I have probably mentioned here many times that I work with SAP. Last week, we had our DKOM (Developer Kick-Off Meeting) which is an annual event that set and share the objectives, guidance, vision and strategy for the development community. One of the guest speeches for the event was by Dr. Deepak B. Phatak, a distinguished professor from the CSE department of IIT Mumbai. Today’s blog post is about a few things that he mentioned in his speech as answers to queries from the audience (By the way, Dr. Phatak was named one of the 50 most powerful people of India in 2009)
A developer asked him a question about writing. Basically, the asker felt that he had got a lot of ideas that he can talk about but was just not able to organize the same into a well written document or paper. The answer was pretty simple: “Write for 30 minutes every day before you go to sleep“. Here’s the summary of the rest of the speech that may be relevant to every blogger or writer.
Become a better writer
Well, regular reading for 30 minutes before sleep is something that a lot of people recommend. However, if you want to improve your writing skills, you have got to write for at least 30 minutes a day preferably before you go to sleep. You have to not only write, but keep your notes timestamped so that you can refer back in the future to see how you have improved. Giving importance to punctuation is another thing that he stressed on as it enhances the written language big time.
Well, he didn’t talk about the need to write online however one’s timestamped every day notes is nothing but a blog if it’s taken online.
Other tips for bloggers
Well, Dr. Phatak’s speech was not exactly around blogging or writing but more about the need for students to master languages (not just science and technology), think, research, teach etc. Some of the other points that he mentioned which I thought are relevant for bloggers include:
Deepak feels that mentoring is a great way to improve own skills while we pass knowledge to others. I feel that as a blogger, if you can mentor three or four budding bloggers, you will really improve yourself and in fact learn more.
There’s nothing called a ‘stupid question’ and unfortunately our old educational and hierarchies prevented us from learning to our true potential. A great way to improve your knowledge is to ‘question’. Well, this may not be exactly relevant to blogging but in a fast changing world of technology, unless you keep asking questions yourself (and others) you are not going to improve. Deepak says ‘ask questions like a kid – uninhibited and unafraid’.
Research but don’t repeat
One of the key principles at IITs while forming question papers is that, none of the exam questions get repeated over the years. Coming up with original thoughts is the key to real success and I can relate this to blog plagiarism. Copycats, read it twice!
Be good at your mother tongue first
It is NOT mandatory that one has to always go for the English language. He insists that your thoughts are well conversed and conveyed in your mother tongue. ‘Foreign’ will always be alien to you. This doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t write in English if he’s most comfortable in that language.
Numbers and statistics are something that we built into our system. High number of marks are not always the reflection of one’s true calibre and sometimes it’s even the measurement of tweaking the system or anomalies there in. However, as long as our system of education continues to be like this, we can’t help much.
The takeaways from the speech was keywords like ‘research’, ‘fresh thinking’, ‘mentoring’, etc – just thought of sharing my experience here…