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Individual Inc.

In 2004, on the same day as today, I made my first post on this blog, and I have loved every bit of it. Blogs are the individual's 'press releases' to the world - they are chronicles of what people do, think and feel about their lives - and by doing all this, blogs epitomize the much elusive state that mankind has been in quest of, since time immemorial - FREEDOM!

And when it comes to freedom, lets hear from the perspective of freedom's champion - Mahatma Gandhi. I quote Louis Ficher:

Gandhi believed in revealing himself. He regarded secrecy as the enemy of freedom-not only the freedom of India but the freedom of man. He exposed even the innermost personal thoughts which individuals usually regard as private.
Guess Gandhi would have loved to have a blog :-) [I have quoted Gandhi on individualism earlier as well]. How correct Gandhi was becomes clear when you read today's authors talking about the importance of individuals in the present society. For example, Thomas Friedman writes in "The World is Flat" -
Globalization 3.0 differs from the previous eras [in] how it is empowering individuals [....] the force that gives it its unique character is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally.

In Globalization 3.0, individuals have to think globally to thrive or at least surive. [..] the responsibility of for one's own advancement runs deeper than ever today. In many Global industries now you have to justify your job every day with the value you create and uniques skills you can contribute.
Now the second para quoted above sets me thinking - and I find it increasingly true. All of you must have observed that the churn among us has increased off late - everyone just seems to be in a state of transit nowadays. People are changing jobs, cities they live in, countries, areas of work ... heck even their mobile phones more frequently.

This churn is what one sees on the surface - deep down inside, this is happening because, we are no more a part of a system - but we have become systems ourselves. For example within KPMG, I am like a freelancer - I have to make sure I have enough projects for me to do in 'my' pipeline and I maintain my performance.

From what I've heard from my friends - it is similar even if you are in a 'traditional' line job - you have to maintain your performance as if your area of work as a separate company within your bigger company. That's why, MBA's across the board nowadays are doing more "projects" - which are more of individual pursuits than routine or team activities.

Another aspect is the tools we now have to do our work. Increasingly the role a 'large corporation' played by providing you access to information and people - is getting diminished. On one hand the web is allowing individuals to access the needed information outside their companies; Social networking is freeing individuals from the need to align themselves with organizations, coteries, social groups and communities.

This is also leading to formation of new communities - ones which are not based on "forced traits" like geographical proximity or company loyalties but individual's own calling - their hobbies, talents, thought processes and values.

All this musing on the Individual Inc. makes me recollect a famous Amitabh Bacchan dialogue from the movie Shakti:
Narang saab, yeh kaam koi bhi insaan akele kar sakta tha, basharte ki use bhi meri hi tarah yeh pata hona chahiye ke woh is duniya mein akela aaya hai aur akela hi jaayega, isliye agar usey kuch karna hai toh woh bhi akele hi karna hoga.
Have a nice weekend ... chao!

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