Friday, May 29, 2015

Time is the New Money...!

It seems the world has a slow ethical revolution..!

Richard Branson just announced he would be giving Virgin employees unlimited vacation. He's either nuts or knows something others have yet to discover: You'll make more money if you give people their time back.

Why We Trade Time for Money

The Industrial Age taught us the only way to make money was to trade time for it. The deal was clear, and always the same: You give me eight to 10 hours of your day, and I'll give you some money. But in the Participation Age, something new is emerging. Companies are realizing that when you give people back their time, they will make you more money. It seems counter-logical, but it's really quite intuitive. As usual, Branson is moving on an idea that traditionalists will only discover by watching him and the other early adapters in action.

Why Would Unlimited Vacation Work?

Why give up on a vacation system that's been in place for 170-plus years? Because it was a bad idea then, and with a work force that did not grow up in the shadow of the Industrial Age, it's an even worse idea today. Almost no one under 40 can relate to a time-based system that makes no sense in a results-based work world.

Branson didn't figure this out; he's actually a late adapter, which makes a lot of the work world archaic and completely out of touch with how to make money today. Fewer than 1% of U.S. companies give unlimited vacation. In fact, America gives the second-lowest amount in the world, behind only South Korea.

Many companies have been doing this for years. Semco, is a great example of a Participation Age company, which started as an Industrial Age factory making pumps in 1951. It was taken over by Ricardo Semler in 1981 and transformed into a great workplace, including unlimited vacation as just one of many principles that brought humanity back to the workplace. In 1981, it was a $4 million company. Today it's a $1 billion company and growing, and is in a myriad of industries that Semler could have never imagined. Stakeholder turnover is less than 1% per year.

Some technology companies have been operating this way for years as well, and a growing number of traditional as well as new industries are adopting unlimited vacation. Evernote and NetFlix are just two examples. They are all learning that anything that gives people back control of their lives is proving to be better for the company. Just the opposite of what our Industrial Age forefathers believed.

Pay Raises That Encourage More Vacation
Stakeholders become deeply invested in your company as you bring humanity back to the workplace. The downside? They can start acting like old-style business owners and have to be heavily encouraged to take time off. To combat this and put teeth into our unlimited vacation position, our company, Crankset Group, gives all of our stakeholders $1,500 a year in vacation money (Evernote gives $1,000 in vacation money and FullContact gives $7,500). But you only get it when you turn in receipts that prove you're using it for vacation.

There are Industrial Age detractors. Articles likes those recently in Time magazine view this cynically. But they are like listening to someone who drew the short straw in a high school debate and had to argue the positive effects of indentured servitude. The arguments against unlimited vacation are tortured at best.

The reality is simple. Give people control over their time, and they will build a great company, not for you, but with you.
In the Participation Age, time is the new money.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Democratic Housing..

Designed by Minoru Yamasaki, Pruitt and Igoe consisted of the thirty-three buildings pictured. Dramatic images of its demolition made newspapers across the country.
I cordially believe that Affordable Housing is a pure architectural challenge, not engineering nor financial.. It is the dilemma that architectural designers often offer the world; either by ill-envisioned perspectives, or surfing high ones, unrelated to realities on the ground..
Civic and municipal bureaucracies are often short of intelligent and accredited capacities to guide or to procure the appropriate housing concepts that would last among our sights for 50-200 years.. Affecting our perception of beauty, coherence and rationales for generations..
In several countries, I had seen affordable housing schemes, which are dump, bad and dangerous.. Also, had enjoyed the scene of excellent examples that were an added urban value to their inhabitants..
  I like to call the Affordable Housing as Democratic Housing.. It symbolize the notional of human rights for shelter and privacy.. It enable the stress free mindset to contribute to prosperity generation and protection.. it maintains the social coherence and glued patterns among the various economic layers of the society, without, mobs and hooliganism rule.. 
Ladies and Gentlemen; we need to reinstate our architectural business, and municipal structures..

The Architecture & Design Of Affordable Housing

“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.”
Winston Churchill said that in an address to Parliament in 1944, and it remains true today.

As part of our station-wide series, “The First Decade,” we’re looking at how the environmental and familial circumstances a child’s first ten years can influence – even determine -- their later lives. Today, housing, neighborhoods and the built environment.  

 Poor Quality Housing = Poor Health  
“We know that poor health stems from your environment in many ways and unfortunately a lot of poor quality housing throughout the United States has been impacting health. And what we see is that it’s primarily impacting young children and older seniors who are more susceptible to poor air indoor quality.”

 That’s Jamie Blosser, founder of the Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative and associate at Atkin Olshin Schade, echoing findings from a spate of recent studies that have quantified how childhood poverty, specifically  living in a poor neighborhood, influences cognitive abilities, adult employment,  earnings, and behavioral and health problems -- including depression, asthma, diabetes, and heart disease -- at higher-than-average rates. We reached Jamie Blosser and Kathy Dorgan, two prominent practitioners of community and public interest design last week, just after they’d put together a panel on community-based design at the American Institute of Architects conference in Atlanta. 
Practitioners now use the term affordable housing to distinguish their work from the low-income housing units of the past. Those projects have mostly been torn down to establish more human scale housing. Still, being raised in poor housing in a low income area can directly affect a person’s opportunities. 

Income Opportunity  
Here’s Kathy Dorgan, an architect and urban planner who employs participatory design practices, which she says can achieve communities of choice and justice.

 “There’s so many example of that, there’s a recent study out of Harvard that really looked at where children live and what kind of opportunities come their way as a basis of where they live. And so for example if someone lived in New Hampshire in an average community, average opportunity and they moved to Baltimore--which has recently been in the news--which is not an area of high opportunity, their long term prospects for the household income, for a boy, would decrease by 1.39% for every year that they lived in Baltimore. And so the lifetime effect of that would be if someone lived there their whole childhood they might make a third of what they would make if they’d stayed in a community of average opportunity.”

Rural Poverty  
But that does not happen only in inner cities, like Baltimore.

“When we look at poverty 85% of counties in the United States that are high poverty counties are non-metropolitan, so we know that rural poverty is a huge issue, and unfortunately, with more information and more data about location and how important location is in affordable housing in providing access to transit and employment and services, we know that rural regions are even more vulnerable because they are more remote and do not have that access. So we see higher costs of living, but we also see higher vulnerabilities, I think, without that access.”

 A study from the Urban Institute looking at low income residents in Chicago and Portland found kids, even pre-teen kids, at risk of experiencing school failure. They engage in risky sexual activity, and suffer from poor mental health. But while these stats may be bleak, not all low-income communities are dead ends, there are places known as “opportunity rich”, “high opportunity communities” that encourage more stability and supervision for children through better school systems and access to transportation. Kathy Dorgan:
“High opportunities are often high income communities, but not always, so we have a great variance between communities with similar income profiles and the amount of opportunity that they afford to the residents. There’s a lot of things that lead to that, a lot of it’s trust. There have been a lot of studies of communities that work together better that trust each other, provide more opportunity for all of their residents, high or low income, communities with less segregation. But it’s also a matter of public policy and we’ve seen great examples in Massachusetts where they’ve moved to much higher performing schools in many low income communities and that’s of course immediately made those higher opportunity communities. I live in Connecticut where we have much more disparate and the highest of the nation difference in income in achievement between communities. So that difference in achievement and communities in Connecticut makes it a much worse place for a poor person, or anyone to live than our neighboring state of Massachusetts that’s addressed that by policy.”

Bridging the Gap  
As practitioners of community and public interest design, Jamie Blosser and Kathy Dorgan aim to bridge that gap.Again, Kathy Dorgan:

“So, the important thing I think here is to provide every resident with opportunities and access to those opportunities. And there’s a lot of ways to achieve that, and that may be by mixing incomes within a specific development, it may be by mixing incomes and opportunities and resources within a larger neighborhood. And so I think it’s every community has important structures and resources for providing opportunity, and it’s therefore important to do real design within communities to understand the existing conditions and to understand the opportunities there. Having said that, I think it’s really important not to have large areas of segregated incomes and segregated opportunities.”      
Not segregating communities based on incomes or race: a lesson learned, perhaps, by the public housing fails of the postwar era. Think of those massive urban high rises, isolated on the outskirts of cities – places like the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing project in St. Louis, built with great promise in 1956, only to be demolished in the mid-70s. Or the Robert Taylor homes in Chicago, widely considered to be a low point for American urban renewal. While it’s easy enough to look back on those failures in hindsight, will today’s designers make similar mistakes?  Nadia Anderson, is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Iowa State University. We started our conversation with the public housing fails of the post war era, and asked her, what did those planners & architects get wrong?


Monday, May 18, 2015

Hans Rosling...

Since the 1st time I heard him talking, I got the anxiety to follow this beautiful mind and person.. Hans Rosling is not just a brilliant statistician, but a visionary who successfully bring life to numbers and creates rationales of the irrationals..

Maybe it is about time to hear him talking about Sweden, Economics and Epistemia..

While values like equality, tolerance, and transparency may often be associated with Sweden’s reputation abroad, Rosling argues such values aren’t actually Swedish.

“There is no such thing as Swedish values. Those are modern values,” he says.

So how did Sweden make the leap to modernity from what Rosling characterizes as an “ugly” past?
“We were lucky,” says Rosling.

“Good economic growth, good public governance systems, and a strong civil society interacting with each other, all doing their part. That’s what made the difference.”
Part of the luck, Rosling explains, was having far-sighted business leaders who managed capital responsibly and were not “speculative”.

“They were industrialists who modernized Ericsson and Electrolux and the big companies in ways that fit the demands of the labour movement and people who wanted high salaries and high taxes,” he explains.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Heart Education

Mediafirenews Goa's photo.
Dr. Devi Shetty, Narayana Hrudayalaya (Heart Specialist) Bangalore

Qn: What are the thumb rules for a layman to take care of his heart?
1. Diet - Less of c...arbohydrate, more of protein, less oil
2. Exercise - Half an hour's walk, at least five days a week;
avoid lifts and
avoid sitting for a longtime
3. Quit smoking
4. Control weight
5. Control BP - Blood pressure and Sugar

Qn: Is eating non-veg food (fish) good for the heart?
Ans: No
Qn: It's still a grave shock to hear that some apparently healthy person
gets a cardiac arrest. How do we understand it in perspective?
Ans: This is called silent attack; that is why we recommend everyone past the age of 30 to undergo routine health checkups.
Qn: Are heart diseases hereditary?
Ans: Yes
Qn: What are the ways in which the heart is stressed? What practices do you suggest to de-stress?
Ans: Change your attitude towards life. Do not look for perfection in everything in life.
Qn: Is walking better than jogging or is more intensive exercise required to keep a healthy heart?
Ans: Walking is better than jogging, since jogging leads to early fatigue and injury to joints
Qn: You have done so much for the poor and needy. What has inspired you to do so?
Ans: Mother Theresa, who was my patient.
Qn: Can people with low blood pressure suffer heart diseases?
Ans: Extremely rare.
Qn: Does cholesterol accumulates right from an early age (I'm currently only 22) or do you have to worry about it only after you are above 30 years of age?
Ans: Cholesterol accumulates from childhood.
Qn: How do irregular eating habits affect the heart ?
Ans: You tend to eat junk food when the habits are irregular and your body's enzyme release for digestion gets confused.
Qn: How can I control cholesterol content without using medicines?
Ans: Control diet, walk and eat walnut.
Qn: Which is the best and worst food for the heart?
Ans: Fruits and vegetables are the best and oil is the worst.
Qn: Which oil is better - groundnut, sunflower, olive?
Ans: All oils are bad.
Qn: What is the routine checkup one should go through? Is there any specific test?
Ans: Routine blood test to ensure sugar, cholesterol is ok. Check BP, Treadmill test after an echo.
Qn: What are the first aid steps to be taken on a heart attack?
Ans: Help the person into a sleeping position, place an aspirin tablet under the tongue with a sorbitrate tablet if available, and rush him to a coronary care unit, since the maximum casualty takes place within the first hour.
Qn: How do you differentiate between pain caused by a heart attack and that caused due to gastric trouble?
Ans: Extremely difficult without ECG.
Qn: What is the main cause of a steep increase in heart problems amongst youngsters? I see people of about 30-40 yrs of age having heart attacks and serious heart problems.
Ans: Increased awareness has increased incidents. Also, sedentary lifestyles, smoking, junk food, lack of exercise in a country where people are genetically three times more vulnerable for heart attacks than Europeans and Americans.
Qn: Is it possible for a person to have BP outside the normal range of 120/80 and yet be perfectly healthy?
Ans: Yes.
Qn: Marriages within close relatives can lead to heart problems for the child. Is it true?
Ans : Yes, co-sanguinity leads to congenital abnormalities and you may NOT have a software engineer as a child
Qn: Many of us have an irregular daily routine and many a times we have to stay late nights in office. Does this affect our heart? What precautions would you recommend?
Ans : When you are young, nature protects you against all these irregularities. However, as you grow older, respect the biological clock.
Qn: Will taking anti-hypertensive drugs cause some other complications (short/long term)?
Ans : Yes, most drugs have some side effects. However, modern anti-hypertensive drugs are extremely safe.
Qn: Will consuming more coffee/tea lead to heart attacks?
Ans : No.
Qn: Are asthma patients more prone to heart disease?
Ans : No.
Qn: How would you define junk food?
Ans : Fried food like Kentucky , McDonalds , Samosas, and even Masala Dosas.
Qn: You mentioned that Indians are three times more vulnerable. What is the reason for this, as Europeans and Americans also eat a lot of junk food?
Ans: Every race is vulnerable to some disease and unfortunately, Indians are vulnerable for the most expensive disease.
Qn: Does consuming bananas help reduce hypertension?
Ans: No.
Qn: Can a person help himself during a heart attack (Because we see a lot of forwarded e-mails on this)?
Ans: Yes. Lie down comfortably and put an aspirin tablet of any description under the tongue and ask someone to take you to the nearest coronary care unit without any delay and do not wait for the ambulance since most of the time, the ambulance does not turn up.
Qn: Do, in any way, low white blood cells and low hemoglobin count lead to heart problems?
Ans: No. But it is ideal to have normal hemoglobin level to increase your exercise capacity.
Qn: Sometimes, due to the hectic schedule we are not able to exercise. So, does walking while doing daily chores at home or climbing the stairs in the house, work as a substitute for exercise?
Ans : Certainly. Avoid sitting continuously for more than half an hour and even the act of getting out of the chair and going to another chair and sitting helps a lot.
Qn: Is there a relation between heart problems and blood sugar?
Ans: Yes. A strong relationship since diabetics are more vulnerable to heart attacks than non-diabetics.
Qn: What are the things one needs to take care of after a heart operation?
Ans : Diet, exercise, drugs on time , Control cholesterol, BP, weight.
Qn: Are people working on night shifts more vulnerable to heart disease when compared to day shift workers?
Ans : No.
Qn: What are the modern anti-hypertensive drugs?
Ans: There are hundreds of drugs and your doctor will chose the right combination for your problem, but my suggestion is to avoid the drugs and go for natural ways of controlling blood pressure by walk, diet to reduce weight and changing attitudes towards lifestyles.
Qn: Does dispirin or similar headache pills increase the risk of heart attacks?
Ans : No.
Qn: Why is the rate of heart attacks more in men than in women?
Ans: Nature protects women till the age of 45. (Present Global census show that the Percentage of heart disease in women has increased than in men )
Qn: How can one keep the heart in a good condition?
Ans: Eat a healthy diet, avoid junk food, exercise everyday, do not smoke and, go for health checkups if you are past the age of 30 ( once in six months recommended) ....
Please, don’t hoard knowledge.
It takes sharing of knowledge to discover and understand the world in which we live.
Please send it to all your friends and relatives....... They might --- benefit as well……