Category Archives: office improvement

Ways to improve the environment inside your business

The government has no business doing ‘business’ in Nepal. (Nepal Telecom fiasco)

The government has no business doing ‘business’ in Nepal.

I am seriously thinking of switching from ‪Nepal‬‪ ‎Telecom‬ to an alternate. In the past 10 years, they have continuously let me down, despite my emotional attachment to Nepali owned company. Here are 3 reasons for this:

  1. Quality = Pathetic (my calls get cut, diverted, engaged randomly)
  2. Customer service = Unfriendly and unaccountable (to the point of sheer rudeness)
  3. Price = Not cheap any more (considering the amount of cut calls or low quality talks i have to put up with)

[One small context:  I cycled all the way from Kathmandu to Lumbini to highlight Lumbini and cycling and tourism in one of the hottest days of the year and I was using the internet to highlight our campaign. While Nepal Telecom’s competitor NCell had internet coverage in most of the stops we were at, Nepal Telecom had zero connectivity (even though it showed 3G connection as on ). How sad is it when you consistently over-promise and under-deliver?

A photographer friend had to send photos to various media using NCell in bhairahawa. This is embarrassing for a pioneer like Nepal Telecom to slowly go in the direction of Nepal’s other defunct government institutions (hint: Nepal airlines, Nepal Bank Limited, Nepal electricity corporation etc ).

So how do we turn around Nepal Telecom while bringing continuing innovation in the telecommunications industry in Nepal ?

  1. Sell government’s share of Nepal telecom to a Nepali private sector led consortium. Accountability to private shareholders will improve it.
  2. Consolidate all politically affiliated unions into one ‘welfare body’ that has management, employees, alumni and other stakeholders in one body. unions accountable to political parties have no place inside a business.
  3. Build “Customers as gods” policy and make sure  ‘Under-promise, Over-deliver’ remains the mantra of the institution!
  4. Use as Nepal Telecom’s mantra for service delivery.
  5. Implement ‘Hire and Fire’ and ‘no work, no pay’ policy. Nepal Telecom employees should not feel they are unaccountable government employees.

To improve Nepal Telecom we have also got to revamp the Telecom sector. This is a government’s primary role: to “check and balance”. Here are few of my ideas for the government to restructure the Telecom sector. :

  1. Empower the oversight body, Nepal telecommunication authority NTA with an independent board of managers (No political appointees) to make sure all telecommunication providers maintain quality, affordability and service.
  2. Penalize telecom providers for each cut calls and build an automatic refund system for each cut calls.
  3. Let customers track each mobile call records and internet usage records from their devices.
  4. Force telecommunication providers to share their infrastructure with other service providers for a valid fee. This ensures further competition and superior quality of service that comes with a competing market
  5. Fine any providers heavy if they resort to deceptive advertising practices. (Example: sometimes Ncell comes up with hard to understand schemes)
  6. Have a monthly ranking of all providers published in national media based on 3 criteria: Quality, Price & Customer service. Tie extra rewards for boards and management based on this index.
  7. Publicly acknowledge (and reward) best performing telecom engineers, customer service representatives and managers monthly.
  8. Direct telecom providers to collaborate with the banking sector to build secure platform and infrastructure for mobile banking.
  9. Limit Telecom providers to offer data and voice services. Have them open another company to offer other services so that there is no monopoly or unfair advantage over start-up companies.
  10. Ensure internet enabled education in the national policy and have government help bear expenses for this thus helping telecom companies have incentive to build costly next generational infrastructure in remote areas of Nepal.

I repeat, the government has no business doing business in Nepal. Either Nepal Telecom improves from today, or it goes down the drain like its other ‘government owned’ siblings !

 

Advise people after saying No

Wordle: whynepal advise

‘Don’t just say No. Advise them a little after you say No. That small bit of advise really helps people and as a side-effect may build relationships with them as well. Recently We had to say no, to a project that would helped a lot of people. And here is how we advised them (in an email) so that the project would succeed who-ever did it. (names changed of course).

Hello Raju, 

It was good to meet you during your Briefing process two weeks ago. Unfortunately, our firm has decided not to apply for your website project at this time because we don’t have the time and the resources to dedicate to your proposed project at this time.
As a Nepali and concerned citizens I look forward to seeing a functional website of the ‘…………. authority’ of Nepal. I realize it is extremely important to strengthen our ‘…………. authority’ to make sure we produce better leadership in Nepal. Thank you for helping such an important entity in Nepal.
We wanted to add in a few suggestions, that might help your project become a resounding success !
a) Since 75% of youths are youths and 1.4 million use Facebook, Integrate social media into your online presence. information sharing means listening in to what the Nepalis common citizens want also. This will be a powerful way to get response from youths as they love using this medium (in increasing numbers). For a start, showing presence in Facebook, twitter would help immensely :)
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b) Since in the next 5 years, each of us in Nepal are going to carry a smart phone more powerful than the iPhone, and using this to look at the’…………. authority’s website, maybe think of “responsive designs” with this in mind
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c) Language localization is important especially when Nepal is going to go on federal structure. Open source content management system like WordPress can easily be used to transform the site into Tharu, Maithali, Tamang dialact or …. Maybe think on that too…
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d) I would in the future still suggest using  cloud systems like Google docs (or others similar to it) as a powerful system (why reinvent the wheel). International Banks have started using google on the cloud. so safety and security is their priority.
In fact, Someone from Google is coming here to meet me next week. I will ask more on the safety and reliability of the cloud. It helps us all in the future :) Google does have an initiative to help governments also.
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e) I feel, having a small group (<10) of a diverse citizen user group to test functionality of the website (from the beginning stages) is as important as your institution testing it yourself. (as citizens are themselves going to be using it). User testing would help tremendously (in our experience).
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f) In my experience, too many features on a single site, is a over-kill. Users would value simplicity since they usually would go to a site for one purpose only and need to find it fast there. Otherwise they would go back to google search and get it from another site. Hence defeating the site’s single most important purpose, “Help”.
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Thank you, Good luck, and as a Nepali Citizen, I am always willing to help you. Feel free to ask.
–Ujwal

In the time of darkness…

In the time of darkness and gloom in Nepal, this entrepreneur is slowly turning to poetry as an escape.

“when the way the society is functioning defies common sense, when the way we live here in kathmandu baffles even us who live in it (you who live away, will be in awe at how things work here), I have found myself in loss to express myself in logical ways, in a common sensical way.”

Business and entrepreneurship mostly assumes  a fair degree of stability as a pre-requisite (or semi-stability at worst). Here I am at a loss to explain how business run and how entrepreneurs fare in a (potentially) imploding scenario.

The only thing that makes sense to me  amidst Kathmandu’s anarchy /chaos is raw poetry. Lately been doing that more and more. Maybe it is the only place i can escape to.

enjoy,

Ujw

would a cafe for creatives or entrepreneurs work in kathmandu?

An idea roaming around:

would a cafe -lounge with  a chilled ambience / atmosphere which invites mostly entrepreneurs/musicians / artists /young passionate people, work as a viable business in Kathmandu ? would it have to be an inclusive place for exclusive type of people (the ones mentioned above ?)

am looking for a place that invities inspiration, passion and an escape away from the mundane and depressing atmosphere in Kathmandu now. Maybe I should open a cafe that does that. Will people come ?

will you come ?

entrepreneur is a zen master in nepal ?

if you are an entrepreneur in Nepal right now, then you are also a zen master too. Yes a monk ! because amidst great upheavals you have to keep your mind in focus, calm and empty of distracting thoughts. The trials and tabulations here is hostile to even seasoned entrepreneurs.

The only entrepreneurs who will come out of the present situation in nepal un-scarred are ones with monk like traits, who can stay eternally positive, be at dead present, yet drive passionately on and on, enough to ensure there is no lax in the speed of his/her entrepreneurial effort.
Keep going bunny.. keep going…

you have what it takes to be “a Zen master entrepreneur” ?