Daily Archives: February 15, 2012

Please help me get this book started – I need a get well soon card!

If you are a regular at the Nasscom India Leadership Forum, held every February in Mumbai, then you must surely know Alex Blues. Alex is one of the most knowledgeable people in the world in the field of outsourcing, with a track record  that includes being a partner at PA Consulting, a Director at KPMG, a director at Orbys, and he was once the European head of Syntel.

Search Google for “Alex Blues Nasscom” and you will find thousands of references to his Nasscom comments in blogs and magazines and just look at the hundreds of videos he has made from the Nasscom event.

Alex is a true friend of Nasscom, and he is a friend of mine too. But this year Alex is not in Mumbai and neither am I. For me the reason is simple. A company was going to send me over there to blog about the event, then they changed their mind just a couple of weeks ago, leaving me no time to make alternative plans.

For Alex, it’s not so simple. He is in hospital in the UK recovering from a car crash that took place many months ago in Kenya. He was on holiday with his wife and, to cut a long story short, she was beaten up by the collision and suffered many broken bones, but is now well on the road to recovery.

Alex needed an air ambulance to get back to the UK and is still very poorly. He is partially paralysed and cannot speak, so although his mind is still fine he is trapped in a world where he can’t speak and can’t move in a coordinated enough way to type or write.

But the doctors are working on the best hand he still has, and his speech, and once one or the other is working again, me and Alex are going to write a book together about how the role of influencers has entirely changed within the outsourcing and global services market. It’s an exciting topic that will take in the analysts, the consultants and advisors, and even the hi-tech bloggers and social media experts.

How people make buying decisions has changed enormously since the old days of buying an analyst report for thousands of dollars and trusting those opinions with a budget of millions.

So I need your help if me and Alex are going to get this project together. He still has all this untapped knowledge about the market and I know that you would find it useful as well, so can you do me a favour please?

Email him on alex@carteblanchebs.co.uk and tell him how much you would like to hear that he is well enough to start working on the book.

Or, what would be even better is if you could take a moment to mail a real get-well card. He won’t be leaving hospital anytime soon so if you can make the effort to buy a real card and send it – like we used to before email – then I know he would appreciate that too.

His wife, Caroline, has promised to read him all your messages. Get them focused on how much he needs to start communicating again so he can get to work on this book and I’m sure his recovery can start sooner.

Alex Blues, A5 Addenbrooke’s Hospital

Hills Road

Cambridge CB2 0QQ

United Kingdom

Will you help me – and Alex –  please? Thanks… and I hope to see the Nasscom crowd again in 2013, I miss the food in Mumbai and the random debates about music in Glasgow. You just don’t know how bad Indian food is in Brazil 🙂

One final note. Back in the days before social media had really taken off in the corporate world – like way back in 2008 – I uploaded this video of Alex at the Nasscom conference in Mumbai. I ended up in trouble for it because every time a potential client of PA Consulting was told they might be working with Alex, they would Google his name. One of the first results was always Alex enjoying a glass of wine in Mumbai with the team from Steria. Not quite the image a professional firm wants to see, but it certainly helped PA to understand the power of the Internet…

Which would you prefer… pancake day or carnaval?

In the Gospels, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert and being tempted by Satan before he commenced on the teaching part of his life – the Ministry. Today in Christian societies this is marked by the celebration of Lent.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is Wednesday next week. Many believers will give up something for the entire period – not quite fasting, but at least refraining from something pleasurable, like alcohol or meat, for the entire period.

In the UK, the advent of Lent is marked by Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day. This is traditionally when extra flour, eggs, and other food from the cupboard would all be cooked up on the final day before Lent – ensuring a feast of pancakes on the last day when such gluttony is allowed.

pancakes front and center

In Brazil it is all quite different. Brazil is far more religious than the UK – truck drivers paint thank you messages to God on their vehicles, asking for a safe journey. It is predominantly Catholic, but with a fast-rising group of evangelical churches too – almost all of them Christian though.

In Brazil there is no pancake day. There is carnaval!

Last year in Rio, almost 5m people joined in the party and it stops the entire nation for almost a week – here in São Paulo, I know that sleeping will be tough for the next week as the music goes on almost all night. This Friday, next Monday and Tuesday, and half of Wednesday are all public holidays in Brazil for the carnaval. So it is almost certain that everything will start winding down early tomorrow and nobody will return to work on Wednesday afternoon – even if that is the official end of the party… many will take annual leave on Thursday and Friday next week allowing almost a week and half off work for just a couple of days leave.

Those who take the carnaval seriously and compete for the various best dancer, best float, or best band prizes will spend the entire year preparing and leading up to this moment – it’s bigger than even Christmas and that’s saying a lot in such a Christian country.

So I guess carnaval more than trumps pancake day, but I still might get the pancake mix out on Tuesday, just to encourage a mix of both cultures. I live in a house with Morrissey pictures on the wall!

Vila_Isabel, samba & platform sandals

Pancake photo by Yesica licensed under Creative Commons. Carnaval photo by Carnaval.com licensed under Creative Commons.