wise observations, comments and advise from amma.

#1) motivation and positive thoughts (apr 1st,2011): indian players should repeatedly watch the video of their outstanding and daring performances against australia (quarter final) and pakistan (semi final) to keep themselves motivated and positive for the final, final game!

#2) pressure vs challenge (apr 2nd,2011): sri lanka’s 274 is a challenging total and worthy for a final match. it is upto the indian team to overcome ‘pressure’ and face the ‘challenge’. the winner who faces a challenge and wins is a ‘true’ winner.

#3) value of observation (may, 2009): while on our evening walk, amma commented – ‘people throw cigarette butts on the sidewalks. it looks dirty.’ this seemed like a simple observation and a simple comment from her. not really. two days later nytimes published the article – Cigarette Butts: Tiny Trash That Piles Up. lesson learnt – too often we ignore common observations, which otherwise could lead to meaningful research and actions.

#4) discover unmet needs (oct,2006): when amma saw my ipod video (5th generation) in oct-2006, in a few minutes she got comfortable using the clickwheel and started operating it. she closely observed the available features and then commented ‘ipod has music, video, can store photos and contacts – so the only thing missing is phone capability’. fastforward to jan-2007 and steve jobs introduced the iphone. to me, this was one of the best examples of apple understanding and anticipating real customer needs!

rip steve (10/05/2011)!   his quote about customer needs “This is what customers pay us for–to sweat all these details so it’s easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We’re supposed to be really good at this. That doesn’t mean we don’t listen to customers, but it’s hard for them to tell you what they want when they’ve never seen anything remotely like it.” ( fortune jan 24th, 2000)

#5) conversation on twitter, facebook, ferguson, equality (sep, 2014): it all started with me showing amma this funny video in hindi explaining twitter. we watched and laughed. then we talked about facebook. to better explain the popularity of these communication tools, i showed her amitabh bachchan’s blog , facebook page , and his twitter account. reviewing amitabh bachchan’s social sites made it easy for her to get a sense of what these communication tools can or cannot do.

i talked to her about ferguson. (amma is a US resident. i felt she needs to know in detail what is happening in america and how these communication tools are shaping conversations and society.) i showed her the nytimes piece in which a common man captured a video (on a mobile phone) of michael brown’s body lying on the street for hours. it was hard to accept what we saw. we talked about how media (tv, cable, newspapers) show what they think is “news”. then she understood, now the common man has the power (mobile devices, social sites) to be the media.

i recollected zeynep tufecki’s article on net neutrality and ferguson. then i talked to amma about how these social feeds “show up” on timelines. how what she sees on facebook or twitter depends on underlying “algorithms”. not everything we see on these sites is “uncontrolled”.

we talked about how america has a “race” problem, while india has a “communal” problem. then we talked about obama, and what his presidentship could mean to address the “race” problem. then we talked about how hillary clinton lost to obama. we realized america never had a female head of state till date. as a comparison, asian countries (india, pakistan, sri lanka, bangladesh) had female heads of state since 1960’s.

after all these diverse conversations, amma said ” america still has a lot to learn, from the world”.

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