Archive for the ‘Life’s musings’ Category

My tryst with the subject of social behavior dates back to my childhood when my dad believed that I had super powers! He assumed that I had a special gift to read people’s faces and body language.So much so that he used to take me with him to his business meetings and would let me decide if it is a good idea to do business with a particular person. I guess this is where the story started.

In today’s world where online interactions dominate our offline ones, there is no real way to understand a person. You just have to go by their words and it is not a shocker when you learn that the words were actually not coming from horse’s mouth. This reminds me a call out by a dear friend Lou Pardi, a few months ago. She offered to write online dating profiles for people. Knowing Lou, her intention is very honest and helpful but this highlights the scary truth of a more deep-rooted problem. So, how do we trust people we meet online to be genuine?

If you are amongst the lucky ones who don’t really care to judge people and continue to treat everyone equally, kudos to you! Unfortunately, I am not. I am rather very judgmental and I make informed decisions about the people around me before I decide if I want to include them in my inner circle of influence

So, what is the purpose of my post today?

In a strange (and not-so-serious) way, I have come to understand that FARMVILLE helps understand social behavior. You might find this lame, but I have been a fan of that game since 2009- mainly because it is very interesting to see each player behaving in their own typical style.

If you don’t enjoy the game, are too busy to try (which is understandable) or just “not the type”. I understand that too, because unless you have a “community spirit” or a “love for sharing” in you- you are not likely to like Farmville at all. Having said that, there are people who have gone overboard, wasting too many productive hours on the game.

An infographic at @mashable clearly shows us how much of importance this virtual farming has gained, as against our interest in REAL farms.

As much as I would want to agree with the people who argue that “People care more about their virtual farms than real”, I don’t! On the contrary,  I believe that these people are more likely to have their gardens and farms in real lives too. It shows their interest in the subject, it shows their love for nature. Why else would they plant crops and wait for days before they get to harvest them instead of popping 1000 angry birds and pigs on their screens per minute?

“Anything that builds a spirit of friendliness and co-operation and helps people get to know each other as human beings seems to me a good thing” —Jimbo Wales20 December 2006

Coming back to the point, here are some of the types of people and their typical behaviors that I have noticed on Farmville:

  • Team player : Always plays in a team, has a co-op set up most of the time and encourages people to crop plants together within a co-operation. Occasionally, posts a thing or two on your wall.
  • Self sufficient : The silent and self sufficient person who doesn’t spam your timeline or his. He is self-effacive and takes up only the tasks he can manage alone without much help from others. Usually, doesn’t have great returns or speedy increase in levels but follows a consistent pattern to his game.
  • Free-loader: Joins every possible co-op just to get the bonus and cash and contributes nothing to it. Usually gets good amount of free bonuses but is not the favourite of others and hence loses out on the secret gifts and special treats.
  • Cash hoarder: Plays only to collect cash and at some point wishes he could one day convert it into real money! This person doesn’t like to buy expensive stuff and comes across as a stingy person.
  • Creative: Always brimming with life and activity- Has birds, animals, colours, flowers and all possible beautification on the farm. This takes up a lot of the farming space and hence they earn less points and cash but they continue to maintain their beautiful farms.
  • Money minded: Has most of plotting area used up ONLY for farming and he plants and harvests like a machine to keep making money and increasing their level in the game. No real buildings, no beautiful structures and no creativity whatsoever.
  • Competitive: Always looking at being at the top position among their friends. Checking on the scores often and trying every possible way to gain XP and lead the game. They are the first ones to be disappointed when Farmville stops levels at a point (currently the max level is 100)
  • Fanatic: Starts the day with the farm, checks on it before sleeping. Spends REAL cash to buy stuff for his farm and often spams his wall and ours by posting things every hour. This person is a farm-fanatic and most likely to have no other job at all!

This behavior might be related to their offline/real life too, would you say? I guess so.

Usually, a farmer belongs to at least one and often is a combination of a few of the above categories. So, what kind of a farmer are you?

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By designer Adam Katz -feat 1500 spray painted plas­tic army men stuck to a New York window

Recently, I have been overwhelmed by people and their emails/blogs/meetings about IDEAS. What they really mean and where this will lead us is a scene in the future and I obviously I have no clue what it looks like. But, for now- I am overloaded, too full with these ideas been thrown my way and too tired to give any of them a fair chance.

Everyone I know has “great projects lined up” and is working on several “great ideas” but I’m hoping that this trend won’t last too long.

If your ideas are born every minute, spoken about in a hundred places and most of them turned into projects, without the “DO or die” effort put into them- they have no reason to succeed. All ideas are good ideas. The ones we call bad ideas are the ones we give up on. And, the most important reason we fail is that we never try enough.

I know a lot of people have told you not to “put all your eggs in one basket”, I beg to differ here- please put them all in one basket! That way you will be able to carry it with ease and take care of it.  Let me share an age old success story with you:

The Battle of Julu

When I first read Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, I stumbled on the fascinating story of General Xiang, a courageous Chinese general from more than 2,000 years ago.

“Who was General Xiang, and what does he have to do with online business,” you ask?

In 207 BC, General Xiang advanced the small Chu army towards Julu to wage war against the huge Qin army. After crossing the river, he had his troops burn the ships and destroy all but 3 days of supplies, which successfully eliminated any chance of retreat.

Since the Chu army of 30,000 was about to fight the Qin Army of 300,000, you might think Xiang was crazy. However, the results tell a different story. Xiang’s army won nine consecutive battles, and then opposing Qin army surrendered.

What happened here? The theory is, since the Chu army had no other option, they had to win and their fighting demonstrated it. In other words, they put all their eggs in one basket and watched that basket.

Business is no different. When you’re getting started, working on several projects sounds good. However, the odds are against you. Many more young people fail at creating a profitable business than succeed. If you want to be one of the few who do succeed, you’ll need that laser focus you develop when you have no other option. So, focus on one project at a time.

My suggestion to all the youth out there giving birth to a new idea every hour and using your energy into a hundred new projects- STOP right now! Take time to think, live slowly because even if there is no tomorrow- you have lived TODAY- fully.

Diversification is great for someone who has already achieved success and has nothing or very little to lose, but not for YOU if you have just started. I suggest you put all of your eggs in one basket and watch it.


Photo credit: Designer Adam Katz’s contribution to Stefan Sagmeister’s long running and brilliant “Things I Have Learned in My Life” project, featuring 1500 spray painted plas­tic army men stuck to a New York window. The best, most disruptive ideas are always a battle.

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Dear expert designer from the first world,
Are we thinking globally but acting locally?

Inspite of myself, I must make this point today- fussing over local production in an era of globalisation and a “boundaryless” economy is a shame! You have to change with the changing times else you will be left far behind. The internet has helped us overcome many limitations and its time to benefit from it.

When the so-called “third world” countries are striving hard to make products that are of international standard and working on our time zones to make our products that we design, why are we shying away from giving them the right to a better livelihood?

As much as you try, you will NEVER succeed from taking work away from them and keeping your manufacturing limited to your own region. Every successful fashion brand has outsourced work to places where they can be made at a much lesser cost. By doing this they have not only helped the worker in those third world countries get a better wage and lifestyle but also helped themselves by being able to mass produce and manufacture a cost-effective product. Collaborate! It can help you grow.

I do find many clothes unreasonably priced. When I call them unreasonable, it’s because manufacturing locally is NO excuse to increase the price of the product. Why should the end user pay for your comfort? If you are so worried (and I’m glad you are) about making a product ethically and can’t find someone to help you reduce the manufacturing cost, in this age of the internet and social media- then TRAVEL to a country that can and get it made. BUT dont expect a consumer to pay for your comfortable life in a developed nation paying high amounts to manufacture goods ONLY because you are not prepared to walk that extra mile to give your buyer a good price!  Surely you wish to be called an ethically priced brand too?

Let me also add here that ETHICAL manufacturing is not an added cost. If a designer is trying to sell you something pricey under the pretext of it being ETHICAL then that is not true! Ethical manufacturing aims at being fair and improving lifestyles of people who can help you improve your prices! Yes, there is an element of trust involved here. You need to take the pain to find out if the place you manufacture your goods is doing business in a fair manner, but that “finding out” is what makes you a responsible seller.

How many people can actually afford only Australian made designer fashion? Why cant we reduce the price of the end product we make and pass a part of the benefit to the end consumer? Why cant we make better profits and help the economy grow by earning a little more?  Why cant we help consumers spend lesser on buying clothes so that they can have money to spend on other things? Isn’t that a better economical scenario?

ONE WORLD, my dear. Its just ONE world we all live in.Treat your neighbour with respect and know that others too are capable of what you are. Quality, quantity and skill. If you doubt it, then teach them. But don’t complain without giving them a chance!

I have heard stories of people calling India/ Indonesia corrupt, China being a “copy-cat” or Bangladesh being unskilled. I only have sympathy for people who can have such racist views. NO COUNTRY can stand stall for being free from any corruption or malice. It is your responsibility to research and source work to the people you can trust and take total responsibility for your judgement.

As a brand owner, I urge you to take that extra pain to do this simple research and if you cant do it, then dont expect the buyer to pay $2000 for something they can easily get for $200. I refuse to wear anything ONLY because it is locally made, I am happy to wear it if its both locally made and rightly priced.

Locally made fashion does not necessarily mean that it is sustainable nor does it help cut any environmental impact, it may however improve the economical situation and the fashion industry here, temporarily. But that is ONLY if you can find buyers who will pay those enormous prices! And if you don’t, you are encouraging wasted manufacture of goods that have a very small market and can never reach out to the masses.

The shift to ethical fashion is ONLY possible when there is no added cost to it. We are all working together to make this shift happen. Are you prepared to trust your third world manufacturer to help you here?

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Everything fell apart, and those parts fell apart again.
Hugo von Hofmannsthal (via credoquia)

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