Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Work on something that matters and learn to love it

I have just finished reading "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch. During a family visit to Disney Land in 1969, Randy and his sister bought a set of ceramic salt and pepper shaker as a gift to their parents with all their savings. As they were leaving the store to take the next ride, the set slipped from his hands and broke. The siblings knew that they should have been more careful, but one of the shoppers who saw this told them to talk to the employees at the store. They did not want to do it at first but then decided to go to the store and explain the situation. To their surprise, they got a new set after they told the store employees what happened. After this event Randy and his family became a true Disney fan. His parents returned to Disney multiple times with their volunteer troupes. Randy himself worked at the Disney Imagineering lab (not only this was his childhood dream, he also wanted to give back to Disney). That small return from Disney eventually earned them almost $100,000 over the years. Randy calls it running a business with heart.

I like this story because it teaches us two things,
1) Be honest and Never Give Up : Most of the times if our life we want to give up easily. But if we are honest and reach out to the right people, we can get a lot in return. Randy and his sister was outright honest with the store employees and they admitted their callousness. They could have just given up and carried on through the rest of the day with a sad face.

2) Companies with vision and heart will sustain: Walt Disney not only had a great imagination but wanted to create a fun place for children and parents. That day in 1969 store employees carried Walt Disney's vision more than anything. Over years, probably that vision has become blurred while managing stockholder expectations. While working for Disney, Randy asked executives whether they still have the same policy as it was in '69, and all he got was a confused look from the executives. However I am sure, Walt Disney's passion, humility and good heart helped the company survive over four decades.

Tim O'reilly's keynote speech at the NY Web 2.0 Expo jives with my second point. His message to all of us was - "While you are working towards your first billion, do something that matters". Something that matters - is a simple sentence yet no so simple when you think about it. What matters in today's world? How can we become global citizens and think about the impacts of our decisions globally and locally? While the companies who already made billions may not care about lot of things, but it creates an opportunity for companies like us to start fresh with game changing ideas, vision and most importantly to something that can change our world for better.

What matters to Code71? We started this company with the vision to make Bangladesh an attractive destination to global outsource market and while doing so motivate, coach, educate and encourage the software engineers to become globally competitive. It is not easy to achieve that. We need to sacrifice our individual goals and greed and work for a greater common good - improving the perception of our country globally. We hope with our talented workforce we will be able to achieve that soon.

Talking about our talents, Syed presented on Agile QA at 2008 Stockholm Scrum gathering. You can download his presentation from our Code71 site. Fattah submitted a Rails plug in to Google Project on behalf of Code71. You can find the project at http://code.google.com/p/picasaonrails/.

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