Morality of Marketing

When I visit a physician friend of mine, who is very ethical and has a respectable and rewardful  practice, I notice a board in his clinic which informs his consultation charges.

First Consultation(in clinic): X amount

First time Visit at patient home: X+ Z amount

Repeat consultations in clinic : X-Y amount

Second and third visits : Z amount

Emergency Visit Charges : X+Y+Z amount (highest)

If mood and time permit, I pull a fast one on him asking what would be his obvious action if a critically ill patient is bought for the first time in serious condition and which charges will apply? He pulls off an equally fast one on me and gives a wise answer ” First I will make all efforts to revive and save the life of the patient”. And then adds tongue in cheek ” thereafter I would refer the patient to be admitted at a hospital where I am a visiting doctor”.

Taking this friendly banter to a more serious note, I want bring on the table, how market values started to dominate our lives in various respect.

Over the period of time we have knowingly or unknowingly embraced the market mechanisms in our everyday lives and so the market values – of demand vs supply play a much greater role in our social lives than before.

To prove this point let me cite another example from the medical practice :

A person diagonized with rheumatic ailment needs to consult a specialist and call the clinic of renowned Rheumatologist gujarat for an appointment but the earliest appointment is after 2 months. The doctor would never answer a mobile call. But if you have some influence , send a text message with the name of your reference.A open appointment is granted with an estimated wait time of 4-6 hours but the doctor will squeeze in a consultation between some two scheduled consultations, for a handsome fee.

Tell me how different  is this practice from a corrupt train conductor who sells you a berth at some “price” during an urgent unscheduled travel when no reservation is available.

Today the logic of buying and selling is no longer applicable to material goods alone.In our greed to possess  “just now” , things which we should be granted have turned into a commodity because it is up for sale and has a price tag. Consider for example the ‘for profit’ education institutions, hospitals and social organizations which sell “naming rights” to parks and civil places. In certain cases of non violent prisoners and celebrity there are ‘extra’ facilities available in jails!

So what’s wrong with this ? Why worry if everything in the society is up for Sale? When there is price tag on everything only the affluent will have the right to have it.      

This in turn leads to inequality and corruption. Market triumphalism and greed leads to the moral failing of the heart.

Why complain if we chose to live in a market society? But are we devaluing human life? 

Slavery was appalling because it treated human beings as a commodity. But present times has also seen human life as instrument of gain and object of use.

No I am not referring the world’s oldest profession. But consider this, a person agrees to be a guinea pig for an extensive drug trial by a pharmaceutical company for $7500 and it can be higher or lower depending on invasiveness  of the procedure and discomfort involved. 

If a terminally ill patient wants to purchase a organ like kidney or liver , and a consenting adult is willing to sell, the only question is Price?
Recently a celebrity actor fathered a boy through surrogacy. Services of an Indian surrogate mother is available at as low as $2500 much lower than going rates in USA. Increasingly western couples seeking surrogates outsource from India.

During the Afghanistan and Iraq war there were many private armies fight with US troops and many enrolled with military contractors for handsome fee starting $1000 per day and it varies according to qualifications,experience and nationality.

Society and markets don’t wag fingers at these transactions or arrangements of profit.Nor do they discriminate between worthy and the unworthy because each party in the deal has decided the value for the exchange.

Well, in a society in which the singular moral value is the acquisition and concentration of wealth and the power and influence it can buy, there is thin moral line between ‘charity’ and ‘exploitation’. Are we aware of the price we pay for living in a society where everything is up for sale.

Have we come to live with the fact that what once was a civic right like safe drinking water is now available for 20 cents a litre.

European Unions sells the rights to pollute the earth’s atmosphere by selling carbon credits in the carbon-dioxide -emission markets that enables Chemical companies to buy and sell their right to pollute. So are we going to pay the price for clean air in future?

The myth of community, shared values and sacrifice, shared goals for civic betterment…have faded from the public arena…[markets] know the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Intellectual debates only allows us to analyze problems in the context of the objective measure of  financial impact and its detrimental effect on society.

In a non judgmental way the economic (read marketing) community at large should take the onus of arresting the commoditization of things that can be owned.

A gift  to your spouse is an expression of true affection and not in exchange of anything !

And to end it on a humorous note

Vajesingh bapu was running an errand for Rohit Seth’s daughter’s wedding and in haste ran his luna moped through red signal. The constable who tried to stop him got a slap and so chased him up to Seth’s house to arrest him or pay the fine. In midst of the event Rohit gave Bapu Rs.500/- to settle the matter. The constable demanded Rs.100/- fine for traffic rule violation and Rs.100/- for the slap. Bapu slapped him three more times and gave the Rs.500/- note as he didn’t have change.








The future of workforce


A conversation with an ex MBA student, has sparked the thought for me to again write on this topic which I believe has been ‘over discussed’ and less practiced.

This guy, now a construction site owner cum computer programmer – successful and earning much more than what career path he must have envisaged just 4 years ago when he was in a business school, shared with me how a leading private sector bank, monitored the ‘clicks’ on home loan link of their website, collated that information on a spreadsheet. Emails were targeted to such potential borrowers and the resultant jump in the sale of the bank’s mortgage products was a valid reason to fire 4500 employees nationwide doing loan products tele sales.

Here is my take to the situation “the vulnerability of a job to automation is not so much whether the work concerned is manual or white-collar but whether or not it is routine” According to Seth Godin ” Any job function can be written down descriptively, can be replaced by an algorithm”

It is beyond any doubt that Technology is going to replace jobs, or, more precisely, the people holding those jobs, baring a handful of industries. Early this year, the World Economic Forum issued a white paper highlighting the need to reskill and upskill today’s workforce. Technology will replace some work, but it doesn’t have to replace the people who have done that work.

Many executives may think themselves the wizard; thrilled by the idea that AI technology will allow them to save millions in labor costs, they would come to believe that the best company is the one with the fewest people aside from the CEO. (Or may be just an CEO with robots for company).

[One should watch the movie “Up in the Air”starring George Clooney portraying a corporate “downsizer” and the movie talks about a workforce flowchart that is designed to cut costs by conducting layoffs via videoconferencing.]

The National Institute of Standards predicts that “machine learning can improve production capacity by up to 20%” and reduce raw materials waste by 4%. The findings from a recent McKinsey study about what kind of work is most adaptable to automation seem to conclude that the more technical the work, the more technology can accomplish it. In other words, machines skew toward tactical applications.

However, this very same report reveals that the hardest activities to automate with currently available technologies are those that involve managing and developing people (only 9% automation potential) or to apply expertise of decision making, planning, or creative work (18 %). Computers are great at optimizing, but not so great at goal-setting. Or even using common sense.

While humans are strategic; machines are tactical. Hence the development of technology is to boost productivity, not cut the workforce. With the advent of symbolic “robotic bricklayers” the machine learning algorithms are expected to even replace people responsible for “optical part sorting, automated quality control, failure detection, and improved productivity and efficiency. While human-automation collaboration. Analytics, algorithms, big data, and artificial intelligence increasingly abolish work previously performed by humans on one hand, at the same time they would also create new work at the interface of humans and automation. For every robot put in the world, will require some human expert maintaining it or servicing it or taking care of it.

Let me end this article by highlighting an example. ATMs took over a lot of the task the tellers were performing, however it gave existing bank employees the opportunity to upskill and sell a wider range of financial services. And, there was also a need for support staff with issues related to the functioning of the ATMs.

I foresee a growing range of new job opportunities in the fields of big data analysis, decision support analysts, remote-control vehicle operators, customer experience experts, personalized preventative health helpers, and online chaperones (managing online risks such as identify theft, reputational damage, social media bullying and harassment, and internet fraud).

The future of workforce is imagination, creativity and strategy

Mulling over

The unemployment in USA has registered at 3.9% which is the lowest in 18 years. 👍🏻

Statistics reveal though that more than 60% of the new hire was in sectors like manufacturing and service sector ( more so in health and banking- loans, mortgage, contact centers).

The easily hired can also be easily🔥

Having said that I am curious how does techie in silicon valley feels. Is there a job security? If so how long is the ‘ rope on residency’

In light of the current trade stand-off between US and China , well , like ” make in India” China too has a program to be technologically self sufficient by 2025 ( includes AI).

The Chinese government has announced huge subsidy for the companies investing in technology.

So we can anticipate all that technology available at an heavily marked down prices. How will the US companies stand up to that is secondary than how much the salaries they will continue to pay those expatriate technocrats is a major concern to me for my friends

Seth Godin says any job function that can be defined or written down will be replaceable with AI. But my optimism is that we humans are endowed with virtues like adaptation and creativity that creates a differentiator.

Winning customers over with Personalization, Simplicity And Choice

In consumer-packaged goods landscape, convenience, personalization and choice(s) are the key determinants to retain customer loyalty to improve profits by supporting price with value and retaining margins.

More and more CPG companies are therefore remodeling their traditional retail model, which depends on a manufacturer selling to a retailer that then sells to the end consumer. Leading e-commerce company have been making money through third party sellers which has not only helped them to widen their product portfolio but also search engine optimization, and other distribution solutions are making it ever easier for products to directly reach consumers.

Companies such as Warby Parker, Glossier, and Dollar Shave Club are upending the traditional retail model, which depends on a manufacturer selling to a retailer that then sells to the end consumer. Not only that most companies are proactively using digital, social and mobile channels to transform their go-to-market approaches

Prescription Check is a telehealth service offered by Warby Parker through their app allows an eye doctor to assess how you’re seeing through your glasses and provide an updated glasses prescription

Dollar Shave Club encourages members to share a story about activity, under their “Your Thing!” it can be a hobby, pastime, business or nonprofit venture, artistic project, secret passion, volunteer project, birdhouse collection, athletic pursuit, special talent or skill, or literally anything else in the world, that might get selected to be featured on social media pages! In addition, one person will win a $150 account credit to shop online and a check for $1,000 to help further the passion.

Domino’s uses algorithms and data around the customer’s location when the customer orders through a mobile app and helps them to decide method of transport to determine an appropriate cooking time. In addition, Domino’s can send an SMS to the customer as soon as a pizza is in the oven.

L’Oréal’s ‘Makeup Genius’ app, not only allowed women to virtually try on its cosmetics products using augmented reality technology The ‘Makeup Genius’ app is based on facial mapping technology previously used in the film and gaming industries, and turns a smartphone or iPad camera into a virtual mirror that women can use to try on L’Oréal products in real time.

Plug-and-play e-commerce technology, search engine optimization, and other distribution solutions are making it ever easier for products to directly reach consumers. This shift gives the e-marketers an opportunity to gain rich insight into the tastes and habits that will drive their sales. Gaining this insight, however, requires a simultaneous shift in organizational structure to bring internal teams much closer to consumers. New and emerging tools such as social media listening, user research, and journey mapping can be powerful enablers to digital transformation.

Digital transformation is not just about technology. But the manner an organization communicates with its employees, organize their key resources viz humans by reskilling them to meet the future challenges is going determine how they will take advantage of the new paradigm of the consumer service landscape.

FMCG majors are already re-strategizing, Coca-Cola recently reshuffled its strategy to focus on growth, innovation, and digital. Unilever had last year, acquired Dollar Shave Club, a young startup, for $1 billion in a move to introduce a new model of subscription sales. L’Oréal had made a strategic investment in Founders Factory, a digital startup accelerator.

When the customer rings twice

When was the last time you called any customer service? Did you as a consumer/customer, feel that instead of being serviced you are being ‘managed’ and made to comply to the company’s rules, and as a paying customer, did you resent that?

More often, these days, all calls are diverted through automated customer services —whether it’s a simple scripted bot answering FAQs or an AI-backed program that gives recommendations for self-service options, by and large machines are manning customer service front lines. Then in an effort to cut costs, many companies have taken a path of hiring low-cost, low-skilled workers and providing them with a script instead of hiring people that have good problem-solving skills and allowing them to do their job.

This approach continually backfires as it further annoys an already anxious customer, and it ultimately drives up the cost of service delivery in the form of longer duration to resolution, escalations, and the need for other forms of compensation offered as apologies in lieu of solving the fundamental problem.

Because there is a direct correlation between problem comprehension and perceived competence of customer service staff, it is imperative that companies invest in talent and training. Customer Care is the ultimate differentiation a business can make.

Technology can only help accelerating the process. Ultimately it is people — those who are assigned to reach out to the clients make all the difference. Companies generally follow the organizational culture in everything including customer care, and most complaints are met with a ‘processed’ apology. Hence there are many opportunities for companies to set themselves apart, and most concerning thing is – they choose not to.

Everybody knows that the customer expectations are sky high, so there is no other option except to tone up the delivery and performance systems. More important, if you manage customer service employees, or you serve customers on the frontline, it’s important to understand the psychology behind this.

In a paper written in 1943, psychologist Abraham Maslow proposed what’s now famously known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.

It ranked our basic needs as humans in priority order:



Love and belonging



The idea was you had to meet highest priority needs before you could concentrate on the next highest priority.

A customer is angry, maybe even unfair. Intellectually, the service representative knows that they’re complaining about the product, the problem, or the situation. Still the attack still feels personal. The pithy advice to the representative is “not to take it personally.” That’s an instinctive impossibility. We’re wired to take it personally.

What happens next is interesting. Some people can recover, overcome the instinct, and serve the customer with a smile. Others get defensive or angry, and service quality declines rapidly for that customer and perhaps the next customer, too.

So which normal human is willing to risk his/her physical safety (priority #2) if you had unmet physiological needs such as food, water, or air.

Serving that angry customer is the lowest priority for humans, sitting at #5, self-actualization. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy, humans can only commit to doing this if their higher priority needs are being met. Meeting Higher Priority Needs First.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs helps explain the old adage, “Happy employees lead to happy customers.” But many Managers make the mistake of using incentives and gimmicky programs to motivate their customer service employees. Research shows those employees don’t actually have a motivation problem. The real issue is de-motivation.

Employees want to do a great job, but many feel they can’t. Customer service managers can do several things to overcome this challenge, foster a sense of team unity, and fulfill employees’ need for love and belonging:

  • Create a customer service vision that provides a unifying purpose.
  • Make it easier for employees to achieve the vision.
  • Work together as a team to solve common problems.

You can take action too if you’re an individual contributor.

And more important is -You can do this without a formal training program.

Take a moment to recognize your coworkers for their efforts. Go out of your way to build positive and supportive workplace relationships. This will help make your organization a better place to work and it will become even easier to serve your customers.

Why it is important ?

The very foundation of an enterprise is for growth. Growth in terms of capacity expansion, increase earnings (and profits) and widen the customer base. As the business transits into the high growth stage, naturally efforts will shift to making the economics of the business work. Concurrently, increase in number or product and/or services leads to a diverse array of customers. Which necessitates a simultaneous multi-mission operation- Customer Service.

It is the age-old chicken and egg principle. At the startup stage the focus is on prompt response to questions about product usage and service issues. You are all ears for what the your customers wants to tell you -about your product/service(company).The reason is to gain a reputation, create a brand following in the long run.

But as your startup grows, what your customers expect from you will change and the volume of their requests will change. You’ll shift from the reactive mode of supporting requests as they happen to the proactive mode of fixing issues before they ever become a problem.

Scaling up of a business comes with CFO and board’s pressure to gain efficiency, and the natural tendency of a business will be to squeeze customer service teams and more emphasis is on sales teams. They want to keep costs down, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of under investing in their customers.

In the current times of social media platforms and pre-recorded voice responses, consumers turn to a wider array of channels for help and expect faster responses. Sadly, it only worsens the experience.

Aggressive marketing influenced by effective use of technology and inter temporal changes in consumer tastes, makes it essential for companies to stay on the top of these shifting preferences.However, the bottom-line pressure restricts what companies can provide without breaking the bank.

Customer Care is the ultimate differentiation a business can make. Technology can only help accelerating the process. Ultimately it is people — those who are assigned to reach out to the clients make all the difference. People generally follow the organizational culture in everything including customer care. So, the primary challenge for the leaders is to set the culture right.

Do not implement processes suggested by highly paid consultants and BPI  (business processes improvement) Gurus.Process is like a cog in an unchangeable machine. Each customer contact is unique. Human relationships and compassion ( not empathy) come in play.

Business leaders should have an important agenda in every meeting ( yeas even for an production meeting) The top 5 customer pain points from last month

The thing that is at the core of customer service and loyalty: Beneath all the technology, and behind all the research, we’re finding the same dynamics that were preached by Dale Carnegie (Service Starts with Relationship) and Abraham Maslow ( to recognize the human needs viz Physiological,Safety,Love and belonging,Esteem, Self-actualization) , long before Twitter and the Internet appeared.

When customer service sucks

What is common between an American multinational computer technology company which manufactures, sells, repairs, and supports personal computers, servers, etc.; a charitable healthcare group established 25 years ago, a foundation which uses funds not-for-profit healthcare services and education throughout South Texas and a global leader in healthcare devices and home comfort products?

They all have deplorable customer service, totally haphazard line management and have the most inefficient staff working for them.

When you a trust a brand, you tend to over invest in it. This is what happened in my family. At present we own 4 laptops and 1 tablet of that brand. Our cyber Monday, last year is extending into painful Saturdays every weekend for broken promises, unfulfilled orders and lying representatives. To get something what has already been paid for, there must be minimum 3-4 hours allocated because of frequent transfers. Classic example of over focus on maintaining quality but dismal customer service.

There is a health emergency on week end. Your health insurance provides urgent care, these centers have only first aid and sexy nurses. For real emergency care you need to go at an ER. It is your right to medical attention but afterwards there is big tab on that. What you get billed is beyond your capacity to clear in one shot. But having an honest intention to pay, contact the hospital. They set up a mutually agreeable payment plan. But the paperwork goes missing. After few months your account is in collections. When the hospital is contacted they blame financial department. There is j*@# of a financial director, who is a VA but totally nonsensical and inconsiderate. An example of bad hire.

Pure drinking water for cooking (80% Americans do not cook 2 meals in a day at home) is a necessity for a person who has certain cultural vegetarian food preferences. An investment of $100+ in a water purifying faucet attachment with filter replacements goes down the drain when the faucets turns into a fountain and messes up your whole kitchen. A call to customer service gets you connected to some idiotic representative who wants a first-hand report of the damages to property due to the water spraying and is least bothered to offer a solution – how to get you a working replacement. An example of bad training – more focused on details than providing a resolution.

More about this subject to follow later.

E-Tail in Retail

A recent survey by the National Retail Federation of US reveals that consumer behavior is continuously changing in a most dramatic way. As stated in the report – adoption has increased exponentially and is being driven by increased comfort levels with security, but even more important is convenience. Shoppers are time-pressed, and user experience is critical in gaining loyalty.

Remember when not long ago mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets were heralded as browsing and research tools to enhance the shopping experience? Last year the retail world saw important changes driven by rapidly evolving consumers’ shopping behaviors, technological advancements and ultimately, the exponential rise of the mobile consumer.

Increased mobile usage leads to a rise in usage of mobile apps, and will continue to see an increase in the development of mobile apps in the global market. Mobile now represents two out of three minutes spent on digital — and people also spend most of that time in apps. Mobile apps on their own now drive most of digital media time spent

The Apple App store boasts close to 2 million of these apps while Google play has over 2.2 million Apps. This number is expected to increase in the future. Hence brands trying to lure customers with user friendly customized applications.

A holiday wrap up 2017 report published by a syndicated agency – Criteo reveals from a survey of 2,500 U.S. consumer electronics buyers, that, consumers do not buy from the first website they visit, and 52 percent of them are about as likely to make impulse purchases online as they are offline. And that 89 percent of shoppers said appealing product photos can sway their purchasing decision, and that 77 percent say video can do the job.

The Consumer(s) still want to test the products they are shopping for, whether a TV or a smart fridge, in store. And this new study is shedding light on the shopping habits of consumers who research products online but then go to the store to buy them.

So, a new type of consumer has emerged: The “omni shopper,” one who browses and buys across devices and screens, online and offline. This is causing the world of online and offline to converge as retailers and brands seek to transform their businesses to reach, know and inspire these shoppers. There is an increased need for all marketers to know that an omnichannel strategy is more important than ever.

How do retailers and brands adapt? Can they compete with giants like Amazon that offer easy, integrated shopping experiences that consumers want? One thing is certain: Data is the secret weapon. Having more of it and using it the right way doesn’t just win battles, it wins the future.

Data is required on a mass scale and it needs to be granular—not just what shoppers purchased, but what they viewed, on what device, on what day, during what season, how they arrived on that page and where they went next. With data in-hand, retailers and brands can then take the next step and successfully activate it to generate sales.

There is another angle that determines brand loyalty shift – brands (corporations) taking a stand on social issues. There seems to be a strong relationship emerging between specific age groups and purchase decisions across the controversial issues may it be same sex marriage? Emergency contraception? Obamacare? An emerging relationship that could have far-reaching impact for business leaders and brand decision makers.

In a study it was found that Americans are 8.1% more likely to purchase from a company that shares their opinions and are 8.4% less likely to purchase from a company that doesn’t. In other words, it’s no longer just about whether a person likes the product or service, it’s about whether they like the company’s stance on certain pertinent issues.

Stirred up a hornet’s nest


Some responses on social media to my post dated Jan 3rd, 2018

On H1 B Visa Changes

Louis D. Lo Praeste

You have excellent data and points–and a more than a few cheap shots about entitled US labor–or  “American lads”. Let me ask you this- do these recipients express their thankfulness to THIS country—-if so how? Do they learn and English, to they understand the need for hygiene in close work spaces, (yes some developers actually need to be told to consider deodorants) and acclimate their families and children into society or do they create Indian and Chinese enclaves where there is no need to change their behavior? Do they vote, do they participate in civil life? You present the Indian immigrant as the ideal worker–but many people would disagree. That they are ready to come to work on American holidays means perhaps that they do not respect them–or more problematically create a more competitive environment for families who might like to enjoy those holidays and not worry about someone trying to steal their job. I find your defense of this practice to be shallow and a bit biased towards our Indian colleagues.    (edited)

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Subash Patel

Louis D. Lo Praeste Your concern is genuine and valid. Being an Indian, I can tell you how other Indians try to create their own micro-culture instead of integrating with mainstream Americans. It comes mostly from the cultural and upbringing where many of these who do that are not having self-confidence, feel inferior and insecure. It will take sometime to get them settled (check for Indians who came here 20 years ago and you wont feel the same in them)  (edited)

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Bernie Karlowicz

So you’re saying it’s a race to the bottom.  The person willing to put 24/7 in wins. Got it… what you paint is what is called a lose-lose scenario.  Crafty folks with solid math skills would understand that to be the worst end state.

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Vikrant Rai, CFA

Well put … and rational explanation than most emotional outbursts for personal grudges.

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Daniel White

Shardul, what you say is true, but the ugly resultant truth is corporation use Indian firms to cut operations costs, in new product rollouts,  help desk, and as you say, very technical fields. This displaces American workers, just as union busting did. It is a global economy, what happens eventually is that India , Mexico, China, whenever the workers improve their standard of living,  they want a new car, a nice house, nice clothes, travel for nice vacations. Global economies raise standard of living everywhere, at what cost. Will all counties have to socialize education, like India has? To compete in a global market takes a deep look into how to be a global leader, education of the young, retrain displaced workers.. there is a solution and limiting H1 B is part of that correction. Yes, I voted for Trump, this country needs this correction

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Michael J. Albany

Shardull is 100% spot on and most of the other comments in this tread are a bunch of excuses. Our educational system has been failing us for at least 40 years. We have been giving our children rewards and trophies for participation rather than for achievement. We allow the wealthy the opportunity to buy their child’s way through college. We are not keeping up globally in education, technology, or manufacturing, yet we want our children to succeed. To the person that commented somewhere above that he is unemployed at age 60 with lots of experience; Yep and that puts you out of the job market because you expect to get paid for that experience. It will take 2-5 years for your experience to show results at which time you will retire. Or they can pay a person half your age half as much to be up and productive in the same period of time. That is a decision based on business not or country of origin.

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Michael J. Albany

Part 2: To those saying its a culture thing; your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, also took a generation or two to blend into the American culture (ideas of hygiene fall into this category too). That is normal. To those asking “what do these people contribute? Do they pay taxes? Do they vote?” They can’t vote under a visa; they must be citizens first. They pay taxes more regularly and with fewer deductions than most Americans and if they send money home to their families they pay taxes again there on the same earnings. They also contribute diversity, culture, opinion, labor, ingenuity, to name but a few things. To anyone that thinks the H1 B program is hurting America and that Indians and Chinese are hurting this country, Check yourself. Your Red Neck is showing.

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Dan Teodor

Snapshot 2001: My conversation with mid size telecommunication equip builder in US as I applied for job to develop specialized near real-time non-hierarchical database to feed info to their switches quickly: Why should I pay you US software development wages when TCS (Tata Consulting Services) will have someone in my office next month for 75% of what you’re asking. At that point I first fully understood that the H1B program is unadulterated US labor market abuse. How much did that TCS consultant pay out of his own pocket for the Masters in Computers Science I spent 6 years many $$$ and many late nights earning. The H1B program MUST hire only people in specialities not available here in the local US market … Not be used to lop 25% off the earnings of US citizens.

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Sowdesh Kumar Sukumar

Louis D. Lo Praeste There is a difference between taking a shower every morning before work and not wearing a deodorant vs Wearing the deodorant every morning before work and once in a week jump into the pool to increase its salinity ;P

Moises Ellis

I have worked with numerous Indian engineers and love there work ethic.

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Joe Moreschi

My experience working with Indians has been horrible. Not very knowledgeable,  can’t speak our language with any clarity and always an excuse for their failures. The program needs to be shut down. Hire American workers.

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Drew Courtright

I have just moved back to the US after living in the UK for 13 years.  I heard the same rhetoric there as well, that jobs were being taken by foreigners.  If it was only that simple, that there was tons of qualified talent available to hire, and only the economics of cheap labor drove my hiring decisions.  That simply wasn’t the case there, and as a hiring manager I can tell you that isn’t the case here either.  Global education systems have created a very capable talent pool to hire from.  For different reasons both the UK and US have not been able to keep up with the demand.

Populace thinking is how people like Hitler came to power.  Find a scapegoat to blame and exploit the ignorance and hatred of the masses.  With all that being said though, the H1B program needs an overhaul because it victimizes the worker, as well artificially influencing the local job markets.

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Steve Pourteau

I disagree with you having worked with 100s of Indians in the ME, and more and more here in the US… We do not need outsourced technical expertise, most particular engineering, when we have qualified people sitting here struggling to find work. We don’t need the expertise from India or any other third world country. Companies use exactly what you are spewing as an excuse to hire an engineer at $40k as opposed to $100k for a domestically degree’d engineer! Try that BS on somebody that doesn’t live in the world you are trying throw flowers on!…see more

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Dominic J Fruges

Shardul — I take great offense at your depiction of Americans. I have worked with many Americans over the years and never questioned their work ethic. I can remember working for a then large telecom company and deciding to go into work on a holiday. I thought I would be perhaps one of a few but found probably over 100 cars in the parking lot on a HOLIDAY. Personally, I have worked all hours including weekends (on my own time) to either get work done or read tech white papers to learn new technologies. Tired of your nonsense logic and anti-American comments.  (edited)

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Scott Benjamin

Offshore work

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Kathy Collins

SHARDUL BHATT Your post is so far off base that I can almost laugh.  Almost.  I, an American born citizen, got into the IT business in the U.S. from a previous position as an Administrative Assistant in the 1980s.  From that day forward, I worked 60 to 80 hour weeks most of the time.  Those around me, also U.S. citizens, worked the same hours.  When a project was due, we worked around the clock to finish it if we had to.  Sometimes we would take a two hour nap in our cars.  Sometimes we could go home and eat, sleep, get up, eat, and go back to work.  When I started training new H1-B employees, I found them to be typical of young adults everywhere.  Bitch and moan about the hours, expect to be treated special.  I trained it out of them, as was part of my job.  I taught them the things they couldn’t learn in college.  The worst part was having to prove that I, a woman, knew more than them.  With all of my experience, they had to see that I was worthy of their respect, rather than the other way around.  This was especially true of Indian workers.  I stopped working in the IT business in my 50s.  Even though I was at the top of the field, I was tired.  Tired of the hours and always having to prove that I deserved my position.

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Jegram Fondli

I don’t like Trump and am of Indian descent myself, born and raised in the West, but I’ve worked in the tech industry since graduating, and of the 25-30 Indian hires I’ve worked with, they have always, without exception, produced the poorest quality work by far. They come in with resumes showcasing lots of work experience, but they lack a proper understanding of everything from polymorphism to data structure performance – stuff I had a strong grasp of in the 10th grade.

What they do understand is syntax, which children here commonly learn in elementary school. In the world of electrical engineering, it’s circuit symbols. They cannot solve problems above a very basic level of complexity – they usually need some template to work off of. This isn’t a racial thing, but to do with Indian education. The schools there are of piss-poor quality and practically diploma mills. That, and rampant abuse of the program  by Indian contracting firms, is why “70%” of H1-B applicants are Indians.

This isn’t something limited to just me either. If you browse around on tech forums/subreddits, you won’t at all be hard-pressed to find complaints or someone ready to complain about the extreemly poor quality work done by Indian H1-B holders.  (edited)

Jegram Fondli

I’d also like to point out that Indians being the primary source of H1-B applications is actually rather saddening. A LOT of very well qualified engineers from the Anglosphere and Europe would love to work for tech firms in the US, but they cannot or do not bother because the market is absolutely flooded. The applications come from these Indian contracting firms.

These firms hire out their workers to American companies. I’ve seen promising young tech graduates rejected for jobs at my own company in favor of some Indian contractors. They actually advertise US work placement back in India, and require little to no technical competence.

For an individual from say, the UK, they have to find a company willing to sponsor an H1-B for them. Most companies and applicants don’t go through that trouble. But Indian companies make it super easy, running it like a  visa business. Read: millions of Indians are actively abusing the H1-B program.

All this, while dozens of engineering graduates from my university have been out of jobs for years now.If you don’t have a job in your field soon after graduating, you miss out forever.  And we pumped tens of thousands into our degrees here.

Indians ARE stealing jobs.

To be or H1-B

According to US Department of State for immigration- out of 163,613 H1 B Visa receipts in 2016 , 126,692 were Indians (77.43%). The next closest were Chinese at 21.657(13.2%).

In today’s knowledge driven economy literacy, numerical ability and digital compatibility are the foundation for socio economic success. However, I would add that toil and craftiness as the unique traits of Indians who have made it out in the US economy.

Abundance but Scarcity –

From the 325 Mn US Population, it is believed that 40 Mn were born in another country. (12%). With the exponential growth in IT field there is a need for over 2 Mn candidates who have educated in Science, Tech, Engineering and Math’s. But as a report of NCES 2014-001 U. S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION which is available online states that total of 48 percent of bachelor’s degree students and 69 percent of associate’s degree students who entered STEM fields between 2003 and 2009 had left these fields by spring 2009. Roughly one-half of these leavers switched their major to a non-STEM field, and the rest of them left STEM fields by exiting college before earning a degree or certificate.

So the Tech industry needs to hire from overseas or outsource the work. Which will not go well the current political Rhetoric “Buy American, Hire American”. But US local labor pool lacks a lot of skills that are required for a new tech enabled labor market. Core technical, design and math skills are a must and one cannot continue to blame others for lack of employability.

Legal immigrants under H1-B visas, get paid better and so pay huge amount of taxes, also shell out annual visa fees and renewals. Plus, they contribute to the Real Estate, Pay Rentals (as person of Indian origin will eventually have family visiting so rent at least 2-bedroom apartment) Lease/ buy Auto, Food, Retail, Tourism (Indian families keep visiting).

Indians tend to be diligent and can work late hours (not giving importance to soccer games during work hours. Approved leave of absence may be hardly 4 times a year. Labor Day, Thanksgiving of Christmas they are ready to come to work. Any Indian Festival or anniversary and birthdays are always celebrated on nearest weekend.

Amidst the current socio-political scenario where “Entitlement” is at its peak, an American will take 1 week to complete what a smarter Indian can complete is a day’s work. Not only that he/she will take the work home to finish it on a deadline. When one looks around at the Retail stores and commercial businesses American ladies have their beauty to attend to (can you believe a call center representative checking on her lipstick and eyelashes every 10 mins?) The American lads love their soccer games stop work at 5 and also, they get annual hikes without a performance review. And still, they live a life of uncertainty daily.

If US is considering new regulations aimed at preventing the extension of H-1B visas, so be it. However, this idea of ‘self- deportation’ of hundreds of thousands of Indian tech workers may actually result into either closing down of many business or relocating outside the US, resulting into unemployment of the entitled US labor who depend on the industries that employee these techies.

Set(h) thinking -No hard feelings

When you choose to work for someone there comes a point where views differ.

A point of view is the difference between a job and a career.

It’s the difference between being a cog and making an impact.

Having a point of view is different from always being correct. No one is always correct.

Do not be blind to your rights.

Try not to be judgmental.

Try not to be persecuted.

Try not to be clever..

Be Observant.

Be Trusting.

Be Wiser.

Power isn’t as important as productivity

Honor the schedule

You are not your work, embrace criticism

Be obsessed about appropriate quality, ignore perfection

Empathy is not sufficient. Compassion is more useful, because it’s possible to talk to someone who is experiencing something that you’ve never experienced.

It’s pretty clear that there are forces on both sides, individuals and organizations that are working for open and those that seek to keep things closed instead.

Do you benefit from a population that’s smarter, faster and more connected than it used to be?

Do you prefer transparency?

Either you’re riding the tide or pushing against it.

Are you hoping that those you serve become more informed or less informed?

Are you working to give people more autonomy or less?

Do you want them to work to seek the truth, or to be clouded in disbelief and confusion?

Is it better if they’re connected to one another or disconnected?

More confidence or more fear?

Outspoken in the face of injustice or silent?

More independent or less?

Difficult to control or easier?

More science or more obedience?

Here is where maturity and experience will be asset.

Try and teach less , observe more and guide team towards success.

Organisations needs old war horses.

Embrace the harness.



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