Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Encounter with Houseflies...

I happen to have a meeting in Penang and had to be in the Juru area. I was surprised to be greeted with lot of houseflies around the area where I had gone for meeting.. I was surprised.. to see so many flies suddenly after so long....

I was sharing with my colleague who was with me... that we use to be greeted with such type of situation while in Pune.. during the time when the palkhi ( march done by people for the saints in maharashtra - during the month of July/August) was carried across the major cities in Maharashtra. Due to the conditions which prevailed during this time, rains, humid climate and people moving around without proper cleanliness etc. house flies was a major problem encountered by the people in these cities.. this was followed with people contracting conjunctivitis, flu etc.. as a result of all this..

Well i just hope these flies in Penang don't cause havoc.. and create another nuisance.

here are some of the pictures.. i took while returning in the evening.. not such an exciting day.. i would say... the day just came and went by..

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How do we shape the future of our kids...!!

Quite a serious question... i guess.. and it is...

We had a party few weeks back at one of our friends place for birthday of our kids.. we had some new families join us in the party and these families had kids who were as such around 6-7 years of age...

The whole time we were there it was mess with the kids not able to gel with each other... everyone is trying to be the boss/leader and nobody wants to be a follower....kids.. now days are not afraid of their parents - did I see afraid.. yes.. well i remember during my time, we were super afraid of our father and one sound from him let us stand where we were....

the kids nowdays are smarter.. and don't want to be directed even by their parents.. we had another character in one of the kids.. apparently a girl and she was the worst amongst all.. she was spitting on the other kids.. violent.. with others and not willing to be a part of the group..

I wonder what this generation will be like when they grow up - selfish, boasting, self engrossed.. egotist..and will this be helpful as a whole to build a better society.. no I don't think so...

Why do you think this is happening.. parents getting too busy with their work.. and routines.. they are fighting to earn a living and make life comfortable for thier family... but end of the day i think  the time... quality time not spent with their kids.. is making the kids.. mentally strained... to get into activities.. which don't seem to be rational.... at all...

in my opinion.. now days.. the early years - infant to about 8-9 years are very critical to indulge the kids into activities which will make the kids accountable and also learn to live in the society in a very conducive way, which can then make things easy for the parents as well when these kids grow up and start bearing their responsibilities...

Sounds very complicated.. well it is not.. what the parents have to do is to make some quality time available from their busy schedules.. and talk to their kids.. and communicate more often... i think this is where the ask becomes tough and one has to then look at doing activities like going for classes with them for thier hobby classes or doign homework with them... keeping an eye on their friend circle... and also what do they watch on TV and internet...

Do you have any suggestions.. please do share them... and let it be an eye opener.. on this aspect...

We all know that the kids are going to be the future & if we don't shape their future properly - how will they make the future better for themselves and their fellow beings..
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Revisiting Simple Mushroom Sauce..

I had published blog on Simple-Mushroom-Sauce in August of 2008.. and this has been the largest hit page on my blog..

The only flip side to this post is that lot of people do view the page but hardly any have left feedback after they have made the sauce... :( well hope people do give some encouragement..

I made the sauce today and my both sons gave a double thumbs up to the sauce.. well the younger one was pouncing to have a nibble at the pasta which had the sauce on it....

Happy cooking...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Vegetarian - Eggless cakes in Kuala Lumpur

Eggless Cakes, Vegetarian Baking, Vege Food, Egg Free Products Vege Cakes and Vege Confectioneries / Vege Cakes, Its for ALL

Yes you are reading it correct.... 

We had our son's birthday a few weeks back and we were celebrating his birthday with another friend of his who is vegetarian and needed us to buy Eggless cake.

We searched over the internet and came across - http://binaaz.com/v2/

The cake below is one of the latest we ordered for our 2nd son's who is turning 6 months today.. isn't it wonderful.... well not just by the looks but the taste is really awesome and worth trying for even for the non-vegies.. who might prefer egg cakes...as a change......

Monday, September 12, 2011

Indian Government totally online(Most Useful)

Indian Government totally online 

All Indian government office related links are available... . Kindly save it...... 


*   Birth Certificate <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=1>
*   Caste Certificate <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=4>
*   Tribe Certificate <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=8>
*   Domicile Certificate <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=5>
*   Driving Licence <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi..php? service=6>
*   Marriage Certificate <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=3>
*   Death Certificate <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=2>
*   Search More - How do I <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ advancedsearch. php

Apply for:

*   PAN Card <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=15>
*   TAN Card <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=3>
*   Ration Card <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=7>
*   Passport <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=2>
*   Inclusion of name in the Electoral Rolls <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=10>
*   Search More - How do I <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ advancedsearch. php


*   Land/Property <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=9>
*   Vehicle <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=13>
*   With State Employment Exchange <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ howdoi.php? service=12>
*   As Employer <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=17>
*   Company <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=19>
*   .IN Domain <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=18>
GOV.IN Domain <http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=25>
*   Search More - How do I <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ advancedsearch. php


*   Waiting list status for Central Government Housing <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=9>
*   Status of Stolen Vehicles <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=1>
*   Land Records <
http://www.india. gov.in/landrecor ds/index. php>
*   Causelist of Indian Courts <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=7>
*   Court Judgements (JUDIS ) <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=24>
*   Daily Court Orders/Case Status <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=21>
*   Acts of Indian Parliament <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=13>
*   Exam Results <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=16>
*   Speed Post Status <
http://www.india. gov..in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=10>
*   Agricultural Market Prices Online <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=6>
*   Search More - How do I <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ advancedsearch. php


*   Train Tickets Online <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=5>
*   Air Tickets Online <
http://www.india. gov..in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=4>
*   Income Tax Returns <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=12>
*   Complaint with Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=14
         Search More - How do I <http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ advancedsearch. php

Contribute to:

*   Prime Minister's Relief Fund <
http://www..india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=11>
*   Search More - How do I <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ advancedsearch. php


*   Send Letters Electronically <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ otherservice_ details.php? service=20>
*   Search More - How do I <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ advancedsearch. php

Recently Added Online Services

*   Tamil Nadu: Online application of marriage certificate for persons having registered their marriages <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2691>
*   Tamil Nadu: Online District wise soil Details of Tamil Nadu <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2693>
*   Tamil Nadu: View Water shed Atlas of Tamil Nadu <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2694>
*   Tamil Nadu: E-Pension District Treasury Tirunelveli <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2695>
*   Meghalaya: Search Electoral Roll Online by Name (2008) <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2697>
*   Meghalaya: Search Electoral Roll Online by EPIC number (2008) <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2698>
*   Meghalaya: Search Electoral Roll Online by House number (2008) <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2699>
*   Himachal Pradesh: Revised Pay and Arrears Calculator-Fifth Pay <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2702>
*   Meghalaya: Search Electoral Roll Online by Part number (2008) <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2700>
*   Andhra Pradesh: Online Motor Driving School Information <
http://www.india. gov.in/howdo/ onlineservice_ detail.php? service=2705  
Global Navigation 

*   Citizens <
http://www.india. gov.in/citizen. php>
*   Business (External website that opens in a new window) <
http://business. gov.in/>
*   Overseas <
http://www.india. gov.in/overseas. php>
*   Government <
http://www.india. gov.in/govt. php>
*   Know India <
http://www.india. gov.in/knowindia .php>
*   Sectors <
http://www.india. gov.in/sector. php>
*   Directories <
http://www.india. gov.in/directori es.php>
*   Documents <
http://www.india. gov.in/documents .php>
*   Forms <
http://www.india. gov.in/forms/ forms.php>
*   Acts <
http://www.india. gov.in/govt/ acts.php>
*   Rules <
http://www.india. gov.in/govt/ rules.php>
*   Schemes <
http://www.india. gov.in/govt/ schemes.php>
*   Tenders <
http://www.india. gov.in/tenders. php>
*   Home <
http://www.india. gov.in/default. php>
*   About the Portal <
http://www.india. gov.in/aboutthep ortal.php>
*   Site Map <
http://www.india. gov.in/sitemap. php>
*   Link to Us <
http://www.india. gov.in/linktous. php>
*   Suggest to a Friend <
http://www.india. gov.in/suggest/ suggest.php>
*   Help <
http://www.india. gov.in/help. php>
*   Terms of Use <
http://www.india. gov.in/termscond tions.php>
*   Feedback <
http://www.india. gov.in/feedback. php>
*   Contact Us <
http://www.india. gov.in/contactus .php>
*   Accessibility Statement <
http://www.india. gov.in/accessibi litystatement. php>

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Qualities Essential for an Effective Sales Person

I found this very interesting and thought provoking article on: 

Everyone has come across a sales person at some point or the other and might have wondered how these sales people manage to convert a new prospect into a loyal customer. Sales is an important function and a sales person plays a key role in bringing revenues to the organization. In doing so, sales people always exhibit a number of exceptional qualities and characteristics but they may not always be aware of what really needs to be focused on and improved.
A sales job is a tough task because it involves a lot of skills. Apart from having thorough knowledge about their products and services, sales person need to focus on other qualities too. These qualities differentiate them from the other sales people.
Let’s look at the qualities necessary for any good salesperson to start laying down the foundation for his/her success.
  • Only a good listener can be a good sales person. Good listening will help the sales person to find out the customer’s needs and wants and make an appropriate sale. This quality of a sales person also brings a change in customers’ behavior resulting in a good relationship. Listening constitutes 40% of a good salesman’s qualities.
  • Besides being a good listener, a sales person should also possess the ability tocommunicate. Selling is always a two-way communication process and the success of a sales person depends on his presentation skills. He/she should possess a controlled voice and a good command over the language. He/she should be clear of what he/she wants to communicate to his/her client or customer. This skill is very important if you are learning how to be an effective sales person.
  • A sales person needs to be persistent and have a positive attitude. He/she should have the attitude of never giving up something easily. He/she should understand that a sales job is not an easy task and be prepared for it. The world is changing at an ever increasing pace and sales people in order to meet their goals should be open-minded to accept these changes and keep learning.
  • A sales person should be a sincere and honest personHe should not cheat the customer for his own benefit or just to make a sale. He should always try to understand the customer’s requirements and give him the best. This quality of a sales person can help him to establish a good relationship with the prospect, which will draw the prospect to become the customer. A good sales person is one who does not hide any truth that can prove detrimental to his customers.
  • A person can become a good sales person if he possesses a high level of ego drive. Ego drive is the measurement of how fast you can recover after getting rejected. It is just a part of the job of a salesperson. Good salespeople cannot afford to think that they should be liked by everyone. They should have the ability to learn from their mistakes and move on quickly from failures.
  • Selling is an art and it requires a sales person to be energetic and enthusiastic. Sometimes, it helps if he/she is be a fun-loving person and a little entertaining. Because the ultimate aim of any sales person is to make a sale, people with this kind of quality can easily gain the prospect’s attention.
  • A sales person should have a lot of patience to succeedAs a part of his work, a sales person will have to explain the entire process or product to a prospect and end it with a placement of the order. He should be pleasant and patient while taking a prospect through all these stages. A person can never be an effective sales person if he doesn’t have the patience for it.
Does every sales person possess all these qualities? Not likely. But it is very important to know what is needed and what one should work on – to identify one’s weaknesses and develop them into strengths. Every situation a sales person comes across needs a different kind of approach to win. The list of desired qualities stated here can just be a check list that may be useful to review your own skill-set.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fast Takeaways

Another learning mail from Robin Sharma

Here are some of the fast takeaways from this trip across multiple time zones:

1. Every moment in front of another human being is an OPPORTUNITY to express your highest values and best self.

2. No matter where you go, people treat you the way you treat them.

3. No work is unimportant work. Even the most seemingly insignificant job is a chance to show us your creativity and make a contribution.

4. "Perfect Moments" can happen in the least likely of places.

5. Mastery Matters.

6. If you're not lifting others up, you're bringing others down.

7. This time is the BEST time for each of us to show our leadership+virtuosity+humanity.

8. We each have the responsibility to Lead Without a Title and do our part to build a better world through world-class work and stepping into our best selves.

Keep Leading Without A Title.

Robin Sharma 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

From A School Principal's speech at a graduation...Good one !!

From A School Principal's speech at a graduation...Good one !!

He said "Doctor wants his child to become a doctor......... Engineer wants his child to become engineer...... Businessman wants his ward to become CEO..... BUT a teacher also wants his child to become one of them..!!!! Nobody wants to become a teacher BY CHOICE" ....Very sad but that's the truth.....!!! The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life. One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?" To stress his point he said to another guest; "You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?" Teacher Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...) "Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner. I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't make them sit for 5 min. without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental. You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table) I make kids wonder. I make them question. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions. I teach them how to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn't everything. I make them read, read, read. I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator. I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English while preserving their unique cultural identity. I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe. Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life ( Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.) Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN ALL YOUR LIVES,EDUCATING KIDS AND PREPARING THEM TO BECOME CEO's ,AND DOCTORS AND ENGINEERS.......... What do you make Mr. CEO? His jaw dropped; he went silent. 
THIS IS WORTH SENDING TO EVERY TEACHER & CEO, EVERY PERSON YOU KNOW. Even all personal teachers like mother, father, brother, sister, coach and spiritual leader/teacher.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Slow Down Culture...

One of email messages that came as forwarded message….

For all of us who think we don't have enough time to do things we like, cause of our hectic schedule!!
 An interesting reflection:  Slow Down Culture

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalized processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think? Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!"

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalized world. 

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vacancies - Creative department - Pune India

The following vacancies are available in the Creative department with one of my friends firm in Pune, India. Please refer your friends and acquaintances.

For more details you can visit: www.auryn.com
Mid level UI designer- 1 nos
  • You will have to create designs that match the taste and trends of each specific brief given, at the same time provide creative design solutions to many of the projects as a part of the creative team.
  • Innovatively design User Interface for Ipad apps, mobile applications, design icons, buttons and templates, layouts of the apps, cover page of apps and storyboard design.
  • Graduate or PG in fine arts, Commercial Arts/ Applied Arts, not mandatory if you have very good design and visualization skills with great esthetical sense.
  • Extensive and hands on experience in Corel, Illustrator, Photoshop, Flash.
  • 2- 4 years experience working in similar role, exposure to working on international projects will be an added advantage.
  • Experience of working on projects in content & design development for I pad Apps, Mobile user interface, e-learning and any other interactive software applications will be preferred.
  • Knowledge of 2d and 3d animation is an added advantage.
  • Ability to work closely with creative team, understand the user requirements and provide effective solutions.
  • Ensure very high quality output as per international standards and work under tight deadlines.
  • Should be well versed with the latest trends in e learning, web & graphic media and efficient in using popular tools to create designs.
  • Think creatively and crystallize requirements and ideas into exceptional and effective designs
  • Good communication skill is a must.
  • Somebody who loves the excitement of being innovative rather than following directions, and is constantly innovating to create stunning interfaces which defines high level of usability.

QB artists- 2 nos
Job description:
  • You will have to create designs that match the taste and trends of each specific brief given, at the same time provide creative design solutions to many of the projects as a part of the creative team.
  • Produce Innovative graphic designs for Ipad apps and mobile applications.
  • Produce photoshop related work such as cutting, pasting, colouring and stamping in extreme level of details.

  • BA in Graphic Design, Advertising, Art, or Communication Design preferred
  • Extreme level of Photoshop skill is a must.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with knowledge of design and presentation software packages such as Illustrator, Flash, Corel Draw etc.
  • 2- 3 years experience working in similar role, exposure to working on international projects will be an added advantage.
  • Excellent color sense and visualization skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Knowledge of 2d and 3d animation is an added advantage.
  • Ability to work under tight timelines
  • Initiative and the ability to maintain a high level of productivity with minimal supervision.

Mid Level Animator- 1 nos
Job description:
  • You will be working in a company who is being constantly producing high level apps for I-pad. It will require animation in 2d classical, flash, Photoshop, 3d and sometimes in some other media depending on the creative decision.
  • Should have skills to draw key poses and in betweens for classical animation in small clips, for I pad apps and mobile applications.
  • Guide the coloring team throughout the production and work side by side the animation director of the project.
  • Ensure very high quality output as per international standards and work under tight deadlines.
  • You will have the opportunity to be flexible and work in various animation mediums like 2d classical, 3d, flash and Photoshop.
  • Degree, diploma specialized in 2d classical animation with knowledge of 3d.
  • 2- 3 years of experience working in similar role, exposure to working on I-pad and mobile applications will be an extra advantage.
  • Ability to adapt and work on the various medium like 3d preferably in Maya, 2d frame by frame, or any other media like Flash, can animate even in Photoshop.
  • Should have good artistic skills like illustration and painting either in digital or paper.
  • High level Knowledge in Photoshop is a must.
  • Good Communication Skills and a Team player.
  • Very much consistent in productivity and delivery.

3D Generalist – 3 No.s
Job Description
  • Should be able to basic level modeling and rigging
  • Competent in creating high quality textures
  • Reasonable ability in 3D Animation, 2D animation and cutout animation
  • Ability to composite scenes.
  • Understand the requirements of the creative team and provide technical solutions
  • Ability to adapt into new production techniques without a big learning curve and share the workload with the team leads.

  • Dip/degree in fine/commercial art
  • 2 plus years’ experience preferably in similar small studio were people are generally multi-task
  • Good knowledge in maya, photshop, Adobe AE
  • Some experience in animation/rigging is an advantage.
    Working knowledge in Adobe premier and soundforge
  • Good communication skills
  • Proactive, good team player

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Friday, July 1, 2011


This is a nice summary of the issues with corporate meetings.
Unfortunately, too many corporate meetings don’t go this well. Often, they are a complete waste of time. But the good news is that they can be substantially improved by observing a few simple rules. Here is my list of seven rules for more effective meetings.
  1. Establish hard edges. Good meetings start and end on time. When you start late, you inadvertently penalize the punctual and reward the tardy. This only make the problem worse rather than better. People get “trained” to come late because they know nothing significant will happen until well after the announced start time.
    When you finish late, you also frustrate participants. People are busy. Meetings that finish late cascade into other meetings which must then also start late. Instead, we have to be as disciplined about our ending times as our beginning times. It’s amazing how much you can cover if you know you absolutely must finish on time.
  2. Create an agenda. I don’t think any meeting should proceed without an agenda. If it’s not important enough to create a written agenda, then it’s not important enough to attend. Leaders must set the example here.
    They need to think about the topics to be covered and how the meeting should flow. I always like to start the meeting with a review of the minutes from the previous meeting (more about this in a minute). I like to end every meeting with two items: a review of the agreed-upon action items and setting—or confirming—the date for the next meeting. Agendas should always be circulated in advance of the meeting, so that people know what to expect and how to prepare.
  3. State the desired outcome. If you are the leader, it is important to know exactly what outcome you want from the meeting. If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you have arrived?
    I would suggest that you state the desired outcome in the meeting invitation and then re-state it as you begin the meeting. For example, “the purpose of our meeting is to report on the results of our latest market research and give you a chance to ask questions.” Or “the purpose of our meeting is to evaluate prospective titles for Don Miller’s new book and determine which one we are going to recommend to the author.” Or “the purpose of or meeting is review the company’s Q3 operating results and provide a progress report on our five strategic initiatives.”
    By stating the outcome, the participants can work together to achieve it and keep the meeting from wandering off-track.
  4. Review the minutes and action items. The first thing I do in any meeting is to review the minutes and action items from the previous meeting. This gives the participants context and gives those that were absent an opportunity to get up-to-speed.
    You also want to get a progress report on each action item from the person responsible for it. If you make a habit of always doing this, people will soon learn that you expect them to complete their assignments. If they have to give an account in front of their peers, so much the better. This may give them the added “incentive” to complete their assignments, so that they are not embarrassed in front of their colleagues.
  5. Take written minutes. Someone should take minutes, even if the meeting only has two participants. However, detailed notes that chronicle the discussion as it unfolds are usually—in fact, almost always—unnecessary. In most meetings, recording the key decisions and action items are sufficient.
    You want to document decisions, so there is no misunderstanding later. You want to document action items, so that you can hold people accountable and track progress. Beyond that, you’re probably just engaging in busy work. You should distribute minutes as soon after the meeting as possible, so that participants can review the key items while they are fresh in their memory as well as review what is expected of them.
  6. Clarify action items. At the end of the meeting, the person recording the minutes should read off the action items. It is particularly important that these be stated in a specific format.
    • Start each action item with a verb. For example, “Review Milford contract with the agent” or “Call Jim and get latest turnover figures.”
    • Specify the deliverable. What exactly do you expect the person completing the action to do. It must be an observable behavior with a specific end-point. It may be a phone call, a written report, or a presentation. It should not be a process.
    • Assign a single owner to each action. No action should have more than one owner. You want one person to blame if the action isn’t completed.
    • Agree on a due date. Get a commitment from the person responsible. Be realistic but put it in writing. This is a commitment and should be treated as such.
  7. Determine the next meeting date. This is easy to do when everyone is together. Everyone should be encouraged to bring their calendar to the meeting (or their iPad, iPhone, or Blackberry).
    If the meeting disperses without setting the next date, it makes it that much harder to schedule the next meeting. Take advantage of everyone being in one place to get this settled. It’s one less thing you have to do later.
Improving the quality of meetings takes work. Every once in a while we need to step back from the meeting itself and ask, “How can we make our time together more productive?” We need to be honest. Meetings consume a lot of resources. The more efficient they are, the better the return on our investment.

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