The best advisors don’t advice

 by Shalin Jain  on   03 Jun 2013

They listen. They listen more than they advice. They ask more than they direct. As an entrepreneur you speak candidly and honestly. You have to bring out the real you. If you are an advisor to an entrepreneur read this piece on mentoring and if you are an entrepreneur read The Goal and imagine your Jonah.

30+ Books Every Web Designer Must Read

 by Mohan Ramkumar  on   10 Oct 2012

Learning is fast moving to the online domain with a gazillion blogs and video tutorial networks catering to every niche in the longtail. Reading books is going out of fashion and if not for ebooks, they would have become relics long ago. Irrespective of their length and quality blogs and video tutorials, still they lack the research and organization of a good book.

There is a very possibility that web design is the one domain that generates so much educational content online. But thankfully, there is no dearth of books catering to web designers too. We have put together a list of books that might come in handy to sharpen your skills, get better at handling customers and running a profitable business.

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3 Surefire Ways to Get the Attention of Prospective Employers

 by Mohan Ramkumar  on   29 Jun 2012

We are hiring and our recruitment team has left no stone unturned to get talented candidates at our doorsteps. Like everything else at Tenmiles it was a transparent process and everyone of us got a closer look at the hiring process. It just didn’t end with forwarding resumes of friends and acquaintances!

As always, I got curious and picked the brains of our HR to give a few tips and suggestions to job seekers at large. And she was kind enough to give me three golden nuggets:

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The Productivity Conundrum

 by Mohan Ramkumar  on   29 May 2012

I’m in the market for a new productivity app. Getting things done isn’t easy. Especially if you have the attention span of a jack rabbit. So, I lean on a task management app to plan and get things done. The task management app I’m currently using served me well for over two years now. It’s simple to use and great to look at, but in the past two years the app hasn’t moved forward an inch.

Besides, there are now so many swanky apps tempting me to make the switch. My track record with the GTD philosophy has had a lot of false starts. Whenever I took up GTD and planned all my tasks ahead with a task management tool, I failed miserably. Whatever little I was getting done earlier went down the drain too.

It was like a jinx. Since I understood that I will go nowhere without a productivity plan in place, I picked up the pieces and tried it all over again. I’m not saying it’s going to be difficult to stay the course, but it all depends on your personality. Folks who are disciplined will get along just fine. And those who are lazy (like me) and put things off for tomorrow all the time, it might be a bumpy ride. However, it’s the latter who need to get on board real fast.

Make a Plan

People who plan ahead have a good chance at staying productive. At the very least, you should have a better understanding of your workload and flow over the next few days to get started. Getting Things Done is a phrase that’s thrown around a lot like it’s nothing, but is actually a registered trademark of David Allen, father of this philosophy.

I found the underlying principles of GTD simple and easy to understand. Most importantly, it doesn’t change your behavior. Atleast not by much. Take for instance the Pomodoro technique, which requires you to go through a bunch of hoops every 30 minutes into a task. Such intense practices might make your productivity shoot up exponentially, but personally I think it’s borderline OCD. Align with a plan that’s close to your comfort level.

Pick the Right Tool

Like many among us, I too am attracted to shiny new things. And task management tools is one of the domains where designers go all in and hit a homerun almost every other week. If you look closely, almost all popular task management apps have the same set of features. The only thing that’s unique about them is the interface.

A better user interface is a clear indicator that the app has got a flow that might end up helping your productivity. But more eye candy doesn’t always mean that the tool is better than its competitors in helping you get things done. A fancy $49.99 app is not going to be the silver bullet for all your productivity needs and that’s not what I’m talking about either.

Even a tiny pocket notebook would do the trick. It’s portable, handy and extremely affordable. Or if you stay in front of computers a lot, go with an app that syncs to the cloud. That way, you can stay on top of your tasks no matter you are at home or office.

I’m not a GTD maniac who tries every app that shows up in the market. But, I do stay on top of trends and tools just for the heck of it. The best way to go is to spend about 30 minutes with task management apps that grab your attention. Then pick one and stick with it no matter how cool the next generation apps are like. That’s good enough to start with and the rest of bells and whistles hardly matter.

Reward Yourself

It might sound silly, but for atleast the first few weeks cherish your achievements and reward yourself. Grab a drink, buy a souvenir, tap dance or ditch the planned routine for a day (just kidding, don’t do it!). And make sure to check or cross off every task you complete. There is a sense of accomplishment when you get to cross things off a list. Try it for yourself!

Now that I’ve downloaded all my wisdom about getting things done and not getting distracted by shiny new tools, off to choose between Wunderlist and Producteev. Wish me luck!

Starting up: 5 Reasons to hire freshers

 by Shalin Jain  on   12 Jul 2011

At Tenmiles freshers have played a huge role in building the company – they’ve stayed the longest and most importantly delivered top-notch production ready work. Many years ago when ‘startups’ and product companies were not so often spoken about (hyped?), it was much easier hiring great freshers compared to the experienced lot with already fat pay checks in services companies.

So, if you are hiring, think hard about hiring freshers as well.

#5: They are in-expensive: They are not going to cost you an arm and a leg. While money is important as they begin, good chances that a talented person is on a look out for the right job and pay is not the most critical requirement.

#4: They share their experience: They are most likely to talk about their work to all their friends. Everyone’s probably got a job and are reaching out to each other updating where they are and what they are doing. A fresher any day spreads the word faster about your company.

#3: Likely to stay longer: They are fresh and you are probably the first one to mould, motivate and inspire them. They don’t just get a pay-check but also all the guidance they require to nurture their talent. If you’ve got this right, they are likely to stick around lot longer and be a part of the growth story.

#2: They are young: They’ve just passed out of college. They start looking at your company as an outsider without too much mental baggage about how other companies work. They bring in a fresh perspective and ideas to the table. They are full of energy and can really slog to make things possible.

#1: They are hungry: This is what I love the most about hiring freshers. They are hungry and foolish. They want to win the world. They want to make a difference. They are eagerly waiting for recognition that does not look like a marksheet or a certificate. They were waiting for this day and you’ve got an opportunity to turn their enthusiasm into great work.

Monday mornings, an entrepreneurs take

 by Shalin Jain  on   11 Jul 2011

Sunday night makes me think I am still at school, waiting to get out and start a business. Meet the real world. I must admit, I love monday mornings. I think many entrepreneurs I know love getting back to work – be it monday morning or back from a holiday. Some actually work most of the times during the weekend and get lot more work done than the they would the whole week. Irrespective, monday mornings are both important and inviting.

I can share all the thoughts I had over the weekend with my team. Reset priorities for the week. Start engaging with customers. Get responses to the emails I sent all of Friday. To say the least, get to do what you love to do the most.

Welcome, monday morning!