Monday, September 27, 2004

The Wisdom of our Friends

Thinking about a title for this particular posting, I was initially inspired to label it something along the lines of 'Boardroom Mania'. But, with time (and procrastination), a broader theme hit me, and with it the title as it stands.

But first, some details. I spent Thursday and Friday last week closeted in various boardrooms with the CEO and Chairman of our company preparing for an investor presentation. The atmosphere was fairly charged, much akin to similar situations described in the 'Nudist on the Late Shift', 'The Monk and the Riddle' and 'The New New Thing'. All I remember of those two days now was the incredible fuss about all of ten powerpoint slides; lest the insignificance of this number compel you to think that this is much ado about nothing, think of these ten slides as being the difference between a company with the means to grow and another that is doomed to struggle in 'survival mode'.

Now, for some context. Flashback to nearly two years ago, driving down from San Francisco to Palo Alto with a close friend who remarked that she could imagine me being completely at ease in a pressure-cooker enironment not far from the top of an organization. I distinctly remember my reaction as being one of incrediluity, after all, wasnt it a huge leap of faith to picture the $500/month intern as being a manager caught in intense situations? It seems that she couldnt have been more correct, for two years down the road, I find myself in exactly the situation she envisaged.

And the more I think, the more I can pick up snippets of my friends' wisdom. From the unfeasability of the solely-for-profit organizational raison d'etre (roshan and hari will attest to this 'debate'), to the rather accurate judgements of people's character that have withstood the test of time (taha, put your hand up here please), to a fantastic insight into motivations behind people's actions (sohrab, dont be shy here), to a startlingly accurate guage of my own nuances (nids, rash and geeta take a bow)...these are just a few amongst many such priceless jewels.

When was the last time you realized that your friends were right after all?