innovation, Life, Transformation

Disagreeableness #Day 14

100% (2)

Five personality traits make up an individuals personality, which is used by Five Factor Model (FFM) and the Global Factors of Personality. These are…


The last one is of particular interest and the antonym of the word is the subject of today post, Disagreeableness. I came across this today in Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast: Revisionist. Malcolm Gladwell’s 12 Rules for Life. Of the 8-9 episodes, I was attracted to this one because of it’s catchy headline. In blog space, such headlines would be the most apt.

The description further reads…

Crucial life lessons from the end of hockey games, Idris Elba, and some Wall Street guys with a lot of time on their hands.

It is one of the most entertaining podcasts that you would hear, if you like to discover few uncommon truths. The flow of the podcast would absorb you completely and is elegantly produced.

Mr. Gladwell has only one rule in his life, and this is being disagreeable.

Ironically, I couldn’t agree more. Being agreeable is a social norm, promotes a great bond between the members. This makes the team. The more agreeable you are, the more you will make decision which is universally liked and beneficial for everyone. You would not like to upset anyone or be in a position to be disliked. An agreeable personality type is more likely to seek approval from peers and therefore there is harmony in the universe.

On the other hand, disagreeableness is not a common desired personality traits. The definition of the word reads, the quality of being disagreeable and unpleasant. No wants to be disagreeable, as it amounts to not being social and in human resources context not a team player. In a number of instances, I have taken a decision in my life towards a certain action, not because it was be right to so do, but because it was more socially acceptable to do so. And this act of agreeableness limits us to exploit our our true potential.

According to Mr. Gladwell, “Being disagreeable is not matter of temperament, but a function of choice.” This is a continuation of his thoughts, through which he has been breaking help notions through his books- David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. He finds that agreeable people hinder innovation because they are more likely to take action that would make them comply, likes and therefore conform. They’re too afraid to disrupt the social norms because they value an atmosphere of camaraderie and acceptance. An agreeable will never challenges the status quo. Unfortunately, all the rules, laws etc ensure that we conform and follow. Therefore mould is hard to break.

Whereas, the disagreeable would set new standards, trying to find what is best according to them, rather than looking for conformity. Mr. Gladwell further build his point by narrating research paper and movie storyline, where the behavior was contrary to rational and the right thing to do.

We should be disagreeable and cherish being one because in certain time of our life when we need it the most, we should be in a position to exercise it.

I’m reminded of the closing lines in the movie “Sanju”, based on the life of Indian actor, Sanjay Dutt, and his father Sunil Dutt advise to him “Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, Logon Ka Kaam hain Kehena.”

You got to do, what you got to do. Which is by the way, the most difficult thing to do.

Picture & layout courtesy:



innovation, Life, Transformation

Specificity – II #Day 7

Rise & Grind (2)

Specificity has been knocking my subconscious since discovered it in a podcast. It has stuck to my thoughts like a morsel stuck between my teeth. I decided, one post is not enough.

I cannot help categorizing Specificity as a behavior rather than a narrative style. As humans, we tend to look for a simpler rendition of the universe, best represented in two dimensional format as Gaussian bell curve. The universe sits where the bell is, our representation of reality. However, there are few who only exist on the either side of the bell curve. They also represent reality, but have got lost in the average. They are the outliers, the exceptions and don’t conform to the norm. In real life, such outlier are rare. They are masters and experts and have helped widen the definition of our perceptions. Quite certainly, the journey for such souls won’t have started to discover the “Interestingness” of their subject of choice. For these the “interestingness” is the outcome of the journey. The journey that would have taken time, sacrifice and passion, resulting in the mastery of the craft.

By no means, I’m implying sensationalism. I do hate sensationalism and I find it to be a byproduct of consumeristic, media hogging world. Where everything and anything is vying for attention, so that it can be sold, else it would be shelved. The winner outshouts the competition, seduces the consumer and rules the stock market. It is quite a winning formula and secret to domination of the bell curve. This is where the large majority resides, breathes and gets pampered, compared. No less than the crafty headlines of Times of India or Mr. Arnab Goswami emotional rants (it connects with the voice of the nation) or TV Channel Aaj tak, which has a lion share of the eyeballs. They all have reinvented Specificity of different kind. They all believe in departing from what is the norm. Specificity would come naturally to them.

Specificity is opened new perspectives, to be critical and appreciate the point of view. Like a child, who would play with the Lego brick the same way every time, in this new phase, I have been reading as if it were my second book of the favorite mystery series. Just like my daughter would look forward to open the box, appreciating everything about it from the sound of Legos coming crashing down to the brilliance of color of the brick, reading for me now is an act of deep attention, with single minded focus on each written word.

It is taking me longer to read these day.

I have got at least one feedback that I have become slow; I have been thinking aloud. Determined to discover Specificity, I am, like cubism, breaking the thoughts, putting each of its parts in every possible dimension. My position is uncomfortable, because I always believed in the finiteness of time. And then there is pleasure to explore the terrain that you resists the most. Like explore a new place without a map, where each step is a milestone, where everything is new and everything is unprecedented. There are no qualms even if the whole thought starts to breakdown. I discovered that this is the most efficient use of time.

Stillness is beautiful.

This is the first week of 66 day ordeal and good part is that not a single day has been missed. Therefore today I reach my countdown in fifties.

Photo and layout courtesy:

innovation, Life, Transformation

Specificity #Day 6

Rise & Grind (1)

I don’t like being alone, especially in a car, every morning when I’m driving to work or travel to new places. I would fill up with the empty spaces of time with music. Familiar tunes, would rewind few memories or the app algorithm would make you discover the new ones. And as I would get closer to my destination, I won’t feel the emptiness of traveling alone. Rather I would be in car for longer, waiting for the song to get over before stepping out and continue humming as I walk.

That was past. About 5 years ago. What a waste of time it was, in reflection.

I discovered “Automobile Industry” during one of these drives. Thanks to Siri and Carplay, which make the navigation of the content easier. I figured out a number of people had become masters of their favourite subject just be devoting time during the time they were in the car. For them, listening to these podcasts was same as attending lecture in their university days.

Consider the following statistics and it should be able to graduate in your subject of choice.

The average drive time in the car in a day is about 2 hours. A subject in college would mandate close to 3 hours per week. With an average of 14 weeks in a semester, You would have taken a total of 42 hours. 

Therefore, if you are diligent, you can complete one semester of your favourite subject in 21 days. However Maths never decides the outcome, behaviour does. I decided that day to make use of my “Me” time in car and put it to use to make my networth look better.

Goodbye radio and welcome podcasts. My mornings never go dull without them.

Adam Grant’s Ted talks is of a special interest. Mr. Grant takes a very special spin on the subjects and I admire his opinions in the area of work psychology. He and Mr. Malcolm Gladwell talk about creativity in one of the podcasts, where he and Mr. Gladwell  touched upon Specificity. 

If I were to represent the universe, while we are absorbing more and more content, we are discerning lesser and lesser. Our attention span is only about 5 secs on average for a piece of content, which makes it more diffcult to differentiate the content. What then sparks creativity? 

Mr. Gladwell says, “Specificity is something I’ve become increasingly interested in as a trait of interestingness. That all the interesting people I know are people whose speech and thinking have a great deal of specificity to it.”

He further states, “Quality of being specific and being able to illustrate your larger points with that kind of precision is the quality of what makes something interesting. Ever since I’ve come to understand this, that has informed the way I look for ideas.” And this point stayed with me to the point that I wanted everyone to take notice. Even though it means repeating the words verbatim, there is a merit in repeating. The idea of Specificity is profound.

And from the same podcast flashes another moment of brilliance, which is Mr. Grants perspective. He says, “Ideas survive, not because they’re true, but because they’re interesting.” and adds, “What makes an idea interesting is when it departs from conventional wisdom.” And makes you think, “Well I knew about it all along, but it is kind of opposite of what I have thought of.” 

It is an engaging discussion, free flow of ideas, spontaniety, chemistry and humor. I do understand the notion of being interesting and unconventional, but the idea of Specificity is new. I’m intrigued and contemplating to try it as a habit because it is very contrary to my normal self. It means slowing down, putting in details and gather more prespectives.

I wish every new thing you want to try comes easy as your second nature. This is not interesting part of this trial.

Image and layout courtsey:



Budgeting, Google, innovation, kaizen, Marketing innovation, Milward Brown, Product development, Worlds best brands

The Rule of 70-20-10

According to Milward Brown, the ranking of Most Valuable Brand in 2008 is as under.

1. Google…. 86,057 Mln$
2. GE (General Electric)… 71,379 Mln$
3. Microsoft… 70,887 Mln$
4. Coca Cola… 58,208 Mln$
5. China Mobile… 57,225 MLn$
6. IBM… 55,335 Mln$
7. Apple… 55,206 Mln$
8. McDonalds… 49,499 Mln$
9. Nokia… 43,975 Mln$
10. Marlboro… 37,324 Mln$

(Courtesy Milward Brown Optimor Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Brands Ranking 2008)

It is indeed surprising to find Google at the top, a brand with almost 0$ advertising. One other striking things about the world’s most valuable brand is that very few of them are FMCGs, which dominate the traditional mass media and advertising, known as the most potent way to create brands. The inclusions in this list are Coca Cola, McDs & Marlboro. Differences aside, Google is still on top, with a growth of 30% over last year.

Google’s promise to adhere to the promise of “providing world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is uncompromising. Google’s growth was led by word of mouth and recommendation. In a research, 44 percent of internet users bonded with Google and 73% agreed that it returned the most relevant information. In comparison to Yahoo, which was recommended by 21% , Google was recommended by 43% to others. What is again more interesting is that the growth was contributed by almost 0$ advertising. Google’s young, innovative and playful image is it’s most cutting edge advantage over competition. So, you might be thinking that this is another article on Google story and accolades and blah blah.

Well, that was not the idea of this article, but to introduce the concept of Kaizen, the Japanese word which connotes continuous improvement in work place. In the fast paced world of bottomlines and quarter ends, such concepts are hard to find. However, Google incidentally has been always been able to push the limits by continuous and consistently improved products and innovative new products. In addition to providing relevant and more accurate search results, Google has introduced e-mail, Piccasa (Photo-sharing application), online documents and other tools. Google in incidentally world’s no.4 in the list of best places to work.

It comes to the point again that the company culture is the first step to create a long term brand equity and word of mouth.

So, you might say sounds interesting and is a technology or a R&D concept. And there is also the fear that only one in 10 new products are a success. It has always been a great challenge for Marketers, where should one focus their energies.

In addition to the customary answer, “It depends…” there is a science to go about it, which I first came across in the book- What Sticks by Briggs and Stuart, and is called 70-20-10 solution. In his talk to MSN, Eric Schmidt shared the classic Silicon valley mix 70-20-10 and therefore its implication for marketers…

70% of budget/resources should go into marketing strategy that are proven to work and you know will work, supporting existing the product/line of business

20% of their time in extending their existing product for “sustaining” innovation. That is, figure out whether there are opportunities to better the ROIs.

10% on “wild skunk-work” ideas for new products or disruptive innovation.

Well, it is this 20+10 percent that will give an edge with the competition. Doesn’t require huge energies, but consistent effort and persistent vision. Some said- Common sense is not that common. In our effort to streamline bottomline and target pressure, we tend to forget the obvious.

Business battle is not fought in the design labs but the market place and consumer’s mind. Those marketers who are able to learn and innovate, learn faster and deploy the intelligence more effectively have more chances to win. Devote, say one week in a month for disruptive innovation, to get under the skin of the consumer. Cajole him/her, tickle them; drive engagement. Or the other choice is to cross your finger and wait for the miracle to happen.

I think, the former is a better bet.