Friday, May 02, 2008

Didn't expect this to happen so soon!

Yesterday, I learned the biggest lesson of my life - people with authority will not appreciate your efforts if the results are not positive. Instead of providing room for innovation, they will blame you for not performing. There is only one way to avoid the blame game - produce positive results irrespective of the environment. That's it. It's so simple!

I was always under the impression that honest efforts are more important than the final results. During my two years at Stanford, I worked with three amazing teachers – Prof. William Perry (former US Defense Secretary), Prof Tina Seelig and Prof. Tom Byers. All three of them always encouraged me to put it my best efforts and to forget about the results. They believed that I would learn something from failure also.

I can not forget the first group meeting of my research group held three years ago on the fourth floor of Terman Engineering building. Tom gave me a standing ovation because I pushed my first piece of software to production. Here is a person who is a very senior faculty at Stanford and head of the research group standing and clapping for me because I wrote a small piece of code (20 lines of code).

Sadly, in corporate life, people care only about results. I wanted to innovate without worrying about the results. I wanted to build products which would delight the users. I wanted to work in an environment where merit of the idea is more important than who presents it. 

I guess life has a funny habit of teaching relevant lessons at the most opportune moment. Yesterday was that moment for me. I just didn't expect this to happen so soon!

I am glad that I learned this lesson.

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