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Fructus et Virtus : Cricket Match on 30th December, 2017 at NKDA Cricket Ground, Calcutta

banner_fructus et virtus

Off-Break brings a cricket match – invitation to the Great Outdoor where once when we were younger and not surrounded by power-point, EMI, RoI, cash-flow, deadline, off-track, project management. In those days, we played and the game was the end of it. But those games helped us in becoming – becoming eligible to deserve the inestimable gift of existence.

Ancient Greeks, whom we owe Olympic Games considered Sport as a ‘Practice of Virtue’ – the highest attainable human ideal as per them. Participating in sports was not some mere physical exercise, win / loss or becoming a professional or celebrity. Sport was one of the avenues, like rhetoric, philosophy and geometry to become a whole person – the great practice of Becoming.

We have named the match – a friendly but serious one – Fructus et Virtus : the matured Fruit of Virtue.

In less ancient times, here is a record from a family archive dated 23rd January 1884, from Mr. Hammond of Oxfordshire, England:

“I was padding up to go to the crease and my father came near to wish me. After wishing me luck, he had told, very gravely – No one may hear or see something while you are playing, but remember, God is always watching. Be fair, be honest and enjoy the game”.

In their finest hour, like Greeks, Britons, the inventor of cricket considered cricket as not a mere game but something with a call to higher aspect of Man and Becoming.

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Modeling Conference RoO and RoI

[ A more formal and rigorous version of the methodology described below is submitted to the International Journal of Event Management Research, Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Australia]

EMPIRICAL MATHEMATICAL FORMULATION 

A very important question for a sponsor for a Conference is to have a measure of RoO (Return on Outcomes) and RoI (Return on Investment). It is equally important for the organizers is to present a quantifiable value while having a consistent, data-based, factored and realistic “benefit model” for the sponsors. These benefits can be modeled under RoO (Return on Outcomes – expected) and RoI (Return on investment – financial).

formula

Basic Empirical Formulation between RoO and RoI 

CALIBRATING THE KEY PARAMETERS AND ESTABLISHING RELATIONSHIPS 

RoI in money terms can be estimated from the weighed average of RoO (Return on Outcomes). Every sponsor has some outcome in view and these outcomes directly or indirectly influences RoI. The monetization constant is that multiplier that has some impact on RoI. For example, for a Conference having a sponsor putting stall containing merchandise, monetization in terms of sales revenue at the conference depends on expected outcomes like position of the stall, visibility, announcement during conference of itself and any discount etc if available.

RoO has two major components – a) Measurable in money terms directly b) Immeasurable in money terms directly but can be compared based on reference scales. These scales are to be calibrated for each sponsor depending on the priority of their RoOs.

RoO LISTING (For a sponsor X )

For each sponsor, one can imagine the following :

Sponsor Expected Outcomes (raw ROO):
Sponsor Budget (Investment): INR / $

RoO LIST  order of priority as received from the Sponsor through dialogue and deliberations 

  • Direct Sales
  • Lead Generation
  • Customer Success
  • In-event inquiry
  • In-event interest with chance of escalation
  • Brand Visibility across demographics
  • Eyeballs – in-event and other media
  • Social Media impact
  • Positioning and packaging
  • Brand Perception (comparative
    scale)
  • Feedback – raw and refined
  • Empathy Quotient
  • Fan /interested penetration
  • Post-Event support and actionable intelligence to measure and make decisions

For the RoO, enablers/deliverable  can be mapped 

  • Segmentation (Attendees)
  • Speaker Association (Relevance, Context)
  • Media (Local) (Tier and Penetration/Circulation on with Social Media)
  • Ambiance / Free time to discuss
  • Opportunities / incentives to socialization (e.g. cocktail, musical event)
  • Brand Mentions (imprint, eyeballs, duration, prestige)
  • Retention
  • Shared post-event Analysis
  • Consistency

SUMMARY PROCESS 

• For each outcome (blue column), we write down enablers and their rating
• Multiply by proper co-efficient (weighed average) as found from ROO priority
• Multiplier for enabler from historical data (e.g feedback gathered and then applied with a reality check factor)
• Now, we calculate RoI = K* ROO ; where 0 < K < 1 and K is bench marked  on three bands. These bands are classified as LOW / MEDIUM / HIGH  levels of investment from the sponsors.

FURTHER WORK 

The empirical model can be tweaked for separate sectors and specific RoO cases.

Confidence intervals on the reliability of RoI and RoO can be ascertained with more data fed to the mode.

[ This methodology is referenced at the design of Wordcon 2017/18 – 3rd International Conference of Freelancers, to be held on 9th February 2018, The Park, Calcutta, India.]

In Praise of afternoon sleep (siesta)

For a tropical climate like ours, here in Calcutta (India), from March to October, afternoon sleep appears to have therapeutic effect and productivity amplifier.

This tradition is now completely forgotten although our last colonial rulers with their capital in my adopted city honoured this tradition. The first wave of British people in Calcutta left vivid documentation of their engagement with the tropical heat. Without AC, fan, cooler, they had only two options at their disposal – architectural design and manual labour. The former can be seen the very high ceiling, airy rooms, many windows with system to allow air and block sunlight in the beautiful public buildings they built.. Then there was pankha-pullers – people who pulled a manual fan.

Our technology provided us many benefits and one of them being the liberty of building ugly, shed or box-like buildings  and one may ask whether these are designed for human beings or as a  warehouse. Most of the modern architecture of most of the contemporary cities of the world are proof that we have soaked our very soul to the premise that says – “Beauty and Utility shall never meet.”

This is an utter lie and only minds castrated of beauty and its appreciation will voice such non-sense.

Now coming back to the afternoon siesta.  In Bengal, afternoon siesta in the afternoon (March to October) must have the following design with minor variations :

  • Lunch between 1 pm – 2 pm
  • Ultra light in terms of volume and spice  with rice, lime and ending with curd and a dry sweet.  No meat, no alcohol. Fish allowed.
  • Cotton dress – preferably white.
  • A half-read book (preferably a classic work, e.g  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes), a bed-sheet smelling freshness – preferably white and recently washed. No AC, No TV mobile switched-off, curtains drawn but an opening so that one can have a glimpse of the sky, email vacation notice telling ” In a radio silence zone for next 2 hours, starting 1 pm
  • Eau-de-cologne sprinkled in the pillows.

Material aspects being over, now comes the mental training part.

  • One must not think after lying down – “oh, so hot… I cannot sleep. Will I wake up by 4 pm ?
  • One must read the book as if there is no worry in the world.
  • Then one must pray for sleep so that the Mistress of sleep may sit on your eye-lashes ( The Bengali rhyme : “….চোখ পেতে বসো”)
  • With practice, one will wake up by 4 pm – a rest of maximum 2 hours and minimum 1.5 hours.
  • Wash you face, brush your teeth and drink coffee / tea.

Now, following things have happened in this period ;

  • Your body has spent little energy and most of the energy was used in running core processes. One of them being the brain processes. With less loss of salt through perspiration, you shall feel fresh.
  • Since you did not sleep for being tired but “invited”, the quality will be better and you shall have vivid dreams.
  • With time, your body clock can be timed to 30 mins, 45 mins, 1 hour and so on.

The Most Important Question :

Who can have this schedule in our present times ?

In olden times, kings and emperors, High Officials of the Colonial Government, Lazy Rich and so on.

In our times, only someone who is an Emperor of his/her own time can even thinking of such a schedule. But such people are not completely extinct.

True Freelancers – this species who work from home or from a home-like office environment can design their day (working days of the week included) this way.

This perk is forever denied to:

a) Corner Office residents b) All office residents c) Ambitious d) Celebrities e) High Rajas people f) Social Media Addicts g) Mobile Phone addicts h) Work/Game addicts i) People who are scared of being with oneself j) Insomniacs k) School goers l) College and other educational institution goers m) Officials of all variety  n)  Who eat a lot (indigestion) o) Who eat indiscriminately (migraine) p) Who travel a lot – business or pleasure q) Busy bodies of all type.

“Blessed are the Free / For they can command their sleep.”

Electric Shock and Information Security

When electricity was first discovered, literature of that time was rife with wonder, anxiety and fear. It was slowly found out that although electricity changed the world forever. It was the first invention / discovery in human recorded history that conquered night. Later distance was conquered.

We are living in the age of information security just when people were amazed by electricity and as the use became ubiquitous and more and more human homes were connected to the electricity generator, more and more people were potentially exposed to electric shock which was lethal.

Modern fear and anxiety about Cyber Security have some striking similarities :

a) Electricity was IoT – version 1.0. Consider the wiring as a LAN and more and more devices started getting connected. Even toothbrush or a razor.

b) Lack of awareness and care was shocking and lethal. Touching exposed live wires or not having safety mechanism was invitation to pain and suffering. Same while opening virus infected mails or not taking proper care of handling devices connected to the Network.

c) There was a need of some mechanism to detect a contact (a danger scenario) and switch-off. This was implemented but it is not perfect. No method is perfect. Awareness and being careful are the greatest protectors still while handling electrical devices. 

d) Information network is infinitely more sophisticated network with intelligence at the periphery and the users are using a dimension above in terms of intelligence of the network and the multiple layers of architecture. But one aspect remains the same : electrical energy exposed in certain structure is lethal and information structured into certain form is highly malicious. The problem is not in electrical energy and information per se but in their “structures”.

If history is of any value and if it teaches us anything through its confusion and ambivalence, it is this and is of paramount importance :  We shall continue to have shocks – either a physical one or subtler one. Technology is not the cause. It is the very structure of our existence – the duality.

GST and Indian Freelancer

[ This post is a Wordcon contribution to the Freelance Ecosystem of India.  This is not a tutorial for GST nor written by Tax professional. It is a synthetic analysis of the situation with analytic part coming in the next post. Some excepts are taken from the book entitled – LICENSE, TAX, REGULATION – a HANDBOOK FOR INDIAN FREELANCERS, authored by Pritam Bhattacharyya and Pinaki Taluukdar and to be published by Freelance Foundation. The Handbook will be launched soon.]

  • Tax and Death are the only two sureties of Life. Whether it is a democracy, a monarchy, a republic – tax must be paid. Taxation and War are two areas of human affairs which are thrust upon us.
  • Pre GST (EXPORT) : All service exports by a freelancer to a) a foreign country b) doing the service based in India c) receiving payment in foreign currency and the d) consumer of the service no way related to you were exempt of goods of services tax. The premise was that : “tax of one country cannot be exported to another country.”
  • Post GST (EXPORT) : The fundamental premise remains – “tax of one country cannot be exported to another country.”  but the freelancer now must get some kind of confirmation from the state that his services are exported. Translation: More paperwork/keyboard work and another layer of interaction with the state bureaucracy.
  • Pre GST (DOMESTIC or NON-EXPORT)  : Every nation since antiquity has taxed economic activities to get revenue. This is indirect tax. We get tax records of Sumer civilization in clay tablets. Tax was either paid by kind or by cash. In modern times, tax is always paid in cash.  The services were taxed and the tax was called Service Tax. All freelancers whose turnover was more than 9 L INR from domestic clients in previous year was supposed to pay service Tax.  Most of the solo freelancers did not have such a turnover solely from freelance work and it did not have much talk.
  • Post GST (DOMESTIC or NON-EXPORT) : If you have a single client outside the state of your registration, you come under inter-state trade and must register or you have turnover above 20 L. Things need clarification here. However, one thing is clear, the more your business grows and if you have the good fortune to have a foreign client, you must register.

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Now some most important future-looking issues 

  • To GST or not to do GST, the dilemma is real and palpable. The answer is : if you are interested to develop your business and try to work with larger clients, you should have GST.  The overriding reason is that those businesses will prefer to work with someone whose tax they need not pay and GST (company) < – > GST (freelancer) mapping will be clear and straightforward. All other things remaining same, they will prefer a GST registered freelancer. 
  • Another very powerful and significant fact is that GST is revenue neutral after 20 Lac threshold. It means that if your business grows and you start working with 2 more team members as a company with proprietorship status, you can continue with the GST with no other in-direct tax (you still pay your Income Tax) issues. This means that you are free to conduct business without any threshold or any other tax issues to bother. Get customer, deliver service, pay GST.
  • This freedom comes with a price : 37 reports are to be filed per year. 12 * 3 + 1 annual. This means that the transactions of your business will be in “GST cloud”. Think Gmail to have an idea.
  • This also means that all the GST you have paid for running your business now gets recorded and mapped and becomes your GST credit. So the GST you pay at the end of the year is (GST collected from clients) – (GST you have paid for running your business)GST you have paid for running your business = ITC (input tax credit)
  • Just like an individual in India has PAN and this Income Tax ID is “networked” – as in TDS where each PAN is mapped to +/- of taxes deducted, taxes remaining, GST will be such for a business once the dust settles in.

GST – Cost Benefit Analysis 

COST SIDE 

  • More paper work and administrative hassles.
  • Cost 37 (Filings over the year and you may have to keep a freelance accountant / CA)
  • Huge confusion as of now

BENEFIT SIDE 

  • You can think of expanding your business – in the same vertical or related verticals.
  • From a freelancer writing content, you can become seller of ethnic dolls – nothing else is needed.
  • All the input indirect tax you had no way to claim earlier can be now be claimed – or at least there is a mechanism of having recorded.

CONCLUSION  

  1. From the fundamental premises mentioned at the outset, it is judicious and prudent to be registered.
  2. It is important to have a good (and cost-effective) CA / professional who will understand your business and handle these for you.
  3. This forces you to keep total record of your business and with structured data, you can analyse your business health in a much better way.
  4. You are free to trade now – that is great sense of freedom, too.
  5. Once the dust settles in, once the mechanism becomes stable and many questions resolved through practice, experience and litigation (lawyers are freelancers too.), the situation will be easier to navigate and more balanced view will emerge

Recommendation for Freelancers with GST the movie : Recommend. Buy tickets online at : https://www.gst.gov.in/

[ In next post, we shall discuss the analytic part. We are conducting Wordcon – 3rd International Freelancer’s Conference on 3rd February 2018 at The Park, Calcutta where we shall discuss further with 150+ freelancers and small businesses present. ]

CIO Round Table – Infovision Event Report

by Wordcon Correspondents

Dateline : 25th August 2017 | Webel Bhawan | Calcutta |India

Timeline : 6 pm – 9 pm.

Theme : CIO Round Table – Information Security Awareness Building

Infocon global

Chairman of Infosec Foundation – Welcome Address

It is very unusual to see a spectacle like this in Calcutta as veterans of Event organizing sector tell us.

The spectacle is 50+ top officials from Government, Trade Bodies, Police and Law Enforcement, Technology Experts, CIOs, CEO, students sitting very attentively from 6 pm to 9 pm in a Friday evening to hear and discuss on Cyber security / Information security.

Something very interesting is happening for sure.

I was sitting in the center-middle and a very senior gentleman with a grave bearing told me or rather to himself – this is the next great opportunity or crisis – either way, we must be ready.

infoquest mag

Infoquest – A Journal on Information Security  3rd Edition inaugurated – (from left) Mr. Pritam Bhattacharyya, Editor in Chief, Infoquest and Founder and Chief Wordsmith, Wordsmith Communication, Mr. Sailen Sengupta, Chief Mentor, Infosec Foundation and Co-Founder, Prime, Mr Sudipta Biswas, Vice President and CISO, Prime

When Infoquest was released, I heard murmurs as how to get a copy and then when Editor in Chief asks the audience : “Do you recommend any good text-book on Cyber security?”, there was a silence which was the true answer and correct state of things.  Things are happening so fast and so many players are involved, it is in a state of flux and it will take some time to crystallize so that we can take stock of the situation.

Therein, we think lies the key of the initiative  – to build awareness of the depth and range of the matter and collaboration is the key – there is no other way.

Infosec Foundation has also mentioned of some very interesting and peculiar initiatives.

Chairman Mr. Mukherjee made it clear at the beginning that  the Foundation does not organize events only while talking of the mega Infosec Summit coming on 3rd November 2017 at The Park.  There are two fundamental aspects to these initiatives

a) In collaboration with police and law enforcement to build a cyber help line – probably first one in the country. I personally find this interesting. My uncle lost some money from his bank with his OTP being hi-jacked without his knowledge and investigation established that a duplicate SIM was made out of his phone while it was given on repair.  The next phase was a nightmare – he was going like a ping pong ball from the police to the bank and everyone was trying to pass the buck. A victim, like my uncle would have been spared the humiliation and the suffering had there been a dedicated help line as proposed so that the initial measurement would have been there.

Bidhannagr’s top cyber crime investigator Mr. Bidit Mondal talked about ever increasing and ever sophisticated (not technologically alone – psychologically) tricks fraudsters are using and how to protect ourselves.

As we were filing out for the High Tea after the panel discussion attended by sectors like Telecom, Manufacturing, Energy, Consulting, I and my photographer colleague found out many of the media – of print and TV animatedly discussing on the impact this will have on our way of life with smartphone, online banking, children with their games and so on.

The organizers have given us the link of the event captured in-site : https://www.facebook.com/InfosecFoundation/

I nodded my head in agreement in silence  to my photographer colleague – a freelancer and who found out few months back that his phone was hacked and people calling him to ask why did he go to South America and now asking money from them ?

It was the classic trick of hacking onto one’s account and sending mails of urgency of sending money following the address book.

Overall, as members of the New Media, we would like to rate this Event 8.5 /10 – a recommendation and we shall cover their next events.

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Infovision : CIO Round Table on 25th August, Webel Bhawan, Calcutta

Infosec Foundation – a non-profit for spreading Information security awareness is holding its first edition of Infovision – CIO round Table – a meet of top CIOs to discuss, debate, reflect, share notes and best practices.

Wordsmith Communication and Wordsmith University are associates in the movement spearheaded by Infosec Foundation.

This is part of Infosec Foundation’s commitment to strengthen both the sword and shield of the enterprise to fight the clear and present danger of cyber crimes.

cio round table.jpg

25th August 2017 | Webel Bhawan | Sector V, Salt Lake, Calcutta | India

If you are interested to join/associate, please contact the organizers at secretariat@infoconglobal.org | +91 8017522153, +91 898 1133806