Of Awards

There was a time when we believed that a service / organization / person got awards by ‘reliable’ media houses or associated firms or from governments – they are a proof of some credibility of that service / organization / person. i.e. we could expect some quality from them.

Sadly it was never the case – even less now. And this is not just limited to showbiz – the issue of awards for benefits has spread across the spectrum. Mostly it happens for ‘benefits’ but sometimes it is because of gross ignorance or both.

Even Nobel is not free of these misjudgments. Three cases that come to mind immediately are the winning of Nobel Peace Prize by Barak Obama, Arafat and Aung San Suu Kyi. You will find a long list where the Nobel Prize winner was controversial.

 (here is one for you: https://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/13/here-are-the-most-controversial-noble-prize-winners-ever.html ).

The Nobel Prizes does not affect us directly (normally) – but what about the fake awards awarded to a service or an organization? What if you are planning to avail the service or join that organization? This is where things get tricky and one has to be extremely careful. It is not same is reading a good review / seeing good rating of a movie on IMDB and end up watching a bad movie. This will affect you much more. What if you left a steady organization to join an organization in shambles? Or bought a service spending thousands of Rupees only to find out that all the awards were dubious? In both the cases – the chances of getting an opportunity to go back is almost nil.

So, how do we understand the real nature of service / organization’s health? It is actually quite easy but you need to devote some time to it.

For a service you can go to consumer forums and see their reviews – you might find two cases which should flash a red light (in my opinion):

  1. There is hardly any problem reported by anyone. But when some problem comes it takes long time to solve.
  2. There are frequent problems but are solved promptly.

Both are not good for you from a customer’s point of view. You don’t want the service to fail every time you try it – even if it is solved after a phone call/ complaint. Nor do you want to wait for ages for your concern to be addressed.

Also, always try multiple sites for these reviews. If the reviews are fake, you will be able to understand them quite easily as they are normally very generic in nature, sometimes even a simple copy paste under different names / at different sites. This goes for both positive / negative services. If you see too many 5 star reviews, that should also be something to be wary about. If the service has online presence – check Google Play Store / Apple App Store for their application’s average review. The time you should allocate for this research should be proportional to the cost of the service.

For deciding your next employer – things get a bit tricky.
Start with glassdoor (read employee reviews), great places to work, indeed or similar sites. However always take employee reviews with a pinch of salt as a) he could be disgruntled employee or b) he could be benefiting through his personal ‘adjustment’ with his immediate boss. Look for constructive reviews.
Another place to look for is LinkedIn, although people mostly avoid saying anything ‘bad’ about their current or ex employers there. There is a bit of surprise here – but Twitter / Quora is also a good place to find about your prospective employer. Avoid trusting the reviews of mid / senior level employees, whey will almost always be ‘made up’.

Lastly search on the internet about how the company is doing for past few years. However – be aware that sometimes organizations which are doing bad change the name of the organization every few years to avoid red flags from prospective employers. For a listed company – checking how they are doing is quite easy. For non-listed company it will be a bit difficult. They best approach will be find out some ex-employee / existing employee and see if you can get a honest feedback from them. Or try approaching the industry’s peers for a feedback.

I am writing this blog based on a personal observation, I have seen a product which has failed due to sheer mismanagement, yet the product as well as its CEO/ MD gets awards every alternate month from ‘reputed’ media houses.
So, thought I should warn you – take these awards with a pinch of salt.

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