This blog post is a copy of a short message I sent out to the Zindagi team a few days back. The intent was to encourage my team to venture out, take risks and build things; to not be scared of large challenges that seem daunting at first.
Zindagi is a young team – comprising of bright young minds all looking for the proverbial lever to move the world. I believe it’s my responsibility to groom these minds, by pushing them so they discover their strengths and capabilities, by working on exciting projects and cutting edge technology.
These past months, the Zindagi team executed some fascinating projects:
- Worked on designing the data center and WAN for a large smart city
- Deployed a pan-India IP Video Surveillance system covering around 600 medical colleges.
- Deployed the Data Center and LAN for the head quarters of the entity responsible of handling the unique identification of each Indian.
– I’ve always loved building things, and i’ve always enjoyed fixing broken things.
– For example, I was very young – 3rd standard i think, when i saw an article in a science magazine to make a “Crystal radio” – i just followed the steps using Mica stone, coil and wires hooked on to the faucet and the TV antenna.
Hearing Vividh Bharti on my own battery-less radio gave me so much joy – it’s hard to describe!
– Any gadget, any appliance, any device that my dad used to buy – the first thing i did was to read the installation manual and get the thing to work.
– I used to love opening up the gadgets such as radios and telephones – some, i was able to put back together to it’s original state – some, well – not so much. Mom still winces when recalling memories of me and my screwdriver.
– This curiosity of wanting to see how things work… this sense of wonder of knowing how something is built… the delight of being able to fix something that’s broken.. These feelings are what have driven me towards the direction i’m pursuing in my life.
When I hired you, each one of you – all that i was looking for was this – whether or not you and I share this same sense of wonder. I saw it in each one of you. Please don’t let lack of confidence hold you back!
Team – While I’m sure that it’s a comforting feeling to know that you have a senior member of the team who can help you out – your safety net, your mentor… I request you, rather, i challenge you – get out and try to do your work without that safety net. There’s nothing you can’t do if you put your mind to it. LET GO of the fear that you can’t do the task on your own. Shake yourself out of your comfort zone – don’t take a step back and look for help if you’re entering unchartered territories. Do you think that this team would have existed if I would have decided to stay in MY comfort zone?
“Ships are safer when in the harbour – but that is NOT what the ships are built for!”
All I’m saying is – the feeling you’ll get when you complete the task on your own – is far more comforting than the one you’ll get when you decided to fall back on someone else’s assistance. I’m not saying that you shouldnt reach out to help – but before asking anyone else – Ask yourself – Have you given this your best shot? Could you have done / tried something else? What additional info / knowledge / skill / experience does this other person have that i don’t?
When I was in Cisco TAC, my team members used to ask me – “How is it that you know this technology so much more than we do? Did you go through some additional trainings?”. Honestly, I used to give them the same gruesome and gory example i’m giving you guys here – see the link above – it’s the final scene from the Matrix. See how Neo enters Smith and rips him apart to smithereens! That’s my take at learning technology – RIP IT APART! Know everything there is to know about that topic! Become NEO guys!
Finally, here’s some motivation from my favourite movie franchise at all times. It’s my “27th kilometer clip” – i used to listen to this when i was on the 27th kilometer of a full marathon – when every ounce of my body was telling me that i can’t finish! It still has that effect on me.
Keep moving forward team.. take risks, make mistakes, learn from them – that’s how you’ll evolve as a person! And never ever loose that sense of wonder in anything that you do!
Your very proud colleague,