Young Self, Sans Mono, Robots and CEOs
Issue No 35
Hello, welcome to the 35th issue of the weekly newsletter. This newsletter is about books and articles I have found useful, rumours I have heard (sometimes) and thought I should share them with you.
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The Big Idea: Individualisation
We are like everyone in some respects. We are like a handful of people in some matters. We are like no one else in some matters.
In my book Dreamers and Unicorns, I have written about the age of individualisation. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will gather millions of data points and make sense of what makes each one unique. The Industrial Revolution kicked off the era of mass production. That is where it started.
STAGE 1 - MASS PRODUCTION: First there was mass production. The products were made out of the same cookie cutter. The products were indistinguishable.
STAGE 2 - CUSTOMISATION: Then came the phase of customisation - something that was mass produced was created for a demographic segment eg clothes for the working woman. Market Research made it possible to divide the consumer into demographic segments.
In case of customisation, the difference is mass-produced. Eg there are thousands of bottles of shampoo (even a variant like shampoo for dry hair) made every day by the factory. The variants of your favourite toothpaste are produced for millions, or the model of the phone you have bought. Customisation is for broad chunks of demographic segments eg men/ women, left handed/right handed people etc.
STAGE 3 - PERSONALISATION: The laptop assembly process is a great example of personalisation. You can choose the memory, the size of the screen, the processor speed, the storage capacity etc and ‘assemble’ your personalised laptop. The end result is a laptop or computer that is personalised for you. The components you choose from are mass produced. The final laptop may have a configuration that relatively fewer people own.
STAGE 4 - INDIVIDUALISATION: This is the world we are entering in. Competitive advantage will come from being able to do individualisation. Individualisation is the art of creating a product designed for one. Even an identical twin does not share the specific elements that go into personalisation.
But wait… didn’t personalisation exist before Mass Production? It did, but now that personalisation can create designs with many more data points that are gathered through connected devices, 3D printing technology can create the truly individualised product that we adore. But that is not the only place where individualisation will make a difference.
Individualisation in Education
Application of Individualisation is critical, especially in the way we view learning. Today all subjects in schools have the same amount of time allocated. Private tuition is the way in which we create individualisation. One student who needs 50 extra hours to understand Algebra may need two extra hours to understand the chapter on chemical reactions.
Adult learning is no different. Corporate learning and development teams are still creating programs by corporate levels and hierarchy eg programs for “middle managers” or “senior leaders” - much like the shampoo variant! Learning is one of the biggest opportunities we have, to create individualisation of learning paths.
Here is the visual that explains it.
Where else can we use the idea of Individualisation?
The connected CEO
Yes. Absolutely yes! Career transition and personal branding on social media is one of the most popular offerings of my firm. I help people manage career transitions and then get discovered by helping them get discovered on social media.
Mass media has so far been one person communicating their ideas to the masses. You can read (newspapers) or hear (the radio) or watch (television) and learn what someone says; but you cannot engage with it.
Social media is all about building platforms for two-way communication. In WFA (Work from Anywhere) setting, connecting with the employees in an authentic manner is important. That’s what the smartphone lets you do.
The world is changing. According to Pew Research
While around nine-in-ten or more South Koreans, Israelis and Dutch people own smartphones, ownership rates are closer to six-in-ten in other developed nations like Poland, Russia and Greece. In emerging economies, too, smartphone ownership rates vary substantially, from highs of 60% in South Africa and Brazil to just around four-in-ten in Indonesia, Kenya and Nigeria. Among the surveyed countries, ownership is lowest in India, where only 24% report having a smartphone.
The world is connected. Your employees are on social media. That is how customers learn about your products and services. Read more
By a more than 5 to 1 ratio, employees prefer to work for a CEO who uses digital and social media.
60% of employees considering joining a company will research a CEO’s social media account.
Social media, simply by the kind of content it lends itself to, has a way of injecting warmth and humanity. That’s a critical ingredient of engagement—and leadership. We want to know who leaders are before we trust what they say, let alone connect with their agenda. The CEOs have to move with the times.
Why do you think CEOs are so reluctant to be on social media?
PS: I have been trying to learn about the social media platform called Clubhouse. If you are there, give me a shout.
What would you tell your younger self?
Wisdom is something we gain long after we have made the mistakes and reflected on it. But there is a way to become wise by listening to the experience of others. That is what I had.
Gautam Chainani, is the President Human Resource of JSW Group, the power and steel conglomerate. He was telling me about 4 pieces of advice that he gives to people who are starting their career at JSW. Here are the four ideas for you to mull over:
Build financial stability first: It creates a sense of freedom to make choices on your own terms. Your hand is not forced by options others make for you. Learn about securing your financial future.
Invest in your health: Several years back, on his birthday, Gautam’s mother gifted him yoga lessons for a year. That habit of spending 45 minutes doing yoga, that he started years back, continues even today.
Be kind and respectful to people who may depend on you today: It is easy to be arrogant when you are climbing up the ladder of success. Being kind and respectful towards others can work wonders.
Don’t let your ego come in the way of an opportunity: Don’t walk away from an opportunity just because it hurts your ego. Don’t look away from an opportunity because it is not “worthy” of your ‘status’. In short, don’t let your qualifications or experience prevent you from doing a job because you believe it is beneath you.
Here is a visual summary
What is the one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
How to proof read your resume
Getting a resume with typos can lower your chances of getting shortlisted if the recruiter has a lot of choice. Use a proof-reader’s trick to make your resume typo-free.
Select the entire text in the document you want to proof read and replace it with DP Sans Mono font. <Download the font from here> Once you finish proof-reading the document, replace the font back to what you had used.
Question: Should you use colour on your resume? <read and find out>
Forced labour by ‘artificial servants’
Fiction imagines while science brings imagination to life. Robots are taking over as digital interactions are increasing. $10 trillion will be invested in US alone in the next 10 years. But the inspiration for robots came from fiction. Karel Capek’s play “R.U.R.” (“Rossum’s Universal Robots”), which had its premiere in Prague on January 25th 1921. Capek created one of the first fully imagined “artificial servants equipped not only with brawn but a facsimile of a brain”. He thought of robots as factory-assembled slaves. The word “robot” is derived from an old Czech word for forced labour performed by serfs.
5. What do Millennials want from their career?
What is a growth hacker? Why do millennials change jobs so often? I spoke to Tanya Singh who has worked at Freshworks, Cars24, Zomato, HT Media, InvestIndia and a few other places. Could there be some reason behind the ‘frequent’ job changes? Could it be that Millennials view time differently? This video will tell you why
Watch the interview where the millennial Tanya Singh, a trained Bharat Natyam dancer describes the time when she lost a leg in an accident. How did she overcome that trauma and get back again on track?
The Apeejay Kolkata Lit Fest 2021
It was a surreal experience to join the Kolkata Lit fest. I was sharing space with columnist Tamal Bandyopadhyay (you may have read his columns on Banking). I learned that he is actually a student of literature and writes really erudite columns about financial systems. A special mention to Avik Chanda who was moderating the session. He had actually read Tamal’s book and mine as is evident in his questions.
Live chat 27 Jan 2021 7pm IST
Theme: How do people reinvent themselves
Su-Yen Wong serves as a director of several public, private, and not-for-profit organisations headquartered in Asia, Australia, and the United States. She is a board and C-suite advisor, keynote speaker on the future of work, and professor of global leadership.
She has spoken to 30 people who have reinvented themselves multiple times. There is a road map? Here are some questions we will explore
The triggers. How do you know it is time to reinvent?
Discovering your future calling
Seeking help. How to decide who can help?
Steps to reinvent.
If you have questions, please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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