What is the problem?

Here is a sample conversion from my Facebook feed:

Hindu friend 1: Be wise…vote BJP. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/27-communal-riots-in-up-since-sp-formed-govt-cm-admits-in-house/1083234/ (The secular SP government has overseen more riots in last 2 years than the communal BJP in Gujarat which saw only 1 riot in last 10 years)
Muslim friend: solution of communal riot is communal party??? I wonder how
Hindu friend 2: Extraordinary Popular Delusion #1 is that India is a Secular country. A Secular state treats all its citizens equally irrespective of religion – which means same laws govern all citizens. Abolishing the Muslim personal law is required to make this communal country Secular. BJP is the only party that would probably do that. Male reactionaries and conservatives in the Muslim communities who want to perpetuate their dominance and subjugation of women are the most vehement critics of these reforms. Muslim psyche in India is fearful and paranoid but the reality is opposite – Rest of India has much more reason to fear totalitarian, monolith Islamic ideology. “Communal Party” will do more good for Muslims than Congress and SP ever will.
Hindu friend 1: @Muslim friend Riots in BJP ruled sates vs Congress/SP ruled states in last 10 years?

You can’t help but feel sorry for the Muslim friend. What he says is logical, but somehow the data doesn’t match.

Even if 0.1% of each sect is problematic/extremist, minority will still encounter more problematic people than vice versa. The chances of meeting a person of different sect rise exponentially with total population. Thus, sectarian issues become much more important for minorities than the majority.

Communalism in India is not an issue for Hindu voters. Most of them can’t be expected to care either – they have never faced it! Where minorities see systematic problem, Hindus have more basic concerns like economics (how to earn money) and corruption (how to keep that money). Christians aren’t that loud against the system because the prescribed ideal system is based on christian values in the first place. Sikhs, at least after 1984 riots, are either scouting foreign countries or, as of yet, are unsuccessfully trying to create a Sikh country. Kind of like Jews before Israel. Muslims, as the biggest minority in India and as one of the biggest religions in the world, end up mostly alone, and due to the (consequential) varying response among them, let the louder mouths be more prominent.

Solution to Muslim problem? I am not a Muslim so I won’t know.

But personally, as a Buddhist/Atheist, I think Sikh’s are mostly right.

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Marketing and Technology

So I had a chat with my boss. After a massive fuck-up, where I refused to deal with constant belittling from a DTL (Domain Tech Lead in PayPal) and then started working from home instead, I was contacted by managers and architects to ask me ‘what is going on?’.

After several rounds of talk, I came up with a feeling of being used and disillusioned. I felt like not taking shit is a sign of immaturity.

This is a big deal for me because I have been constantly abused for ‘being immature’ and ‘childish’ before, and now I consider myself to be a grown-up after all these years. To have that self-image shattered and belittled by people appearing to be helpful to you is very confusing.

So lets get back to the topic in hand.

PayPal is trying to reinvent itself as a brand of high technologists. Kind of like Google. The only problem is that it is not really a technology dependent company. PayPal website is historically known to be bad and slow. PayPal as a company has inspired countless incidents of bad publicity. PayPal is a business leader because it had a first mover’s advantage and it has maintained this lead due to network effect. Only now it is getting to see some competition.

And that has PayPal board panicked. A new president, David Marcus, is on board who is all about being lean and nimble. Except that before this, the only way to the top was by sucking-it-up or moving into management. Suddenly a hammer has come down and met this age old force, naturally causing much chaos and confusion.

I am writing this from PayPal India branch (Chennai) and all anyone is talking about is what is going to happen. Everyone is scared about their job and those who aren’t are planning to leave anyway. The only people remaining are the people who have got support from the upper management. And that is where the circle is completed. The action of the president has caused blatant nepotism to be visible all over the company; something that was hidden and situated above the common workers until now.

One would wonder if this wasn’t visible to the board before. Let us consider both possibilities:

  1. Yes.
    If board knew this is what was going to happen, then it means that the board doesn’t care. Which probably makes sense. A business is run on cost-price basis and not on human currency. There might be some causalities but hopefully some good is also in pipeline after this. One possibility is that PayPal had been hiring from named institutes of India all summer and by firing the old guard it will enable the new one to thrive. In such scenario one would assume that even the managers aren’t safe and are just as scared. It might very well be true.
  2. No.
    Board is highly myopic in this scenario. The future of the company boils down to the power of president in changing the culture. A highly chaotic environment is to follow soon. Anybody who sees it coming will definitely leave for calmer waters.

In either case, it is a bad time to be a developer in the company. The pay isn’t that good for most people in Chennai (because almost all of them are on contract) and the only reason to remain in the company is nepotism.

This post consists and represents my and only my opinions. I have tried to avoid mentioning personal anecdotes (of which I have plenty), many other company wide directives etc.