Wordless Thursday – How Many Hours Does it Take to Become an Expert?

Jack of all is something that I usually aspire to be that’s because of the old saying 10000 hours to become an expert. It usually is the case, it’s true that one needs to spend a lot of time on a particular profession before becoming good with it. Someone once asked the question is it true you need to spend 10000 hours for any field to become an expert. Well I think its varied and so do these guys from Udemy.

Wordless Thursday – What is a stock ?

The stock market has been on the spot light for the past few years. People who have not been into stocks are also interestingly looking into the stock market and how they can either make  money or just to know how their companies are holding up. But a lot of people don’t understand stocks or even have an idea about stocks. So here is this week’s info graphic attempting to help you learn and know about stocks. The absolute basic of what is a stock is here.

Wordless thursday is this blogs attempt at highlighting and bringing forth new and interesting infographics to light. Enjoy this week’s infographic.

Wordless Thursday – How to get a job with Apple / Google

Hi all its Thursday again, and its time for Wordless Thursday. And in this time of recession it is clear that the only companies that are apparently hiring are the companies who are in tech. Apple and Google along with Facebook might be the 3 largest firms hiring people. SO how do you land a job with these awesome work places and work cultures. There’s an infographic for that !!

Wordless Thursday is an attempt on this blog to bring about some of the creative and interesting info graphics to the readers of the blog.

Tech Job
Created by: Masters Degree

Is Facebook struggling to keep up with its competitors?

Facebook has been implemented a number of changes to its services in the past few months. And with the growing popularity of social media services like Twitter and Google+, it begs the question of whether the social networking giant feels the need to establish a new edge among its competitors. Some people even question whether Facebook is copying its competitors to some extent.  Let’s investigate some of Facebook’s recent changes and see how they compare to features on other social media services.

Facebook Messenger

One of the more ponderous additions to Facebook’s networking arsenal, the Facebook Messenger mobile app joins the ranks of countless other messaging services offered for smartphones as an alternative to traditional texting. The application is especially curious considering Facebook’s chat capabilities for the regular Facebook mobile app. While this app doesn’t directly compete with Twitter or Google+ (unless you count Google’s GChat), it certainly signals a move from Facebook to expand beyond the typical boundaries on the social networking website.

Improved Friend’s List

Facebook recently announced a retooled version of the Friend’s list on a user’s Facebook page. Although users have had the ability to create lists, before it was a laborious task rarely used by people on Facebook. Now Facebook has “smart lists” that automatically categorize your friends and family based on your shared data. You can choose to share information with people on your lists while keeping it from your other contacts—that way embarrassing pictures of you don’t make it to your Facebooking family members. The smart lists also help determine what information you see on your newsfeed, phasing out information from users who you’re more unfamiliar with. While this is an undeniably helpful feature for Facebook users, whether you’re tired of over sharing your information or seeing too much information from mere acquaintances, it feels an awful lot like Google+’s “circles” feature. Some people see the smart lists as a too-little-too-late move from Facebook, but its success with users has yet to be determined.

Subscribe Feature

Another recent announcement from Facebook unveiled a new “subscribe” feature. If a Facebook user allows to do so in their privacy settings, you can choose to follow them by clicking a subscribe button next to their profile. This way you can receive updates from a Facebook user without having to formally “friend” them, the idea being that you can subscribe to the profile’s of individuals who might not otherwise friend you. What’s more, you can alter a subscription to only notify you of worthwhile updates: uploaded pictures yes, status updates no, and so on. People have compared this new item to Twitter’s “following” feature, and while they’re similar, so too are numerous other features on other websites that allow you to follow or subscribe to web content.

Conclusion

Facebook’s changes could be read as copycat maneuvers taken from its competitors, but I think that the company is just trying to keep up with the rampant change in social media. Messaging and subscribing, it’s all an effort to stay relevant. Facebook isn’t in any danger of going out of business soon, its users still well exceed those of Twitter and Google+ combined—so any claims that they are being outmatched by competitors are premature at best. Like it or not, Facebook (and its recent changes) are here to stay.

This Post is a Guest Post by Mariana Ashley. Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com. If you would like to contribute to the Inquisitive Minds, please write to us at me@melvinpereira.com

Inquisitive Interviews : Simmy Mathew – Auditor

Hi all we are back this week again with Inquisitive Interviews, yes it’s not been on for a couple of weeks, and I am to blame completely. However, this week we are back with something inquisitive for you guys to look at. The profile that we will cover today is that of an Auditor. Yes Auditors, the very same people that can give a shiver to many. If at all you wondered what they do and why people seem to be scared of them, well here are probably some answers.

For the uninitiated, Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

 

[Q] Tell Us something about yourself (Things like Name, how many years you have been working and anything else you would like to add.)

 I am known as ‘Simmy Mathew’.

Lived in Dubai for the last 14 years and counting….

Work has been part of my life since the last 7 years.

[Q] What do you Do for a living and Where?

I work as an auditor for Ernst and Young, Dubai

[Q] Is the job what you had expected it to be?

Yes, and maybe a little more…I always wanted to be an auditor and I still remember when I was 16, telling my aunt that I wanted to be an auditor and work in the Big4.So, yes! I am living my dream! 😀

[Q] Is the salary what you had expected it to be?

Yes, I started off at the junior level and it was what I expected.

[Q] What is your average day like?

Well, being an auditor means you are never in office but at the clients – auditing their books.  So an average day is working in a team and trying to achieve deadlines. It varies – depending on the industry you are working in, the size of the entity you are auditing…They are times that I am at a client for months and they are times I am at the client for one-two weeks…. and no two days are the same.

 I work with different sets of people , which is a challenge in itself .

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job?

The exposure that I get is high and the learning curve is great. ..But I think the most interesting part of the job is multitasking – applying what you learned in different types of industry and getting your work done, supervising your junior staff work, being proactive and planning ahead.

[Q] What’s the most challenging part of your job?

People ….i guess in a country like UAE – you meet different types of people  – different upbringing, different cultures, different nationalities….so working with them…can be a challenge but I love challenges and embrace  them with open arms.

[Q] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like?

Actually nothing……Sometimes it can get monotonous hence maintaining a right mix of work is important.

[Q] Do you get bored at your workplace at all?

I have to say I don’t have time to get bored……so the answer to that would be no!

[Q] Do you report to someone? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job?

Yes, I do but that varies…it could be a senior/asst manager/ manager.  Basically they are there to review your work and sort out any issues you have while auditing .

[Q] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college? or where did you pick up the skills ?

well, I have to say what I studied in college as my degree was a bachelors in accounting and Finance definitely helped….Also. ACCA had been an added plus point on the growth path.

 Also, at Ernst & young, if you join as a graduate – they have the graduate development program which ensures you are up-to-date with the Ernst & Young methodology and the latest developments in the accounting world. So there are enough training to develop your career at Ernst & Young.

[Q] What are your Alumni? Where did you study?

School              : Our Own English High School, Dubai

University         : Middlesex University, Dubai campus

Currently pursuing my ACCA

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry?

Yes, I would. But it requires a little effort and being able to manage a lot of work in time pressure situations.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry?

Plan ahead. I f you are an university student and want to try a career, decide where you want to get in and plan how you are going to go about it. Have a roadmap to where  you want to go …and that will help you plan your direction.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers?

Love what you do…no matter what industry you are …then work is all fun…otherwise all work and no play will definitely make Jack a dull boy! 😀

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession?

ACCA website : http://www.accaglobal.com/ 

IAS plus : http://www.iasplus.com/

You can get in touch with Simmy on Facebook at here profile here: http://www.facebook.com/simmy.mathew

If at all you wondered what Auditors do, I hope this would have given you a better idea. Thank you Simmy for an insight into the world of the Auditors, hope you guys the readers are more aware of the work of Auditors. Until next time, Be Inquisitive.

Wordless Thursday – Crafting the perfect Resume

Resume writing is critical throughout your professional life. Resumes open the door to an education, a job, and a lifestyle. While in the past a simple paper resume did the trick, with the messy job market and fast growing technological resources resumes definitely need a sprucing. The slow growth of the job market and the large numbers of graduates makes for a very sticky situation. Of the hundreds of applications, how does an employer choose just one? If your resume doesn’t sparkle, you may just get left in the dust.

Wordless Thursday is this blog’s attempt at bringing interesting infographic to all of you. Hope you have likes them, and like always be Inquisitive.

Wordless Thursday – Sitting is killing you

Wordless Thursday is back this week, and with it is a warning note. Sitting down in killing you, well when I say you I mean all of us. Here are the effects of sitting down a lot. I remember everyone anyone passes away, there is a comparison made about the person used to not drink, not smoke and still he died young. Well this graphic should explain and help know better of why those guys maybe passed away.

Wordless Thursday is an attempt of the Inquisitive Minds to bring the most interesting Infographics from around the world to light. Each week on Thursday we feature interesting and inquisitive Infographics that at the very least make you think about the life around you.

Inquisitive Interviews : Kishor Raj – Senior Planner

Inquisitive Interviews is back, and this time it is an engineer, I know that a lot of you will be saying that it was not part of the plan to introduce many engineer’s and doctors. However, I have decided to do so, as this is a very specialist role. Kishor is a Senior Planner. Engineering is just the base on which his profession is based on. Keeping that in mind, I think we should go ahead and have the chat with Kishor on life, job and career.

For the uninitiated, Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[Q] Tell Us something about yourself (Things like Name, how many years you have been working and anything else you would like to add.)

My name is Kishor. I’m a civil engineer with over 9 years of work experience in the construction industry both within and outside India. I’m an entrepreneur as well, involved with the start-up of a few companies back in India.

[Q] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

I’m working at present as a Senior Planner with one of the leading construction companies in U.A.E.

[Q] Is the job what you had expected it to be ?

Not really. I didn’t have much of an expectation about a dream job.  My career got shifted to planning due to an unexpected event when I was working in India. But now, I do enjoy my job.

[Q] Is the salary what you had expected it to be ?

As I said earlier, I didn’t have any expectation about what I should earn at any point of time in future. I believe that my present salary is enough for me to sustain my present life style.

[Q] What is your average day like ?

Every single day in my life starts with a prayer. I spend most of the time in front of my computer. Most of my working hours are consumed by meeting deadlines and attending meetings with subcontractors and management.  Sometimes, I spend hours studying project drawings and specifications. I may have to visit construction sites at times.

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

The most interesting part is the brainstorming sessions with the management on how to execute upcoming projects. As a planner, I’m the one to advise the management about the various methods of project execution.

[Q] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

The most important job of a planner is to develop a construction program. For starters, a construction program is a detailed description of construction activities sequenced the way it should actually be carried out at site. Planners use software such as Primavera or MS Project to develop such programs. The challenging part in my job is to visualize the project from the two dimensional drawings and description available, and come up with an economic and time saving plan. A minute unaccounted detail can sometimes result in a huge loss for the company.

[Q] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Explaining the logic of the program and convincing the management about its feasibility is the part which I find to be most difficult to deal with.

[Q] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Repetitive type of work is a big boredom for me.

[Q] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Yes, I report to the tendering contracts manager. As for me, everything about my job depends on him.

[Q] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Obviously not. But I think, the knowledge we acquired during our academic years always play a role in every point of work. I have to undergo various project management trainings to sharpen my skills.

 [Q] What’s your Alumni? Where did you study ??

 My pre-university was done in SB College, Changanassery in Kerala, India.

 Engineering was done in M.S. Bidve Engineering College, Latur, Maharashtra, India.

Currently, I secured an admission for MBA in Hult International Business School in Dubai campus.

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Sure. I suggest that civil engineering graduates should start thinking of any type of specialization when they are in still in college. Having a good logical mind is very much essential to become a successful planner. I believe a left dominant brain is more suitable for a planner.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Getting a good site experience is essential for all specialization. Even if you plan to specialize in any particular civil engineering job, my advice is to gain around 5 years hardcore site experience before you start moving into office.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

For civil engineers, while you are studying, it is advisable to visit some construction sites whenever possible. Civil engineering is a blue collar job. So, you should be prepared to deal with the dust and dirt at the site after graduating.  Getting some exposure to daily job activities at construction site can help you to get used to this reality.

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

www.planningplanet.com

www.oracle.com/primavera

You can check out Kishor’s Facebook profiles and other contact information below where you can get in touch with him.

Facebook Profile    http://www.facebook.com/kishoru

Linked in : http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=71816506

Not a man of many words, however Kishor has a really interesting job. I did not really get into the entrepreneurship of Kishor this time, maybe another time, for information in the mean time Kishor has his hands full on an online website in India, and a few other ventures like a hospital and construction. Yes it is something we will get back on, in the mean time, keep reading and be Inquisitive.

Inquisitive Interviews : Vishal & Samir Bharadwaj – Graphic Designers (Freelance)

Another Sunday and I am proud to present another Inquisitive Interview for this week. Usually though I try to get the interview on  a single person. This week however we have 2 brothers at the interview together. I did think of splitting it, but somehow reading it over and over I thought I enjoyed it as being read together. Both are friends I have made in Dubai and I should tell you that I am more than happy to have got in touch with them for the interview. Right through to the end of the interview there are links to their blogs and personal and professional websites which do carry some really interesting posts in them, they are definitely worth a read as well. Witty, creative and awesomely interesting with the conversations, this is a must read even if you have been skipping on the previous interviews.

For the uninitiated, Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[Q] Tell Us something about yourself (Things like Name, how many years you have been working and anything else you would like to add.)

Vishal: I’m Vishal Bharadwaj, but not that famous guy who makes those movies. I’ve been working since 2003 when I finally wrenched myself away from the clutches of Academia with most of my vital organs intact.

Samir: I’m Samir Bharadwaj, and I’m Vishal Bharadawaj’s brother. No, not the famous guy, the lesser know Academia wrestler. It’s sometimes difficult to make the distinction between when I wasn’t working and when I was, but I’d say since 1998 or so in various freelance capacities.

[Q] What do you Do for a living and Where ?

Vishal: I’m a graphic designer, mostly web & identity design, with a healthy side of illustration. I work from home, which means that, yes, I do not have to dress up and go to work. Pants, in fact, are optional.

Samir: Graphic Design is the official version of what I do, but it does vary from web design to more traditional print design, to illustration and even writing when the need arises. Generally, design covers all of it. I also wear pants, most of the time. I leave the well ventilated artistry to my esteemed colleague.

[Q] Is the job what you had expected it to be ?

Vishal: This is a hard question to answer since I rarely think of it as a job, more a craft that I sometimes use to make me money. I could say yes, because the kind of actual work I do and the skillset I bring to it is entirely what I envisioned using my brain & hands for. I could say no, because (at least initially) I thought I’d be doing the majority of my creative work for other people in a strict client-designer setup, rather than today, where most of the truly creative work I do is for myself, and the client work is just what pays the bills.

Samir: There’s an initial idealism which comes with getting into any field of work, especially in creative fields, when you imagine you will have the complete freedom to do what you want and produce the best work. You imagine you will not need to compromise with clients and other human creatures who don’t always know better but still have a say. Thankfully, I didn’t really have that phase of idealism, because I had my first client experience almost before I was doing any major projects for learning. It’s a useful lesson to learn. However, I’ve gained my idealism at a later date to make up, and am now more selective about what and who I will work with. It’s a choice to be made, to either do what you imagine doing or do what is required. What is required is always far from ideal, but it is easier.

[Q] Is the salary what you had expected it to be ?

Vishal: There’s a SALARY? Samir, you never told me!

Samir: I neither confirm nor deny the existence of a salary! Unless I’m asked by the authorities, in which case I’m paying myself handsomely and have a wonderful boss. Vishal is a CEO, you know? This is why he makes the big sacrifices. I get to pretend to have a bigger salary than he does, so that I feel wanted and nurtured by our design studio, Primordial Soop.

On a more serious note, being your own boss and being in a creative field without a “steady salary” is not for the light-hearted, or for the smart-phone-laden. Freedom comes at a price, especially as you try to build things up from scratch, and that price is often in the form of living a monkish existence. You sometimes even come to prefer it in some ways.

[Q] What is your average day like ?

Vishal: This is the part that sounds enviable; I wake up pretty-much whenever I want (unless I need to be somewhere, say a client meeting), and spend the better part of an hour sitting in front of a computer screen slowly caffeinating myself, and revving up my brain with idle tasks like twitter & checking mail. Then it’s onto the tasks at hand, be it client work or personal projects. Somewhere between then and 4am the next day some actual work may be done, as well as the rest of daily life. The downside of working for yourself is you often do not know when to quit, and concepts like ‘weekends’ and ‘quitting time’ become far-forgotten things. Honestly, if you asked me what day it is today, I’d have to look it up.

Samir: I concur with Vishal on all the above. Except for the caffeinating myself thing. I prefer using a slideshow of kitten images. When I can’t take it anymore, I force myself to work. Sometimes it works. Sometimes the kittens win.

Working for yourself can often mean doing everything for yourself, and this can be a huge variety of tasks from administrative paper work to making invoices, communicating with clients and doing the actual work you get paid for. All of these things are very different and require different schedules and mental disciples, so the days vary depending on the tasks at hand. But invariably, design today involves a lot of computer time, and pacing while you try to figure out an idea.

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job ?

Vishal: The design itself, and certainly in the broad ways we define it there’s enough to keep our interest. In a regular job the term ‘graphic design’ means something very narrow and is increasingly fragmented (identity, UX, UI, etc etc), but since it’s just me & Samir — and we like to work on everything — our job involves thinking of everything from aesthetics to technical aspects of, say, putting a website up, mucking about with HTML & CSS, choosing a proper light source when doing an ink drawing, user experience, getting a magazine to offset print correctly, making music for an animation, and so on. It’s the variety that truly keeps me going: in a single day, on a single project, I can and must bring several skills into play.

Samir: Yes, I agree, the variety is the most interesting part. Having said that, there is also a certain sharp focus that happens when you work for long on one aspect of a project, especially things like HTML/CSS coding or a series of illustrations, when you really get into the flow and issues get tackled with a natural comfort. Those are good moments too.

[Q] What’s the most challenging part of your job ?

Vishal: Deciding on what to do next. It isn’t so much a matter of ‘time management’ as seeing the big picture with regards to both the projects at hand & other projects down the road, and what you need to do now to make your life easier then. It takes a month to make a website from scratch, more if that site is for yourself and you need to create content too. Motion graphics take a lot of planning. And then there’s keeping your skills up, educating yourself in new techniques & technologies, and honing your skills with things like illustration — practice, practice, practice. It’s easy to neglect one or more aspects of your life and discover to your horror that you haven’t drawn anything for six months.

Samir: The balance between doing, dreaming and planning. These are all essential to our kind of work and to most visual and creative fields. Cutting out any one of the three will hamper your success, but the entangled nature of the three aspects of the work mean that it’s very difficult to consider them all and never get anything done. Keeping on track and on time is always challenging when there isn’t someone telling you exactly what to do every single hour of every single day. Add to that the fact that things can never be perfectly predicted, with each project being unique, and you have a lot of uncertainty that requires plenty of thinking on your toes.

[Q] What’s the part of the job that you don’t like ?

Vishal: Education. I don’t mean school or college, but the inherent gap — especially in this market — between what you’re offering a client and what they think they’re getting. It’s fair to say that most clients we’ve encountered don’t have a proper understanding of how graphic design or the internet works, how they can use it as a business tool, and ultimately how much they’re willing to pay for it. Let’s put it this way: if you think you want a website for your business ‘just because everyone has one’ that is the worst reason, and chances are the price we ask for the project is going to make you scream. We’re expensive, but not if you know what you’re getting and how to use it to make your business money.

Samir: As Vishal mentions, getting people to understand what they are getting is a big stumbling block. And there is also the issue of clients behaving as if they are buying a commodity. A service is not a product that can be bought per-kilo, or based on how many pieces there are. Designers charge based on time, effort, and often simply based on what the service is worth to the end-user. We’re constantly getting clients who want to get a break-up of what we are charging for each part of our service, and frankly that is usually a dead-end mode of thinking as far as we are concerned. You don’t buy a car based on how many kilos of steel there are in it, and we can’t really make a logo for you based on that measure either.

[Q] Do you get bored at your workplace at all ?

Vishal: Frequently. Not the actual physical desk, but certainly Dubai. All creative jobs require constant stimulation — it’s the fuel that runs your idea engine — and all the tall buildings and malls, or even browsing every design website in the world, is not a substitute for being plunged into someplace that keeps your interest.

Samir: Ditto. Garbage in, garbage out.

[Q] Do you report to someone ? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job ?

Vishal: I report to Samir, and Samir reports to me. We’re constantly communicating on the work we’re doing, be it client or personal. We either work together on a project or apart, and it’s pretty fluid as to how much we look to each other. In the initial stages of a design we tend to work alone on ideas each may have, and consult each other when there’s a first draft. By the end of a project we may be working together at the same station squashing bugs and fixing graphics, working through a checklist. It’s good to have someone right across the room I can call over for an opinion, a set of fresh eyes.

Samir: Nothing much to add to that, except that my boss is always drinking at work, coffee that is. Also, I don’t see why he gets to have the larger imaginary car.

[Q] Do you use all the skills that you learnt in school / college ? or where did you pick up the skills ?

Vishal: My course was focused more on software than design theory, and in the initial few years it certainly helped just to get things done. Were I looking for a regular job, the skills may have gotten me in the door. But software goes out of date, design trends change, new technologies are introduced. The way we make a website today is almost completely different to the way I was taught, and this has been a gradual change over the years as new tech is introduced & assimilated into my workflow. My aesthetic sense has been honed by thousands of hours of looking at better work, seeing what I like, trying to emulate it, failing, trying again, failing better, and eventually making some leaps that lead to good, creative work.

Samir: Education can help but only to a point. I found that almost everything I actually use I learnt by reading and exploring things myself. I had no training in web design or HTML, but I taught myself as I was working on freelance web design projects. Ultimately, doing something for actual use is the best teacher. No amount of dummy projects and practice sessions can help. If you want to learn how to do something, do it. Where education can help is in putting you in touch with a variety of people (hopefully), with varying thoughts on the subject. The rest is up to you.

[Q] Whats your Alumni ? Where did you study ??

Schooling 

Vishal: Indian School Muscat, mostly. I spent a few months in Our Own English High School Dubai. I got my O-Levels from Grammar School Dubai.

Samir: Indian School Muscat was my school for almost all my schooling years.

Pre University College 

Vishal: I don’t have a Bachelor’s degree. I got a diploma in graphic design from a college in England (I did the course in Dubai) that I literally do not remember the name of off the top of my head. It was a piece of paper. I think it has my name on it. I hope. (See what I mean about wrenching myself away from the clutches of Academia?)

Samir: I did a year long technical course in general IT, databases and such which certainly gave me a good grounding in the technical aspects of computers. Again, I can’t say what I learnt there was of any specific use, especially since Windows 95 was a revolutionary new thing when I was there, but it helped me know what to learn and what to read up on when I need to.

Bachelor’s Degree 

Samir: I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. I’ve been a fine bachelor ever since … What do you mean that’s not what it’s meant for?

Vishal: That is indeed what it’s meant for. I should add that you passed with distinction, which makes you a distinguished fine bachelor.

Master’s Degree

Samir: Study more? In a classroom? I don’t know if I’m ever going to be that bored.

Vishal: I’d rather invest the money in Victoria’s Secret futures.

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry ?

Vishal: Definitely. Even if all you’re interested in being a low-end art monkey in some ad agency, it sure beats digging coal for a living. I can complain about bad & lazy designers all I want, but the truth is it’s fun if you’ve got some creativity in your bones.

Samir: The levels you can work on vary wildly, and most people in the design field will always be doing low-end grunt work, but if you are the regular job kind of person and you can’t stand digging though spread sheets instead (I can’t promise you’ll be saved from Power Point, in fact I can guarantee you won’t), then there are a lot worse things to be doing that making layouts and editing photos and making websites. If you enjoy this sort of work, it can be extremely satisfying.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry ?

Vishal: The internet is a vast resource that rewards deep research, but is also a death trap of productivity. Stay off it & a computer as much as possible, and never give up on a piece of paper & a pencil — it’s where the best designs will be born. As long as you keep picking up new techniques/software one at a time and discarding any that are outmoded, you’ll do okay — but ultimately what software you know is secondary to your aesthetic sense & ability to put out work of a high technical proficiency.

Samir: Read a lot, look at a lot of art and movies, try to find patterns. Try to experience as much nature as you can, because if there is a design idea, whether visual or otherwise, it’s a good bet nature already thought of it before you. Feel free to steal. Always go around with a small notebook and pen (or equivalent high-tech device if you absolutely must), and write down ideas and questions that come to you. Sketch things you see. You can’t imagine what a treasure trove your notebooks can be. Always be curious. Make things.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers ?

Vishal: Working for yourself is not glamorous. Graphic design only sounds cool from the outside, to other people. Like everything else, it is a serious profession and 99% of the time you’re doing dull, tedious work. The good news is you can step back once the work is done and you might have made something truly good. And if you didn’t, learn and move on. The next great idea is always around the corner.

Samir: Not only is graphic design not glamorous, but it is a lot of hard work. Even in regular jobs, office hours can often be disregarded in this profession, so beware of that. The only way to improve you experience of it is to do better work and hence get into better positions based on your talent. When in doubt, ask someone whose work you admire for advice or pointers, but be polite and understanding about their time. Beyond their mad schedules, people are usually willing to share insights or provide guidance. Listen to what they all have to say, then do only what seems exactly right for you. Experiment, experiment, experiment.

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession ?

Vishal: There’s a million design resources out there, but specifically for freelancing, http://freelanceswitch.com/ is a nice portal.

Samir: This is a great talk on graphic design by a well experienced designer. It’s worth a listen: http://www.ted.com/talks/paula_scher_gets_serious.html

You can check out their Facebook profiles and other contact information below where you can get in touch with them.

Facebook Profile

Vishal: http://www.facebook.com/allVishal

Samir: http://www.facebook.com/samir.bharadwaj

Twitter Profile

Vishal: http://www.twitter.com/allVishal

Samir: http://www.twitter.com/SamirBharadwaj

Any Other Profiles?

http://www.allVishal.com

http://SamirBharadwaj.com

http://www.PrimordialSoop.com

I am sure that you guys enjoyed the Interview as much as I did when reading it, it has been an absolute pleasure working with both of you for this interview, am sure the readers really liked it. That’s it guys from the Inquisitive Interviews desk for this week, more interesting interviews coming soon, until then Be Inquisitive.

Wordless Thursday – What is a Data Scientist

This week’s infographic is actually a profession. Something that I would like to give a hand at, but actually I think that guys like Pointy Haired Dilbert might end up being really awesome at. Either way, the definition of a Data Scientist is a person who can analyze, present and make action plans based on information that is collected and help people make better decisions using the information by making it more understandable.

Real Estate Investments Made Simple

The Inquisitive Minds, features guest authors who are interested to contribute to the readers of this blog and the author of this article is Ramalingam K, an MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial Planner. He is the Founder and Director of Holistic Investment Planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in.  He has been a regular on this blog for a while now. If you would like to contribute something then please let us know on guest [at] melvinpereira.com.

Gold and Real estate are very traditional investment avenues. Gold has evolved from its traditional investing and found its place in the modern sophisticated investment world via Gold ETFs. Similarly Real estate is also emerging as an investor friendly avenue with less hassle via PMS route or private equity route. Have you ever thought of investing in real estate will one day be as simple as investing in mutual funds? If no please read on….

Real Estate as an Investment:

 Buying a dream house or flat to reside ourselves is basically not a real estate investment. Buying real estate with a view to generate income and capital appreciation is considered as Real Estate investments.  Real Estate investments can be further classified into residential, farm house, commercial, retail, leisure. Leisure is a relaxation place where one can spend their free time or vacation.

Depends upon his/her risk tolerance and time horizon one can invest in real estate at different risk levels. It can be at the time of converting a rural land to urban land, or at the time of building development stage or in already developed city area.

Real Estate and Risk:

Most often investors assume real estate prices will not fall down and they only go up year after year. It is not so.  During the mid 2009 some of the real estate investments were quoting below 30% to 40% from their 2007 prices. Real Estate investments are also prone for price fluctuations.

Real estate Vs Stock market:

Real Estate is a complex and complicated investment when compared to stock market.

Non-transparent: There is no transparency in the price. It is not easy for a buyer or seller of real estate to identify the last transacted price in the same locality. There is no price discovery mechanism.

Illiquid Asset: Selling a real estate is a time consuming process. It is not liquidable easily. There is no organized market for the buyers and sellers to meet.

Impact Cost: Stamp duty and registration charges are really very heavy when compared to the other investment products.

No Regulator: There is no regulator for the real estate participants and intermediaries. Anyone can become a builder. Technical qualification is not mandatory. Also anyone can become a real estate intermediary or advisor. There is no certification or training to be completed before practicing.  As there is no qualification requirement for participants as well as the intermediaries, it is very difficult to see best business practices.

Real Estate hassles:

The other hassles with reference to real estate investment are documentation, maintaining the asset without any encumbrances, and genuineness of the title deed.

There are some practical problems with diversification. Normally an investor invests in a real estate in his own locality. It is very rare to find someone in Chennai investing in the real estate properties located at Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata.  Affordability also limits diversification. An investor may not be able to diversify his investments across various cities with Rs.25 lacs or 50 lacs.

It may not be possible for an individual investor to buy a land and develop a viable project in that land and sell it in the market. Managing the project development need some kind of expertise.  Even if an individual is able to do it, he will be doing it in his limited ways and means.

Is there a solution for this? Of late yes.

There are some collective investment vehicles. These investment vehicles will be promoted by an investment management company. The investment management companies collect money from investors. Being professionals, they will identify good projects and do joint venture with the project developers. They will be able to diversify across various cities as well as various types of real estate investments such as housing, commercial, hospitality and the like. These investment management companies charge a reasonable management fees.

At times they collect money via PMS route and at times via private equity route.  The minimum investment ranges from 10 lacs to 25 lacs. This amount needs to be invested over a period of 3 years. That is they will collect money from investors in 4 or 5 installments. After 3rd year whenever they exit from a project they will repay the principal employed in the project as well as the profit generated out of that project. End of 6th year or 7th year, the investment management company will exit from all the projects.

The advantages of this collective investment vehicle are

  • One can invest into real estate without any hassles. All the hassles will be managed by the professional investment management companies.
  • One can invest in various real estate projects at a time.
  • One can geographically diversify his investments across India.
  • One will be able to apportion his total investment into small sums in large projects like township development, Technology Park, industrial estate, health city…
  • Cost advantage because of economies of large scale operation

This is really an investor friendly investment vehicle. Apart from the regular stocks, mutual funds and fixed deposit investments investors can consider investing in these real estate products also. This will give better diversification to your overall portfolio. Also Investors need to be careful in choosing such investment options. Background of the investment management company and their transparency levels are more important. Investors can seek the advice of the professional financial planners before investing.

This investment vehicle is in its primitive form only. It still needs to go a long way. As of now there are only a very few companies in India which specializes in promoting collective real estate investment products. But in a few years time these kinds of products will be available from various investment management companies and in different varieties like our present mutual fund schemes.

Inquisitive Interviews : Altaf Jasnaik – Corporate Brand and Learning Manager

Inquisitive Interviews is back this week with an interesting profession of sorts. This week I introduce you Altaf Jasnaik, who interestingly has two titles on his business card, one being Learning and Development manager and another Corporate Brand Manager. People all the time tend to write good at multi-tasking on their resume to make it look impressive, I guess there will be no guesses about the multi tasking capabilities of Altaf. Altaf in his interview decided to give weightage to the one profile of his work that really his mind is at, the brand management perspective. Although we have had a brand manager before, this interview gives an insight into what working with a multi national organization in the capacity he is in, would be like.

For the uninitiated, Inquisitive Interviews, the feature was born out of the requests by some of the students who read this blog, requesting information regarding careers. And with a view to help them make a better choice, I have started to feature various careers from different people, starting with people I know and hoping to slowly reach many different people. The Inquisitive Interviews feature would not only help the students reading the interview but also the interviewees providing them with some Online PR of sorts, the benefits of which I mentioned in another post earlier.

[Q] Tell us something about yourself- where you live, work, your interests…? 

Hello, I’m Altaf Jasnaik. An Indian by origin, born and brought up in the UAE, I have lived most of my life outside India, with episodes of my life spent in the UK and parts of Europe due to work and education related travel.

An engineering student with an aptitude for design, it didn’t take me long to realize I was not cut for running machines or operations. Just not something I was good at. So I moved into the design and management side of technology and engineering organizations. After a masters in business and working for a couple of years in the UK, I returned to Dubai where I worked with a chain of Multi-National companies managing marketing, branding and innovation roles. After working with technology companies like JVC, Panasonic, Grundfos and now Sharp, over the past decade I have learnt that it is almost always not who you worked for, but what you did with the opportunities that came your way.

Good things don’t happen to good people. If you’re good, you will get stamped on. If you’re smart, you will be able to turn things around and make the most of any situation. Just remember to think on your feet and at least one step ahead. You see I hold two titles 1st “Corporate Brand Manager” and then “Learning and Development Manager”. Perhaps you have room only for one title so we can call it as “Corporate Brand and Learning Manager” for Sharp’s MEA operations.

[Q] Is the job what you expected it to be ? And is the compensation good enough ? 

Yes. I have been a brand ambassador for the brands I have worked for and have been managing Brand portfolios for MNCs in the region. It gives me an opportunity to leverage my engineering background along with the exposure to marketing for helping organizations run their marketing operations regionally and globally. To top it, my carefully crafted career path has always made room for me to follow my passion for innovation. Either directly involved with Innovation Platforms or towards discovery of new products and technologies.

If you’re doing what you love and the money is good, it can make you complacent. So if you’re in it for the money, look for a sales job.

[Q] What is your average day like at work? If possible a recent project or work that excited you enough as part of your job? 

As the custodian of a brand, work isn’t limited to the office floor. You try to share the story of the brand you represent at every step. But an average day would mean you’re in and out of meetings, mostly high-energy status-checks on the numerous projects going around the huge territory we look after. Since work isn’t life, I try to make room for myself with a fitness routine after sunrise, followed by a flexibly drafted day full of time to be with family before and after work. There isn’t a set formula, but the trick is in the balance you can conduct your days with.

I think there are several but maybe a good example would be one that reflects what working in a global MNC environment could be like. Sharp decided to participate at the region’s foremost Info. Tech show, GITEX. At the show Sharp wanted to create a big bang using its technologies and the product that was zeroed in on was a 60 inch 5.5 mm slim bezel (meaning the rectangular frame around the screen) LCD display monitor with LED backlight. A typical innovation which changes the game of professional display technology, but yet an ‘unsexy’, ‘how-will-it-change-my-average-middle-class-life’ product with little appeal to any normal exhibition visitor. So the challenge was to promote the product using impressive content and using the sheer size of the product.

So we decided to make the world’s largest 360 inch LCD video-wall at GITEX which would make it the largest ever single screen LCD display. While that first looked like a challenge in terms of the technical integration, it turned out to be an even bigger challenge in terms of content. “What do you show on such a large LCD?”. Faced with this challenge, a colleague and I were handed the responsibility of putting this show together. Using the vast network of professionals Sharp has globally, we collected relevant experiences and ideas from everyone in Sharp’s global network. We travelled to exhibitions in the Far East, Europe and America to understand how best to make this show a success.

Since it was the first time any Sharp company was doing this, we found that colleagues all over the world were excited to see what we would come up with. What began as a local challenge became a global case study for Sharp with all eyes on what we would create. After several hundred hours spent toying with concepts, we decided to go for the record braking LCD  screen size and also make specially designed video content that we could use and that could be shared globally. Once this was set in stone, we saw a sudden influx of more ideas and funds from all over the organization to support our mission.

What followed was some of the roughest creative surfing I have ever been involved in the uncharted-waters of ‘creating-globalized-content’. As we discovered it was not a piece of cake, and to think of suiting the needs of a global audience is not easy business. Anyhow, after several weeks of working with some of the best and most creative people from across the world, we came up with the final exhibition format, that included the 360 Inches LCD display and the video content that we fondly remember as DMAT – “Don’t Miss A thing”. Why DMAT, if you ask, well with a bezel so slim, unlike other video-walls, Sharp’s cutting edge LCD technology can create an almost seamless viewing experience for any type of application in any diversified environment.

Not all the work one does in a regional office is meant to take this course. Often you are left with the responsibilities of customizing global content locally, but this was the perfect example of taking local content global. A year into the project, and after replica shows in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and all over Asia, DMAT has become a phenomenon of taking ideas from creative members of an international team seriously. Sharp HQ has more faith in our abilities and all of Sharp’s subsidiaries look forward to the next most creative exhibition solution that Sharp Middle East and Africa will come up with.

[Q] Is this job what you had pictured to be? If yes, then how long did you take to get here?

Frankly no. It is but a step or two short of where I want to be in life, at the forefront of an innovation team that is able to churn out one innovation after another. My aim is to use my marketing and branding background to be able to understand customer needs better. Then translate these needs into innovation platforms, which use company resources to develop real and meaningful innovations that change the way people live their lives. Call it a long shot, but this is where I aim to be. It took me 10 years to get here and I am giving myself another 5 to be in the role I wish to be at.

If my formula of taking every chance life throws at me works, I will continue to move spirally in my career to reach this place I want to be. If it isn’t meant to be, I will retire at 40 and take up teaching and consultation so that I can pursue a business model I have in mind for promoting innovation globally.

[Q] What’s the most interesting part of your job? Do you get bored at your workplace? 

The customer interaction, understanding their needs and translating them into products. Yes I do get bored. Sometimes things are too routine. But then right around the corner is a new challenge.

[Q]  What’s the most challenging part of your job? And whats the part you don’t like ?

If the word challenging were to be stripped of any negative connotations related that spell “problem”, the most challenging part of my job as the facilitator of learning and development is creating and sustaining an environment of mutual sharing that is based on long-term thinking. It is a challenge, and one that is related to people and their personalities. But this is exactly what I love doing, so I continue playing this duel.

The part that I don’t like is that, It involves a lot of travel. The worst has been over 150 days a year.

[Q] Do you report to someone? How much of an impact the person you report to has on your job? 

Yes. Very little. I have the freedom to chart my days and plan my activities.

[Q] Whats your Alumni ? Where have you studied ? 

School : Sharjah Indian School, Sharjah, UAE

Pre University : Wilson College, Mumbai, UAE

Bachelors Degree: D.Y.Patil College, India

Masters Degree : University of Bedforshire, Luton, UK

[Q] Do you use skills that you learnt in school /college? Did you take up any specific training or courses? 

Yes, the basic math, logic and language skills learnt from school are what you use for 90 % of the time. So kids in school, pay attention. The remaining 10 % of the time, you are the expert that you are. Someone who knows how to use the skills at the right time, to the right degree to make the crucial operational bits work. These skills are gathered and sharpened over time.

[Q] Would you advice younger people to join in your industry? Meaning what are the limitations/ drawbacks of the industry? 

Yes, if you love people-and-technology interactions and travelling to far-distant places. No, if you want to make tons of money.

[Q] What advice would you give to someone trying to get into the industry? And what do they need to watch out for ? 

Spend some time and effort understanding what you are good at first. Don’t join the band wagon, but don’t jump the boat. Know your strengths and then take some chances.

[Q] Anything else you want to tell the readers? 

Stay humbled, not grounded. Skip dinners, not breakfast. First learn to compete with yourself, if you can overcome your shortcomings you won’t need to compete with anyone else.

[Q] Any online resources you recommend for people taking up this profession? In terms of General reading as well as Job Searches? 

The entire WWW (worldwideweb)

You can get in touch with Altaf at these links below :

http://www.facebook.com/altaf.jasnaik

http://ae.linkedin.com/in/discoveraltafjasnaik

 A hearty thanks to Altaf for a wonder insight into what goes on with a corporate Brand and Learning Manager. I hope you guys enjoyed this interview as much as I enjoyed presenting it to you, until next time Be Inquisitive.