I expected a lot of accolades after writing about Arul Subramaniam. After all, people have very warm feelings for him. And truth be told, I have not worked on any other post harder.
Just before publishing the article about Arul, I sent the content to Anusha, my daughter. She said it was far too long and it sounded “mushy-gushy.”
I sat down and chopped off parts – more than 250 words – that did not add any significant value to the post.
Then I pressed the “publish” button. I remember not being in the grip of the usual feeling of elation after publishing the article. The comments section remained blank for some reason. That to me was a feedback. That I did not measure up to my normal standards.
When I returned home from office I asked Anusha what she meant by mushy-gushy. She said I am giving neither myself nor the person I write about any credibility by being so effusive in my praise. No one would believe me, that is what she said.
Yes, it is true I tend to go overboard with my praise of people. I am not sure whether my approach should be any different. After all, the brief I have given myself at servicesinchennai.com is to write about excellence in different services.
On the other hand, Anusha is right that credibility demands my portraying people and their services with their frailties, warts and all. If people are influenced by what I write here to make buying decisions, then I owe it to them to delve deeper and lay bare even negative factors. After all, even the best of services have room for improvement.
Despite the need for balance, I always bear in mind that I am writing about heroes who create something beautiful. Some unabashed praise is surely in order.
Another very insightful observation I got is, my piece about Arul comes across as good journalistic reporting, but fails to bring home what makes Arul tick.
The article had a lot of information about the influences that shaped Arul, but very little about what he has done with the gifts he has received in life. After all, Arul is what he is today because every day he makes choices to create and build. I find the right connections with excellence when I find and name that spark in an entrepreneur.
Ramesh Prasad’s suggestion was when I write more concerning a person than the service he represents, it may be a good idea to label the piece under a new section called ‘Personalities’ rather than under ‘Services’. He rightly pointed out I should write about the services dispassionately, weighing various factors, without getting swayed by my individual biases. Ramesh has a sharp mind.
The excellence and values reflected in services are but a reflection of what heroic entrepreneurs have within them. I believe they succeed or fail as entrepreneurs to the extent they are able to leave the imprint of their excellence and values on their organisations. Despite this, Ramesh Prasad’s views are valid and will bear them in mind when I meet people and write about them.
I am surely creating another section – Personalities – to celebrate people who are not entrepreneurs.
When I released the piece about Arul to the world, I was operating under the pressure of a deadline to publish it on a Friday along with our weekly bulletin – Chennai This Week (CTW). That made me rush through things with an eighty percent baked product.
I have found that after writing a post, allowing a day or two for things to settle down does wonders. New ideas and perspectives emerge. It is when the dust has settled that I am able to see patterns. Words pruned and rearranged make for greater harmony and flow. Then a new rhythm emerges. It is only then that I press the “Publish” button – not any time earlier.
Anusha also told me that the attention span of people is limited and I should not tax them, going on and on. Perhaps that is why I got an email with this beautiful quote by William James recently – The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
Writing about others is a huge responsibility. I cannot afford to let big achievers down. Neither can I let myself down.
I capture excellence in this space when I pick up the excellence I see in my heroes. It is as much my inner journey as it is in the lives and businesses of the people I write about.