Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nassim Taleb on "Opacity: What We Do Not See"

I could not but not share this. More so perhaps coz this can lead you to Nassim Taleb's Notebook. You can read and reread and reread until it makes sense to you and until you come to marvel at what you've understood.

Monday, February 27, 2012

An idea for aspiring MBA-lured entrepreneurs

Having 'studied' entrepreneurship, one thing is clear to me. You needn't study entrepreneurship if you really have to become an entrepreneur.

Also having been a management student and now training management grads, I realize how much money and time goes into pursuing an MBA. 10-12 or may be 14-15 odd lacs in a couple of years. Daily expenses excluded.

Here's an idea:

Enterprise MBA, let me call it. Instead of putting in a million bucks for sitting through the classrooms and listening to all the gyan all the time, I propose to invest part of the fee in setting up an actual venture. Rest goes into classroom training which would be limited to a couple of hours in the day on an average. For the duration of the MBA, you are guided in running this venture and make it work. When you graduate, you have something of your own. Already!

Imagine if 4 such students pool in their fee into a venture!

I propose this also after I have spent all the money in studying and this and that, and after I've found it extremely hard (and still find it hard) based on these credentials that my education accorded me, to raise the seed capital. Why waste all of this precious resource called capital into simply sitting (and very often sleeping through) the classes!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Corporate Paradox

I've heard it from CEOs and Gurus across the spectrum: talent is the biggest resource.

On numerous occasions, every time I've seen such news stories, I've pondered over this issue of retrenchment. And every time, the frame given is 'cost-cutting'.

So employees are costs. When such costs are cut, the company makes profit. Right? For whom? Shareholders? Most shareholders do nothing to increase a company's profits. Yes, of course they invest in shares. Definitely they aren't the ones to try and innovate. Innovation can only from talent/employees.

Unfortunately, I suppose, since employees are only viewed as costs for narrow and specific purposes, after spending a certain time in the cubicled corporations they evolve into nothing better than costs.

Oiler Spoiler

For a very long time now, I've felt our administrators and policy-makers are the craziest and the most moronic people around.

In Mumbai, Britishers laid down the railway tracks which are still considered the lifeline of the city. When that is so, did it not dawn upon these guys to create more such lifelines instead of encouraging maniacal car buying, building bridges with no impact on congestion and pollution and suffocation, and then calling it growth?

This piece was somewhere in the middle pages of HT. It is more important than any other piece of information, especially in the context of economics. Oil prices rise and the world order changes. With the current policies, India might be no better. Especially when we are completely dependent on other countries for energy.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lions and Tigers enrol for Personality Development Programs

The title is a joke.

When I was much younger, on a couple of occasions, my parents advised me to attend some personality development program. I hated the suggestion back then, I hate it even now (when offered to someone else :)). Mind you, I said 'the suggestion'. What it does mean is that I am not quite averse to the idea of 'personality development'.

Here's a perspective.

One of the popular indicators (only an indicator, no guarantee okay!) of a 'well-developed personality' is felicity with language. So people who are good at talking, at using a range of words, at structuring arguments seem to have a good personality. And this indicator seems to have been used by a lot of institutions and coaching classes to sell their PD programs.

Having observed myself over the years, the one thing that has aided in improving my skills in language is the the actual 'searching for' and 'doing of' things. The more I've tried doing things in a particular domain, the more my need to search for the most effective means to accomplish those things. And of course, searching meant asking the right questions or conveying the right ideas, which in turn means trying to use the words which are most representative of the thoughts in my head and which could be understood in the same manner by the people trying to answer my questions or trying to help me. And learning from this process for the next thing to do.

I've seen quite a few people around me attend the PD programs. Very often, the 'positive change' disappears after a while.The reason is, in all probability, not going through the process of finding more words or a better vocabulary for doing something new/better. Doing it is.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

She just missed what you said

After one visualization of the vision, it's all the details.

Does your girl-friend just ignore what you say or do? So, how did you feel when she did that? You want her to pay attention to the smallest thing you share with her, no? Then, you feel 'loved'. And of course, if you've ignored the little things about her, am sure your 'love' isn't growing.

Between requirement and delivery lay the details. And every action or non-action details the delivery. Details come at an expense - lots of emotional energy. That's what you are paid for, even if peanuts to begin with. That's what makes you a name.

Immediate question in mind: how does one know whether the other person is willing to get into details?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Meeting my Dadaji and thoughts on death

My Dadaji is 90. A few days back doctors amputated his left leg, from slightly above the knee. His leg below the knee had no sensation. The arteries were blocked, doctors said.

I didn't quite feel like meeting once before - on the day of his operation.

He doesn't know yet about the amputation. The decision was taken by his sons. He has seen the heavy bandage but people around say he doesn't yet know (or perhaps believe) that his left leg isn't there.

When I met him and stood beside him for about 20 odd minutes, I could see him struggling to change his posture every few minutes. Bed-ridden for many days now, the body would've felt really stiff. I saw he's got great physical constitution. Has the strength to move rather vigorously.

I am not sure what's gonna happen from here. But prolonging life doesn't necessarily feel so comforting. Now I don't mean to say that there's nothing to life after 90. Fauja Singh ran marathons after turning 90. And a curiosity to see more can just give any person the strength to live at any age.

Here's a little thought. There must've been a time, a couple of centuries back when medicine didn't evolve as much, when people would pray for a 'good' death, if they saw a dear one in a fragile state. Now that medical facilities are available, people would be held as 'criminals' for thinking of death, leave aside praying. Medical facilities sort of mean 'any kind of life' at 'any cost'. Decision-making just gets difficult and ethical questions abound.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Motorola rebranded

There is no doubt that some brands literally take consumers for a ride. I think fighting brands with branded consumer activism might help. So here's the first expression. Check out on FB as well. Here's the page:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stop. Repeat. Stop. Repeat.

Hitting the right spot on the first occasion is always desirable. But most of the things that we do, the simplest tasks, are a function of repetition. Brushing teeth, cycling, breathing while running, pushing up and so on...

How do we get the position of an entrepreneurial brand just right exactly on the day of the launch? Before the launch, do many such launches.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Placement woes

Found this on the front page of AM yesterday. Doesn't come as a surprise. And won't be surprised if the stats in other states are similar.

The numbers are such that I suppose India has to produce jobs for 1 Australia every year. That is insane! Couple the enormity of the number with the quality of governance and structure of education system in this country, I wonder what are we staring at in the times to come.

Anyway, all's not bad. I've plan for some young grads willing to take initiative and be on their own. Will try to connect with some of them and find out.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

An exam of your own choosing

Last night, Dad said, "You must be feeling like you've passed an exam."

Just a thoughtful fraction of a second and I said, "Exactly!"

His commented in response to my update on my attempts at photographing earrings.

The thing is I didn't quite relish exams, even if I would score pretty well. Even now, some rare dream dips me in those days and fills that night with the dread of school-time exams. Guess the problem was they were imposed. Goals of organizations also felt like that on occasions. Anyway...

I work better choosing my own exams.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Afghani Nuskha, Sex, Nudity & Beer

Yes, these've garnered greatest eyeballs on my blog. I'm sure all who've landed on my blog searching for these were lured by the headlines and disappointed by the content ;). An experiment of sorts, it's got good result. Let me call this the short-term dynamics and the dominance of 'baser' instincts. Rest you can infer.

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Boss' routine

is important coz your happiness might depend on that.

If the boss has no routine, all the best. If you both don't have a routine, all the very best.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Why sales guys get more money?

Coz they endure more rejections. Perhaps everyday. Perhaps every hour. They come out of it. Somehow rekindle the enthusiasm and get ready for another storm. Guess it's emotionally draining. But they do it nonetheless.

Perhaps the trick they learn is to learn from the rejections and then reject the rejections and make things happen.

If there's no space between the beats

Beat wouldn't be called beat. In fact,there wouldn't be anything called 'a beat'. No heartbeat. No drumming. No thump (of a Royal Enfield bullet). No music. And then I wonder, if there would be any dancing.

You are expected to stay in constant touch. You are expected to keep a constant tab on your subject, on your juniors, on your area of expertise. Won't make music that way. Won't thrill you. Won't thrill others.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Balanced Schooling

Ana: Clado, that pile of books!
Clado: It's a tall one. Big thick books.
Ana: Can you balance with all those on your head?
Clado: My head!?!?
Ana: They are talking about balancing no!
Clado isn't amused! Ana goes on...
Ana: And balancing books on your head would be a lot of fun with basketball in your hands and footballs at your feet! Eyes glued to the microscope!
Clado: Stop it. You don't handle all together.
Ana: You are made to. One after another after another, sure. No kidding. That's balancing. Best of everything, indeed.

Government is a Limited Duration Monopoly


You buy vegetables from a particular vendor. You suspect he's started charging you higher. You check at another vendor's nearby. Your suspicion is proven right. You start buying from the new vendor. The old vendor sees you buying from the other vendor and he gets what he has done.

This is typically called competition. The great part about competition is 'fear'. Fear that if I don't do enough I might not be able to convince the buyer. I might not be able to sell my stuff. I might lose money. I might lose my business. As a result, I am always trying to do things which keep me in business. Which earns me others' trust.

Competition yields results. If not immediately, then in a little while.

After a political party is voted into power and allowed to form a government, what powers do people have? Whatever bad happens, people wait for 5 long years to vote them out. If a scam takes place today, do people have the power to shift to another government in the next few days/months? For 5 years the government enjoys monopolistic powers and very little can be done about it.

If governance is the most serious business for any country, then the market structure for governance is lopsidedly skewed towards monopoly. The democratic process is invoked for a few days every 5 years. Between those days, it's all monopoly.