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Showing posts from 2007

Height of e-governance

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Last week I went to sub-registrar office in Chennai. I got a big shock when I saw the notice board. The e-mail ID of the sub-registrar was mentioned as: igregn.tn.nic.in (See the picture below)



This exactly shows how clueless our government systems are when it comes to deploying technology. Long live India’s e-governance!

BOOK REVIEW: Games Indians play

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In 2002, I visited USA for the first time. During transit I spent some time in Singapore and Hong-Kong. I was totally shocked to see the great infrastructure, well defined rules, robust systems and responsible individuals. After I got back to India, I was frustrated and disgusted to see the Indian system. We Indians just don’t follow any rules; Even if we follow, it is short lived. Take example of Indian roads: We can’t lay good roads; Even if we lay, we will not maintain it; within months, the newly built road will have numerous potholes; Added to that we spit, throw garbage, urinate on it and make sure it is spoilt to the maximum. This phenomenon is very unique in the subcontinent. Take the well developed western world, Middle Eastern and south East Asian countries – they all well built and properly maintained.After some more experiences, I learned that it all finally boils down to an individual’s behavior. Even though Indians are as smart as anyone else in the world, what makes us …

IT.India part – II: Workplace diversity

Before reading this post, please check out this link for my opinions about diversity.

Here is the latest buzzword among Indian MNCs -- ‘Workplace diversity’.The amount of non-sense going behind this topic is pretty interesting. It also shows how, we Indians bow our heads and accept things without asking any questions. Whatever told by the parent organization in US/UK is taken as a ‘mantra’ and we end up implementing it without knowing head or tail of it. Especially the senior management of India based MNCs has no clue of the rationale behind many of such initiatives. The latest ‘workplace diversity’ campaign is a classic example.According to ‘Wikipedia’ the diversity in workplace or business is defined as:The "business case for diversity", theorizes that in a globalmarketplace, a company that employs a diverse workforce (both men and women, people of many generations, people from ethnically and racially diverse backgrounds etc.) is better able to understand the demographics o…

Billion beats

Recently, Dr.APJ Abdul Kalam has launched fortnightly e-newspaper 'Billion beats'. This is a welcome initiative as the internet medium is reaching every corner of India. Got a chance to read the first edition yesterday and it is very good.

Check out this link for the latest edition.

India - A 'garbage' land ?

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Recently came across couple of interesting experiences, which prompted me to write this post.Scene 1: BangaloreAirportI was waiting in a long queue for checking in and came across Cafe coffee day joint. This is supposedly an exclusive one inside the airport, where the coffee is priced higher than their outside joints. There was a dust-bin kept outside the shop and I was totally shocked to see the state (see the picture below).
This is the behavior of'so-called' -- educated, elite, urban, upper-middle class people who are engineers, doctors, businessmen by profession. They can afford to pay 50 INR for a cup of coffee but can't think of disposing the used cup properly; They are representatives of new India and popularly known as 'Global Indians'; They visit multiple countries but just don't have basic civic sense when it comes to their own country; They make the westerners believe that the world is flat but still throw used coffee cups in a reckless, irresponsible…

BOOK REVIEW : Only the paranoid survive

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Author: Andrew S grovePrice: 600 INR
Andrew is one of the famous CEOs, who lead Intel into the path of microprocessors. In this book he shares his experiences, which can be applied to individuals’ career as well as organizations. Andy introduces a term called 'Strategic Inflection Points' (SIP), which has got equal probability to make or break any business. The businesses who adapt these SIPs (paranoids) will go successful, failing which will make them to shut the shop. He explains about how the businesses are affected by many factors which he calls as '10X' forces which primarily drive the organization beyond the SIP. These 10X force could be in the form of new technology, innovation, economic reforms, business model etc.Throughout the book, Andy explains his SIP and 10X concepts with the PC business as an example. In 1970s the PC business was a 'vertical' one which was heavily dominated by companies like Digital Electronic Corporation (DEC). By 'vertical&#…

IT.India Part I : Offshore R & D

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For the past month or so the Indian rupee is getting stronger against the American dollar, which has come down to 39 INR compared to 45 INR. This is already bleeding Indian services companies and their Q3 numbers speaks for that. When the rupee was getting weaker these service companies used to make 4-5% of their margins just by keeping their money in dollars and converting them back during the results announcement. Nowadays Indian service companies are mulling multiple options to resolve this problem -- six day working week, reduced hike for employees, productivity improvement, moving to lower cost geographies (like China and eastern europe) etc. With STPI tax sops are getting withdrawn by 2009, Indian IT companies are having challenging times ahead.

Let me take the example of product R & D happening in Indian companies as an example. Of course value creation can be done at multiple levels apart from R & D as well. Majority of MNCs which are having their engineering centers in…

BOOK REVIEW : Wise and Otherwise

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Author: Sudha Narayanamurthy

This book contains collection of short stories, which the author wrote in many newspapers and magazines. The author has traveled extensively to the rural parts of India where she met different type of people in India. She explains how people in rural India are having very high value system and leading a self-contained life. This book contains almost 50 small stories. Written in very simple English, this book explains the author’s experiences. Reading this book also gave me the background information of Infosys able to contribute to the society. Basically the author experienced everything, which made Infosys as a good corporate citizen. However at some places, the author mixed too much of sentimental stuff which I didn't like it. Also at some places it became boring as it had similar kind of stories. I would strongly suggest to read this book if anyone is interested in doing charity in India.

BOOK REVIEW : Straight from the Gut

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Author : Jack Welch
Price: 750 INR

This is autobiography of Jack Welch one of the very well known CEOs of the world. Initially the author talks about how he became the CEO of General Electric (GE) and talks some thing about his personal things as well. Things like 'Fix,sell or close' policy, which he applied to each and every divisions of GE, 'Churning bottom 15% people' has became alltime favorite of the business world. One simple lesson, which at least I learned from this book, is neither the organization nor the technology, will give lifetime employment for anybody in any hi-tech industry. Only working in a focused way for the customer will give that.

I got impressed with this book so much that I gave the same name to my blog :)

BOOK REVIEW : Count your chickens before they hatch

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Author: Arindham Chaudhuri
Price: 200 INR

This is one of the best selling books in India. This book consists of two major sections. The first section is more of a ‘Self development’ stuff where the author talks about the ASK paradigm (Attitude, Skill and Knowledge) in order to raise any individual. The second sections talks about the theory ‘I’ management. The ‘I’ stand for ‘India Centric’ management. Particularly I liked the second section where the author mentions that the management policies in any country should be based on the social architecture. He compared the western and Japanese management and gives a proposal for India,which is quotes lots of examples from Mahabharata.

Tech/Biz Magazines

Here is some of my favorite magazines!

These mags are targeted to a specific audience, providing vital information. I started liking these type of stuff as they are catering to my interests. They also give altogether a 'positive' outlook of India.

1. Dare (http://www.dare.co.in): This is published by cyber- media completely focused on Entrepreneurship. They started the print edition from Oct '07 and the website is yet to be populated. Got a chance to read their Nov '07 and found it very interesting. It covered various aspects of Entrepreneurship -- new business ideas, VC/private funding, value creation and guest columns by successful Entrepreneurs. I also learned that their advisory committee consists of stalwarts like C.K.Prahlad, N.R.Narayana Murthy, Kanwal Reiki etc. Welcome effort from cybermedia!

2. Smart techie (http://www.thesmarttechie.com): This is a technical career magazine launched from Bangalore, which is a sister concern of Silicon India. I found this maga…

BOOK REVIEW: Think and grow rich

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Author: Napolean Hill

Price: 150 INR

Its been long time since I stopped reading motivational or self-help books. I used to read them during my school days to 'pep-up' myself during examinations.Recently one of my mentors requested me to read this book 'Think and grow rich' by Napoleon Hill and found it different from typical motivational books. The Author Napoleon came up with this book based on his 25 years of experience in studying success philosophy, inspired by Dale Carnegie.

This book consists of thirteen principles for becoming 'rich'. The author describes 'rich' not only in terms of accumulating material wealth but also in-tangible wealth -- in terms of success, accomplishment, love, peace, courage, purpose, happiness and contribution. To be very honest, I found the initial chapters as boring and it was covering typical motivational topics -- imagination, auto-suggestion, having a purpose in life, daily to-do list etc.

The later chapters got much mor…

Yoga part II : Personal experiences

Its been two years I have been practicing Yoga. Typically I spend about 45 minutes which includes about 20 asanas followed by some pranayama breathing techniques. In this post I am sharing some of my personal experiences.

Its completely 'Experiential'

The first point I learned about Yoga is -- its completely experiential. No matter how many books, articles, blogs anyone read, it just can't even come closer to the real experience one gets while performing Yoga. Its hard for anyone to believe this as we are more used the traditional way of learning (reading/writing/sharing). For example, if somebody some information about a book, I will at least get 20% of what he is trying to say. The 20% can be "quantified" because the knowledge a book provides itself finite. In case of yoga, the paradigm is totally different as the performer is connecting to infinite knowledge within himself. I know I am sounding abstract and confused -- thats what I call it 'experiential'…

Randy Pausch's last lecture

Want to get inspired? Watch the video of CMU professor Randy Pausch's last lecture below.



'Chak De India' and 'Corporate India'

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Here is couple of interesting links:

"Winning is everything"

"Chak De India enters management books"

Another movie has come to the lime-light of the corporate world - 'Chak De India'

In the movie, the hero (kabir khan) takes-up the herculian task of coaching women's hockey team and finally the team wins the women's world cup. Starting from building a team with complementory skills, the hero demonstrates elements like patriotism,leadership and personal experiences to make the movie interesting.In 2001 'Lagaan' created lot of exicement by taking up a similar story. These type of movies get huge popularity ranging from companies to b-schools. Even though these type of movies are really vital to have a 'positive' thinking going among Indians, they take us very far from the reality. Added to that the movie directors smartly add the required 'sentimental' elements to tap the average Indian fan and make the movie as a box-office hit.

"D.O" -- Two simple letters

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I really liked the caption of TOI's 'Lead-India'initiative: "D.O --Two simple letters"

Keeping my opinions apart, this is one of the very few initiatives which really emphasizes about 'doing' something rather than 'talking' about it. In my point of view doing is the only solution for all the problems India is facing today -- be it poverty, illetracy, pollution, politics or traffic problems. As 'Argumentative Indians' we tend to 'talk-talk-and-talk' about every other issue on the planet and do nothing about it. Every Indian is aware of all the problems surrounded by him. When it comes to taking concrete actions to attack the problem, we fail miscerably.

If I look back the post-independent history of India, there is very little that is 'done' compared with the amount of planning or talking.I can satisty myself by saying 'mera bharath mahan' and point out our achievements in certain areas. Is there an example in India wh…

Abundance mentality and Entrepreneurship

Its time for a blog post on Entrepreneurship!I was brought up in the north-west part of Tamilnadu, which happens to be the ‘textile-hub’ of south India. Most of the businesses are Small-And-Medium scale and are into producing textile products like cotton sarees, lungis, hankies and shirts. Also, there are numerous businesses in various aspects of the textile value chain -- dyeing, calendaring, bleaching, tailoring and printing. There are 24189 registered SSI units as on 31.12.2000 in the district besides 59 Large Scale Units. I have vivid memories of this business hub – dusty, vibrant and narrow streets, bullock carts carrying textile materials, chai and bhajji shops serving snacks, businessmen from the north and western part of India, daily wagers leaving their kids to nearby schools etc.Most of these businesses are run by people who hardly have a university degree. Right from my school days I have always been spellbound by the entrepreneurial passion and hardworking nature of these …

Why do I write blogs?

There are ample reasons for anyone to flock into the blogsphere. Recently I came across some blogs with gobs and gobs of ‘negative’ contents focusing on 'controversial' topics. They quickly become popular as they get high hit-rate and copious comments. These blogs mainly express strong 'opinions' against some of the burning issues in the areas of religion, sex, creed, caste, racism, nationality, politics etc. Naturally they catch attention of readers -- as it has got to do with an individual’s emotions. Readers quickly tend to take stands and tempted to express their counter arguments.According to me there are enough avenues to discuss about controversial topics as they are very well known. Especially in countries like India -- the media is given complete freedom to conduct debates, opinion polls, panel discussions to discuss flaming issues. Also at an individual level, most of these issues are 'no-control' problems and finding a solution is close to impossible…

BOOK REVIEW: The Argumentative Indian (Part – I)

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Author: Amartya Sen Price: 690 INR This classic book has been in my reading list for quiet some time now. I have finally started reading it, in a phased mode. Unlike my other book reviews, I am planning to write a series of reviews for this book. This is mainly because of the sheer density of the material that author Sen has presented in this book. At the outset this book illustrates a vivid perspective of the Indian mind. To start with, Sen explains the ‘argumentative’ nature of India, for which it is very vital to understand contemporary India. The very nature of Indians is to get into arguments or lengthy dialogues whenever they get an opportunity. Ranging from weekly status meetings to the cauvery tribunal, I can quote numerous examples for this nature. This is due to ‘dialogue’ based approach existing in our culture for a very long time. For example, Arjuna, in Mahabharatha, gets profound doubts in the battlefield. In order to get clarifications he takes up the dialogue based appro…

New Blog on Tech trends, Impacts and Innovation

Looking at my blogs in a critical mood a few days back, I was both happy and a little guilty. Happy for the fact that my blogs cover a variety of topics, but guilty for the fact that they do not provide much of my views on my love for technology. Wanting to keep pace with the happenings at the technology arena, I have started co-authoring an exclusive technical blog- 'tech trends, impacts and innovation', with some like minded people. It has proved to be an immense pleasure for me and has provided me with a sense of fulfillment to be a part of this blog space. It would be wonderful to hear your views about the blogs.

Long way to go

No doubt! The 1991 economic reforms brought magnanimous changes to Indian economy. Indian companies are going ‘global’ by acquiring foreign firms, getting into joint ventures, reporting consistent profits and become much more professional. What about public sector organizations?By virtue they have long legacy by creating a good brand image among average middle class Indians. On the other side they are facing stiff competitions from their private counterparts and ‘somehow’ learning to think about customer satisfaction. Recently I came across a couple of interesting observations.The first one was with getting landline and internet connectivity,when I moved to a new house. I chose BSNL without doing much research and initially got a good impression by looking into their website – well designed contents; downloadable application forms, electronic billing and payment facility, rate plan details etc. Added to that, I got the landline in a week’s time without any issues. But the real face of…

Tribute to a great man - A P J Abdul Kalam

Tale of two Indias

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In order to attend a training program, I visited another facility of my company, which happens to be a building with seven floors. Also it is one of the well planned and truly upto the global standard, somewhat similar to Singapore technology parks. During the break time I opened up the curtains and observing the surrounding areas. This is basically a very well constructed technology park (called as Bagmane Tech Park in C.V.Raman Nagar, Bangalore) and houses about 7000-10000 technology professionals.It was looking really great from the seventh floor -- well designed parking lots with about 1000 cars , clean and green surroundings, regulated traffic etc.(See the picture below).


When I turned another 30 degrees to my right, I got a big shock. Just next to the technology park there is a slum followed by a dumping yard (See pictures below).

The experience was really an eye opener for me as it clearly depicted two Indias. If I can call the first case as the ‘developed India’, what name shoul…

BOOK REVIEW: Give me back my guitar

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Author: Potharaju RavindraPrice: 160 INRAbout a year back I read the book ‘Success Vs Joy’ by Geeth Sethi. Two things stand out about this book; its simple language and the overwhelming effect it has on an individual’s thought process. Built along similar lines is the book ‘Give me back my guitar’. In this book author Ravi talks about mind control, inspiration and energy management. The joy of reading and re-reading such books is in the inspiration and support that they provide by telling you just three words: Follow your dream. And just as success vs. joy, give me back my guitar is also blessed with the use of simple and unambiguous language which makes it a pleasure to read. The first thing about the book that interested me was the title itself -- What is this topic all about? Who is going to give the guitar to whom? But, when I started reading the book I found that the book is all the nursery parables that we have all read and enjoyed being modified to suit the present scenario. Sou…