Category Archives: India

Everyone wants to start a BPO in India, but the labor is in Europe

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Everytime I read the news, I see refugees pouring into Europe. The irony is that many European countries have a 20% unemployment rate, so how will they possibly find jobs for these refugees who don’t even speak the language? Meanwhile in India, everybody wants to start a BPO, but they can’t find good workers. Most BPO companies in India hire workers who have hardly any experience, don’t know what they are doing and jump from job to job.

Perhaps these refugees need to move to India and China which are countries with economies that are growing in the long run despite some temporary set backs. Europe’s economy tends to be sluggish and people are set in their ways there which makes it hard for the region to experience growth. Meanwhile in China, they embrace change and are moving forward with new technology that they are the first to innovate.

My question is, can BPO companies find a way to tap into labor resources in Italy, Spain and North Africa? The labor is there, but there is no training or structure. Is it possible to create structure in a structureless land?

My feeling is that it would be better to create a country for the world’s 50,000,000 refugees and create factories and outsourcing companies for them to work at. Their entire economy could be based on remote labor sourcing for manufacturing, call centers, and other tasks. If training were avaialble, and decent infrastructure were created, a new country could thrive. But, where would such a company be created? Out of the ruins of broken North African states like Chad or Libya.

Getting to know another culture helps to a point

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If you live in a big city, or if you are new living overseas you are surrounded by many different cultures. Although you are “exposed” to these cultures, you are not part of them, and you probably don’t really understand them. If you really spend time in a particular culture, you will reduce friction with that culture to a point. You will eliminate (reduce) your lack of understanding. You will know more about people’s sensitivities from that culture. What initially seemed strange to you, you’ll get used to and be familiar with.

However, there are certain things that you might not be able to get over. Stumbling blocks. If people from another culture just don’t cooperate in certain ways, or have values that are deeply unacceptable to you, or insist on discriminating against you (and perhaps blaiming you of discrimination when they are the ones doing it.) How can you get beyond these problems? No amount of familiarity with the culture will help.

Whites and blacks in America are working together and spending more time with each other. We are getting used to each other, but the difference in attitudes about crime, police, social graces, music, language, lifestyle and other issues will continue to divide us no matter how well we know each other.

I was raised in America, and got to know Indians in high school a little bit, and in college. But, I knew fun Indians from the upper class when I was young. The minute I was in a spiritual group with more run of the mill South Indians (where the Master was not run of the mill, but formerly ran a mill in Tamil Nadu as a CEO) I began to see the real character of Indians. Everybody started out nice. But, once you got beyond the small talk there was a barrier. Many cultures have social barriers. With South Indians the barrier starts after the small talk. With Mexicans it starts before the small talk. With Arabs, they first make friends with you and then outcaste you. Each culture puts their barrier in a different place it seems.

The real problem started many years after I got used to Indians. I lived in India for a few months at a time on various occassions in different parts of India. And yes, the culture differs a lot from Maharashtria to Kerela, to Tamil Nadu, etc. I did not spend time in Northwest India where Hindu-Muslim tension is high thank God. I was down South where everyone is docile. But, we began to have a problem with noise. People would abuse their privelege with loud speakers, and cause disturbances in meditation. I asked the authorities to help stop this problem, but there was a refusal to cooperate. The problems didn’t stop, and my complaining got louder and louder. It got to the point where they kept telling me to be more tolerant — but, by this time it was dozens of people who were involved and telling me to be more tolerant. After my complaining got to the point of screaming, they got to the point where they could no longer tolerate my complaining, yet wouldn’t lift a finger to stop the noise pollution that happened everywhere I went in the mission. So, instead of solving the problem, they removed me.

So, although I got to know Indian culture — the culture of sweeping problems under the rug, and when those problems come out of the rug to sweep them under the rug again instead of solving them. India is a culture where you remove the one who complains instead of solving the problem. It seems that understanding Indians doesn’t help me get along with them better. It helps me get along with them worse because I’m so allergic to the nonsense that most of them give me. I’m sick of the excuses, the lies, the bullshit. Why is it that there can’t be Indians who have integrity, who stand up for what is right, and are sensitive to how others feel who have different feelings from themselves? Do such Indians exist? I haven’t met a single living one — only the spirits of deceased gurus who I have relationships with.

I guess it will all end soon. My guru says that the Hindu-Muslim conflict will leave every single North Indian dead within our lifetime. This is not my prefered way of solving the problem. But perhaps this is God’s way of doing to India, what my Indian spiritual group did to me — removing people instead of solving the problem.

My advice to anyone learning about another culture by being involved in it is — what you see is NOT what you get. You will find out things about the culture that you were not expecting and that are so horrible that you won’t be able to deal with it. You might find good things too. And one more thing. If you want to learn about a nice culture, try the Thais. Apart from their morality infractions that they are famous for, they are very nice people — I’ll vouch for them.

KFC in India’s fiery tomato based masala tantalizes the taste buds of a visiting American

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Eight years ago, I pleasantly sampled KFC in India and my view of the universe was permanently altered. India has been in a rut for the last ten thousand years. In the old days you could go to the forest wearing a loincloth and meditate, hang out with monkey gods, and learn to levitate. Then, India became less spiritual, after a few more hundred years, the Muslims took over large portions of India, and the caste system persisted.

Local Deshis have a repetoire of 10 dishes
Most people in India have a repetoire of ten dishes that they eat from the day they are born until the day they die (unless they are fed on an IV.) The Northern Moghlai cuisine has more diversity of spices while Maharashtra specializes in brown sauces and Kerela has coconut and ayervedic spices in their food. The high point of Tamilian cuisine is sambar while the Andhra Pradeshis have a mentally obtuse dish called “dumb biryani.” With all those high tech parks I’m sure they could innovate a smarter version of that dish and call it “smart biryani.”

India’s culinary rut finally altered
In the last ten years, India has really opened up culinarily. The 10,000 year old rut they have been in has lifted — at least for now courtesy of the influence and money brought in by multi-national companies, high tech firms, call centers, etc. Now you can get Indianized Chinese food anywhere. Yes, India’s Chinese food has too much basmati rice, too much black pepper, is too heavy on overly liquidy sauces, etc. India needs to learn that Chinese food is not Indian food and doesn’t come with twelve ounces of curry sauce. Chinese food normally comes in a light sauce and should emphasize Chinese flavors of which there are many, and not reflect Indian tastes so much. But, surprisingly Chennai has the best and most authentic tasting Chinese and Malay food in the country if you go to the right places. Additionally, now you can get dosa in the North and Punjabi butter chicken in the South. You can get Kerela paratha in Tamil Nadu and kim-chee in Bangalore. India has turned over a new ayervedic leaf it seems.

KFC in India came up with their own masala
When I travel, it is always interesting to see how a culture will assimilate another culture’s cuisine. I tasted a croissant in Germany (terrible,) had Chinese food in Italy (not bad,) and had Italian food in Andorra (excellent.) As far as I’m concerned Indians have ruined Chinese food, but for some reason they did a great job altering Colonel Sander’s chicken. No more 11 herbs and spices in India. Kentucky Fried Chicken in India came up with their own masala using — get this — tomato sauce, sweetener, and a lighter version of the herbs and spices, undoubtedly a completely different mixture.

The irony is that Indian KFC isn’t spicy
The irony is that Indian food is known for being spicy — and so is KFC. However, KFC in India spices their chicken in a very similar way to a popular variety of potato chips in India that Lays and/or Ruffles and other local manufacturers make which is a sweet tomato flavor. Indian KFC is surprisingly and pleasantly mild, sweet and tasty. I enjoyed McDonald’s Maharaja burger, I enjoyed getting American ice cream in Bangalore, but KFC was my best experience short of dining in five star hotels.

Why can’t we have Indian KFC in Los Angeles?
My only regret, is that Kentucky Fried Chicken in India is so good, I wish we could get the same flavor in America. Unfortunately the demographics here don’t support the same culinary tastes. But, maybe one day love will find a way. While we’re at it, I sampled kung pao chicken around the world, and I want Italian, Austrian and Atlanta Georgia style kung pao available in Los Angeles. I think it won’t happen until I open my own kung pao restaurant — we do kung pao right.

In any case, I’m looking forward to my next visit to India. We’ll see what new recipes KFC cooks up in India by then!

You might also like:

Solutions to India’s transportation problems
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/12/31/solutions-to-indias-transportation-problems-2015/

18 ways to boost your socila media marketing in 10 minutes per day
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/05/05/18-ways-to-boost-your-social-media-marketing-in-10-minutes-day/

Is it safe for women to take cabs in India?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/08/22/is-it-safe-for-women-to-take-cabs-in-india/

India in 2140
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/05/29/india-in-2140/

Should India’s government be involved in employee training?

Categories: India | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I was just looking at a graph of top economically performing nations. Ten years ago, India was not on the top ten list. Now it is. Japan on the other hand took a huge economic dive in 2014. I’m not sure what happened, but I read that people in Japan were spending a lot less, and also getting older. Personally, I’m glad that I’m not getting older! China’s growth was astounding despite all of the economic and banking problems they have. I’m not sure how much longer they can keep growing now that there is heavy competition for investments in West Africa which is now the new “place to be” as far as business is concerned.

India’s economy is growing, but their people skills are shrinking
Every time I visit India I am amazed at all the new buildings that were not there a year or two previously. I am also amazed at all of the new cars that have replaced the 1940’s style British Ambassador style sedans which looked so old school (but are great in accidents since the metal is so thick.) However, every time I call India I am also amazed at how pathetically hopeless their phone etiquette is. People are so inept they cannot announce their personal or business name when answering a business call at an office. Additionally, secretaries routinely put you on hold without permission only to be disconnected if you ask them a trick question such as, “what city are you in?” Simple questions requiring a kindergarten education are too difficult for most of India’s staff. So, I believe the solution is training. But, small and even large businesses don’t want to bother with much if any training. So, what is the solution?

Government training
The government of India takes great price in their economic growth and why shouldn’t they. But, imagine how much faster they would grow if they could eliminate some of the stupid behavior that goes on in businesses. High turnover, incompetent phone etiquette, and disorganized management top the list. What if the government could have schools to teach people how to check people’s work, answer the phone, answer basic questions, and stick to a job for more than three months? The entire nation would be turned around! Additionally, if the government would systematically test people from time to time to see how good their work skills are then workers could be given a formal written assessment which could be shared with all employers. I feel that workers that jump from job to job should also be penalized in their government score sheet as job hopping makes it very hard for upper management to run a company.

India’s professional future
Maybe India will one day turn around and learn phone etiquette. But, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Even the big companies hire incompetent secretaries and receptionists. If the best companies who have overseas investors can’t get it right, how will smaller businesses? Perhaps foreigners need to go to India and create some competition. In America, we have twenty nationalities (in large numbers) living under one government. We all compete against each other. Having some competition in India would do their country good. Maybe one day!

Solutions to India’s transportation problems (2015)

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In 2011 I wrote an article that described my solutions to India’s transportation problems. It was very popular, so I wrote a few subsequent articles on the topic.

2011 version
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2011/04/10/solutions-to-indias-transportation-problem/#sthash.MBfEQ7t9.dpuf

2014 version
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2014/08/23/solutions-to-indias-transportation-problems-2014/

The spoke system of transportation for a new Indian city
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2010/09/06/the-spoke-system-of-transportation-for-a-new-indian-city/

India’s main problem is that their level of affluence grew faster than their infrastructure. Roads were designed for bullock carts, not cars and buses. Bus drivers are often rude and drive in a jerky and unfriendly way. If you take the bus, you’ll be squeezed like a sardine, but if you drive a car, you’ll be creating more congestion. There must be a better way.

Downtown Areas
Transportation systems should be created for specific environments. Downtown areas have a very high population density and are ideal for certain types of transportation that wouldn’t be effective in sparely populated areas.

Moving Walkways
Moving walkways are perfect ways for people to get around in busy airports, and downtown areas. There could be enclosed above ground passageways with moving walkways. People could move roughly 8km/hour by walking on these contraptions. At that speed, you could get anywhere in any downtown area in minutes, as well as getting to various railway stations in minute as well.

Tolls For Cars
Instead of creating new systems of transportation, taxing the existing ways make a lot of sense. India has too many cars. Less cars mean that the other vehicles on the road will be able to move more freely. If cars are monopolizing roads, they should pay for that with daily tolls.

A Minibus Network on a Raised Network of Roads
Buses are no fun because they take too long to load, and don’t come frequently enough. However, minibuses are smaller and are fast to load. India is busy building flyovers. However, I believe that the money should be invested in raised roads that travel the length of the city. Minibuses could travel on a web of raised roads around the city traveling at speeds unheard of for cars. The raised roads would have no traffic other than small buses, so 70km/ hour would be possible and your commute might take minutes instead of hours!

Regular Routes for Share Taxis
Share rickshaws are unpleasant to get in an out of not to mention dangerous. But, enlarged golf carts or elongated cars might be very comfortable to travel around the city in. If there were regular stops for share vehicles, that might be a nice way for the middle class to get around.

A New City Built Around Transportation
I like the idea of building completely new cities in India. Tech workers and outsourcing workers might be able to popular these new areas. By creating a new city, you can design the city around the transportation instead of vice versa. You could leave extra space available in case technology changes.

Moving Cubicles?
Imagine a new city where offices are build in such a way that a cubicle could move from someone’s home to the office and be “plugged in.” Yes, this is a crazy idea, but fun. If your cubicle plugged into your home at night, a system could be devised where you could work in your cubicle while the cubicle was moved down the street into a slow cubicle train and to your office where it would get plugged in at exactly the right location. I love crazy ideas, but this is by far the best.

A Live Next to Work System
Let’s say you got a new job downtown. What if a new city in India made it a law that companies had to provide housing for employees within .5 km of work? You could have a flat walking distance from work which means no more traffic. But, what about your spouse and parents. How would they go to work? That is a harder question to answer. And what if companies could set up mini-offices in your neighborhood so you wouldn’t have to go too far. Instead of one huge office, mini-offices. It is an interesting concept.

Industry Specific City Design
Another interesting practical idea for a new city would be laws governing where certain industries could have their offices. If all call centers were in the same area, if you changed jobs, your new job would still be near the old job. If you were a programmer and there was only one IT park, your new job would be nearby.

Parking lots and trains
A new city in India could accommodate many large parking lots near train stations. It is normal for India to always skimp on parking lots and make the parking lot smaller, and more cramped than it needs to be. It should be the opposite if you want people to take the train. Parking lots should be large, easy to maneuver around and pleasant. Fast trains could leave every several minutes from the parking lot going everywhere in the city.

Twin Towers
Imagine a city where there is a huge office building, a beautiful garden, and on the other side a huge residential high rise. If you live in one and work in the other, your commute could be across a bridge going above the park unless you prefer to walk.

Shared Offices
Instead of going halfway across town to work, imagine shared offices. If there were shared offices in all neighborhoods, you could lease a workstation with a computer, desk, phone, and whatever else you needed. Shared offices are becoming a more popular concept in America, Berlin, and even Indonesia these days. They are popular with entrepreneurs, but why shouldn’t they be popular with big businesses? There would be less traffic if people could walk to work.

The Lake City Idea
Imagine a city on a huge lake or by the ocean. You could work on a huge ship. This is a bizarre idea, but a fun one. The ship could move around from port to port in the lake picking up workers while the other workers were busy at work. Cruise ships sort of operate on this principle as you can sleep in them while you move from travel destination to destination.

The Train Office Idea
A similar concept could be created for trains. If your office were on a train that moved very slowly, instead of going to work, you wait for work to come to you, and then jump on. It is a really strange idea, but interesting. Stores could also be on very wide railway tracks and come to you. The office might be on a mag-lev track to avoid friction and might only move two miles per hour. But, you’d never have to commute to work again. I guess during the middle of the day, the office could pick a location to “park” itself while people did their work.

Is it safe for women to take cabs in India?

Categories: India, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I keep reading more on this topic. Apparently, I am not the only one concerned with women’s safety. They are not concerned with my safety though — but, that’s another issue.

A fleet of pink cabs!
A new cab service in India has opened with pink cabs that are designated for women. I thought of a similar idea years ago that was for pink rickshaws. The vehicles would be driven by women, and the stops would have security, and the vehicles would be pink in my idea too. I thought of this first by the way!

http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2015/01/19/indias-new-pink-taxi-fleet-for-women-offers-pepper-spray-panic-buttons/

Pepper spray & panic buttons
This cab company with the pink fleet offers pepper spray and panic buttons. One woman in India was raped by an Uber driver recently, and this is a huge reason why women need to take precautions. But, over the last few decades in India, women have not been safe, and taking more precautions seems like the best step to take.

Taking a photo of the cab
I read another article where a woman says that you should not get into a vehicle unless you take a photo of it with your mobile phone and perhaps send it to someone for safe keeping. Once in a while, drivers will take you to an undisclosed location and rob you. It doesn’t happen that often, but women, and foreigners need to be vigilant.

Registered cabs from airports are safer
As a foreigner, I don’t know which cabs to take in India. I normally take rickshaws and deal with their tricks and bad manners. I have a few tricks too which they don’t like which include getting out of the rickshaw when they try to bill me for a 20 minute stop at a gas station. But, airports normally offer the possibility of getting in a registered cab, and you can inform your friends or family what the cab number is just in case.

Martial arts are a good idea!
Indian women are not known for their acumen at violent sports. Neither are the guys for that matter. But, ladies who I know in India are routinely harrassed in parks, and by rickshaw drivers. It is a serious problem. In addition to pepper spray, women need to know how to defend themselves from a headlock, grabbing, or an oncoming bully. If enough women know how to defend themselves, the bullies will be afraid of everyone! Having a good command of Karate or Tai Quan Do is an excellent idea. Long ago I heard a story of a short Chinese lady who was attacked by three huge thugs in New York City. After about 2 seconds, the thugs lay lifeless on the ground. This tiny lady took them all out in the blink of an eye because she was a deadly martial arts master. In addition to Veena & Tabla lessons, some Kung Fu might not be a bad idea.

Plain clothes protectors
Conditions are so bad for ladies in India that they need separate cars on trains, and separate cabs, just to avoid being molested. Additionally, the government doesn’t provide clean places for ladies to go to the bathroom in public which is a huge problem. But, what if there were unmarked guards who roam around parks, railway stations, and roads to protect women from harrassment and other dangers. So many men go around India bothering women, that after a few months, these guards could arrest tens of thousands of these troublemaking rowdy gundas!

Summary
It is not safe for women to take cabs in India, or even go for a walk in the park, or down the street. However, women need to go to work, go shopping and get around. So, taking the right precautions makes sense. And I wish you luck. Just remember — use your newly found Karate skills on the bad guys, not on me!

Going to India was good preparation for what the USA became

Categories: America, India | Leave a comment

My Maiden Voyage to India
I went to India several times in the last thirteen years. My maiden voyage was back in 2002. I had some bizarre experiences with people who kept asking the same question again and again and again. I kept saying no, no, no, no, no. It was like dealing with people who had part of their brain shut down. What I came to realize is that India is a land of extremes. There are people who are extremely smart, and many who are completely clueless. There are very moral people, and others who don’t have any morals. There are many different religions and castes who normally have almost nothing to do with each other. We see India as having “a culture” while in reality it is more like a patchwork of opposite societies forced to live with each other.

Sorry, Meter Broken
What bothered me most about India was that there was so much negligence and backwardsness almost everywhere. I have never been to Punjab, however, I understand that is the most organized part of India. This is because there are many Sikhs there, and the Sikhs are a very meticulous people who also have a very military attitude. 90% of the Indian army consists of Sikhs who are local to Haryana and Punjab. But, in the rest of India there are leaky faucets, piles of bricks left for months by the side of the road, police who take bribes, broken things of all descriptions, potholes, people who don’t drive in lanes, rickshaw drivers who have rigged or broken meters, and other types of nonsense.

What the U.S. Became
America has never been a perfect country, and we have never been as meticulous as the Japanese about keeping things clean or fixed. However, I have noticed that things have gone downhill in the last twenty years. There is more negligence and Unreliability here. When I hire American programmers, not one is able to meet simple deadlines or get back to me. In my apartment complex, the cement used to repair the sidewalk seems to break within a few weeks of its installation. We have to make multiple requests for the sink to be fixed. When I had my car repaired at Toyota for a noise, they fixed one noise and then didn’t double check the car for additional noises which resulted in me having to bring the car back and get yet another free rental car from them for a few days. We both lost a lot of time and money because they didn’t check their work — which reminds me of most of the programmers I hire.

India in 2002 Prepared Me for America in 2015
Since India prepared me for what I term “abject negligence,” I am more tolerant of it. However, if you run a business, you should make sure that you don’t do anything negligent and that you tolerate very little negligence on the part of your workers, especially those higher up. If you choose to not do certain tasks which are less valuable in your priority list, that is fine. However, if you neglect critical tasks, the consciousness of neglect will mirror itself into the others who you deal with. I have seen this spiritual principle manifest itself in real life so many times that I look for it to happen and try to analyze how the other person’s behavior is similar to mine. In my opinion, India is on its way slowly up and America is on its way down. I am not convinced that America will ever become as backwards as India and I doubt that India will ever become as nice as America. In the long run I believe that China will run the world and the rest of us will be their servants!

Six Problems That Only Individuals Working In A BPO Industry Would Understand

Categories: BPO, Call Center, India, Popular Posts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Six Problems That Only Individuals Working In A BPO Industry Would Understand
Anyone who has been working in a call centre, or has already worked there knows that there is no other psychological trauma quite like it, say for example hooked up on a phone call that would never end for the majority of your life, and is been subjected to the worst kinds of humanity.

Time is everything in a BPO Industry. We come across situations where you would have military walking in, your breaks being monitored, strict call length control, monitoring toilet breaks, etc. with each and everything being controlled and monitored. Welcome to the world of robots. Given below are some of the trials and tribulations one would have been experiencing in a call centre and lucky are the ones who escaped from it.

Being shouted at the entire day: You know what could make your clients angry for the things you are about to say. And things like it would take two weeks, or you do not have an account with us, or I would have to transfer your call, or my boiler has not been working and it’s definitely your fault. These are things that would sound like a red rag to a bull. So if you are lucky enough you would be getting a response like this I know it’s not your fault but before things go worse….and is something that’s unlikely to happen.

Being asked to work overtime: Each and every one of us have been doing this. We would have to work overtime in order to pull the given targets. We cannot let our customers down and would require someone who could answer their calls.

Taking up calls that you cannot deal with:These kind of things continue to happen a lot in the BPO Industry and is something that is never funny. Weeping people come forward and tell you their story whereas screaming customers would claim that they are going to come commit suicide with sexually inappropriate comments. And when such things happen you would here need to remember that you would have to wrap up the calls in 2 minutes or else would be fired.

Having to come up at 8.30 and starting your computer: You have been told that you need to be at your desk by sharp 8:30 am and it’s already 9.30. And it’s obvious that certain programme that you would need at your job would take half an hour of time to load. And off course you would not be paid for your extra half an hour then why would you choose to work for an extra hour.

Not wanting to be a part of clients call during day off: Do not try of contacting your customer success team during weekends, it would never ever happen. So try and use whats up, gmail, Viber, and Facebook instead.

Getting Back Home and Noticing That Your Friends Have Been On Facebook The Entire Day: Most of the times we come across situations where we did not have much work to do. And you could just read articles online with a limited access to internet like the fact of the day been written by your manager and your weekly column where your CEO would be describing the holiday he would be going on.
Author Bio:

Abhishek Jain has over 10 years of experience within the BPO Industry and Finance and Accounting outsourcing services. Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Services India delivers and manages various offshore/onsite projects in various technologies and domains

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Marketing your BPO outsourcing firm from A to Z
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2016/05/22/marketing-your-bpo-outsourcing-firm-from-a-to-z/

Is it time to Uber-size your outsourcing business?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2016/05/10/is-it-time-to-uber-size-your-outsourcing-business/

How to start an outsourcing company
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/12/29/how-to-start-an-outsourcing-company-2016/

If you invested in training your BPO employees, what skills would you teach them?
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2015/03/28/if-you-invested-in-training-your-bpo-employees-what-types-of-skills-would-you-teach-them/

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India in 2140

Categories: Humor, India, Popular on Twitter | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rahul had a dilemma. He wanted to get married, but in 2140, nobody in India could get married to anyone from a good family unless they worked for a BPO department of a MPC (multi-planetary company.) Rahul had finished school in anti-gravity device repair and Gorkonian anthropology. He was an expert at understanding all of the various life forms on planet Gorkon which was a job requirement. The last round of Indians didn’t bother understanding the locals which led to a huge fight.

Rahul was chosen by the Gorkonians to do all types of tasks. Fixing issues with their spaceships was one of the main things he was good at. But, he got into trouble because there was a serious problem with the mother ship and Rahul insisted on taking a 45 minute samosa and chai break at the critical minute. But, Rahul made it up to them. He found a great way to punish those who broke Gorkonian law. They would be banished in an interstellar flight for 200 years. The irony is that by the time the space craft would come back, it would be 200 years for those in the space craft, but only 4 years for those on Gorkon due to interstellar time lag. Rahul was the star of the planet (no interplanetary pun intended.)

Next, Rahul was assigned to fix their flying rickshaws. They were to fly at exactly four feet of altitude at all times except when docked and have air-friction reduction technology added. Rahul fixed every aspect of these machines perfectly, or at least they thought. In the mean time Rahul needed to go back to planet earth as his mother had arranged his marriage to Rajeny. Rahul returned back to earth after three years working in Gorkon to learn that his wife to be had only aged one year. Apparently time didn’t move as fast on Earth as it did on Gorkon. Rahul thought for a while for how to solve the problem. They decided that they would have to live in the same planet, otherwise their marriage would be doomed. He wouldn’t be able to work for two years, come back for a year and go back to work for two years otherwise he would be grandpa while Rajeny would be only twenty-five. So, they both went back to Gorkon. Of course that way, their parents would be younger than they were after a few decades, but they didn’t think that far in advance.

Everything was ready for them. The spacedock they landed on was perfect. Rahul’s buddy Vipool was responsible for the programming on that dock. Then, they had a vegetarian space burger with chutney. Finally it was time to go to their home. So, they got in one of the rick-shaws Rahul had designed. It has plugins for computers, voice activated commands, interplanetary phone systems, and even a mini movie screen where you could see movies from 290 different planets translated into any language you wanted. Rahul asked, “How much is it to get to my flat in Sarkun?” The rick-shaw walla said, “200 Gorkon rupees.” Then Rahul said, “Can you use the meter?” The walla replied in fluent Gorkonian,

“Sorry, meter broken!”

.

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Is it safe for women to take a cab in India?

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It is safe taking a cab in India if you are a woman?

Many feel that taking a cab in India is not safe for anyone, but conditions for women in India leave a lot of room for improvement. The first thing to remember about transportation in India is that there are many modes, and each mode has its own hazards. Just crossing the street in India involves risking your life! Taking the bus means being crammed against other humans. There is always a risk on a train of being a victim of terrorists. Taking a rick-shaw means that you are getting into a vehicle that won’t last in an accident, and only God knows who the driver is.

Many middle class women in India take cabs instead of rick-shaws. Cabs work for a centralized office who dispatches their call. The cab driver can’t get away with price gauging or sexual harrassment since the main office will fire him if there is an issue. Just a note that if you get a cab at an airport, make sure you confirm that it is really registered with a reputable company so you don’t get kidnapped or robbed. But, rick-shaws don’t offer the safety of registered cabs. I had a female friend who generally took cabs. But, one night she was in a hurry took a rick-shaw. The rick-shaw guy liked her and followed her home. Thankfully her family was home and told him to go away.

In India, women can’t go to parks alone because they will be followed sooner or later. They are not safe taking a rick-shaw. They can’t take the bus without being inadvertently touched by men. India is a prison for women in many ways. Additionally, on the road, there are no safe places for women to visit the restroom which is another huge issue. And if there are restrooms, they are so filthy, that no woman would want to set foot in them.

The irony is that Hinduism is the religion that supposedly respects women. Islam has a reputation of oppressing women — yet, there is no safer place for a woman to be than in Saudi Arabia. If anyone harasses you or molests you they will be sent to jail! In India if a policeman witnesses a woman being harassed, they will generally not punish the victimizer much if at all. I’m not from India, and have only visited, but based on what I call “word on the street,” the government really needs to think of ways to protect women in India!

Think Pink!
I suggest a new rick-shaw system for women, and by women called Pink Rick! It would be a network of rick-shaw stops around major metros. The rick-shaws would be pink. There would be security at night at rick-shaw stops. They could have share ricks going to other nearby stops as well to economize and cut down on traffic. I also suggest that rick-shaws have safety mechanisms inside. If you get hit by a truck you will die in one of those. Perhaps some padding or airbags (or anything soft) would help.

Women only buses
In India, train compartments are by use and by gender. There is one car for those with huge bundles, others for mail, women have their own cars so they don’t get groped, and then there is a men’s compartment which women are allowed in but don’t go into unless they are with someone. Why not have women only buses? That would solve a problem for women. Maybe mini-buses, so that they could come more frequently. I also recommend that these buses should be pink. My final note is that buses are not washed much in India. I think they get a wash every three years whether they need it or not. But, to emphasize the pink color, perhaps a wash every few days would be in order. Women like cleanliness after all. Having clean and clearly demarcated bus stops would be nice too.

Restrooms for women on the road
If you are a woman on the road, it is often not safe to use a restroom in someone’s home. You don’t know what could happen to you, especially in North India. It would be safer to have clean, state-run restrooms on the road with soap, proper lighting, and last but not least — toilet paper. When I say that it should have toilet paper, I don’t mean that sometimes it should have toilet paper until it gets stolen or runs out and then you wait two weeks to replace it if the manager is available. I mean you should always have it, and the roll should be padlocked to the wall so it doesn’t wander off!

Solutions to India’s transportation problems (2014)

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My original blog article in 2011 about Solutions to India’s transportation problems was a huge success. We got thousands of readers and it was fun to write as well. So, I am writing a different version of the same article in 2014 with some new and exciting ideas to help India win the battle of congestion.

My original article had practical ideas like removing the seats from buses so that more people could squeeze in them and have vinal compartments in the buses so that each person would have a private standing area! I hope that idea gets a standing ovation! I wrote about having moving walkways in long indoor corridors like they do at many international airports which would be a fast way to get around downtown areas. Mini-buses were on the list as they could arrive more frequently at designated stops. Luxury buses were my attempted to get the upper class out of their cars and into a more space-efficient mode of transportation that would reduce traffic. My final zany idea was a snake train and you really must read about that.

http://bpo.123outsource.net/2011/04/10/solutions-to-indias-transportation-problem/

Here are some more innovative ideas to save India. We’ll start with the more obvious approaches.

A new bus system

Indoor raised platforms at bus stops.
It is a pain in the neck to jump in a bus that wants to start moving before you are in it. Going up those stairs with other human bodies blocking you. The system is designed to make you hate it. But, this is India, at lease these days. I’m looking for a kinder, friendlier India (sorry to sound like George Bush.) What if bus stops were enclosed by glass and were raised up a few feet? That way it would be clearly designated WHICH bus you were waiting for (which is always ambiguous in India,) and you would be able to get in the bus as easily as you would get in a subway train with no stairs. This would be great for children, the elderly, and those who like to take the chaos out of life.

Double decker buses
Since road space is so limited in urban parts of India, double decker buses would save a lot of space on the road. Imagine having elevated docks so that you could exit from the top floor? Additionally, if buses were longer, they would function a bit like a surface train, and on busy streets you could keep those buses coming — one after the next. If you allocated some of the seats (or a closed off section of the bus) to have luxury larger seats, you could command a nice price from upper class customers as well which would help fund the entire system.

Transfer stations for buses
It is a pain in India getting off the bus onto a smelly road with trash everywhere and having to walk anywhere, especially if it means crossing a road which is a complete nightmare and a risk of life and limb. What if you could get off a bus, climb up some clean stairs, and then come down into another glass enclosed waiting area for the bus that you were going to transfer to. India’s population density causes problems, but it could be used as an asset, since it makes it possible to have efficient transportation systems involving trains and buses (which don’t work as well in most parts of America due to the sparse population.)

Standing only buses
Buses in India are notoriously packed full. Having seats bolted in prevents you from squeezing more sardines (human sardines) into the vehicle. Removing seats on some buses will allow more people into the bus. Having vinal separators would allow for individualized standing locations which would make the entire trip a whole lot more comfortable for you (and harder for the pick-pockets.)

Segway & Bike highways
This has always been my dream, but not enough urban planners think outside of the box, or the rick in the case of India. The reason why traffic is such an issue is that cars, rick-shaws, and buses are so large and clunky. If you have a safe way to ride a Segway or bicycle, traffic would flow so much more easily. A Segway is a small device that you stand on. It has two wheels on one axle and balances itself. It is sort of magical, but it’s real. Segways are popular in the United States for giving walking tours of cities since you can have a lot of people follow each other around in congested areas without any danger.

But, imagine an indoor enclosed highway for Segway traffic and bicycles. It could be elevated, so it could pass over roads. Since the highway wouldn’t carry a single heavy vehicle, the weight load on the infrastructure would be light which would mean that it would be a lot less expensive to build than a regular overpass — perhaps only 10% of the cost. There could be refreshment shops, news stands, bicycle repair shops, and internet cafes along the highway for the convenience of the people using it.

Since it is expensive to own a Segway, it might make more sense to have Segways be shared. If you enter the Segway highway, you could see a long line of Segways waiting to be used. You would just jump on one, and take it to the station where you want to get off, and then someone else could use that very same Segway. Theft would not be possible, because the Segways would not be able to exit the indoor passage without setting off an alarm.

The indoor nature of this highway would be convenient if it was hot, or raining. It could be temperature controlled as well if the budget permits. Additionally, it would be a safe way to get around at night!

Bullet Trains for the wealthy
When you think of India, you probably think of poverty, and people who are just skin and bones begging for food by the side of the road. India also has millions of very wealthy people, and those people need transportation. There are many wealthy types in Mumbai who simply need to save time getting around which is why they take the train. But, what if there were a better solution? Imagine a spotlessly clean bullet train system for the wealthy in big metros of India. It would cost a mint, but you would get great meals and refreshments at the stations, have a very fast ride wherever you are going and enjoy the company of other opulent folks at the meticulously maintained stations that all have ample paid parking! What a concept. Typically in India, if there is a rail station there is no parking, and if there is parking, there is no station, and if there are both, then something else is wrong. But, what if you could have it all, and with a clean and comfortable fast ride? I think the rich would pay for that. Bullet trains could be mag-lev trains for short urban commutes as well as from city to city. The security for getting on planes is a real hassle — taking a fast train from Delhi to Mumbai would be a lot nicer if you ask me!

Longer trains (perhaps double deckers)
India’s local rail system (they say rail, not train by the way) is overburdened in many areas. People have to squeeze in and it just isn’t funny. The only way to fix this problem is to either have more trains, longer trains, or double decker trains. Unfortunately, platforms at existing stations are not long enough to allow for longer trains. Should they all be rebuilt? The answer is unclear. But, India needs to adapt to its huge and ever-growing population and adapt its existing train infrastructure.

Tolls for cars to use the main roads.
Although I believe that having separate roads for buses is a sensible idea to help allow those buses to move freely, that is not always easy or possible. It would make sense in areas where buses and cars share the road to have fees for using the road. After all, if you drive on the road, you are taking up space that someone else could be using. There could be yearly fees for being able to use congested roads during certain hours of the day, or daily fees to use those roads. Singapore has yearly fees, and the result is that the locals complain, but there is never congestion in the entire island! Maybe India needs to think more like Singaporeans and permanently solve its transportation problem! If there were fees for using the roads, more people would use buses, and those buses would be able to move quickly since there would be a lot less traffic. I would honestly say, that for Indian urban roads to function well, there needs to be an 80% reduction in the quantity of cars on the road. Reducing the number of cars by half would still be a nightmare.

A web of indoor golf cart routes
This idea is similar to the Segway or Bicycle highway idea and would also function in indoor highways. If you visit many airports, the staff drive around in golf carts. But, what if larger electronic indoor vehicles could be built that would accommodate about eight people that you could just jump on and jump off of. The seats might even be on the outside of the vehicle, so you don’t actually get in. How these vehicles are shaped is a secondary issue, but imagine this reality! There could be stations throughout the line of these indoor highways. Or there could be a web of interconnecting highways. At each station, there could be eight possible directions that you could go, and eight carts waiting for you. Each cart would wait until it was completely filled, or until a certain amount of minutes had passed. This would be a very clean, fast, and convenient way to get around a city. Why can’t someone in Dubai put this idea to use — it is a really cool idea!

If you liked this article you might enjoy reading about my SNAKE TRAIN idea too.
http://bpo.123outsource.net/2013/12/02/the-snake-train-revisited-a-solution-to-indias-transport-nightmare/

Indians are used to noise, but do they like it?

Categories: India | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cultural differences are sometimes hard to define. People resort to very basic statements like, “Easterners are more family oriented,” or “Americans are more independent.” Yes, we know that Indians eat masalas and chutneys while Americans eat more potatoes, meat, and salads. But, what about other environmental issues such as noise?

During my several trips to India I noticed that everywhere I went it was very noisy. Even when I went to places that were famous for being quiet, there were drunk people yelling at 3am! Indian cities are famous for honking sounds, loud vendors, and other unbearable noise pollution.

When I ask the locals what they think about the noise, the standard response is, “Oh, I don’t even notice it.” Even at night in India, security guards rap their sticks against metal objects making a ticking rhythm and once I heard a security guard blowing a whistle at midnight to scare off the bad guys.

When I asked Indians if they prefer quiet and order, most of them said they would, although they are not really bothered by chaos and noise. I, on the other hand am very bothered by noise, disorder, and being pushed by rude people at train (railway) stations!

I noticed that in my apartment complex, there are some noisy children. I did an experiment to see how far noise traveled. I walked away from a volleyball game where everyone was screaming. After I got 100 wide paces which is 300 feet, the noise died down to being almost not detectable, and after 400 feet I couldn’t hear it at all. Interesting.

Tweets:
(1) Cultural differences are hard to define: Masala vs. Hamburgers is one. But, what about noise tolerance?
(2) Noise from children playing travels 300 feet and then becomes virtually undetectable to the human ear.
(3) Although Indians are accustomed to noise and chaos, most claim that they prefer peace & quiet!

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