Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Story of Success

“Faculty who teach the so-called softer skills in MBA programs recognize that managerial communication ad organizational behaviour or organizational processes are of little interest to the students-at least when they first arrive at business school. During the first semester or two, marketing, finance, economics, accounting-in short, the numbers-bases subjects-draw the most interest. Then the first-year students return from their summer internships, the graduated come back to visit on campus from their work as investment bankers or management consultants, and the story changes completely: they suddenly realize that the people skills they learn in business school are the skills they need most, and that knowing how to work with people will make the most difference to them in building their careers.”

Leigh Hafey in The Story of Success

The Life Audit

“Your diet evidence of your relationship with food, and only you will know whether a change in you eating habits might produce a different Breakeven level form the one you have reached so far in your Audit, and whether that in turn might yield lifestyle or time benefits. My personal gluttony was very time-consuming, as the scales demonstrated each morning. My Audit revealed just how food-obsessed I was- I was amazed when I did the calculation that combined the amount of time I devoted to thinking about it, looking at recipes and shopping for different ingredients, let alone the actual cooking and eating. It was obvious that if I could devote less time to food not only was there time to be gained but there would also be great health dividents.”

“My personal management plan was to eat plain for a while-just grilled or roast meat and fish with salads. That immediately eliminated the need to pore over cookery books or recipes and a lot of finicky preparation of ingredients. It also cut down on shopping time and clearing away, too. But because cooking is also for me a hooby and a creative pleasure I knew I wouldn’t eat and which I gave to family and friends). It worked for me, and if your own relationship with food needs attention from either a time or health standpoint, you too need to do a bit of lateral and creative thinking to find a happy balance.”

Caroline Righton in The Life Audit


“I spent the whole 24 hours of my birthday one year travelling between conferences in Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway accompanied by a hundred Russian Mathematicians. As we entered the carriage, one of hem was determined to sit next to me. He produced a book. ‘I never meet before native English speaker and your assistance is much needed with six problems’ I assumed it was a maths book he was putting in my lap, but the title of the old and tattered tome was 1000 Jokes. ‘I’ve understood 994 of them but my English is not good enough to comprehend the last six.’ There were six tiny bits of paper marking the pages in question. No wonder he was having trouble-the book was ancient and the joked highly obscure. to his great disappointment, I managed to sort out just one of the six, and that required reading the joke out loud in an extremely posh English accent so that you could hear an obscure pun on words. Mathematics, it seemed, was better than archaic English Humour at crossing cultural divides.”

“Recently I attended a conference in Assam. The mathematics was punctuated with a weekend trip to a rhino reserve. The rhinos in the early morning mist were a stunning sight, but not for me the most lasting memory of that trip. The limited accommodation in the lodge next to the reserve obliged us to share double beds. The slight anxiety of being of being paired up to sleep under the mosquito nets with Dan, my ex-supervisor, got translated in my dreams into a huge black dog clambering into the bed. I awoke to find myself in some Oedipal act physically assaulting Dan as he desperately tried to calm me down.”

Marcus Du Sautoy in Symmetry

The Golden Apple

“Throughout every aspect of your life, you are going to find people who just don’t see the value of spending time with you. Indifference is the most common response you’re likely to encounter. This person may common response you’re likely to encounter. This person may not be overtly rude, but he or she is absolutely confident you have nothing of value to offer and therefore sees no reason for spending time with you. There are a variety of ways to communicate indifference: “Thank you, but I’m satisfied with my existing resource.” Or “Oh, we don’t need those, we don’t need those, we don’t have any use for that.” Underlying such statements or an attitude of indifference is the unspoken message, “People are always trying to sell me something I don’t need, and I don’t want to waste my time…”

“Your job with indifferent prospects is to differentiate yourself form all those people who have waste their time and to present yourself as a knowledgeable professional who will increase their profits each and every time you connect.”

Kathy Aaronson in The Golden Apple

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sneaker Wars

“To some Adidas executive, Strasser’s unorthodox personality could be overwhelming. He regularly threw fits, which deeply embarrassed the composed German manager. They were perplexed by his occasionally foul language and gruff appearance, as he permanently gestured , shook with laughter, jumped up, waved his arms, and tugged at his clothes. When he braced himself for a rough meeting, he tied a red football sock around his arm, like an warrior.”

“Yet Strasser’s persuasive charm still took Adidas by storm. An intense talker, he filled a room with his presence, as well as with his huge frame. He quickly took over any space he entered, from a coffee shop to an airplane. With sheer charisma and the right choice of words he could enthuse a roomful of seasoned executives. “He could give someone a fountain pen and tell them to go to war, and they would go,” said Cindy Hale, “because he could get them that revved up.”

“In this respect, Rob Strasser often inspiration from war tales. Winston Churchill was his all-time hero. The shelves of his Oregon beach house were filled with war books. After a few months in Europe, Owen Clemens refused to accompany Strasser on any more London weekends because he knew that he would be taken along for yet another tour of the Imperial War Museum.”

Barbara Smit in Sneaker Wars

Managing the Dragon

“After making my initial trips into China in 1992, I discovered one fundamental reality about the place: China changes constantly, and quickly. This is the first thing I tell people when I discuss doing business here. While such fast-paced change can be a scary prospect, it’s also a tremendous leveller. What happened in China a thousand, a hundred, or ten years ago is important, but what’s more important is what’s happening today, on the ground. I personally enjoy learning about Chinese history, and I learn Something about Chinese culture every time I read a book on the subject. But the simple fact is that knowing the ins and outs of China’s many dynasties is interesting if you’ve got the time, but not terribly helpful in terms of figuring out how to do business today.”

Jack Perkowski in Managing the Dragon

A Life at Work

“A young student once told me a dream in which he was a hot-air balloon travelling slowly over a bucolic landscape. He could see people below watching him and wondering at the beauty of his aircraft. He was happy to be so high and yet visible in the brightly colored balloon. But then he began to ascent out of control. He rose higher and higher. The people below became dots on the landscape. He struggled to breathe and woke up in a sweat.”

“ This is the dream of a portion of society, people who have high hopes for their work. But their dreams evaporate from their sheer emptiness. Dreams of fame and fortune may keep some people motivated, but others fly so high in them that they are far removed from real life. Somehow we have to learn to do both things: fly high in our ambitions and yet remain grounded in the practical world around us.”

Thomas Moore in A Life at Work

I Wish I’D Been There

“In some respect, Manet was as enigmatic as his painting. An articulate conversationalist with very determined views about art, he gathered nightly with artist
Friends in Paris cafes to discuses what he called “Art with capital A.” But few of his theories and opinions would ever find their way into print. We have no firsthand comments from him about Le Dejuner sur I’herbe: what he intended to show, what he hoped to achieve, what he thought about the outrage it caused at the Salon des Refuses. What led him to adopt such a radical style of painting? Did he expect to scandalize that public in the way he did? And what precisely did he hope to convey? To have been at Manet’s side as he gauged the baffled reactions to the work, or as he opened the newspapers each morning to read the blistering reviews, would have been a rare and wonderful opportunity to get an insight into one of the world’s most inscrutable paintings.”

“One person who probably knew more about the painting than most was Manet’s friends Antonin Proust, Many years later, in 1897, Proust would write a memoir describing the genesis of the painting.”

Byron Hollinshead, and Theodore K. Rabb in I Wish I’D Been There

Gang Leader for a Day

“In the old days, a teenager with an appetite for trouble might have gotten involved in vandalism or shoplifting; now he was more likely to be involved in the drug trade. And the neighbour who might likely to be involved in the drug trade. And the neighbour who might have yelled at that misbehaving teenager in the old days was less likely to do so, since that kid might well be carrying a gun.”

“Politicians, academics, and law-enforcement officials all offered policy solutions, to little avail. The liberal-minded deployed their traditional strategies-getting young people back into school and finding them entry-level jobs-but few gang members were willing to trade in their status and the prospect to big money for menial work.
Conservatives attacked the crack epidemic by supporting mass arrests and hefty prison sentences. This certainly took some dealers off the streets, but there was always a surplus of willing and eager replacements.”

“The national mood had grown increasingly desperate-and punitive. Prosecutors won the right to treat gangs as organized criminal groups, which produced longer prison sentences. Judges gave the police permission to conduct warrantless searched and
to round up suspected gang member who were hanging out in public spaces. In school, mayors ruled out the wearing of bandannas and other clothing that might signal gang affiliation. With each day’s newspaper bringing a fresh story about gang violence, these efforts met little political resistance, even if they weren’t all that effective.”

Sudhir Venkatesh in Gang Leader for a Day

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ultimate Blogs

“I don’t have a blogging bone in my body. I am not an exhibitionist. I do not crave friends I’ve never met. I hate gossip. The ding of new e-mail hitting my in-box fills me with dread. Instead messaging makes me fell like I’ve been cornered at a party with no drink. Yet here I am. I have spent the past year or so trawling for good blogs. I have opened a MySpce accounts as a fourteen-year-old boy. I have started my own blog-in fact two-and filled them with nothing.”

“Now the anthology is done, and, actually, I love everything in it: the writing, the thinking, the drawing, and the photos. And everything in it is bloggy to the core. None of these blogs would have been likely to sprout in any other form. They are masterpieces of blogging. That doesn’t mean they’re famous. Given that there are more than 80 million blogs out there, according to the Web-tracking site Technorati, with roughly 15.5 million of them active, “blogebrity” is quite a bizarre phenomenon anyway.”

Sarah Boxer in Ultimate Blogs


“If careful word choice is the ultimate goal, then accidental word choice is the ultimate pitfall. There is a big difference between poor spelling that reads as sloppiness and poor spelling that results in an entirely different word appearing from the on intended. As people have increasingly come to rely on computer spell-check programs, they’ve also become increasingly susceptible to creating document where an entirely wrong, albeit correctly spelled, word has found its way into the text. When the word is obviously wrong (“sned,” not “send”), then the recipient will probably guess correctly that you simply failed to proof the document. But when a word is more subtly wrong, then at best she may think you didn’t know the meaning of the word you used; at worst she will assume the wrong word was the chosen one, and judge you accordingly.”

A computer won’t flag “affect” when you meant “effect.” If you want your battery changed because it can no longer safely hold a charge, the ramifications if you accidentally as for it to be charged instead of changed could be disastrous.”

David Shipley and Will Schwalbe in Send

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cyber Gypsies

“To create a utopia you can turn back towards Eden, or forward to science. The big themes of the human imagination – freedom, the quest for meaning in life, yearning to escape oppression of all kinds, the creation of politics and moral utopias-all these are also themes of cyberspace. People recruit on the net fro help in making utopias in the real world: to found a colony on a Caribbean island, on twoscore acres of land in Florid, aboard a ship. On the net you may buy title deeds to land on the moon and Mars. Some want to carve out virtual states within cyberspace.”

“Mera jota hai japani
Yeh patloom Inglistani
Surr pe laal topi Russi
Phir bai dil Cyberistani”

“The old Bombay film hit- quoted and ingeniously translated by Salman Rushdie in Satanic Verses, here corrupted by me- could be a cybergypsy national anthem, since the republic of Cyberistan has already declared its independence and applied for membership of United Nations.”

“Oh my shoes are Japanese
Tirr-ousers English if you please
My red Russian hat I tip, see,
Yet my heart is Cybergypsy.”

Indira Sinha in The Cyber Gypsies

What Type of Leader Are You

“The Enneagram, which dates from at least 2,000 years ago and has its roots in Asia and the Middle East, derives its name from the Greek words ennea (“nine”) and gram (“something written or drawn”). The term refers to the nine points, or numbers, of the Enneagram styles represent distinct worldviews, with related patterns of thinking, feeling, and taking action. Even more important, each Enneagram style is connected to a specific high-impact development path. Thus, the accurate identification of your Enneagram style is important if you want to grow and develop as a leader and as person.”

Ginger Lapid-Bogda in What Type Of Leader Are You

China Style

“As recently as 100 years ago, Chinese style was tradition-bound, with aesthetics that reflected the cultural confidence of a county with several thousand years of experience in fine design. Whether it was the curve of the back of a handcrafted Ming chair, or the perfect green glaze of an 800-years-old celadon vase, the elements of high Chinese style seemed set in stone, as unchanging as those of the Great Wall. Chinese decorative objects were the most precious that money could buy, made either of rare natural materials, like jade and hardwoods, or manmade ones, like porcelain, fine paper and silk, (which, by the way, were all invented in China). Chinese traditional style, of course, still thrives. But, after 1900, with the arrival of Weston aesthetics and modernity in China, style horizons expanded. In the 1930s, the city of Shanghai embraced Art Deco, while modernism and Soviet monumental architecture entered the picture along with Mao’s revolution in 1949. Mao Zedong, who urged the Chinese style. During the 1960s Cultural Revolution, many of China’s most priceless treasures were destroyed. But Mao’s rule also left a legacy of a mass-produced design and democratic, functional fashion-and a world-famous image that adorns everything Chinese under the sun, ranging from posters, to buttons and teapots. Today, China’s restless, creative style makers are free to play with all periods of their visual beritage, and they do.”

Angelika Taschen in China Style

About Indian Birds

“PIGEONS the most crowded streets and bazaars in India are invariably found littered with droppings of large flocks of pigeons. Their call of gootrggo-gooo is always mixed with the various noises of the bazaar – the hooting of motor horns, ringing of bicycle bells, and the shouts and oaths of tongawallas. Pigeons nest and roost on buildings – all of which soon bear the marks of their favour. In the daytime, however, they prefer to be in the thick of things and spend a lot of their time on the ground, feeding on the grain which kind persons throw to them, helping to slow down the traffic.”

“If you look closely at a flock of these City Pigeons, you will find that there are slight difference between them. Fanciers have developed extraordinary strains from the original Blue Rock Pigeons and members of these fancy breeds join the flock and interbreed with them, producing all sorts and conditions of pigeon!.”

“Pigeons have a strong, determined flight; they are also very domesticated birds, and easily get attached to one place. In olden days people took advantage of these two qualities and taught pigeons to carry messages to and fro between two places, so that good carrier Pigeons were prized and valued above other birds. The invention of the telegraph has deprived them of their jobs, and reduced their status, except in a few remote places. In Orissa, for instance, an efficient system of Pigeon – post was kept up between police outposts.”

“Like the sparrow, the pigeon is an indiscriminate nester. Almost any place will do-provided it is man-made; and almost any time will do-provided it is not raining too hard.”

Salim Ali and Laeeq Futehally in About Indian Birds

Guidance Note on Audit of Banks

“The nature of banking operations is such that the auditor may not be able to reduce audit risk to an acceptable low level by the performance of substantive procedures alone. This is because of factors, such as the following:

The extensive use of IT and EFT systems, which means that much of the audit evidence is available only in electronic form and is produced buy the entity’s own IT system.

The high volume of transactions entered into by banks, which makes reliance on substantive procedures alone impracticable.

The geographic dispersion of banks’ operations, which makes obtaining sufficient coverage extremely difficult.”

The difficult in devising effective substantive procedures to audit complex trading transaction.

In most situations, the auditor will not be able to reduce audit risk to an acceptably low level unless the management has instituted an internal control system that allows the auditor to be able to assess the level of inherent and control risks as less than high. The auditor obtains sufficient appropriate audit evidence to assess the level of inherent and control risks.”

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in Guidance Note on Audit of Banks


Engendering Governance Institutions

“There are three distinct ways in which we could define engendered governance. The fist is the numbers of men and women who are seen as being active participants in processes of governance, behind which there is the sense of ‘critical mass’ as a necessary ingredient. Example given as confirmation of the need for critical mass are often drawn from Scandinavian countries, and the fact that it became possible to increase spending on childcare parental leave, and so on (UNRISED 2005:149). The use of quotas and reservations to bring in women in large numbers into legislative assemblies is based on the understanding that a few women, no matter how strong they might be, cannot ‘engeder’ a system, and that equal or roughly equal participation is needed to ensure that both men and women’s voices are heard. A recent study suggests that gender balance or organizational dynamics might be a critical requirement in bringing down the level of corruption.”

“But what exactly do we expect to see as different if we are able to accomplish the number dimension of the engendering process? The second dimension of engendering governance would be the sensitivity of processes and systems to gender concerns. For example, do we recognise and allow for constraints that women face as a result of their reproductive responsibilities? Can systems allow for different characteristics of male and female participants, or is there an expectation of androgyny?”

“The third aspect is that of the agenda itself. Do the issues change? Are the resource allocations any different once we have better gender balance in the decision making process? So far there is little evidence to suggest that having more women in parliaments has been able to make a significant difference to priorities and allocations. One area in which a strong association has been found is that between women politicians and abortion rights. Another in which there is very weak association is that between numbers of women legislators and violence against women. But influence on the agenda is clearly an expectation from engendering.”

Smita Mishra Panda in Engendering Governance Institutions

Compendium Of Opinions

“The Committee is of the view that if a bullet proof jacket fulfils the definition of he tern ‘asst’ as defined in paragraph 5 above, it should be considered as a fixed asset since it is not held for sale in the normal course of business but is held for being used indirectly for the purpose of producing goods in the same manner as many other assets, such as various administrative assets, are considered as fixed assets, the same should be classified as a separate fixed asset for Schedule VI purpose rather than as ‘General Plant and Machinery’, as mentioned by the querist in paragraph 2 above. However since no specify rate of depreciation has been prescribed under Schedule XIV to the Companies Act, 1956, for bullet proof jackets, the general rate of depreciation applicable to Plant and Machinery would be applicable.”

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in Compendium Of Opinions

Blisters on their Feet

“Pauperized peasants from far-flung riverine area also appear in Nagaon adding to the number of unregistered rickshaws. More than one rickshaw with the same registration number can plentifully be found in Nagaon town. In an interview on April 20, 1989, Anwar Hussain, the then president of Nagaon Zilla Richshaw Union, told me that there were about 7,000 richshaws in Nagaon town of which roughly 2,450 were registered. A section of the pullers of the unregistered richshaws consisted and continues to consist of the displaced peasants from the eroded reverine areas. In most of the cases they are absolutely inexperienced in the job of pulling richshows and pose a threat to the safety of their passengers. They are one of the main sources of the dishonest policemen’s illegal income and the most pathetic victims of police harassment. Since many of them come directly form their ghettos, they fail to speak and understand Assamese properly, which gives rise to the suspicion that they might be foreigners”.

Samir Kumar Das in Blisters on their Feet

Discourses on Aging And Dying

“A research study on elder abuse, conducted in Delhi, found that the elderly were facing abuse in one form or the other at the hands of their own children. It is widely accepted that older persons are vulnerable to abuse, neglect and exploitation. This emanates from physical and emotional dependence of older persons on young adults in the family. Abuse is generally understood as wilful inflictions of injury, cruelty, intimidation resulting in physical harm, pain, mental agony or deprivation. Neglect is the failure to provide goods or services necessary to avoid physical or mental pain or harm. Exploitation means illegal or improper act or process of an individual to use the resources of the older person for personal monetary benefit. Older persons could also be deprived of choices, status, finances and respect.”

“Neglect and apathy towards older persons in the family was a common form of mistreatment. They were treated as ‘pieces of old furniture that had outlived their value’ Their emotional, health and other needs were completely overlooked by their caregivers. Older parents were supposed to adjust to the lifestyles of the new generation and were excluded form important decisions about the family members and, at times, even about themselves. This led to extreme mental depression and loneliness on older persons. This form of neglect cut across all socio-economic strata. The predicament of the aged is expected to worsen because of the natural tendency to divert aged is expected to worsen because of the natural tendency to divert the limited resources of the family towards the upbringing and development of the younger generation (a practice especially prevalent among economically weaker segments of society).”

“Deprivation was another common form of abuse, where the needs of the elderly were overlooked or underplayed. Their dietary, health and other needs are simply ignored in many cases. In Delhi, the elderly women in all groups complain of deprivation in varying degrees. In another study in Agra, 24 per cent respondents complained of lack of good diet, 18 per cent of lack of proper clothing, 47.5 per cent of lack of household equipment, 30.5 per cent of lack of medical facilities and 63 per cent of lack of recreational facilities. This kind of deprivation was reportedly faced more by females than by males.”

Suhita Chopra Chatterjee, Priyadashi Patnaik, and Vijayaraghavan M. Chariar in Discourses on Aging And Dying

Trump Never Give Up

“Everyone has his or her own way of letting off steam, letting go of tension, and changing thinking pattern. Whatever works for you is the best choice, as long as it’s not self destructive or destructive to others. That’s way I like to golf. Golf is a brain game, but it can be totally relaxing at the same time. I find it opens my mind to new possibilities, and I can problem solve very effectively while I’m on the golf course.”

“What I do in the office at times is to practice my swing, or I’ll just pick up a golf club and think about the game. That action alone is a breath of fresh air-even if it’s office air-and helps me see things creatively or in a new light. I know that some people find music or exercise does that for them, but for me it’s golf.”

“Another way to de-stress is to replace negatives with positives. This applies in many areas, for example, I try to surround myself with positive people and get rid of the negatives types.”

Donald J. Trump and Meredith Mclver in Trump Never Give Up

Friday, April 18, 2008

Justice Political, Social, Juridical

“Enumeration is an activity conducted on a regular basis in slums in which non-governmental organizations have a significant presence. To understand what this means, let me describe the process by which this enumeration is conducted. I refer to a report by SPARC (Society for Promotion of Aria Research Centres) that also has a base in Dharavi (SPARC 2004). This report describes enumeration as a ‘technology for community mobilisation’ and divides the activity into a number of stages. The first is called ‘hut counting’ This takes place when members of the organisation visit the slum area for the first time. As part of the activity of holding meetings with residents,
They-together with some residents-begin to mark the doors of houses with chalk. Residents are made aware that this is the first step towards mapping the settlement. They begin to think about the criteria involved in establishing numbers for their houses and in the boundaries between their houses. (This is important because slum because slum dwellings grow over time and it is often difficult to decide where one hut stops and another begins.) The report emphasises that a dialogue must be allowed to develop around enumeration so that residents become conscious of their property rights and entitlements. The next stage, ‘rough mapping’ of the settlement, is also done by residents. This is supposes to help them translate their experience of place
(habitation) into an abstract spatial category. The third phase, ‘numbering’, involves the matching of house number with the map. The chalk numbers are re-done in paint. After this stage, official surveyors take over.”

Rajeev Bhargava, Michael Dusche , and Helmut Reifeld in Justice Political, Social, Juridical

Canadian Advantage

“Indian Chartered accountant designation is well respected in Canada. Most of the Canadian employers recognize that Indian Chartered Accountant also go through rigorous training and examination process.”

“Every foreign trained Accountant has to upgrade as Canadian CA if he/she wants to provide compilation/review/assurance services. Besides one centralized CA institute, each province also has their own accounting bodies (i.e. CA institute) to monitor and issue license for public practice.”

“The Basic requirement to obtain CA designation in Canada is

A university degree with specific business course credits, as well as the professional program of the province or territory is required. This level of education provides a sound base of knowledge, skill and values necessary to be able to demonstrate competence.
30 months work experience in various areas (as per institute’s guidelines”) in a recognized training office under the supervision of experienced CAs is also required. The training received during this period will greatly assist in the development of the skills, attributes and values of a competent CA. One can apply directly to these CA firms or meet with them when they come for recruitment at the University Campus.
Assessment is the key to determining competence. CA candidates will continually receive assessments throughout their development-in university programs, in professional education programs and on the job. All CA candidates must appear for the capstone evaluation of a continual process of professional values required of a CA. This three –day examination evaluation gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your professional competency by responding to business simulations of the kids of challenges likely to be faced by the qualified CA.”

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India in Canadian Advantage

Democracy Development And Discontent In South Asia

“It is impossible to see too far into future, but it can be said that the passing of Musharraf and hi generation may well usher in an era of structural and institutional reorganization not heretofore contemplated. Pakistan has from its beginning failed to develop the civic institutions, let alone the civil society that might offer a predictable and workable course of action. The repeated interventions of the army in he country’s
Political life demonstrates like nothing else that Pakistanis have not been able to establish a form of governance acceptable to its polyglot population. Political failure, however, has not prevented the Pakistan army from going nuclear. Moreover, political failure, coupled with the failure of ethnic integration, has provided fertile ground for the intensification and spread of the country’s most radical and obscurant religious doctrines. Burdened by the weight of history, Pakistan’s future appears to rest on its capacity to reclaim the secular vision of its founder, but with the passage of time that message grows ever more dim and, to many, irrelevant.”

Veena Kukreja and Mahendra Prasad Singh in Democracy Development And Discontent In South Asia


“A Random Walk is a concept in probability theory that takes its name from an imagined real-life situation representing purely random motion: the steps taken by a drunkard stumbling around a lamppost. In one dimension, the drunkard takes a step forward or backward completely at random; his steps are independent of each other. In two dimensions, the drunkard walks left or right or forward of backward, each step random and independent; this way the inebriated person may be found walking anywhere around the lamppost. Hence the term random walk.”

“The random walk represents many situations in real life, among them gambling and the stock market. The simplest example of a random walk is that of repeatedly tossing a fair coin and counting the number of heads that appear, in total, minus the number of tails. If this number is zero (meaning that as many heads have appeared as tails), then we can imagine that our drunkard-moving on one dimension, forward and backward-is exactly at the lamppost. If the number is plus-two, for example, meaning that tails counted, then the drunkard is two steps ahead of the lamppost; and vice versa for minus-two, meaning two more tails have appeared so far than heads, and the drunkard is two steps behind the lamppost.”

Amir D. Aczel in Chance

The Game Changer

“The P&G Corporate Innovation Fund (CIF) specializes in high-risk /high-reward ideas and is an organizational structure with some resemblance to a venture capital firm. It is led by the chief technology officer and supported by the CEO and the chief financial office. Its primary objective is to provide “seed money” to either create totally new businesses and/or create major disruptive innovations.”

“These ideas can come from any organization within the company or even outside of P&G. The CIF funds projects led by innovation teams that reside in different organizations throughout P&G. But the CIF budjet is completely separate separate from that of the business units. It does not, therefore, burden the business unit’s P&Ls, thereby enabling them to focus spending on innovations that are closer in and more specific to a given category and/or brand.”

“Take, for example, Crest Whitestrips. In 2000, the Crest business consisted primarily of toothpaste and toothbrushes. A team form the corporate and oral care organizations, with CIF funds, explored the idea of combining the film technology form P&G’s corporate R&D organization and bleach technology form the laundry organization to create and prototype Crest Whitestrips, the first at-home professional teeth-whitening treatment. This corporate team did the initial concept, design, and engineering work, and when they qualified the initial product prototype, and its potential with consumers, they handed over the early-stage innovation to the established oral care business unit to bring Crest Whitestrips to market.”

A.G. Lafley and Ram Charan in The Game Changer
http://www.crownpublishing.com/, http://www.crownbusiness.com/

Death To all Sacred Cows

“In the Olde Days of Yore, there were certain irrefutable facts: the world was flat, bloodletting was a sound medical practice, and the Swiss made the best watches. Well, nowadays we know better. The world is roundish, bloodletting is effective only if one uses the very best leeches, and the Swiss completely blew their worldwide watchmaking monopoly.”

“The cornerstone upon which the Swiss built their temple of timekeeping was the mechanical movement. All those crazy gears and cogs and coils and springs-that’s Switzerland, baby. For centuries the Swiss made the most watches and the best watches-all with mechanical movements. The watch business was extremely successful. And success bred success.”

“So, here we are in the latter third of the twentieth century and the Swiss are dominating the watch market in every facet on a global scale. That’s success, right? And it’s supposed to breed more success, right? Well, tell that to the Japanese.”

“The Seiko Company of Japan had been making mechanical movement watches for a while, but they were small potatoes compared to the Swiss firms. But they took a look at what was happening in Europe and made a bold decision: they were going to drop the mechanical movement part of their business to focus on making low-cost, high-quality watches using quartz movements…”

“Perhaps the Swiss considered quartz movement to be aesthetically inferior. Or perhaps their years of success breeding success conditioned them to believe that continued success was inevitable. Whatever the reason, the Japanese shattered the Swiss watch hegemony. Fortunately for the Swiss, however, they, still have excellent banks and chocolate.”

David Bernstein, Beau Fraser, and Bill Schwab in Death To all Sacred Cows

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Young Bucks

“It’s extremely important that your child be very excited about whatever business he or she chooses. If your son is not really interested, it’s never going to fly. So when you talk to your child, listen carefully to his responses and be very encouraging of any ideas that you hear.”

“This can be a tricky time for good mentors. You rally want your child to start the business that you thought of, an neighbourhood computer-tech venture. He’s already the go-to person in your household for computer questions. Furthermore, there are no start-up costs, you have al long list of customers in mind, and you know he could make quite a bit of money. The only drawback is that he’s not so excited about your idea. He wants to draw cartoon characters, print them on postcards, and sell them at school and at a local fair in a few weeks.”

“Your first inclination is to discourage his cockamamie idea-the computer-tech business is far sounder in every way, and he could earn lots of each. But the better move is to drop your plan, endorse his, and help him turn it into a successful venture, not because cartooning is a better business, but simply because that’s what your son wants to do.”

Troy Dunn in Young Bucks

India Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Report 2007

“Several strategies have been advocated for the development of the micro sector. One of the strategies has been to promote this sector through creation of ‘growth poles’ and ‘business hubs’. ‘Growth poles’ are , in effect, a new type of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) model, proposed the development of the unorganized sector. The NCEUS has recommended that Growth Poles be developed of unorganized sector enterprises, and should be promoted through the public-private partnership (PPP) model. The Commission wants 25 such growth poles to be developed during the Eleventh Plan period, in order to facilitate the growth of infant enterprises in the unorganised sector. The total investment for 25 such growth poles was estimated to be Rs. 500 crore. Under the PPP model; around Rs, 200 crore should be public investment and Rs. 300 crores private investment.”

“The Commission has also proposed that a special purpose vehicle, with a Rs. 500
Crore corpus, be formed for developing of these units, the Commission felt that the stakeholders for each growth pole should originate from a vaste geographic spread, and not be restricted to the area where it would be located. The Commisson’s recommendation is based on its detailed project reports on Rajasthan, West Bengal, Kerela, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhad and Assam.”

“The idea of growth poles is rooted in the ongoing Government efforts to develop industrial clusters. Growth Pole, in essence, is a cluster of clusters, a second stage of cluster development involving up-scaling of he existing development efforts through provision of common infrastructure, services centers etc. the move was aimed at strengthening natural clustering of industrial units to archieve economies of scale in skill upgradation, technology development, marketing and other necessary activities. While the NCEUS approach is in the right direction, it raises valid questions on the inherent rigidities of this model.”

Institue of Small Enterprises and Development in India Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Report 2007

Patterns in Network Architecture

“As time went on, things got messier and messier. First, LANs did relaying with bridges, then bridges started generating spanning trees (sounds like routing), and more recently all pretense of not doing routing in the data link layer has disappeared. New technologies such as ISDN, ATM, and MPLS have introduced additional gyrations. There was even a DSL-related proposal that had seven layers below the transport layer. It starts to get a bit bewildering. What is going on? Just how many crystalline spheres and epicycle …oops! Wrong century…errr…layers are there?.”

“And it wasn’t just the arrangement of the protocols that was making layering a problem. The implementations had performance problems, too. The theory of layering supposedly requires each protocol in each layer to be a distinct state machine (i.e., a distinct process). A protocol state machine in layer N sends of receives PDUs by passing them across the layer boundary to the protocol machine in the layer below.”

“Crossing a layer boundary generally involved an API, which in the worst case was a system call and the best case just a procedure call. If the implementation follows this theory closely, it will produce a considerable number of data copies and context switches and be very slow. By the early 1970s, everyone had learned this lesson. But even with minimal data copies, there is still a lot of overhead in context switches. To reduce context switches essentially requires merging the state machines of protocols in adjacent layers within a system. Although in theory this is possible, in practice there are factors that make it unwise.”

John Day in Patterns in Network Architecture
e-mail: customer-service@safaribooksonline.com

Islamic Finance

“Securitization in the field of Islamic Finance is subject to a range of inhibitors that will need to be addressed and with respect to which structural accommodation is necessary. One such inhibitor is the considerable fragmentation of the relevant markets. These markets are fragmented of the relevant markets. These markets are fragmented with respect to, among other factors, (a) countries (b)currencies (c) the state of legal and regulatory development, (d) the degree of elucidation of, and agreement on, applicable Shari’ah standards and (e) the operation of both Islamic and conventional interest-based markets in the same space. Another inhibiting factor is the lack of scale in the Islamic finance field at the present time. A third set of inhibitors relates to a range of uncertainties with respect to the legal and regulatory base for securitizations and capital markets generally. Consider for example, the state of development of securities laws in many of the jurisdictions within the Islamic economic sphere. And with respect to fundamental market criteria, the markets within those jurisdictions are underdeveloped and characterized by illiquidity, excessive concentration of risks, and lack of specialization. Yet another inhibiting factor is the scarcity of human resources, such as qualified Shri’ah scholars and experienced financial, legal accounting, and other professionals of all types.”

Simon Archer and Rifaat Ahmed Abdul Karim in Islamic Finance

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cases in Leadership

“The first commonality that we found in Smart Organizations was their “Smart Leadership” at the Executive Team and Board levels. The ‘Smart” label doesn’t reflect their collective IQ (although all would have scored highly). Instead, what made their teams and boards ‘smart” was a combination of certain individual skill seats that each officer and director possessed. None of these organizations had “Imperial CEOs” with thousand of faceless followers. Instead, they had teams, boards, and leaders throughout the organization who were the stars of the show. These officers and directors had skill sets, knowledge, attitudes and behaviour that were in place in “Smart Organizations” but were conspicuously absent in successful companies that later headed towards failure.

“In “Smart Organizations,” the executives and directors believed that their market leadership was only a quarter from slipping from their grasp. They maintained a healthy respect for all their competitors and never got too caught up in their success. Wal-Mart execs religiously track Target’s and other retailers’ moves, often visiting their stores at least once a month. By contrast, “Not-so-Smart Organizations” cavalierly disregarded the potential threat of competitors. Instead, they saw their market leadership as permanent and, perhaps because of this, often began spending lavishly on themselves and their corporate offices. Wal-Mart still requires all of its senior executives to share hotel rooms on corporate trips. And, if you have been to their Bentonville Home Office, you know that they don’t waste an inch of space, stuffing cubicles together as tightly as they stuff product on Wall-Mart floor space. Sam Waton would be proud.”

W. Glenn Rowe in Cases in Leadership

The inside Advantage

“Many business leaders, seasoned pros and struggling entrepreneurs alike, don’t appear to understand or embrace the reality of today’s marketplace or realize how cynical and jaded our society has become about slick slogans and over-the –top ad campaigns. When exposed to advertising bravado with such frequency, customers ad potential customers simply turn off. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard heads of businesses describe their need to grow. Not in the context of strategy, but in terms of the advertising they envision or the taglines they admire or want. I’ve heard: “We need a new approach to advertising” or ‘We need a great slogan like our big competitors” or “Nobody knows what we stand for so I want an awareness building marketing campaign with a great tagline.” Such approaches are expensive and, more often than not, wrongheaded and ultimately ineffective.”

Robert H. Bloom with Dave Conti in The inside Advantage

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Burnt House

As the third largest city in California and the tenth largest in the United States, San Jose didn’t get much respect. Mainly noted from the sixties Hal David and Burt Bacharach song ‘Do You Know the Way to San Jose?’ – a name they used because it fit the lyrics rather than for any other specific purpose – the city wasn’t the sleepy little burg that most people assumed. It was a megalopolis of a million people with skyscrapers, museums, parks, colleges, and lots and lots of high-tech headquarters. San Jose and its burbs of Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and Santa Clara made up the heart of Silicon Valley – the core of everything electronic and technical.
There were about a dozen people who lived in the area who were not associated with Apple, IBM, Intel, Adobe, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, etc., etc., and Raymond Holmes was one of them. The man was self-described as a real-estate developer.

Faye Kellerman in ‘The Burnt House’ (www.harpercollins.co.uk)

Bone China

Sewing was something Savitha could do. Often during those Cambridge Certificate years sewing had been her recreation, her right arm occasionally turning the wheel of her Singer, her foot pedalling furiously. It was what she did when she had a lot to think about, and, without a doubt, she had much on her mind at the moment. Changing into her brightest red-and-orange sari, she left the house, caught a bus (so like the ones back home, but smarter, newer), and headed in the direction of Brixton. The bus drove past the arcade and a crockery stall caught her eye. It was piled high with a wonderful array of blue and white, willow-patterned china. Another stall flashed by. It had trousers hanging up all over it, flapping in the breeze. Savitha wondered curiously what it would be like to wear a pair. The bus passed under the bridge. The stalls here were run by black people. Savitha watched them curiously. They sold a confusion of interesting vegetables. A streak of red, a splash of dark green leaves, the sun-baked saffron insides of fruit, all flashed past her, jostling happily alongside stalls of apples piled high, and tight pale cabbages.

Roma Tearne in ‘Bone China’ (www.harpercollins.co.uk)

The Other Boleyn Girl

Winter 1533.

For her New Year’s present to the king Anne commissioned a most extravagant gift. The goldsmiths brought it to the great hall and spent the morning setting it up. When they came to the queen’s apartments to tell her that she might come and see it Anne beckoned to George and to me and said we might come too.
We ran down the stairs to the great hall, Anne ahead of us, so that she could fling open the doors and see our faces. It was a most astounding sight: a fountain made of gold inlaid with diamonds and rubies. At the foot of the fountain were three naked women, also wrought of gold, and from their teats sprouted springs of more water.
‘My God,’ said George, truly awed. ‘How much did it cost you?’
‘Don’t ask,’ Anne said. ‘It is very grand, isn’t it?’
‘Grand.’ I didn’t add: ‘But vilely ugly,’ though I could tell from George’s stunned expression that he thought the same.

Philippa Gregory in ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ (www.harpercollins.co.uk)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bill Emmott Rivals

“Higher education in India is already large. The country has 348 universities and 17,625 colleges affiliated to universities, educating 10.5 million students at nay one time. Each year, 2.5 million emerge with qualification. Far from all being engineers, the largest group take arts degrees: 1.15 million graduated in 2004. about 285,000 graduated in that year with engineering degrees and diplomas, while 540,000 took science degrees education in raised privately, which suggests a high level of motivation. Public spending per student is low, at around $400 per year; china, according to the ICRIER reports, spends about $2,700 per student. On the face of it, that might suggest that India ought to be spending more, just as Dr. Singh promises. If taking higher education does end up yielding higher salaries for graduates, however, people might well be willing to pay for it themselves. Primary and secondary education might be a better priority for public money.”

“On common belief about India is true, however: English, the language of globalization, is widely spoken and even more widely understood. English is the primary language of instruction in all India’s universities, and is learned as a second language in school. It is surprisingly hard to find a figure for what proportion of the population actually can speak and read English. He census asks about first languages (Hindi is by far the most widely spoken, by 40% of the population) and not about second ones. Language in India, an online journal devoted to the study of languages spoken on the subcontinent, publishes an implausibly low figure: 3%. That is thirty-three million people, or almost twice the population of Australia. But it is a tiny proportion of a country as vast as India and doesn’t fit with the evidence of one’s own eyes and ears, or the annual output of universities, or the fact that in effect English provides the means by which India’s dozens of language groups manage to communicate with one another. Alternatively, TESOL-India, a private organization for teachers of English as a second language, gives a figure of about 100 million , or 9% of the population, as speakers of English but up to 350 million as ‘users’ of the language. That higher figure seems implausibly high, given the extent of illiteracy and the high proportion (72%) of Indian who live in rural areas. The truth must lie somewhere in between. Nevertheless, the number of Indian who can speak English is increasing every year, with each fresh generation of schoolchildren and graduates.”

Allen Lane in Bill Emmott Rivals

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Globalization and Politics in India

“The tidal wave of economy globalization since the advent of the last quarter of the twentieth century has been accompanied by an equally significant flood of literature on the subject. The analysts of globalization can be said to belong to three major groups. The first of these consists of the agnostics (Hirst and Thompson 1996:27), who question if anything new at all has happened because the internationalization of the world economy all has been seen before. The agnostics seem to ignore, however, not only the vast acceleration in economic interactions among states under globalization, but also two other novel elements: the sharp integration of world financial markets as reflected in the spectacular increase in foreign exchange trading; and the transnationalization of production, with MNCs having multiple but complementary manufacturing sites around the world. Accordingly, the agnostics can safely be set aside from further consideration.”

“The second of these groups comprises the enthusiasts, who not only underline that a massive change has occurred in the world economy in the last quarter of the twentieth century in terms of the triumph of markets at the expense of states, but also hold that economic globalization is largely a benign process…”

“The critics of globalization As the third group tend to agree with the enthusiasts on the trend of increasing economic globalization, but they deem the consequences to be malign for the mass of national populations (Rodrik 1997; Sklair 2002). Fro both enthusiasts and critics, the impact of globalization is most profound even as it is multifaceted, affection-indeed, moulding-the economy, society, and policy in both developed and less-developed countries.”

Baldev Raj Nayar in Globalization and Politics in India


Indian in the Emerging Global Order

“Technology has not been critical to the development of the Indian software industry. Indian software firms lag behind their Chinese counterparts in technology inputs and outputs, but that lag hasn’t hampered the Indian industry’s growth. Fewer Indian than Chinese software firms have R&D expenditures, and those that so spend less. This result is due only in part to the greater concentration of software services rather than products firms in the Indian industry-software products firm are more likely to have R&D expenditures than software services firms. In addition, Indian software firm introduce fewer new products than Chinese software firm. Until very recently, the software business wasn’t an especially high technology business. Advanced technology was not the basis on which firms competed, especially for software services. The export business was mostly customized software services, much of which was low-end entry level work for which neither R&D nor new product introductions were important.”

Amar K.K.R. Nayak and M.G. Jomon in Indian in the Emerging Global Order

A Diplomat Reveals

“My first close brush with Morarji Desai was in the Summer of 1964. He was then the finance minister of India while I was my first posting in our embassy in Moscow.”

“Moraji Desai was on a brief official visit to the USSR. For whatever reasons, the Soviets viewed “Moraji Desai as a rightist, anti-socialist and with capitalist and pro-west leanings-someone not very positively inclined towards the Soviet system. In an obvious endeavour to win him over or at least soften him up a little, they went out of their way to welcome him in the Soviet Union. This was in recognition of the importance of “Moraji Desai on the Indian political scene.”

“Ambassador T.N. Kaul hosted a reception in he honour of “Moraji Desai to which were invited a number of senior Soviet ministers and also f few politburo member. At the same time one had to keep in mind the protocol factor so that the Soviet guest list did not appear as though we were overreaching ourselves, no matter how much importance was being attached to this visit by the Soviet hosts.”

“On the day of the reception, the ambassador’s office received a telephone call from the foreign ministry enquiring whether Khrushchev could also put in a brief appearance at this reception. Our reply was naturally an enthusiastic ‘yes’ and promptly an invitation card in the name of Khrushchev was sent. It was as if god himself had decided to appear. The Soviets were clearly out to woo Moraji Desai.”

“It turned out to be an exceptionally well attended and successful reception, with Khrushchev being the star attraction. During his conversation with Moraji Desai, Khrushchev enquired whether he had visited any other places in the USSR and seen with his own eyes the progress made by them under the Soviet system. In his vintage flamboyant style Khrushchev then rattled off several impressive statistics to drive home the point he was trying to make. Moraji Desai replied in the negative, giving the reason that he had very limited time at his disposal during the current visit. He was polite enough to add that he would be happy to do so at a later date on a subsequent
Visit. Apparently, Khrushchev make a mental note of this and the conversation flowed on to other subjects.”

“Within an hour of Khrushchev departure form the reception his office rang up to convey the following: A special plane would be placed at Moraji Desai’s disposal the next morning as Khrushchev’s special guest. This plane would take him to Leningrad and Kiev. At both these places the local authorities will conduct him around in every possible comfort. A senior minister from Moscow will accompany him throughout and he will be back in Moscow before nightfall to resume the rest of his programme. Moraji Desai was quite stumped. He was left with no choice but to accept this very special gesture. The next day he was off to the two cities and came back visible impressed and overwhelmed by this rare gesture towards him by the then undisputed ruler of the USSR. This is how the Soviet Union functioned those days. This was vintage Khrushchev at his best.”

Prem Budhwar in A Diplomat Reveals

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Silent Raga

“Four cotton tablecloths covered the space of the cement roof terrace. Janaki had squeezed small, saucer-sized spirals of rice vadams in rows of five on all the cotton sheets the previous day. She has also propped up a spindly scarecrow made of sticks and hay and a clay pot for a head, right in the centre of the mottamadi.”

“The rows of vadams were untouched by the ravens and crow. A whole day and a half
In the summer sun had turned the wet spirals into dry, crisp savouries. Mallika couldn’t wait to sample them that evening, when she knew Janaki would fry a few just-off-the terrace-floor vadams in hot oil before serving dinner. But first they had to be gently peeled and stored before there was a supply to accompany a whole year of meals. When and how did Janaki learn to do these things, and do them so well? It was something that always impressed Mallika.”

“Her sister had taken on the duties of keeping house so easily, so naturally, just like a dick takes to water. She did everything Amma had done when she was alive. Janaki fetched the milk in the morning, cooked washed clothes, mended her school uniform, packed lunch boxes, oiled and combed her hair, stocked sanitary napkins on the top shelf of the cupboard upstairs, burned caterpillars in the backyard, laid out vadams on the terrace-all just like Amma.”

‘Mallika never heard her sister say a word about missing school. And she never asked Mallika for assistance. She always said, “You study hard and become someone really big, like Indira Gahdhi, and make me proud! Enna?”

“It was as if Amma’s spirit, her aavi, had not left the world but had instead make a home in Janaki’s body. Amma became Janaki. Janaki became Amma.”

Ameen Merchant in The Silent Raga

60 Tips on Object Oriented Programming

“In object oriented programming, data and operations are combined together to provide a type (class) and we can instantiate (create) objects from the classes based on various requirements. In this way, the object oriented programming gives central importance to data. This is unlike the structured programming approach where the operations (functions) are given central importance and data is just used to store information.”

“Because of this data-centric approach and encapsulation of data and functions, programming in object oriented languages can lead to an overhead of creating unnecessary temporary objects. For example, consider that you need to invoke a static method in a class. Since you need an object to invoke static method, we are forced to create a temporary object just for calling that method. Once that method call is done, the temporary object is of no use and it can be destroyed as it goes out of scope ( or can be garbage collected).”

“Such creation and destruction of objects is acceptable if the number of such objects it small. However, in practice, numerous small objects are created and destroyed during
The execution of the coke, which can significant affect the performance of the code. This is a common concern shared by many object-oriented languages as object oriented programming tends to introduce numerous small and/or temporary objects.”

“We influence the number of temporary objects created in our programs. We can avoid creation of such unnecessary temporary objects by becoming aware of the situations in which such temporary objects are created and write optimized code to avoid such unnecessary creation. Knowing the implementation details (like how the compiler or virtual machines implement a language feature) is also very useful as it equips the programming with the awareness of how a particular code segment can result in creating temporary objects. There are many language-specific techniques used widely to avoid such temporary object creation, knowing and following them can lead to increased performance an better code.”

S.G. Ganesh in 60 Tips on Object Oriented Programming

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gay Bombay

“Today’s meet is in Karim’s home. Karim is a journalist with one of the country’s leading new magazines. He lives in an airy one-bedroom-hall kitchen apartment. The d├ęcor is ethnic chic-cane furniture, hand woven rugs, low seating cotton cushions in pink, mustard, blue and lime green, wispy red curtains, potted plants and books. Paintings by the famous writer-artist Manjula Padmanabhan adorn the walls. Today, the room is cramped with 25 gay men-scientists, engineers, students, corporate executives; young twinks with coloured hair, in tight singlets, harem pants, jewellery and sunglasses; old butch men with paunches, glasses and salt and pepper beards. Bottles of Pepsi and Fanta are being passed around, as are fresh scones; courtesy Karim’s excellent baking abilities.”

“The free wheeling discussion begins with the challenges and practical issues faced by gay men seeking long-term relationship in Bombay. Isaac suggests the organization of a match-making bureau for gay men, on the lines of the arranged marriage bureaus for straight people in India. Karim wouders if we are not fetishizing long-term gay relationships in India, just like the west. He informs the group that the gay guide Spartacus has asked them for an update on the India section and there is a debate on what locations to reveal in the guide. He also warns the group about internet hustlers that have been operating in gay chat rooms, meeting people offline and then robbing or blackmailing them.”

Parmesh Shahani in Gay Bombay

Encounters With Enlightenment

“Grabbing his sword and shield and bow and arrow he climbed down and set off towards him.”

“As Angulimala came closer to the monk, he broke out of the forest on to the road and sprinted after him, intending to run him down. But something remarkable happened. No matter how quickly he ran, he was unable to catch up with the Buddha, who continued to walk calmly and steadily down the road. Angulimala was perplexed. ‘Usually I can catch a galloping elephant or horse, a chariot or a deer, yet this monk continues to walk along at his ordinary pace, and I can’t him!’ He tried to run faster, but still the gap between him and his quarry did not decrease.”

“Eventually he stopped and shouted out after the Buddha, ‘stop, monk, stop!’ The Buddha replied, ‘I have stopped Angulimala. Now you must stop too!’ and he continued walking. This perplexed Angulimala even more. He guessed from his appearance that this man was a follower of the Buddha, and his disciples were supposed never to lie. Yet this monk said he had stopped when he was still walding, and he was telling Angulimala that he must stop when he was already standing still. He demanded that the monk explain himself.”

“Angullimala, I have stopped all violence towards living beings, but you know no restraint at all. That is way I have stopped and you have not.’ Hearing these words, Angullimala was shaken. He knew that here at last, in this fearless monk, was a teacher he could respect. The time had come for him to renounce his evil ways. He threw away his weapons and fell at the Buddha’s feet, begging him to accept him as a disciple. With head shaved and wearing the ragged robe of a forest monk, Angullimala returned with the Buddha to Savatthi.

Saddhaloka in Encounters With Enlightenment

Advertising in Modern & Postmodern Times

“Technical innovations adopted by the British motor car industry in the mid-1920s provided for the evolution of a new approach to design, styling and accessories (Church, 1993). These development contributed to the formation of a distinctively modernist aesthetic in car advertising. Some of the very earliest attempts to entice the public into abandoning the horse and cart for the car were modelled on propriety, sobriety and the nostalgic aesthetic of art nouveau (Roberts, 1976). The meticulously designed engravings of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century advertising imager mirrored the wilful asymmetry and swirling convolvulus of art nouveau iconography (Montgomery, 1968). Late nineteenth-century car advertising often shared with art nouveau a nonchalant disinclination of matters of form, function and practicality (Roberts 1976). It was emblematic of art nouveau’s appeal to the natural fecundity and botanical world of English cultural heritage.”
“Art nouveau is a fin-de-siecle art tending towards phantasmagoria, decadence and the exquisite (Dunlop, 1994: 14). This iconography appears in juxtapositions to the solemnity of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century reason-why advertising. Although by the 1900 the motor car had scarcely begun to affect public life, it had already acquired cultural distinction among the middle classes. The aristocracy drove the first motor cars; nonetheless, the tendency of the burgeoning middle classes towards ‘pecuniary emulation’ (Veblen, [1879] 1994) generated an eagerness to secure social status through the conspicuous consumption to the cr. The semiotic appeal of the car was its ability to convey a sense of identification with the ostentatious wastefulness and languid idleness of the leisured classes. Prestigious cars symbolized refined tastes, cultural distinction and were ‘a sign of continuity and dependability’ (Dymock, 1993: 8). The art nouveau forms in motor car advertising were particularly evocative of a vehicle tailored to symbolize a distinctive character, culture and way of life. They evoked an image of an idyllic style of life divorced form the technocratic imperatives of the productive economy and work.”

Pamela odih in Advertising in Modern & Postmodern Times

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Satisfied Customer

“It’s sometimes said that customers satisfaction is not particularly important and should not be measured. What’s really critical, they say, is to have customers recommend your product. Aside from the fallacy of assuming that such recommendations will occur regardless of how satisfied the customers are (very few dissatisfied customers recommend products they are unhappy with), this has led to foolish measurement practices. What’s done is usually something like the following: First, calculate the percentage of respondents who say that they are very likely to recommend a given product (say those who score nine or ten). Next, take those that score very low, say three to one) and calculate their percentage of he total. Now, you have the percentage of people who are very likely to recommend your product and the percentage of people who are not. Then, take the difference between these two percentages. If that number is positive, you have more customers who are likely to recommend your product than customers aren’t.”

“What’s wrong with this? At first glance, it might sound reasonable. The problem has to do with how numbers are assigned: A perfectly good scale is reined to the point that it generates very little useful information. A competent measurement methodology looks to minimize error. But here, the opposite is done. Instead to getting precision, random noise is produced. From a single scale, we have not only converted something continuous to something binary, binary, but we have done it three times (percent of customers likely to recommend. Percent of customers not likely to do so, and the difference between them). Each time, we have crated a new estimate. All estimate contain error. Going from a continuous scale to a binary one introduces even more error.”

Palgrave Macmillan and Claes Fornell in The Satisfied Customer

The Billion Dollar Book

“The size of your success in measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.

You need to understand the difference between an asset and a liability. An asset puts money in your pocket and a liability takes money from your pocket. The rich understand the difference and buy assets, not liabilities.

In the Industrial Age the ticket for success was to go to school, get good grades, and find a safe secure job for life. You did not have to worry about your financial education because the company and the government would take care of your financially once your working days were over. The rules have changed. You no longer rely on your employer or your government to take care of you.

Don’t work for money; make it work for you. Savers are losers.

We go to school to learn to work hard for money. I write books and create products that teach people how to have money work hard for them.

Money is kind of a base subject. Like water, food, air and housing, it affects everything yet for some reason the world of academic thinks it’s a subject below their social standing.

The single best piece of advice I can give is this: Be careful what financial advice you listen to. Most financial advice such as “save money,” ‘get out of dept,” “invest for the long term” and “diversify” is fine for the middle class or the poor. It’s not good advice if you want to be rich because it is obsolete advice.

Today, we are in the Information Age and more than job security we all need financial security. Unfortunately, our school system teaches us little about the subject of money. Our children will be required to learn much more than we ever did, and much more than school are prepared to teach them. Cash flow management is an essential life skill that will require more and more sophistication as we move further into the Information Age.”

Ed: Yogesh Cholera in The Billion Dollar Book


“When your contribution takes the form of service to others, your work suddenly starts to come alive with meaning. And you don’t have to be Gandhi or Teresa. Service doesn’t just mean waiting tables or working behind a counter. It’s just like Bob Dylan said: “We all have to serve somebody,” and no matter what your job is, there are real human beings0-in your company and outside of it –who depend on your service.”

“But service is more than helping others, because being of service is the greatest gift you can give yourself. As Gandhi said, “The fragrance always remains on the hand that gives the rose.” Just as we know that the most joyous holidays are the ones where we give, not receive, the most, so the greatest joy in work is when you make your work a form of service.”

Kevin and Jackie Freiberg in Boom


“Me : So how we decide when to use dynamic HTML and when do we prepare the HTML layout in the base page?

Ajaxian: My take on this is as follows:
All applications have entities-a number of them and relationships exist between them. Layouts are prepared to describe entities and their relationships.

Me : You are getting very philosophical here.

Ajaxian : If I were to ask you what is an employee’s description from the perspective of an applications, what would you reply?

Me : Yes , it is her or his name. And details of age, birth date, address, educational qualification, etc.

Ajaxian : Hmm! In short, the “Employee Detail” screen?

Me : Yes.

Ajaxian : Now if I ask you the relationship of the “employee” entity with the “department” entity, what would that constitute?

Me : I guess it’s the list of employees working in that document.

Ajaxian : And how is that shown to the user of an application?

Me : Possibly like a browse-list filtered by the department.

Ajaxian : Correct. Know, would you say that this would differ from employee to employee or department to department or would this information be the same?

Me : The same.”

Rajnikant Rao in Ajax

The Three Trillion Doller War

“Oil prices started to soar just as the war began, and the longer it has dragged on, the higher prices have gone. This certainly suggests the war ha something to do with the rising prices. On this, almost all oil experts agree. But what fraction of the total price increase is due to the war? To answer this, we need to ask: What would the price have been had there been no war?.”

“Futures markets-which summarize what buyers and sellers of oil contracts think prices will be in a year or more –provide some insight. Before the war, they thought prices would remain in the range that they had been $20 to $30, for the nest several years. Futures markets work on the basis of “business as usual,” that is, they assume nothing out of the ordinary is going to happen. The war in Iraq was the most notable out of the ordinary event at the time prices began to rise, and it is hard to identify any other disruption that could given similar credit for the changes in demand or supply, especially in 2003 and 2004 . (The 2005 arrival of Huricanes Katrina and Rita, however, did cause a large temporary drop in U.S. oil production, which in turn lifted prices.) Now , “business as usual” means that the turmoil that the Iraq war let loose will continue, and futures markets are betting that prices will remain high for the next several years.”

“We conclude, accordingly, that a significant proportion of the increase in the price of oil resulted from the war. Exactly how much the war increases prices cannot be gauged with precision, so we are putting forward two estimates: a conservative one that assumes only $5 per barrel of the price increase in due to the war; and a more realistic one that assumes the figure is $10. (We have discussed these estimates with oil industry experts; and although they disagree on the relative importance of different factors in the soaring prices, they have all agreed that, if anything, we have underestimated the role of the Iraq war.) Our conservative estimate assumes the duration of these higher oil prices to be seven years; the realistic-moderate estimate eight years.”

Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes in The Three Trillion Doller War

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Invest Like A Dealmaker

“There is a scene in Moby-Dick in which Ahab’s second mate. Stubb, snookers French seamen out of a whale carcass. (American have always loved poking fun at the French, it seems. Published in 1851, the Frenchmen in Mleville’s grand novel are comical stereotypes.)”

“Stubb convinces the French that the dead whale is worthless. When the French leave it, Stubb retrieves the rich ambergris form the whale’s intestines. Ambergris looks like “mottled old cheese” but is “worth a gold guinea an ounce to any druggist,” Used in perfumes, cooking, candles and more, the ambergris is a hidden treasure, passed over by most.”

“The Olstein Financial Alert Fund is a well-respected value found now in its 10th year. The latest chairman’s message reprints “The 10 Tenets We Live By.”

“They are interesting if chock-full of investment jargon. For example, Olstein’s first tenet is “We believe there is a high correlation between long-term performance and error avoidance. In plainer English, this means: “We believe avoiding mistakes is the key to longterm investment success.”

“Particularly interesting were those tenets that run contrary to what many other investors tend to think.”

“For example, on of Olstein’s tenets is that is better to rely on your study of financial statement and inferences than it is to rely on discussions with management. Olstein writes,” Talking to management is an overrated function to the investment process.”

“I agree especially in this day and age of heightened regulatory scrutiny and litigation. Management, I’ve found, won’t tell you much of anything you can’t find or read about in publicly filed documents, press releases, and other publicly available material. You’re better off talking with other smart investors.”

“Another tenet has to do with the quality of a company. Olstein believes quality is associated with financial strength –not with size or the number of years company has been in business.”

“This too, is contrary to the mainstream idea that large caps, the so-called blue chips, represent quality companies. I think you can find high-quality companies in obscure markets and smaller companies.”

Christopher W. Mayer in Invest Like A Dealmaker

Ugly Duckling

“These are from my travels, she said showing us some of her knick-knacks.”

“Ah, I said, thinking of my knick-knacks back at home. They too had come from my travels around the world. But on the underbelly side of that world. The side where you bought kitsch, unbearable, hideous stuff that you didn’t throw out because it brought back memories. Not so with Graziella.”

“Even her kitchen was impeccably done. In dark pine and metal, with its cabinets richly laid out, its surfaces crammed with exotic foods and more charming knick-knacks. My kitchen had crappy supermarket dishware and common food. Things like salt, tuna and cooking oil. Graziella had things had things like olive oil from Crete and grape seed oil form Mexico. Kejap form Djakarta and Nuoc Mam from Ho Chi Minh city. Dishes in celadon and glasses in Venetian hand-blown which gave her kitchen a final and intimidatingly stylish touch. Then came her living room. All dreamy and boudoirish with rich fabrics thrown over antique sofas and armchairs, with gold and white silk curtains on the windows. And a large antique coffee table in the center with smaller tables places around the room, all showing off venerable old oak surfaces. The room was not large, but it was everything you needed to show you were a young successful interpreter. And all around the apartment. The atmosphere was rich romantic and stylish. Entirely unlike me. Entirely unlike my place. Entirely unlike my life.”

Amita Mukerjee in Ugly Duckling