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I have a 4 year old son and his passion is vehicles. Cars, trains, tractors, bike, bus drive him crazy. He can play all day long with them. Here's a view of his garage. His favorite is Nano.1

When I am playing with my kiddo, I try to intermix gyan with fun. I try to introduce  concepts like Fuel, Braking, Money etc. When I am driving and stop at a Fuel station, I explain him the need of Fuel. He then imitates that while playing at home. I pay bill and talk to him about the significance of money and how money is earned.

And my idea for creative printables is

I wanted to teach my kid to Tell Time. I thought why not leverage his passion for cars? That would make it easier and fun for him to tell time.

I decided to make a paper clock. Each hour letter was accompanied by a colorful picture of a vehicle that my son understands. I created the basic template in MS Power point. Google helped me finding the colorful pictures. Following is the template that I created.

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But my kiddo was going to play w

 

How But my kiddo was going to play with the clock in real world. And so it was important that the colors that are so gorgeous in PPT are equally fantastic in the real world. HP printer came to my aid here. I got the clock printed on a Photo paper.

The only task left was before I can start teaching my kiddo was to add the Long Hand and Short hand. Heres a look at the final product. WP_20150110_15_35_58_Pro

How the Clock helped?

My idea was to teach him time telling by taking the car as the cue. So say if I want to teach him 12. I said when both the long and short hand meet on Rocket, its 12. I wanted him to look at the watch and know that its time to sleep. I told him that when the Long Hand is on Rocket and the short hand is on Airplane, its time for you to sleep.

Fun things you can do with your printer

The journey so far has been fun. There is no debate on the point that without a color printer, I would have never imagined creating such a clock. The entire clock creation process was a time well spent with my son. He thoroughly enjoyed the process. He is still learning to see time. My journey is still on.  I have to teach him the concept of Half and Quarter. So I am sure, I will have a version 2 of this clock.

During the making of the clock, I realized that What you can with a color printer at home is limitless.

Do feel free download and customize the image if you think its funny and interesting. Do drop me an email I am happy to share the PPT template too.

P.S : This project was created to participate in the "Fun things you can do with your printer" contest listed here

For me, Reading is a cherished hobby and thanks to apps like Feedly and Pocket, reading is pure fun.  The apps are so intuitively designed that reading anywhere on any device is hassle free.

But you know, we are living in a super hyper world. If you take 1 minute to read an article, there have been 347 new added in that time. By the time you have looked and shared a photo, 20k new have been added on Tumblr. Check out this infographic to know more about what happens in 1 minute in the #WorldOfInternet. How do you then manage your reading list in such a situation?

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Feedly and Pocket again come to our rescue. They let you save articles for a later read. You could scan the interesting stuff at one time and then read them lying in your couch when you want to . You could also share articles that amused you. Personally, I use IFTTT in conjunction with Feedly and Pocket to share some of the stuff that I read.

The problem statement

The one reason for me to share stuff on social media is to establish myself in the social media ecosystem. To build my repute in the #WorldOfInternet.

In this endeavor, I save a lot of stuff in my #ReadForLater list and also share them with others. I use Feedly to manage my RSS subscriptions and I have set a rule that every item that I "Save for Later" should be shared on my Twitter account. The rule engine is from IFTTT. At times I do share things only for re-tweets and likes. I do not really want to save it for later reading. I realized I need some kind of a automated rule to take care of this. Else my #ReadForLater list will become trash in a few days time. In the next few lines, I talk about the solution that I implemented to ensure my #ReadForLater list is clean and my repute is getting better.

The solution

The building blocks of the solutions have always been available. I just needed to stitch them together. The IFTTT rule engine is there, Feedly supports tags. So to keep my #ReadForLater list tidy, all I need is a new tag and a new rule based on the tag.

I added that tag #ShareToOthers to my Feedly tags list. I then use IFTTT to create a rule such that anything with the #ShareToOthers tag gets shared on my social media. You could also use the IFTTT recipe i created. Following is the link 

https://ifttt.com/recipes/235235-use-tag-to-keep-readforlater-clean

This way I keep #ReadForLater list is less cluttered. I am able to differentiate easily between articles of my personal interests and articles for my social repute.

Infographic source : http://blog.qmee.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Qmee-Online-In-60-Seconds2.png

Do let me know if it helped. Also share your methods to keep your reading list clean and tidy.

Happy New Year 2015 !!!

I read this piece of news about Facebook conducting experiment to on people without their knowledge and consent.

The experiment was to validate a theory about Human psychology that says "people feel bad when they see others are happy and vice-versa"

In simple words the theory says that if you see your friend's awesome Holiday pictures, you will feel bad that are you not having the fun your friend is having.

Similarly, if you read about something bad, you would be happy and thankful that it didn’t happen to you.

You are not doing these things consciously. It is happening in the background and so nothing to feel bad about it.

My research on this issue

I have saved the stories based on which I wrote this post in Storify. It is an interesting read for a lazy afternoon. Do go through it. You will find answers to key questions like

Why we get addicted to Facebook?

Why is it so difficult to avoid Facebook?

Key take-ways from the research

At first, I just read the news as another piece of social media flake and forgot it...but thinking about the psychological theory, I thought of checking it on myself. I went through my Facebook time and tried to note the emotions that I experienced. I realized the theory is true…

I researched more to find out the cases and stories about the impact of social Media. And to my wonder, I found millions of stories of people feeling unhappy, people comparing themselves to others and more. And all this because of your favorite Facebook.

The other psychological impact of Facebook I came to know is called as "Instant Gratification". As soon as something happens, you want to let the world know about it through Facebook. You long for comments and likes. Over the period of time, this becomes an addiction. You feel bad if there are not enough comments and likes on your status, photos etc. This is instant gratification. Longing for instant happiness, instant validation, instant feedback.

Is Facebook Ruining Our Lives? – An infographic by the team at Who Is Hosting This.com

 

So the first and only point is , stop using Facebook…

How will this impact your life?

In one word, you will be more happy.

  • Yeah, you will not have to check your phone regularly.
  • Because your happiness is not dependent on others validation, You will have less worry. You would be more happy and so live longer.

I know I have posted this on Facebook, I am trying guys…

 

The 2 contradicting lessons

A most common lesson people give while talking about Innovation is

"Fail fast and move on"

On the other hand, Guru's  also advocate that say

"You need to have perseverance and girt to continue doing what you believe in"

To me, these are 2 contradicting thoughts. Isn't it?

When you are working on something new, there are no ready to use references. Hence the probability of failure is pretty high.
When you are spending time in being innovative, there will be people who laugh at you and say you have lost it.
When you are burning midnight oil to create something path-breaking, there will be people who say you are a waste.

The opportunities to get de-motivated, the tendency to quit, the urge to be part of the crowd is as big as Himalayas. 

If one believes in his dreams and continues working on it, and at the end doesn't achieve something. People say he didn't fail fast and didn't move on. He continued working on something that was not possible.

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Alternatively, Say everybody preached you to quit but you continued doing what you believe in. And at last achieved something , people say he had the perseverance and grit needed to create big things.

My Takeaway...You need some salt

My whole point is that people are making opinions at the end of the journey of making.
How in this world will the traveller going on an unknown path know what is there at the end. He just has a few clues about what to expect during the journey and at the end.
My takeaway from this observation is that the leadership lessons have to be considered  with a pinch of salt. They are not absolute truths. They are reviews created to justify the journey as a success or failure. Its important to understand that context of the lesson, lest there is a risk of it being harmful. It could have a negative impact on your growth.

Do you agree with my observation and take away? I am waiting for your views on this...

Happy Weekend...

The hype around the word Innovation has never been as high as it is right now. Everybody is talking about innovation in everything. Innovation is ingrained in Technology to academics.  It is  talked about in pharmaceuticals to government policies. Innovation is shaping up energy generation and energy conservation. It is defining our home d├ęcor and fashion.

This post is all dedicated to whole bunch of Innovators out there. No, I am not a Innovation guru and so I am not giving you any tips on how to be Innovative. The idea of this post is to give a different perspective to our approach towards Innovation.

The Trigger for this post

I recently downloaded an app called Culinary Treats. I am damn concerned about my privacy and though I have a Smart phone, I have never switched on my Location Services. But I am forced to Switch ON my Location services post installing this app. You wondering why?

Its simple, the app looks at my location and suggests me eateries around my place where I can get around 15% discount on my bill. I felt that’s awesome. I was ok in compromising my privacy (temporarily) to get 15% savings on my bills.

So the app has made a reluctant person like me to open up and try the location based services.

This is the perspective I wanted to bring your focus on through this post.

There are 2 strategies to monetize Innovation
    1. Identify what customers wants and then go and do that thing.
    Build Innovation based on the finding and then let customers use it. This is the most common strategy and is often duplicated by rivals. 
    2. The second more defined, focused strategy is to build the ecosystem around the Innovation. The ecosystem is not duplicated . The ecosystem becomes the entry barrier for competition.image

Why Focus On Ecosystem?

Innovation often requires a change in the way customers operate to leverage the benefits of the Innovation. This makes the customer reluctant to try the new thing if the perceived benefits of the Innovation are not good enough. A strong ecosystem around the Innovation would make the benefits look larger and makes a good case for the customer to change. The ecosystem built should be lucrative enough to transform a reluctant person into a propagator. He should get more impressed by the benefits of entire ecosystem rather than the solution in its individuality.
The need for an ecosystem might not be there in all the scenarios. But an Innovative Solution with a clear picture of how the ecosystem around it would look like is a sure shot winner.

An example of ecosystem driven Innovation - Apple App store


Think of Apples Innovative ITunes  and App store approach. The success of both ITunes and iPhone is because of the ecosystem of Apps. ITunes has the biggest library of your favourite songs and App Store has the most innovative apps for use on an iPhone.

The ecosystem of developers brought out so many innovative apps on iPhone that it made the iPhone more than a phone. It is stethoscope for doctors, it is an extended branch for Banks, it is shopping platform for retailer.
The ecosystem took the iPhone to the next level way higher and above what iPhone was ever meant to be. That’s the power of ecosystem.
The biggest headache for Microsoft Windows phone is lack of apps. The Customers are reluctant to try Windows Phone because their favourite apps are not there in the Windows Store.  And developers are not ready to spend time in developing apps for Windows Phone as customers are not there. This merry-go-round  is the biggest roadblock for Windows Phone. And this is the biggest insurance against competition for App store.

Read this story to know "If Microsoft is doing enough to build an app ecosystem"

 

Conclusion

For an Innovator,  the challenge is not in being Innovative but in building the ecosystem. The ecosystem that makes the Innovation significance and imparts it an identity.

So how many you are not using Facebook? How many of you have not heard about Twitter and Facebook? We all are social more on social networks then in the society.

According to social media research, Facebook has around 1.11 billion users across the globe. LinkedIn has 277 Mn users, Twitter boasts of 200 million users and Google+ also says it has around 340 million active users. The power of Social media is incredible. Just look at this amazing infographic…  OrganizeSocialMedia

I have been using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ for more than a couple of years now. And I would say, I have been able to make pretty good use of them. I have learnt new things, made friends with strangers and expanded my social reach beyond the obvious friend circle.

Through this post, I am sharing my strategy or organizing my social presence with the aim of leveraging the power of social networks. Somebody could ask, Is there a need to organize social networks. I have tried to answer this question in the rest of this post.

The typical approach

There are 2 ways in which people typically manage their social presence

1. The simplest and the most common way is to use them as platform to share and connect with people without any strategy and thought.

2. The second approach is to put your brain to work and organize the social network. On a lighter note, Organized social network ensures that your tweet about your boss after a couple of drinks over your limit doesn't end up eating your job :)

A more detailed answer to Why organize Social networks is to

  • Expand your social network beyond friends, colleagues and family
  • Create a strong brand for yourself to excel in career
  • Find resources to full-fill your aspirations
  • Expand your horizon by connecting with strangers from vivid areas

Have a doubt? Check out the stats in the infographic above.

 

How do we organize Social Presence then?

Some psychological gyaan first

It is said we as Human being have 3 primary requirements for life. they are Social, Functional and Emotional. (Please read the book "innovator DNA" to know in details the significance of these needs.)

My idea is to base the strategy to organize social networks on these theory.

The Functional need are connected

  • with your job, with your career aspirations,
  • with your creative pursuits,
  • with fulfilling your needs and wants.

The Social and Emotional needs are about

  • being connected to the near and dear,
  • being a part of the social fabric,
  • staying close and relevant to people,
  • being a part of the social conversations 

I use LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for these purpose.

Twitter for Hobby

I use Twitter to keep my creative juices flowing, for inspiration. After I got a Twitter Account, I took a conscious decision to connect only with strangers. I decided to build a network of people with whom i share my interests, my thoughts process, my aspirations.

I started this by following my favourite authors. I then used Twitters discover tool to find more people to follow. I read, re-tweeted things not connected to my job but definitely of my interest. There was no condition on what I tweet and what i read.

For example I often tweet news articles from Faking News just for fun. I use twitter to get inspirations quotes, lessons. To get latest news on technology, design. I use twitter to take part in contests. By using this approach, over a period of time, I have 200 followers whom i know only through twitter.

LinkedIn for career

The sole purpose of my LinkedIn account is to create a strong brand for myself and excel in my career.

On LinkedIn, I am connected to my current colleagues, ex-colleagues. I have made new friends whom I haven't met in-person but we happen to work in the same Domain and so are connected. I use LinkedIn groups to connect with people in the upcoming technology areas. The focus here is more on connecting with people, reading things that are connected to my career.

I would say LinkedIn is a more filtered and a double clicked view of what I do on twitter.

Facebook for social needs

Facebook is the place that takes care of my social needs. I am connected to my friends, family, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc. etc. Around 80% of the people I have met or known in my life are connected to me on Facebook except for my Managers :) ( though there are few exceptions)

Organizeyoursocialnetworks (2)

Google + falls between LinkedIn and Twitter

Of late, I have been checking my G+ account more frequently. For me, its somewhere between LinkedIn and Twitter.

I follow communities on G+ that are of interest to me but not necessarily related to my job. G+ is the gateway to my curiosity. I use it follow Home Design, NASA, Windows8, Android Development, Go Green ideas, Jokes etc.

 

Then there is Pinterest, I use Pinterest to pin about my hobbies, pictures from my blog and my site. Often my Pinterest posts are sent to twitter.

The idea is to not duplicate your contacts, posts, across social networks and thus keep your social presence organized. 

So what are you waiting for, go head, get a plan and make the most of your social networks.

What's the plan that you follow for your social presence, did you think its good to have a defined plan to manage social presence? Do let me know your views using comments section.

 

References

http://theeword.co.uk/news/survey_reveals_power_of_facebook_for_local_smes/#sthash.De8MdkQD.dpuf

http://www.pcworld.com/article/2026521/google-outranks-twitter-as-no-2-social-network-after-facebook.html