The Wall of Fame

Sangeetha started this system called the wall of fame in Poornam. The Wall of Fame is a be a bi-monthly feature on the company’s internal Website, inhouse.net that provides companywide recognition by profiling individuals and teams that have been nominated by employees for their accomplishments. On 18th August 2001, we met 3 bright engineers who made it to the Wall of Fame.

 

 The first person whoes interview we took for Poornam was a girl by name Sharmeely Rashid. All three of us me , Sangeetha and Kishore took the interview and I think we were more tensed than she was. We were also more desperate for an engineer than she was for a job.  I think we interviewed three kids that day and we rejected them all. A friend of theirs by name Anoop later sent in his resume. And we took him. He was an actor. He had acted as Mandan Kunju in a Malayalam serial. He is a very nice boy. He is also the first person I fired. I still feel guilty about it. It was after that I had decided that I’ll take as much time as required to take a person but I’ll never fire a person again unless the person has gone against the core ethics of Poornam. Anoop had done nothing wrong, except that he was not performing to our expectation.If Anoop were to join today, I am sure that he’ll be one of the better guys here. That is the bad luck of being the first person in the team I guess. Today, if I see somebody not performing, I push them to perform and do well but I will never ever fire a person again. At the same time I will never expect second quality work either. I guess all of us at Poornam think the same way. That is the prime reason we keep growing.

I was talking to Blessen today and went back to a time three years back when Poornam was a lot smaller (I guess we were a 12 member team then). For Onam we were just five of us in the office that day. Me , Sangeetha, Blessen , Abu and Smitha.  We took the entire group for a special Onam lunch at Sri Krishna Inn in our Rani…. :-)  We were not a 24×7 company then. Kishore used to take holidays on Saturdays and Sundays. He had a Red Esteem then. He used to go to Trichur regularly and I think he used to get up at 6:00 in the morning.

Blessen would be completing 3 years this 22nd August. Three years of dedication has shown it’s results and we also have lots of stories to share. And I even hear a lot of new ones about Blessen of late, which I am sure he does not want me to talk about… :-D (ask Chakky for more details).

I still remember the evening I was trying Blessen’s phone to call him for an interview. It was constantly engaged. The first day when we called this group of kids from CEC for an interview we were really sad seeing the kids. They were totally indecent and were making a lot of noise and spoilt our office walls. Technically they were not good either. Some interviews were real fun. I remember asking one chap what his strength was and he showed his biceps to me. And we asked one girl the same question and she just smiled. Needless to say, that the two did not make it.

There were just three guys in that group who were nice chaps. One was Blessen , other was Agni and then we had Chakky. Chakky had not come for an interview though. He had come just to talk to the girls. He was planning on an MBA and he said if I do not get a good college I’ll apply here. I liked his honesty.And we had to wait for a few more months to have him as part of the group. But he did come regularly to Poornam. He even got flowers for all the girls here. Chakky was our first wall of fame and here’s what the Wall of fame committee had to say about Chakky –

         Lijoe has had a metioric rise in Poornam. Ever since he joined Poornam, he has been a fabulous performer. His consistency, maturity and performance, made him win the Head of JPC team position only a few months after joining Poornam. He did this after defeating several more senior people in the race for the position. Being in JPC, made Lijoe a instant hero among the customers. The JPC forums still turn up hundreds of referances to Lijoe, a great testament  to his methodical treatment of the servers and the end users.
 
        As Bobcares grew, the Executive team was constituted. The Executive team is currently next only to Management and  takes part in all major decisions pertaining to all 11 main teams in Bobcares totalling around 60-70 members. Lijoe was chosen because of his sheer dedication to the company and his incredible result oriented performance during his tenure as Head of JPC team.
 
        Despite his very high position, Lijoe is one of the most approachable people in Poornam. So much so that junior engineers feel very comfortable speaking with him, sometimes more than their own immediate superiors. A commonly heard sentance is often “if Chakky was there we could tell our problems”.  As Executive Team Member, Lijoe is a role model to many engineers within the company.    


   

We almost selected Agni. I think he was the second person to be interviewed that day. We asked him quite a lot of technical questions in which he did well. We had in our minds taken him. But then he showed his Flash demo of a house with a bird flying. Seeing the artistic talent of his we rejected him. The flash was terrible. It was later we realized that Agni was actually good at art and he was just learning flash. So we jumped in an took him. It was a great decision. He has proved to be a wonderful asset and art is just an extra which he is great at. Also, if one  does see his flash work now, they won’t believe my story because he is very good now. I must say that of all the engineers we have in the Poornam team, Agni is the only one capable of giving a good looking product. He has this incredible talent with making a product user friendly. Others generally make the software and then Agni adds the finishing touches to it. People even ask him for help when they are taking presentations. He can make the presentation slides look good too.. Here’s what out Wall of Fame said –


 
 AgniSoonu is Development Team’s indespensable No. 1. He has sucessfully developed, designed and managed  at least 50% of Poornam’s development work. This no-hype individual has proved much more useful to Poornam than many hyped up developers who have come and gone. Maybe you can say Agni is one who will always have an everlasting impact on Poornam.
 
 Agni has won this fortnight’s Wall of Fame because of his unmatched Passion for Poornam. One had to virtually drag him away to hospital at a time of poor health. When there has been a requirement, Agni always had the ability to stay back, motivate Developers and sometimes even sit and finish the work himself.  During his bed rest time in hospital, he was known to be reading programming books. He never wastes a minute and always keeps himself updated.
 
 Agni has a great capacity to manage several tasks at one time. At one moment helping a developer, another analysing a project and again planning for a seminar. Any other person would be crushed under the pressure. Agni’s biggest asset is his understanding of the importance of deadlines, precise planning and management. He has a great capacity of grasping a project based on a brief description.
 
 Agni is also an artist. His projects have a great deal of inbuilt usability. Ikonware received good comments because of its usability. I am sure under anyone else probably that wouldn’t be the case.
 
 Agni is known universally for his extremely genial nature. He also posses an excellent and unselfish character; anyone would love to be his friend.
 

Blessen was one kid who was quite and did not make as much noise as the others. He had come with Subin and was standing quietly. At the interview, his first statement was “Myself, Blessen Cherian. I am from College of engineering Chengannur….” . I had almost rejected him. Then I asked him about his main project which he had done at the Nest Cyber Campus. It was an online exam system. He explained it beautifully and that was enough for us to invite him to be part of the Poornam Family. He had shown so much interest in his project that it was hard to imagine that it was same quite person. He had thought about all the possibilities and even infact thought of more than that was required from a college project.

One of his first assignment was a development work. Infact we had all code named him Windows 2000 because he was developing a software for windows and doors for a client in the UK. He was also a lot more talkative those days and used to play good cricket too. He was one of the fastest bowlers those days in Poornam. I am not sure if there is anybody who is faster or not in Pooranm these days. Somewhere down the line he decided to become a quite boy. Many of us know the reason why. Those who do not know, need to know. But I prefer him to be the same of kodu that he was… :-D

In these three years he has worked as a tech, developer, admin, trainer,  quality analyst and now  a core member. So that means he has been part of everything. This also makes him the ideal boss as nobody can fool him. He also is a gem of a person who interacts with all the kids very well. A few days back I was asking one of the kids on what they think about some of the seniors here. And when I asked about Blessen, he just said “What can I say about Blessen, He is everything here…. ”


 
     When I started this Wall of Fame initiative, I wanted attention to be focused on juniors, many of whom are very talented and perform really well. Especially since last fortnight’s winner was Lijoe, I was hoping this fortnight I would receive nominations for people from outside the Executive Team. But this week I couldn’t beat the flood of nominations which came in for Blessen and I was happy to cave in.
 
     Blessen is most well known for the systems he has implemented. The best known is his simple but powerful initiatives as Head of Hostdime team. Hostdime came to us as a relative newcomer with a single server. First as shared support and then Blessen heading the dedicated team for Hostdime. He minutely studied the system and corrected several defects in the support system. By setting up emergency channels, setting up action plans for best utilization of hardware resources and making servers stable they were able to optimize the company’s operations. Hostdime increased from 22 to 100 servers in merely 12 months. Internal training helped them to take care of 30% more servers with the same team size, a fact not unnoticed by the client.
    
     Blessen has been instrumental in starting so many more avenues for helping customers address various needs. Security and Installation was Blessen’s brainchild. He rightly identified that for a Hosting Company, doing helpdesk tickets are just one of their requirements. Migration, priority installations, security audits and server hardening were all introduced into Bobcares by Blessen, the main reason why Bobcares is so much more well known and respected than other support companies.
 
     Most people in Poornam will know Blessen for his attention to Training and spreading knowledge within Poornam. I doubt if there is anyone in Poornam who has not benefited from Blessen vast storehouse of knowledge. And he makes sure everyone attends classes and he makes sure everyone constantly learns. A search of our inhouse forums show that he has entered the most meaningful technical posts.
 
     Blessen is also the voice of the customer within Poornam. Customer Focus drives him to keep finding out satisfaction levels from customers and personally correcting any worries they may have. If you see customers swear by our professionalism, then you can be sure Blessen has a hand in it.

 

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