வணக்கம் / はじめまして / Hello. I am Balakumar Muthu

I am an International Award-winning Entrepreneur, Technologist, received Asia Innovation Award from SingTel, Singapore, Full-stack Designer & Developer building Websites for more than 17+ years, Software Consultant for Japanese Companies, Creative DIY Hacker and a Geek based in Asia. Currently working towards the great mission to make the world a better place to work.

/ Awards, Recognition



Awarded the "Asia's Top 50 Innovation Award” (winner lists) from SingTel, Singapore, Winner of "Red Herring Asia Award" (finalists) for Technology Innovation.

Selected at Google India - Interview as one of the Top 5 Finalist out of 16,000 + people. Created Google Kids – a search engine for kids prototype for demonstrating during my Google India Interview.

First Prize Winner of "Java Master Contest", conducted by Sun Microsystems and BenQ Siemens Germany. Sun Microsystems Duke's Choice Awards” - *** "Hello World(s)!" From Code to Culture: A 10 Year Celebration of Java Technology ***, Book. Sun Microsystems appreciation for testing early versions of Java Platform.

TEDx Fellow and Mentor for NurtureTalent Startup Boot Camp at IIT Madras.

Some of my previous Web products (View 1, View 2) have received a great response from China and Japan. Also ranked as world’s top 50 hosted blogging platform by Alexa.com.

Early contributed member of World Wide Web Consortium (W3.org), W3C HTML 5 Working Group and Internet Society (ISOC) India Chapter.

/ Expertise

I specializes in most aspects of Web business, including strategy, creative, design, development and it's growth. My expertise and interest includes Front-end development, UI/UX Design, Branding, E-commerce, IoT, Software as a service (SaaS), Cloud Computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Big Data, Singularity, AI, User Onboarding, Typography, Developing Social Networking Platforms (SNS), Product Prototyping, SEO and Linux & Open Source Technologies.

/ Interests

I enjoy travel / adventure, photography, rock climbing, simple things — nature, reading. I love Japanese culture, trying different flavor of tea, Zen philosophy, making mistakes & learning from them, DIY hacks, and a die-hard fan of JDrama, Western movies and Comics.

/ Featured at



Me and My works has been featured at ZDNet Asia, Economic Times, Yahoo! Japan, MSN Japan, 100shiki.com, Infoseek, Japan.Internet.com, Livedoor.com, Sina.com, Yangtse.com, Idoican.com, shm.com.cn[pdf] and many other popular Asian publishers. Java.net published my Java Duke Holiday Pictures from 1000's of submission.

/ Writings & Contributions

My blog is Listed as 'Favorite Blog lists at Sun Microsystems' Web Blog in 2005. Blogging since 2002 and listed as the 'Top 10 Tech blogger' by 'Blog Street India' and rated as the 'Top 50 Tech Blogger' by 'Blogs Top List' in 2005 – 2007. My blog posts have also been featured at Google Blogoscoped.com, Netscape.com, Java.net, Webpronews, Planet Mozilla, Linux Toy and few other popular blogs. Made my own blogging site at Yahoo! Geocities as geocities.com/i5bala (screenshots) in early 2002.

Published Usability report on Yahoo! Flickr, MSN Hotmail and Rediff.com.

Wikipedian, contributed for more than 100's of Wikipedia pages in various topics in Computer/Internet Technology category. Contributing writer of DeveloperIQ Magazine on the latest Web Technologies.

Co-organizer of Mozilla Firefox Party India, for the most early release of Firefox 2 and the IdeaCamp Pune. Regular to Tech meetups from BarCamp, BlogCamp, WikiCamp Unconferences to Sun TechDays, BEA Dev2Dev Days, Oracle Developer Forum, Google Developer Days and many other tech conferences. Attended Sessions with David Axmark, CoFounder & VP of MySQL and with Richard Stallman [RMS], GNU Founder Lectures.

Designer of DevCamp India Unconference Official event brand and WikiCamp conference India event brand, participated by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

Being a big supporter of Linux - Ubuntu & Open source movement, organized the "Ubuntu Dapper Drake T-Shirts Contest" to create more awareness and interest for the early versions of Ubuntu Linux.

/ Contact

Personally, you won’t find me on Facebook. To stay in touch or Want to work together? You can text me at: balakumar.muthu@gmail.com



  •           Self-made man

    Self- made man, the statue I greatly admire and the principle I strongly believe. "... left to his own devices, man will use his god-given talents to be creative, productive, and prosperous. Using free will, he will better his own situation and that of those around him, thereby influencing in a positive way his own destiny..."

  •           My Guru Swami 

Vivekananda

    "... get up, and set your shoulder to the wheel-how long is this life for? as you have come into this world, leave some mark behind. otherwise where is the difference between you and the trees and stones? - they too come into existence, decay and die..."
    - Swami Vivekananda


Java Mobile Application Video Contest : Upload your Video in YouTube

image

Sun has launched the Java Mobile Application Video Contest which will be showcased in JavaOne 2007. To enter in the contest we have to create a short [1-3 minute] video to tell everyone in our own words about a new mobile application or service that was created using the Java ME Platform. Whether we created it or not, we can tell others what it does, how it works, why we think it's cool and upload it to YouTube. Prizes include a Ericsson K800 phone, Panasonic Blu-Ray DVD Player, an Amazon.com gift certificate, and PlayStation 3 consoles. The Contest closes on April 27 2007, so hurry up!. >>

iPod Shuffle Now in Five New Colors

image

Apple has just released it's iPod shuffle in five brilliant colors blue, pink, green, orange and the original old silver, which stores upto 240 songs. Apart from colors their isn't much change expect the comfortable Apple earbuds in this release. >>

Topologilinux : Run Linux on Windows

image

Topologilinux is a Free Linux distribution which run on top or inside our
existing windows system. It does not require any partitioning and it uses a single file as linux root system. There is also a grub-based bootmanager so we can boot in real mode, which require windows 2000/XP or higher. >>

Adobe PDF Format Becomes OpenSource

image

Adobe Systems has released it's Portable Document Format[PDF] format specifications to the International Organization for Standardization as part of its ongoing format war with Microsoft and Vista. The announcement comes the day before Microsoft's competing format XPS [XML Paper Specification] ships with the new Windows Vista operating system and Office 2007 software suite. Formally known as Metro, XPS has been described as a "PDF killer" intended to break PDF's decade-long role as the de facto standard for printable documents. Adobe has made a right move at the right time! >>

SoundManager : Javascript Sound for the Web

image

SoundManager is a Javascript Sound API which talks to Flash and effectively mapping most of Flash native sound capabilities to JavaScript. It enables web developers and front-end engineers to programmatically control sound in a cross-browser/platform way, using a language we know. >>

IBM's JAVA 6 SDK Released

image

image

IBM Releases it's Software Development Kit For Java 6. It will allow programmers to take full advantage of a number of new features in Sun's latest update to the Java environment, including enhanced diagnostics information, improved data sharing between Java Virtual Machines, and enhanced operating system trace backs for fault control. >>

Linux Mobile [LiMo] Foundation Launched

image

The Linux Mobile [LiMo] Foundation has been launched last week, which aims to create the world's first globally competitive Linux-based software platform for mobile devices. The firms participating in the launch are Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone. The main goal of the non-profit LiMo Foundation is to trim development costs and speed the spread of the open source software technology for use with handsets and other mobile devices. >>

PimpFish : Downloader for YouTube, MySpace, Flash, Quicktime Files

image

PimpFish is an download manager, site ripper, file sharing tool through which we can easily download videos from Youtube, Google Video, Myspace. With PimpFish, we can save pictures and Flash, Quicktime, Windows Media and other embedded video in a single click to our computer, from any webpage. The extension is available for both IE and Firefox and it's free!. >>

iFIND : MIT's New Location Friendspotting Tool

image


iFIND, a Java-based project developed at the MIT SENSEable City Lab aims to improve social networking location-aware application. Using iFIND, we and our buddies can instantaneously exchange our locations on the MIT campus, talk to users nearby, and microcoordinate more effectively.

image

It puts us on our own map of campus, and not other people's, unless we give them permission. The iFIND project turns every laptop into something like a precise Global Positioning System unit that can spot users down to the room they're sitting in and then share that location with friends and colleagues, without uploading their personal information onto a central network. >>

Forbes 25 Web Celebrities

image

Forbes Magazine have listed down the top 25 biggest, brightest and most influential people on the Internet. From Bloggers to Podcasters to YouTube stars, these are the people who are creating the digital world from the bottom up. The list includes Robert Scoble, Michael Arrington, Om Malik, Glenn Reynolds, Jimmy Wales.>>

Wired Wiki : The Wired Magazine's Wiki

image

image

The Wired Magazine has started an Wiki called as Wired Wiki, through which we can share our vast knowledge with others by editing the big answers to the big questions. Some of the big questions like What’s at Earth's core?, Where did life come from?, What is the universe made of?, and other most useful questions ;) like Why do hot dogs come in packs of 10 while buns come in packs of 8 or 12? are also been answered by Wired editors. Checkout the answers or Change out the answers! >>

What's Running : Find What's Running Inside Your System

image

What's Running is an application that gives us an more in-depth information about what's running inside our Windows system. It allows us to explore processes, services, modules, IP-connections, drivers and much more through a simple to use application. Find out important information such as what modules are involved in a specific process. It's Free for personal use, but carries a 25$ license fee for commercial use. >>

Remember Rings : For Never Forgetting an Anniversary !

image

Remembering your wedding anniversary is now easy with Remember Ring. The Remember Ring uses the Hot Spot technology to deliver a reminder that it's "That time of the year again!". Twenty four hours before your anniversary day, the Hot Spot on the interior surface of your Remember Ring will warm to 120ºF for approximately 10 seconds, and continue to warm up every hour, on the hour, all day long. It will be hot enough to cause discomfort but not hot enough to burn. It converts the heat from our hand into electricity, keeping the battery charged and microchip clock running perpetually. >>

China Internet Population Leaps to 137 Million

image

The number of Internet users in China made its highest recorded jump to reach 137 million at the end of 2006. China's netizens grew by 23.4 percent, year on year the highest jump since the report began in 1997, to reach 10.5 percent of the total population. According to the report the most popular hobby among young people in China is surfing the Internet. >>

21 Firefox Extensions for Fun !

image


Boingle

Boingle is social annotation extension. With the Boingle toolbar for Firefox, we can add our own comments to any web page. The result is a simple, unassuming link left in each page that allows other Boinglers the opportunity to read our comments and add their own. download


PONG! Multiplayer

PONG! Multiplayer is an online Multiplayer gaming extension which we can Play against people from all around the world. It connects to our opponent through the port 10997 and 10998. It also integrated with a full blown chat application. To chat with everyone in the Multiplayer lobby, or just with our opponent while playing a game. We can fully customize color schemes and add sound effects, and the option to disable them. download


Raed Tihs!

Scrambles all text on the current tab's page, but we will still be able to read it. This is a simple demonstration of the theory that letter-order within a word has no impact on readability, beyond the first and last letters. download


Gmail Skins

Gmailskins extension helps us to change the colour/skin of our inbox. It also integrate our google homepage alongside our inbox. This allows you to view weather reports, rss feeds, news headlines, flickr recently added, google calendar module etc from our inbox. download


Tab Effect

Adds 3D tab effects when we move from one tab to another tab. It uses DirectX 8. download


Anchorun

Anchorun is a lazy way to traverse the web. While we are browsing a page, click on the anchorun icon on the toolbar, and look the browser surfing by itself loading a random link from the current page, and then another from the next page. download


PictureThis

PictureThis, pull up pictures of any word or words we highlight on a webpage. A word is worth a thousand images as we will see when we highlight a word or words on a page then use PictureThis to see what Google Images sees. It's a whole new way of adding instant context to the web. download


Splash

Adds a splash screen to most Mozilla. We can upload our images to show in the splash and can also specify the amount of time the splash needs to be shown. download


Full Screen Homestar Runner

Make all of homestarrunner.com cartoons fill our browser window. download


Daily Dilbert

Daily Dilbert, adds little icon to statusbar that popup "Dilbert's strip of the day" if clicked. Preferred language (en,es,de,cz,pl) can be choosen from the context menu. download


Froggr

Froggr is a simple clone of the classic Frogger game. download


Confuscator!

Confuses our text message a tad, by randomizing the letters in the selected words, so that only the first and last letters are kept in place. download


FoxyQuotes

FoxyQuotes, shows our favorite movie quotes. download


AutoBrowse

Enter any search-word and any search-engine [default is google.de] and AutoBrowse will surf the net for us. download


FlickrFox

Browse and search flickr photos in a sidebar. Flickrfox provides an easy way for Flickr group administrators to monitor their group photo pools. download


AutoSlideshow

AutoSlideshow lets us to view slideshows of images of web pages or images linked to from web pages. This is mainly useful for viewing images of a page with no possibility for image browsing. download


Mood Tap

Mood Tap taps the world's mood and displays it in the status bar. Let the world know how we are feeling. It all adds up to a global mood. download


OfficePoltergeist

OfficePoltergeist is a prank extension, which allows us to play spooky sounds, load new web pages, and make windows shake, send popup alert messages, and replace any given word on a web page with another word. download


STOP in the name of love!

It is the brand new replacement for our stop button. Simply install, right click on the stop icon and choose `customize`, drag our old stop button into the window, drag the heart shaped icon out and we will all be loaded up and ready to go! download


QuickChat

QuickChat is an extension that is designed to allow us to chat about anything on any website with the users that are actively browsing that site. download


Bork Bork Bork!

Bork Bork Bork! has the ability to "bork" and/or white list URLs or message senders based on regular expression patterns. It can also be used to completely block undesirable URLs from ever loading within web pages or messages such as images, Flash, applets, scripts, etc. download


Any interesting Firefoxextensions left out ?

--

My Other Popular Posts:


10 Common Words Uttered by Programmers !!

Top 5 Characteristics of Real Developers !

Sproose : Social Search Engine

image

Sproose is an social networking search engine to integrate and convey users search results, so that people can share in enhanced search results and discussions. With its proprietary ‘Knowledge Rank’ user-moderated, fully indexed directory technologies, Sproose users can effectively categorize and index relevant sites, tailored for personal or group use and through collective moderation and scoring, sort through existing sites to assemble the most appropriate results. >>

netOffice : Free Project Management Solution

image

netOffice is a free web based project-management environment, which allows managing and sharing information about teams, projects, tasks, deadlines and much more. It's intuitive interface makes it a fast and optimal solution for medium size companies. >>

Scratch : Kid Programming Toolkit

image

Scratch is a new programmable toolkit that enables kids to create their own games, animated stories, and interactive art works. They can also share their creations with one another over the Net. It's very simple to use and available for free. >>

PikiPimp : Add Fun to Your Photos

image

PikiPimp allows to decorate our picture by adding beards, hats, jewellery, tattoos, wigs. Just upload your picture and get pimped. It’s crazy and more fun. >>

ImageWell : Small and Easy Image Editing Free Tool

image

ImageWell is a small, but powerful image editing application that lets us to quickly resize, crop, watermark, edit our images and then upload them to the web, save to our computer or email them to friends.

image


ImageWell lets us to annotate our images with text, shapes, arrows and lines. It also have features like adding drop shadow, shaped border, flipping or rotate image, taking screen shots, plus layering and transparency controls for images and drawing objects, graphical watermarks, adding talk balloons and much more. It supports images in PNG, JPG, TIFF format. It mostly covers all the most wanted image editing features but still it's small. >>

NTT DoCoMo's New Phones with Touch Panels and Smells

image

image


Japan's top wireless operator NTT DoCoMo unveiled it's new mobile phones featuring a touch sensitive screen like the popular Nintendo DS portable game console and another model that gives off a relaxing scent.

DoCoMo's "D800iDS," made by Mitsubishi Electric Corp, opens up like a clamshell and is equipped with screens on both upper and lower halves, rather than the typical design of one display and a number keypad.

DoCoMo's "SO703i," made by Sony Ericsson with a new "aroma" handset which comes with scented sheets designed to relax the users while making calls. The phone offers nine aroma choices for the consumer, each coupled with a different panel design. >>

Bed Jump : Fun Blog :)

image

If you love the bed jumping on the hotel room bed like me :) than BedJump is just for us. The BedJump is an exclusive blog about jumping on hotel beds, where we can post in our crazy bed jumping photos, videos. It's naughty, it's fun and it’s free. >>

Keylogging Key Reason for Online Identity Theft!

image

According to a new white paper from McAfee Inc's Avert Labs the latest computer and online identity theft trends, and features major increases in keyloggers and phishing scams. It reports that keyloggers increased by 250 percent between January 2004 and May 2006 while phishing alerts tracked by the Anti-Phishing Working Group multiplied 100-fold over the same period of time. So watch out before you entering your sensitive data in an untrusted computers! >>

Java 4K Programming Contest Open

image

The Java Unlimited's annual Java 4K Programming Contest is open. The contest challenges developers to create an new Java SE game which has to be less than 4096 bytes in the final executable and must be entirely self contained, pure Java. It should also use only JRE supplied classes [no JNI] and the deadline is March 1st, 2007. >>

Nokia's Evolution of Mobile Gaming Report

image

Nokia has released an report about the evolution of mobile gaming, based on the interviews conducted in China, United States, Germany, India, Spain, Thailand. According to the report:
  • The mobile phone gamers surveyed are frequently playing mobile games with the vast majority playing at least once a week and 34% playing every day
  • The average length of time spent playing mobile games is 28 minutes
  • Nearly two thirds of the respondents preferred the richer experience of Nokia’s next generation mobile games offering over existing Java 2D and Java 3D games offerings, particularly following game trials
  • The majority would prefer to pay for a full game outright rather than buy a subscription
  • When it comes to getting games, over-the-internet (OTI) distribution is almost as popular as over-the-air (OTA) distribution
  • Multiplayer gaming is a regular part of mobile phone gamers lifestyles with 45% playing multiplayer games on their mobile phones at least once a month
  • 62% would send demos of games they like directly to their friends and 79% would try a demo received from a friendMethodology
Read the full report with valuable information including average length of play, preferred method to find and download games, trial preferences, and more. >>

Radio Frequency Spy Coins !

image
In a U.S. government warning coins with tiny radio frequency transmitters hidden inside were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada. Intelligence and technology experts said such transmitters, if they exist, could be used to surreptitiously track the movements of people carrying the spy coins. >>

Brain Waves Controlled Humanoid Robot!

image

Neural Systems Lab at the University of Washington has created a Humanoid robot, which we can control using brain waves alone. Their Humanoid robot has sophisticated capabilities, for example the ability to pick objects and carry them to a different destination table, also selected by the user via the brain-computer interface. video >>

Schools Should Allow Video Games !

image

David Williamson Shaffer, an education science professor says schools should use games to prepare children to compete in the work force, where juggling technology is a daily requirement. According to him, "the children's should be given the chance to use their innate skills of simultaneously listening to music while playing games, watching videos, surfing the Web and messaging friends from computers or cell phones, while learning about things like biology, history or physics. The Epistemic computer games by David Williamson, help students learn to think like engineers, urban planners, journalists, architects, and other innovative professionals, giving them the tools they need to survive in a changing world. >>

Wikileaks : Wikipedia of Leaked Documents

image

Wikileaks is an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Wikileaks provides simple and straightforward means for anonymous and untraceable leaking of documents. >>

Water Powered Clock!

image

Water Powered Clock is an attractive desktop clock that is powered solely on water or any electrolytic fluid like soda, coffee or even Beer. It will display the time and date in clear easy to read numbers just moments after we fill the liquid reservoirs in the back with the liquid of our choice. The clock's internal converter simply extracts electrons from water or other liquid molecules and provides a steady stream of electrical current acting as a fuel cell to generate power to the clock. >>

Google Beats Microsoft in UK

image
Google has beaten Microsoft as the UK's most popular brand in 2006. Microsoft came second with fellow tech companies Nokia coming fourth and Vodafone tenth in the top 10 of the most popular UK brands for 2006. >>

Hacking Through Life’s Electronic Clutter

image

Drowning in e-mail? Plagued by digital distractions? Gina Trapani, editor of Lifehacker shares her organizing tips and tells us why old-fashioned index cards are still great tools. Checkout her short interesting interview with Newsweek Magazine. >>

Finally Apple Reveals iPhone !

image

After years of speculation, Apple reveals its iPod mobile phone, along with home networking device at Macworld. The iPhone combines three products mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop class email, web browsing, searching, and maps into one small and lightweight handheld device. Cingular, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. will be Apple’s exclusive U.S. carrier partner for Apple’s revolutionary iPhone. Video 1 Video 2 YouTube Video >>

BrainMaps : Digital Brain Atlas

image

BrainMaps is an interactive zoomable high resolution digital brain atlas and virtual microscope that is based on over 12 million megapixels of scanned images of serial sections of both primate and non-primate brains. It is integrated with a high-speed database for querying and retrieving data about brain structure and function over the internet. In addition to web-based tools, BrainMaps has several powerful desktop applications for working with BrainMaps data like StackVis, BrainMaps Analyze, BrainMaps B3D, Nodes 3D. >>

Internet Lie Detector !

image

Have you ever wondered if someone you are chatting with is telling the truth? New lie detector software from BATM subsidiary KishKish of Israel has developed an interface for detecting lies. A user of the Internet lie detector needs to talk for 15 seconds to calibrate his or her voice, then sound waves start to peak if stress levels are high, a light flashes from green to red and a needle jumps to the end of a scale. The inventors claims that the program analyzes the stress levels in speakers voices, rating the level of stress and probable truthfulness on a scale of 1 to 100. The software warns the user when they are being monitored to avoid legal problems. >>

Top 10 Tech Towns

image

Wired Magazine has analyzed cities across the US and listed down the top 10 tech towns. The list is based on the engineering schools, tech jobs, availability of free Wi-Fi and many other factors. The top 10 tech towns are:
  • Seattle
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • Los Angeles
  • Austin
  • Orlando
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Pittsburgh
  • New York City
  • Boston
  • Washington, DC
Checkout the full analyzes. >>

Nokia N76 : Slim Multimedia Phones Released

image

Nokia just releases its new range of N76 slim phones designed to compete with Motorola's Razr. Nokia N76 is as slender as most slim-line models from smaller rivals. It contains a digital music player and 2-megapixel camera that can be operated while the phone is closed using buttons on the outside. The N76 can hold up to 1,500 songs encoded by Nokia's Music Manager software. >>

FREE Tech Books Downloads

image

Techbooksforfree.com links with a great collections of tech books and resources ranging from Linux, Java, C, C++, Microsoft, Perl, Python, Networking, Databases technologies. And all for free!. >>

Google Enterprise Search Engine Upgraded with 2 New Features !

image

Google has announced that two new search features will be added to its Enterprise Search Appliance. One is the Result Hit Clustering feature which clusters or categorizes search result by type of information. For example, if a user selects only the world "customer" for a search the clustering feature might categorize the results by customer support, customer contacts, and customer case studies.

The next feature is dubbed Source Biasing and allows administrators of the search system to provide weighting or bias toward results from a specific part of the network. For example, for larger companies with multiple content management systems, a search administrator might call upon the system to place a newer, more frequently used content management data at the top of the results page. >>

Amazon NowNow

image

Amazon has launched a new mobile service called NowNow, which mobile users can use to find answers to any question via mobile email. When we post a question to NowNow via email, the NowNow workers will surf the web to find the answer for us. It bypasses the need for mobile users to go to the web to find answers to questions as NowNow will send us an email with up to 3 answers to each question we ask. >>

9 Key Factors Behind a Successful Technical Career !!

image


Long back, Bell Labs conducted an interesting study, closely watching the common characteristics among a group of technical professionals who rose to the top. The exercise revealed nine key factors outside just technical competence that differentiated brilliant technical folks from the masses.


Taking Initiative

Taking Initiative is about accepting responsibility above and beyond our stated job. It is about volunteering for additional activities and promoting new ideas. The concept of initiative begins by looking for technical and other opportunities in the organization and volunteering for them. Initiative is also about two other things dealing constructively with criticism and planning for the future.


Cognitive abilities

Concept of cognitive development is about understanding the interplay of technology and trends in how they are getting deployed. It is also about recognizing the business eco-system in which technology works. The importance of consequence thinking is very critical. It asks us to look beyond the immediate deliverable of a task and it is about asking who will be impacted by my work, what is the end state? People in our industry just think in terms of modules and seldom ask where is it going, who is my customer and more importantly – who is my customer’s customer? Cognition is a key faculty that determines how much we are able to read patterns, make sense of things. Refining cognitive skills helps us to go beyond stated needs of our customers to explore unstated needs.


Networking

We tend to think of networking in a social sense. As one grows higher in life, we are often as powerful as is our network. Building a professional network requires us to step out of the comfort zone to look at whom we can learn from. Quite often, and more as one progresses in life, the learning has to come from unusual sources. The interesting thing about benefiting from a network is that it works like a savings bank. We need to deposit in to it before we withdraw. We all have heard about how important internal and external knowledge communities are. Networking opportunities and open many doors.


Leadership

Next to networking is development of leadership skills. Many technical people associate it with “management” and shy away from developing key leadership skills like communication, negotiation, influencing, inter-personal skills, business knowledge, building spokespersonship and so on. Take for instance negotiating as a skill. Imagine that we are an individual professional contributor. Why should we learn to negotiate? Tomorrow, our organization becomes member of a standard body and we have to represent the organization as a technical expert. We will find our self-needing to negotiate with powerful lobbies that represent a competing viewpoint or a rival standard. Unless we have honed our capability alongside our hacking skills, we will be at a complete loss. Yet, we do not discover our negotiating capability one fine morning. We need to work on it from an early stage. Negotiating for internal resources is becoming another critical need. We can choose to remain an individual professional contributor but from time to time, we have to create mind share in the organization where resources are limited and claimants are many. Establishing thought leadership is another key requirement of growth and independent of whether we want to be a technical person or grow to be a manager, we need to develop as a leader who can influence others.


Teamwork

If we ever tried to solve our test paper “collaboratively” it was called copying. We spent all our school and college life fiercely competing to get the engineering school and seat of our choice. Then comes the workplace and we suddenly realize that it is not individual brilliance but collective competence that determines excellence. Collaboration is the most important part of our work life. Along with collaboration come issues of forming, norming, storming, performing stages of team life. Capability to create interdependencies, capability to encourage dialogue and dissension, knowledge sharing become critical to professional existence.


Followership

The best leaders are also great followers. We can be great leaders if we learn and imbibe the values of followership. Everywhere we go there are courses that teach leadership. Nowhere we will find a business school teaching us followership. Yet, when solving complex problems in life, we have to embrace what is called “situational leadership”. We have to be comfortable being led by others and must learn to trust leadership. Many people have issues reporting to a test lead as a developer, or being led by a business analyst or a user interface designer. In different parts of a project life cycle, people of varied competence must lead. We must be comfortable when some one else is under the strobe light and must have the greatness to be led by people younger than us, people with a different background or a point of view.


Perspective

This is the hardest to explain. It begins with appreciating why we are doing what we are doing. Quite often, we find people having a very narrow view of their tasks; many do not see the criticality of their task vis-à-vis a larger goal. So, a tester in a project sees his job as testing code or a module designer’s worldview begins and ends with the module. He does not appreciate the importance of writing meaningful documentation because he thinks it is not his job or does not realize that five years from now, another person will have to maintain it. We have heard about the story of two people who were laying bricks. A passer by asked the first one as to what he was doing. He replied, “I am laying bricks”. He asked the second one. He replied, “I am building a temple”. This story explains what perspective is and how the resultant attitude and approach to work can be vastly different.


Organizational Savvy

As technical people grow up, they often feel unconnected to the larger organization. Some people develop a knack of exploring it, finding spots of influence, tracking changes, creating networks and in the process they learn how to make the organization work for them. The organization is not outside of us. If we know it well, we can get it to work for us when we want. Think of the difference between one Project Manager and another or one technical lead from another. One person always gets the resources he needs, the other one struggle. One person knows who is getting freed from which client engagement and ahead of time blocks the person. Larger the organization, higher is the need to develop organization savvy. It begins with questioning ones knowledge about the larger business dynamic, knowing who does what, tracking the work of other groups, knowing leaders outside of my own sphere and a host of other things. Importantly, it is also about tracking what the competitors of the organization are doing and keeping abreast of directional changes.


Show and Tell

Show and tell is about oral and written communication. Some engineers look down upon the need for communication skills and associate it with people who make up for poor programming prowess. It is the greatest misconception. Think of the best Chief Technology Officers of companies like Sun, Microsoft, Oracle or IBM. Their number one job is evangelizing. If they cannot forcefully present their technologies, nothing else will matter. So, every engineer must pay attention to improving the ability to present in front of people, develop the ability to ask questions and handle objections. In a sense, if we cannot sell the technology we create, it has no value. So, building salespersonship is a key requirement for technical excellence.



--
Based on the presentation made by Subroto Bagchi, Chief Operating Officer of MindTree Consulting. © MindTree Consulting.
--

My Related Posts:

10 Common Words Uttered by Programmers

10 Ways to Find out, Whether You are Suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder [IAD]

11 Simple Steps to Recover From Online Addiction

InfoWorld's 2007 Technology of the Year Awards

image


Infoworld has released the 2007 Technology of the Year Award winners. It selects the best hardware and software of the year in 40 different product categories. >>

iFixit : DIY iPod Repair Help

image

image

Stuck-up with your broken iPod? Got the bad battery blues? Don’t know how to handle the simple internal issues with iPod. ifixit.com is just for us, it guides us with a detailed disassembly instructions that walk us through the process of easily accessing and replacing batteries, hard drives, screens in our iPod. Guides are provided for all the iPod Versions and make sure you handle the instructions with much care! >>

Wired Magazine’s Predictions for 2007

image

Wired Magazine has predicted what are the changes we may be looking at in 2007. Some of it’s predictions are :
  • Google Stock Hits $1,000 per Share.
  • Internet Traffic Doubles to 5,000 petabits per day by the end of 2007.
  • Spam Doubles
  • Second Life Ends a Life, Skullduggery in Second Life -- probably digital adultery -- ends in a real-life murder.
  • Year o' the Laptop, Half of all new computers sold in 2007 will be laptops and 20 percent of those will be Apple's MacBooks.
Checkout it’s other preditions. >>