Back to Blogging!

After a year’s break fueled more by laziness and inertia rather than lack of time, I think that it’s time for me to get back to blogging. And unlike the previous posts (some of which are terrible), I intend to write more about what I feel rather than post a few links now and then. I am largely comfortable with the one big issue that bothered me the last time I used to blog – that of privacy. Of course I am going to do my best to maintain anonymity throughout this endeavor and by that I mean that no employer / potential employer should find out that this blog is mine!

 

 

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Running out of time (all the time)

Life is such a blur at the moment – I am finding it extremely difficult to get a handle on things and this is not good news for someone who loves things in his control!

I look at people who have come here to business school with a single objective and I wonder why that is not me – I have too many ideas, and too many interests to be tied down to one narrow field. However, the time when I have to arrive at a decision is fast approaching. And as usual I am running out of time.

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Zen Habits

It’s been a long time since I have posted and I am pretty certain I have lost all of my five readers! Anyway, hope to get going again, once I decide exactly what I hope to achieve with this blog. The biggest stumbling block is my issue with privacy and how much information I really want to reveal on the public domain! Anyway, I guess I will deal with it over time.

In this post, I want to talk about one of my favourite websites in recent times-  Zen Habits. As the website says it covers areas such as achieving goals, productivity, being organized and motivation. Not that I need any help with goals or motivation but some of the best articles on the site have dealt with issues such as getting organized and simplifying your life.  What is absolutely brilliant about Leo Babauta is that he never seems to try to sell anything that he hasn’t tried himself. The site’s template is simple and uncluttered and from time to time he has frequent guest authors with posts on different topics.

Have fun exploring! This is a good place to start.

Posted in Internet, Motivation | 3 Comments

The Nano and Innovation

In a gloomy economy and in an environment which finds the best automobile companies on their knees the Tata’s achievement in ensuring that the Nano was launched at the promised price of ~$2,500 is particularly commendable.

In terms of India’s business environment- the Nano could well represent a turning point for innovation. India has not really been known for producing innovative products and I cannot think of too many products that have caught the global attention. (although Indians have been working on cutting technology in the west and Indian engineers work on the R&D value chain in India). Here is a product that has been conceptualized and designed in India and by the looks of it will prove to be a disruptive product in the automotive industry.

Design and Innovation:

Achieving a price point of $2,500 takes so much more than just frugal engineering and by using one less wiper. Two things impress me the most – a) the continued focus on the customer:  for example, despite its low price- the Nano is large and roomy (to probably accommodate the quintessential dadima) and b) Tata’s efforts in working with global suppliers such as Bosch at a much earlier stage and challenging them to rethink their designs.

Interestingly, the big three in Detroit (Ford, GM and Chrysler) have been getting a lot of criticism for a) not focusing on the customer and b) not being more flexible with the supply chain. The Nano’s effort also truly puts the emphasis on design and not on say manufacturing – something that the auto companies in Detroit have been guilty of. Going forward its going to be very interesting to see the sales breakup for the Nano – between first time car buyers v/s Nano being the second car and of course the sales in rural areas.

Ultimately, the Nano might not have a big impact on Tata’s revenues considering that Tata needs to sell 5 million cars by 2015. It is the idea that this might just be the first step in a completely different global automotive industry that makes it more interesting. (some thing that the Economist fails to grasp spectacularly)

Posted in Business, India | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Obama and the art of gifting

He maybe an early contender for man of the century and probably the most popular man in history (unless you count Jesus as a man but lets not get into that) but Obama definitely has to learn about the art of gifting.

The British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made a trip to the U.S. last month and handed the president

ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet. The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet’s sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that has sat in the Oval Office in the White House since 1880.

The gift was of course thoughtful and signified just how much blacks have progressed over the past 100 years. In addition to this gift, the Browns also gave the Obamas a  framed commission for HMS Resolute, a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert and books and clothes for the first girls Sasha and Malia.

For all their effort what did the Browns get in return? A boxed set of 25 DVDs of the best American movies- as thoughtful as a Hallmark card. And better still, it turns out that the Browns will probably not be able to enjoy the movies because of well… the blasted DVD coding system!

Seriously, what were the Obamas thinking! My guess is that some intern was given $100 and was given an executive order to get a gift of the Browns.

On a more serious note, It amazes me just how much Obama has lost his mojo since coming to the White House. I am not saying he is doing a bad job- heck he has only had the job for 2 months but the nominee blunders, the special Olympics gaffe, the whole AIG bonus issue just show that maybe Obama needs to get into that whole campaign mode where he was in absolute control for over two years.

Picture taken from Atlantic Council

Posted in Obama, Trivia, USA | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

The Pitfall of Tweeting exactly what you feel

Last week I finally hopped on the Twitter bandwagon, so far it seems like its a great idea but I really wonder if I will the patience to continue Tweeting (Especially if I don’t get too many followers!)

But here is something I wont do – score a job especially in this terrible economy and then proceed to Tweet about how I am going hate it!

That is precisely what a person did after he had been hired by Cisco and the Tweet got the attention of a Cisco channel partner who promptly responded to that. Will be very interesting to see what happens to the original poster!

You can see more details here

So the next time you post something on Facebook/Orkut/Twitter/Linkedin- think twice about what exactly you are posting. Some of this can come and bite you.

Posted in Economy, Internet | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Can legalizing pot save California?

The Californian economy (the world’s seventh or tenth largest economy – depending on the source) is in serious trouble. There is a massive budget deficit in the state and economic conditions will result in lower revenues over the next few years because of lower tax collections. Already, the government has made it mandatory for many state workers to take one week unpaid leave.

In this scenario, any money would be welcome but what if the money came as a result of legalizing marijuana? Marijuana is a $14B market in California (dwarfing milk and cream which generate around $7B every year). Legalizing pot would mean an additional $1.3B every single year in taxes and of course there is a corresponding reduction in expenditure because state officials don’t have to go on too many crackdowns. Interestingly, nearly 42 percent of Americans polled in a survey admitted that they had experimented with drugs at some point of time. 

Obviously, there are many negatives to this plan – freely available drugs is going to make a lot of people very uneasy and the whole process of implementing this scheme may cost money.  Ultimately, I am sure that this is not going to happen (way too many opponents in the U.S.) but what is interesting is that the economic conditions are forcing people to look for any potential sources for revenue. 

You can read the detailed article here

Posted in Business, Economy | Tagged , , | 3 Comments