Thursday, February 9, 2012

It's Party Time!

If you’ve been wondering why this blog hasn’t been updated in a while, it’s because all of us at ANSR have been workin’ and partyin’ hard! Despite crazy deadlines and crushing year-end pressure, we had six parties/events between the end of October and New Year! Don’t believe me? Here are the pictures to prove it (Click on the pictures to view a bigger version):

Dandiya Night (Oct 21, 2011)

Who said men couldn't multi-task? Saurav Sharma Koirala, Team Lead, churning out a TB as he DJs:

Content 100 (24 Oct, 2011)
Party at the Beach, Indiranagar, to celebrate ANSR Content’s turning 100-strong and growing at geometric progression.

Inauguration of ROFL (23 Dec, 2011) (For the uninitiated, that’s R-Old-FLoor, which is now our new floor. Confused? ROFL!! :D)

Bay Decoration Competition for X’mas (23 Dec, 2011)

Financial District went all shady for X’mas

Plenty of X’mas “spirit” in evidence here!

Middle Earth gave us a wholesome, home-made X’mas
That’s Reuben the red-nosed reindeer right there.

Desi X’mas at Seventh Heaven
Presenting... Shanta Claus!

Hawk-Eye sang their way into the judges’ hearts and won the competition!

ANSR turns 7!! (29 Dec, 2011)

We marked the occasion by honouring members of our support staff who had been with ANSR since day one.

Cricket Club (Jan 2012)
All work and no play... you get the drift...

Sorry, we don’t have any pics to prove we worked hard too. You’ll just have to take our word for it. ;)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Food, glorious food!
Don't care what it looks like --

Don't care what the cook's like.
Just thinking of growing fat --
Our senses go reeling
One moment of knowing that
Full-up feeling!

- OST Ice Age 2

Well, the lines in bold above pretty much sum up what we get for lunch here! Not sure if the sixth line, Don’t care what the cook’s like, is really true – we do abuse him in our minds a lot (oops, no gender bias people – could very well be a lady, but personally I would say it’s a bunch of guys, given how often the cauliflower and a host of other stuff is underdone! :).

On a more honest note (although all of the above is true), it’s not that bad guys. Granted, that when you’re reeeeeallly hungry there’s an ‘ultra-salted daal/sambhar’ and a vegetable curry in which the veggies are so mutilated you feel bad for them! And perhaps occasionally there will be this unappealing “spare-parts curry” (think what you will of that, I’m told they are chicken spare parts! Ahem!). But we do have days when the food is magical, wonderful, and marvelous – those are the days when ALL the good food under the sun is served together so you can put on oooddles of weight!

The more important thing, however, is the impact this food has on our productivity. Rationality and some OB theories suggest that if you are happy, you are more productive. But what happens here is precisely the opposite – you are happy when the food it good – so you load your plate (ignoring the fact that this can deprive someone else of the bare minimum required to fill their tummy) and eat to your heart’s content – and then drag yourself back to your desk – and start thinking of fluffy pillows and cozy beds – and silently swear at the work that just doesn’t seem to get over! The content developed during this period needs a very severe quality check, and often comes back to the developer for rework – precisely on a day when food is bad and you’re miffed. That’s negative externality for you - the negative externality of good food!!

On the other hand, on days when lunch sucks (to put it rather delicately), you eat the bare minimum to take you through the afternoon, optimally use the coffee machine, and go straight back to work. In other words, there is a positive externality from bad lunch. But please don’t let me scare you with all this! We do get a good mix of both - so the law of averages prevails!

Now that we have introduced economics into this discussion, let’s take a moment to see if it’s really in the interest of the caterers to improve the quality of the food they serve. What do they stand to gain if they consistently serve good food?

A cost-benefit analysis would show that they can improve their output either by hiring better cooks, or by buying better quality ingredients for the food they serve – either way involves shelling out more cash. Cost increases. On the benefit side, they get the goodwill (which does not appear in the caterer's income statement) of this fast-growing company that is hiring people like crazy these days. There are no incremental economic benefits to compensate for increased costs.

Even the threat of competition doesn’t seem to have too much of an impact on small-scale businesses here! So the conclusion, folks, is that like it or not, this is what you will go on getting for lunch unless we suddenly shift to a competing caterer, who will maintain quality for a while and then push us back to square one!

Having said all of this (and confusing some of you), the honest truth is that at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter how good or bad the food is. Not just because we have access to yummy kachoris, samosas, and pakodas in the evenings, but because we love what we do here! We enjoy the company of the people we work with and have loads of fun (with each other and at the expense of each other) while creating some great content! Happy workers are good workers (apart from the food externality case of course) - we do have rocking time, what with our Dynamix, ANSillaRy, flexible timings, quirks and whatchamacallits, and trekking trips to the Himalayas!

-Anu Jnu

Tips for surviving if you’re joining the content development team at ANSR Source*:

1. Lunch usually starts by 1 O’ clock. If you’re the detective types, walk up to the coffee machine by around 12.45 and do some snooping and sniffing.

2. If you’re late for lunch, while filling your plate, look at the vessel that’s empty. That contained something yummy. This tip doesn’t help, but it’s an FYI nonetheless.

3. Watch the pace of people who went early for lunch. If they’re sort of floating down the stairs, run up. That’s a good day. (Corollary: If they’re stomping down the stairs, order a pizza from outside.)

4. If you’re a non-vegetarian, chicken biriyani days are often good – even for vegetarians. Sounds contrarian? It’s true.

5. Murphy@ANSR: If food is very good, there will be a conference call at 7.30 in the evening.

* From our employee awareness handbook. Reproduced with permission.

Joules has this to add:

In a competitive market, low quality goods will be driven out of the market by higher quality goods. In the corporate-catering market, we have a large number of buyers in Bangalore and a good number of sellers. Corporate buyers are usually price sensitive (unlike in the wedding catering market). When buyers are price sensitive and there are a large number of sellers, it takes away the incentive to provide high-quality goods because the sellers can do pretty well with a low level of quality (at a lower price). A single seller may not want to rock the boat by providing higher quality at a higher price because they lose out to low-quality lower priced sellers. Even if all sellers move to higher quality at a slightly higher price, a single seller has the incentive to undercut the market with a lower price and lower quality. There you go again!

Food, glorious food!
What wouldn't we give for
That extra bit more --
That's all that we live for

- OST Ice Age 2

That extra bit costs the caterers something, but doesn't get them anything material in return. QED

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why what is good for B. Shruthirai is not good for the content team as a whole? a.k.a Fallacy of Composition

Shruthirai works as part of the EDP team in ANSR’s content development division. What’s special about her is that she sends these great (at times) “good morning:)” e-mails with a message/picture every day. She’s been doing this religiously for years, and her practice has been so institutionalized that some of us refuse to believe it’s morning yet till we get that e-mail from her. She receives around 5 responses on an average to these mails. It’s feel-good for her and it is feel-good for the other 99 recipients working in our Domlur office in Bangalore. No one’s complaining.

Which brings us to a classical question - what if, everyone starts sending good morning e-mails? It means that you will have 99 good mornings in your inbox every morning. Clearly not a good thing, especially if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed! Add another 5 mails that you receive in response (to your thought-provoking good morning mail), and we are talking about per-capita good morning e-mail count of 104 in every inbox. That’s a lot of content, and assuming a short e-mail takes about 45 seconds to digest, every person on average, needs around 78 minutes for this courtesy. 16.25% of our work day! In other words, about 130 hours lost for all the people in the system put together.

Which brings us to the concept of the fallacy of composition – something works for a single unit does not mean it will work for all the units together. Your view of the match is improved if you stand up in the stadium, but if everyone stands up, we’re more or less back to square one. In the case of good morning mails, it goes beyond this fallacy, and the system as a whole ends up a lot messier. So Shruthi, keep doing what you’re doing. The rest of us – sit tight and wait for that e-mail, and while you’re at it, create some rocking content.

P.S: And don’t get us started about forwards.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Join us!

Here's a picture that says a thousand words. The catch is, we're looking at hiring people who can write much more than that, effectively.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Friday, December 24, 2010


For distributing the Christmas gifts at ANSR Source, we took the leanest guy in the office and dressed him up as Santa - in memory of the Great Recession (hope it's behind us for good) of the recent times. Here's the result. The meanest looking version of Nikolaos of Myra.

Insider leak: The guy on the right of Santa's shoulders missed it by a whisker, in the toss to be the Santa.

And the Elf you see in the background was a prime contender for the top slot. Just because, she came in dressed in red and white. Boy, was she lucky?