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Anand Iyer - Life in the Field, Racism in the Tech Industry, and More...

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Anand Iyer is an old friend of mine. We met on the MSDN Events team.

We did not, however work together all that much. The MSDN Events team is distributed, with different employees living in different states.

When I was still there, I was living in Portland and being managed by a guy who lives in Kentucky who reported to a guy who lives in Texas who reported to a guy who lived in Redmond.

Yeah. It was pretty crazy.

The job itself was nuts, too, and Anand and I spent most of this video just talking about life as MSDN Events Presenters - having to fly around, constantly wake up in different time zones, get used to adjusting your watch, presenting in cities that were so high up that there wasn't even any stinkin' oxygen, and so on.

This video, then, is a conversation between Anand and me. We talk about many things, but, mostly, we're just happy to see each other. It was the first time in months, and it's obvious. I missed him very much - he's a good guy and a fabulous presenter.

Finally, this video covers a lot of ground, but one thing we cover that is especially important is racism in the tech industry. Anand was born in Bombay, and he's taken a lot of flak for his heritage. I remember how this resulted in some reprehensible situations.

I wanted everybdy to know that the racism in the tech industry - and there is much more than anybody's willing to own up to - actually affects people. I thought that, if you all saw first hand that it hits people like Anand, then maybe you'd think a little deeper about what it is you're upset about.

That's all.

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  • Rob Jackson did the MSDN Talks in NY/NJ for two years and at the Windows Vista Launch Steve Ballmer called him on stage to do a demo.  The two of them acted as if they were old friends and we cheered Rob on as Steve smiled, then we all had a good laugh with pleanty of hugs and handshakes afterwords. 
  • keithcombskeithcombs Eat my plasma

    Racism sucks.  I know, I've lived in Texas all my life and have seen it over and over.  India certainly isn't the only country the racists have targeted.  Mexico got its share during NAFTA and after.  China has been the brunt of comments for decades, maybe centuries.  I always wonder if it will EVER end.

    Anyone that would make a comment to Anand in a racist manner, doesn't have a clue about him.  Which reminds me, he tagged me...

  • SecretSoftwareSecret​Software Code to live, but Live to code.
    The people who are racist against individuals because of the place they came from , or the religion they adhere to or the heritage they come from, should be dealt with firmly. This kind of low level racism needs to be cleaned from society.

    Racism is real, and the people who commit it think they are better than everyone else, just because they think their race is better than other people's races.

    Same thing with religion. People who defame other religions by attributing falsehoods to it. (like saying such and such religion is not peaceful or such and such God is .....) hurts people's feelings and it should not happen.

    Not in a country like the USA, which was the lightening beacon for Justice and freedom and equality among all races, religions and sexes, for all other countries.

    I want to thank you Rory for this video.

    Best Regards,

    SS
  • MassifMassif aim stupidly high, expect to fail often.
    If people are awkward when the camera points at them, how about mounting it in the head of one of those big C9 guys?

    Of course, that would leave Anand feeling awkward because he was talking to a giant plastic man, instead of just feeling awkward because he was talking to a camera.

    I've always been in awe of trainers, because I struggle to talk for 2 minutes in public. (But those two minutes are good! Really!) And these guys end up talking all day.
  • MassifMassif aim stupidly high, expect to fail often.
    Yeah, just finished the video, feeling mortally offended by Anand's V-sign. Big Smile

    Here's an interesting thing, you get what appears to be a lot of acceptance for low-level racism now from reasonable rational (and non-racist people). People transfer their genuinely frustrating experiences from offshored call-centres (it can be really hard when the connection is bad and the accent is think.) into a lack of disapproval of the "Indians stole my job" rationale.

    Apologies if that makes no sense, but I'm trying to say that instead of people getting slapped for such assertions, the people around them who may well have spent an agonising hour trying to explain to someone in Mumbai why the train they're suggesting is a nonsense, find themselves agreeing with them. As this trend (the call-centre thing) is unlikely to reverse immediately I think we're going to have low-level racism continue for a long long long time.

    Meh...

    I'm blathering now, so I shall stop. I think I had another thought too, but can't remember what it was.
  • foxbar wrote:
    Until Indian tech stops seeing the west as a cash cow to be exploited for bad service, there is no reason not to be weary.


    Well you've got things backwards.  It's western companies exporting jobs to India or other countries.  So they can reduce costs.  It's called capitalism.

    As for comments on foreigners "stealing" jobs, that's also nonsense, I mean come on you don't own that job, a capitalist "owns" that job, go talk to them.  I notice this issue has cropped up in the US a lot with people from Latin America, and in the UK press with people from the new European Union countries lately, so we're going through yet another wave of it.  But it is utter nonsense.

    Think of it this way, don't have kids because they're going to take your jobs.  Increasing the population (by any means) increases the size of the market it doesn't have any long-term effect on job availability.

    Cast your minds back to the 1930s, when all the press were slamming the Jews for stealing your jobs, the 1950s when it was the Indians, then the Africans, and now the Poles and Romanians.  Of course all its doing is shifting the blame from those responsible, the capitalists, onto a scapegoat.

    It's easy now to look back and see it as nonsense, but people always fail to make the same connection to what's going on now, same problem just blaming somebody else.

    Karl Marx wrote:
    the need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere

    If you don’t want a global market, go back to feudal society.

    Good interview Rory, looking forward to the next part.

  • keithcombs wrote:
    

    Racism sucks.  I know, I've lived in Texas all my life and have seen it over and over.  India certainly isn't the only country the racists have targeted.  Mexico got its share during NAFTA and after.  China has been the brunt of comments for decades, maybe centuries.  I always wonder if it will EVER end.

    Anyone that would make a comment to Anand in a racist manner, doesn't have a clue about him.  Which reminds me, he tagged me...



    Yeah, and you were supposed to respond to the blog-tag thing with a blog post, not with a comment... Embarassed

    ai
  • Massif wrote:
    If people are awkward when the camera points at them, how about mounting it in the head of one of those big C9 guys?

    Of course, that would leave Anand feeling awkward because he was talking to a giant plastic man, instead of just feeling awkward because he was talking to a camera.

    I've always been in awe of trainers, because I struggle to talk for 2 minutes in public. (But those two minutes are good! Really!) And these guys end up talking all day.


    It's always awkward when you're talking to yourself. For a few seconds there when Rory abruptly left me to moisten his lips, I thought I'd start singing to the camera, but wisely decided against it.

    ai
  • Foxbar,

    foxbar wrote:
    http://www.dellideastorm.com/article/show/61833/No_India_Call_Centers - India has built quite a bad reputation for itself as far as IT goes. This is not racism or the fault of consumers or tech managers. Until Indian tech stops seeing the west as a cash cow to be exploited for bad service, there is no reason not to be weary.


    See, this is what irks me a little... I wonder why we've started discussing call centers as a part of this discussion. I understand people's frustrations with call centers, trust me - I go through the exact same frustrating experience, every now and then. But THAT experience does not have to translate to racism here.

    ai
  • foxbar wrote:
    They're offering what seem to be similar service levels at lower costs to executives but are actually not. If you didn't know already execs are probably the dumbest people on earth, and can not see past numbers.


    Business is about making money.  The simplest way to maximize profit is by lowering wages.  Business isn't about helping little Johnny there with no shoes out by giving him some shoes.  It's about selling him some shoes and ripping off the employees who made the shoes as much as possible so the capitalist can pocket as much unpaid wages as possible.

    Management are well aware that using outsourcing support to foreign countries will result in negative customer experiences, largely due to language differences, and could result in some bad publicity, but its worth the cost because they're saving so much on wages.  They know about all this stuff, they're not "dumb" they know exactly what they're doing.  Maximizing profit.
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    daSmirnov wrote:
    Well you've got things backwards.  It's western companies exporting jobs to India or other countries.  So they can reduce costs.  It's called capitalism.


    This is what I was talking about, and also what gets me.

    It's not "Them" stealing the jobs.

    It's us sending them away.

    daSmirnov wrote:
    Cast your minds back to the 1930s, when all the press were slamming the Jews for stealing your jobs, the 1950s when it was the Indians, then the Africans, and now the Poles and Romanians.  Of course all its doing is shifting the blame from those responsible, the capitalists, onto a scapegoat.


    Reminds me of the first time I ever heard a recording of Ezra Pound's political ranting.

    At the time, I didn't understand (I was about seventeen), but his voice, and the anger behind it, both stuck around in my head until I finally learned about what it was he was angry about.

    Your short paragraph does a good job of summing it all up.

    But, you forgot one group: women. Whem women started working in the US, they were a threat to the men.

    Are people angry at women? Should we get rid of them?

    Something to think about...
  • ChadkChadk excuse me - do you has a flavor?
    I like this kind of interviews.
    Really interresting! Big Smile
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Chadk wrote:
    I like this kind of interviews.
    Really interresting!


    Thank you, Chad Smiley

    I'm looking for feedback on this stuff.

    I want 9 to be more than just pointing cameras at people inside and asking them about what great new products they're pushing out the door.

    I thought the whole reason the site started was to get the human story, but I feel that we've been losing it in the technology.

    Anand's an old, and good, friend of mine, and I've been angry for years about some of the things that were said to him.

    It's nice to have the chance to be able to discuss it at a place like 9.
  • ChadkChadk excuse me - do you has a flavor?
    Rory wrote:
    

    I'm looking for feedback on this stuff.

    I want 9 to be more than just pointing cameras at people inside and asking them about what great new products they're pushing out the door.


    I would for sure like to see more like this. Marketing can be a bit too much at times.

    We need to see who the persons are, that make the products. We dont just wanna hear them say "OMFG BUY THIS PRODUCT, COS ITS COOL". If so, we wanna hear why they did thing x, and what they considered, etc.

    Im not interrested in show-off of products, unless its really cutting-edge(WPF videos are always good Wink)
  • MassifMassif aim stupidly high, expect to fail often.
    Rory wrote:
    
    I'm looking for feedback on this stuff.

    I want 9 to be more than just pointing cameras at people inside and asking them about what great new products they're pushing out the door.

    I thought the whole reason the site started was to get the human story, but I feel that we've been losing it in the technology.


    I want the human story behind the technology, the interesting answers as to why certain behaviours have been adopted.

    I guess I want a video Old New Thing, as well as all the Going Deep, WM_IN and this kinda stuff as well. But the marketing-y "let's talk to someone about their new version of X" videos I could happily do without. (Unless X is about to dramatically change my life as a dev.)
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Chadk wrote:
    
    Rory wrote: 

    I'm looking for feedback on this stuff.

    I want 9 to be more than just pointing cameras at people inside and asking them about what great new products they're pushing out the door.


    I would for sure like to see more like this. Marketing can be a bit too much at times.

    We need to see who the persons are, that make the products. We dont just wanna hear them say "OMFG BUY THIS PRODUCT, COS ITS COOL". If so, we wanna hear why they did thing x, and what they considered, etc.

    Im not interrested in show-off of products, unless its really cutting-edge(WPF videos are always good )


    I feel exactly the same way, and it's nice to get some validation for that from a customer.

    When I first started, I didn't know what I was supposed to be doing. But, yesterday, and I swear it happened this way, I just woke up and "got" precisely what I should be doing.

    Hopefully, then, in the future, I'll do a better job of getting things closer to where they should be.

    I also have some other ideas planned for some fun stuff. There's something I want to shoot and edit by next week, but it might be too complex to finish in time.

    Still... I'm going to try.

    Again, thanks for your comments. This is such an open-ended job. The only way to find out what people think is to experiment - throw different kinds of videos out into the wild and see how people react Smiley
  • RoryRory Free Tibet While Supplies Last
    Massif wrote:
    
    Rory wrote: 
    I'm looking for feedback on this stuff.

    I want 9 to be more than just pointing cameras at people inside and asking them about what great new products they're pushing out the door.

    I thought the whole reason the site started was to get the human story, but I feel that we've been losing it in the technology.


    I want the human story behind the technology, the interesting answers as to why certain behaviours have been adopted.

    I guess I want a video Old New Thing, as well as all the Going Deep, WM_IN and this kinda stuff as well. But the marketing-y "let's talk to someone about their new version of X" videos I could happily do without. (Unless X is about to dramatically change my life as a dev.)


    What you're saying is dead-on with what I finally figured out (yeah - it took me a while - but at least I got here, yeah?).

    It was part of yesterday's (and I really hate to use this word) epiphany that I need to get away from what I consider to be abuse of Channel 9. Since I've arrived, I haven't known what to say Yes or No to, and I've played a major part in posting videos that were basically just long, cheap infommercials.

    I'd rather not continue to do that.

    So.

    Word.

    Things are going to improve. It might take a little while, but I have a much better understanding of what I should be doing here.

    Thanks for your feedback, yo.

    See you over at neopoleon Smiley
  • I was a senior member on the MSDN Events team when Anand was hired.

    I interviewed him and I recomended him to be hired.

    For the record - if Anand got his current job by beating YOU out, I'll tell you why.

    He was the most qualifed, technical, entheusiastic, articulate, well spoken, applicant we had. End of Story.

    BTW - Read the above and consider Kissing Rory an anomoly Smiley
  • Anand,

    As a fellow Indian at Microsoft, your experience resonated with me. I have presented to large developer audiences in my role as a PM and thankfully, haven't encountered racism directly. Being smart, articulate and the best candidate out there for the job should suffice but people's perceptions often mar their reality or should I say, their perception is their reality.

    You are absolutely right though - 99% of folks take you for who you are without judging you and that makes it worthwhile. I find that more at Microsoft than any other place and that environment makes me capable of producing my best.

    Rory, as a remedy to win over the remaining 1%, I would like to suggest a possible solution - continue to highlight the role models (a.k.a Anand) irrespective of the color of their skin (or we risk making the same mistake if we did consider the color of their skin albeit positively).  Hopefully, education is a good start...

    Cheers,
    Kavitha

  • paulbzpaulbz paul
    I kind of hired you guys.  Watching you on C9 two years later is kind of cool.

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