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A New Chapter In My Life; Google


When I decided to leave SAP to take a short sabbatical I didn’t really know what to expect. Six months later I am happy to report that it was one of the best decisions I ever made. These were some of the best weeks and months of my life. After this short period of disconnecting to recharge and rejuvenate myself I am reconnecting to the professional world. I have accepted an offer with Google to lead the API Ecosystem for Google Cloud to help drive adoption and monetization of the Google Cloud portfolio of platform and products, at scale, by working with various partners as well as coordinating efforts internally at Google with product management and engineering.

As I disconnected I felt the life slowed down and I had more time on hands and a fewer things to do. I met with many people during my sabbatical to learn from them and bounce off my thoughts. We tend to postpone taking certain decisions and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about many things in life, personal as well as professional, simply because we are compressed on time and each task, activity, or a decision only gets a fraction of overall available time we have. I tried hard not to work hard. Just slowing down and soaking it all in helped clear up many things. Taking time off also helped me prioritize what I really wanted to do. I am a big believer in unstructured free time where there is nothing planned ahead of time; wake up and take each day as it goes. I enjoyed doing mundane tasks and that took my attention off a typical rapid life of a technologist in the Silicon Valley. I would highly encourage you to take a short sabbatical in your career if the circumstances allow you to do so.

To a lifelong learner and a “product" person nothing excites me more than immersing myself into breadth of possible opportunities at the intersection of technology and business to create meaningful impact at Google. I have always admired Google for its ability to take risk by going after some of the hardest problems that require massive scale, foster innovation, and embrace failure as part of its culture. I have always been impressed with the talent Google manages to hire and retain. I am looking forward to be surrounded by people much smarter than me and learn from them. It’s going to be an exciting ride!

Disconnect To Reconnect


All journeys, no matter how fruitful, come to an end. After a little over nine and half years I decided to leave SAP last week. What a journey this has been!

Making Design Thinking real

I was hired into a multidisciplinary corporate strategy team, set up by Hasso Plattner, the chairman of SAP's supervisory board, and the only co-founder still with the company, whose mission was to help SAP embrace “design thinking” in how it built products and processes as well as how it worked with customers. It was the best multidisciplinary team one could imagine to be part of. We were multidisciplinary to a fault where I used to joke that my team members and I had nothing in common. I am proud to be part of this journey and the impact we helped achieve. Over the years we managed to take the double quotes out of design thinking making it a default mindset and philosophy in all parts of SAP. It was a testament to the fact that any bold and audacious mission starts with a few simple steps and can be accomplished if there is a small passionate team behind it striving to make an impact.

Be part of foundation of something disruptive

Being part of the Office of CEO I worked with two CEOs—Henning and Leo—and their respective executive management teams. This was by far the best learning experience of my life. I got an opportunity to work across lines of businesses and got first hand exposure to intricate parts of SAP’s business. As part of the corporate strategy team I also got an opportunity to work on Business Objects post-merger integration, especially the joint product vision. Some of that work led to the foundation of one of the most disruptive products SAP later released, SAP HANA.

Fuel the insane growth of SAP HANA

HANA just happened to SAP. The market and competition were not expecting us to do anything in this space. Most people at SAP didn’t realize full potential of it and most customers didn’t believe it could actually help them. I don’t blame them. HANA was such a radically foreign concept that it created a feeling of skepticism and enthusiasm at the same time. I took on many different roles and worked extensively with various parts of organization and SAP’s customers to explore, identify, and realize breakthrough scenarios that exploited the unique and differentiating aspects of HANA.

HANA’s value was perceived to help customers to do things better, cheaper, and faster. But, I was on an orthogonal, and rather difficult, mission to help our customers do things they could not have done before or could not even have imagined they could do.

I was fortunate enough to significantly contribute to early adoption of HANA—zero to billion dollars in revenue in three years—which also went on to become the fastest growing product in SAP’s history. I got a chance to work closely with Vishal Sikka, the CTO of SAP and informally known as the father of HANA, on this endeavor and on many other things. It was also a pleasure to work with some of the most prominent global SAP customers who are industry leaders. They taught me a lot about their business.

Incubate a completely new class of data-first cloud solutions

As HANA started to become a foundation and platform for everything we built at SAP my team took on a customer-driven part-accelerator and a part-incubator role to further leverage the most differentiating aspects of the platform and combine it with machine learning and AI to help build new greenfield data-first cloud solutions that reimagined enterprise scenarios. These solutions created potential for more sustaining revenue in days to come.

Practice the General Manager model with a start-up mindset

A true General Manager model is rare or non-existent at SAP (and at many other ISVs), but we implemented that model in my team where I was empowered to run all the functions—engineering, design, product management, product marketing, and business development—and assumed the overall P&L responsibility of the team. The buck stopped with me and as a team we could make swift business decisions. The team members also felt a strong purpose in how their work helped SAP. Often times, people would come up to me and say, “so your team is like a start-up.” I would politely tell them claiming my team as a start-up will be a great disservice to all the real start-ups out there. However, I tried very hard for us to embrace the start-up culture—small tight teams, experimentation, rewarding efforts and not just the outcome, mission and purpose driven to a fault, break things to make them work, insanely short project timelines, and mid to long term vision with focused short-term extreme agile execution—and we leveraged the biggest asset SAP has, its customers.

Be part of a transformative journey

I was fortunate to witness SAP’s successful transformation to a cloud company without compromising on margins or revenue and HANA-led in-memory revolution that not only paved the path for a completely new category of software but also became the fastest growing product in SAP’s history. These kind of things simply don’t happen to all people and I was fortunate to be part of this journey. I have tremendous respect for SAP as a company and the leaders, especially the CEO Bill McDermott, in what the company has achieved. I’m thankful to all the people who helped and mentored me, and more importantly believed in me.

Looking forward to not doing anything, at least for a short period of time

At times, such a long and fast-paced journey somewhat desensitizes you from the real world. I want to slow down, take a step back, and rethink how the current technology storm in the Silicon Valley will disrupt the world again as it has always and how I can be part of that journey, again. There are also personal projects I have been putting off for a while that I want to tend to. I’m hoping a short break will help me reenergize and see the world differently. When I broke this news to my mom she didn’t freak out. I must have made the right decision!

I want to disconnect to reconnect.

I am looking forward to do away with my commute for a while, on 101, during rush hours, to smell the proverbial roses. I won’t miss 6 AM conference calls, but I will certainly miss those cute self-driving Google cars on streets of Palo Alto. They always remind me of why the valley is such a great place. For a “product” person, a technology enthusiast, and a generalist like me who has experienced and practiced all the three sides—feasibility, viability, and desirability—of building software the valley is full of promises and immense excitement. In coming days I am hoping to learn from my friends and thought leaders that would eventually lead me to my next tour of duty.

About the picture: I was on a hiking trip to four national parks a few years ago where I took this picture standing on the middle of a road inside Death Valley National Park. The “C” curve on a rather straight road is the only place on that long stretch where you could get cell phone reception. Even short hiking trips have helped me gain a new perspective on work and life.     

What Makes You A Good Product Marketing Manager?


"A Pretty Package Can’t Sell A Poor Product” - Bill Walsh

I am a big fan of Bill Walsh and his management philosophy. Following is an excerpt from his book The Score Takes Care Of Itself.

To promote sales of season tickets, I came up with an ambitious (and time-consuming) plan called “Pick-a-Seat Day” in which we put bright red ribbons on all available season ticket seats and invited the public to buy their favorites. And that’s not all. 
On the big promotion day we offered balloons, free donkey rides, ethnic foods, and clowns for the kiddies. Also, free popcorn, soft drinks and hot dogs, jugglers, a Dixieland band, and magicians. It was really a great family event for the thousands of folks who came out to Candlestick Park.
The next morning I arrived at the office early to see what the results of my “Pick-a-Seat Day” promotion were. Or, more accurately, weren’t. Total season tickets sold: seven. (I bought three more myself on the fifty-yard line, just so I could report that we’d hit double digits. In fact, our family still has those seats.) 
“Pick-a-Seat Day” was a total flop, but it was a flop that taught me something very important: A pretty package can’t sell a poor product. Results— in my profession, winning football games— are the ultimate promotional tool. I was trying to sell a bad product, a team that was the worst franchise in sports, that had lost twenty-seven straight road games, and whose record at home wasn’t much better. 
From that point on, I focused my energies exclusively on creating a quality product, a team that was worth spending money to see. When that was achieved, we also achieved a ten-year waiting list to buy a 49ers’ season ticket. 
In your efforts to create interest in your own product, don’t get carried away with premature promotion— creating a pretty package with hype, spin, and all the rest. First, make sure you’ve got something of quality to promote. Then worry about how you’re going to wrap it in an attractive package. The world’s best promotional tool is a good product.

I see this as a chronic problem in the software industry and many product marketing managers make it even worse. They tend to impose their own belief system in isolation while marketing to prospects without championing product and customer views as well as ignoring competition and where the product fits in the market. Over a period of time I have learned a few lessons observing and woking with them as well as being one of them for some part of my work.

Amplify the value proposition, don’t recreate it: One of the most common mistakes I observe product marketing managers make is to recreate value proposition of a product instead of amplifying it. A lot goes into making a great product - finding the end user needs, designing compelling experiences, and enabling them with technology. Product managers and engineers spend a lot of time making great products. Don’t reinvent the wheel; it’s precisely those stories and the unique characteristics of the product you want to amplify. As a product marketing manager your job is to tell great stories and not to rewrite them. Find the right medium and use it to your own advantage. Get customers excited and help them see the possibilities.

Sell the problem, not the solution: I have seen people focus on a very narrow definition of competitive differentiation, pricing and positioning. It’s not just about pricing and positioning; customers shop in categories for a specific set of problems or challenges they may have. As a vendor you need to have empathy for your customers on their buying process. Spending time articulating how your products solve their problems is far more important than outlining features and outsourcing the task of matching features with JTBD of your customers. Product marketing managers tend to fixate on what they are selling as opposed to what customers are buying.

Apple commercials are a great example of bringing products to life in scenarios and stories without marketing a product feature-by-feature. These commercials are designed to emotionally connect with consumers in their lives on why they need to buy Apple products and what they might use them for. Communicating with buyers on how you understand their problems is far more important than telling them they can do whatever they want with your products. This is especially hard when you’re selling technology and what customers are buying is a solution.

You need to understand the market, competition, and customers, not in isolation, but how they move with each other. Most product marketing managers I have seen take either a market view and force products to customers or take a customer view in justifying how it meets demands of the customers, but fail miserably articulating how their products fit in the market with the competition because they ignore the market. You have to do both. You could decide to ignore what you don’t prefer but your prospects won’t.

Focus on what customers are buying and not what you’re selling: Most successful go-to-market strategies are the ones that are profoundly simple. I have observed product marketing managers fail at one of the most basic tasks to ensure the prospects understand what they are buying. With complicated pricing, packaging, and a combination of deployment options, more often than not, customers are confused about what they are buying even if a product could potentially solve their problems. This confusion creates friction and customers end up buying what they understand in simple terms and that may not be your product even if it is superior to your competition. If you can’t simplify the value proposition in simple English without any jargon and offer an extremely clear explanation of what they are buying and how they can operationalize it with the lowest time to the highest value you’re not doing your job well.

Leverage irrationality: Software is rational, human beings are not. I have seen product marketing managers take a classical demand-supply economics as their go-to-market basis. They strongly feel that the product (supply) should somehow fit into an existing need (demand). While, to large extent, I do hope product managers (and not product marketing manages) are looking at those opportunities, but not all products are designed that way. It’s your job to tap into this very irrationality, the behavioral economics, to create demand for the product. Make customers want your products and not just need them. Better understand behavioral economics to decide how you will market the product, how you will package it, and how you will sell it. Customers don’t make decisions based on the product merit alone; good sales people know this and they leverage these aspects in their sales cycle. What I find strange, especially in enterprise software, is that product marketing managers stay oblivious to the fact that customers don’t always make rational choices. Perhaps it’s the formal business education or the “knowledge curse” that gets in their way and they overthink a human behavior situation and make it an economics issue.

Footnote: This is not an attempt to stereotype all product marketing managers and make them look stupid. In fact I have met and worked with some really bright product marketing manager. This is simply an attempt to outline how they might be able to channel some of their energy in a different way to be more effective in certain situations.

The Discriminatory Dark Side Of Big Data


It has happened again. Researchers have discovered that Google’s ad-targeting system is discriminatory. Male web users were more likely to be shown high paying executive ads compared to female visitors. The researchers have published a paper which was presented at the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium in Philadelphia.

I had blogged about the dark side of Big Data almost two years back. Latanya Sweeney, a Harvard professor Googled her own name to find out an ad next to her name for a background check hinting that she was arrested. She dug deeper and concluded that so-called black-identifying names were significantly more likely to be the targets for such ads. She documented this in her paper, Discrimination in Online Ad Delivery. Google then denied AdWords being discriminatory in anyway and Google is denying to be discriminatory now.

I want to believe Google. I don’t think Google believes they are discriminating. And, that’s the discriminatory dark side of Big Data. I have no intention to paint a gloomy picture and blame technology, but I find it scary to observe that technology is changing much faster than the ability of the brightest minds to comprehend the impact of it.

A combination of massively parallel computing and sophisticated algorithms to leverage this parallelism as well as ability of algorithms to learn and adapt without any manual intervention to be more relevant, almost in real-time, are going to cause a lot more of such issues to surface. As a customer you simply don't know whether the products or services that you are offered or not at a certain price is based on any discriminatory practices. To complicate this further, in many cases, even companies don't know whether insights they derive from a vast amount of internal as well as external data are discriminatory or not. This is the dark side of Big Data.

The challenge with Big Data is not Big Data itself but what companies could do with your data combined with any other data without your explicit understanding of how algorithms work. To prevent discriminatory practices, we see employment practices being audited to ensure equal opportunity and admissions to colleges audited to ensure fair admission process, but I don't see how anyone is going to audit these algorithms and data practices.

Disruptive technology always surfaces socioeconomic issues that either didn't exist before or were not obvious and imminent. Some people get worked up because they don't quite understand how technology works. I still remember politicians trying to blame GMail for "reading" emails to show ads. I believe that Big Data is yet another such disruption that is going to cause similar issues and it is disappointing that nothing much has changed in the last two years.

It has taken a while for the Internet companies to figure out how to safeguard our personal data and they are not even there, but their ability to control the way this data could get used is very questionable. Let’s not forget data does not discriminate, people do. We should not shy away from these issues but should collaboratively work hard to highlight and amplify what these issues might be and address them as opposed to blame technology to be evil.

Photo courtesy: Kutrt Bauschardt

Best iPad Air Keyboard - A Perfect Typing Gadget For Your Latest iPad

Best iPad Air Keyboard - A Perfect Typing Gadget For Your Latest iPad - If you are significant inside writing and therefore are acquiring trouble making use of your most up-to-date iPad's onscreen keyboard set, of course your alternate solution can be to get a Ideal apple company ipad Fresh air Computer keyboard. Any apple company ipad works together the majority of of Wi-fi Wireless bluetooth keyboard set, nevertheless there are various key-boards available that happen to be usually created to provide for that apple company ipad. All these are definitely made intended for portability. That they generally include things like iOS-specific special-function secrets intended for amount adjustment, lighting management, media playback management, house monitor shortcut, iOS's spotlight-search monitor management and many more.
Best iPad Air Keyboard - A Perfect Typing Gadget For Your Latest iPad
image by: google
There's also other folks that supply standalone copy, minimize in addition to composite control keys. Nearly all apple company ipad key-boards are built-in within in some kind of shielding event, nevertheless some are stand-alone models. Despite the style and design, the majority of it includes standard rechargeable power packs which often on the impose past intended for months or maybe several weeks. The most effective apple company ipad Fresh air Computer keyboard offers increased the efficiency in the brand new apple company ipad design, providing proprietors a genuine product for you to variety on. Each time you'll look for the right apple company ipad keyboard set, you should verify product functions, technical specs in addition to customer testimonials to pick out the most effective item. Due to simple on the web retail marketplace, a large variety of people preferred website in addition to online to look for the cheapest goods can be their finest solution instead of about to their local store.
Critical items to consider any time obtaining

Several considerations to think of any time getting Ideal apple company ipad Fresh air Computer keyboard are as follows:

* Removability -- Should you oftentimes would like a genuine keyboard set when working with ones apple company ipad, you may appreciate the simple some sort of keyboard set built-into in a situation, mainly because keyboard set can almost always end up being along. In the event, you choose a different keyboard set occasionally, or simply you simply choose to make use of the apple company ipad devoid of inconvenience intended for non-typing chores, you can definitely find some sort of large, folio-style keyboard set event being trouble, seeing that they are often hard to get rid of. On the other hand, the most up-to-date key-boards get excellent qualities and they are an excellent skimp, and as well stand-alone key-boards provide a variety of overall flexibility.

Best iPad Air Keyboard - A Perfect Typing Gadget For Your Latest iPad
* Portability -- Aside from stand-alone kinds, apple company ipad key-boards demand exceptional simplicity trade-offs. If the keyboard set can be slim, whilst the truth likewise, even so the think in the secrets can be undesired. In the event the keyboard set can be small, it truly is a lot more convenient, nevertheless, it's secrets tend to be more jampacked, or simply the greater you will see that the secrets are unacceptable bigger or possibly it truly is inside the drastically wrong places.

Nonetheless, stand-alone key-boards, tend to be more substantial, additionally aren't seeing that all-in-one useful; on the other hand that they mainly function common crucial sizing in addition to the think, an average crucial page layout, along with a writing expertise which is very similar to that will of the pc keyboard set.

You will have to pick out which often trade-offs you happen to be organized to generate as a consequence of portability, most surely if you are an affect typist in addition to take note of these trade-offs when you store. Practical test actually are very important, if you possibly could get just one; in any other case, be sure that a nearby store or perhaps on the web website you happen to be obtaining through comes with a great return insurance policy. - Best iPad Air Keyboard - A Perfect Typing Gadget For Your Latest iPad

5 Reasons to Buy a Great LED Flashlight

5 Reasons to Buy a Great LED Flashlight - Did you know BROUGHT flashlights would be the finest green option available today intended for minimizing ones carbon footprint? If you fail to actually install solar panels preceding your property as well as match all of your electricity requires via solar power, you can at the very least eliminate carbon footprint by making use of BROUGHT signals.
5 Reasons to Buy a Great LED Flashlight
image by: google

How can proudly owning one particular aid?

Proudly owning you can be connected with wonderful make use of for virtually any person. It is shiny, it's wonderful also it lasts amazingly long. There isn't a mercury involved in the production connected with BROUGHT signals. The truth is, roughly should the Xmas lamps usually are replaced, it may conserve the world in excess of $20 million annually. In case you are even now contemplating no matter whether to obtain one particular, many of us present you with 5 good reasons to obtain one of them today.

BROUGHT flashlights usually are connected with wonderful aid if the signals turn off or even there is a blackout out of the blue. Regardless of whether you're on house or office or even taking walks on your way, when you are inside full darkness, all you should do is usually first turn on ones torch and also view factors around people obviously once again.

BROUGHT flashlights can be purchased in a number of sizes wherein you can get a little one particular as well as place it to be able to their own keychain as well as make it exactly where each goes. It also facilitates ones keychain look stylish as well as cool while fixing ones purpose of never ever being inside darkness.

BROUGHT flashlights can prove to be a new safe practices device available for you during the night. In case you are exploring by yourself and therefore are mauled by thugs, goons or even gangsters then all you must do is usually expensive the actual BROUGHT torch promptly into their own face as well as sightless all of them temporarily, supplying you with time to flee.

5 Reasons to Buy a Great LED Flashlight
In case you are someone that works during the night, then the BROUGHT torch will certainly come practical as much occasions the actual light bulb combines as soon as doing work or even the actual signals turn off out of the blue. Through the night one particular struggles to view anything at all due to the darkness as well as creating a torch by your side can easily permit you to grab yourself arranged swiftly.

Most of these flashlights previous for a lot of a huge selection of time and therefore are cheap whatsoever. This is the reason exactly why many people prove to be less expensive when compared with additional flashlights and in addition run for a for a longer time occasion. You should acquire one particular torch and become worry-free for several years ahead.

BROUGHT flashlights previous just about because twice the standard lighting. Think of this as, you actually do not need to get a brand-new torch intended for at the very least ten years as soon as you acquire one particular. The truth is, odds are when you have obtained a new BROUGHT lighting as well as inserted it in a newborns area, you may not have to change it out until they visits university! - 5 Reasons to Buy a Great LED Flashlight

The Art Of Delegation - My Ten Principles For Healthy Team Culture


"Delegate almost to the point of abdication" - Warren Buffet

I have worked with numerous leaders at all levels and have seen the best and worst practices in how they delegate or they don’t. Here are my 10 principles of delegation that I practice and advocate based on the lessons I have learned by being on both ends of the spectrum.

1. Delegating is not simply about asking someone to do something for you; it’s about setting expectations on desired outcome and offering to help.

2. Delegating does not mean being a slacker but shifting focus instead on right things; as a leader, more often than not, doing right things is more important than doing things right.

3. Delegating something that you typically won’t is the best way to empower your employees; all other empowering talk is cheap.

4. Never take credit for what you delegate; in fact never take credit for anything that you accomplish.

5. Delegation leads to transparency; most employees struggle to get a bigger picture and don’t have insights into what their managers do.

6. Don't say, “I trust you,” instead delegate a task where an employee understands she would not have gotten an opportunity to work on it unless the manager had her trust.

7. Put yourself in the shoes of whom you are delegating to; manage their concerns, emotions, and challenges instead of yours.

8. If afraid of delegating a task imagine the worst case scenario before you delegate it and mitigate the situation by setting expectations and periodically monitoring the progress to make you comfortable delegate.

9. If still afraid of delegating unpack the task into sub-tasks and start with delegating the first sub-task; it’s always the first step that is incredibly hard to take.

10. Share with your employees what you don’t want to delegate; help them build empathy for what you do and motivate them to step up for that task the next time.

Photo courtesy: tanakawho