Posts Categorized: Personal


And we turn three today

Happy Bday Green Apple SolutionsNo matter how neatly it has been segregated into seconds, minutes, hours, days; time is still a relative phenomenon. It flies fast if you are doing something you like and crawls if the company is not right. Today we have completed three years of our existence as Green Apple Solutions. To start with a cliché, it seems like yesterday that I had quit my job to prepare for CAT (yeah). But maybe MBA was not meant to be. Even before appearing for the test I had formed a special bond with my colleagues from my first and last job- Naveen and Lakshdeep which was based on a single common factor – that we will never be able to realize our full potential if we keep working under someone else. We were all rebellious, in a way and wanted to be recognized for the awesome work that we did (anonymously till then). And this is how Green Apple Solutions was born. How we reached the name is a story for some other time. Maybe the universe wanted this as well. We quickly gained our initial clients (btw they still are working with us. Yes we are that good). Since then we have grown a lot, moved 2 offices, worked with many amazing clients. Every day is a challenge and every challenge is worth the effort. The journey has been made even more enjoyable by my hardcore awesome partners. Naveen is like a sea of calm and a superman of sorts. There is nothing under the sun which, in my opinion, he cannot do. He is super hardworking and he never says no. Lakshdeep is super energetic and a crazy go-getter. He is always up for almost all shenanigans I want to pull. He is a great conversationalist and an awesome speaker. At this point I am really not sure what I bring to the table but there 2 gentlemen bring enough metal to the fights. Simply stating you cannot find better partners. I am also very happy that we have been lucky enough to have worked with some very talented people. We are more of an extended family than a usual company. We would not have been where we are today without the hard work of all these extraordinary colleagues.

I am sincerely grateful to our parents who not only approved of our crazy ideas but have been with us in the thick and thin of it. No problem was ever a major problem as there were so many people to bear the burden. Thank you mom and dad (also uncle and aunty) for all your love and support. We are nothing but dirt without you.

A special shout out to all our friends. You are amazing people who have always been with us to encourage us, accept us, praise us and help us. Thanks a lot for all the references that you have given us and are going to give.

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Why I like to google my name

[caption id=”attachment_367” align=”alignleft” width=”300”]Google Search Akhil Gupta Google Search Akhil Gupta[/caption]

I am sure all of us have at one point or the other googled ourselves. Most of them are just curious as to see what they will find. I for one do it very frequently. And no i am not in love with myself. Well I am but that is not the point. The whole reason of doing this is do a reality check of where I stand in this world. Some might call it unfortunate but there are some very successful “Akhil Gupta”s in this world. Real life leader of men. Whenever I do a check it makes me realize that there is a long way to go before I make a mark on this world. Let me just point out a few Akhil Guptas that have really made their name and I consider my real competition

Akhil Gupta (born 1959) is an Indian-American anthropologist whose research has focused on the anthropology of the state and of development, as well as on postcolonialism. He is currently Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a widely published anthropologist who is often cited for his essay, “Beyond ‘Culture’: Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference.”

Akhil K. Gupta is a Senior Managing Director and Chairman of Blackstone India and is based in Mumbai. Since joining Blackstone in 2005, Mr. Gupta’s primary role has been to manage private equity transactions in India.

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Religion of a Word

Bhagat SinghToday we posted a Happy Birthday Shaheed Bhagat Singh creative on the Facebook wall of one of the brands that we manage. The general response was extremely great and the post was liked and shared a lot. There were a few comments as well, one of which made me think and has led to me writing this post. The comment was “Plz don’t mind shaheed only muslim hote hai”. (Translation: Only Muslims become “Shaheed”). Shaheed is an Urdu word which means Martyr. If you are not aware of who Bhagat Singh was, I have linked his name to the relevant Wikipedia article. I request you that you must read about this great son of India who gave his life so that I am free today to write, say, do anything I want in free India.

The person who posted this comment belonged to the Muslim community. But that is irrelevant. For us he was a troll. Since as a policy we monitor all our pages for comments and activities very actively so that we can respond to queries and grievances timely we were able mark the comment as spam and hide it from others and avoid any kind of religion based debate / trolling from starting.

But this one comment made me think that even today among us there are people who want to claim a word to be owned by a religion. I don’t mean anything disrespect to Islam or any religion for that matter but it is baffling to see that people are not willing to explore even their own religions properly. I have a very limited knowledge of Islam and have not read the Quran (yet!) but I am sure it does not prohibit others from using words that are related to them. As a matter of fact no religion claims any language or any word. If all religions were defined by the language the followers spoke then the geographical boundaries of the world would have been very different. In India there is a change of language every 5 kilometers. Moreover claiming and restricting use of language would be bad marketing for any religion. If you want to propagate and get new followers, language would be the first step of adoption. You first get them using your words, and then introduce them to your ideas and finally they come to you. This is how I think most of the religions spread. Even on the practical front, India is the largest multilingual entity in the world and it is simply not possible for us to use strictly one language. Mughals ruled us for many decades and the influence of Urdu in day-to-day Hindi is bound to happen.

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Why I dont listen to Stairway to Heaven

Let me start b saying that I love “Stairway to Heaven”. It is hard to not love it. I love it so much that I avoid listening to it. It might sound strange and I have a perfectly good explanation for that. Stairway to Heaven is an 8 min long song which I am perfectly OK with. I don’t even dislike the fact that it starts of slow, because the gradual change in tempo is a major part of its greatness. The only issue I have is that if I listen to it, I have to listen to it 6 times (or more). I am physically incapable of listening to this song less than 6 times in one go. Why? Here it goes.

First time I listen to the song because, well, I wanted to listen to it

Second time to appreciate the simple yet so deep lyrics that Jimmy Page and Robert Plant wrote. When they say it, it really does make me wonder. I try not to be swayed by the music in this turn and concentrate only on the lyrics.

Third time just to listen to Plants vocals. You just have to do that, try to zone out the music and listen to him sing.

Fourth time to wonder how Page and John Paul Jones pull of such an amazing transition from low to high tempo. It leaves me awestruck every single time.

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Between a friend and a boss

I love my employees. Every single one of them. The relationship I share with them is more than a common employee – employer relationship. We take lunches together and talk about almost everything outside of work. We are friends. And yet there are times when I am reminded that being a boss is hard. In the previous post I had provided a section about being friendly with your colleagues (I dislike the word employees) and what should be the extent of the friendship. But like most of the aspects of human nature, things are easier said than done. When working in a small team where you get to have a lot of interaction with each of your colleague objectivity is bound to take a hit when it comes to playing the role of the boss. Your personal relationship with them sometimes stops you from reprimanding them for a mistake or confronting them for a delay. You are cautious that you don’t act too harsh in the fear that it might change their behavior towards you and they might stop considering you a friend. Though you are correct to be afraid of this but sometimes it leads to over extending yourself. These are the tough times when you are sitting with them to discuss an issue and yet you are constantly weighing your words just because you can’t be objective and that clouds your judgment. As I mentioned in the earlier post as well, the best way to avoid this is to have clarity in your own mind about what the extent of your friendship with your colleagues is going to be. From what experience I have these are a few pointers that help me in making such decisions and bring clarity.

Always remember that your professional engagement is the core of this relationship. You might have become best friends but it started with you hiring them some time in the past. At the time of hiring both the parties entered into an agreement about their duties and responsibilities. Are those duties and responsibilities still honored? Are your colleagues working up to your expectations that were set when signing the employment/appraisal/increment contract. If not it is seriously time to keep the friendship aside and take a look at it with complete objectivity.

This is something that I call a swap test. When in a sticky situation try to see if you would have reacted the same way if it was any of your employees at the other end. If yes then you are in the safe but if it turns out that your behavior for same actions was different for different colleagues you need to assess your relationship. Partiality is an instant team killer and that is something you do not want.

It’s for their good only. If you have a colleague who is not performing up to the mark or is slacking and you hold yourself back just because of your friendship you are actually doing them harm. You need to realize that growth is a mutual factor. Either both of you will grow or no one will and for that to happen it’s important that all the kinks in the chain are removed. They need to know the areas of improvement and where they need to really buckle down.

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Lessons of the 26th year of life

I turned 26 last Thursday. I am usually not fan of big celebrations but what I do do is assess the last year and the lessons it gave. In the past these assessments were usually mental notes or notes on rough paper but this time I decided to document them properly so that I have a reference point for the next year. Obviously this idea of documenting is derived from my entrepreneurial experience. :)

Never Drink and Drive: This is shameful. I usually pride myself on the fact that I learn from the mistakes made by others and yet it took a personal experience for me to truly realize this. It happened early last year and at the risk of sounding dramatic – it was a life changer. Maybe it was just not my time to go or my parents’ good karma the only damage that came out of the experience was a totalled car. I am just happy that no one was hurt. Experiences like this are completely avoidable and I strongly ask you to learn from my lesson and never mix drinking and driving. Ever.

Fair warning: a lot of points that will follow may seem to derive or refer to this experience. It sounds very dramatic when people say that one incidence changes the way they see life but that actually happens. Happened to me.

Express: It is important that people know what you feel. Even though I am still a very private person one thing I have realized is that expressing yourself helps. It’s important that the people who you love, care about and think of know that. It would be the best if they realized or saw that on their own but I recommend that you do not waste time waiting for that to happen. There might be no tomorrow and then they will never know. Also as for the negative feelings like anger and jealousy – it makes sense to let them out as well because such feelings degrade you from inside when bottled up.

Love: The verb. I know this is abstract. Yet. It is a wonderful feeling to love. Love someone or love something. Love what you do. And then go back to the previous point and express that love. It is a very strong emotion and if used properly can make you very powerful.

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