LinkedIn recos

LinkedIn in general is a useful site. It’s a good place to maintain an “online CV” and also track the careers of your peers and ex-peers and people you are interested in and people you are jealous of. If you are a headhunter, it is a good place to find heads to hunt, so that you can buzz them asking for their “current CTC; expected CTC; notice period” (that’s how most india-based headhunters work). It also helps you do “due diligence” (for a variety of reasons), and to even approximately figure out stuff like a person’s age, hometown, etc.

However, one thing that doesn’t make sense at all to me is the recommendations section. Point being that LinkedIn being a “formal” networking site, even a mildly negative sounding recommendation can cause much harm to a person’s career and so people don’t entertain them. Also, the formality of the site prevents one from writing cheesy recommendations – the thing that made orkut testimonials so much fun. And if you can’t be cheesy or be even mildly negative, you will be forced to write an extremely filtered recommendation.

Rhetorical question – have you ever seen a negative or even funny or even mildly unusual recommendation on LinkedIn? I haven’t, and I believe it’s for the reasons that I mentioned above. And if you think you are cool enough to write a nice recommendation for me, and that I’m cool enough to accept nice recommendations, I’m sure you and I have better places to bond than LinkedIn.

Anyway, so given that most recommendations on LinkedIn are filtered stuff, and are thus likely to be hiding much more than they reveal, isn’t it a wonder that people continue to write them, and ask for them? Isn’t it funny that “LinkedIn Experts” say that it’s an essential part of having a “good profile”? Isn’t it funny that some people will actually take these recommendations at face value?

I don’t really have an answer to this, and continue to be amazed that the market value for LinkedIn recommendations hasn’t plummetted. I must mention here that neither do I have any recommendations on LinkedIn nor have I written any. To those corporate whores who haven’t realized that LinkedIn Recommendations have no value, my sympathies.

Update

Commenting on facebook, my junior from college Shrinivas recommends http://www.endorser.org/ . Check it out for yourself. It seems like this cribbing about linkedin recommendations isn’t new. I realize I may be late, but then I’m latest.

Why is Ten Sports sitting on so many rights?

I wanted to stay up last night. I wanted to stay up and watch the WI-Eng match till the very end. Waking up this morning and checking the scorecard, it seems like it was a really good match. And Fidel Edwards seems to have become a last-day-shutdown specialist. This is the second time this series he’s hung on. And he’d done so once before against India at ARG.

There was another reason I wanted to stay up last night. I wanted to watch Liverpool play Real Madrid. I woke up this morning and saw that it was an amazing game, too. Looking through the Guardian Football site (btw, Advani seems to be advertising heavily on that site; it’s a pity he never advertises here on my site) I noticed that Chelski-Juve was also a strong game, despite the result. Another reason I would’ve wanted to stay up last night. For the record, I slept at 12:10. Tea-time in the Test match, and before either of the football games had started.

Ten Sports seems to have bitten off more than it can chew. It seems to own the rights to telecast too many different things. I think I have raised this point once earlier, but it pzzles me as to what Ten Sports is trying to achieve by getting rights to telecast so many things, most of which are happening at the same time. For example, over the last couple of weeks I’ve been unable to watch the first hour of WI-Eng even if I’d wanted to, because it was overlapping with the last hour of SA-Aus, which was being telecast at the same time.

The reason I slept off early last night was because I didn’t have the option to watch what I wanted. All the three games that I’d’ve been reasonably interested in were supposed to be on Ten Sports (Zee Sports doesn’t count since Tata Sky doesn’t offer that), and I  realized that I’d be forced to watch what the guys at the Taj Entertainment Network would want me to watch. Denied the option to choose what I wanted to watch, I went to bed.

It puzzles me that Ten Sports isn’t subletting its contracts. Devoid of anything decent to show, I suppose that ESPN or NEO would’ve only been too happy to acquire the rights to telecast last night’s Liv-Real game by paying a fee to Ten Sports. And it would’ve unlocked value at the hands of the remote-holder. Ten Sports need not let go of the rights to show all the games. All they need to do is to sell the “out of money options” – the rights to the game which they won’t be able to telecast anyway.

Now, the problem will be if accounting for all costs, no options are out of money. For example, you know you won’t be able to show Liv-Real. But you think that the loss of brand equity of your channel would exceed the money you’d gain by selling this option to another willing channel. The viewers are the only losers at this game, but I don’t know what can be done. After all, viewers  are way too dispersed in order for them to take any kind of action.

Extending this question, what can a sports body do to prevent a bidder from acquiring rights to telecast and then mess up the telecast (or not telecast it at all) ? After all, the sports body is out there to make as much money as possible from the TV rights, and they need to ensure significant investment into broadcasting by the broadcasters, so the “i’ll give rights to only those channels that are in the interest of the people” model won’t work.

One option would be to sell the rights to two channels in each market. But given that broadcast is a natural monopoly, the sports body will not be able to make as much by selling to two bidders as it can by selling to one bidder. Is there any other solution that you can think of? If yes, unleash.

After a long time – a very decent talent show

I was planning to blog about this, but i’m not sure if I actually wrote about this. The idea for this was generated this September, which was a low-intensity blogging month for me, when I was staying at my relatives’ place in Gurgaon. My cousin used to be a big fan of “reality shows” of various hues (she still is), and on a few occasions I watched them along with her.

I got a taste of several reality and talent shows across various channels. I watched the first episode of the horrible Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena. Tried sitting through a few episodes of Bigg Boss. And then sat through parts of episodes of various talent hunt shows, most of whose names I don’t remember. Some would have an abrasive host, and abrasive judges. Others had viewers voting, which would lead to fairly random results. Even kids aren’t spared, with them being subject to extreme levels of pressure. Overall, it was a horrible watching experience, for someone bred on stuff like Close Up Antakshari, Philips Top 10 and TVS Sa Re Ga Ma. The good old talent hunt show was dead, I thought.

As I write this, I’m watching the finals of Canara Bank Ede Thumbi Haaduvenu (“i’m singing full of heart”). This is a talent hunt show for kids on ETV Kannada, and is hosted by SP Balasubramaniam. He is an excellent host. He seems fairly objective in his evaluation of the kids, and even when he has to offer his criticism, he makes sure that it’s measured and in a tone that the kid will find constructive. He offers the kids constant encouragement. And the judge in this program is usually a respectful senior musician.

This being the finals of the program, the quality of participation is also extremely high. All four little girls are singing really really well, and I just hope they and their voices are suitably well taken care of so that they become successful singers when they grow up. And one other thing I notice is that the voice of each of these girls is very “eccentric” – in the sense that they are far removed from the average voice of a 12-year-old girl, and in different directions. Seems extremely encouraging.

I suppose the current season of this program will end in another five minutes, but I suppose this series will continue. Hopefully there will be more such real  talent hunt programs, rather than the horrible stuff I’ve been seeing on the Hindi channels in recent times. And if you know of any other good programs like this (either in Kannada and Hindi) let me know.

A couple of observations to end:

  • As I mentioned earlier, SPB has been doing a great job hosting this show. In terms of his tone of voice, presentation, language, etc. We also need to keep in mind that he is a Gult, and he mentioned during today’s show that he didn’t speak Kannada too well when he started this program. Given this, the way he has performed here is truly exemplary
  • This program has been so good today that I haven’t bothered switching channels to even briefly check the scores of the Chelski-Arsenal game that is happening right now

PS: program just ended. the finals are not over yet. 2nd part will happen next sunday.