All posts by Amrita Satpathy

Gearing up for an “App”y Shopping

On Monday when I tried to open Myntra on my laptop, I was in for a big surprise. In bold letters it said,

DOWNLOAD THE MYNTRA APP NOW
Your choice. Your taste. Your style.
All on your most personal device.

Obviously, I hadn’t followed up on the news and was oblivious to the fact that Myntra had shut down its website on 15th May 2015 and became an App only platform. It is rumored that Flipkart the parent company of Myntra would also follow suit in almost a year. Buoyed by the fact that almost 95% of the traffic at Myntra takes the mobile route and mobile commerce contributes to 70% of their sales, Myntra is all set for the metamorphosis. Recent proliferation of smartphones and tablets (especially in tier II and III cities) and greater access to the internet via broadband, 3G, 4G etc helped build the foundation of an ever growing online consumer base in India.
According to a recent Morgan Stanley report, ecommerce penetration in India is set to grow from 9% in 2013 to 36% by 2020 and most of it being contributed by mobile users. Indeed, I remember, one of my friends was busy adding items to the shopping on a popular ecommerce site on his iPhone coz he would get X% discount more for shopping via the mobile app. Agreed, most of us are deal hunters and we swim with the current but who wouldn’t like a bit of a personalization. With eCommerce companies encouraging customers to download and use the mobile app, it certainly means that app only culture is in the offing. Only Myntra is the first eCommerce company in the world to implement this bold step.
Needless to say, shopping is a personal experience and Myntra is trying to cash in on this. However, personalizing this experience to a level that it is only available on your personal device could actually make or mar the profits of the company. Not all users are of the same composition. While some would feel irritated of the constant notifications indicated by a beeping handheld device, there would be others who would feel neglected with very few notifications. It all depends upon Myntra now to hold and keep its customers on its mobile because we all know that an app can be deleted with greater ease than what was required to download it. Also, there is a fine line that separates engagement from intrusion.
I have shopped on Myntra a good number of times in the past and I was happy with the experience. I may even download the app for now. But whether I will shop only from Myntra is a matter of “choice”. This is because I cannot change my shopping habit. I love to browse through various eCommerce sites when I look forward to buy something, compare prices, add items to the cart and depending upon the urgency, proceed to check out which could be from a handheld device in case I did not complete the action on my desktop.
What would be the repercussions of app only platform for software developers. Well more work possibly; demand for flawless work undoubtedly, greater attention to incorporate better UI/UX into the app definitely and increasingly better career opportunities for mobile app developers. In fact if this step leads to success, Myntra will have a first mover advantage for sure but there will be many other eCommerce sites and boutique online shops that will follow suit with varying degrees of success.
I keep my fingers crossed. At this point of time I am left to wonder how relevant that small icon on my mobile phone would be in the times to come. Only time will tell…

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

This truism is applicable to all, whether it is an individual or a company. The various facets which confluence to make an entity great render to it a unique flavor, one that cannot be copied completely. The innovative practices at Mindfire Solutions contribute towards its uniqueness and differentiate it from its peers in the software industry. Here’s how.

My last blog was on the 2 minute innovation where I told you how Mindfire Solutions follows a unique project status communication practice which makes use of rich media to communicate the day’s progress to the client. In this blog you will get to know yet another innovative best practice followed at Mindfire Solutions. Ever heard of the term collective intelligence? No? Well, simply put, it means 2 is better than 1. Only, in our case 700 is better than 1. This is an approach aimed at solving individual queries by the combined knowledge of an organization.

We all know that the true value of an organization can be closely gauged from what lies between their employees’ ears. And Mindfire Solutions not only encourages its employees to broaden their horizons but also gives them the scope to make the best use of it by fostering a culture of sharing. As time passed, number of projects increased and Mindfire’s numbers and ranks swelled, realization dawned that although the collective knowledge of the organization was increasing linearly the individual knowledge was more or less limited to his own area of expertise. Owing to a demanding work scenario and paucity of time there was hardly any scope to learn more at an individual level. In an organization where knowledge is treated as the most important asset, productivity would get a quantum boost if there was some way in which the information about the knowledge and skills of an individual can be shared with another individual in need.

And then a unique knowledge management practice was developed in Mindfire Labs and christened as Fluid Expertise. Based on his need, a Mindfirean can use this system to search on the particular topic and then get the content results as well as the list of colleagues who can help. The database for this project consists of the user profiles of all the employees (which include their expertise, blog links, seminars conducted, articles, projects, team space etc.) as well as the articles, tips, case studies etc. contributed by them and available on the website. The search results will be displayed to the user in his browser in a 2 part sectioned format. While the upper half contains the people search results (in this case Mindfire’s in-house subject matter experts), the lower half contains the results from a Google customized search. The user can then choose to proceed according to his wish, i.e. contact the expert on a communication window or click on the pages as suggested by Google.

How the system works?

The system either crawls through the website or parses text/html, word documents and PDFs and considers the content for further processing. Again in order to match the query against the document the text in the document is indexed. The match can be done against the URL, title or the description/content of the page and when the user clicks on the URL the content will be displayed.   As is expected, a lot of inputs are required to find out the top ten subject matter experts on a particular topic. And because we have too many inputs it becomes imperative to decide which among these inputs are primary and which ones are secondary. The primary inputs help in choosing the top 10 people and thereafter, the primary and secondary inputs both are used to rank them. The secondary inputs don’t have a role to play until the top helpful persons have been selected. The decision as to what could constitute the primary and secondary factors are left to the system owner’s discretion.

Following are some of the factors that contribute greatly in people search listing:

1. Content: Content has to be the most important factor to judge the level of an individual’s expertise. With the help of an open source indexing engine and a compatible server which helps add easy interfaces to add/update/query documents and pump more data, an expert’s contribution is closely gauged in his area of expertise.

2. Number of User clicks: For a specific search the system will track which links has been clicked by which user and which expert has been contacted by which user. This knowledge will be useful for predicting the result for the user thereby providing personalized search experience.

3. Peer Endorsement: In this case the system will take time to learn from user input and suggest right people and direct the user to the expert. To address this, there will be an offline input mechanism where employees should be able to specify who is an expert in which area. This will also form a part of the database.

4. User Feedback: While designing the system we realized that there should be an offline data collection mechanism to know whether contacting a person helped, in short a feedback is sought. Initially the system gives a default people rank to everybody. After collecting inputs from various users the people rank increases or decreases accordingly.

5. Interconnections: This factor varies from person to person. As the name suggests, these variables play a role to decide how easy it is for A to connect with B. This is determined based on the fact whether the 2 users belong to same team, same project, same center, same team space etc.

6. Previous search: To get this data the system should be able to store old searches by users and match the current search against old search and find relevant experts to solve the query.

In order to get near accurate rankings of the resident experts at Mindfire Solutions these parameters are constantly monitored and at times subjected to minor changes to give an appropriate listing. And in this way we make use of information readily available to not only solve client issues but also increase our knowledge base on a particular topic by learning it from the guru himself.

These systems and processes at Mindfire Solutions make it robust inside out. And when a customer engages with Mindfire Solutions, although he would interact with a small team, he would definitely feel the depth of knowledge in his work which is largely due to the collective intelligence behind it. That is what contributes to making Mindfire Solutions an enviable organization to work with and work for. Who wouldn’t?

2MV-Final

The 2 Minute Innovation

And before you come to a seemingly easy conclusion, let me be very clear. I am definitely not talking about Nestle’s Maggi noodles which can be cooked in about just two minutes. So what could be the 2 minute innovation? Ever heard of 2MV (short for 2 minute video) as a daily reporting tool? Possibly NO! Allow me then to introduce you to the 2MV Habit that is religiously followed at Mindfire Solutions.

About the 2MV:

The 2MV Habit is a unique practice followed at Mindfire Solutions. This was exclusively designed to address problems that are typical to outsourcing/off-shoring/remote software development companies. The common problems pestering this industry are:

  • lack of visibility in true daily work progress,
  • absence of the human factor,
  • lack of synchronous communication owing to different time zones and
  • unavailability of rich communication possibilities (email and documents have their own limitations)

We call it the 2MV Habit because it is a daily practice wherein the developer records his daily progress in the form of 2 minute long videos that are actually screen-casts (videos of the screen) with the audio commentary by the developer. This could also include a little bit of code browsing as well.

So how does it differ from emails/documents?

The use of video/media differentiates 2MV from an email/document by creating software engineering artifacts that are rich in information. After some initial hiccups the developer realizes that while he can make a 2MV in 2 minutes, he would take around 5 minutes to draft an email/document. However, on the flip side, while the contents of an email/document can be scanned in a minimum 10 seconds time, it would actually take 2 minutes to go through a 2MV.

How the 2MV works?

Clients can log in to Mindfire Solutions’ cloud based project management system with the credentials that are provided to them at the time of on-boarding. Successful login takes the client to the 2MV home page wherein all recent activity is listed as a stream of events. One can then view the 2MVs by clicking on the 2MV icon which renders a flash / HTML5 player and plays the video on the homepage. Comments can be made from the event stream itself. There are also options in the account menu to change the email preferences on new 2MV upload, note addition, transcription addition and resetting of password etc.

2MV workflow

Benefits of using the 2MV Habit:

  • Giving demos daily helps the developer to view the work from the user’s perspective
  • The developers feels accountable to produce demonstrable work every day
  • The human voice renders a personal touch and helps forge better relationships in a remote team environment
  • It also helps the developers bond better with the testers bringing in better coordination between teams
  • Easier, faster and better daily status reporting
  • Instills a sense of ownership in the developer as the 2MV carries their personal signature
  • Rich knowledge base with visible gradual evolution of software and codebase
  • Any misunderstanding with respect to requirements or specs is detected at an early stage and fixed accordingly
  • Easier, faster and better transition to new team members whether in case of attrition or scaling up the existing team
  • Better insulation from human risks in team

A 2MV experience:

Let’s be honest. Everyone was not really enthusiastic when the 2MV was launched. As with just about anything that is new, there was some resistance to 2MV initially from one of the project teams. This was mainly because they were not comfortable recording the video (Ironically, they assumed it would take them more than 20 minutes to record a 2MV). Also they wanted to hang on to the traditional methods of email and online meetings with the client as they believed that they could email faster than record the day’s work in 2 minutes. Before panning it completely, they were coaxed to give it a try, one last time. And then the rest is history. The client loved this mode of communication and decided to use this method instead of emails and meetings. This helped them cut down time spent on meetings. Finding a time suitable for both the development team and the client was again a hindrance, but the 2MV helped get rid of it. The developer could record his day’s work before he left and the client could review it whenever/wherever he wanted to using any device (desktop/laptop/handheld). In this particular case (and as with most other cases), the client not only applauded Mindfire’s effort but also gave valuable feedback that we incorporated subsequently.

For a company that is ONLY into offshore small team software development, Mindfire Solutions offers its clients this unique status reporting tool that not only adds a personal touch but is also a rich repository of evolving project information. One of our clients commented that:

“We’d just like to say what a great idea the 2 minute video is in maintaining a good relationship between us and Mindfire. It is often difficult to build a personable relationship over such a distance but we feel this definitely helps! Seeing the developer’s computer screen brings things closer and enhances trust and support.”

Yet another client found 2MV to be an interesting concept and was of the opinion that:

“A 2-min video is best for more general info and UI demonstration.”

As for our developers, most of them appreciate Mindfire Solutions for this initiative as it has helped them better their communication skills. The fact that the client can add comment in the 2MV itself makes the communication very clear and less time consuming. One of them said, I have also spotted some issues in my code while making the 2 MV at the EOD. So, it’s like testing the whole thing you have worked on before you leave for the day :)”

And when I asked another developer how the 2MV is a mutually beneficial initiative he said,

“It helps to make changes on the work from the beginning as client provides feedback on the work from the scratch level where as in text emails client sends changes/fixes only after seeing the complete task on stage and its sometime difficult for the client to visualize the work from text and provide feedback. Also it helps the client in decision making whether or not to continue/pause the current functionality and jump to some urgent fixes.”

As 2MV is increasingly becoming popular as a project status reporting tool, it would not come as a big surprise if clients begin to choose this as a preferred mode of communication over email and skype. We surely live in interesting times!

(N.B. : There are many such practices at Mindfire Solutions. Watch this space for more innovative techniques/processes practiced at Mindfire Solution. We use technology to be efficient!)

The architecture of a techie paradise

mindfire solutions techie paradise

“Do you really like working at Mindfire Solutions? “ I asked and saw my friend give me an as-if-you-don’t-know-it-already look. He said, “Whoever would want to leave this techie paradise?”
You may begin to think that I was merely doing a survey. No, I was not! It was a candid coffee table conversation between the two of us. Little did I know that this conversation would reveal the reasons why Mindfire Solutions’ attrition rate is way too much lower than the industry average? Here’s the gist which explains why my friend has been hanging around the Mindfire premises for almost a decade.

You work because you choose to!
Mindfire offers salubrious working conditions that encourage techies and geeks to blossom to their true potential. A flat organization structure ensures that people are free to speak their mind and “work because they choose to”. The wet blanket of bureaucracy hardly gets a chance to snuff out the embers of innovation at the workplace. If you look at the people working here, you will realize that they are a bunch of spirited guys and gals doing good tech work and always asking for more work. In fact one of the employees wrote a Glassdoor review saying “a year in Mindfire is equivalent to three years of experience. Thanks to the vast exposure that techies get at Mindfire with regards to technology areas and client interaction they have a steeper learning curve and a greater opportunity to grow in expertise and reputation (salary also comes under this purview) as compared to their peers elsewhere. A recent recruit who worked for one of the Big 4 companies opined that “We (Mindfire) are just the Right size for recognition of skills/contributions as opposed to getting absorbed in a big company where positions/awards are pre-determined”.

Cooperation, Collaboration and Innovation is the culture here:
There is a culture of collaboration at Mindfire. Most employees feel Mindfire is like a family where there are always people to help out. This camaraderie among employees makes the organization a healthy place of work. There are no walls at Mindfire. We have open workplaces and it should not come as a surprise to find the CEO himself sitting next to you and coding. Even the company financials are made known to each and every employee at the end of every month to ensure transparency. Innovation is the lifeblood at Mindfire Solutions. The way we make extensive use of technology to ensure quality in the work that we do ascertains the fact. We have homegrown systems and tools in place that check for bugs in the code that we write for our customers, keep our client updated using 2MV (2 minute videos), address requests, needs and problems at work, help make better and universally accepted decisions, catalyze day-to-day work, increase the speed of learning and be aware about the happenings in the organization. Stupefied? Aren’t you?

An organization of Knowledge seekers:
That Mindfire wishes to foster a culture of learning and has a knowledge driven culture is evident in the manner it wants its employees to get themselves certified. It has sponsored over 300 certifications with 95% certified software engineers holding Industry recognized certifications from the Industry leaders like Oracle , Microsoft, FileMaker, Zend etc. So it should come as a surprise to know that each Mindfirean has an average of two certifications per head. Not only that, it has sponsored ACM membership for all its employees. There is a great emphasis on dissemination of knowledge. After all, the more you share your knowledge the more you get to learn. Mindfireans have conducted over 170 seminars with a cumulative total of 4000 attendees across teams and centres. They zealously participate in technical forums and have earned brownie points for themselves and the organization. In our endeavor to provide quality software services to our customers, over 2000 code reviews from across various tech areas have been done and there is a dedicated team of 50+ QA specialists testing approximately 250 projects every week. There are 100+ subject matter experts to solve the developers’ queries anywhere and anytime. When it comes to IT spending Mindfire leaves no stone unturned. More than 500 people work on licensed software tools and this fiscal around 25 paid tools have been added in the extensive tools library. Mindfire Solutions is also the proud organizer of the DDM (Debasish Das Memorial) IT Quiz, a national level annual quiz fest for management and engineering students. This event is organized in the memory of one of our most talented employees whom we lost to a fatal road accident in 2010.

Oh and there’s a cherry on the cake too. In order to encourage its employees’ spirit of learning, Mindfire in a maverick move, distributed about 700 iPads and android devices to all its employees last December. Did you just let out a small sigh?

Flexibility in work life= great personal life:
One may begin to wonder that with so much work and learning going on at Mindfire Solutions the personal lives of its employees would be hitting rock bottom. But the situation is quite the opposite. We have fixed time for clients and that gives us more time for ourselves, family and friends. There are no strict rules/policies etched on stone and flexibility is given a lot of importance. Unlike larger companies where number of hours clocked is strictly monitored, people at Mindfire enjoy flexibility in working hours (no time sheets/registers/swipe machines) as long as the work gets done. New mothers/mothers-to-be can avail unlimited maternity leave, those who are ill can convalesce without worrying about losing their job and there is also the work-from-home option for those who cannot afford to come to office owing to certain urgencies at home. Also one does not have to haggle for leaves. Have you ever heard of a company that has a holiday calendar consisting of 365 holidays (366 in case of a leap year)? Well Mindfireans would know this better coz everyday is a holiday at Mindfire Solutions. Nobody forces you to work here. To reiterate a point already mentioned earlier, you work because you choose to. And last but not the least, in this world where “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (TANSTAAFL)” this organization offers free lunch for all its employees across the three centres. Surprised? Don’t be!

Here’s a company which offers tremendous work options in 60+ technology areas, a great learning opportunity and a flexible and laissez faire culture. Not to forget the handsome spot bonuses in lieu of good work done. I am sure now you understand what my friend meant when he said, “Whoever would want to leave this techie paradise?”

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Death ends life but not the relationship!

Ever thought what it feels like to live another person’s dream? We at Mindfire Solutions do!

Yes, we have been doing it every year since 2011 and hope to continue the tradition forever. And on that day we organize the Debasish Das Memorial IT Quiz popularly known as DDM IT Quiz, a tribute to Late Debasish Das, a brilliant team lead, an amicable colleague and an amazing person. It was his dream originally to organize a mega IT quiz event that would attract the quizzing enthusiasts from technical and management institutes from all over Odisha and may be later arrange it on a Pan-India scale. But before he could do something about it, we lost him to a fatal road accident on 12th Jan 2010.

We started out in the year 2011 with quite a bit of trepidation but were overwhelmed with the response that we received (120 teams registered for the event that year). This strengthened our conviction and ever since then we have been organizing the Quiz every year for the last four years. Each year the event gets bigger and better and attracts more quizzers than the last.

This year we had warm-up online quiz contests on Facebook with the lucky winners winning exciting prizes such as t-shirts, pen drives and watches. In order to sensitize the public, on 2nd March 2014 we organized a flash mob based on the theme of road safety at Bhawani Mall, Bhubaneswar. We are the first corporate in Odisha to organize a flash mob for promoting our event and instilling awareness about road safety in the public. Come to think of it, after all it was a road accident that snuffed the life out of our colleague. There was also a “quote a quote” competition on Facebook on 5th March, 2014. We received a lot of replies and the lucky winner (the one whose quotes got the maximum number of likes) won an iPod.

The D-Day:
The event was held on 9th March, 2014 at Pal Heights, Bhubaneswar. More than 300 teams had registered to participate in the event. Gradually the number of participants at the venue swelled in numbers defying the sultry hot climate that is currently setting in the region. But obviously only the top eight teams made it to the stage after the preliminary elimination round. This event was hosted by Greycaps (http://www.greycaps.com/) and Quizmaster Lloyd Saldanha did an excellent job by keeping the participants and the audience virtually on the edge of their seats. In this event there were prizes worth Rs 100000 to be won. There were exciting audience prizes as well which were picked up by a quiz-keen audience.

The Winners:
This intellectually stimulating quizzing session ended with the team from KIIT, Bhubaneswar as the winners. Omkar Amrutanshu and Loy Larvin Rao looked every bit the achievers as they received the prize of Rs 50,000 from Chinmoy Panda, CEO, Mindfire Solutions. He also gave away prizes of Rs 30,000 to the first runners up, Chinmaya Dehury and Sheikh Wasim Sajjad, members of the team from NIT, Rourkela and Rs 20,000 to Saransh Mohapatra and Jyoti Prakash Panda, members of the team from Silicon Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar who were the second runners up.

At the close of the day when we returned to our homes content with the way the entire event was organized, it was difficult not to let that stray thought enter our minds. That one single wish: if only Debasish was alive today he could see his dream turn to reality. In this case it’s true that death has ended his life, but the relationship that he shared with us will be cherished forever. And it is those memories that will provide the zeal to organize yet another DDM IT quiz next year, only much more bigger and better.

theres_free_lunch

Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

Today as I dug into my plate of piping hot chicken biryani and let the rich aroma of multiple spices fill my nostrils, I realized one thing. It’s true, many authors have written volumes on the fact that there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch (TANSTAAFL) but then they haven’t worked at Mindfire Solutions. I am sure they haven’t coz if they had then they would have known that lunch is actually FREE at Mindfire Solutions!

Biryani for lunch at Mindfire
First of all let’s know a bit about the concept of free lunch. This term is quite popular in economics textbook and finds its origin in the saloons of United States where it was a tradition to provide free lunch to customers who bought at least one drink. Most of the times the food was high in salt which compelled the buyer to buy more drinks later on. Hence the term TANSTAAFL has economic implications in the sense that even if it appears free there is a hidden cost to the person or the society.

A you read further you will realize that for the free lunch served at all the three centers of Mindfire Solutions (viz. Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Bangalore), it only wishes for employee satisfaction in return. A brilliant idea to perk up employee enthusiasm, free lunch is an initiative to let them do their thing (i.e. custom software development) without having to bother what’s for cook for lunch that day. Mindfire Solutions has a diverse population of software professionals who hail from different parts of India. And we all know that neither cooking is everyone’s cup of tea or searching for eat-outs in the middle of the day, every day, is a good idea to many. So to ensure a hassle free life and in turn better attention towards work (that’s always there!), Mindfire Solutions offers all its employees the option to sign up for the free lunch program.

The next thought that comes into mind is that, if it is free then the food may not be of great quality. Well let me assure you (trust me, I m extremely fussy about my food) that the food is of decent quality and tastes good as well. The caterers are strictly chosen, tried and tested so that any lapses can be forestalled. Caterers are dismissed almost immediately if there are any issues found with regards to taste or quality. Also the spread of items is not the same everyday and is changed regularly to bring in more variety to everyday food.
What started as a mad rush for food initially (because people found it hard to believe it is true) has tempered down a lot since the past couple of weeks. People are more organized now and there is hardly any ruckus in the cafeteria. However there are some rules that Mindfire lays down as well. The first and foremost rule is that wastage of food is a criminal offence that has to be avoided at all costs. Also as long as one eats at the cafeteria, one gets food for free. But when people sign up and do not inform that they will not be eating on a particular day within a specified deadline leading to food getting wasted, well, in that case they will have to pay. The free lunch is not included in any one’s individual CTC as it is an organizational initiative. Also if someone chooses not to avail the free lunch facility, it is not reimbursed either monetarily or through Sodexo coupons. So it is a case of “either you have it or you don’t” coz food is a matter of personal preferences.

Mindfire Solutions Cafeteria
Most employees I have interacted with have praised this initiative by Mindfire Solutions and thank the organization and its CEO to have released them from the drudgery of cooking lunch/finding a place for lunch every day! Gestures such as these are a reassurance and certainly leave an impression on the hearts of the employees. Isn’t it?

MPL2014 Banner

Mindfire Premier League 2014

We all know that everybody loves a good game of cricket. The game is so deeply ingrained in the psyche of Indians in particular that almost everybody is drawn into it. Amateurs and professionals alike, they play it everywhere. Be it in the nook and corner of a street, an open playground, in the close confines of a room, in the virtual world on a computer screen or the well maintained turf in a stadium, the game is omnipresent. It is this cricketing spirit of its people that Mindfire respects and encourages as well.


Mindfire Premier League trophies
Want to know how? Then here you go. For all its employees who practically eat, sleep, watch and play cricket, Mindfire Solutions’ Bhubaneswar office organizes a homegrown version of IPL every year. A tradition that started in the year 2008 and famously known amongst the Mindfireans as Mindfire Premier League, this is a much awaited event for both players and spectators alike. Although the event is mostly held in the month of February, the preparations for the D-Day start off more than a month in advance.

This year saw three teams viz. Lions, Cheetahs and Panthers fighting for glory at the Kalinga Stadium cricket ground on February 8.

Match details:
There were three qualifier matches of twelve overs each. The match details are as follows:

Qualifier match 1: The first match was between Lions and Cheetahs. The Lions won the match and chose to field first. At the expense of 4 wickets the Cheetahs scored 93 runs. Sudhansu Panda from team Cheetahs scored 31 runs which helped his team immensely. The Lions conceded defeat by scoring a total of 87 runs at the loss of 3 wickets.

Qualifier match 2: The winner of the first qualifier match i.e . the Cheetahs were to meet the Panthers in the second qualifier match. On winning the toss, the Cheetahs allowed the Panthers to bat first. The Panthers could only manage to score 63 runs at the expense of 8 wickets. The Cheetahs easily achieved the target within 9.4 overs. Sudhansu Panda was again a star player by taking 4 wickets in this match.

Qualifier match 3: The penultimate match was between the losers of the first and second qualifier matches i.e. the Lions and the Panthers. The Panthers did a remarkable job of clocking 122 runs at the expense of 3 wickets. A major contribution towards this score was by Susangeet who played his best innings of 37 runs. The Lions were going through trying times put their best foot forward. Kaushik, the captain of Lions joined with Mainak to open the innings and the duo scored a flawless 56 runs before he gave his wicket away, a soft dismissal. A visibly injured Mainak showed great character and stayed till the end to ensure that Lions won the match to qualify for the finals.

The Finals: The invincible Cheetahs who had become the favorite MPL team by then played the finals against the Lions. Mainak and Satyaprakash from the team Lions contributed greatly to a decent score of 94 runs. The Cheetahs who had won the toss and decided to chase won the match in 9 overs and 10 wickets. Sudhansu Panda proved to be the star yet again by scoring an undefeatable 60 runs and was greatly supported by Kshirodra who scored 32 runs.

The Cheetahs proved to be an invincible team and won the Mindfire Premier League hands down. Undoubtedly, Sudhansu Panda walked away with many laurels which included three Man of the Match, Best Batsman of MPL-2014, Best Bowler of MPL-2014 and the Man of the Series awards.Indeed this winner took it all.

 

It would be unfair if we do not give kudos to the MPL core team for organizing a splendid cricketing session for us spectators thereby transforming an otherwise dull Saturday into a fun-filled one. The entertainment made sure our day was well spent. Last but not the least, thank you Mindfire Solutions for keeping the cricketing spirit alive!

Working Mom

A working mother’s perspective

My best friend who works for a prestigious firm in the USA told me that maternity leave offered by most companies there varies between 6 weeks to 8 weeks at the most. When I told her about the “unlimited maternity leave” facility at Mindfire Solutions, her eyes actually popped out. And no I m not joking.
The first time when I heard about such an arrangement at Mindfire Solutions which allows new moms to take care of their baby for as long as they want to, well, honestly, I really could not digest it. But then one has to live it to vouch for it. And that’s what happened with me.

The Arrangement:

While the flexibility of working from home is offered by many companies to help employees to give as much importance to personal needs without compromising on the professional front, “unlimited maternity leave” goes an extra step further. New moms and moms-to-be at Mindfire Solutions get the liberty to stay with their baby for as long as they want to and then intimate their date of joining at their own discretion. Such an arrangement ensures that the mother and child enjoy being together for the initial (unlimited) time period. Even after joining the office the mothers in many cases have the flexibility of working from home.

My Experience:

During my pregnancy I had consciously moved from a client facing, business development role to candidate side marketing role. This ensured that if in the near future I had to take a long leave (Trust me it happens in most cases and everyone is not the yahoo chief. LOL.) it would have minimal impact on the business side. As I was nearing my due date I suffered from extremely swollen feet that prevented me from travelling to office every day. It was then that I started working from home so that work did not get hampered and finish off with all the pending projects before I went on that really long leave. (Thank God for the flexibility that Mindfire provides!)

In a few months time I became a mother to a boisterous infant. And then owing to a serious medical condition I had to avail the unlimited maternity leave over and above the regular maternity leave. Now when I look back, I am extremely grateful to Mindfire Solutions and really can’t thank it enough for granting my request. Also as an extremely employee friendly organization, it has never hesitated to let me work from home as and when the need arises. The flexibility that it offers to me helps me keep an equal focus on issues both at home and work.
One can understand it better if one looks at this arrangement from the working mother’s point of view. The amount of freedom and flexibility that Mindfire Solutions provides to the new mothers goes a long way in easing out her extremely hectic daily schedule.
And I find that as I try to juggle between my two roles, my new one as a mother and my older one as an employee, the organization and its people-centric policies have lent me a helping hand to handle these new roles without much hurdles. Frankly for all these humane gestures, I would not really mind walking that extra mile for Mindfire Solutions.

(P.S. The accompanying picture doesn’t apply to me.)