set your own pace, if need be you can walk. But the idea is to keep a comfortable pace.
  4. If you feel jogging becoming too tiring, try walking and begin the same way as you would do for jogging
  5. Focus on your breathing, and try listening to it. If you do not find it easy, try counting your steps or just count numbers in a rhythm..
  6. What I do is think only one thing at a time. Thinking about numbers keeps emotion aside, which helps me keep a constant mood throughout the session. To make it simple count your steps. The idea is to thing one thing at a time and breath easy..
  7. Be very very careful when you are trying this on a treadmill. Ideally i would not recommend trying this on a treadmill.
  8. While you are jogging, preferably outdoors try keeping your head straight and run as easily as you can. Some pleasing and constant music adds to the effort. However its extremely individual oriented and for me sometimes no music is the best music…

Happy jogitating… let me also know your experiences…