- Building the user experience first. The user experience is the product.
- Less is more (eg: less mass and less features = more focus, less code, less cost and less time to production).
- Iterate, iterate, iterate!
- The devil is in the detail.
- Design precedes development - always.
- Design, and products, are never finished - Kaizen (a Japanese concept of continuous improvement) drives freshness and innovation.
What excites you most about your work?
First, there's no set formula to getting the web "right", so figuring out how to crack it is incredibly exciting. Second, I work with a great set of web professionals which is both awesome and a privilege. Third, knowing that we have the opportunity to make a profound impact on the web for millions of our users, our many businesses and the region at large, is a trip by itself.
What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Hiring. Finding and recruiting high quality web talent isn't easy; we're constantly on the lookout for fresh talent and eager, brilliant minds.
The Landmark Group Toastmasters - "LMG TMs", for short - meet regularly to share prepared and impromptu talks on assigned topics; encourage, exchange and help develop each other's presentations; improve grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation; and generally loosen our ties (and tighten our public speaking skills) in an environment of shared camaraderie where everyone is welcome. There is no instructor; instead, we take turns in facilitating meetings and documenting minutes, which allows us to be on equal footing and experience various roles. Group members include colleagues, co-workers and employees across brands, territories and job functions, so being a part of Toastmasters is also a great way to get to know each other on a more personal level.
I never thought I could enjoy learning about a topic as seemingly dry as Supply Chains before a humorous speech on the subject (which managed to incorporate witty anecdotes and Hollywood movie references), or be deeply inspired in under 5 minutes by a talk on how key decisions have the power to affect us all. As my own speaking skills have improved, I've seen close bonds developing with fellow Toastmasters and I find myself looking forward to the next meeting. Getting over cold feet and stage fright has never been so much fun.
My love of photography began when I was barely five years old. We were in Matheran, a hill station near Mumbai, and my father was carrying a black metal camera in a brown leather case slung around his neck. I kept jumping up to try and touch it.
The first time I actually took charge of a camera, though, was when I was eleven, on another family trip. It was a basic "Keystone USA" model - nothing fancy, just a cuboidal body with no detachable lens - but from the first shot, I was hooked.
Photography is an intensely therapeutic experience for me. It adds to my enjoyment of travel - now I rarely see the world with bare eyes. Cameras top my list of cool gadgets (large, hooded zoom lenses remind me of The Guns of Navarone), and the clicking sound these DSLR cameras make is music to my ears.
Dubai's a pretty dusty place, which is problematic for shooting distant objects and landscapes. Also, sodium lights and dim lights make it more difficult to capture natural colours and flesh tones. I avoid using a flash, especially because it gives faces a ghostly, unnatural pallor. But as with all challenges, there are always solutions and workarounds that I keep learning along the way.
I use a Nikon D90. It's a tried and trusted model, and carries most features that later (and considerably more expensive) models like the Nikon D300, D700 and D3X have. In the eternal Nikon vs Canon debate, I finally chose Nikon because most reviews indicated better low-light performance and better sensor quality.
My shooting process is quite straightforward: evaluate the lighting, compose the frame, tune the settings and shoot. I review the picture for its frame and colour contrast, then readjust the settings if necessary.
Once I'm done, I don't retouch. I prefer capturing the moment with my
own skills, which I'm working on improving before I consider getting
into retouching and editing.
My dream is to have National Geographic magazine publish an original Jatin Mehta photograph! Favourite subjects include landscapes and cityscapes, and I've recently been experimenting with portraiture. Our six-month-old daughter gives me plenty of opportunities to practice portrait photography while spending time with my family - and who knows, maybe she'll be as fascinated by her dad's camera as I was by mine.
Do you have a hobby that's become a passion? Share it with us here!
My father shared those words of wisdom with me when I was young. It's easy to understand why most young workers don't think much about retirement, though - 20-somethings are usually more concerned with kick-starting their careers, not ending them in the distant future.
If you're smart, you'll grab the opportunity to start saving early for retirement, when the beauty of compound interest can work its magic and maximize your savings. Consider this scenario: If you start saving for retirement at 25, putting away AED 6,000 a year (that's AED 500 a month) for 35 years, you'll end up with about AED 1 million when you retire (assuming earnings grow at 7.5% annually). If you wait until you're 35, you've got just 25 years until retirement to put that same AED 6,000 a year to work for you - so at the same annual growth rate, you get around AED 450,000 when you retire - less than half the money!
"Forget investment - I'm barely out of credit card debt!"
Before you start investing, get yourself out of the red. Credit cards can be a great financial tool if managed properly, but you pay more interest on credit cards than you'll ever earn on investments. All credit card companies earn profits, pay staff salaries and bonuses and offer attractive cash-back incentives to customers from the money they make on late payment fees and interest - so make it a point to pay your credit card's complete outstanding amount by the due date.
Wider is better
Investment types perform differently under dynamic market conditions, so it's important that you have a wide variety. Known as diversification, owning different types of investments help reduce your risk, and potentially increase returns within your portfolio.
Your investment mix could include investments from each level of this pyramid. The amount at each level depends on your personal situation and level of risk tolerance. Remember this golden rule: always start from the base of the pyramid and move up.
Although you might have limited investible surplus early on in your career, age is on your side. Be regular and systematic in your investment pattern, and you're sure to retire wealthy. My father's advice hasn't failed me yet!
Have any good investment tips that family or friends shared with you? Feel free to pass them along here!