Can’t Search Photos: I like Facebook and use it a lot. It’s tagging feature has become a game changer. Facebook is now my first choice to upload photos. Flickr, my longtime favorite, has taken a distant backseat. However, there’s some fundamental things lacking in Facebook. Check this out. 437 Albums. 1523 photos I’m tagged in. 7656 photos I’ve uploaded. That’s a lot of visual content. Yet, if I want to search for a particular album or a photo, there’s no way to do it. This means that I have to mindlessly keep clicking scrolling to find the photo. Facebook definitely needs to have a search functionality. Like now.
Can Edit Comments but Not Posts?!: I love the fact that one can edit comments. Its such a neat feature. However, I can’t believe that we can’t edit the status updates. Completely bamboozles me. Status updates are more important in terms of pecking order. When the engineers can figure out a way to edit comments, why not have the same feature for FB posts?!
Today, an eclectic group of 2150 Bharatanatyam dancers from different dance schools in South India come together to break the Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest Bharatanatyam Dance Recital.
My eleven year old daughter, Krithya, is one of the 9 dancers selected from her dance school to be part of the World Record troupe of 2150 dancers. She studies dance at Vishwalaya School of Bharatanatyam under the guidance of her Guru Smt.S.Vijayalakshmi Vishwanathan who has been teaching her for the last 6 years.
Today’s performance is to break the earlier World Records like the one attempted at the Tanjore Big Temple in 2010 where 1000 dancers participated. See picture above.
This event is organized by Koothambalam Naatyala at the sprawling ground at Arangaswamy Gounder High School at Pugalur in Karur District, Tamilnadu. The event takes place between 6pm and 7pm.
The dancers have been training for this for the past 3 months. The organizers devised an innovative concept for training. They had a professional dancer perform all the 5 dances and shot the video using many cameras from different angles. They distributed the CD to every student and this became a wonderful reference guide and also ensured that all the dancers learn the same movements.
Being part of a Guinness World Record Attempt in itself is a great experience. Am happy for all the participants and especially for my kid. Am really hoping they get the record. It would be well deserved for all the hard work they had put in.
Everytime I look at this photo, it breaks my heart. What you see on the left is a healthy, well planted saplings. What you see on the right are bunches of dried-up nursery saplings.
If these had been planted, they would have covered about an acre of land. That’s at least 30 bags of paddy which when processed would yield at-least 15 bags of rice.
So, how did we let this happen? A strange series of incidents that led us to make this mistake.
When we cultivated the nursery bed, we sowed enough and more seeds to cover 2 acres of land. Its standard practice to always have extra saplings. In this case, we clearly over-estimated by 50%. After planting 2 acres of paddy, we realized we had enough saplings to cover one more acre.
While we had extra land to cultivate, it takes time to plough the field and flood it with water. To get water to this extra land, we had to lay water pipelines and so hired a JCB to dig the land. Just when the digging was about to finish, down came the rains which flooded the trenches. Ironically, this meant we had to wait until the water drained out before we could lay the water pipes. This stole precious few days.
At around the same time, the motor-pump that’s used to pump out the water from the well, went kaput. We lost a few days trying to get it repaired. We finally decided it was wiser to buy a new submersible pump.
All this delay meant that the saplings started to wilt. Planting them at this stage will result in a risk of getting a sub-par crop. We took a hard decision of skipping the extra acre.
This was my first experience in planting paddy and learned some valuable lessons.
1) Always plan for extra acerage when it comes to paddy.
2) Do all the piping work before planting. Not after.
3) The main problem was the slow-decision making. I’m in the city all week and only visit the fields during weekends. This has resulted in bad super-vision and communication gap. The solution is to keep a daily track of activities over phone.
4) I never really realized the impact of the loss. 15 bags means 1125 kgs of rice. This could have sufficiently fed our six member family for three years. Agriculture is serious business and I need to start respecting it like one.
At 4:55 pm, on September 30th. We will never forget that moment. Romeo, the last speaker at TEDxChennai finishes his electric talk. As he lights up the candle, the lights at the huge Lady Andal Auditorium fade out. In the dim candle light, one could see the entire audience give a standing ovation…a very long one.
17 speakers on the day at TEDxChennai. 14 standing ovations. Yes, Fourteen. Never have we seen so many in any single event.
All of us hug each other. High fives galore. With a heady feeling, we were happy that four months of hard work had paid off.
A month later, came a sobering mail about certain violations and the news that TEDxLicense has been cancelled. I figured I owe an explanation of what happened. I’ll do it in a simple Q&A style.
How many TEDxChennai events have you conducted?
Three. In 2009, 2010 at IIT Madras. The 2012 edition was held at the Lady Andal Auditorium.
Let’s start with the allegations. You had a Press Conference for TEDxChennai?
Yes, we did. We had a press conference a week before the event. A prominent 5 Star Hotel, Park Sheraton, was kind enough to come forward to host the press conference as an in-kind sponsor. We felt it would be good to spread the word about TEDxChennai. It was also aimed at boosting the registrations. We had a much larger auditorium with 1200 capacity to fill. A big jump from our earlier editions with 230 people capacity at IIT Madras.
Is there a rule against having Press Conferences?
No, there is no rule. However, it is a TED tradition not to go overboard on press. Even for the main TED events, TED only invites a small handful. For TEDxChennai, we had a unique problem. We booked a 1200 seater auditorium. A week before the event, we only sold about half the tickets. We did not have the budgets to advertise and felt spreading the word through media would be effective. And it worked. There was good buzz created and we had a houseful attendance on the day of the event. It was done with good intentions.
Did you get a Sponsor as a Speaker?
My quick answer: No. A resounding NO.
We never got any sponsor as a speaker. Let me explain where the confusion arose.
Prabhakar Murugiah, an entrepreneur, offered to help sponsor the venue. The idea was that he would pay the auditorium directly.
We were also simultaneously contemplating inviting him as a speaker. We clearly knew the cardinal rule of not mixing sponsors with stage.
He has a fascinating background story… a small time village kid from a middle income family goes through lots of struggles and make it big as an entrepreneur in the US. He chose to have his company’s entire operations in Tirunelveli, his home town even though it would make sense to have it in Chennai or Bangalore.
He had a compelling story to tell. As a team, we took the decision of taking him as a speaker. We turned down his offer to pay for the venue. I repeat. He is not a sponsor. Every member of the organizing team and the speaker himself will vouch for this. Sadly though, this was misunderstood.
Interestingly, our decision to invite him as a speaker turned out to be a good one. It was a great decision because his talk was considered among the best ones. He had a standing ovation and the loudest applause from the audience.
Did the TEDxChennai speakers speak at other events?
Yes, they did. They spoke at a school and a college a few days before the event.
We had 17 speakers from 10 different countries. They came in a 3 days prior to the event. When they were here, Sishya school and Saveetha University invited the speakers to address their students. The speakers were eager to interact with the students too. It was done in the right spirit. Not meant to violate any rule. These were not professional events. No one got paid. It was meant to be an inspiring session for the students.
Was the 100 people rule broken?
No. TED has given permission to us to organize a bigger event. TED has a rule that if the licensee holder has attended a main TED event, he has the permission to organize an event more than 100 people. I’ve been fortunate to attend TEDindia in Mysore, TED at Palm Springs, California and TEDEurope in Oxford.
So, what is your final take on this?
I feel relieved to open up and explain. Personally, me and the entire team of organizers gave our heart and soul to organize a great event. Among the three editions we conducted, the 2012 edition was the best.
The organizing and volunteering team have been fabulous. Amazingly high spirited and enthusiastic. Over 50 people worked hard for over 4 months to pull off this event. In the frenzy of the activity, some boundaries were crossed inadvertently and unintentionally. As the curator, the buck stops with me. I should have been more careful and I own up the responsibility.
We have been subscribing to at least one newspaper at our home right from my Grandfather days.We have had ‘The Hindu’ for the longest but also dabbled with Times of India and Deccan Chronicle. We still continue to get newspapers to this day. But that’s going to change now. I have asked the Newspaper Agent to stop my subscriptions from March 31.
Reading newspaper in the morning is a habit that has been ingrained in me. I’m 38 years old. That’s 14,157 days since the day I was born. For almost every single day of my life, a newspaper has plonked on our door step every morning. My Dad had encouraged me to read newspapers early in life. As I grew up, waking up in the morning and reaching out for the paper has become an involuntary habit.
So, why am I discontinuing a habit I have grown up with? Here are my reasons.
It’s a Productivity Killer: When you wake up in the moring, your mind and body is fresh from a good night’s sleep. The first hour after you wake up is the most fertile hour of the day. Just the perfect condition to produce things of value. Author a book chapter, Write a blog post, Plan for the day…anything that makes you create. (Read my post: Be a Producer. Not a Consumer.) Unfortunately, when we pick up a newspaper, we become a passive consumer. Not an efficient way to spend the fertile hour.
I Don’t Find 90% of News Useful: The only two sections I read are the front page and the sports section. I really don’t give a damn about politics which occupies the chunk of the paper. Buying a newspaper is like buying a whole music album when all you like is just one song.
Its Convenient Reading News Online: With my iPad, the newspaper comes along with me and I get to catch up on news whenever I have free time. And I get to pick the news section that I’m interested in and ignoring the rest.
Why Pay for the Ads?: While ads are important for the newspaper, they add no value to me. I can’t think of any ad that has profoundly impacted my life. I totally understand that ads are how newspapers make their money but its time they revisited their business model.
Save the Trees: Really! If I’m given two options to consume news, I’d rather choose the more sustainable one. Lets spare the trees if we can help it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against news. I strongly believe that one will have to keep oneself updated. I’m only against the medium of delivery. I find consuming news on mobile and iPad not just convenient but also sensible.
In my opinion, while the physical newspapers will die a slow definite death, the job of newsmaking will continue to prosper. There is and will continue to be demand for news. Journalism as an occupation will continue to be an evergreen field.
Giving up a newspaper is far easier than you’d think. Especially when you have another way to get your news fix. The easiest way to get out of a habit, is to get it off your eyesight. Hence the unsubscription. When the newspaper no longer comes to your home, how can you be distracted by it!
Think of how we sent our letters 20 years ago. Didn’t we seamlessly move to emails. The same will happen to news consumption as well.
So, what do you think of the decision? Stupid? Sensible? I would love to hear your opinion.
When I first heard about TED Auditions, it perfectly made sense. I have organized a few TEDx events and attended a few more and I can tell you that some speakers were so outstanding that they truly deserved the main TED stage.
TED is launching a World-Wide hunt for amazing speakers via auditions in 14 cities (Amsterdam, Bangalore, Doha, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, Tokyo, Tunis and Vancouver). The auditions are physical events that take place between April and June.
The auditions for India have been announced and takes place on May 20th in Bangalore.
As one of the Global TEDx Ambassadors, I look forward to playing my part by spreading the word and recommending some awesome Doers (who are also excellent communicators) from India.
There are many TED supporters in India and if you are one of them, please take a moment to suggest a deserving speaker who deserves the limelight. More than TED, you would be doing that individual a big favor. Its time we collaboratively, unearthed some hidden jewels in our group.
Please note that Bangalore is the only city in India where the auditions will take place. However, the hunt for awesome speakers is Pan-India. So, no matter what city you live in, please look around your community and recommend names.
TED is looking for the following people. See if it rings a bell.
THE INVENTOR : sharing an innovation with world-changing potential
THE TEACHER : sharing valuable knowledge in a memorable way – to teenagers or adults
THE PRODIGY : young talent ready to break out
THE ARTIST : who can showcase their work in a compelling, new way (Don’t just talk about it. Show us your work!)
THE PERFORMER : music, dance, comedy, drama… or something entirely different
THE SAGE : wisdom the world needs from those who have learned it the hard way
THE ENTHUSIAST : with an infectious passion about a topic they can share
THE CHANGE-AGENT : helping shape the world’s future with work that matters
THE STORY-TELLER : vivid, original, meaningful … with a talent for connection
THE SPARK : with a powerful idea worth spreading
Learn more about TED 2013 Auditions.