Crossword – Why I think the end is near…

Went to Crossword on Saturday as I wanted to gift a book to someone. I had two books in mind and both of them are easily available in most online stores. But that would have taken 3-4 days to arrive and I wanted a book immediately.

I couldn’t find them easily there so asked the guy on “Help” counter to see if he had them. He said both were not available, though I could see some quantities for the second book in their system. I gently pointed it out to him. Reluctantly he started looking for that book in the philosophy section. He pretended to search for it for 10-15 minutes and meanwhile asked me the name of the book & author thrice. Obviously, he had not heard of either of them before, and it was not even one of those lesser known books. After 15 minutes, I found him elsewhere and asked him about the book – he said he couldn’t find it! He lost an opportunity to sell something he already had in his store and his apathy was appalling. You can’t just put a person with some retail experience in bookstore or music store. They need to know the product(s) that they are selling. I walked out, and this is not the first time I walked out of Crossword recently.

Can’t help but recall a young & enthusiastic guy (a Surd) that Landmark, Pune had few years ago as one of the sales guys in the store. You just need to have a brief talk with him for 2 mins and he used procure the book from some corner of his relatively huge store within few minutes. I really miss that personal touch now in the real stores. Obviously, this was before Flipkart was born and Amazon India was nowhere in the picture…Anyway!

BTW, Crossword still does not offer any discount unless you have their loyalty card and interestingly they print 2 payment receipts with a new carbon paper for each sale. The start-up entrepreneur inside me was shocked to see this blatant wastage & associated overhead costs. I think they have a brilliant chance here to ask customer for his/her email ID and offer to send him an e-receipt on the e-mail. In the process they will not only save the ridiculous overhead costs of those duplicate receipts, but also grab an opportunity to capture a customer lead in their system.

Dear crossword, you are already losing your sales to online stores like Flipkart & Amazon. And I can very well imagine the kind of costs involved in the huge inventory and those large real estates in the prime areas. So when you actually have a customer walking in your retail store to buy something, treat him/her well enough to make sure that footfall gets converted into sales. And yeah, please hire people interested in books & music rather than hiring people from those nearby retail stores selling grocery and clothes. And I also hope that you read ‘Have Breakfast… or…Be Breakfast!‘ if you haven’t read it already!

Unless it is urgent, I really doubt if I would want to buy a book/CD/DVD from Crossword next time given the experiences I’ve had in the recent times. Unless they drastically change the way they do their business, I think the end is near for their physical stores!

Find My Phone : About tiny android apps

Do you often keep your phone on silent and then forget where you have kept it? Maybe it is under those files in the office or in the some nook of  your home? Or maybe your kid has hidden it among all those innumerable toys.  How you wish your phone itself can ring aloud and flash its flashlight to let you know where it is! But alas….it is on silent mode!

Does it happen on a busy morning when you rush to your office only to find out that you are not carrying  your mobile and then you wonder if you have left it a home, or did you forget it in your car or if  your kid has taken it from your bag and put it in those toys or carried it to his/her school instead! Or you worry if it was snatched quietly by some pickpocket while you were on that crowded bus or local train.  How you wish your phone itself could somehow let you know its location?

Find My Phone

Find My Phone

Well, I (Orisys Software) have launched an app Find My Phone that could fulfill both these wishes and take care of the situations such as those mentioned above. Find My Phone is a simple, free android app that offers just these two features -

  • If you have kept your android phone/device on silent/vibration only, and can’t locate it in the room, you can easily locate it in the room by sending a command SMS text from another phone and your phone will start ringing (even if it is on silent) and if the device has a flashlight, it will be turned on as well. You can then pick up your phone, and turn off the sound & flashlight (if available) by clicking the “OK” button that will pop up in the dialog box.
  • You can also find location (either address or co-ordinates on the map) of your android device/phone by sending it another command SMS text from a different phone. The app will try to find address of the phone/device and will send an SMS to the phone from which the command SMS was sent. If it cannot find the address, it will send SMS with co-ordinates (latitude/longitude) of the phone/device along with map link.

The app is intentionally kept simple and it allows you to customize both these SMS command texts so that they are as easy or as complex as you want them. You can customize the SMS text when you install the app and change them whenever you want. The app will respond accordingly to your customized commands. This app is absolutely FREE! No advertisements either!!! :-)

You can download & install it from Google Play, and feel free to share it with your friends as well!

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Excel with your strengths

It’s not often that I recommend an article here from a typical “management” site/blog, because most of of time it does not make much sense to me. However, this is a very pleasant surprise from HBR, thanks to @sandygautam for tweeting this. Though it is a rather old article (May 2009), I am glad somebody is finally talking about this. All people have different strengths and weaknesses. And though one may want to improve upon certain weaknesses, often brooding too much about a weakness deteriorates performance. After a certain age – I think one must be able to accept his/her own personality with all the features/traits it has – some of them might be perceived as weaknesses under certain circumstances, or while performing certain tasks. But they are essentially your personality traits having their own advantages & disadvantages in different situations.

Moreover, it is crucial to focus more on the strengths and see how we can create opportunities and make most of what we are good at. The best you can offer to the world is naturally the best that you have in yourself.  :-)

Here is excerpt I really liked from this article -

Here’s what his manager should say: “You’ve worked hard this year John. Your client orientation is superb. You’ve met your sales goals and you’re a solid team player. But working on those spreadsheets isn’t a good use of your time and it’s not your strength. I’m going to ask David to do those for you from now on. He loves spreadsheets and is great at them. I want to spend the rest of our time talking about how you can get even better at working with your clients. That’s where you shine — where you add the most value to the company — and you seem to really enjoy it.”

An organization should be a platform for unique talent. A performance review system should be flexible enough to reflect and reward the successful contributions of diverse employees. Let’s encourage people to be weak in areas in which they are average — because no one can possibly be great at everything — and place all our effort on developing their strengths further.

Here is the complete article: Stop Worrying about Your Weaknesses