Archive for November, 2006

We’re having a table tennis tourney going on in the company with lots of people participating in both the singles and doubles matches.
This is directly proportional to the reduction in the amount of work done by the people – those who are participating and those who come to watch the matches and cheer their friends.

In table tennis, unlike outdoor sports, you are not allowed to cheer / jeer while the game is in progress. Therefore, except the occasional “wooos” and “ahhs”, there is nothing going on during the game play.
However, when a point is won, people do come out and encourage their friends.
The more popular you are, the more support you have during the games.

However, even though we are a very small company (the numbers in the range of 40 – 50), we do not know everyone well.
It’s more or less like a typical office.
You have a few close chums, some people good friends and others acquaintances whom you share a very casual greeting relationship.

Anyways, the point I am trying to make here is that you don’t know everyone decently well.
During one of the matches in which a friend of mine was playing, it got pretty close – even though she had just learned to play recently and the other guy played decently, but looked somewhat nervous.

At that point, I wondered, that if we all got behind our friend and cheered her (she had more support definitely), it would break the other guy down and she might win the last round – and thus the game.
However, the cheering actually never happened and thus we will never know – but this sparked a debate between me and my team mate whether cheering actually makes any difference.

I was of the opinion that it always definitely helps and he was of the opinion that it doesn’t – and sometimes even is detrimental to the player.
After countless minutes of debate, we finally agreed on two points – which I definitely feel does not do complete justice to the entire topic of “Does cheering actually help?”

One point was thus:

I’d like to refer to my previous post here “That moment of giving up” in which my boxer friend told me that he gives up sometimes when he’s fighting it out in a god forsaken place where no one cares about the result of the game – he wonders whether getting all beat is really worth it.
Thus, the point here is – that when you are down by a few points, having no support whatsoever, makes you wonder whether it is worth it – and you end up not fighting back as best as you could.
On the other hand, if you have people behind you egging you on – no matter what the result, you atleast fight till the end – which is a good thing!

The other point made was:

This takes the case of Indian cricketers who enjoy the status of demi-gods in the country.
Many of them comment that playing a game in India, draws huge crowds, and thus an awesome support which can create quite a lot of pressure to perform. Many players feel that they enjoy and play a more natural game when they are abroad as they don’t feel the heat of the pressure the crowds bring in. So in this case, all the cheering and support is a bad thing.

So, in what conditions is cheering a good thing or a bad thing?
Is it always good? Always bad?
Does it always depend on the individual in question? Does it depend on the way the crowd is cheering you?

Do players who are trying to be something they are not, fear the pressure that crowd support brings? And do underdog players thrive on cheering and perform that extra bit because of it?

A very open ended debate and I’d really like to hear your thoughts on it!


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CampusCombine …


Hey!We (The ActiveCiti Team) just wanted to inform you about the new initiative we just started – CampusCombine.

How many times have you felt the need to know what was going on in other colleges – from which questions were asked by the external examiner during the viva to which companies are coming for campus placements to when that inter collegiate event is going to take place. How do you know if the college/stream you are entering is the right one for you?

How many times have you felt frustrated while completing an assignment which even the staff members had no idea about? Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could ask people from other colleges for help – those who had completed the assignments you wanted…

How many times have you got stuck due to lack of ideas and guidance while working on a project and had no one to take help from or turn to…

Well, trying to provide a solution to all these problems and thousands more – which students face, we give you “CampusCombine”.
CampusCombine aims to bring students, ex-students, companies and interested mentors – all together on a common platform so that they can help each other out.

So, if you are a student and the next time you are wondering how a particular problem can be solved, or what questions were asked by the external examiner in other colleges, all you need to do is log on to CampusCombine for your particular city and get your doubts and queries cleared.

And if you are someone who has gone through the rigors of the Indian education system and wants to lend a helping hand to people still stuck there, you can log on to CampusCombine and help out the students and make their lives a little easier.

So, please head on to http://www.campuscombine.com and be a part of this revolution that we’re trying to start.

Aao banaye education behtar :)

– The ActiveCiti Team

PS: As we are very short on our advertising budget, please could you forward this email to all the people you know who you think could use this service?
Thanks :)

What you just read up there was the pitch to a new site that we started a day before called CampusCombine.
As this is a non profit venture, with no revenues whatsoever and no venture capitalists or angel investors backing us up, it gets kinda difficult to sometimes spread the word.

So we have to resort to emailing friends, asking them to forward the link and hoping that they will do. We had already done this for ActiveCiti – and the initial response was great – but once you run out of people to email, the number of people signing up everyday slowly dwindles down.

The important thing then, becomes to get as many people as you can email to actually join the site and hope that you did a good job with the site – so that people can refer people and so on …

The very difficult and thus quite interesting part of this job becomes to word the email.
You have to keep it somewhat short and get all your ideas in place – worded properly so that your readers can empathize with what you’re doing.

However, this time I think we’re working with a more serious problem than we were with ActiveCiti – coz the response has been fairly decent.
Not to mention these are very early days and the student population of Pune is monstrous.
So only time will tell … :)

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Its 2:30 am in the morning and I have gotten back (a while ago) from a friend from work’s surprise birthday party.
It was lots of fun and I for one, had a good time.

Anyways, I realised something about myself and people in general today.
Most of the party, (actually for all part of it), we were just sitting around in a living room and talking (there were 16 of us and her folks).
Maximum of the conversations that took place involved the entire group with one or the other person narrating a joke or an incident.
At one particular point of time, we were made to go in order and narrate one joke, incident or just amuse the large gathering of people.

Anyways, firstly, what I noticed about people was that listening to what people have to say (or not) at a party or a social discussion tells a lot about them – if you notice that is.
The second thing that I realized (about myself) is that I tend to observe people a lot and am sub consciously analyzing them.
I dug a little deeper (into my conscience) and this is what happens.

When a person is going to speak or narrate something or do anything at all, you form a sort of prediction of what he is going to do or how he is going to do it – depending on all the knowledge you have of the person.
Depending on how much the person sways from your prediction, you assess them and fine tune your understanding of the person.
If your prediction was spot on, you kinda know that you know the person decently well.

I probably haven’t even gotten close to the level at which I can be dead on right about a person, but I feel that I am getting there slowly – but steadily.
Just observing how people behave in a social group, what they say things, how they say it, how much effort they are applying, how conscious they are tells loads about a person – and I just felt that I got to know almost all of the people present there – a lot more even though I hardly spoke to many of them.

The point I am trying to make here is that its is sometimes more interesting in observing the reactions of people to a particular interesting situation than observing the situation itself.
Like for example, I have caught myself (and am very disturbed by the fact) that many a times, I actually observe how people react when say, a very pretty girl walks into the room instead of looking at her.

Very disturbing, I know.
But right now, at 2:45 a.m – I am pretty much at my twilight zone and really cannot say that I am talking sense …
So you cannot hold anything said on this particular post against me.
So there! :)

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