Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tracking the year....

I have long accepted that tracking & reviewing is a necessity in my professional life. This activity is not something new to you to understand as a reader. You set out to do something. You track. You bucket it into a few measures. You learn. And then you start over. After all, this is what experienced gurus have been telling us to do for ages - whether you are at work or at home. It is not always fun to review old numbers, but then you get my point that this is something you must do as a 'best practice'.

I am equally clear that as much we may think that such best practices are inculcated during our college years, the reality is that you can zoom from cradle to 40 years in just a second and still understand the concept. I mean - just look at the eco-system around you right now. Log into facebook & you will see a delightful button that serves a personalized 2012 Year in Review. Isn't that cool? Flick CNN-IBN & you will see the 'Person of the Year' program for the next 2 weeks. December is the only month in the year when Santa Claus is so busy running while the rest of the world is so busy reviewing. (I wonder whether this is why the New Year resolutions are so popular. Since you have spent the entire month thinking - the thinking goes - can you at least not decide on something by Jan 1?)

Tracking & reviewing what I have done may not be fun. But tracking & reviewing what others have is a lazy man's delight. And that is precisely where I found myself an hour ago. It is Time Magazine’s season for the Person of the Year. This is something I have loved guessing every year in the past but have lost track of in recent years. It was interesting to scan the profiles that have kept us engaged & entertained through 2012. Mr. 'Gangnam' Psy is at one end of the spectrum. Malala Yousufzai - the brave Pakistani girl who braved a Taliban bullet & wants to continue to speak up for women's rights - is at the other. In the middle are politicians, entertainers & sportspersons. All in all, a good list.

Obama won a tough re-election, but I doubt he would make it. Aung San Suu Kyi and Thein Sein from Burma have come out of 2 decades of turmoil, but I would rather wait to see a better life for Burma before elevating them. Sportspersons entertained us at the London Olympics, but somehow no one took my breath away.

Five entries caught my eye. Hillary Clinton has been an amazing American Secretary of State for the past four years & is capping off a remarkable innings (for now). Tough, Disciplined, and Tireless are words often used to describe her. She is also a policy wonk respected for her intellect and hard work.

The undocumented immigrants reached a tipping point in American politics. A number of them will soon come out of the shadows and will change the demographic mix of America. Hopefully the national dialogue also changes with words like 'amnesty' and ‘self deportation’ being replaced with measured fairness. 

Three entries share a common thread of scientific discovery. Felix Baumgartner jumped from the edge of space. The Mars Rover landed 160 million miles away. The Higgs Boson was simply the God Particle. Individually, they represent a significant breakthrough. But collectively they represented the human will to - yet again - expand the frontiers of science. Work in each of these three areas will continue to grow in the decades hence. And – like science always does – will only make the future generations better.

Here’s what I think. The Scientific Discoveries of 2012 must make it as the Time POY. With Hillary Clinton & the undocumented immigrants as the runners-up. Now let's see what the jury thinks on Dec 19....


Pasumamula said...

Awesome as usual!

Pasumamula said...

Great to read your blog! Will tune in on Dec 19th to see who the winner is.

Arun Kumar said...

Thanks Shailu. You always have kind words to say :-)